Sunday, September 28, 2008
There were lots of agricultural demonstrations, such as this one with mules plowing a field. When I used to go the the fair when I was little, it was in Litchfield and moved around a bit until MOFGA bought this fair ground and set up permanent structures and planted trees. It's huge and allows for a lot to happen at the fair. But it still retains its integrity as an agricultural fair with an organic theme. We had french fries made from organic potatoes and as an added bonus there were hug cans of Muir Glen organic ketchup with pumps. Yum!
I had planned to meet up with my friend Renee but we hadn't made a firm plan so I was happy when we were standing in line for some organic ice cream (maple walnut, mmmm) and looked over and there she was! We met in college and have kept in touch intermittently. She was one of the 4 people who held the poles for the chuppah at our wedding.
It was an amazing day; when we got back to Freeport we decided to go to Norm's for dinner. They have the best steak salads.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 11:38 AM
The big day, at last! The Common Ground Country Fair. It has been going on for 30 years and I started going about that long ago so it was nice to be able to hit it this year and share it with Nina. Mom drove (which is why there is no mile count in the title) so I got to take some pictures. I'm sad I didn't get a picture of the road sign that advertised the Budweiser family pack (but you can see it here, that's the joy of the blogosphere!). That's Maine for ya.
I did get a nice one of this old train car, though.
There was a lovely children's play area with a puppet show and lots of activities (we particularly enjoyed pounding real nails into boards with hammers). I remember that I was in the parade several times when I was little.
Nina got an octopus painted on her face.
We went into the exhibition hall and saw lots of beautiful, unusual, and large vegetables and fruit, including a whole table of peppers.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 11:23 AM
Friday I left Nina at my mom's house and drove to Bangor to see my friend Shyla, who I've been friends with since we were 5 years old (we met at a David Mallett concert). She has just started grad school at The University of Maine, where we both got our bachelor's degrees. We walked around campus and talked...and talked some more. It was so nice to be able to just hang out. Oh, and we did do some shopping at Marden's, which is kind of like Big Lots or GTM, but HUGE and less food. It was a nice, relaxing day and I didn't get back until the evening so my mom took Nina with her to a party on Peaks Island.
Our plan was to go to the Common Ground Fair on Saturday and I had been fretting about how to carry Nina's backpack and some water so I went to the LL Bean outlet in Freeport to see if I could find a solution. And I did! I got a lumbar pack that fits the Ergo, a few personal items, and two water bottles. Perfect. I can wear the Ergo on the back and the lumbar pack on either the front or back. It's almost identical to this one but was on sale for 20$.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 10:55 AM
On thursday morning we got up and drove to Maine. We had lunch at O'Naturals with a friend from high school, walked around Portland for a while, then went to Freeport and walked around before heading to my mom's house.
My mom has rented out her house with the caveat that she has retained her bedroom and we can come stay there any time. And as an added bonus she made her fall visit concide with ours. She had spent the night on an island with a friend but was due back in the early evening when her friend's husband would go get them on his boat. Of course, I invited myself to come with him and get a few minutes on a boat. It was a nice ride.
There they are on the dock, waiting for us.
And Nina and Mima dancing and jumping around, happy to see each other.
Mom's friend Susan had recommended Buck's Naked BBQ for the locally grown hamburgers and the play area for kids. Both were great; the play area had two Kids Crooked Houses. Very charming and Nina had a blast playing with all the kids there. A great reward for a nearly angelic day and a half in the car.
View Larger Map
Posted by lola coca-cola at 10:26 AM
On Wednesday morning we set off on our journey. I had requested a small car but Enterprise didn't have a small one that had cruise control, and it seemed to me that cruise is a necessity on a long road trip (well, maybe not a necessity but it makes things a LOT easier). So I upgraded to a Mitsubishi Galant. And it was so huge to me! But fairly comfortable to drive.
Our first stop was New Jersey for lunch with my grandmother, where it turned out that it was good I had gotten a larger car because I picked up some artwork and end tables for my mom. Grandma fed us Jersey Beefsteak tomatoes with avocado, chicken salad, and delicious, fresh corn on the cob.
Then on to Newton, MA to spend the night with my mom's cousin Amy and her husband Eddie. They have a wonderful old three story house and we got to sleep on the third floor. It was wonderful to see them, when I walked into their house it smelled like home to me.
View Larger Map
Posted by lola coca-cola at 10:13 AM
I forgot that Nina and I went on an excursion to Alexandria, Va on Monday the 15th. Alexandria has a lovely old shopping district with lots of restaurants. We ate at Cafe Salsa Restaurant. We split a fish dish with a side of arepas (I feel very lucky that my kid will eat fish); it was delicious and the service was great.
I have a confession to make...I like to go to Whole Foods everywhere I am (well, actually, any health food store will do). I had heard that the one in Alexandria was good, so we went to check it out. It was very nice...I hope to make it to the one in Arlington this week some time. I also want to make it to My Organic Market (also known as MOM's).
Posted by lola coca-cola at 9:51 AM
Saturday, September 27, 2008
On Sunday the 14th we just lazed around while, then in the afternoon went to the Takoma Park Folk Festival. We went later in the day because there was supposed to be a contra dance and we wanted to get a dance or two in. There was lots of good food (fried plantains, yum!) and I had a freshly squeezed limeade. We got a pro-choice sticker from planned parenthood and laughed at the Mc Cain table that had nobody at it while the Obama table was mobbed. There were lots of arts & crafts, all either tacky and overpriced or nice and expensive, neither of worked for me.
Finally it was time for the contra dance, which was in the gym of a school. Fortuitously, there was a table with crayons and coloring books so we set Nina up with both in the bleachers and we danced a couple. It was nice, but I kept obsessively looking over every time I was facing Nina's way to make sure she was still there. She kept telling me that she didn't want to dance. And then, miraculously, she did! It was so much fun for me to dance with her (she and I danced as one person, with Larry as our partner). When it was time to swing, we just did it as a circle. She said she had fun and it great for me to know that she was even younger than I was the first time she got to contra dance. I only wish I had pictures of it!
Posted by lola coca-cola at 10:11 AM
Was both uneventful and soul changing. It is a strange thing, living so close to so many other people, having them stacked above and below you. Going places en masse in one vehicle. Varieties of different kinds of people I don't normally see living in the suburbs and going to playgrounds and Whole Foods.
On Friday night we went out to an Indian restaurant. We all love Indian food and it's easy to agree on a place to eat when there's Indian food available. We were seated by a window in an out of the way corner of the restaurant watching people go in large numbers down into the bar on the basement level of the building. It seemed like it would be an uneventful meal. I was watching our waiter because I knew it was time for him to go into the kitchen to see if our food was done. I was sitting in the corner so I was really the only one in a good position to see the middle of the restaurant. All of a sudden our waiter started to have vocal outbursts that seemed to me to be typical of schizophrenia; my immediate thought was that it was enlightened of the owners to hire someone who might have outburts on the floor of the restaurant. Then he staggered two steps, fell to his knees, the heavily onto the floor, hit his head hard, then proceeded to seize for about 2 minutes. The restaurant patrons who were sitting right by him when it happened helped him out and I have no medical training so I didn't really feel like I could do anything. Someone called 911 and the EMTs came. So did our food (brought by someone else). And I felt strange about eating with our waiter lying on the floor in the corner. It was really an ethical (or moral, maybe) dilemma to me, I felt bad eating the food but what could I do? I couldn't help, not eating wasn't going to help him.
After capoeira class and the farmer's market on Saturday Nina, Franki, and the two Larrys went sightseeing in DC while I grabbed some down time. We went out to eat on Saturday night at the Thai restaurant down the street, after which Nina and Larry went home and Larry and Franki went off to enjoy the jazz festival that was going on near their hotel. I went off to shop for food for Sunday breakfast, after which Larry and Franki would need to hurry off to the airport. On my way home from the grocery store, waiting for a walk sign, when a man crossing the street from the other direction tripped and fell literally at my feet. He was a middle aged man, probably 60 or so, african american, sharply dressed in a suit. After he got up I (and others around me) asked if he was ok. He said that he was ok. And then he told me his story.
I was just happy, I had a great evening and I was just so happy that I wasn't paying attention. My wife died in June and it was the first time I was really happy. A woman my wife was a mentor to had a fashion show in her honor and it was so wonderful. And I was just so happy that I wasn't paying attention.
At the point where he said that his wife died his voice cracked and he started to cry a little. I hugged him right there on the street. It felt so good. And then as I was walking away I checked my purse. Why did I do that? Why did I have to sully a perfect moment in time like that? It wasn't ruined but it did make me think a lot. Would I have checked if race wasn't a factor? I'd like to think yes, but I can't be positive.
These two events prompted a lot of soul searching for me. I live an incredibly easy life with a lot of opportunities for growth; I'd like to take advantage of these moments more and work harder.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 8:32 AM
In the evening after we went to the zoo (the 11th) Larry's parents arrived for a short visit. After a bit of deliberation, we decided to go to Mount Vernon on Friday. It was really interesting to see it as an adult, I hadn't been there since I was little. We took a boat trip; it wasn't as informational as we had hoped, but I'm always happy on the water. We took lots of pictures with Mount Vernon in the background.
In this one, it's between my head and Larry's.
It's in Franki's sight line here.
You can see it really well in this one.
I had a really nice one of Larry, Franki, and Nina but I seem to have managed to delete it. Oops.
They had a really cool kids' activity room in the museum (as opposed to the actual house) where there were period clothes; Franki took some great pics but I forgot to upload them onto our computer before they left.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 7:54 AM
Friday, September 26, 2008
The day after our Rock Creek Park excursion, we went to the zoo with a new friend who is living here now but in the process of moving to San Diego. So we don't have to be sad when we leave here because we'll get to see her in San Diego too. We really enjoyed her company, along with her adorable baby. She also happens to have a kick-ass online store for green household items. It's called Greater Goods, go check it out!
I don't typically take pictures of animals in the zoo, but this was too good to pass up. They have what they call the O Line which the orangutans can use to get from one building to another. It's pretty cool to see them swinging by above.
And just chilling out in the tower.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 5:32 PM
But when I went to grab a few minutes, Blogger was having a scheduled outage.
So here is a pic of Nina sleeping on our hike around Rock Creek Park. I forget sometimes how much I love having short hair.
And I was walking up a median to the Metro stop and there was a deer in it. I didn't know what to do--I didn't want to startle it into the road but I couldn't really wait for it to be done munching. It did eventually run across the road and (narrowly) avoided being hit.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 5:24 PM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
I had planned to hike around in Rock Creek Park today after we went to the playgroup someone in our building organized in the lounge (fun!). But then I got distracted as we walked out the door and forgot my new book with the maps in it (details, details) so I decided not too adventurous and stuck to paved roads instead of trying any trails.
It was a bit of a hike from the train so I put Nina in the backpack when we got off of the train and within 10 minutes she was asleep and didn't wake up until right before we got back on the train. Here's the route we took (I'm pretty sure, anyway).
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
6 cardboard boxes, packing tape, crappy serrated knife, and some imagination were all that were needed to make Nina a play kitchen. She's enjoying decorating it with crayons right now; I hope that she will play with it too!
It actually looks much cooler than it came out in this picture.
Monday, September 08, 2008
From now on I'm going to say things are the best thing since portable dvd players (or diva-d as Nina calls them).
We bought one right before our trip to Chicago and were glad we did. A day before this trip I actually remembered to put a name/phone number label (love the labeler) on ours, just in case. You know, just in case we did something like, say, leave it on the plane. Which is exactly what we proceeded to do (but not before it gave us a little over an hour of happily occupied little girl). In the unpacking and exhaustion, we didn't notice it was gone until Sunday. Larry called all the airports that our plane went to that day (so we thought) and nobody had seen our dvd player. We were bummed out about losing it, and even more so our Planet Earth dvd set, A Little Princess/The Secret Garden set, our brand new Letter Factory, and a Netflix movie. We had kind of resigned to them being lost but I told Larry we should keep calling because it couldn't hurt. While we were sighseeing on Monday I got a call from the lovely Stephanie at the airport in Ontario, California, where our dvd player had turned up. I gave her my fedex number and our dvd player was safely with us by Thursday, along with all the dvds. YAY!
One of the reasons I picked this apartment building to live in is that it has a free on-site gym. The other day when Nina and I popped in to check it out at around 3pm, there was nobody there. So after a little thinking I decided it might work to set Nina up with the dvd player in an unused corner while I work out (it's in the sight line of both the recumbent bicycle and stair machines, I'm not sure about the treadmill). Today we tried it and it worked fabulously. I spent 30 minutes on the stair climber while she happily watched a movie. Double YAY!
Posted by lola coca-cola at 2:27 PM
Sunday, September 07, 2008
It was so blustery and rainy yesterday! There were big puddles on the road and we got soaked getting to and from Nina's class (she's the only one who has rain boots). But today it was so much cooler. The forecast for the next week is in the 70s and 80 instead of steady 90s. Thanks, Hanna!
Posted by lola coca-cola at 11:26 AM
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Nina really loves her circus class so I decided to find some kind of class to take her here while we are here for the next two months. I settled on capoeira because, like circus class, it's an opportunity to learn a lot of skills. Plus, I love Brazilian culture and music, so this ties right in. She really liked the class and participated a lot, though now she says she didn't like it. I hope she changes her mind again before next week's class!
Here is a video about capoeira:
And one with a kid doing capoeira:
Posted by lola coca-cola at 1:33 PM
Thursday, September 04, 2008
There's a mall very close to our apartment; it's mostly food but there are also two movie theaters (one an AFI and one Regal). There is also a fun water feature and there are always kids playing in it.
Shortly after I took this video a mall security guard asked me to put a shirt on Nina. Not the little boy, but just Nina. Ummm, cause at some point she will have boobs? It was weird.
It's been super hot here and doesn't cool down at night. I've used the AC more in a few days here than I did all summer in San Diego.
Posted by lola coca-cola at 5:00 PM
After the great hat tragedy of '08 I promised Nina that we would go out and get her a new hat. When you don't use sunscreen much it's important to wear a hat. And boy, we looked hither and yon, hill and dale, at every store we could find within walking distance; not one summer hat to be found. We finally ended up at the dingiest, most run down Burlington Coat Factory ever (at least, I hope so, I haven't done much shopping there). They had one hat with a brim that fit Nina. So we bought it (for $2.99). She had wanted to get one with ties to keep it from blowing off, but this fancy Easter-type hat had to do and I told her that I would sew on some flowers and a tie.
Here it is before:
And after. I don't love what I've done to make a tie here; I may try to find something to make it tighter (like the plastic adjuster thing on coats and sleeping bags) or replace it with elastic.
We made a big excursion via bus to get the supplies. I love little satin roses and Nina picked out the multi-color package of them and the ribbon.
It took forever to sew together bunches of two and four roses and then sew them onto the hat. But she's worth it!
The other day Nina was angry with me for something...I can't remember what. She was really upset, though, because this is what she said:
I will not love you again...EVER!
I had to smile, I'm sure she felt it deeply. I just told her that I always love her, even when I'm angry and that nothing she does can change that. I hope she will always know it.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Our neighbors have their own ocean; here is a view of it from our balcony:
Can you tell who our neighbor is? Well, the next building over is also theirs and they have a really cool statue (It's supposed to be a fountain but it hasn't had water in it yet).
Here's the giveaway pic:
Posted by lola coca-cola at 2:26 PM
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
We decided to be tourists and took the Metro into DC (not very far). Once we got there we saw that there is a double decker bus tour like we took in Bristol and London (I want to do the one in San Diego some time too, who's in?). The one we did in Paris was terrible, but I am pretty sure it was a different company.
It was fun but HOT. We were tired and sweaty once it was done.
We had a small tragedy on the bus, though...a gust of wind took Nina's lovely red hat right off of her head. The first time, she caught it and I should have taken it or helped her hold it on because the second gust blew it right into the street. She was heartbroken and kept wanting to go get it out of the street. It was super sad, she had that hat at least two, if not three, years.
We used the day to shop...'til we dropped. By the end of the day we were exhausted (all except for Nina, again). We hit Costco, Target, and Whole foods. Fridge is now full, we have some necessities. If you are looking for a nice, inexpensive ipod dock, I am VERY happy with the one we got (though we didn't pay the amount it's listed for over at Amazon). I love that I can unplug it and listen anywhere in the house--for up to 8 hours! My only complaint is that it doesn't have radio. But really that's more a complaint about the ipod than the dock. The dock shouldn't have to have a radio because it should come standard with the ipod. So I'm getting my NPR dose via the web or in the morning on the clock radio that is all the audio equipment the apartment came with.
So, we made it. We actually got to Maryland on Saturday afternoon. By the time we got our luggage, rented a car, ate dinner (Thai takeout), and unpacked, we were all exhausted. Well, if you don't count Nina. She was ready to go and talked in bed for about an hour after we put her down at 9 pm Eastern time.
We had gotten up at 4 am California time, and gotten her up at about 5:30. She was an angel for the flight; I sat next to and entertained her for half of the flight and then we switched places and Larry sat next to her. I actually was able to sleep for a half hour or so, which was nice (and rare, I am not usually able to sleep on planes). She didn't fuss about keeping her seatbelt on for most of the ride (there was a lot of turbulence). We had given her the choice of whether to take her carseat on the plane or not; up until we were in line to board, she wanted to take it and then changed her mind at the last minute. The guy scanning boarding passes didn't seem to mind and just let us gate check it.
I had also been buying presents for the plane trip for a couple of weeks; I had a lot of fun picking out and wrapping them. I bought some crayons, a preschool workbook, a dvd, a drawing pad, a magnetic toy with fairies to dress up and put in different scenes.
So here's a slide show of our very nice apartment
It has more closet space than we can use, which is super cool. It means that we can store the stroller open and not have to collapse it and open it every time we go out. My one complaint is that the desk was in a complete other room than the ethernet connection. That's ok, I just moved the desk and it's fine. I knew the knives would be crappy, and they were, but it's ok, I used the opportunity to buy a santoku knife (I had been coveting one, hee hee). And the one I found just happened to come in a package with a paring knife. Hmm, I had been wanting another paring knife...