#17- Train Town…Finally

Once upon a time, Tori & Dannah lived relatively close by to each other, and also had baby girls close in age together, so naturally playdates were on the agenda.  We took them to the Zoo, we took them to ArtBeast, to parades, to bouncetowns, to Fairytale towns, and we took them to wild life perserves.  But then Tori moved to Sonoma and I moved to the coast.  Playdates became a tad more difficult…

But they say the tenth time is the charm, right?  That’s about how many times Tori & I set a date to take our girls to Train Town in Sonoma, and when it finally happened there were babies & husbands in the mix as well.  This was another one of those “Hey, we should do this!” and I’m like, “Absolutely! That sounds like so much fun!” and then it gnaws at me until it actually happens…..  #17- “Visit Train Town in Sonoma with Tori & Kodi”

Train Town is actually a really adorable little theme park, perfect for the 3-8 year old kid.  Anyone older and you just become that annoying preteen hogging the playground.  Alternatively, we all agreed that the place would make for an awesome location of a Not-so-Sober Grad Night, Reunion or other adult-themed party that calls for rides and games on miniature -yet-life-like setups.

We went on a Monday, so it was nice and quiet, but a little hot.  Luckily a local Tasting Room was able to cool us down afterwards.

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#88 A Preschool Reunion!

I started my Preschool teaching career in 2001, as a Sophomore at Sac State.  At the time, I didn’t think how much these children would mean to me.  We’ve all heard it before- and it’s no different for me-  teaching is not something you do for the money.  It’s a passion, and a fulfillment that has no price tag.

I loved loved LOVED my work with the families and student staff at The Children’s Center.  When I left, it was very hard for me, for a lot of reasons but the biggest reason being that every day I had the privilege of working with children and getting to know the parents and becoming best friends with them and the staff.  It’s been two years since I’ve left, and although I am connected with many of these people thru facebook, I still missed seeing each of them.  So, #88 (Have a mass playdate with old center parents & kiddos, and staff ) was a big goal for me.

I couldn’t believe the overwhelming positive response I got when I initially created the invite on FB, and the mass email I sent out to parents on my contact list.  I was so thrilled!  The pictures don’t do the day justice (though I give a big thanks to Leslie for taking over my camera because my hands were full with a new baby).

One of the best surprises was having several children from my very first preschool group show up- because when I very first started teaching, I wasn’t using email to connect with the families so as the years past I lost contact with ALL of them. But somehow the message got passed along and my jaw dropped when I saw Jamison, Samantha, and Makenna stroll up to the park benches… I didn’t even recognize them!  It made my day!  My other favorite surprise was Miss Kaela Dae driving in from Oregon and spending the entire time reconnecting with her friends.  I think she may have been just as thrilled as me 🙂

We did a group photo, but several families showed up after the picture, and I’m a little bummed I didn’t get photos of everyone-  Like of Aviva and her mini-twin sister Ariel… Jaidan & Kai…. Nigel…. The smile on my face lasted the entire day, it was one of those where my cheeks hurt going to bed that night!   Thank you to all the families & staff- you guys mean the world to me! I am so happy I got to see you all, and my only regret is that I didn’t get to visit more with everyone.

#51- The Work of Leslie Callan

I find myself to be very critical of artists, photographers, and ‘crafty people.’. I think there are very few people who are truly talented in this field, and I’m fortunate to know one of them- Leslie Callan. How I met Leslie is a great story in itself- but I’ll keep it short.  I went on a “date” with this guy out to a Davis bar where he ran into and introduced me to his friend Becca. Well, I fell in love with Becca (and quite clearly not the guy) and Becca and I became friends. Then, after a few more years Becca invited me to join her “book club” where the first one I attended was at Leslie’s place.

The second I entered Leslie’s home I fell in love AGAIN. This time with her art, her home decor, her photography.  I was blown away and so jealous. Leslie is amazingly talented and truly one of the most creative and artistic people I have the privilege of knowing.

Last summer I attended a gallery opening showcasing her work.  One of her pieces on display caught my eye and I snapped a shot of it with my phone, then saved it… thinking I’d like to one day buy it…. just not at that moment since it happened to be the same week we were moving & changing careers and what not and it didn’t seem like the ideal time to buy art. But it stuck with me when I made my Bucket list (#51), and until this summer when I emailed her asking about the piece.

I’m likely going to fiddle with how best to display this piece for months.  I did these birds but now I’m not sure I like it. I keep looking for sconces, but nothing I’ve come across so far appeals to me. Having something of Leslie’s on my wall is very humbling for me, just cause I admire her work so much, and she’s been nice enough to tolerate all my crazy ideas for not only this, but for photo shoots as well. I want it to be perfect, whatever I ultimately put up around it.

#100- I had a baby : )

Around the same time I was making up my bucket list, we learned I was pregnant.  I wondered how well a pregnancy would hold up to accomplishing things on my list, and at first I thought I should tone down my ambitions a bit to accommodate…. but then I decided to forge ahead with my goals anyway, because the reason why people have so many “shoulda, woulda, coulda’s” is that they are waiting for the perfect time to do something… which inevitably never presents itself.  I don’t want that to happen to me.

So, at the time I quietly decided to make Holly June Nielsen my #100.  I will write about her [ here ], as I already do with Natalie’s adventures.

#40- Live From New York!

For as far back as my earliest memory, I’ve been a Night Owl. I remember plenty of nights as a young child just staring up at the ceiling in my bedroom, listening to the television, or my parents’ conversations.  As I got older, I’d wait til I knew most people were asleep, and then I’d flick on my light and read my chapter books until sometimes 2 am.  Then, when I got older, say preteens, I’d live for Saturday Night Live.  Not a school night, and probably made up of the most hilarious cast to date- Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Tim Meadows, Tracy Morgan, Cheri Oteri, Molly Shannon…. it was GREAT.

So, when I was working at Borders during my early college years and saw that a history of Saturday Night Live had been written, I was stoked. I guess I should mention here that I am an avid reader, I collect, read and shelve my books like trophies. The Borders job was a natural fit…. but also, I’m not typically a fan of fictional work- I’ve always said with the time invested I want to learn something.  I love sociology books, history books, education books.  But about halfway through reading Live From New York, I got distracted and set it down…. never to really pick it back up again until 7 years later- this past month.  Unfinished books gnaw at me. Luckily I only have 1 or 2 hanging out.

The entire book is told by nothing more than direct quotes from my favorite actors, and not just from my teen years but from earlier as well. It’s fascinating to read.  I’ve never been even remotely close to interested in Television Production, Hollywood lifestyles, New York / NBC stuff.  And after having read this thing, it still doesn’t interest me. It seems so stressful and competitive. But, I definitely have a better understanding of how TV is produced now having read it.

SNL Saturday Night Live book

600 pages

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book to anyone, unless you are a diehard SNL fan.  I can’t say I am.  In fact, I gave up TiVOing it a while back, cause I am not a fan of the current cast.  But from what I’ve read, the show’s popularity and ratings go through waves…. and since the show is virtually indestructible now (30 years and counting) I am sure it will be back on top soon and I’ll feel compelled to watch it again.  Equally amusing is that when I was in the middle of reading about something that happened on the show, I could youtube or hulu it and watch it for a sort-of firsthand account.  Not sure I’d have been able to do that 7 years ago….