4 posts categorized "Caracas"

April 23, 2010

Liar, Liar*!

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Well, he didn't really say that, but the implication was there.  I told Peter there was a park with Redwoods only 30 or so minutes from our house, and he didn't believe me.  Nope, he tried to convince me that the only park with those gorgeous, tall, stately (and oh, so, shady) trees was Muir Woods.  Recently my friend Linda mentioned a more local Redwood park, and I realized this was the place I had heard about so long ago...but had been told didn't exist.

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Now don't get me wrong.  We LOVE Muir Woods.  We can all fit inside the hollow tree for family photos, and one feels millions of miles away from...everything.  They have trails for every type of hiker, the trees, of course, recycling bins, compost bins, the snacks sold are wholesome, and with one exception, I just feel one with nature being there.  Corny, but true. The Redwoods are just awe-inspiring.

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What is not awe-inspiring?  The drive.  One has to go along a twisty, windy road for what seems like days, after it has taken almost an hour just to get to that road.  It is eerily reminiscent of the way leading in and out of Colonia Tovar **(a little German village nestled in the mountain top just outside of Caracas).  We prayed non-stop the entire time we hugged the side of the road as the one lane (for two cars) wound around the side of the mountain, going up and back down. This type of driving (and, more to the point, road) did not bode well for those with weak constitutions.

It's not hard then, to recall the ride home after we visited Colonia Tovar with Auntie Shannon.  Caitlin was about two and had been very excited about the day.  Colonia Tovar is famous for its strawberries, and we were so excited to taste them.  Caitlin ate loved them, and  ate berry after berry.  We were in strawberry heaven until the long, twisty ride home. We stopped counting after 6 emergency stops (with little to no parking area) and Cait hasn't eaten a strawberry since.

So guess what happens when you have children (yes, Kelsey, too, on occasion) with you who are still prone to motion-sickness (and like to exacerbate it by reading novels in the car while on the uber curvy road to Muir Woods)?

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Lots and lots of low grumbles, small moans, and then finally, just as you have passed the last scenic overlook with room to park the car for an emergency stop...the actual request to pull over and, well, you can figure it out.  We haven't made it to Muir Woods once without someone getting sick, and can't even consider taking the shuttle there (from a random parking area) for that reason.  When my friend Linda (yes, the lady who can get anywhere in Northern CA without a GPS) suggested we have a nature outing at the nearby Redwood Park, we signed on that dotted line immediately.

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Now, if only I had just Googled this place last summer, we would have been in heaven on those terribly hot and sticky days.  Instead, we rushed over there today, hurrying to try and fit it in and everything else on our pre-move to do list.  Gorgeous.  Utterly gorgeous.

It's in Oakland, just off a long, twisty road, but not nearly as long as the road to Muir Woods, and minus the drive to get to the road to Muir Woods.  We parked inside the main gate, and headed toward the playground to wait for the rest of the group...it wasn't that hot out, but cooled off incredibly once under the shade of the trees.

After a bit of playtime, and meeting up with other folks, we continued our walk.  We ambled along the trail, stopping to see banana slugs, water-gos (creeks), fields of wildflowers, picnic tables (they are very big with the 2 year old set), and random empty shelters that have benches and windows.  They create hours of entertainment, believe it or not.

We only had to depart as we finally ran out of food.  Nicholas even consumed the emergency fruit bar, which led us to a cranky state of affairs by the time we were back in the car.  Luckily for Nicholas, Cy was able to share a bit of his extra snacks, and all was well with the world. It was a very happy Earth Day, and, yes, we carpooled.

*Pronounced in the manner of Carol Kane in The Princess Bride.

**There is now an actual web-site for Colonia Tovar!  When we lived there, the best directions we could find were:  Leave Caracas, drive outside the city, turn right at the McDonald's, make a right turn once you get to the middle of the little town in the valley, and then stay on that road until you go up the mountain and back down into the town.  Oh, and it's about a 1.5 hour trip, one way.

February 06, 2010

The Mid-Atlantic Weather Forecasters

get a prize for nailing this one.  Now if select other folks had actually heeded the warning, we might have Peter at home with us instead of stuck in Virginia.  Technically not stuck, as I suppose he can leave his corporate digs anytime he likes, though not sure where he is going to go except maybe the exercise room?  From what we have gleaned, nearly everything is closed, especially those important places like airports.

Petesnow It is certainly reasonable that they shut down, however, if the stars had aligned as they could have, he would be here right now.  Instead his original flight was canceled, his new flight was canceled, and now we should be holding our breath regarding the third flight.   I have somewhat given up, though, especially that close to 2,000 flights per airport were canceled this weekend AND another storm is set to bear down on Tuesday (if the forecast holds true). Frankly, I think it will be nothing short of a miracle if he actually flies out on Monday.  Normally I would not be so frantic, but with everything we have left to do, and give the reason why he is there is the first place....each day he is gone is a day lost before he's deployed and the kids aren't letting either one of us forget that..but who can blame them?

To answer another question that may be out there, yes, frankly, we are jealous.  We haven't seen snow (up close and personal) since we left Iceland, and we miss it!  It's not about missing school or work closing early (that NEVER happened in Iceland), just about the winter fun.  The wet mittens drying on the hissing radiator, the red noses, and the steamy hot cocoa after a morning of snowy adventures.  Yes, we could drive someplace, but I would much rather have the snow come to me.

 
2005-4 2005-6 2005-72005-3   I was thinking about it last night, and realized this would be the ideal time to post pictures from winter snows of the past.  It was perfect, until I realized that I couldn't find many snow pictures from 2002-2005.  I have no idea what could have happened, and hope this isn't another loss from last year's move.  Though those were the SD years, so guessing maybe I was just a little scatterbrained.  Or maybe having too much fun in the snow to take pictures?  Though it could very well have been the PCS from Iceland...the move that we thought went so smoothly until we learned of the Great Bookcase Mix-up of 2008.  I sincerely hope whoever is using the bookcase my mother sanded and stained to perfection is enjoying it, as the one received instead is not quite of the same caliber.

Scan0009 IScan0010 ended up finding a few photos from what appears to be early 2000 and several from early 2005. If I remember correctly, it was mid-February of 2000, which would also explain why Peter was actually home to take Caitlin sledding.  He would have been in RSO school (having just finished language) and would have normal work hours for the duration of our time in Virginia.  After a very hectic schedule for the first 14 months on the job (and of Caitlin's life), we really enjoyed having him around a bit more before our first big move overseas to Caracas.

February 05, 2010

Drum Roll (Drum Roll!)

After two grueling (and rainy) weeks of sales the totals are in and we are thrilled.  The column total matches the row total and Kelsey D. managed to sell a whopping 146 boxes of Girl Scout cookies! 

IMG_3789 IMG_3786 She was still a bit nervous this year even after several days of selling.  However, the enthusiasm never flagged and she insisted on wearing the complete uniform every time (though now I really wish I had sprung for the beanie...).  Nicholas even got into the act and knocked on several doors ("Knock? KNOCK!"), when he wasn't jumping in the homeowner's mulch (tan bark is very, very big with him right now).

In case you are wondering, we (our little family) did not boost the sales by much.  No, I did not add 50 last minute boxes, only 12 and, trust me, that's on the low end.  She sold to those near and far, even some two continents away (which excited her beyond belief).  While I am glad to take a break (until booth sales begin),  it was very enjoyable, especially given how involved she became.  It was such a good exercise, from the charitable aspect to the extra work with math and money (just numbers, she won't actually handle the cash).

As a reminder, they are due to arrive the last weekend of February.  If there is any hope we will see you by mid-March, we will give them to you upon your arrival.  If not, they will be shipped as soon as possible.  Kelsey and I both thank you very much, and hope you enjoy!

October 11, 2009

One of the least fun aspects

of moving (to me), would be the joy of having to find 'new' contacts.  Whether it be a doctor, chiropractor, or a luxury like the perfect hair stylist, it can take months (or as in my case in Iceland), years to find the perfect person.  I finally found a great stylist, but if Jogvan moved here, it would all be over for the new guy.

IMG_3095 IMG_3096 For whatever the reason, perhaps for the rise of pediatric or children's, well, everything, it seems much, much easier to find the perfect pediatrician, pediatric dentist or children's hairstylist.  The latter is particularly important for my children, as any of the Barbies (and their mutilated tresses) from my childhood could attest.  While learning how to properly cut hair would be a great skill to have, I have yet to get up the nerve to try.  Memories of perpetually unequal bangs probably will keep the desire at bay for quite some time.

IMG_3098 We lucked out by quickly finding a hair salon for the kids, aptly named Kids-N-Teens, run 100% by the owner, Daniella.  Much like Grenitas in Caracas, it is 100% for kids, complete with a play area and ribbon bar.   It's not Cartoon Cuts, and appointments are usually more than necessary. However, it is no pricier than Cartoon Cuts (or anything similar), and your child will leave looking and feeling like the beauty queen (or king) of her choice. 

Whether it's your child's first haircut (cue delivery of "1st cut certificate" with two locks of hair), or 18th, you feel as though she has known you, and your child, forever.  A closely-cropped cut for the boy, braids or tiny ponytails for girls, and your child is happily on their way.

Some might say it's a pain to wait for an appointment, or who on earth can't suffice with a haircut from the barber (or Mom)?  I look it as a talent-sharing situation.  Daniella is very gifted in the way of hair (and I am so very not).  Why not utilize the services of those who truly know what they are doing.  And, yes, I must admit, I also really like the way she cuts and styles Kelsey's hair without ever drawing any attention to her scar. It's the little details that matter, right?  

If you ever happen to live in this area, and have a child with shaggy locks or overgrown bangs, I highly recommend giving Daniella a call.  Check out the before and after pictures, and you will see how much one can get for a very small price.