Monday, August 31, 2009

Hot Weekend

It was hot this weekend. We’ve been lucky this summer—there have been fewer than usual weekends whose defining element was the heat. Nonetheless, when it does happen, it’s dramatic, even with central AC.

Saturday we drove to Napa to spend the day with Beth and Nate and the babies. The morning was deceptively cool, but once Nate and Andrew went out to play golf, the day grew rapidly hotter—even in Napa, which generally escapes the level of heat we have in the Sacramento area. By the afternoon, when we all set out to have lunch at the Napa Blues & BBQ Festival, it was blazingly hot. Blazingly. An inferno. Well over 100 degrees. The babies’ cheeks quickly grew bright red. Beth and I wandered around for food in a kind of heat-coma. It wasn’t long before Andrew and Nate caught up with us and suggested we just go to a restaurant, any restaurant, with AC. Our hearts full of hatred for NorCal, we abandoned the festival and had an AC-focused lunch instead.

It was even hotter, of course, once Andrew and I got back to Roseville, and though we turned on the AC in the house immediately, it seemed to do little good. At 8:30pm, we gave up our efforts to stay cool at home and went to the pool, which helped immensely. The baby, who had been uncharacteristically still during the drive home and most of the evening, perked up. (I am convinced, despite medical opinion to the contrary, that the baby can tell when it’s inhumanly hot outside, and that she hates it.)

So, a hot day. Dreaming of relief from the summer, I unfortunately remembered last year, when it stayed incredibly hot through October. I’m very happy to be having a fall baby, but the baby’s first fall isn’t going to be the kind of fall it should be. She won’t be coming home to crisp fallen leaves and chilly blue skies; she’ll be coming home to temperatures in the high eighties. If there are jack-o’-lanterns anywhere, they will likely be rotten, as ours were last year. I suppose the baby won’t care, and I’ll probably have other things on my mind, too. But in these last few weeks of pregnancy, my thoughts will wander where they will.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Another Glimpse...

Here's another glimpse of the baby, from Wednesday's ultrasound:

From a totally objective standpoint, I think she looks pretty cute. Just after the technician captured this image, she yawned a couple of times. Bored with the camera already.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My Rigorous Regiment of Ab Exercises

Andrew and I had our second ultrasound yesterday, a follow-up ultrasound so they could check the position of my placenta. (Let’s hope the position is good.) We were relieved to get confirmation that Baby Littell is still a girl—I had visions of a surprise that would send us out in a desperate quest for new clothes and bedding. She’s even head down now, clearly ready for the big day.

When we arrived, the technician asked my due date. Thinking he had it in front of him, I said, “The 17th.”

“Of January?” he asked.

“Um, October,” I said.

He looked at me in shock. “Really? You’re so small,” he said. “You don’t look eight months at all. I bet you do exercises to keep your abs in shape.”

This seems like a particularly insensitive comment coming from someone who should know better, someone who sees pregnant women all the time, and my annoyance at the “you can’t possibly be eight months along!” commentary is growing.

Such observations remind me of similar comments I received for pretty much my entire childhood. I was always skinny—scrawny, even; underweight is one way to describe it. And this was always a huge thing for me. One of the cruelest days for underweight kids had to be pay-what-you-weigh day at The Ground Round, a restaurant in upstate New York. (Actually, in hindsight, this is a cruel day for all but the most growth-chart-average children. What restaurant exec thought up this sadistic idea??) Molly and I always weighed in at, oh, $0.50 or less, well past the time when $0.50 would have been normal, eliciting endless comments from the waitstaff. Horrifying.

Anyway, as these things go, this all stopped bothering me once I got a bit older, had more important things to think about, and, as my mother would say, “filled out.” And yet—and yet—it bothers me now when I’m told I’m “so small” for being eight months pregnant. It shouldn’t, but it does, even when it comes from someone who’s not a doctor. I am not a big person, and I am not going to be a big pregnant person. And unless my glucose levels have an unexpected reaction to all the wheat bread I've been eating, my baby is not going to be overly big, either. It’s not like I’m dieting, trying to keep my weight down, and I am certainly not “trying to keep my abs in shape.” (I can barely get up from a prone position without Andrew’s help, let alone do crunches.)

Sigh. I think anyone who’s been pregnant or has been married to a pregnant person knows this already, but really the only right things to say to a pregnant woman are “You look great!” “When are you due?” and “Congratulations!” And leave it at that.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Darkness in Childhood Favorites

It’s been years since I’ve read children’s books. Now, however, with Baby Littell’s library quickly growing thanks to family, friends, and my Amazon habit, I’ve had the chance to read some new works and refamiliarize myself with old favorites. And I am struck, and mildly horrified, by how depressing some of my childhood favorites really are.

We won’t go into the Velveteen Rabbit again, which takes sad kids’ books to a different level. We’ll talk instead about Corduroy, what I thought was a charming book, published in 1968. We read this a million times in the Orlando household when I was a kid, but all I really remembered was something about a bear trying to find a button for his overalls in a department store. This weekend, I found a copy for $1 at the flea market, so I snapped it up. And last night, I sat down to read it to the baby, with Andrew looking on in between glances at the baseball game. I read the first two lines and looked at Andrew in open-mouthed horror: “Corduroy is a bear who once lived in the toy department of a big store. Day after day he waited with all the other animals and dolls for somebody to come along and take him home.”

Horrifying! The illustration shows a tiny bear with a heartbreaking hopeful expression on his face, maintaining his optimism despite the fact that no one ever buys him. Seriously? This is seriously appropriate for a young child? The book has a happy ending—a little girl buys him and loves him, and he gets the home he’s always wanted—but yikes. I felt anxiety, trepidation, sadness as I read. Maybe it’s just my riling pregnancy hormones; maybe a young child will simply engage with the story and let it all play out. Still, it seems a little intense.

This is the case with many of the books I now have in my possession—high-quality children’s literature, all, of course, many of them classics from three decades ago or more. For a moment last night, however, I understood the allure of Disney princess books and Barney products. There’s no sadness in those—there’s just vapid, vacuous, sugary nothingness. If books like that inspire any feeling at all in a child, it would be…a marshmallow feeling. Something smooshy and sweet in all the worst ways.

No, I suppose I don’t want that. I want the baby’s books to have a little depth, a little bite; I want the stories to be compelling and real, with characters who are searching for love and homes and friends and happiness, who face a little sadness and doubt and inspire a little empathy. I must have felt empathy and concern when I read Corduroy, even if I don’t remember feeling that way per se—perhaps my extreme attachment to this and other such books is just the way those feelings manifested themselves. By reading the books again and again, I got constant reassurance that yes, Corduroy still finds his home; yes, Sylvestor’s mother still does change him back from a rock into a donkey. The nice thing about children’s books is that the characters usually find what they’re looking for at the end. And if the road to getting there is a little curvy, so much the better—so much more like what the baby’s life will be.

I just hope my pregnancy hormones have calmed down by the time she’s ready to read these books with me, or storytime will have me dissolving nightly into an alarming puddle of tears.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

To Market, to Market

I’ve raved many times about the spectacular market we go to every weekend here in Roseville, a stunning combination of flea market and farmer’s market, each one larger and more robust than any flea or farmer’s market I’ve ever seen anywhere else. We were able to appreciate it anew this weekend since it didn’t get hot until later in the afternoon, leaving us freer than usual to wander around the eclectic aisles. I snapped a few pictures this time, but they really can’t convey the true scope of this place.

The Farmer's Market:

The Flea Market:

Monday, August 24, 2009

More 33-ish Weeks

I may have gained only one pound over the past month, but the baby is apparently still growing just fine; at my appointment with the midwife today, the measurements and her heart rate were all on track. In the days before each of my appointments, I become convinced that everything is going wrong—she’s moving too much; she’s moved too far over on one side; I can’t possibly be big enough; surely my blood pressure is sky-high; etc.—and it’s always nice, and somewhat surprising, to hear that everything is actually okay.

My near-zero weight gain is due to this diabetic diet I’m on, and I was instructed by the midwife to eat more. She also gave me the permission I’d been waiting for: I do not have to follow this diet to the letter, and as long as I steer clear of sweets, white rice, and white flour, I’ll be fine. And if I do want a little dessert, she said that was okay—just have a small portion along with the meal, not on its own. And if Andrew and I want to have a nice Italian dinner out next time we’re in San Francisco, that’s okay too.

This is a relief. I am a rule-following, low-risk-taking person by nature, and if someone tells me I have to, say, measure out each serving of nuts I consume, I will do so diligently. (In my mind, of course, each errant nut puts the baby in danger of tripling in size.) Alas, I still won’t be running out for any hot fudge sundaes, but I did have a tiny square of fig cookie with lunch. So the chains have loosened a bit. And the end is in sight. Andrew and I are discussing the logistics of his holding a Blizzard in my line of vision in the delivery room as my inspiration to get through those final pushes.

Foods Men Like

Trying to find a food the man in your life will love? Try this: Crack eggs into a bowl, mix them up, and pour them into a hot buttered pan as though you’re making an omelet. When the eggs are almost cooked, drop several tablespoonsful of jelly onto the eggs, and roll up the omelet. Voila—Jelly Omelet. Serve.

I don’t know about your man, but mine almost gagged when I read this recipe to him. It’s just one of several gems in the gem of a cookbook I found this weekend at the flea market, Foods Men Like. It’s a small Betty Crocker cookbook from 1970, and it provides one or two man-pleasing recipes for each letter of the alphabet. Besides the Jelly Omelet, it contains other apparently man-friendly foods like Apple Pie—Deep Dish Style (so much more manly than regular-style pie), Lobster and Steak Combo (very manly), Hungarian Goulash (huh?), and a refreshing Orange Swizzle drink (really?).

Of course, as one does with any A to Z collection, one turns immediately to see what the writers came up with for X and Z. Failing to muster any creativity whatsoever, here’s how the book concludes: “X, Y, and Z…What are these? Why, these are the ‘specials’ that you alone know.”

I’m not sure I’ll be turning to these recipes next time I’m searching for “foods men fancy,” but this little book was worth the $0 I paid for it. (I asked the seller to throw it in along with our purchase of a fantastic globe.)

Incidentally, because I am a good wife who loves her husband so very, very much, I made Andrew a batch of Buttery Fig Bars this weekend with fresh figs from our tree—even though I cannot have any fig bars myself. I’d feel like I was earning major wife points if Andrew weren’t already bending over backwards to ensure my comfort and happiness in my large pregnant state. It was really the least I could do in the rare moment when I wasn’t sitting on the couch, politely requesting him to do things for me. Perhaps Foods Men Like will come in handy after all: Andrew totally deserves some Kabobs of Lamb, Noodles Romanoff, Steak—A Barbeque Special, and Wiener Schnitzel.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Best Costume for Today

Over the past couple of weeks, I've watched both the HBO remake of Grey Gardens and the original 1975 documentary, and I feel just a tiny bit obsessed with Little Edie Beale. After watching the documentary last night, Andrew said it made him want to clean the house; but it kind of made me want to arrange a sweater over my head, secured with a dramatic brooch.

My favorite Little Edie quote is, hands-down, the following, which she delivered on an ordinary morning while explaining her quite extraordinary outfit to the cameraman: "You can always take off the skirt and use it as a cape." You can indeed. Here's her full explanation:

It's just fantastic.


This morning, for the first time in a long time, I realized I had no freelance work lined up for the day. Things have been slow lately—much slower than usual—but I generally have something on tap to keep me busy for a few hours. Not so this morning, and I fell into my usual freelancer’s despair of ever having work again. “Why can’t you just enjoy a nice Friday?” Andrew asked, and, indeed, I wished I could. There are only a few more weeks where I’ll be alone for an entire day—once the baby comes, it may be years before I’m totally alone for any real stretch of time. It’s a strange, unnerving thought, and it did make me want to revel in the quiet day, reading and writing and just noting what it’s like to be alone.

An hour later, however, after I read the paper and ran an errand, a couple of new assignments came in, and the day turned into just another workday. But as I sit here now, working, I do have a sense of something coming to an end. The quiet, the aloneness. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll remember what this time was like—this time of having time, or at least of having time alone.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

33-ish Weeks

This dress makes me look particularly big, but then again...

Last night, while I was lying on the couch, Andrew and I spent some time looking in awe/horror at my belly, which was moving around so much that it looked like I was housing a family of ferrets in there.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


We did it: this weekend, we bought baby things. With about nine weeks to go before my due date, we finally made some initial baby purchases, including a crib, crib mattress, changing table pad, and one picture frame. Andrew also assembled the changing table. So, progress.

The baby’s movements have morphed from forceful kicks to more languid, extravagant stretching and turning. She seems to want room to stretch out like a little cat; unfortunately, my uterus is only so big. Sometimes I can watch what appears to be her head move across my entire stomach as she eases into another relaxed position. Yesterday and today she seems set on settling on the left side of my belly, making me feel a bit lopsided. She should enjoy this while it lasts: in a few weeks she’ll need to settle into a nice head-down position.

Andrew and I are narrowing in on names. This weekend we each secretly wrote down our top four choices from our master list. We had one overlap, but there’s still room for negotiation. I’m confident we’ll have a name by the time she’s born.

I’ve found a solution to my ice-cream issue: Breyers CarbSmart Almond Bars. It’s an “ice cream bar,” in a way, with just 5g of carbs, made with Splenda. There’s nothing beneficial whatsoever about them health-wise, but at least I can have a little dessert now and then while staying within my Carb Limit. (If my logic on this is off, please don’t tell me.) “Maybe I’ll eat them too,” Andrew said doubtfully when we were in the grocery store. I assured him he did not have to. He made a full-fat, real-chocolate, decadent choice instead. I can’t blame him.

Friday, August 14, 2009

32-ish Weeks

I've lost track of my weeks count, but I think it's something like 32. I should really figure that out. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures from last night. Andrew and I were letting off some nervous energy following our graphic weekly dose of Prepared Childbirth by photographing the tiny being who's going to be causing so much angst n' terror.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Little Trip to Man Town

This afternoon, as I drove into Sacramento for a haircut, the gas light went on. I felt a surge of rage at Andrew. Filling the car with gas is a man’s job. It’s Andrew’s job. How dare he let me set out for the hair salon with no gas in the car? Wasn’t he thinking? Doesn’t he love me?

I considered calling Andrew from the highway. But then the baby kicked a few times, and I thought—no. I could do it. I could fill the car with gas myself. So I did, for the first time in about two years, marking the second time I’ve filled our Volvo with gas. (The first time I did, two years ago, I had to call Andrew from the gas station because I couldn't figure out how to open the gas tank. It requires a key. This time, no phone call was required.)

I know, I know. For all of you “real” drivers reading this blog, I know that’s crazy. And I suppose I’m a “real” driver now too, regularly getting on the highway by myself to go to the dentist or hairdresser, or to drive out to the airport. Still, it’s just the way things work between me and Andrew, and I felt a sense of achievement at having successfully gone to “man town,” which is where Andrew’s husbandly duties (like washing the car, or taking the car to the shop, or killing bugs) reside.

Later, when I came out of the salon and checked my messages, I found a frantic voicemail and a frantic text from Andrew, alerting me to the fact that the car was almost out of gas and saying I should call him immediately. Little did he know it had all been taken care of as I tried to set a good, independent example for the baby.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time for a Major To-Do List

There are about ten weeks to go in my pregnancy, which seems like not much time at all. Nonetheless, Andrew and I seem to me to be strangely unhurried about the preparations. We haven’t made even one baby-related purchase, with the exception of a bureau/changing table, which is still in its flat Ikea box, unassembled. Yesterday I spent an inordinate amount of time selecting a few children’s books to buy from Barnes & Noble. It seemed important to choose just the right books, to formulate a book-buying strategy.

I suppose there’s no need to be urgent about it all, but it does seem like it’s time to start crossing things off our to-do list. Out of curiosity today, I went to The, which provides a thorough to-do list for pre-baby-arrival activities; I’d found the wedding checklist on its sister site, The Knot, useful during wedding-planning. This was the first time I’d looked at the pregnancy list. Apparently I have 47 things left to do. But these “to do” items aren’t really that useful—they include things like scheduling doctor’s appointments and so forth. Easy, obvious things. No, my own list is more involved and specific, including things like choosing each individual nursery item, figuring out some good reading material for myself during the long days of nursing, washing all the crib bedding, buying the stroller, etc. etc. etc. None of it is all that arduous—but it has to get done, and probably shouldn’t be left until the last weekend before my due date. Something basic like assembling the crib or bureau could take a whole evening.

I feel a master to-do list coming on, and a weekend of baby-related shopping.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

When Are You Due?

In public places these days, like the grocery store and gym, it’s not uncommon for people to approach me and ask me when I’m due. Last week at the pool, two women approached me separately to tell me how “cute” I looked. It’s always a friendly question or comment, and I don’t mind engaging in pregnancy small talk as long as it stays to the what-are-you-having, is-this-your-first variety and not the pregnancy-horror-story variety. Nonetheless, I find it surprising that people are so bold. It seems like a big risk to me to approach a rotund stranger and assume she’s pregnant—what if she’s not? What if she’s just missed her Pilates class a few too many times? Andrew disagrees with me—in my case, anyway—and says there’s no way I could be anything except pregnant. Indeed, my figure these days pretty much resembles my normal self with a basketball tucked under my shirt. Still, I’d hesitate to make any pregnancy assumptions. There is no good recovery if you’re wrong, none whatsoever.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Am Pregnant; Watch Me Shop

There was some good karma going on at the mall this weekend. I’d gone to the mall to idly poke around the only store I can still shop in—a maternity store, the only one at the mall—and had left empty-handed, dissatisfied with the sales going on. With only two months to go, it’s hard to justify buying more maternity clothes. About thirty feet from the store, I was stopped by a woman holding a baby. “Would you like a gift certificate to that store?” she asked. I looked at her skeptically, ready to give a polite refusal, sure it was a ruse of some kind. But she quickly explained that she’d gotten a $25 gift certificate because of a class action suit of some kind and, since she herself wasn’t pregnant, thought she’d just give it to someone who was. We chatted for a while about her stroller—she was pushing the kind Andrew and I will probably buy—and then I headed back to the store, where I spent the gift certificate and then some in a fit of “I’m pregnant! I deserve to look cute! I won’t be pregnant much longer!”

So, good karmic returns to the nice woman at the mall. (That seems a very California thing to say. Sorry about that. It’s 100 degrees here—must be going to my head.)

Also, I now like my maternity wardrobe way better than my regular clothes. I’d joke that I wish I could be pregnant forever, but that’s actually not funny, or even true. Wheat toast slice count today so far: 3.

Friday, August 07, 2009

I’ll Have a Box of Prepared Childbirth

Last night, Andrew and I had the first in our series of six “Prepared Childbirth” classes. Not "Preparing for Childbirth" but "Prepared Childbirth." I hadn’t really noticed the name of this class when I signed up for it. But now that I look at it, the name seems to imply that childbirth is something that can be packaged up and cleanly, neatly purchased (one box of Prepared Childbirth, please)—all one needs to do is slip it from its wrapper and microwave it and BAM, new baby. If only.

Our first class involved introductions and thoughts about what we did and did not like about being pregnant. There was a preponderance of longing for sushi, a complaint about hugely swollen feet, a few laments about wine and beer, and much ardent support for the epidural. I contributed a mild complaint about no dessert. I felt pleased that my weight gain so far has been “all baby,” and that I can still easily fit into all my shoes. We also covered the stages of labor in a general way.

And then there was a video, which we will have in each class. Most of it was okay, with some computer graphics and some real-women interviews. But then it became more and more graphic, with hospital/labor scenes and, eventually, the actual birth. I closed my eyes, but Andrew watched the whole thing—even the delivery of the placenta. I can’t speak for him, but by his pallor and the way he kept reassuring himself and me as we walked to the car (“A woman’s body is supposed to do that. It’s natural. It happens all the time. It’s completely normal. It’s what a woman’s body is born to do”) I suspect he wishes he’d closed his eyes as well.

Clearly, work remains for us. At this point I’m torn between wanting lots and lots of information and wanting to remain in blissful ignorance; I know I need the information, and I’ll be getting it over the next few weeks whether I like it or not. But I really do wish I could just order up some Prepared Childbirth—to go, perhaps, so we can just instantly take the baby home—and be done with it.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

2:20pm, 4 Slices

I was gazing at my model diet chart today, trying to figure out what I should have for lunch, and I realized I could have a grilled cheese sandwich with tomato. And it felt like a revelation. I could even cut up the rest of the tomato and have it with a little salt and olive oil if I wanted. I’ve never been so excited about lunch.

I have never been on a diet in my life, so actually watching what I eat is a brand-new experience, and a strange one. I started paying close attention to food once I got pregnant—really counting portions of calcium, veggies, and fruits and eliminating high-mercury fish—and I felt like I’d worked out a really healthy, satisfying system. For months I’ve been bragging about how I’ve been eating so healthily, especially thanks to the farmer’s market. I know it’s not my fault that I’m temporarily glucose intolerant, but it is a bit defeating after feeling like I’d been doing so well at nourishing the baby with healthy things (and the occasional Blizzard, which, really, is ice cream, and therefore dairy, and therefore calcium).

I should know more details tomorrow about what my new diet should look like. Total wheat toast count so far today: 4 slices.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Inspired, and Torturous

The good news from Friday’s battery of tests is that I don’t have gestational diabetes. The bad-ish news is that I do have pregnancy-related glucose intolerance, which means I have to monitor my diet and, I think, my blood sugar for the rest of the pregnancy. I’ll know more about what this all entails after I talk to a nutritionist on Thursday. The model diet they sent me seems to involve an ungodly amount of whole-wheat toast. I’m off to buy a new loaf now, having exhausted the remains of ours for breakfast and lunch.

What I do know for a fact is this: there are no more Tagalong Blizzards in my near future. If you’re lucky enough not to be temporarily glucose intolerant, please enjoy one, or many more than one, as I certainly would, before this inspired, limited-time-only Blizzard flavor disappears forever.

And oh, my goodness, I was just going to put in a link to information on DQ's Tagalong Blizzards, because I'm masochistic that way and also hungry, and on DQ's website I see they are now also offering Thin Mint Blizzards only for the month of August. I'm going to try not to imagine the cold mintiness coupled with the chocolately cookie crunch, but I certainly know what I'm going to be focusing on during the "final meditation" in yoga tonight.

I guess I'll go have my afternoon snack of toast. At least a peach is permitted as well.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Shakespeare by the Lake, Take Three

This weekend marked our third annual trip to the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. Though we were excited about the trip, we were also somewhat taken aback that this is our third summer in California—doing something once or twice seems somehow less “permanent” than being around for an annual festival for the third year in a row. We also calculated that this was our sixth trip to Lake Tahoe. Our claims of not really living here grow flimsier by the day.

Anyway, we had a fabulous weekend. We got to the lake before lunch on Saturday and spread out on the beach, with our books and a cooler of lunch. It was pleasant in the sun, but soon grew hot, and we did something we hadn’t done in all our previous five trips: we swam in the lake. And it was amazing—cold, but not numbingly so like the other times we’d attempted it. Being pregnant, I am generally uncomfortably warm all the time, and the water felt fabulous. I stayed in far longer than shivering, non-pregnant Andrew. The lake is the ideal place for swimming—a firm sandy bottom, crystal-clear water, and very shallow; you can walk quite far out and still be only waist-deep. It was pure bliss to marinate in the cool, clean water and gaze out at the mountains and fir trees surrounding me.

After checking in to the Cal Neva and dressing in warm clothes, we set out for the Sand Harbor park to see Measure for Measure. We got there early to set up our chairs and have our picnic before the show started, then enjoyed watching the play while the sun set over the lake. It’s an incomparable setting for Shakespeare, and the play was well done as always, if perhaps less gripping than last year’s Richard III.

Back at the Cal Neva, we changed $10 into quarters and settled in to Hit the Big Time at the Triple Sevens slot machine. After using up all our quarters, we took our winnings and played through again. We wound up with $9.25. We decided to go ahead and once again go through all the quarters, winding up ultimately with…$9.25. Once more we gambled through, winding up with $3.50, which we carried in a Cal Neva bucket back to our room. We may not have the $30 million required to get the Cal Neva out of bankruptcy, but $6.50 was the least we could contribute to its fiscal health.

Sunday found us back at the beach—and once more in the lake—for a few hours. We had a late lunch at a local burger shack called the Char Pit, then headed down the mountain. Our swim kept us cool for most of the drive; though eventually, as we neared home, the car’s thermometer began climbing from Tahoe’s pleasant 76 to over 100.

It was a perfect summer weekend, and—I’ll say it!—I do feel lucky to be living so close to such an amazing spot. It really is one of our very favorite places out here.