Monday, February 01, 2010

the mass wasters

Two weeks ago, we had a lot of rain in San Diego.


Charlie measured more than six inches in his backyard "weather station" (the children's sand pail) and 12 days later, despite a sophisticated drainage system, our yard is still saturated.

Because the average rainfall in San Diego is around 10 inches per year, and we border the ocean, this area falls under the category of coastal desert. Native vegetation is rather sparse and the soil isn't very porous so can't handle large amounts of precipitation. When we do get a lot of rain, there tends to be a lot of runoff, a lot of mudslides and a lot of flooding.

If these rains keep up - and more rain is predicted this week - California very well may be on it's way out of the drought that we've been in for the past three years. But to effectively end the drought, we need approximately 19 more feet of snow in the mountains. Which works out to approximately 19 more inches of rain. Although there are no guarantees that we'll get the same kind of intense rain storms we've experienced this first month of the year, experts have said that El NiƱo conditions in the Pacific Ocean increase the likelihood of more big storms all winter.

All this to say, Yay! We love rain!

And also, we're considering the purchase of a boat.


While the storm two weeks ago was hammering our area, we'd heard repeatedly on the news that swells along the coast were between 15 and 20 feet. After a quick survey, everyone unanimously agreed that we wanted to SEE that kind of force up close, so we drove to the beach last weekend. There were definitely some big waves - but more surprising was that a large portion of the beach had completely washed away because of the storm surge.


Here we are doing what we can to help accelerate erosion.


Charlie had way too much fun.



And the kids had way too much fun.



Up and down the beach they went while yelling out...


"Look at me!"


"I'm Mass Wasting!"


In this context, "mass wasting" is geological.



As opposed to say, mass wasting of the dietary variety.


Why it is that the more time I spend in the kitchen cooking a meal, the less likely the children are to eat it, remains a mystery. It's not like we give them snacks throughout the day. And it's not like we're serving up muck. This is good, wholesome food. (At least to those who reside here that are over five feet tall.) Food that I truly believe - that if we continue serving to the children - they will eventually eat.


For the love of all that is holy, why won't they eat sweet potatoes made with brown sugar?

To see their reaction, you'd think I was attempting to force feed them cyanide.

Hopefully, before they are 30 they will come to realize just how lucky they've got it living here. But as for now, our children are perfectly content to eat cereal. Or quesadillas. Or peanut butter sandwiches. For. Every. Meal. Which we won't let them do, because we're extremely mean that way. Although it happens quite often, that Charlie and I will wonder aloud if we'd just oblige them, perhaps we wouldn't feel like we were mass wasting our precious time?

Think of the energy we could save if we just served up Cheerios three times a day...

The kids would love it, we'd have extra time on our hands, less dishes to wash and everyone's cholesterol would be lower!

But we'll never give in to their finickiness.

Tomorrow, we're making beef bourguignon.


  1. Such beautiful pictures. I can't wait to see San Diego next summer when my son graduates boot camp. My daughter is looking forward to another type of scenery...."all those hot Marines." Yikes.

    Hold firm with the food. We held firm and by age 7 our kids were orderiing spinach artichoke pizza and grilled salmon when we went out with friends. On the sweet potatoes...our kids wouldn't eat them because they "felt funny on their tongues." They didn't like the texture of them.
    I still make dinners and get frustrated because one will decide she's eating Chinese with friends and one will decide he's eating at Arby's after wrestling practice. Then my husband gets a real crabby dinner mate as I slam the meatloaf onto the table and say "Why do I even bother?" Because, clearly, the fact that we have teenagers is his fault.

  2. Are we really getting more rain? Whatever you get heads our way!!! We have had more rain than all of last year. Can you imagine the desert flowers this year?

    Keep up the good food choices, mom. My motto is that they will eat what I make or starve.

  3. OH man...I so get this post. I don't have three five year olds, just one 2.5 year old. But we struggle with food here too. Picky, picky!!!

    I try to make things healthy by sneaking in veggies, but he's got a wary eye. LOL! Have you read Jessica Seinfeld's recipe "Deceptively Delicious"? Try it...I think you'd be impressed. I just can't figure out the time to do her prep work.

    At least with us, when all else fails, I feed our little guy steamed broccoli. He could eat his weight in broccoli (with a little butter and salt), so I'm considering myself lucky!

  4. Keep up the good fight on ALL fronts!!!!!!! My almost 12yo is finally starting to curb her complaints about dinner; perhaps she is finally realizing 'it's my my job provide you with food; it's your job to eat it' really means JUST THAT.

  5. Great! Serve it over noodles or mashed potato.

  6. I can't elieve that in winter you can go bare foot! Does not compute!

    My five year old is also a lousy, fussy eater. Not only that but what she is fussy about changes on a whim. I think 5 year olds are just not growing as fast as they were a year ago and need significantly less calories, which means they know they can pick and choose what they fancy and still feel full. Stand firm. They'll get less fussy in a couple of years!

  7. Can I come to your house for dinner?

    Beautiful pictures, as opposed to some what dreary Sonoma County. We did have a brief burst of sunshine today which I took as my birthday present from Mother Nature.

  8. What is sweet potato with brown sugar? I don't understand. Isn't sweet potato something you grow, roast or mash (with milk & a dollop of butter) and serve? I don't understand where the sugar comes into it? Can you help a US food challenged Aussie?

    I have some issues with new food the kids eat as I am trying to expand their palette so we have more dining out options. If they don't eat it all (within an hour) they go to bed. Only had to do it a few times.

  9. Jakarta Rocks,

    A sweet potato with brown sugar is: mash a sweet potato with a dollop of butter and then, throw on a teaspoon of brown sugar. Or a tablespoon. Or whatever fits your fancy. Mix it up and voila - it's almost better than ice cream. Sometimes, I'll sprinkle miniature marshmallows on top of that concoction and bake it in the oven until the marshmallows are slightly browned. It's so unbelievably good, I could eat if for breakfast.

    Leave it to us in the US to sugar everything up. Yes, we make a sweet potato even sweeter and then we wonder why we have a problem with weight.

  10. Love the pictures. Those toss in the air ones are priceless lessons in trust that daddy will be there and wont let them fall!
    As far as the food problem goes… my mom used to say “sorry kid (insert name here) the next meal is breakfast” in other words there would be no snacks if we didn’t eat what was on the plate and it was never over heaped. It was her way of never letting her kids upset her about their food likes and dislikes and with 7 of us there was lots of raw material for upset. Oh yes we were each allowed one food item that we were ‘allowed' to dislike and refuse to eat but everything else she expected us to eat.