Surprisingly Inferior Tamales


I intend to type short, declarative statements.

We just got back from 12 days in southern California. I had virtually no Internet access there. So I missed blogging and reading and such. But I put my feet in the Pacific and watched whales leap and had a ginger lemon mojito. I got by.

Now I’m home. The new semester gears up in two days. Astonishing heaps of Teva sandals, just-delivered Christmas mail, and soiled undies await my attention.

Thus, I will type only short, declarative statements. The trip was great. We hung with my mom. We visited with dear friends. We went to our first American Girl store–one of four in the U.S. My friend who took us there noted that, upon her first visit to such a place, she understood as never before why Al-Qaida would want to bomb us. She was standing smack dab in the midst of all of our too much, too big, too slick, too smug-ness. She got it. Then, moments later, she spotted her first Samantha & Nellie doll set and was lost in a different kind of romance. I was struck similarly. Like good Americans, we threw dollars at their open cash registers while ducking and covering.

Meh. Short, declarative statements are tough. I re-focus. We also had grand kid days at Sea World and Legoland. We hiked in Palm Springs. We toured the Universal Studios back lot and stood in Whoville and next to the Bates Motel.

Lacking more time to type declaratively, I give you the pictorial overview:

Lots of places looked like this. These aren’t birches, Sven.

On Christmas, we spent a good part of the afternoon swimming in the pool at my mom’s apartment complex. Because it’s an “over-55” place, the elderlies insist that the pool is heated to 80 degrees, or they refuse to attend the water aerobics class. Thus, even though it poured rain on us, we were plenty warm. And airborne. And, in the case of Groom, scary-faced.

This is the inner courtyard of the stunning Mission Inn, part of downtown Riverside. We’d heard Riverside is the armpit of southern California, but personally, I thought it was great. Some nice workers at The Coffee Bean across the street from the Inn handed me a peanut butter cookie with a Reese’s smashed on top, too. I could live in such an armpit.

A little drive down to Temecula took us to the “house” of Professor Phinneas Pennypickle. Visitors get to explore his inventions. Niblet and I took this balloon to a place called Oz. Then a house fell on me, and he became munchkin mayor.

Gyroscopes can make you spinny.

We spent an afternoon visiting a couple of beaches between Carlsbad and San Diego. Girl loved it, except when we asked her to do a Baywatch run, and she fell and skinned her knee. And we’d thought the waves were dramatic.

As it turns out, all a five-year-old boy needs is a stick and an ocean. And a change of clothes.

This shizz will leap out of the water at you when you go to Sea World. After we snapped this photo, that beast ate the boy. One gulp. Followed by a polite round of applause from appreciative onlookers.

Shut up already that I burst into tears the first time the music swelled and Shamu swept up into the air like that. Shut. Your. Fuzzbuster.

After we snapped this photo, that beast ate the trainer. One gulp. Followed by a polite round of applause from appreciative onlookers.

This panoodling cactus lives in the Old Town part of San Diego. In the Old Town part of San Diego, if you’re driving a mini-van, don’t park in a spot for RV’s. You’ll get a $50 ticket.

Word has it.

Legoland is the best art museum I’ve visited in an age. Thomas Kinkade could not even make this dragon out of legos.

For awhile now, Girl has wanted a baby brother. In a few years, she’ll want a new mother. For one brief moment, she had both. I hope she enjoyed it, ’cause neither ain’t happenin’ no other way, no how.

Yea. I KNOW.

We also went to Pasadena to stay a night with my mom’s friend, Tom. He’s an eccentric, but I want his house and art (there’s a Darth Vader made out of legos in the guest bath) and furniture. He can keep his eccentricity. I’m sure I wouldn’t know where to put it.

One of my college roomies lives in L.A. and squeezed that li’l honey there out of her loins last April. I’ve advised her to never take Baby to Sea World. A dolphin would gulp her as an hors d’oeuvres, for sure.

Niblet likes to smoke a little reefer before he cuddles A Teensy.

The mountains around Palm Springs do go up. If you comment about this picture, please note loudly how good my pal Jim looks. He’s all strung out about “being fat.” He should have been more worried about my kicking his sleek ass at Scrabble that day.

You do know that the skies taken on heavenly aspect, and majestic vistas unfold whenever Groom is around, right?

The holidays passed.

A new year began.

Rather than embracing it as a time of change or new beginnings, I am hoping fervently for a continuation of the same.

More. Of exactly this.

For a long, long time.



By Jocelyn

There's this game put out by the American Girl company called "300 Wishes"--I really like playing it because then I get to marvel, "Wow, it's like I'm a real live American girl who has 300 wishes, and that doesn't suck, especially compared to being a dead one with none."


  1. Y’all look so blissful! Please tell me someone got cranky, just once. What a perfect Christmas, and a perfect New Year’s wish. Y’all rock. (Yah I’m Canadian, but I once lived in Kentucky for a while, so the “y’all” is allowed.)

  2. Oh wow. Seems it was warmer in your part of CA than in mine (San Clemente)… My picture post is coming, it really is.

  3. Well said, Jocelyn. Even with the short, declarative, and highly uncharacteristic sentences.

    Oh, and Jim … lookin’ good!

  4. hehe Riverside … that is where my husband did his post doc …. do not be fooled it is the arm pit of So Cal!
    We spent most of our time driving out of it then sulkily driving back in.

  5. jim is smokin’, sleek, and awesome.

    it looks like you all had a really wonderful time. so many fun activities packed into those 12 days.

  6. Love all the photos but that last one is just the best! Looking forward to your visits and comments this year – it’s been fun.This post has made me laugh.Glad you are back safe and sound.

  7. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Wow, you were in my old environmens! (I am from Malibu and family in Pasedena and San Diego!) Looks like an awesome awesome time!!!

  8. What a great time! I hope you’re having that last photo enlarged and framed…it’s a keeper!

    I had the same reaction at the American Girl store…until I saw the miniature eyeglasses…resistance was futile.

  9. I intend to type short, declarative statements. It’s like a mission statement. Which nearly helped me to not notice the whole soiled undies bit.

    Buty ahh, warmth and family, two of my favorites.

  10. In short declarative sentences:

    I like this story.

    I lived in some of those places. I remember that huge cactus from Old Town, SD. Temecula has antique car rallies, too. Did you see Hotel del Coronado, the inspiration for Oz? I’m glad you had fun.

    Thank you for sharing.

    (And they said it couldn’t be done – the short declarative sentences.)

  11. Reading your description of your vacation, seeing the photos to go with your words, makes it all perfectly understandable why you would want only more and more of this and that!
    Welcome back though to the world of winter -snow, ice, freezing rain, ridiculously low temperatures and the like. Warm yourself now and again by re-reading this post, flipping through the photos and memories in your mind.

  12. Ah, so warm…

    Houston is the armpit of Texas. I grew up there and I think only people who grew up there can love it. BUT it has kick ass winters, and as I shoveled my driveway this morning, I reminisced about Monday…when I was still in the armpit of Texas.

    Love your short declarative sentences.

  13. Jim’s arse looks svelte – even with a jumper around it. Did you tell him off for his Californian attitude to skinny-pinny-ness?

    You all look so happy 🙂


  14. Wow, you’ve seen more of So Cal in 12 days than I did in the 23 years I lived there. Okay, I’ve put my feet (and a few more body parts) into the Pacific too, sat in a jacuzzi in December, and I have actually lived in that armpit you visited. In fact, I got married in that armpit, and have many fond memories of it (who would have ever thought I could have fond memories of an armpit, eh?). But I never got around to Palm Springs or Legoland. But then again, I think there was no Legoland back in my day, so that doesn’t count. Well, I’m glad you had fun…too bad you weren’t there 17 years ago. We could have gotten together for one of those mojitos…but then again, we didn’t know each other, so maybe not. 🙂

  15. that is so nice. I am buried in a million feet of snow and dreaming of one of those getaways. Happy New Year to you too!

  16. I refuse to believe in your worldview that does not celebrate the arbitrary changing of numbers.

    Such logic-free things demand abject fealty, as questions can lead Nowhere Good.

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