Tuesday, October 21, 2008


today i am washing and folding and packing all the clothes the boybarians wore at about 4-5 years old. the jeans that are still in great condition, endless t-shirts that aren't faded or worn, hanna striped jammies worn every christmas, a land's end jacket that looks nearly new after two boys have been through it already.

i do this about once a year for my goddess son, le petit prince. i started with the baby stuff, moved up to 18-24 mos., 2T, 3T, and now the 4Ts. i've got bags in the closet ready to go as he grows.

as i fold each little t-shirt and shake out each pair of jeans i am reminded of my boys when they were small. well, smaller. they are still small. aren't they?

well, maybe not. but i suppose they will always be small to me.

also today i am researching all that i will need to homeschool the duke (and then wingman) through high school to ensure him the best possible chance at getting into the college of his choice, should he choose college after high school, while also ensuring that he's eligible for scholarships.

it seems early, but it isn't. it's never too early to plan ahead when it's your head that has to navigate them through.

a special challenge is his desire to take part in a state program wherein the last two years of high school he can take college classes for both high school AND college credit.

so i wash and fold and pack away part of his youth as i navigate how to best see him successfully to young adulthood. at least academically wise. i haven't even begun to figure out how i'm going to actually parent a teenager, let alone two teenagers, let alone successfully.

you always think when they are still sleeping with you or peeing their pants or forgetting their jackets at preschool that it will be "easier" as they get older. that "less" will be required of you.

but folding those clothes today the feeling i had was not unlike folding those clothes and diapers getting ready for them to be born.

and i'll you in on a little secret, it wasn't any "easier."

and i suspect it won't get any "easier." and i suspect that so much more than i could ever imagine will be required of me.

and now because we all need it, and because i'm on a video roll (oh, yeah, it's a video with sound.)

yes we carve.


Monday, October 20, 2008

free form friday. (yeah, i know it's monday)

while not completely random, we took another walk on friday and encountered this wonderful mushroom pictured above. cool, huh?

wingman was pretty enthralled with ALL the mushrooms we found, but at each one sniffed

"oh, but it's not a shaggy mane"


which only confirms my suspicions he does indeed have some secret life.

Coolness of the week!

(be advised, this is a news video link with sound. totally safe for work or kids, though)

click here.

if you can't access it, it's a story on how the pope just gave india their first female saint.

Random political bits for the week.

colin powell endorses obama, blasts own party.

palin HAS to go on SNL and sit for the roasting to try and gain points. sad and shameful.

poor joe the @#&$^%! plumber.

Food love of the week; Coke.

while coke is in NO WAY random, quite the opposite, it's my food love of the week and i'll tell you why.

i don't drink soda so i always forget this, BUT, when you've got that headache coming on and there's no coffee around and no pain reliever to be found, drink a coke. coke is always around. in vending machines, corner stores, gas stations, etc. even at the top of one of your area's highest peaks.

if coca cola needs to be bailed out by government then we really know the world has gone to shit.

i had a migraine on saturday, but recovered enough to go hiking on sunday. well, until one adds in a 90 minute car ride, not enough breakfast, and 5000+ feet up in oxygen thin country. by the time we got ready to go on the hike my head was pounding pretty good. no coffee, no advil, no amenities at the visitor's center.

but, they had a vending machine and that vending machine had coke.

the real miracle is that i actually had money in my wallet (which i NEVER do) AND the machine actually took my dollar without spitting it back out at me.

there are miracles afoot everywhere, people.


Friday, October 17, 2008


i hope to have a free form friday for you later. in the meantime enjoy the conversation heard from the backseat yesterday.

wingman "i wish everybody in the world was bullet proof then john lennon would still be alive."

the duke "but then lots of ruthless leaders would still be alive, too."

w "but then abraham lincoln would never have been shot."

d "but then we'd never have the joke 'other than that, mrs. lincoln, how was the play?' "


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

we took a walk yesterday.

we saw a waterfall.

isn't this tree amazing?

now, this is a bit fuzzy, but look at the "trunk" of that/those tree(s). doesn't it look like a sculpture? i see a female form towards the bottom wrapped around another taller human form towards the top. very isadora duncan.

we also saw some big ass leaves! very jurassic.

it's nice to see flowers blooming in the dark of the forest in october, isn't it?

there was a japanese garden.

and a zen garden.

and a reflecting garden. do you see that red dot at the far end? that's wingman. hi, wingman!

this handsome fellow was enjoying the attention. did you know that trumpeter swans mate for life?

and this was at the end. very merchant and ivory.

and that's the end of our walk. it was quiet and amazing and beautiful. a delightful way to spend the last of the perfect fall days.

speaking of delightful, new wine blog tonight and this time we're headed to australia. ACE!


Friday, October 10, 2008

free form friday.

this was the bathroom in the hotel the lord of the ring and i stayed in in san francisco in 2006.

how random is that?

which is the perfect introduction to "free form friday."

a collection of randomness.

so this bathroom was mirrored all around. you see the television and phone? you could live in here! the weekend we stayed there i took two extra long baths complete with wine and cheesy television. it was heaven.

y'all be happy to know i did not use the phone. and considering it's placement, eeeww.

ring! ring!


"hi! what are you up to?"


a book i read and LOVED this week;

The Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond

from amazon
In this spare page-turner, Richmond (Dream of the Blue Room) draws complex tensions from the set setup of a child gone missing. Photographer Abby Mason stops on San Francisco's Ocean Beach with her fiancĂ© Jake's six-year-old daughter, Emma, to photograph a seal pup; by the time Abby looks up, Emma has disappeared. Abby delves into the bereft missing children subculture and into the vagaries of memory. The book is beautifully paced—one feels Abby's clarity of purpose from the first page. The sure-handed denouement reflects the focus and restraint that Richmond brings to bear throughout.

music i listened to and LOVED this week;

Rust Never Sleeps by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

on vinyl. yeah, baby. nothing gets the laundry folded faster. well, except paying your youngest boybarian to do it.

something i ate and LOVED this week;

Larrupin's Swedish Mustard Dill Sauce.

mmmmm. this comes from way way northern california and is good on so many things. i had it during our yom kippur breakfast for dinner fest last night on a bagel with cream cheese, sliced tomatoes, red onions, lox, with the mustard sauce on top. it really is so good.

happy friday!


Thursday, October 09, 2008

i should have put in an extra 50 cents to try for the patron saint of lost objects.

the following conversation took place this morning.

me: i did the dumbest thing i've ever done in my life today.

him: oh, i hardly think that's possible.


there's always room for fucking up somewhere, right?

i think what he meant to say was supposed to be reassuring, like "oh, of course you didn't."

but it came out sounding different. and it's funnier to skew it this way anyway.

(note to all you singles out there. never go out with/date/partner/marry a writer. trust me)

anyway, at yoga i took my rings off. i wear two rings. my wedding ring and a ring that was a joint gift from the goddess mother and my sister after the duke was born. oh look. there it is above us. it's a carved face set in silver. it's beautiful. everyone who sees it loves it. i love it.

so my rings have been looser lately...okay. can i just stop here and repeat that. in bold. and caps.


i'd like to believe all this yoga is finally paying off. while i am doing it for health and peace of mind, there are some other pieces of me i'd like to see affected by it as well. the pieces that are more used to being affected by wine and cheeseburgers.

anyway, so i took my rings off because they bug me during yoga. and i always put them in the front part of my purse...okay. can i just stop right here a say i do not at all care for the word purse. when i think of myself i DO NOT think of myself as someone who would carry a purse. i don't know why. it just seems so girlie and moommyish.

not that i think of myself as the burly truck driver type, just something about the word purse.

anyway, so i took my rings off and put them in my purse. in one of the front flat pockets of my purse where i always put them.

then i had some sort of leave of senses, a fit of the idiotics if you will. i took them from my purse and had the brilliant idea to put them in my sweatshirt pocket with my keys. a small pocket. a pocket that's shallower than...okay can i just stop right here i so do not have time for a metaphor, just trust me when i say the pocket is shallow.

so of course after class i gather my things and put my sweatshirt on and head to my car. as i get to the car i pull out my keys and get in the front seat.

and right then, somewhere in the back of some conscious part of my brain i register a small sound. not a ping or a thud, just a sound. i'm aware and not aware of it at the same time. but i don't become aware of this at all until a minute or so later. make sense? no? read on, you'll see what i mean.

i start the car and i'm going to put it in reverse and then i remember my rings. i go to my purse to the pocket where i put them and they aren't there. i dig deeper and they aren't there. i check the other pocket and they aren't there.

panic. you all know panic. real abject fear. that one split second when you know you are not dreaming and it's only one split second more when you'll find the child, the wallet, the wedding ring or you won't. and everything after that one split second more will be cool or absolutely fucked up beyond all repair.

and in the next split second my rings weren't there. totally FUBAR.

my sweatshirt pocket! of course! now i remember!

i checked and they weren't there.

i get out of the car and look underneath and around and they aren't there. i get back in.

and then i remember the small sound. only right then do i become aware that i was aware and i remember that i registered some small sound. so i open the door and right there, right where i just looked, right there is my wedding ring. lying on the pavement. my beautiful ring that symbolizes so much, that means so much to me. just lying there.

how did i overlook it before? how did i not see this? maybe it wasn't there or maybe it was.

all i know is i picked it up and put it on and gave a sigh. of. relief. an upwards glance of thanks.

but my other ring? nowhere to be found. i searched again in and out and around the car. i went back in the building and got help looking and retraced my steps and it was nowhere. to. be. found.

and it's just a thing but the sense of loss was so profound. they are just things, sure, we can all tell ourselves this. just things, but they really can come to mean so much. even more when they are gone.

isn't that funny. how something means more when it's not right in front of us. now THAT is a sick cosmic joke. and a really really REALLY good lesson.

don't they usually go hand in hand? the sick comic jokes and the lessons learned?

where was i? oh, yeah. so i got back into the car, put the key in the ignition, and i'm about ready to go when right then, for some reason unbeknownst to me, right then i am compelled to look in my purse, in the main part, not the front pockets, and right there was my ring. staring up at me. right there.

now, like i said before, at yoga i never put my rings in the main part. just in the front flat pockets (when i'm not hit by a fit of the idiotics that is) and even though i had the flap up to look in the front pockets initially, so sure the main part was exposed, remember i ended up putting the rings in my pocket. not anywhere in my purse.

and yet, it there it was. right there on top. staring right up at me.

and there you have it. divine intervention on a random thursday in october.

and i'm sure there's a lot more to say about that but i think i'm good for now.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

in a pickle.

okay. this is a BAD picture. but if you look closely you will see that this is a gumball machine. only it's filled with little plastic figures. homies or saints.

well, i don't think i have to tell you i nearly peed my pants when i came upon this, right? we were on a road trip early in the summer and we stopped in this small town i hadn't much ever noticed in all the years driving by the exit on the freeway. i am SO glad we did!

you put your 50 cents in a give it a ride. and it gives you a homie or a saint. pretty cut and dried.

and therein lies the pickle.

do i keep dropping quarters in, ANY amount of quarters, in hopes of getting the saints i want and risk getting the homie with the roses kneeling by the gravestone, a tear falling under his sunglassed eyes AGAIN? (it turns out i got a lot of this guy)

or do i set a limit on my money and get what i get and that's it?

because this gumball machine was roughly 1000 miles, give or take a few, from my house. two states away. i'd never seen another like it. and i wanted those saints! do i risk what will easily amount to more than a few dollars to get them?


the duke is in a pickle, too. when he was at camp this summer he won the "fun" award. you may remember a few years ago he won the "honesty" award?

yes and then he went up on stage to accept it not a few weeks after he got in trouble for lying to me? a pickle indeed.

anyhow, they give the awards at camp during the summer, and then have a big ceremony in the city across the pond later in the fall.

if you're a camper it's a big deal.

so, the duke just got his invitation in the mail for the big awards ceremony and of course it's on the same day at the same time as his very last soccer game of the season.

of course.

he is loyal to his camp and says the "fun" award is a pretty big deal. they announce it last and make a lot of winning it.

he is also a loyal teammate. being there for his team is important to him. and it's the last game.

what to do?

a pickle indeed.

i told him to think about it a day or two and let me know. i'll respect any decision he makes.

sounds like iceland is in a pickle. on the verge of bankruptcy. you're ice-freakin'-land? how do you bounce back from THAT!?!

speaking of pickles, last night wingman asked me

"mama, do you think the soul looks like a pickle?"

and if there's anything more to say about that i just don't know what it is.

so what did i do about the homies and the saints machine? well, on the trip down when we stopped at the machine i only had a few quarters and i got what i got.

on the trip back up when we stopped at the machine (yes, we got off the freeway and drove into the town just to stop at the machine) i set a limit for myself.

PLUS, i had people in mind. so when i let the 50 cents ride each time, it was with someone particuluar in mind. and the last few 50 cents were for me. and i told myself even if the saint i wanted came out on another person's 50 cents i would honor it and give them the saint.

that seemed like a good way to eliminate the pickle and feel not so weird about dumping cold hard cash into a machine filled with cheap and badly painted mostly likely lead ridden plastic figures made by three year olds in china.

so i let all those quarters ride and GUESS WHAT!?!

i didn't get one freakin' saint i wanted. sigh.

i was bummed for sure. for awhile. much later i was so grateful and felt like the whole thing had a touch of the divine. if just a small touch.

because while i didn't get the saints i so desperately wanted, i did get the saints i needed. only i didn't know it at the time. isn't that how it usually works?

i got the saints who watched over travel, and children and animals, and who preached pure love.

and when we got home from that long and mostly at freeway speeds road trip we were all in one piece (i am thankful making it back from the store in one piece), the cat who had been missing the whole time we were gone came back, and i am finally all these months later really truly understanding what it means to give "pure love."

cue the rolling stones.


p.s. there's a new wine blog up. mmmm, malbec.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


the jewish high holy days of rosh hashanah and yom kippur are a time of reflection on regret and atonement. during the 10 day period starting with rosh hashanah, jews think about what they've done, who they've hurt, etc. and reflect on this and how they can do better in the next year. on yom kippur they ask for forgiveness.

so i was thinking about the concept of regret last week. mainly in regards to having to explain the concept to the boybarians in relation to the holiday.

so i was thinking about regret, driving along, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. it was so astonishing i nearly pulled over.

of all the things i've ever done, all the lines i've crossed and the boundaries i've squished or moved or obliterated, of all the people who might have one (or sadly, more) achey spot in their hearts with my name on it, i simply cannot regret any one thing i've ever done.

this is what nearly pulled me over. out of the blue. just like that.

whoa! this is new.

i can't. and it was as simple as that. and all those nights when i couldn't sleep, and of course that's when the dark thoughts come calling, all those nights i lay awake thinking about what a fucker i was to this person or how awful it was i did this thing, etc. all those nights and now i don't have to do it again. all those times i got that queasy feeling when a memory came up and squashed it because i didn't want to think about what an ass i had been or how stupidly i behaved, gone.

the thing is, to regret is to assume that what you did had no merit. that it was done with complete disregard to anything or anyone else and in total spite of what you know and who you are. which seems like a reasonable assumption to make, right? that you are 100% disregarding and 100% in spite of "knowing better." right?

but wait. to regret is to assume that at the time of the action you are working with 100% knowledge, firing on all cylinders, and that you were, in fact, at the time or at any time a whole and complete and perfect being with nothing left to learn, nothing left to know, nothing left to fail at.

while we all "should know better" sometimes we don't. sometimes we know but there's something else at work. for some reason there's room left to fail. and sometimes it's not clear until later. and sometimes we're just slow learners. A LOT OF THE TIMES we're just slow learners.

even if we're "smart" people. sometimes ESPECIALLY if we're "smart" people.

sometimes we have to go running over the same old ground what have we found the same old fears and shitty behaviors.

until we don't.

and isn't there merit in the finally getting it?

because how do we learn? how does a baby learn his first word? take her first step? that hot is pain? that biting is hurtful to someone else?

it's modeled, we practice till we don't fall, we hurt ourselves till we learn how to not, we hurt others until we learn what it means to actually hurt another person and then we stop.

it's no different as adults. young, middle aged, or otherwise.

we are all here for a reason. with our own path and our own timetable. if we miss a step or screw up the cosmic schedule, it's gonna come around again for another shot. the same step, the same moments. over and over and over until we. get. it.

a system that is at once totally awesome with the potential to be totally heartbreaking and shitty, too. at least until you. get. it.

and while others can be hurt by our cosmic schedules and missteps, they cannot dictate where we "should" be. they cannot hurry us along or shame us into "getting it." everyone gets there when they get there.

shit, it's a wonder anyone can "stay together" or have lifelong friendships or even come to like and continue to like a group of people (family) they never chose in the first place!

regret means the lesson hasn't been learned. regret functions simply to keep us down. you did this you are bad and now you must regret.


that's not how i taught my babies and that's not how i'll nurture my own self.

everyone makes mistakes. and mistakes are only mistakes until you correct them. then they are learning experiences.

regret impedes the learning.

now, that being said, i do not for one moment believe that i am exonerated completely for things i have done, people i have hurt, etc. that's not how it works. and that's not what this is about. because i don't beat myself up with regret doesn't mean the past is erased, and it doesn't automatically soothe the achey spot in someone's heart with my name on it.

that's a whole 'nother ball game that must be played in its own way.

as far as just the personal regret, when we keep ourselves from the lesson, from the getting it and moving forward, there is no way we can be "better" friends, partners, family. and by better i mean someone who got the lesson and knows enough to not squash the boundaries, to not cross the lines, to not bite.

so to all of you silly mortals out there, go easy on yourselves.

life was never meant to be lived in a day. because no matter what, there's always another day, one more chance to learn, and to get it, and to move on.

shanah tova!


p.s. the tree up there is stainless steel. i don't know what that crow knows or doesn't know about that "tree", but he seemed pretty happy perched up there.

Monday, October 06, 2008

this is me giving the bird to your GOP MiG.

dear sarah palin,

i watched your debate on thursday.

i suppose you are pretty pleased with yourself.

that's the way to keep shattering that glass ceiling. by keeping the expectations so low you'll have no place to go but up. you go girl! you show your girls how it is DONE!

which just proves you are indeed a product of the american education system. you should be on a stamp.

during the debate, among the other noise emitted from your yap, i heard you talking about john mccain and what he knows and especially what he's learned. you said that a lot in prefacing your glowing remarks about him. what he's learned.

what have you learned, sarah palin? because you seem just as dumb as the box of hammers you were as dumb as five weeks ago. in five weeks of being coached and coddled and exaulted on high, what have you learned?

how to strap on the highest heels possible and be bitchy with a smile?

because where i come from that's called jr. high.

and one might have thought you'd be a bit farther along by now.

but, maybe like your pregnancies, it just takes longer for you to show than everyone else?

regardless, i think you are one of the worst things to happen to american politics.

and i lived through dan quayle and karl rove. and cheney more than once.

oh, yes, and let's not forget george w. bush. remember him? current sitting president? yeah, i keep forgetting about him, too.

and i actually miss old ronald regan.


i will never forgive you for forcing me to type that sentence above. never.

but what i will mostly never forgive you for, you and your little old man, is for RUINING the word maverick. for essentially making maverick a four letter word. because i loved the real maverick. loved him. and goose and iceman, too. i even loved jester.

hey, did you know tim robbins was in that movie? i know, weird, right? he played merlin. i always forget that. of course he wasn't the big star he is today.

oh, and he's a HUGE democrat so i just betcha he doesn't like you either.

i loved them all and even named my second born wingman because i love them so much. but especially maverick. loved him. and since you made maverick a dirty word he just seems, well, icky. and unlovable anymore.

(to be fair, it wasn't a far fall. what with the couch jumping, and the antics, and the overall i went off my meds but nobody can tell, tee hee! tee hee! behavior, it wasn't a far fall indeed.)

you are a smart girl, sarah, i'll give you that. a very smart girl indeed.

because you've somehow made your way into the very fabric of american culture AND on perez hilton *without* taking your clothes off or having to go on a reality show.

and i just betcha you could even be a guest host on regis and kelly now! or the view!

well played, sarah, well played.


Friday, October 03, 2008

eagle, 1971.

so yesterday we went on a field trip to the outdoor sculpture park across the pond. i had arranged this trip awhile ago, and wouldn't you know it it was the first rain after weeks of beautiful weather?

the thing about the outdoor sculpture park is that it's so beautiful. you're there, you can see it from the street, but it's not until you get in there that you realize you haven't seen a thing. its hidden pockets of art, beautiful landscaping, thoughtful placement of pieces. it's really beautiful.

even in the rain. and the artwork is so inviting. looking at it from a distance is one thing. but actually getting up close with it right there and towering over you is incredible.

and you. can't. touch. a. thing.

even though it's outside and in the elements 24/7 you can't touch it. ever.

sooo, with a bunch of kids i was a little wary, but they did really really well. we walked through the towering serra, and paused in front of the intriguing pepper, and marveled at the "interesting" di suvero.

then we got to the calder that you see above you.

now, this kind of abstract art is not my thing. from afar it's interesting, i suppose. i could really take it or leave it.

but as we got closer and closer i got more interested in it. as it became more near than far, it took on a different look. less "abstract" more inviting. and when we got right to it the docent gathered all the kids underneath and was asking them their impressions and ideas about the sculpture.

do you see that it's an eagle?

yeah, me either. but that's abstract for you. like stacked fusion cuisine. or creepy pretentious cocktails in fussy glasses. not my thing.

anyway, so the parents are hanging back and kids are all excited to say what they think it looks like. then the docent starts to explain about the piece. that it's steel. that it's painted steel with a patented color. that this "red" (i think it looked orangeish up close, but what do i know?) can't be found anywhere else.

she went on about alexander calder, and this work in particular, and she mentioned that he sculpted this piece the year i was born. we are the same age, i thought. she went on and talked about how this piece represented calder's idea about the combination of pragmatism and poetry. she could be describing me, i thought.

and as i looked closer, and felt what it was really like being that close up to so much paint and steel, it reminded me of the golden gate bridge. the color similar, well, similar enough, and the idea that paint and steel, such ordinary and "pragmatic" things can be combined into something beautiful. "poetic" if you will.

and i remembered that day i walked across the golden gate bridge so long ago, and the feeling of awe and interest, of enormity, how i was scared and thrilled at the same time. how the drizzly windy day when i walked across that bridge was not unlike this day. how two separate experiences, a lifetime apart, had such a strong connection. and had made that connection known right inside of me. right here. right now.

and i was thinking about these things as i stood under this great sculpture.

and then i saw one rain drop running down the side. i watched it travel down this painted steel of the patented color and it seemed soft. not the raindrop, the steel. the whole sculpture felt big and strong and enormous, yet it felt like if you touched it it would be soft and yeilding.

pragmatic and poetic.

and before i knew it i reached out and touched that raindrop and began to trace it down the side.

"UH, NO! NO! remember, we can't touch the sculptures!"

and with a collective whip all eyes were on me. all the kids. all the moms. the docent. the docent with the pained smile.

and like coming out of a fog, i looked up and noticed i had my finger on the sculpture and pulled it down really fast.

i didn't look at the duke or wingman to see if they were completely mortified, i just mumbled an apology and the moment was over.

and that's it. i touched the calder. the 14 kids from 4 years old to 13 years old didn't touch the sculptures. but i did.

of course i did. sigh.

and i wasn't falsely accused like last time. and i have no excuse. no touching, and i touched.

and you know what?

it did feel soft and yielding. just like i thought it would.