Saturday, April 18, 2009

Family Day

The Spicy Barracuda sees Jules a lot. He sees me a lot. However, with our work schedules been opposed and the budget for child care limited (non-existent), he doesn't see much of both Jules and me at the same time. So Thursday nights and Saturdays have become Family Nights. This is specific time which has been set aside for us to do things as a family. Sometimes it is watching a classic movie. Sometimes it is going to Chuck E. Cheese or bowling. Sometimes it is riding our bikes to the park and the local hot dog shop or playing games together around the table after dinner. It doesn't really matter what the activity as long as it is spent as a family with the central point of playing together. Honestly, it is pretty great.

Today, Family Day was spent at the Farmers' Market. The Farmers' Market is filled with family friendly activities and plenty to see. With Guadalupe still having a bit of angst when it comes to strangers, she reluctantly stayed home. Hopefully, if The Walks continue she will soon get to come along. Being a gardener, the whole experience is quite voyeuristic for me. I want to see what other people are growing, and how well they are growing it. I want to ask them questions about having bees and harvesting honey. I want to marvel at their beautiful flowers, upon flowers, upon flowers. I want to taste the cheese they may from their cows and marvel at how different all of it is and how they made it themselves. I want to show the Barracuda how beautiful leeks grow with their leaves all fanned out and how many varieties of pears exist. I want to taste, and talk, and see, and experience the energy of people who spend their lives growing and creating sustenance.

Jules loves all of the above things as well, but particularly he likes the food. Street food is something I could live on for a good 4 years eating it every meal of every day. Jules might be able to for the rest of his life. Farmer's markets are a wonder at all the different kinds of delectable street food. There was exotic coffee and local wineries. There was a stand with three different kinds of kettle corn. (It was very difficult to resist and I don't know if I will be able to next time.) There were tamales, and gyros, and Asian stir-fry noodles. There were muffins, and cookies, and breads of all kinds. There were jams, honeys, and pestos. There were dozens of kinds of cheese - Jules favorite! People were selling eggs, seafood, and grass fed beef by order. We settled on pears, honey, goat cheese, a blueberry cornbread muffin the size of Barracuda's head, a giant cookie, and two meditarranian gyros filled with sweet spicy chicken, rice, and fresh veggies and yogart sauce. Our little red wagon was quite full, as were our tummies.

The Spicy Barracuda's favorite part are all the people. People watching and street entertainment are some of the finest around at street fairs and farmers' markets. There were hippies playing tight rope on a slack line. Barracuda had to try! There were hacky-sac circles. Barracuda really wanted to try. There were people doing paperwork on blankets, couples cooing over each other on benches, families with children running about. There were musicians ranging in age from three violinist girls who were about 10 to a man dressed just like Jimmi Hendrix. There were string quartets complete with cellos. There were drummers in circles. There was even a gorgeous woman rhythmicly moving to African dance who was just plain mesmorizing. (I think African dance might join my Life List.) Watching all the different urbanites which flock to these events for leisurely fun is quite the example of all different walks of life being able to coexist and have fun together. The Spicy Barracuda ran through the park, created his own music with a favorite stick, poked the stick into the fountains, said hello to just about anyone and everyone, danced a bit, and then got into the car to drive home quite tired.

The rest of our day was spent working in the yard and prepping for the summer which is definitely on the way. Current, Spicy Barracuda is passed out in a tent which was quickly pitched in the backyard when he decided at dinner to try camping out. Sleeping outside in a tent is something he has done a couple of times before on family camp outs, but doing it solo is a new experience. We will see if he makes it the whole night.

The greatest part of Family Night is that it not only gives us a chance to be together, but it allows us to interact in a completely stress-free way. Wandering about the Farmers' Market has no time constraints, not expectations to live up to, no deadlines or social graces which need to be upheld. More over, you can see all different kinds of people freely being themselves and this encourages the same behavior in us. We can come home and enjoy working in the yard while the Barracuda and Guadalupe play together being a silly as can be. Overall, the implimentation of Family Nights have helped with all of us trying new things and becoming much closer together.

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