pumpkins by way of false advertising

A couple of weekends ago we were lured (along with the Nelsons) by the prospect of "U-pick" apple orchards. Apple picking! I think I've been enchanted with this idea ever since I saw how apple juice was made on Mr. Rogers.

What's more - the thought of frolicking in the orchards, playfully picking apples at our leisure, throwing them at each other in a teasing manner - sounded like the quintessential fall activity. Get thee hence to Riley's Apple Farm!

So we headed out to Oak Glen, where visions of apple sauce, cider, jam, jelly, butter, bottom jeans, and every other type of apple related product awaited!

First we stopped to do a little outdoorsy exploring. George dipped his toes in the stream - an invigorating feeling only patrons of Russian banya could appreciate.

George & Ashley - George thoroughly enjoyed that leaf.

George (note leaf) and his nerves of steel

The crisp, mountain air was so refreshing compared to the air in LA

George and Ashley enjoying the outdoors

So, we all know that when life hands you lemons you're supposed to make lemonade. So... when life hands you hailstorms that kills your apple trees (or you poorly manage the influx of seasonal tourists who ravage your trees) and you neglect to update your website of seemingly VERY relevant information (e.g. no apples to pick), you resort to pumpkin picking!

With Halloween just around the corner we decided that we shouldn't let the 1.5 hour drive go to waste. We meandered through the pumpkin patch and found the best the patch had to offer:

Ashley insisted on carrying everyone's biggest pumpkins

Kimber showing her find with Abe keeping it on the DL

They had various breeds (species, types?) of pumpkins, including these super heavy, martha stewart-esque ones.

George liked playing with the pumpkins

Pumpkins and 7 month olds were both .40/lb.

The afternoon kind of became a comedy of errors after the pumpkin picking. Baby boys crying, long lines for marginal quality BBQ, and really abrasive old-timey music hastened our exit. Even though we didn't get to pick all the apples we could handle, the trip made for a nice Saturday out of the city. Happy fall and Halloween everyone.


a trip to griffith observatory

Ashley and I have made a new resolve to do more "LA things." You know, just in case we find ourselves having to leave for one reason or another - we don't want to have any regrets about missing opportunities.

One classic, "must see" is Griffith Observatory (GO). What struck me about GO is that it wasn't like other "must see" places... in that once you go there, you are immediately smacked in the face of "oh brother I really wanna get out of here" or "I never want to come back" like - oh - say this place for instance.

Things that are great about GO:
  1. It's Free
  2. The Vistas
  3. Fresh Air
  4. Educational
  5. Interesting
  6. Interactive
  7. Fun For all Ages
And so and and so forth...

Ok, before you think I'm involved in some sort of seedy-underground blog promotional deal - I'll make with the pictures. They tell the story better than I do:

It was bright so George borrowed my hat and kicked it Christian Bale Newsie style

Los Angeles - America's 2nd largest urban area in America

George got tired of Newsies, and wanted an "edgier" look ala Samuel Jackson

Ashley and George, and downtown in the back

They had all sorts of information about the planets in our Solar System, including scales that you could stand on that tell you how much you'd weigh on that planet. Really fun.

Did I mention that they had fun for the ENTIRE family...

One of the best classes I took during my undergrad was Astronomy, Stars and Galaxies. Naively, I thought it'd be memorizing the zodiac and other inane trivia, "where's the big dipper?" someone would say in anguish. David to the rescue, "Allow me..." Was I in for a huge shock when there was real calculus to do, and parsecs and speed of light equations. Zoiks.

I got an A of course

I should've made astronomy my minor. I really like that stuff. Thinking about the universe, a never ending amount of space - makes my imagination run wild. [Sidebar, Ashley and I have just started Battlestar Galactica and we are enjoying it].

In conclusion - We had a great time. We brought our own lunch (there is a cafe, which sells over-priced, pre-made sannies) to save money and didn't go in the gift shop (man I wanted that NASA t-shirt) because the desire to spend money on astronomy knick knacks would've been unbearable. I hope we can go again soon, preferably with some out of town guests who have a penchant for exploring the universe!


getting him started young

So I know some of you may judge us, but we couldn't resist getting George a Blackberry. He really wanted an iPhone, but we told him that Christmas was just around the corner and that if he was a good boy, maybe Santa would surprise him.

In a brief moment of satiety, I caught this picture of George texting one of his friends, Abe.

I'm pretty sure his text read something to the effect of, "dude, major sw33t potatoes for dinner 2nite. gtg, dads in my grill. ttyl."

When it comes to our little schnookums, there's nothing he can't have. Yes, he doesn't speak any words and has limited motor skills, but should that stop him from being connected wherever he goes? Of course not, e-connectivity is a basic human right these days!

In all seriousness, George does have an email address. All fan email and inquiries can be sent to georgepulsipher [at] gmail . com



a little jaunt up to santa barbara

Last weekend Ashley, George and I went up to Santa Barbara for a couple of days in celebration of Ashley's Birthday. We had a very nice time, and barring a little sleeping situation debacle, the trip went off without a hitch. Most of the pictures were taken on the train... Oh yeah, we took the train up there.

Taking the train seemed like a good idea, as it would allow me to avoid some of things I hate the most (traffic, being stuck in it, being stuck in it with George wailing) while fully immersing me in the things I love the most (Ashley, George).

What's more, Santa Barbara Car Free gives you a 20% discount on your train tickets up to Santa Barbara. It worked out perfectly. It allowed us to fully enjoy the scenery all the way up there while simultaneously enjoying George and keeping him entertained. Here's a few highlights from the trip:

Ashley and George in Union Station. Union Station is a really cool building, sort of feels like a relic from a bygone era despite its heavy use. Great decor and layout.

Ashley 'n George = close up with Union Station

If you can believe it, I insisted that we were there early. We waited in the Courtyard and George desperately tried to spill my diet coke on me while I gave him sips of water from a Dasani cap

George's feet are magical. I can't resist.

Cute picture of George, slightly ruined by an Eminem doppleganger photobomb in the background

That's better

Ashley daydreaming (about new moon)

I realize that my artistic expression is greatly hampered by taking pictures with my iPhone - but it's just so handy! It's always there. If the iPhone had a camera with a sick sports photographer lens I swear I could create some killer shots. I was going for the whole, "look at George's reflection" concept = limited results

Dr. Jekyll

Mr. Hyde

Everyone was friendly in Santa Barbara! As we were wandering around the first night with empty bellies, this man pulled up on a bicycle and sensed our "lost" state. We told him of our predicament. As luck would have it, we were right across the street from a great eaterie. We dined outside, 40 yards from the beach, great hamburgers and a delicious piece of red velvet cake. Added bonus = the fountain kept George entertained the majority of our dinner.

This is George's "bed." Ashley insisted I ask for a pack n play, but I doubted they would have one, and even if they did I was sure George would get some sort of communicable disease from it, so we improvised. I used my belt to lash the seats together and we stuffed our extra pillows in the side so he couldn't squirm out. George is really mobile in bed these days and our "creation" worked rather well. Eat your heart out MacGruber.

George keeps it on the DL when in SB

Happy Ashley and George on the way home

Lessons learned. Train = totally worth it. Maybe bring car seat on a car-free vacation in case you are faced with taking a taxi. We walked about five miles in 10 hours of mobility and we were a little ragged afterwards.

We parked downtown at Union Station which was nice, $6 a day in a secure garage. That's nice, as it'd be kind of sketchy to leave your car unattended in that part of town otherwise.

If you travel with a party of three or more, you get the best seats (four seats, facing each other, separated by a table). Nearly everyone on the train was riding alone, so all of the window seats get taken first, and who wants to sit next to some stranger, especially when you are traveling with a child. While technically, George doesn't require a seat, we felt absolutely no hesitation taking the "this section is reserved for parties of 3 or more." I was totally ready for someone to call us on it saying something to the effect of, "you guys aren't a party of three!" And then I'd get all riled up and yell, "so, you think my child isn't a person eh!!! You baby hating monster!!!"

Fortunately, it didn't come to that, but I was ready.

Hope to see you again soon Santa Barbara, it was real.