Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Fun

Walking the line

After soccer camp last week I reluctantly succumbed to summer fever and told the kids we could have a break from “school,” until they returned from their grandparents’ houses in August.

Since then we have slid into full-blown summer mode -- staying up late watching movies, swimming at the pool, going to the beach, hanging out at the park with friends until early evening, talking for hours in the hot tub.

But it's not all laid back and relaxed.

Saturday we joined thousands of other Angelenos fleeing the heat and hit the beach for a typically overcrowded July afternoon. It took us over an hour to find parking since several of the regular lots were full and others were charging an unbelievable $25 for a couple hours parking.

By the time we unloaded onto the sand, a chilly sea breeze made it almost unbearable to peel off the beach towels and dip into the 66 degree Pacific. Fortunately the kids and Kip were more adventuresome than me and they enjoyed themselves.

Kip gave our son his first LA surfing lesson, standing in the shallow surf, launching him into the waves. He stood up a few times, very proud of himself. I wish I had a picture of that.

Star Wars Marathon

Fighting the dark side at DisneyLand

My daughter asked if we could watch Star Wars. She knew some of the story line from cultural references, playing with friends, etc., but she had never seen any of the movies. In fact, I hadn’t seen all of them either.

I actually grew up in the Star Wars era, playing with all the action figures and plastic star ships with the boys at recess. I remember trying to tie my hair into two knots like Princess Leia.

But my parents, perhaps more wisely than me, thought the movies were too violent for children and didn’t take us to see them. I didn’t see the original three movies until I was a teenager, babysitting for someone who owned the set on VHS.

So when my daughter asked to see the movies I thought it would be a good time to watch them together and discuss. So we did. We went on a Star Wars marathon and saw the first four movies in less than a week.

I have so much I could say about our inevitable family conversations, but my favorite two comments were “What is Yoda? He looks like Grandpa Jerry, because he must be as old as Grandpa Jerry!” (BTW – this ancient grandpa that they speak of is barely 55.)

And the other was from our 10-year-old daughter: “I’ve noticed that in movies and Bible stories, the main person usually gets a choice at the beginning of the story. And things go well for them if they grab that opportunity and do the right thing.”

She was mostly talking about Anakin and his ultimate decision to join the dark side. I had never seen the third movie, and I think if I had seen it before we watched it together, I would have suggested we wait a few years. It was really dark.

Our daughter cried after it was over. She kept saying, “But he was such a cute little boy!”

When you grow up, you somehow learn how to numb yourself to the pain of seeing someone you love self destruct. But when you are 10, it’s kind of jarring. Some people choose death over life.

I’ve been to a few murder trials and it seems that when the Anakins of this world plunge into darkness, usually only their mothers and lovers are left, like Padme on her deathbed, to plead “He has some good in him.”

Unless of course he happens to be Michael Jackson, but that is another tragic story.


With the June gloom officially gone, the sun is rising early into a cloudless summer sky, and the summer running is hot even at 7 a.m.! It makes the relatively cool mornings of my LA Marathon training seem like vacation. But in a way it’s all easier now because I know I can do it.

Sunday morning Kip and I ran 6 miles together and I decided to work out a marathon training schedule to prepare us for the Malibu Marathon in November. It is a little over 18 weeks away, perfect for training.

Of course there are a couple of trips planned in between now and then, not to mention soccer season. And I know that it will be an uphill battle to get those training sessions in. So I decided to just try and keep the schedule for the next few weeks. If I can be faithful to it through the end of August, I’ll sign up. That is the plan at least.

For "cross training," Kip and I rode scooters today with the kids, a mile down the hill to a little church VBS camp that the kids were attending. And then we rode back up the hill. I’m not sure “rode,” is the write verb. It was more like “kicked,” the scooters up the hill.

And then this afternoon my friend Jon brought some of his new toys to share with everyone at "park day."

I tried walking a slackrope, which is like a tight rope, and reminded me of being a kid, tying jump ropes to kitchen chair legs and trying to walk across. This worked much better though and was actually really fun.

And then I got talked into playing Frisbee and realized that I had never really tried to play before. I guess I have always been a little afraid of the Frisbee, ever since that getting-hit-in-the-face incident in second-grade. (I really shouldn’t have been pretending to be a Frisbee catching dog.) But this time I tried and actually caught a couple -- with my hands.

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