W.O.W. — Week of Wonder!

Greetings friends, followers, and new-founds! The dial here in our little corner of the universe have been set to auto-fun for the last week, and I’m just now having a moment to “come up for air” and tell you all about it!

Last weekend, my parents came over from Alabama for their first visit to Santa Cruz. And what a weird, wild, wonderful family-amalgam that made! We spent the week with them sharing some of our favorite things here, and letting all of our elders co-mingle in various sets. In addition to the more intimate and the more mundane moments — dinners with Juju and Bonnie, and over at Grammy and Rupert’s, or relaxing together in the mornings, and snuggling up on the couch after kid-bedtime to watch the pilot episode of Sherlock — we had a slew of scheduled “events” on our Natalie-crafted calendar-map. Here’s what it looked like:

Monday, Great Gramma Alice came over as usual, and we all went out to lunch together on the wharf. We ate in a long-standing, well known restaurant, there, called Stagnaro Bros., in which Alice worked over 40 years ago.WOW1 Grandpa George got the lobster bib…WOW2 Some of the locals were hanging out at the wharf, too. These guys were snoozing in a lazy floating pile off the end of the pier. Neither Natalie nor Great Gramma Alice (nor I in my 10 years of coming here) had ever noticed them do that before.WOW3Their cohorts were leaping up onto the scaffolding under our feet for some barky socializing and drier forms of snuggling.WOW4 Later that day we headed to Henry Cowell State Park for some silent socializing of our own…WOW5 with those reticent, local giants — the redwoods.WOW6 We wandered and chatted and stopped at all the points of interest on the self-led interpretive trail. Nana read all the important info at each stop. I made jokes…WOW7 In case you didn’t know — redwoods can get BIG. Some of them are over 300 feet tall and 16 feet across. Some of them are so big, that in a forest fire, the inside of the tree can be burned out, leaving a one-room-cabin-sized cave within the still living tree.WOW8 And their seeds are the size of a small flake of oatmeal. Of course, while they can easily grow from seed given the right conditions, they more commonly sprout “daughter” trees around the base of and from the same roots system as the “mother” tree. WOW9 Echo decided to give this ancient slice of history some much needed kisses. In the shot below, she’s kissing somewhere around 1100 AD.WOW10 In the week before my parents arrived, we’d started a new fun art-quilt project coloring the backs of a few hundred old business cards that Juju had given us. Nana and Grandpa George joined right in and spent a number of hours during the course of our week together drawing and coloring. I can’t think of a single better image of family bliss and relaxation…WOW9b Speaking of better images… We went (back) to the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

We found Dory…WOW11and Nemo…
WOW13 and an Echo fish, too!WOW14 WOW16 Nana and Grandpa were so sweet and patient as Echo checked out every single display and hovered longer over particular ones to absorb more information. It was pretty interesting, as well, to see how Echo approached “going deeper” in her second (recent) aquarium exploration. Whereas the last time we went, she was more “startled”, I think, by the visual explosion of colors and shapes and bizarre animals; this time she had mental space for tons more intellectual input about the various species we viewed.WOW15b The sardines were packed in like sardines…WOW15 The jellies danced…WOW12 even upside down…WOW16band all around!WOW16cIn the jellies exhibit, there is (among so many other things…) a fun experiential station in which one may draw their own jellyfish and then “set it free” in the virtual open ocean visible on-screen above the drawing tables. Grandpa George discovered that there was an option to have the drawing emailed to us, so here’s a link to one that Echo created: http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/draw-a-jelly?jelly=E1395173978265

We got to see the Penguin-feeding again, which is always a fishy and informative treat! You can “Where’s Waldo?” me in the picture below if you want…
WOW18 We also got to see the feeding in the Kelp Forest, which includes this live discussion with the diver who sounded a bit like Darth Vader. Notice how popular he is with the fishes!WOW19b WOW19 There are so many strange and amazing things in the MBA. Some of them defy the imagination — some of them defy all belief! These guys below are an example of what some species look like in “black light”…WOW17

After the aquarium, we went out to dinner at a harbor restaurant called Sea Harvest. Great food and service, but the greeting committee was the best by far!WOW20 These guys (all 100 of them…) were camped out along this dock, from end to end, completely blocking access to the boat peeking out of the bottom left corner of the frame, weighing down the entire floating structure by several feet, napping in a great contiguous heap, and occasionally chortling loudly.WOW21The inter-loafers notwithstanding, we had plenty of fresh fish to go around. We even felt super-savvy because the aquarium had just provided us with the most up-to-date information on which fish are currently the safest and most sustainable to eat: http://www.seafoodwatch.org/cr/seafoodwatch/web/sfw_iPhone.aspx.
WOW22 On Thursday, we drove to “the city”. That’s what Santa Cruzians call San Francisco… We went to visit Grandpa’s cousin, Carol, and her husband, Frank. They own Blow Up Lab, which does amazing murals and giant prints for galleries, exhibitions, and events of all kinds. We got to see their shop and work, ate a delicious lunch downtown, and then went up to their house in the Berkeley Hills. We chilled out on the deck overlooking the canyon behind and the city below…WOW23 we picked Meyer Lemons from their loaded tree…WOW24marveled at their fabulous house…WOW25 and enjoyed a delicious dinner together as the sun set over San Fran.WOW26 Friday we rested. We hung around, drank homemade lemonade, ate left-overs, relaxed, got Nana and Grandpa ready to fly out that night on the red-eye, and…WOW27did a few more last minute drawings for the art-quilt.

It was more fun than a barrel of sea-monkeys! And though I wished it to go on and on, and though we filled every moment of each day with as much good stuff as we could stuff into it, it was over almost as fast as it began. So with many a potent hug, and many a plan for “next year”, we bid farewell and sent them off into the midnight sky and back to their warm home on the other side of the country.

What a coup! What an outstanding success! What a wonderful gift to both us and our parents to get to share this time and space together with each other. I feel so lucky. And so envious of this version of myself! He’s got it made in the shade! Now if I could just get him to pay my way for a “full membership” to his kind of life…

Here’s hoping you’re all finding your way(s) to your own sweet spot(s) as well. It’s amazing how many of them there can be when we’re on the lookout, ready, and willing for them to show up!


Be well.

P.S. I just want to give thanks and credit where it is due to Grandpa George for 90% of these photos! And Instagram deserves a little bump for its delicious photo filtering and editing capabilities on a couple of the images as well. Thanks y’all!

About Nathan M McTague, CPCC, CPDPE

I am a full-time parent of three, Writer, Life Coach, Lecturer, Parenting Mentor, and Shamanic Practitioner. In all of the above, I am seeking to assist my fellow humans in their processes of claiming and unleashing their highest potentials.
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4 Responses to W.O.W. — Week of Wonder!

  1. Sujai says:

    Everytime I click on the like icon it reroutes me too WordPress & prompts me too log in & start blogging as well! Must be meant to be… it’s something I’ve been wanting to do, but have never taken the time to start 🙂

    • Ha! You must be right Sujai!

      My guess about the reroute policy is just that they only allow “logged-in wordpress members” to click “like”. It is possible to join/login without blogging, but I don’t get why they don’t make the post more user-friendly for all… Nevertheless, if it inspires you, then sail on, Mama! 😉

      Be well.

  2. I was finally able to follow from a computer 🙂 I did it before i signed on… But i did indeed use the inspiration to start my own thank you


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