Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Funnies: Who's the best dad?

Now that the road years are over for us, and we'll all be home together for at least six weeks before our next trip, you'd think that life would have become easier, more simple, that we'd have settled back into our routine.

You'd be wrong.

We have settled back into our routine, although "settled" is the wrong word. "Been dropped onto the 1,000 RPM hamster wheel that is life with a toddler" is more accurate. On Friday morning, I got this note from Mama:

Just wanted to tell you how our morning went. We played tag, played in the bathroom sink, took a vigorous bath, made a mask, played the ukalele on stage and clogged, vaccuumed, guided planes into the runway using paintbrushes as sticks like the workers at the airport, and read a lot of Richard Scarry Dictionary. For lunch he had about 1/4 cup of peas and a tofu pup and some cheese and Ritz crackers. For breakfast he had some cake and some cheese and some yogurt drink. And that is about it.
In the time it took them to do all this, I had taken the bus to work, unpacked and connected my laptop, and gotten a cup of decaf. I'm such a slacker.

More simple? Not so much. Thursday night this week we went to our first school meeting, in which we learned all the things we haven't done to prepare for 3B's first year of preschool. Backpack! Winter clothes! No hitting other kids! Of course, rather than prepare for this, we've spent the weekend hanging out with friends and going to the playground.

3B will be going for two half days each week, which we originally set up because it looked like Mrs. K wouldn't have space for him this fall, due to the arrival of siblings of kids she currently has, and because his friend Little J was going to be going there. Mama needs at least a day each week when she can schedule meetings in the office, conference calls, and so forth to get her work done, and this seemed the best option.

Now, however, Mrs. K still has room for 3B, due to kids moving out, and Mama is more busy than ever at work, so we're going to be figuring out how to pick up and drop off 3B three days a week rather than just one, with two of the pick ups coming at midday. So much for settling into our old routine.

One part of our old routine that we are trying to get back into is seeing some friends who surmised from our lack of communication this summer that we moved to North Dakota in June, and so it is that we're going to see Liberal Banana and her fiance--no more calling him Boyfriend--tonight for dinner and a romp in their yard with their two dogs for 3B and Barky. It's been too long since we've seen them and besides, we can always swing by Target and pick up a backpack on our way to the first day of school, right?

We'd be in much worse shape if not for Mama, who did things like fill out and turn in all the school forms on time, as well as read all the fliers, handouts, and the parent handbook from school while I was over here musing about who's the best TV dad. As if I would know...both Mama and I are mainstream-impaired due to our almost total lack of TV knowledge--an ignorance that has its roots in childhoods during which we were forced outside to play, which leaves us unable to participate in 40% of idle chitchat.

We're trying to make up for that by spending as much of our adult lives as possible indoors, staring at our computer screens, which I think puts me on the best dad scale somewhere between Andy Griffith and Mr. Drummond, whose kid ended up fighting Vanilla Ice in a celebrity boxing match. For real.

Hell, we haven't even been able to fall back into that part of our routine--the computer part, not the fighting Vanilla Ice part--what with the beautiful weather we've been enjoying forcing us to spend most of our family time outside. Life is never as simple or easy as it appears; you can never turn your back on nature, it's always trying to trick you with sunshine, cool breezes, and beautiful and mysterious foggy mornings that lead to happiness, relaxation, and peace of mind.


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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Babble, burble, banter

From the mouth of our babe this week have fallen a few bon mots, including the current favorite, thanks to Brother #2: "1, 2, 3, 4 penguins that were by the door." And then there are these...

"This is called air guitar." --Mrs. K was especially impressed by this. So was I, since I only taught it to 3B over breakfast, and he was apparently doing it all day.

"You've got poop all over your crib. You want to wash your hands." --Mama was not so impressed by the accuracy of this statement, uttered at the conclusion of 3B's nap yesterday. According to her, 3B went digging for gold, then went all Jackson Pollock in his crib. Good times.

"Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum" --Mama commented that my son was the only kid on the playground singing out this line, and then muttered something I couldn't quite make out about who had taught him this song. Hey, just be grateful that he hasn't mastered the next few lines--but don't worry, we'll work on it...

The mate was fixed by the bosun's pike
The bosun brained with a marlinspike
And cookey's throat was marked belike
It had been gripped by fingers ten;
And there they lay, all good dead men
Like break o'day in a boozing ken
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Feds fine editors for correcting grammar

"Two self-anointed grammar vigilantes who toured the nation removing typos from public signs have been banned from national parks after vandalizing a historic marker at the Grand Canyon...In addition to being banned from national parks for a year, the defendants, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy to vandalize government property, are banned from modifying any public signs. They also must pay $3,035 to repair the Grand Canyon sign."

... It all started harmlessly enough. TEAL members Jeff Deck and Benjamin Herson “discovered a hand-rendered fiberboard sign with yellow lettering with a black background,” Deck wrote in the TEAL blog—which has been shut down as part of the plea agreement—and “used a marker to cover an erroneous apostrophe, put the apostrophe in its proper place with white-out and added a comma.”

... Additionally, AP reported, “The misspelled word ‘emense’ was not fixed, Deck wrote, because he “was reluctant to disfigure the sign any further. ... Still, I think I shall be haunted by that perversity, emense, in my train-whistle-blighted dreams tonight,” Deck wrote.

(from The Content Wranglers)
Seriously?

Sure, the editors broke the rules, but they did it intelligently, for the good of all who came after them. Isn't that one of the core principles of our country, from the Boston Tea Party to Woody Guthrie?
"As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!"
The Feds should be chasing down whoever created that sign and locking them up for spreading bad grammar and spelling. Deck isn't kidding when he says his dreams will be haunted by "that perversity, emense." It's now stuck in my head like a bad spelling earworm.

Maybe I should sue the government for my suffering.


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Monday, August 25, 2008

Everything that happens will happen today

And if today is like yesterday, what happens will take place in an airport, a plane, or automobile. And if we have to wait, we will entertain ourselves.


There won't be songs about buildings and food, but there will be songs of hello and about submarines that are yellow.


There will be no fear of music, but we will remain in light until we have to pull down the shade and catch our naps on the short hop home.


And, because we're lucky, not necessarily good, there will be new music today.


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Playgrounds in airports by any means necessary

To support those readers of my recent post who would like to see playgrounds added to airports, I present this petition. Sign it by commenting, pass it on to two friends to sign, link to it, tweet about it, digg it, rate it, rank it, write it on a bathroom wall...and when all six of you loyal readers have commented on it, I'll print it out, seal it up and send it off to those powers that be...as soon as I figure out who they are.

Petition for Playgrounds in Airports

We, the undersigned, ask you, the powers that be:

How is it that McDonald's, which keeps costs down by having the smallest restaurants possible and whose most dangerous product is hot coffee, finds it worthwhile to spend the money to expand restaurants and increase their exposure to liability lawsuits by adding playgrounds to them, but airports, who consume thousands of acres of land and whose core business is stuffing as many people as possible into thin-skinned steel tubes full of explosive jet fuel and hurling those javelins into the sky at hundreds of miles an hour, can't find the square footage or a lawyer to write the indemnifying clauses necessary to build playgrounds?

Seriously, if airports can accommodate Brookstone--because we all need a digital nose hair trimmer at 35,000 feet--we think they could provide something that's an actual service to travelers.





And so, we implore you--as parents who need a break and as travelers who appreciate flying with kids who have burned off their extra energy in the airport rather than by tunneling into first class by crawling under every seat in front of them--to add playgrounds to every airport in the United States by any means necessary.

We thank you, our kids thank you, and we're pretty sure that all the flight attendants in the United States thank you, and we're all registered to vote (except the kids), and we're not afraid to do it.



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Friday, August 22, 2008

Bye bye, buns!

What 3B's saying these days...

In response to all kinds of questions: "Yes." (Mama and I are particularly happy about this, having made a concerted effort at the beginning of the year of the no's to have 3B say "yes" rather than remain silent when responding in the affirmative.)

After waking up screaming at 4:20 a.m.: "No! You cannot cry! No! Do you want a snugglehug? Yes." (This is one in a continuing series of self-answered rhetorical questions posed by 3B, including the ever popular call and response, "Do you want to go see Grammy now? Yes!" and other hits such as "Do you want to go to the basement and ride on cars? Yes!" and "Do you want a cookie? Yes!")

Walking out of a room: "Oh my gosh, I forgot!" (turns around, grabs lovie off the bed, heads out of the room)


Saying farewell to someone: "Bye bye, buns!" (The necessity of repetition of words for meaning escapes 3B--say something once, why say it again? This, combined with toddler pronunciation being what it is, renders a reminder to support the war effort as a farewell to ends.)


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Hot coffee, jet fuel and PlayPlaces

I could tell this was going to be a good vacation when I had already forgotten on my first day here what day of the week it was. It's only gotten better since then.

Activities have included walking up the hill to fly a kite, chasing 3B around the garage--he on a Little Tikes car, me on a Plasma Car, napping, playing in a tent, walking in the brook, picking and eating fresh raspberries and engaging in general frivolity in Grammy's driveway.

All of this playing brought to mind Mama's trip here, which was marked by a nine-hour delay in LaGuardia, due to weather. 3B is a veteran traveler and so he was happy and well-behaved throughout, if a little tired by the time they finally met Grammy. However, their ordeal has raised this question in my mind...

How is it that McDonald's, which keeps costs down by having the smallest restaurants possible and whose most dangerous product is hot coffee, finds it worthwhile to spend the money to expand restaurants and increase their exposure to liability lawsuits by adding PlayPlaces to them, but airports, who consume thousands of acres of land and whose core business is stuffing as many people as possible into thin-skinned steel tubes full of explosive jet fuel and hurling those javelins into the sky at hundreds of miles an hour, can't find the square footage or a lawyer to write the indemnifying clauses necessary to build PlayPlaces?

Really...why don't airports have PlayPlaces? Seriously, if they can accommodate Brookstone--because we all need a digital nose hair trimmer at 35,000 feet--I think they could provide something that's an actual service to travelers.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

My new favorite virgin

First installment of disjointed recollections of California...

I had conversations during the week with multiple moms whose kids are leaving for college soon, and I really couldn't wrap my mind around it. I'm having a hard time going a week without seeing 3B, and you're telling me that he'll go away for four years? What now?

We went over to Aunt M and Uncle B's for a family cookout. 3B loved the cousins and aunts and uncles, the horses out back, the yard in front, the boat on the trailer, which Cousin E helped him drive. 3B still talks about everyone from that night, including Valentine, the horse. Mama and I are still talking about the yard and how 3B suffers from Outdoor Deficit Disorder because outside is an elevator ride away in our building. If anyone knows how to add a yard to a condo several floors above ground, please let me know.

Many parts of the OC are wasted on the wealthy:

  • Perfect weather. Seriously, you rich people all work and exercise indoors, which is just as pleasant in, say, Yellowknife as it is in the OC. And when you do take a vacation from work, you can afford to fly somewhere with beautiful weather.
  • Aston-Martin dealerships. Just because you spent more on this car than I did on my house...OK, condo...you seem to believe that it's only appropriate to drive your Bondmobile a few times a year. This wastes a valuable investment that is built to be used, denies young boys the opportunity to ogle it in the parking lot at Target while you buy lightbulbs and, because the car is its own best advertisement--Daniel Craig has to be its best spokesperson--by taking it out of circulation, you reduce demand for it, meaning that A-M won't ramp up production, which would make them affordable to...well...me.
  • The ocean, the wind, your boats. Here's the deal, rich people: to live within 50 feet of the Pacific Ocean, you paid a sum for your house that would bail many developing countries out of debt, and yet you never set foot in the water. You bought sailboats that could either comfortably house a small village or compete in the America's Cup, and the most you do with them is pay someone to scrape the barnacles off their bottoms. I know that you currently pay a pretty penny in taxes on these items, but I propose that the government move to a use-it-or-lose-it system because, really, you've become an obstacle to those of us in the leisure class who know what to do with such amenities, which is certainly not to look at them in the rear-view mirror every morning as we drive off to work.
Virgin America. Thank you for getting it, for not treating me like a piece of baggage to be folded, spindled and mutilated on its journey, for not treating me like a wallet to be robbed, and for taking the time to do the little things right. As the magnet on Mom's fridge says, Use your brain; it's the little things that count.


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Friday, August 15, 2008

Naked mime and a potbellied schlub

First installment of disjointed recollections of California...

Post one Tweet about a naked mime and everyone will ask you about it forever. Yes, he was naked. Yes, he was in public--on Market Street at 4th, across from, appropriately enough, the Virgin Megastore. Yes, certain anatomical details were obscured by a perilously small sign, advertising some business, which was somehow affixed to him. No, I did not check out his business.

In San Francisco, ordering take out Thai on a lunch break from a training class, I looked in the full length mirror behind the cash register and wondered, Who is that slumpy, potbellied, tired, middle aged schlub in the peach polo shirt staring at me? Oh crap, that's me! Hey, who stuck that paunch on me?

I spent a few evenings after class with one of my two best friends, FunkDaddie, who I've known since I was a tiny tot. We were able to meet up with one of our good friends from high school, who we recently got in touch with through Facebook. I will say that The City is a great place to roam the streets at night, muse about the beauty of the world while perched on a park bench, and meet some great urban outdoorsmen, but I will say that I'm getting too old for those kinds of nights. At least my liver is.

I also got to see my sister and her man for dinner, which was good fun. However, when I go to my favorite restaurant, I still gorge myself. I don't think I ate for a whole day after dinner there. Hey, who stuck that paunch on me?

Brother #2 was kind enough to drive up from SoCal on Friday to drive me down to SoCal on Saturday, which is a 14-hour round trip drive. During our seven hour stretch together, we managed to solve most of the major problems confronting the world. I admit that we didn't forsee the Georgia-Russia dustup, but it could probably also be addressed by what I call our universal solution: fewer people needing less.

In his first few hours in SoCal, 3B had all of his cousins well trained. When I arrived and he sat down to sing me the welcome song from music class, they all sat down and sang along with him. What can I say? He works the cute.

Tomorrow...the riches of OC are wasted on the rich and my new favorite virgin...

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Mental leftovers

A few more thoughts brought about by the passing of The Rock yesterday...and then I promise I'll get to the naked mime...

I'm tired of writing elegies. Exhausted by it, actually. It seems that in these last few years, I've had too many to write, as well as too many to read. But this is the way, isn't it? Life and death together--it's impossible to have a rainbow without the sun and the rain together.

It's not just this one death that has such a great effect on me. It's that this one death connects me again to all of the other deaths. Somehow, as I'm mourning this one most recent loss, I feel the resonant pains from all the previous deaths I've survived. And so, when I find myself wandering lost through our house, I'm not just thinking of my turtle, but of Dad and Mom and Grandparents and all the others who've gone before me. I'm sure it's this and the mild insomnia and missing Mama and 3B that are causing me to get all teary during the Olympics. Any time they show an athlete looking up into the stands for their parents, it's waterworks for me. Christ, I'm getting old. And stop with the schmaltzy commercials already, all the weeping is worrying Barky. But, at least it's not just me...

John Lee Hooker once observed that the blues started when Adam and Eve met, which I guess means that the blues are in all of us. A few days ago at Grammy's, 3B, who hadn't been napping, sat on the couch next to Mama and sang You Are My Sunshine, until he got to the line, "I hung my head and I cried," when he broke down sobbing. Mama said it was just about the saddest thing she's ever seen. We've got to get that kid some sunglasses and a hat.

3B's cousin brought his guitar, painted with hot rod flames, over to Grammy's for 3B to play with while he visited. 3B's been carrying the thing everywhere he goes, strumming the whole while. I got to see it in our videochat last night. Adorable. And I'm glad he's put down the drums and picked up a guitar. Nothing good comes of rock n roll drummers.


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Thursday, August 14, 2008

The bell tolls again

Tonight I buried my companion of the last 28 years down by the water. He had lived with me at home growing up and at college, in L.A., in Palm Springs, in Colorado, and here in NoVa. He outlived all of the companions I got him by far, although he did lose a few toes to the more fiesty ones. It was only two years ago that we lost his longest-lived companion.

And so it is, with the passing of The Rock that we have become a one pet household, and so it was that with the passing of a turtle, I found myself this morning sitting on the floor, dressed for work, draped over Barky, sobbing into his neck.

It's just going to be like that for awhile, although setting The Rock down in the soft sand by the river did lift a weight from my heart...even if he would have hated being set down in a hole. I know, I know, a turtle should like being down in a burrow, and all the others I've known have, but not The Rock. He was always cantankerous like that.

When I first got him, he would regularly climb up the corner between the wall and the screen door in the patio where he lived. He would always get stuck trying to get up past the door handle, then fall three feet back down to the patio floor where he would sit for a minute before starting up the door again. Cantankerous and obstinate.

He never stopped rattling around wherever I kept him, often literally rattling the walls. My college roomie, awakened again by clonking and banging of The Rock pacing the length of his aquarium, his shell rapping against the glass with every step, asked if he was building a rocket ship. Mama had her own ideas about, and words for, The Rock's nocturnal construction projects.

But the nighttime noise was a constant reminder that The Rock was there. He was always there. Through college, through friendships, through bad times and good, riding shotgun in his aquarium on road trips and cross-country moves, he was my constant companion. Far Side cartoons aside, there's really no point in attempting to train a box turtle, but I did manage to learn some things from him. One of my favorite lines in the Tao of Pooh goes something like...walk like a bird, sit like a turtle and sleep like a dog.

Watching The Rock sit taught me, as I was just beginning to practice Buddhist meditation, how to sit. Other things he wasn't so good at, however, like making friends. He often ended up with his foot stuck in the shell or jaws of his female companions after making somewhat inappropriate amorous advances on them. Usually, I would let them work it out in hopes it would teach The Rock a lesson.

It never did.

I learned a lesson, however: biting a woman's backside is not a welcome opening move in any species. I also learned about the power of perseverance. When I first got The Rock, he was suffering, as most box turtles do at some point, from an upper respiratory tract infection, the first of many. We had to give him antibiotics, tea baths, cod liver oil and perform other acts that were unpleasant for all involved--ever tried to give an unwilling turtle a shot without getting bitten?--but The Rock pulled through.

And he pulled through everything, including Colorado winters, where the wildlife biologist who used to raise turtles said he was easily the oldest turtle he'd ever seen, which is about the same thing that a vet had told me about five years before that. I used to joke that The Rock was just too stubborn to die, but I think that was somewhat true. Although until you've lived with a turtle for some time, it's hard to believe that one could have a personality, I'm convinced that The Rock loved life and simply refused to give it up for something as small as a cold.

I'll never know what it was that took him at the end, but I do know that he had enjoyed several beautiful days out on our balcony. Perhaps he had been reminded, as I had, of living in California, of long summer days out in the garden, and of winters in Palm Springs, roaming through the entire house, chasing down crickets. Perhaps he was thinking of roaming through the lawn in Colorado.

I imagine, however, that he was not thinking of anywhere else or any other time. I imagine that he was sitting in the sun, being right there, right then, doing nothing but sitting like a turtle.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Like sleep

A morning without coffee is like sleep.
--Author Unknown

While I'm enjoying Californiaesque weather here in Dixie, in a month when it should be hotter than a snake's butt in a wagon rut, Mama and 3B are up in Maine, hanging out with Grammy...that's Mama's mom. Due to a cataclysm throughout lower New England, it took Mama and 3B 12 hours to not even get to Grammy's on Monday, rather than the five hours it was scheduled to take to actually get to Grammy's.

Having had to traverse two terminals at LaGuardia with a toddler, stroller, car seat and attendant accessories for all of those, Mama arrived at the gate for her second flight to find no sign of the flight and people lined up 10 deep at the desk. Turns out her flight had been canceled due to heavy rain, hail, cats and dogs, and so forth. Because she didn't really have a spare hand and was in the midst of a small breakdown, Mama called me for help in figuring out what was going on.

While both Mama and I were initially enraged at the airline--who could have headed that off by simply listing the canceled flights rather than removing all sign of them--the staff did everything they could to help Mama and then some.

They booked her onto another flight, which was subsequently canceled as well. As Mama checked on what her new options were, while throwing food and shiny things at 3B to keep him distracted, the woman at that gate answered the phone and told Mama, "My boss wants you to go back to your original gate and see her."

Somehow, the boss had remembered Mama and 3B--who could forget them?--and put Mama on a flight ahead of about 40 other folks who were trying to reschedule.

While I can't say that airlines, as companies, are treating people right, this did reaffirm my faith that people still treat people right.

And Mama's troubles were all put in perspective by the man she met who was traveling with twin two-year-olds. They were all trying to get to Maine to see his wife, the mother of the twins, who'd come down with viral meningitis and who was in the hospital with a swollen brain and an unsure prognosis.

Mama and 3B did finally make it to, as 3B likes to call it, Grammy Ptammy's on Tuesday, and their luggage was even waiting for them on Grammy's porch. While they've been traveling and are now trying to catch up on sleep, I've been trying to catch up on laundry, vacuuming, and the Olympics.

I've also been trying to catch up on sleep, although that's hard to do when Mama's gone, since I have a hard time sleeping without her around. It has helped somewhat that, in one of my periodic bouts of masochism, I'm slowly decaffeinating myself. As someone who once had a six-cup-a-day habit, this is no mean feat. At times, I've felt like I'm swimming underwater, and I do cop to a few sodas and iced teas to get me through those times, but generally it's going well.

I know, I know, why bother decaffing when we're going to have to reverse engineer the crazy trip that Mama and 3B took in a week or we're just going to have another baby or there's going to be a fencing final match at 1 a.m.?

Because every time I do decaf myself, I sleep better and have more energy overall, that's why.

But, the process does rob me of whatever shreds of an attention span I have left, so tomorrow, in no particular order, I'll begin assembling a recap of my week in California, starting with the naked mime.


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Monday, August 11, 2008

Go away, Daddy

BabyCenter's weekly updates often have helpful tips mixed in with the oft-recycled boilerplate pieces, but this week's tip about talking left me at a loss:

Your child may be using only the most basic words, or he may be stringing together sentences already. Both are normal at this age. First sentences tend to be brief, but they get the point across and are exciting to hear. Help your child internalize sentence structure by repeating his words in full sentences. When he says, "Mommy! Shoes! Me!" you can echo back, "Oh, you want me to help you put your shoes on? Okay, come here!"
So, how do I respond when 3B says, "Want Daddy to go away now"?


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Good friends we have, good friends we have blogged


As MetroDad wrote recently, friendship in the blogosphere is weird. I communicate more regularly with many people in cyberspace than I do with most of my real world friends.

It used to be the case that those people I talked with more were my best friends, however, there's still some lingering weirdness about declaring that some of my best friends are people who I've never met, but it's true. I don't feel so weird about it as some friends and family do--of course, probably not the family who I keep in touch with mostly through this blog and email.

These far-flung connections prove true my belief that if any two people just talk to each other, they'll find something in common, as well as my corollary belief that we all have more in common with each other than we believe possible.

So, when I opened the free WaPo rag today on the Metro and saw a friend quoted, I laughed aloud. Yeah, suddenly, I was that guy on the Metro. I wanted to give her a high five, or as 3B says, a "hee feeve," or maybe even 3B's favorite, the "medium feeve."

But then I remembered how fantasy football season is upon us and how Sarah stomped my team into the virtual turf last season and I started thinking that perhaps a "low feeve" would be as high as I would go. Or maybe I could express my frustration at such ignominious defeats as 3B did to Charlotte, his new playground friend, by hitting her.

Oh, c'mon--who are we kidding? All lingering weirdness and bruised egos aside, there's only one appropriate response...a slap on the ass from the President.

C'mon, you know you wanted to see a better shot of that.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

"I am," said I

"L.A.'s fine, the sun shines most of the time
The feeling is laid back
Palm trees grow and the rents are low
But you know I keep thinking about
Making my way back"
--Neil Diamond

Of course 3B held off on his biggest trick until we were back from the OC, where he got to see an uncle, aunts, cousins, a great uncle, great aunts, cousins once removed...or wait, is that second cousins, or are those Shakespearean cousins...?

Oh sure, Mama and I got to catch up with most of my six loyal readers, who also happen to be family to us too, but we all know who they were coming to see and it wasn't Mama or me. OK, they were actually coming to see Mama as well as 3B. What can I say? They grew up with me, or rather, I grew up with them, since I'm the youngest, so they're pretty much done with me.

So, while everyone oohed and aahed over 3B and Mama, I had plenty of me time. Speaking of me time, 3B unveiled his big trick today at naptime. When we put him in his crib, there's usually some sort of protest about "You can't play with any toys! No! You have to go to sleep!" Today, however, after Mama put him in his crib to sleep, he said, "I don't want anything I want!"

Later tonight, he repeatedly used "I" correctly. Well, you know, sort of...since what he really meant at naptime was "I can't have anything I want." But still, it's close enough that he's one shiny shirt away from being a rock star.



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Friday, August 01, 2008

How many times must a man look up

"All I want to know is, Are you kind?"
--Grateful Dead

Apropos of nothing, today is Jerry Garcia's birthday. On the greatest radio station in the world, that's bigger than most national holidays.

"Don't leave me hanging on the telephone."
--Blondie

I think I know what Dad thought of the forced breakup of the company he worked for all of his adult life. I sort of wonder what Dad would have thought of the later purchase of the wireless portion of that company by another wireless company. And what I really wonder is what Dad would have thought about that combined wireless company, now doing business under the name of Dad's company, which does not provide adequate enough coverage here in Dad's own home for me to make a call.

Seriously, in the middle of Silicon Valley, mere blocks from the birthplaces of Hewlett-Packard and Google, I can't make a call on my cell phone unless I stand on the brick wall in the back yard. Good thing the weather here is always...well, perfect.

"Without a hurt, the heart is hollow."
--"Try to Remember," The Fantasticks

When I was a kid, I'd wonder where the wind goes. Right? Because all this air blows away, so how is there still air here for us to breathe? You'd think that everyone in Wyoming would have suffocated by now.

When I was older, I recall talking to Mom about how enjoyable it was, at times, to just be alone. I told her about walking across snowfields over the shoulder of one of her favorite mountains and walking out into the desert with a water bottle and a hat and how the wind was always blowing. "Oh, the wind is a good one," Mom replied. Then she described how, when she lived in San Francisco before meeting Dad, she would go and sit on a hill overlooking the Bay and let the wind wash over her.

These thoughts began to pass through my head again as I sat on the granite bench overlooking Mom and Dad's graves today, and I got to wondering where they went. Are they really out there in the wind, blowing over us all, like an eternal tide? Are they up there in the sky, as momentary as clouds, as steady as the sun? Or is it dust to dust, and have they been carried up into the overhanging oak that was sheltering me, passed cell to cell to such great heights?

But really, aren't they closer than that--in my bones, my hands, my eyes? Don't they walk with me everywhere, hold my son when he sleeps on my chest, and cry when I wish they could sit beside me and see the brilliant golden hills?

And aren't they in my son when he "runs so fast" away from me at the playground, charging forward, head down; and when he curls his soft hand around my fingers; and when he looks up and wonders at the stars?


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