Tuesday, February 17, 2009

2009 and a Pasadena day

Have you seen the Rose Bowl Parade? Maybe on TV? Maybe you've been there? I'm sure, at some point in my life -surrounded as I have been by my football fan family members - I've seen the Rose Bowl Parade on TV, but I don't have a specific recollection of oh wow, it's New Years Day, time to turn on the telly and watch the Rose Bowl Parade! So when my dear darling friend Jen of Jacksonville Beach heard of our travel plans and invited us to the actual Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, I thought, yeah well... we'll see, I dunno, I couldn't imagine waking up early and schlepping the children from the west side of LA all the way to Pasadena in traffic at 7:30 in the morning. I did not realize the magnitude of the invite. Jen's family lives less than a block off the parade route, her father spends the week before the parade keeping his chunk of sidewalk and median clear of interlopers by spray-painting a boundary line around their family spot, then the night before - New Years Eve, of course - hearty family members actually spend the night out there, camping out in their spot.

It is, as I found out, a huge deal to have the kind of access to the parade I was being offered. At the homeschool coop party the day before, I met a mama who planned to wake her family up and be out the door by 5am to get a decent spot and watch the parade. All I had to do was be in Pasadena by 8:30am, go directly to the corner of her street, call Jen and tell her I'm there, and let the policemen know that yes I can drive down this street, my friend is bringing my pass. And voila, it's like a backstage pass to the most anticipated parade of the year. We arrive at Jen's house and are ushered back the long driveway of a terribly sweet California ranch house, draped with Christmas lights and fronted by (what else?) rose bushes, and squeezed into the tiniest space we can get into in the back yard to maximize parking, in the yard, did I mention that? We found ourselves in the midst of an annual family extravaganza, the matriarch from Mexico, the patriarch from France, five daughters, dozens of cousins, brewed Starbucks coffee with heated cream and raw sugar, and a card table set up at the parade route with more coffee, local doughnuts and wonderful pastries. Who knew?

Lulu, Magdalena, and Augustus

watching the parade, sometimes napping
A couple of hours after the parade, after feasting and playing, we walked the two blocks over to the area where the floats were and with the tickets Jen's family had because they live there, we went and checked out the floats up close. That was anticlimactic at best, but the real treat was the climbing tower. Oh. My. Goodness. They're so so cool, and best of all it was free! Just requiring about a twenty minute wait in line and they were off!
Lulu took to the wall like she was born to climb, Magdalena put her skills to use, getting about 1/2 way up, and I had to cajole Augustus to actually get on the wall and stop using the harness like a bungee jump.

The best part of all of it, better than the parade, better than the coffee (and it was good), better than the rock wall, was the joy of a west coast playdate with one of our favorite families, some of our dearest buddies from Jacksonville all the way out there, in the middle of six weeks away from home. That was the best part, spending the afternoon sitting on the front porch with Jen, watching our children play their creative games together, and later, inside, singing songs and taking turns telling stories and listening to the children's stories. Just like home, just like life, out in Pasadena.


  1. I nominated you for the Lemonade Award, check it out! http://chocoeyes.blogspot.com/2009/02/lemonade-award.html