The Weekly Ramble

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The weekly ramble: where I blog like it’s 2004.

The Weekly Ramble | Life as Mom

Whew! It’s been a long day! FishPapa took a vacation day so we could have an outing. San Diego has always treated us well when make an effort to get out and about, so we were both looking forward to it. Now that our kids are pretty satisfied to stay home and play video games, it takes a concerted effort to get out the door to do something else.

It didn’t come off exactly as we expected. We had been sent tickets to see the new exhibit at the art museum in Balboa Park. That ended up being a pretty horrible experience. You can read my rant over here. I don’t want to give the place too much press, but let’s just say it made the short list of Things Never to Do in San Diego.

Seriously. With or without children, I would be hard pressed to recommend a visit there which is a shame since the building is gorgeous and they’ve got a very decent collection of pieces. It was such a far cry from the lovely gallery strolls we enjoyed last fall! My family’s behavior was never questioned at the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Versailles, or a host of other amazing museums, so I was really surprised at the treatment we received in our own town as invited guests. Turns out this is just how they do things. Their follow up email said as much.

If they think that you are within 12 inches of a painting, they will come harass you — regardless of whether or not you really are within 12 inches. It was really distressing to be followed and hassled every time we stopped to examine and discuss a painting. As one reader said of her own experience, “That’s exactly how I felt a couple months ago. Too close was like 4 ft away.”

That said, we will laugh in years to come about uptight art docents and arbitrary measurements!

In the meantime, if you’ve got a recommendation of an art museum in Southern California that you love, please let me know! We had pockets of true joy when we saw a painting, location, or artist we recognized, so it would be great to enjoy an art gallery again sometime soon.

The Weekly Ramble | Life as Mom

So, how to redeem the day? While some children wanted to rush home and check out Amazon Black Friday Ads, I was resistant to throw in the towel so quickly. We found a beautiful trail that meanders through Balboa park. It’s lined with palms but there’s also a huge Moreton Bay Fig Tree that is really amazing.

Parking in Balboa Park is free, so it’s definitely worth exploring the trails they have. The Park is home to the San Diego Zoo as well as a number of museums and attractions. There are also “houses” designated for a number of countries. We walked by the House of Hungary right as we were getting a little hungry, so that sparked some laughs we needed, as did this:

The Weekly Ramble | Life as Mom

The House of France, complete with a pack of cigs. It would have been perfect if they had been Gauloises, but I don’t think they were.

We headed home and had some good talks about the experience with our kids. They are not perfect, to be sure, but they are a great pack. They are kind and polite, attentive and generous. I felt so bad that they had been treated the way they were earlier in the day.

The Weekly Ramble | Life as Mom

But they are such good sports. I have a lot to learn from them. It was great to hear them talk about things that they knew in relationship to what they saw in the different paintings, sculptures, and art work. Even Little Miss had something to add. Plus my kids know their Degas from their Dali, so my mama-heart is happy.

We decided to move pizza night up to lunch time and stopped at Pizza Port on the way home. Over pizza the kids shared a pitcher of root beer while Papa and Mama were happy to unwind with a brown ale and a cab, respectively. 😉

The Weekly Ramble | Life as Mom

That boy? Cut up his sister’s pizza without being asked. He just saw that it needed to be done. (That was my seat, but I had moved to take the picture.) Be still, my heart. I’m so thankful for these people!

A funny story. Since I was trapped on the bench seat, I asked one of the boys to go ask for a cup of ranch dressing. He came back and reported, “Mama, you don’t have to ask for it. It’s right there to take.” Younger child pipes up, “Yeah, so’s the marijuana.” (Apparently, there are no 1-ft docents here!)

Upon investigation we found out it is marinara that is available for the taking. We’re not that chill in California. 😂

Needless to say, I think we did a good job of turning the day around. I’m so thankful for my husband and kids who make the bumps in the road easier to bear.

Meanwhile, here’s what’s been happening on Life as MOM:

The Weekly Ramble | Life as Mom

Here’s what’s been happening on Good Cheap Eats:

Coming soon:

  • Travel Essentials for the Holidays
  • Freezer Meals for Company
  • Housekeeping at the Holidays
  • Best Ever Christmas Cookies and Treats
  • Christmasy Things We Love

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  1. Great job salvaging the day. We had a similar experience when our daughters were 3 and 5. One of the docents came around and started grousing at my 3 year old for leaning on the glass cases. Mind you the group of 70 something ladies in front of us were never told not to lean on the cases or to not set their purses on the cases. We have never been back and I refuse to take our out-of-town guests either. My leisure time and dollars are too few and precious to waste where my well behaved children are not TRULY welcome. It is sad really. Many wonderful museums are struggling with low attendance and financial support. They need to find ways to make their future customers (you know those kids they don’t like) welcome too.

  2. I really look forward to reading the weekly ramble every week. And this week was no different. I think it is awesome that you value family time like pizza night and movie night. I have to say that the pizza in the photo looks super good. Would you be able to point me to the recipe, my family loves homemade pizza.
    Also, thank you for all that you do (wife, mother, blogger, author.) It helps lots of people like me see that it is okay to be who we are-flaws and all. God bless.

  3. The marina mistake made me laugh out loud! Ever try The Huntington? Blue Boy is there. Not sure how far away it would be for you. Thanks for blogging, you are a great help to me!

  4. I’ve found that university and colleges frequently have good exhibits and they’re almost always free. Once we had a “too adult” experience but we quickly moved past that gallery. It was thought provoking for college students, I’m sure but at the time , it was too much my my crew.

    It sounds like you did a great job of enjoying your family, the great outdoors and some amazing weather!

  5. We’ve run into the museum experience before as well. My kids are super well behaved, but they followed directly behind as soon as we walked through the door. It’s extra funny because my 14 year old is actually a docent at our local history museum. The homeschooled kid saves them when all the college interns go back to school. It’s super frustrating at the time, but I try to give them a little grace because not all kidz are well behaved or well supervised.

  6. We love going to The Getty Center. I know it would be quite a drive for you, but admission is free. Parking is $15. We had heard that if you visit the Getty Villa in Malibu that your parking pass is good for both on the same day. There is so much wonderful art to see. The grounds and buildings are amazing also.

  7. Kathleen L. says:

    I’m not sure if the Huntington Museum is close for you, it had the original “Pinky and Blue Boy” when I went as a child:)

  8. We love Balboa Park! So sorry about your art museum exprience though. 🙁 Have you ever been to their Sunday afternoon international festivals? They happen April – November in that international area (where you saw the France building) and usually they are all open, but one country will be featured with a full meal for sale and some kind of music/dance performance. The other buildings will often sell pastries for a dollar, or something like that. In May they do one big day with lots of food but it’s usually pretty crowded… and of course December Nights (used to be Christmas at the Prado) but in recent years it has been so packed it’s not worth it! But the Sunday afternoon things are fun!

    The Getty Center is lovely and great for kids. Though it would be far, it is a great for a big family since you only pay per car ($15). They have a delicious cafe that I would imagine is allergy friendly. (a little pricey but not too bad). It is worth going on a day with good weather, as there are lovely gardens, and the view of LA is great – especially at sunset. You’ll just have to plan around traffic on the 405.

    When I was a kid I went to the Norton Simon in Pasadena a handful of times, and I remember enjoying it. It’s smaller, and is on the parade route of the Rose Parade. Again, traffic would be an issue, and it might be pricey, but I believe they have a good art collection with Degas and other impressionists. Have you ever eaten at Tender Greens? Also delicious food, and I believe there is one near the Norton Simon (but they have Tender Greens all over – one in Irvine, one in San Diego – worth a visit!) (Can you tell I would rather eat than look at art? lol).

    Finally, I went to LACMA as a child and participated in a wonderful field trip there when I was in, like, 7th grade, where they gave us stools and sketch pads and taught us to draw based on various works of art within the museum. Not sure if such a program exists still, but I wonder if homeschoolers could use it somehow. I feel like Rage Against the Minivan was just talking about a good exhibit at LACMA but now I can’t remember what it is.

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