Carlsbad Staycation

Our room at the Grand Pacific Palisades had a view of the ocean.

It was beautiful.

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Unfortunately, the flower fields below were cleared for the season.

Instead of colorful blooms, all we saw was a lot of dirt and this big pile of manure.  Heh heh.

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Our room was downwind, but it wasn’t that bad.

The view went a long way toward making up for the “aroma.”

The little boy didn’t seem to mind.

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I don’t think the room is of great importance to him anyway.

He’s all about the water features and this place surpassed all of our expectations in that department!

The play area next to the family pool was great.

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The pool itself was walk-in warm, really clean, and fairly large.

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Because of its location right next to the water play area, I didn’t have to get out of the pool to keep an eye on my son.

The hotel also has a separate adults-only pool with a few lanes marked off for lap swimmers.

As a plus-sized mom with a splashy child, I appreciated being surrounded by families, and not by young fit singles or childless lovebirds.

Both pool areas have hot tubs too.

Despite some negative comments on Yelp, I gambled on this place and I was pleasantly surprised.

It doesn’t hurt that the service is excellent and that the restaurant on the property is a Karl Strauss Brewery.  🙂

I would definitely book a stay there again.

After husband left us to go to work in the morning, the boy and I checked out and headed down the street to the Museum of Making Music.

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this place, but I am so glad we went!

The museum is very small and only takes a few minutes to walk through, but it houses a remarkable display of unique and old musical instruments.

It is clear that the exhibits are lovingly cared for and designed with curious kids in mind.

There are buttons to push and music to hear and each room includes at least one instrument meant for visitors to play.

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My son enjoyed this immensely.

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The last room of the museum is entirely hands-on.

Even I couldn’t resist playing Twinkle Twinkle on one of the harps.

The boy loved this drum thing.

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The admission to the museum is only $8 for adults, $5 for older kids, and $0 for those under five.

I felt like it was easily worth that and if I’d remembered to do it before we left, I think I would have tossed a few more ones into the donation jar.

Overall, this was a very pleasant little getaway.

What have you been up to?

♥♥

Art, Furniture, Halloween & a quick Jig ditty

Art I Didn’t Know About

I got a card in the mail from Father Joe this week – the usual holiday request for donations.  He sends them every year.  I like Father Joe and I have deep respect for his lifelong commitment to serve those in need.  One year, we gave him my old Grand Am.

This year, the request came with a postcard picture of a glass mosaic by artist Botti Studi.  In 2003, this giant work of art was installed on the face of the Villa Harvey Mandel in downtown San Diego.  Until I received this postcard, I didn’t know anything about it.  (Insert picture of fog-brained autism mom here.)

My goal for the week is to see this mosaic in person.

Receiving the postcard has also resurrected a goal I made last year, and subsequently forgot.  😦  Every Tuesday, there are a handful of museums around San Diego that offer free admission.  I haven’t been to any of them in years.  My goal is to go at least once a month.  Come with me!

By the way, did YOU know about that glass mosaic?  Why didn’t you tell me?

New Furniture

Our new tables arrived in plenty of time for turkey day.  Yea!!

Nine-year-old child + a bunch of cookies and some chocolate milk = perfect justification for buying glass to cover them:

Here they are with a little less mess:

I hope to tackle that wall of clutter to the left sometime in the next few weeks.  Sigh.  There’s always something.

Halloween

Halloween is almost over.  The candy bucket is empty, so I have been giving out leftovers from the boy’s July birthday – bubbles, bouncy balls, etc.  The trick-or-treaters actually seem happy about this.

A couple of teenage girls just knocked on the door and informed me that someone is getting in trouble up the street,  Sure enough, there are cop cars and detained kids parked on the corner.  Great.  Where the hell am I living??

Oh well, I guess no Halloween is complete without flashing lights and a bit of law-breaking.  Right?

And another thing…

If you read this post, then it shouldn’t surprise you that the boy made up a song about our jig.

My apologies for the static on the audio – not sure what happened there.

Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

♥♥

Good Morning To You, Spam-I-Am

The little boy’s latest cinematographic endeavor…

please pardon the shaky camera work – he is only eight, after all!

I love that he pauses in the middle to play a few notes on the piano.  🙂

And…

I just had to share some of the best spam comments I’ve ever received on my posts:

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That one actually sounds like it was written just for me, but my spam filter caught it.  All of the identifying info was linked to a giant online beauty supply store.  Maybe they thought a few insults hurled into the universe would get them some “angry” traffic.  I just find it too annoying for a response.

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Ooohhh, sorry to hear you’re on your deathbed!  I acknowledgement you so much too! 😀

Spring break starts right now!

Happy Friday!

P.S.  Julia continues to bloom her little rosy heart out.

Julia’s neighbor, Charisma, is fiery orange.  The detail of the blossom is blurry in the picture, but you get the idea.

They’re perfect pals.

♥♥

Happy Birthday, Muffin Man and Books

Happy Birthday

No, it’s not his birthday, but I asked him to sing and that’s what he chose.

It cracks me up.

Please ignore our messy house in the background.  😳

You probably have to know him personally to enjoy the next one…

Muffin Man

His class sings “Muffin Man” at school in the mornings.

Judging by this performance, I can’t be certain it’s the same song I learned at his age.

I do know that it’s his favorite.  Or rather, it’s the one he always requests…

maybe because he is desperate to know the words??  😕

Books

I have thoroughly enjoyed and am nearing the end of the The Birchbark House.  Whatever will I read next??  If you had to choose from the list below, which would you pick?  Don’t forget to tell me why!

Happy Monday!

♥♥

 

 

 

Gettin’ Jiggy

Mimi and Abi give the little boy musical cards for every occasion.

Truly, they are some of his favorite toys.  🙂

We have a little basket full of them on the shelf in our front room.

He loves them and he plays each one repeatedly until it is worn and ruined.

I am actually amazed at how durable they are.

Here he is with the card they sent for St. Patrick’s Day:

Thanks, Mimi & Abi!

Happy Saturday!

♣♣

Good Job and Some Music

My husband stopped at Home Depot on his way home last night.  He picked up a carton of fireplace logs and a deep pink potted miniature rose.

When he walked into the house, the little boy looked at him and said “A log!  A rose!  Good job!”  Considering where the day began, that made us chuckle.  Smart little boy.

He went to school this morning.  His initial protest was predictable and annoying, but he seemed to snap out of it when I told him I would take him to school in his pajamas if he didn’t put on his clothes.  I guess he figured I was serious.

Clearly, he has developed some sort of social anxiety about being in his jammies outside the house.  That part actually makes me a little sad.  He’s only eight.  Kids should feel comfortable being in their jammies, whatever the scenario.  But he doesn’t, and it’s no surprise.  It’s worth repeating, he’s not like other kids.

Tomorrow starts a four-day weekend.  My swollen eye and I can’t wait.  I need to stay in the house as much as possible.  We have a few things planned, but I can’t really handle the brightness of the sunny skies until my eye gets better.  It’s hard to drive, hard to walk, hard to do anything but just sit still.  My eye is more sensitive to light than usual and today’s chilly air is downright painful.

This afternoon, I was lucky enough to catch up with some friends for a long lunch in a dark restaurant.  Sitting there, with my back to the windows, was the best break my eye has had since the stupid balloon popped on Monday afternoon.  Thank you, friends!

The little boy is home from school and planted at the table with a book of mazes.

He is obsessed with mazes lately.  I spent $25 on three books full of them yesterday and he has already finished the little one.  I don’t quite know what I will do when he finishes the last of them.

He also makes me draw mazes for him.  It exhausts me.  You try it.  It’s not as simple as it sounds.  The maze has to be tricky, but not defeating.  My son is very crafty and sharp-eyed, but he’s still autistic and he frequently displays escalating and sometimes explosive frustration when he can’t figure out a solution to something.  Mazes are a challenge for us both.

There are plenty of mazes on the internet, but my printer doesn’t work right now and I’m not too keen on dropping all my toner on that anyway.  Mazes are sort of ink-laden.

What to do?  More books, I guess.

I remember liking mazes and other brain teasers myself when I was his age.  I wonder how my parents kept my supplies well stocked.  I don’t remember ever doing without them.  Hmmm.

The husband and I are constantly working on crossword puzzles at the dining table.  I guess that’s our grown-up equivalent of what the boy likes.  Maybe there is hope for his interest in reading.  Language is a maze too, isn’t it?

Anyhoo, not sure how much writing I’ll get done over the long weekend, so I’ll catch you back here in a few days.

Happy Thursday!

P.S.  Evil husband tried to plant bad 80’s pop music in my head as we were drifting off to sleep last night.  I countered with Hank Williams and some Donny and Marie.  He sang some Rush and Scorpions and I responded with a Partridge Family tune.  We both got stumped trying to remember the Billy Joel song from Bosom Buddies and then were equally tortured as it seemed the theme to The Greatest American Hero would never escape our addled brains.  Luckily, I remembered this Elvin Bishop song, one of my all time teenage favorites.  I happily drifted off with it spinning in my mind.  (Enjoy that video – there wasn’t anything official, so I figured I’d choose something a little off the wall for you.  😀 )

♥♥

I Don’t Think He’s An Armadillo

I went to Kobey’s Swap Meet on Saturday.  I hadn’t been to it in a couple of years.

I knew it couldn’t hold a candle to the amazing Rose Bowl Flea Market where I went a few weeks ago, but I was unprepared for one of the bigger differences between the two.

Kobey’s is a weekly neighborhood swap meet.  Obviously, it’s much less expensive to get in and it’s a great deal smaller.  My expectations were in line with that and I was okay with it.

What I had forgotten is that Kobey’s has a much more typical Southern California pedestrian beach vibe than the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  I don’t recall seeing anyone without a shirt in Pasadena.  It’s casual there, certainly, but there’s also an unspoken code of more formal conduct and dress.

The explanation for that may be as simple as the Rose Bowl’s proximity to Hollywood and Beverly Hills.  Or it could be its reputation as a world class shopping destination.  After all, you do hear about the Rose Bowl Flea Market on national t.v. and in pretty decorating magazines.  Whatever the reason, it just has a slightly different caliber of clientele.

Not true at Kobey’s.

I worked very hard to avoid seeing bare nipples and butt cracks this weekend.

I guess I’m kind of a prude when it comes to seeing very private body parts in public.  In general, I just don’t prefer it.  And I am pretty much repelled by it when it’s not at the beach or a pool.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the beauty of every size and shape, man or woman, young or old, fat or thin.  It just that I think there’s an appropriate time and place for things.

Unfortunately, there was a shirtless guy at Kobey’s on Saturday and he was clearly following the same route I was through the market, because I couldn’t seem to shake him.

At one point, I even turned in the opposite direction just to get away from him and his bare nipples.  He was walking a few yards in front of me, but the density of the crowd was forcing the gap between us to shrink.

I abruptly turned and went back down the row I had just come up, but when I reached the center aisle, there he was again.  Ack!

Truly, there was nothing wrong with this man’s physique.  My issue with his nakery isn’t about that.

It’s just that it was a little warm, I presume he was perspiring and had removed his shirt for that reason, and it kinda grossed me out to think that the crowds might make me smash into him.  Would he be slimy?  Blech.  Put your shirt on, naked man!

As much as I enjoyed the sunny walk and browsing through the vendor stalls, I was actually relieved to reach the exit and finally get away from him.

That said, I do recommend Kobey’s.  It’s a nice way to spend a morning and it doesn’t require a huge commitment of dollars or time.  Maybe you even like shopping with shirtless guys?  There’s a little bit of everything for sale there, including fresh flowers, produce and a variety of new and used merchandise.

I bought a few children’s books at 50 cents a piece and for another $4.00, I got this guy, whom I don’t think is an armadillo:

I’m calling him Gourdy.

He is hand-carved, hollow inside, and filled with a handful of beans or pebbles.

If you shake him, he makes a pleasant, mellow, maraca sound.

I love him.

Love him.

LOVE.

Him.

He’s far more appealing than shirtless guy.

Seriously though, nipples aside, I had a good time.

Wow.

That’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

Do you love Gourdy too?

What do you think he is?

Write me a note.

Happy Tuesday!

♥♥

Rain, Rain Won’t You Stay?

It’s not quite 7 a.m.

I’ve been up for two hours and have already driven my friends to the airport, gone to the grocery store and fed the cats.

It’s pouring rain and it’s windy.  The roads are wet and dangerous and I could have done without the jackass taxi driver who decided he needed our lane more than we did, but we survived, and it was nice to see the world as it was waking.  I love the rain.

(PPH, thank you for your instinct to save us.)

Now my friends are on their merry way to Christmas in the South of France and I am safely back in my own little home with the fat, happy kitties and the sleeping family.

I am surprised that the little boy didn’t wake up when I moved the car in and out of the garage.  The big metal door is right under his room and it’s not that quiet.

Last night we drove thirty miles in the rain for my nephew’s 8th birthday party.  It was totally worth it.  Kids are so funny when balloons and pizza and Pump It Up are involved.  Kudos to my sister-in-law for making it happen and for giving out the Pump-It-Up treat bags – these toys are great!

We built some extra time into our trip and stopped at Nothing Bundt Cakes on the way.  I know I’ve mentioned this place before, but it’s worth mentioning again.  And again.  And again.

I always think I’ve surely sampled the very best bundt they have to offer and then they offer me a sample of something else.  This time it was the white chocolate raspberry cake.  Oh.  My.  Heavens.  Scrumdidilicious.  Is that a word?  I bought one of those and two of my husband’s favorite, the chocolate with chocolate chips.

After tucking the bag of little cakes safely out of my reach, we headed for the party.  We were thirty minutes early.  To kill some time, I took the boy over to Walter Andersen Nursery across the road.  He didn’t want to go until I told him we could look at the Christmas Trees.  I think he might have driven himself after that.

I love wandering around nurseries at the holidays.  There are bright red flowers and cheery green trees and lots of wreaths and miniature trains.  The ornaments are just half price and the employees all seem full of joy and kindness.  I asked for the minimum yard of fresh pine garland at $1.99 a foot.  The clerk gave me two yards, charged me for one and slashed the price of that to just $1.50 for the lot of it.  Amazing.  The little boy picked out this huge beautiful glass acorn ornament for  just three bucks.  We love it.

We didn’t venture out into the yard of plants and flowers but the view of them in the dusky rain was magical.  The smell of the Christmas trees was intoxicating and caused us both to pause at the door a moment before skipping on through to the other side of the indoor showroom.  Not a bad way to spend an unexpectedly empty moment in a very busy week.  Next year, I might just schedule it in on purpose.

The party was a good ending to the little boy’s day.  He jumped in the bounce houses for an hour and a half, nibbled on a slice of pepperoni pizza, poked at a piece of birthday cake then turned to me and said “are you ready to go?”  His question was a directive.  He wanted me to ask him.  I did and we went.

Settling down after that sort of outing is little bit tough for us both.  The boy was up and out of his bed two or three times before finally crashing around 9:30.  That’s really late for him.  When I last looked at the clock, it said 12:35.  😦  Just four hours of sleep.  Early to the pillow tonight for sure!

Happy Tuesday!

P.S.  What’s on your agenda four days before Santa gets here?

♥♥