Driving home from Franco’s tumbling class in Alameda, I glimpsed neon and vintage cars inside a garage and pulled over. I knew we had to check this place out. It’s the personal collection of the owner of Rodgers Trucking. We asked if we could come in and take pictures. He obliged. This place is not open to the public, the owner just happened to be there. Score! I’m not even into cars and I was stunned by what we saw. Gorgeous!
In the mornings, our routine is to take Franco out of his crib when he wakes up and bring him into our big bed.
A few days ago, Franco and I were snuggling when he said, completely out of the blue, “Franco marry mommy.”
I thought it was the cutest thing!
I responded, “That is so sweet, Franco. I love you.” I gave him a kiss. “Now go tell daddy.”
Dean was in the kitchen making coffee and I wanted to see what Franco would say.
Franco hopped off the bed and walked over to the kitchen. “Franco marry mommy,” he called out to Dean.
Dean laughed. “Franco marry mommy? If Franco marries mommy, who does daddy marry?”
Franco promptly answered, “Jesus.”
This kid cracks us up every day!
I really just wanted to see the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill and Duke campuses because I know they’re good schools.
Growing up in California, I only knew about the University of California system and the Ivy Leagues when applying. I went to Catholic school for elementary and high school and even then, no counselor even mentioned Notre Dame! It was all about California schools…as if there isn’t a whole world out there of stellar universities! Kids these days have so many resources available to them that we didn’t have growing up.
OMG, so cute! Dean was in training and didn’t join us, but when I told him about it, I said, “It’s like where Hello Kitty would go to school.” Which is totally the wrong way to characterize it! But I found it to be clean, walkable, and very quaint.
I said to Franco, “Maybe you’ll go here one day!”
My mom quipped, “Why would he go here? He should just go to Cal and pay in-state tuition.”
I had no idea that UNC is the first public university established in the U.S. in 1789.
The student tour guide mentioned a tradition of waking up at 5am on your first day of class and taking a sip of water from the Old Well which will guarantee you straight As for that semester.
We made sure to stop by the student store so that Franco could pick something out. He chose a UNC stuffed monkey.
Duke’s campus was ginormous and massively under construction, too, which kinda took away from my experience. It was overwhelming at 8,600 acres to UNC’s 729 acres.
One thing I really appreciated was how diverse the student body was. I felt like I was walking around an international airport, which I think is a really important factor when choosing a school.
Another thing I really liked is how admission is need-blind, with the school financially covering whatever an admitted student cannot afford. That said, you gotta get in. With a 10% acceptance rate, Duke is one of the hardest schools to get into.
Franco picked out a Duke stuffed dog at the student store.
Us at Duke
Here’s a comparison of the two schools I put together. Any alum who are reading? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
I’m getting excited for Burning Man and I’m not even going! Last time I went was five years ago in 2011. People ask if I miss it. I do and I don’t. I went for 10+ years and was involved in the Org, so clearly it was a big part of my life. But it’s not now (with the exception of really amazing memories) and my core burner friends don’t attend anymore either. That said, I still get excited to read what art will be on playa, to listen to the radio station BMIR, and to see pictures! I love the radical inclusion that Burning Man stands for. Strangers walking around hugging each other and being selfless and ecstatically happy. I do miss that!
If you are going to the event, check out my exceedingly popular post on How to Prepare for Burning Man. Take it from a veteran!
Here’s what looks exciting for the upcoming event.
The 747 Project by The Big Imagination Foundation
Possibly the largest moving art experience ever created: 1/2 football field long, 5 buses wide, 3 stories tall. Holy shit!
Got Framed by NiNO
Interactive art piece where you can create memories by climbing the side ladders or hanging from the monkey bars on top.
La Victrola by La Victrola Society
35-feet gramophone, featuring jazz, blues, classical, and vaudeville live music and performances.
Dust City Diner by David Cole and Michael Brown
Ahhh, brings back such yummy memories. Grab a seat at the mobile diner and have coffee and a perfectly-grilled cheese sandwich.
The Light is Inside You by Yelena Filipchuk
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world… It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamson
I would love to see pictures for the 2016 Burn. For anyone who is going, please share when you are back in the default world. Safe travels. I am excited for your experience.
We’re back from our week-long trip to Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. It was great, but best of all, Franco did amazingly well. My little dictator has suddenly turned into a well-behaved 25-month-old! He listens, follows instructions, and can actually keep still for periods of time. I am loving this stage of motherhood. It gets better and better every day. I keep telling Dean, “I can’t wait until Franco is 15!”
This was our first long-distance (5 hours) flight and here are some tips that kept us sane.
- Break the flight down into increments of 30 minutes. The first 30-60 minutes will hold their attention because the environment will be new. They can fiddle with their seatbelt. They can look out the window or people-watch. Same for the last 30-60 minutes. Flight attendants come around more often to collect trash, they check to see that your seatbelt is fastened, and there’s generally more activity at the beginning and end of the flight to hold their attention.
- If you can get your kid to sleep, more power to you. Franco is a poor napper and sleeper. I resigned myself to him staying awake and having a temper tantrum, but the opposite happened. During take-off, I massaged his head and gently closed his eyelids and he went to sleep. I couldn’t believe it! He slept an hour on the flight over, and two hours on the way back. SCORE! Bring a pillow or something that reminds your kid that it’s time to sleep. Everyone in our row was sleeping and I kept telling Franco, “See? Everyone is tired. It’s time to go sleepy.”
- Activity Time. Every 30 minutes, break out a new distraction, whether it’s a toy, book or gadget. Anything new. Go to every neighborhood dollar store and clean house. I went to Daiso where everything is $1.50 and picked up games, pipecleaners, stickers, a digital watch (yes, for $1.50), a tally counter, cupcake holders. You have to be careful with the pipecleaners since the ends are sharp, but we made letters, numbers, shapes, animals. Best time drain ever! Franco also loves stickers and band-aids. Band-aids are great because I think they really help with a kid’s dexterity, peeling the wrapper off, then adhering the band-aid somewhere. Here are some helpful Amazon links: cupcake holders, band-aids, pipe cleaners, tally counter. By the way, I did not pay those prices. Remember I got my shizzle from the dollar store!
- Reading Time. If your kid doesn’t read, you’re a bad parent. Seriously. Here are some good books for the plane: Airport, Best Little Board Book Ever, Sticker Activity ABC, Thomas and the Dinosaur.
- Snacks. Kids love snacks. Franco loves chips, specifically. I have to sneak it to him, though, because my mom gets really upset. She goes off on how it’s junk food and he’ll pick up bad habits, even though I only give him snacks after or in-between full meals. I’m like, “This kid is not going to get fat. Junk food is good for him!” Good snacks for the plane: chips of any kind and mini-sized cookies. I’d say fruit too, but who has time to wash and cut-up fruit before a long trip. This is why I need a personal assistant!
- Media Time. Lastly, there are always apps, TV shows, and cartoons. I personally try to keep Franco away from media as much as possible. Dean is the opposite. However on a plane, I’m willing to bend the rules. I use Common Sense Media to help guide my download decisions. I let Franco watch: Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Thomas the Train and Wonder Pets. He also loves to watch Youtube videos of Amtrak trains. Go figure. Buy these headphones. There’s an extra port for the adult to plug into and listen in. That way you can make sure the volume is controlled.
Any other tips? I would love to hear!