San Francisco

I can’t believe our family trip has already come and gone so quickly! I don’t think I have ever had such a jam packed vacation. Usually we’ll go somewhere A LOT smaller and spend most of the time on the beach or hiking, with a museum or theme park thrown in for kicks. This time, we spent the entire time on the go. it was exhausting, to say the least, but fun. The kids had a great time and I really felt like they deserved it after a difficult year, moving and all.

We did the things that were on my list: Basic Brown Bear Factory (loved it!), the Wax Museum at Fisherman’s Wharf (helloooo Elvis!), and Alcatraz Island (Julia threw up on the ferry, but otherwise, fun!). We also went to Pier 39, at Fisherman’s Wharf where we bought tons of junk and saw sea lions (which Justin loved).

Other big hits were the Exploratorium which was fantastic, the de Young Museum which I loved, but mainly because it was just me and my dad. My mom took the kids to the Golden Gate Park. One day we went to the Ghirardelli store and then rented bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito. Had lunch, and ferried back (Julia was fine that time). That was probably the best day.

We spent a day on Baker Beach only having to shield the kids’ eyes a few times. (NOTE: if you want to stick near clothed (at least minimally) beach goers, stay away from the northern section of the beach). We went to Oakland Zoo, Children’s Fairyland (cute), the Chabot Space & Science Center, and Waterworld Park.

And more! It was definitely our best trip. I only got into a few fights with my parents (which is NOTHING) and the kids got to see their cousin and my brother is doing great. it was such a relief to have things out of my hands, the planning, the paying, the transportation. And the best part…is that it’s nice to be home!
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Five Days of Disney

Seth Stevenson asks a shrewd question in Slate: Why would anyone want to go to Disney World every year? And as an elementary school teacher who sees the same kids go to Disney World year after year after year, I’m curious to know his answer.

Stevenson explains that Mr. Walt Disney did not just create a company and open a few theme parks, but created a Disney ideology—he calls it Disneyism. Walt Disney’s career arc is comparable maybe to L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame, who also grew up in middle America and exploded into the mass-market. The “Disney-as-religion”, as Stevenson calls it, is indoctrinated into Disney visitors from the overabundance of souvenirs available to the five weddings a day that take place at the iconical Disney castle. Utopianism spills out of Disney’s ears and captures children and parents, convincing them that because things are so cheery, they must be doing something good.

I think Stevenson’s point (I didn’t get through the treatise he wrote on the subject) is that people flock to the Disney Empire because the Walt Disney Co. has done a fantastic job transforming the ordinary into the magical. The movie rides at MGM Studios are larger than life; the innovations at Epcot are sensational.

I’ve never been to Disney World, and if all Mr. Stevenson says is true, and all that my hundreds of students say is true, Disney World probably is just a bit as magical as it seems. I will probably take our kids there when they are at an age where they’ll love it and remember it. But only once. I certainly don’t need my (future) intelligent, creative children being sucked into believing that it’s an every summer sort of trip. And besides for the fact that I think my wife and I would go crazy, I think about all the other places that I want our (again, future) kids to experience, like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls.

The Disney empire in the U.S. includes:

Boston for the Boys: Good father-son museums

Just to continue the Boston conversation that Sharon has started…
I think of these things as “guy things” but that could just be because I’ve been to Boston a number of times to visit my father who always insists on taking me to one of these museums (among many others):

Traveling to Work

So I’m back at work. The subway ride on the L and then the 4 was atrocious as usual. Thousands of us workers and commuters jammed into the New York Metro and it just never ends. My trip to Yosemite didn’t last long, but don’t worry I’m already planning another escape. My online travel planner has been really helpful and hopefully this job I’m doing will end soon and I’ll be able to leave another trip before I have to start another job–the value of temping!