Feb 14 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Davy had a great time making Valentines for his preschool friends this year—that is, he had a great time making about five of them, and then he was done. So I made the other thirty-three. I was particularly pleased with the effect of random animal stickers paired with tiny hearts.

I am also very proud to say that Davy made the necklace at the top of the photo, and he made it for me. I know lots of people are grouchy about Valentine’s Day but I really like it: of all the things we have holidays for, “love and friendship” seems to me the most worth celebrating. Although it’s possible that I just like the puns. I choo-choo-choose you!


Feb 13 2015

Wreckin’ Ball Sol

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A couple weeks ago on Facebook I wrote: “Tonight I’m struck by the weird, irrational certainty that Sol has just transformed from a baby into a little boy. Like, today. He was a baby yesterday—a big one, but still a baby—and now he’s a little boy.” You can see that in this picture, I think. The last of my babies has vanished, and in his place is this little boy, rarin’ to go.


Feb 2 2015

The Gospel of Godzilla

Here’s something Robin worked up recently–it’s meant to be a “top 10 facts about Godzilla” sort of thing, but as you read through, it takes on an almost spiritual quality:

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TOP 10 GODZILLA IS NOT GOOD OR BAD

10. Godzilla is not good or bad
9. Godzilla is a good AND bad
8. Godzilla is Godzilla
7. Godzilla is the ki[ng]

The numbers 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 have been drawn but are blank. (5 was drawn backwards at first and then forwards, so it appears to be 25 at first glance.) Anyway, I feel this stands as an interesting alternative to the more widely-known Tablets of Moses.


Jan 20 2015

Much Mulch

Yesterday our Scout group participated in an MLK Day of Service event organized by the East Bay Regional Park District—the 23rd Oaklanders, along with lots of other volunteers, helped spread mulch and pick up trash at the Martin Luther King Jr. Shoreline Park here in Oakland. Here’s a pic I snapped of Robin and Davy attacking the mulch pile:

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Two hours later we had that whole pile spread out, along with two others just like it, and the kids got to walk around a bit and enjoy the shoreline. Several of the Scouts were disappointed that there wasn’t enough trash for them to find!


Jan 9 2015

I Have Three Kids

So the other day, walking to pick up Davy from preschool, I had this exchange with a nice clipboard-carrying young person:

Nice Clipboard-Carrying Young Person: “Excuse me ma’am, do you have a moment to talk about…”

Me: “I HAVE THREE KIDS.”

Nice Clipboard-Carrying Young Person (with evident confusion): “Oh! Um, have a good day.”

Now, what I meant to convey was: “No, I’m sorry, I do not have a moment to talk about solar energy, the humpback whales, or Local Bond Measure 42Q, because I have three children, only one of which you see me pushing in this baby stroller right this second. I also have a four year old who is waiting for me to come pick him up from preschool, so I can’t be late. And in addition to that, I have a seven-and-a-half-year-old who managed to convince me just twelve minutes ago that he is now old enough to stay home by himself while I dash out to pick up the preschooler, but now I’m second-guessing that decision and imagining all the terrible things that can happen to a seven-and-a-half-year-old left alone for twelve minutes—which will of course actually be half an hour by the time I get back home with the preschooler and the baby in tow. So you see, I’m fretting and I’m stressed and I’m rushing, all because I have an extra two children that you don’t see here.”

But what came out was: “I HAVE THREE KIDS.”

And the beautiful thing is that the apparent non-sequitur actually somehow conveyed everything I really needed to communicate in that moment, which probably boils down to “I am dangerously unstable and you should not attempt any further interactions with me.” So now I’m thinking about all the other situations in which I HAVE THREE KIDS would constitute a quick and irrefutable way to end the conversation.

“Hi, I’m calling on behalf of a market research company–”
“I HAVE THREE KIDS.”

“Have you heard the good news about our Lord and–”
“I HAVE THREE KIDS.”

“Excuse me, lady, but you’re standing on my–”
“I HAVE THREE KIDS.”

“Ma’am, you really can’t go wandering down the freeway wearing your bathrobe and swigging from a bottle of gin.”
“I HAVE THREE KIDS.”

See? It’s pretty much foolproof!


Dec 31 2014

New Year’s Eve

Usually I kind of try to block out the knowledge of how lucky I am, because in the moments when I’m fully aware, I’m just paralyzed by it. I have a warm and cozy home. I have three loving boys. I have a handsome, kind, devastatingly intelligent husband who has somehow been bespelled into thinking that I’m Venus risen from the foam. I did nothing to deserve everything that’s come to me, and there’s no way I can ever truly be worthy of it. And some part of my brain is always aware that my happy life is built on a foundation of fragile ice—one car accident, one malignant tumor, and we’d all be plunged into the dark and frigid fathomless depths.

I look at what at I have, and I’m grateful. I look at what could be, and I’m afraid. I light candles, I speak words of thanks, because fundamentally I know that I don’t deserve what I have, and at any moment it could all be taken away.

Maybe this is a darker New Year’s benediction than is customary, but it’s how I always feel as the year balances on its finest point. I understand the Aztec urge to sacrifice. The next face of the sun, the extension of blessing, how can it possibly come for free? But it does, or does not, regardless of what we offer up.

I’ll hold my breath. I’ll wish for life and light to continue. I’ll kiss the ones I love.

Happy New Year. I have been blessed, and I give you all what blessing I can.


Dec 30 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope all of you are enjoying the holidays—we spent Christmas Day traveling, as the kids hadn’t been back to see Pops and Mo in Arkansas for several years, and the only remotely affordable plane tickets we could find were those that had us flying on Xmas. Plane travel with three small children is never fun, but I will say that it could have been much worse. And seeing the family was delightful! The boys love their uncles, and of course they love their Pops and Mo.

And I liked seeing Fayetteville again! Every time I get back for a visit it’s changed enormously, but some things are always the same.

I snapped this pic of my kids exploring one of my favorite sites in Fayetteville: the “Point 7″ art installation in Wilson Park. (You can juuuuust see Robin and Davy poking their heads up over the wall.) I loved this little play area when I was a kid: it’s like a Maurice Sendak book brought to life. A castle with a moat and bridge, gargoyle faces, mosaic decorations—and everything twisted or mis-proportioned in a goblinish sort of way. If I ever have the kind of money that would allow me to become a great patroness of the arts, I’d like to bring the sculptor (Frank Williams) to Oakland and have him make something similar here.


Dec 22 2014

Important Facts About the Food Pyramid

Davy: “Are oranges healthy?”
Me: “You shouldn’t JUST eat oranges. But yes, they are good for you.”
Davy: “Is orange juice healthy?”
Me: “Not really! If you just squeeze the juice out, you get a lot of sugar and not as much of the stuff your body needs. Eating fruit keeps you healthy but too much juice is not good for your body.”
Robin: “Vegetables are healthy! And so is soup! And cookies are…?”
Davy: “VEGETABLES.”


Dec 6 2014

Leading Questions

Robin: “Dad sometimes says bad words.”
Me: “Yes, sometimes.”
Robin: “Like…?”
Me: “Hmm, I don’t know. Shoot?”
Robin: “No, not that one!”
Me: “Darn?”
Robin: “No!”
Me: “Dangnabbit?”
Robin: “No!”
Me: “Jiminy Christmas?”
Robin: “No!”
Me: “Oh, then I don’t know which bad words you mean.”
Robin: “The bad word for poop!”
Me: “Oh, THAT one.”
Robin: “Which is…?”
Me: “I’m not going to say THAT! It’s a bad word!”


Dec 1 2014

Subjective vs. Objective

Davy: “Four is not a lot.”

Me: “Well, it depends on context. Like, in the context we’re talking about right now—which is the number of oranges you have already eaten, and whether I should give you another orange—four is kind of a lot.”

Davy: “No. One hundred million is a lot.”