Poor Husband, I fear, would rather putter around the house on the weekends, given that he works such long hours during the week. I imagine when I say, "hey, why don't we go to (insert day-trip idea here)," a little tiny piece of him that had been longing to spend the weekend lying in a semi-comatose state on the couch dies inside. But he's a good sport, and goes along. Also? He realizes that odds of keeping the 4 year old adequately entertained go up exponentially when we are out of the house. And so we pack a bag o' snacks, put the carseat in his car (my CD is broken--the horror!) and head off to parts unknown.
We found ourselves in Berkeley, on Telegraph Ave, amongst the hippies and assorted other counterculture revolutionaries. This part of Berkeley seems to me like it was founded by someone who really wanted to get to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco, but was waylayed by a serious case of the munchies (there are some tasty little restaurants in the area). So they settled in Berkeley, with their dreds, guitar & dog. You know, like this guy:
who was happy to let the upper middle class, pushing middle-aged, slightly overweight woman take a picture of him playing his guitar for tips on the side of the road. I sometimes forget that I have lost ALL pretense of coolness & I'm now, basically, "The Man," but not. But regardless, the kid was really friendly & not at all muttering to himself & freaking out my child the way some of the street performers (and I couldn't use that word more loosely) were.
But still, Berkeley was interesting.
Ethan enjoyed some art at a local shop. We spent an inordinate amount of time looking at Beatles posters. But he took a moment to appreciate a little Monet, too.
If the tie-dye's not your style, maybe a little "SuperGay"?
For lunch, we stopped at Blondie's Pizza, whose slogan is "Make Pizza, Not War," and I think we can probably all get on board with that one (but then I think perhaps if mankind transferred it's hunger for war into a hunger for pizza, we'd all be dead of obesity-related illnesses within a couple of decades...so, maybe not). I ordered the vegetarian slice, expecting it to come topped with the standard peppers, onions & mushrooms. So you can imagine how surprised I was when an entire acre's worth of local & organic produce showed up on my plate:
I identified asparagus, peppers, zucchini, onions, mushrooms, spinach, summer squash, carrots & scallions on the top of my crispy to-die-for whole wheat crust. Crazy.
After lunch, Ethan decided he was going to be a ginormous pain and melt down over every. little. thing. possible. From which direction to walk in to get back to the car (really??!!) to wanting us to swing him between us through the busy sidewalk (because you want to turn your 4 year old's feet into projectile objects when in a crowded area, of course). There was much whining (which these days is accompanied by alternately hopping from one foot to the other and swinging the arms back & forth while pitching the shoulders forward in a most pathetic way--classic tantrum posture) & we almost decided to bag the whole thing & head home.But, thankfully we powered through. After getting in the car & handing the kid Husband's iPhone to appease his beastly whining wrath, we made our way to Tilden Regional Park. We knew there were steam trains & carousels & farms to be experienced there, but what we didn't know is that the drive to the park would take us up who knows how many 1000s of feet over the bay area. We pulled over at one point and saw this:
I wish the picture did the view justice, but it's just nothing compared to what it was like to stand on the edge of the cliff & look out at the entire Bay Area (that's San Francisco on the other side of the water) spread out underneath you.
Eventually we pulled ourselves away from the whole spectacular view & made our way to the steam trains.
more lackluster in picture, but breath-taking in person views. The valley covered in fog while we were baking under pure blue skies.
From the steam trains, we made our way to the carousel, where I hid behind Ethan while Husband took pictures.
There was a giant Thomas hanging out at the concessions stand, so of course, we had to stop & pose at great length and in a variety of poses, with the very Useful Engine.
Then it was time for cotton candy...
After the cotton candy? He did a LOT of running...
When he wasn't running, we saw:
...baby deer. You have to look closely, but in between us & those other hikers, heading into the woods, are two baby deer.
When we finally piled into the car to make the drive back home, our feet were sore, our eyes were glassy (from being exhausted--not from anything we may have inhaled on Telegraph Ave), and in an unprecedented act of surrender, the child asked, "Is it almost bedtime?"
That my friends, is a successful day.