Mar 31 2015

Godzilla vs. King Kong 2: A Story by Robin

Robin has given me permission to share his first work of fiction here. It’s called “Godzilla vs. King Kong 2.” It has been lightly edited for spelling, but otherwise is presented exactly as intended by the author. Warning: this story contains violent themes!

“Once upon a time there was a city people were nice.
THEN monsters came and guns were everywhere and one was damaged
AND people are screaming OF ROARS and King Kong. Bad was here.
with 1,000,000,000 of ☺ died GODZILLA DIES but he comes back
Then monsters fight
Godzilla is uses his bite. King Kong uses his punch.
Godzilla will become so powerful times of atomic breath
King Kong will not be powerful.
Godzilla wins

THE END or is it”

In other creative-writing news, I’ve recently learned that a story of mine will be included in the upcoming Love Hurts anthology from Meerkat Press. It’s scheduled to be published in October, so I’ll post more about it as the book nears launch. I’m fairly stoked that the list of other authors includes Charlie Jane Anders, who is a distant friend and whose work I have been following with interest and pleasure. (We moved in some of the same circles when I lived in San Francisco, and I always liked her, though I actually knew her girlfriend Annalee better.) I was super stoked when she won a Hugo Award for her novelette Six Months, Three Days, and I feel warm and cozy about having our stories share a Table of Contents. It’s sort of like a writerly high-five.

Mar 23 2015

Three Boys

Robin’s expression in this photo cracks me up (click for bigger version):


And Sol’s birthday is tomorrow! He’s still super happy, super sweet, and super destructive. The Wreckin’ Ball turns two…

Davy is soldiering on, though he’s been having a little bit of a rough time lately. It turns out he has a hernia that will need surgical repair—he had one very painful episode that took him to the emergency room, but it subsided and he’s doing okay now. The surgery is scheduled for April 17th. Apparently hernias in children are actually relatively common; I had no idea. Until the surgery’s done he can’t run or jump around, so that’s putting a big crimp in his style. I’m nervous about it because he’s going to need general anesthesia, and there’s always risks associated with that, but I’m told that this is a very routine procedure and he should be able to come home right afterwards.

Bonus pic of Robin and Davy:


And another photo of two kids! (Ha ha hah.) This one’s a bit older, as you can tell because it was taken before Robin got a haircut; I took it when we last went to Nevada to visit Nonna and Pappy.


Feb 14 2015

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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


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:



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:


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…”


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–”

“Have you heard the good news about our Lord and–”

“Excuse me, lady, but you’re standing on my–”

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

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…?”