Pretty City

Saturday dawned with the birdsong of the Finch and Robin people. We had no solid plans for the weekend and my heart had one wish…to just “put it down”. Put down the sack of stress I end up carrying by the end of the week.

Having ridden my bike several times through Golden Gate Park on the way to work last week (I know, poor me!), I was still holding a memory of the eye candy around the Conservatory of Flowers. Suddenly, sitting on the front stoop in the morning sun, an idea was hatched. Flowers. Picnic. Bike ride.

And thus began our Golden Gate Park weekend extravaganza.





Much to my delight, Fern found a friend, a little girl the same age, who was also on a picnic with her parents.


Finding socialization for Fern has been far harder than I ever imagined it would be. Once she is in preschool (if she goes, if we find one we like/can afford, if if if) I know that playdates and birthday parties will (hopefully) become the water she swims in. Right now however, whenever she is approached by another child at a park, she literally goes screaming in the other direction. I’ve inquired gently into what happens for her when another kid comes up, and the best I can understand is that she feels pressured and coerced, and MAD. So on this Saturday, after she initially ran away from her new friend, I told Fern that she can approach other kids when she wants to, and otherwise she can say “no thank you” to unwelcome invitations.

Three minutes later there was this.




(Any insight into extreme avoidance of other children and/or Jedi Mom moves to honor her needs while at the same time making sure she doesn’t experience a life of ostracization? Slightly concerned…maybe just a phase, maybe a problem I need to nip in the bud. Also, I don’t always feel like talking to strangers either…).

The day was just truly outstanding.



Nature is more than a little suggestive when Spring comes flouncing along.


We found a nice little patch of Nettle friends, which we harvested the next morning.

Saturday was so blissful, that we decided to do it again on Sunday. This time with the whole gang in tow.

We found evidence of gnomes.

I really really love whoever did this.

And spent several hours here…


It started as this…


And turned into this…



My dance partner turned into a troll.

Crows vs. Hawks, blah blah blah.

Early afternoon grumpiness dictated time to go home for a rest.

But nothing could stop us from going out again.

To Buena Vista Park.




Flowering currant.



Fernus silly Hatius.

Leo picked this bouquet and said, “Now everyone should come see me because I’m famous. There’s at least a thousand sour grasses in here.”

How are you feeling spring? Anybody spring cleaning out there, or doing a dietary cleanse? How about you gardeners…what’s stirring in your hopes and dreams for this years luciousness?

The Girl who Married a Bear is off in her homeland and has several guest posts lined up for you while she’s gone. It starts today with magical Missa and there will be one from me too at the end of the week.



15 thoughts on “Pretty City

  1. Springtime is GORGEOUS. I have to admit, I’m slightly baffled that Fern could ever get grumpy with a mom who takes her out to do so many fun things. But then again, I’m not a 3-year-old… I probably was just like her back in the day, including not liking/feeling uncomfortable around other kids. Maybe it’s just an introvert thing? Without any sort of credentials to back me up, I think you’re probably on the right track with your gentle encouragement and guidance on how to handle social situations.

  2. Nature is really damn sexy, and it delights me, hah. Really though, I think it’s amazing how we all have similarities, flora and fauna alike.

    There’s so much beauty in this post. I was thinking today about how I’d lke to walk around the yard and photograph every little sprite dancing in the sun. I don’t want to forget them, you know?

    Love you.


    P.S. You’re totally rocking your outfit. What a babe.

  3. Ah, this post is killing me. It is bloody freezing here today! Snow and everything and very little in the way of Spring flora making an appearance. How I long for sunny days that actually have some heat in them!

    One of my girls incredibly social and makes friends immediately with whichever kid looks in her direction first – the other… not so much… a bit like Fern actually… she often just prefers her own company when her sister is off playing with other kids (maybe because they are twins and together ALL THE TIME, she just likes a bit of peace…) but I do worry that she’ll be a bit of a loner… not that there’s anything wrong with that either…

    I think gentle encouragement is the right way to go.

    That little door!!… if you like that, you have GOT to check out my most recent post! Be warned – you might just die!

  4. Hey m’love! I hear you on picnicking, it is my favourite thing to do right now. We are having a blisteringly light sunshiney Summer, climate change means we’re in some serious drought over here. It feels so strange to not be cold yet, we have water restrictions now, no sprinklers or hoses. I don’t know what happens next on the water restriction level; i’ve never been there before.
    I wish I could’ve been there for the Swing Dancing….doesn’t it just make you feel awesome about humanity when you see people joining IN – all being supremely human and happy and letting go of their shit to be a part of some fun….together? Those moments give me bittersweet hope. Gladness that, there it is! There is what can be so great about us! And then a touch of sadness, that it isn’t there all the time. I love your outfit, always do though huh, classy dame that you are.
    I think it might be normal for Fern to be a little standoffish with kids if she hasn’t spent a load of time with them. Fear is normal…and then she just shows she is scared and warns them away by showing anger…screaming and running, “i’m scared of you leave me alone!”. It’s a pretty strong signal to the other kids to let her be for a bit. I hear your worry though. If you are concerned about the way she is showing her tentativeness with other kids, you can talk with her about how she can let you know and the other kids that she is scared/shy without frightening them maybe? I don’t think it’s harmful or cruel for you to introduce her to different ways of expressing herself. Role play is pretty good for that. Having said that, she is going to learn new ways to express herself as she gets older anyway. And it could be a phase. Mia is still standoffish with new people. She won’t speak to them, look at them or go near them. They lose interest and go away. Same principle that Fern is working with I guess…”leave me alone”. I got some great cucumbers and tomatos growing this year….i renovated steve’s redundant veggie patch and made it into a pseudo herb/daisy/lavender garden. I love it. And you!

  5. omg, sourgrass. i used to love to suck the stems of those things. they grew all over the place where i grew up. a lot of your bay area nature outings take me back to doing the same sort of walk about stuff with my mom, in the hills a bit farther east. man, sourgrass! i hadn’t thought of that stuff in years!

  6. hey have i already talked to you about ellen meloy’s book Turquoise? She has a whole section in there on how suggestive wildflowers are in the springtime, at least i think it’s that book…i’ll have to dig deeper, it is so beautiful and hilarious and wild. anyway this post delights me. the sunshine ,the swing dancing, the park, the flowers, and the little girls playing. your weekends are as refreshing as it gets.

  7. Holy unholy smokestacks! Or rather Holy Holy Sourgrass Fame-making patch! I love this post more than words can tell. I love your arch and fiery spirit! I love the gnome home and the swing dancing and sweet sweet springtime. I love you. You are in my dreams. I can’t wait to see you this may. I can’t wait!

  8. Yes! I am cleaning and cleansing. i got a custom-designed liver cleanse from a friend and i am going to start it next week. yayyyy. and omg, totally don’t worry about Fern, it is just a phase and she will be one of the most well-adjusted kids in the world. When asher was that age he would either smack or push most kids who wanted to play with him – it was sooo embarrassing. a parent’s saving grace – “it’s just a phase.”

    Do it mama, you’re so good.

  9. oh so beautiful bright and colorful!! Missing california (such a common winter feeling of mine) as I stare out my window into blackness & rain. I feel like a displaced pioneer… Such a dreamy weekend you had! I’m procrastinating on so much necessary weeding cuz it’s been so cold but I know we’ll get a sunbreak today and that ground needs to be readied. My garlics are popping up and my rhubarb leaves are pushing up and starting to unfurl!! xo m

  10. Love SF and these pics make me miss those wandering glorious days. So many things and people to discover everywhere you look.
    One thing I wanted to mention in your journey to making friends is pretty simple but can be quite the tool. Modeling. Two great ways that have worked wonders with my little people are: tell a story during cuddle time about a character (kinda like your wonderbug but maybe a new name) and the journey of meeting friends. Give specific dialog and feelings and paint in the fun times and rewards of friendship. I do this with all sorts of needs (like I’m going declutter that thing they aren’t playing with…wait let’s see if i offer a story and a new vision of playing with it if it’ll be fun again…and it works everytime.)
    Anyhow, the other is good for right in the moment. I simple say, “Here are some things you can do or say when you want to meet someone new or someone comes to play…” And then I lay a bunch of things out there “Hi. or Hi, my name is… or Do you wanna play? or I like today…. on and on. Usually my kids will find something that feels like them and they’ll eventually end up finding this bead of confidence and the words to go make that simple but difficult breaking of the ice.
    Still envisioning gorgeous near SF homes for you and keep popping in expecting it to have all fallen in place now. It must be right around the corner now. 🙂

  11. I think it is a phase. Jasper didn’t go to preschool, playdates, nothing. Well, we did a bit of waldorf parent/child once a week, but there were never more than a few kids there….sometimes only one. (It felt really lonely….I got to know the dad of that kid really well!)
    At parks, he would watch from the sidelines and step aside when any kid wanted what he had. But I felt antisocial most of the time too. There were times we would drive up to parks and see a bunch of people there….he’d say ‘awww, it’s too crowded’ and I would secretly be relieved. We’d go to the beach or another park and just be with each other. When he started kindergarten (public school) I wondered if I had done him wrong. Nope….now in second grade and a social guy…clearly comfortable with everyone.
    I looooove your poppy pics. Holy yoni!

  12. well isn’t this just the prettiest post!!! spring in all her glory!

    i didn’t realize you were so close to golden gate park! of course, i find it hard to believe anyone rides a bike in SF with all the hills 😀

    this saturday i will planting my first veggie garden with my step mom over at my dad’s house. i’m super excited!

  13. it’s so much fun to see little fern.

    i was reading some maria montessori goodies the other night, and this concept of “socializing” came up, and it made me feel a little better about teddy. basically, our concept of socializing as congregating with 15-25 kids in the same age group is a new concept. i mean, the ability to enjoy and spend time with people of different age groups, the young, the elderly, is true socialization and it is what happens just when fern spends time with you.

    i found her very engaging and confident.

    she’ll get used to the ruffians soon enough.

    and i was thinking again about what you were saying about black widows. and enlightening my fear with compassion.

    she is shy. maybe not malicious after all??
    maybe the furry, creepy feeling i get when i see her is more like awe??

    happy spring.

    we should through a yomen shindig big time pow wow.

  14. the georgia o’keeffe-ness of spring is the best part.

    sounds like maybe letting her know she could be the one to initiate a friendly interaction might have empowered her. i would just watch it all unfold for a while. you’re already using the force, jedi mama, so i got nothing to add.

    also, i’d love to chat more about schooling. i know this might not be the venue so hit me up if you ever want to. i know it’s a stressful process.


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