Dining Habits Courtesy of Auntie Tam

The Varmint and I scurried northward to Santa Barbara for a weekend getaway and family celebration. My little niece Livia was celebrating her first birthday.

The party, appropriately, was held at the SB Zoo. Overall the weekend was a good balance: The yin of relaxing Tam & Varmint time at a nice B&B (including in-room fireplace and private hot tub) juxtaposed against the yang of cacophonic mayhem that only a baby/toddler party can produce.

It also provided my first opportunity to witness my family's dining genes in their purest form, prior to the socially-accepted inhibition of natural expression known as "manners." (See picture, above.) That right there was worth the price of zoo admission - and worth many more laughs than the crappy Dora the Explorer Show we were shocked to witness. L - A - M - E.

After waiting nearly 40 minutes, with kids going absolutely apeshit, Big Foam Dora finally trots out on stage to a chorus of squeals. Instead of an act, however, she just jiggled out into the middle of the stage, limply waved and trotted off. It was like Dora was a coked-out Mick Jagger, stumbling on the stage, waving five seconds to fans then exiting with a "Good night, Santa Barbara!"

The kids were confused, the parents pissed. I'm surprised a driving rain of pacifiers, half-filled baby bottles and boos didn't knock Dora out when she pulled that one, but instead of a kiddie riot, everyone just sat there stunned and then shuffled out of the park dejected. I guess people realized just as I did that her big foam costume would protect her: What we really needed was a harpoon - or a refund.


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I am a writer and lazy artist who loves travel, architecture and design. Right now, I'm into photography. My fabulous husband (a.k.a. The Varmint) and I are also the principals of a San Diego-based creative agency - and new parents to the divine Baby Mak. Read More >