Monday, September 28, 2015

No change

I haven't posted for a while because, honestly, I've got nothing to say. Nothing's changed. But then I got an email at work entitled 'Changes taking effect October 1' which contained this brilliant message:

Well, if it's good enough for Big Corp, I suppose it's good enough for me. So here's a run down of some of the things that haven't changed here.

It's still warm and sunny here every day. We are still spending lots of time at the beach. And we are still delighted with our new house. Every weekend since we moved in we have had friends come over for a beach afternoon followed by happy hour drinks on the deck. Every single weekend: eight in a row so far and I don't think that's going to change anytime soon.

As for Lady P, she is still enjoying school. She also still loves apples. So every day I pick her up with an apple for us to share on the way home. Also a new tradition I don't see changing.

In the six years that TLOML and I have been together and I've been telling Transatlantic Tales, we've been in an almost constant state of flux and discovery, always with some new adventure to blog about or some new finding to share. While this period of 'no change' has left me short on blog material, it's still rather nice.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Fall Fashion

Labor Day weekend has been and gone, the kids are back at school, and summer is officially over. This was one of my favourite times of year in the UK: misty mornings on the Heath, the opportunity to light a fire and make hearty soups - okay, maybe not in September, but October is just around the corner. And the delight of flicking through magazines imagining what woollens I would be
'shopping my closet' for, what new boots I had to have, and deciding whether last year's coat would do for this year or not.

Pictures like this would make my heart skip. Look at them all belted up with their nice scarves on!
Not any more. Now I just feel pangs. That Burberry ad ran in the September edition of Vogue, which I bought to keep Lady P's archive up-to-date, along with lots of other Autumnal images. They are like postcards from another life. I flicked through images of long coats, clunky boots, and heavy tweed skirts, with my short shorts on and my flip flop tan line visible.

This is what autumnal dressing looks like in LA:
Sigh. I know, this is another post like that one where I moaned about it being too sunny in our new house. I'm sure your heart just bleeds for me.

I don't mean to sound ungrateful. There's a lot to be said about warm weather, after all. And while autumn and winter are wonderful seasons, they can drag on a bit in Britain. So I'll enjoy the shorts season while it lasts (another month or two, I'd say). And I'll keep my fingers crossed for at least a month of rain, and a handful of evenings where I need to put socks on.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Safety First

Last week Lady P and her classmates learned about safety.

She told us that if she's ever on fire, she must 'stop, drop and roll!'. And she'll do just that, if you ask, shouting 'stop, drop and roll' gleefully,' as she flings herself about on the rug. She makes being burned alive look like a lot of fun.

She has also learned to call 911 'for emergencies, but NOT for sandwiches'. Duly noted.

And she's been colouring in sobering pictures like this.

I really hope if she ever needs extinguishing, I'll be around to help. And if we need to call 911, I can do it for her. But I suppose it's better to be prepared for the worst.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Little Free Libraries

A few months after we moved to Hermosa a Little Free Library popped up a few blocks from the Sugar Cube. Our neighbours seemed pretty excited about it so we swung by and it was, indeed, a charming thing. A little box full of books for children (others nearby have grown up literature, and non fiction), with an honesty system allowing you to take or donate as you wish. Walking up to the little library to pick up, or donate, a book, soon became a favourite way to spend a spare half hour.
The grown-up little free library up the hill from the Sugar Cube
Lady P having a good read
But then I went off the idea. I thought about the fact I would otherwise have given these books to Goodwill, which would have directly helped people back into work. I might have bought new books at Pages, a local, independently owned (and presumably therefore endangered) bookshop. We would have visited the lovely local library more often too. In fact, we could have donated our books to the library's fundraising bookshop.

I'm prepared to be shot down in flames admitting I thought this way. I'm sure the Little Free Libraries are useful resources in many communities. But in wealthy, literate, middle class Hermosa, I was unconvinced about the scheme's merits.

The Little Free Library caused some rifts in our happy home too. TLOML and I had an ongoing debate about whether 'bring a book, take a book' meant you had to return the book you brought or could, as I preferred, pass off books you didn't like and replace them with better ones. He thought I was breaking the rules but I felt I had right on my side. One child's trash is another's treasure, and I'm sure someone else would find that French vocabulary book illustrated with bears a source of endless delight. I kept a running tally in my mind to ensure we'd taken roughly as many books as we'd left.

It's unusual for TLOML and I not to get along so I was anxious to resolve this one (and of course, prove that I was right) so I went to  the FAQs. I was happy to learn I was correct. I also had my anti-LFL attitude challenged. It turns out these little boxes are cherished in thousands of locations, starting conversations,  creating meeting places, exciting kids about reading and creating an indefineable sense of community just by being there.

I stand corrected. So last week Lady P and I dropped off one of our duplicate Harry and the Dinosaurs and picked up a Curious George. A fair trade by anyone's standards. Yesterday we went to the public library, and this afternoon we'll go to Pages and buy a new book too. Spreading the book love far and wide.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Sad goodbyes

Lady P starts Montessori full time this week. It's an exciting new chapter in her life, filled with access to bead sorting, counting sticks, and a far wider range of craft materials than we have at home. We are excited to have a little more flexibility in our child care (longer hours, if we want them) and at a lower cost.

But it does mean saying goodbye to our wonderful nanny. Dani took care of Lady P from her first birthday, when she was still in nappies and wasn't walking, and helped her develop into the chatty, running, jumping, well-mannered, potty-trained funny girl she is today.  As well as teaching her the basics of good behaviour, and some obscure Portugese words ('pedunculu' for grape stalk, for example), she also showered Lady P with an abundance of love, kisses and cuddles.

Hopefully we will see her from time to time. It would be a shame if she disappeared entirely from Lady P's life. But if we do see her, it'll be for a couple of hours at most. It won't be like it has been, where she's essentially sharing our house with us five days a week - toothbrush in the bathroom, strange egg concoction in the fridge, and so on. No longer can we just let Lady P run wild in PJs till Dani arrived to take care of business. No longer will I have someone to gossip with as I fix myself lunch. Many tears were shed on her last day (not by Lady P, mind you, who is either oblivious or heartless).

It's only been a week, but the memory of her is already fading - and Lady P's Portugese vocabulary is shrinking by the day. She has already forgotten 'pedunculu', for example.

We will miss Dani. A lot. The closing of a chapter - no matter how exciting the next chapter - is often sad.

But there is a silver lining. One thing I will not miss. It's the way she used to put the coasters in this fanned formation, every single day.

The first thing I did after she left each day was re-organise these guys into a simple stack. I won't ever have to do that again. So, while we'll miss Dani enormously, there is that consolation at least.