Friday, June 27, 2008

I love a good 4th of July parade

I put together a list of parades in the Bay Area for UpTake, and thought I would share them here. A few years ago, we went to the Danville Parade, and I have to say it is one of the better ones. Get there early though, our friends told us that folks start camping out the night before!

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer to-do list

Besides it being beyond hot this last week, I also realized that summer vacation is short and I had better put together my to-do list before things get away from me. Here for your reading pleasure and amusement is what I hope to get done this summer:

1. Replace the fence on the side yard (no, not myself, silly, hire someone!)
2. Paint master bedroom and bathroom (hold-over from last summer)
3. Create a piece of garden art using the left-over copper pipe behind the garage
4. Get the fountain in the front yard working
5. Work on the kid's photo albums
6. Frame our new vintage poster (again, not myself!)
7. Get the paperwork in to start a donor-advised fund
8. Launch Green Committee for our elementary school
9. Finish quilting quilt and bind off

Humm, not sure there is the right mix of fun and creativity in there, but it is a start. Also, I need to throw in a couple good books too, any suggestions?

Monday, June 16, 2008

A local's perspective: Palo Alto

This morning, my blurb about Palo Alto was published on the UpTake blog. I enjoyed reminiscing about my hometown, and sharing my favorites. Since I had fun writing it, I thought I would repost it here and create a little meme. If you are reading this and I don't know you, please consider yourself tagged. I would also love to see responses from Erica from Plain Jane Mom, May-Ling, and Naomi from Superdumb Supervillain. And onto the post...

Give 5 adjectives that you would use to describe the “feel” of Palo Alto and its residents:

Educated, mindful, adventurous, youthful, eclectic.

What is your favorite neighborhood of Palo Alto:

I am partial to the College Terrace area of Palo Alto, located just south of Stanford University. All the streets are named after famous colleges and universities, the homes are a mix of sweet bungalows and artfully designed family homes, and the proximity to Stanford ensures a good mix of college types, young professionals and families.

Which cuisine do you think Palo Alto does best? What is the runner-up?

Palo Alto is chock-a-block of restaurants for every taste - On California Ave, don’t miss La Bodeguita del Medio for Cuban-inspired cuisine, Bistro Elan for classic French, and the Counter, for classic American burgers, your way. On University Ave, Three Seasons for Vietnamese, Mediterranean at Evvia, Junoon for Indo-fusion, La Strada for Italian, and scads of hip places such as Pluto’s, Pasta?, and Miyake’s. Why limit ourselves to one cuisine, let’s embrace them all!

What is the best free thing to do?

I love the 10-week evening jazz series at Stanford Shopping Center on Thursdays during the summer. Bring a picnic dinner, a beach chair and enjoy the lovely music.

What is your favorite type of entertainment?

Anything outdoors. Window shopping on California Avenue, walking “The Dish” in the Stanford Foothills, roller blading through the neighborhoods.

List the best family friendly activity:

The myriad of parks in Palo Alto are enough to keep the average family busy for weeks. Our favorite is Johnson Park on Everett, between Kipling and Cowper, with a mini-rock wall, cement slide (bring your cardboard box) and slide and sand for everyone. The community garden in the back corner gives it a comfortable, neighborly feel.

What spot would you send a couple, looking for a romantic weekend?

Ok, romance for us means eating lots of great food, exploring places on foot and finding the hidden gems of a city. I recommend booking a room at the centrally-located Garden Court Hotel and heading to Vino Locale for Friday night dinner, with local wines and slow food, before the Friday-night Art Walk. Quick Saturday breakfast at Coupa Cafe (spicy hot chocolate and pastries), before heading out to explore the Farmer’s Market behind the post office. Take a break in the afternoon with a couple’s massage and soaking tub at Watercourse Way Bathhouse Spa. Dinner at Tamarine (sit in the bar and people watch), a movie at the Stanford Theater, end with dessert at Gelato Classico. Go back to hotel, collapse. Order breakfast in….

Describe a perfect day…one that captures what your area/city is all about. In 3 sentences or less.

I would start with a family bike ride over to Stanford University, stopping for a free visit to Cantor Museum and a picnic lunch on the Oval, with the required frisbee-throwing and people watching. My kids might throw in a visit to Hoover Tower or a splash in the Claw Fountain at White Plaza. And finish with a casual dinner at the Palo Alto Creamery before heading back home.

Tell us about a place that you love to go, whether it is in the guidebooks or not.

I love to take our kids to the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo, where I used to go as a youngster. Wonderful hands on activities and a small zoo with a bobcat!

P.S. Don't forget to tag some of your friends!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Facebook secretary

This would be perfect - along with someone to fold my laundry, fix my kid's lunches and blow dry my hair, a Facebook secretary would be just what I need!

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Last Day of School Observations

Thursday Thoughts, that is new and clever. Here are mine for today, not all necessarily related to school....

I am disappointed that Hillary will not be the Democratic candidate, however, I will be voting Democrat this fall. Why any Hillary supporter would switch sides, I will not understand.

Stay At Home Mom - that is an oxymoron. As I work less and less, I also stay home less and less. I am always away from the house. Amazing how that works.

The second to last week of school I finally get the whole morning routine figured out. Funny that it takes me so long.

People who talk on their cell phones while driving still bug me, but pretty soon it will be illegal. That makes me happy.

I love those elastic waistbands on my kids pants, the kind that are adjustable. I hate it when they come undone and disappear into the waistband.

If you want politics, check out your local PTA. Whoa-boy, that sucker is chock-a-block.

How green is green? If you have to order green products from a company back east and they have to be shipped out here, is that more green than just buying something locally and recycling? (thanks to Lisa for this thought)

I loved the book Marley and Me. Made me want to hug and kiss my dog for being so great. Even her barking does not bug me as much anymore. Yeah Molly.

The Last Lecture made me sad, and thoughtful about my kids and what I am leaving for them. It also left me hopeful. But mostly sad.

These are my thoughts for today, now I am off to get my kids to school for the last time this year.....

Monday, June 2, 2008

Presenting Mr and Mrs GirdlePants

The Big Guy loves reading Captain Underpants and yesterday, with the help of the Fourth Epic Novel, Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants, we all discovered our silly names. From here forward, our family shall be known as:

Fluffy and Falafel Girdlepants, with their children Doofus and Stinky and dog Wafflechunks.

Now, I know their is controversy about Captain Underpants (read some of the stuff here and here). I know the language in the book is less than perfect, I also know the spelling is atrocious. However, The Big Guy loves these books. They engage him. He comes home from school, grabs a snack and reads for 30 minutes, all without me having to ask. He knows they are silly, we laughed about it all weekend on our long car trip.

Thanks to Dav Pilkey for putting together such a fun series of books! With your help, I think we have encouraged The Big Guy to be a reader for life.....