Monday, December 31, 2007

Favorite Albums And Songs of 2007

This list is in order of whatever album comes to mind first, not, a reflection of importance or favorites.

1. UB40 Labour Of Love
I rediscovered this in February. It brought some (warning cliche' ahead.) brought some sunshine into some of those dreary days. I like the way it opens up with "Cherry Oh Baby;" I have to be standing next to the speakers when it starts or I have to start it again.

2. XTC-Skylarking
The big hit off this album was "Dear God;" It still sort of amazes me that in 1986 "Dear God" was voted the best on the Salt Lake area radio station where they played bands like XTC. Not surprisingly, the song received the same honor at the dance club I used to frequent. My favorite song on the album is, the more poppy, "Earn Enough For Us."

3.Johnny Cash-
For Christmas last year my in-laws gave to us a gigantic collection of Johnny Cash songs. What can I say......We also got our hands on his last album "American IV: The Man Comes Around" I love it! It is not the Depeche Mode cover or the Nine Inch Nails cover, It's the whole thing. My favorite song really, is "We'll Meet Again."

4. Depeche Mode-Just Can't Get Enough
When I was 17, and hanging out at underage dance clubs, where they played this type of music, when the "just can't get enough" refrain would come around, we would change the enough to "get it up." Anyway, I think I have already written too much about this song, but, I have more. I discovered the song hanging out in the far reaches of my itunes library, I am not sure how it got there, I love it, it is a perfect pop song. The message is simple and the music is straight forward.

5. The Cure-Disintegration
As you, dear reader, have guessed none of these songs or albums come from 2007; I bought this one the same day I bought Labour of Love. They were birthday presents for me. In 1990 I owned a discarded copy of this that my sister did not want. "It's too dark." My reply: it's not as dark as some of Robert Smith's other albums. This album is sort of like some of the rainy days here; dark, cloudy, raining, but green and lush. I misplaced or sold this album along the way, and, found that I needed to have it after moving to Eugene.

6. Joanna Newsome- The Sprout And The Bean
I read a review in our local weekly of her performance at the wow hall; and found that she studied music at a womens college that is in my former Oakland CA, neighborhood. I had heard many tales of drunken musical experimentation from some students at this college, so after reading the review I had to hear her. Some reviewer had compared her singing voice to Lisa Simpson, of "The Simpsons," accompanied by a harp. I agree. She is a clever lyricist and, well, her voice has grown on me.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Should I be worried?

I came into our computer area to find my wife browsing itunes for the song "Institutionalized:" the Suicidal Tendencies song from 1984, featured In the Repo Man soundtrack. She found the lounge version, which came out in the swingin' nineties, and the ST version.

We listened to both versions, frankly, I like both. I heard the Original in about 85, 86. And, well, at the age of 15-16 I thought it was...(I'm not holding back) amazing. Then ten years later, after grunge and "alternative" became completely bland; the lounge version sounded refreshing.

I can't put my finger on why I still like the song, it isn't nostalgia.

The song ends, the wife looks at me and asks "should I buy the whole album?"

me: "Why?"

her: "I like the song, why not the album?"

me: "why do you find 'Institutionalized' so appealing?"

her: "It is soothing."

She bought the album. I asked her to put in on her ipod, so I could listen to it at work. I listened to it that same night and...I found it kind of disturbing and gory. I was glad I had Kate Wolf to listen to afterwards to bring me down.

She finds it soothing, who am I to argue; I like Joy Division when I want to wind down.

I have to admit, I am slightly disturbed, that a 37 year old mom and High School teacher is suddenly interested in early eighties hardcore. Now that I have written that I don't find it so odd. Maybe, I find it odd because I was listening to that stuff back when I was sixteen and...messy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Charlie Climbing Window

So, I would like it to be known that I am not posting this picture because I think that my son is incredibly good looking, talented, and amazing. Seriously, I am not one to endlessly gush about how great my kids are, and post tons of pictures of them. Other bloggers can do that.

But..when it is must be done.
He got up there himself; someday I am going walk into his room he will say "Hi, dad" I will look around for a minute then find him hanging out in the corner of the room...on the ceiling!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

To Restrain Or Not...

As I was digging through a box of Christmas lights, that I had brought down from the attic, I found this Elmo toddler leash. I can make a pretty good guess as to how it landed in there. Hide it so no one knows, not even me, that we own one.

I did not pay much mind to it, I thought our days of using one were over. We bought it for our trip through the Alaska's inside passage on three different Alaska Ferries. Note, in the picture you can see the one-and-a-half year old wearing the harness, the leash is taut; also note the railing of the ferry. What I imagine the builders of the ferry thinking when they put this railing in. "Well....if parents bring their toddlers on board they had better pay attention to what they are doing...cause we aren't putting railings in that would keep a toddler from mindlessly climbing through and falling into the icy waters below."
I argued against the harness until I saw that it was necessary.

Upon seeing the newly uncovered harness, DW (dear wife), began speculation on how we could use it on Charlie.
Ugh not again; we are not going on any ferry trips soon, I thought.
"We have no use for it." I said.
"Think about the holiday market." she countered. "All those people, lots of breakable merchandise; he could get lost."
I thought about it.

My first thought "If other people are as judgmental as I am.... I could not take all those disapproving looks"

Of course other peoples opinions don't matter as much as the safety of your child. However, more importantly, the "safety" of my child does not matter as much as my parenting philosophy, which, prohibits the use of these restraints.......any reasonable person can see that.......right?

I bolstered my argument, when I pointed at that Chaz would render the thing useless, by sitting down and crying because he can't move around and would have to be picked up anyway. So, why bother?

DW put it on him anyway, and Chaz thought it was pretty funny, until he tried to run into the kitchen, DW was keeping him from doing so. I unclasped the leash and Chaz ran away laughing.

"Be free child be free."

Opinion in favor of Child Harness and leashes.

Here is another pic of me, my daughter and my mom on a ferry in Alaska's inside passage.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Charlie Speaks

One of the things that is great about watching a child grow up is their language acquisition. Chaz, these days, has an ever expanding vocabulary; he shows preference: I like this, I don't like this.

On our recent trip to my homeland (the glorious, if not slightly maligned, Salt Lake Valley) Chaz showed his preference for things in several ways. When we arrived at the airport in Portland he took one look at the place and said "I don't like this house." I did not try to explain the difference between a house and an airport, I know he would not care, obviously he knows a house is a building, and an airport is a building he does not like.

After being in the air for an hour....or so, and we landed in Boise (I'M GOIN' TO BOISE........) Chaz announced that he was done. "I'm done" he said, he said it several times just so everyone would know. We stayed on the plane because it was SLC that we were headed for but not Boise.

The next morning, at my sisters house, he woke up and looked out the glass door at my sisters snow covered back yard and said "uh oh." The kid has seen snow ,but it was such a long time ago, I am sure that it is too distant a memory for him to know that it is cold and wet. It is hard for me to guess what he thought, obviously, he thought that the snow is wrong.

On our trip back to Portland Chaz showed his distaste for airplanes by saying " I don't like this Helicopter" Helicopter sounded more like helliopter, it took me a minute to decipher what he said. Why he identified it as helicopter instead of an airplane I will never guess, it's not as if we see many more of them than we do of airplanes.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

My Grandfather passed away last Thursday (November 29th). My wife had stayed home to help with a sick child when I heard the news. We went from quiet morning to trying to pull off a last minute trip to Salt Lake City.

I am not a really stoic person. I am not uncomfortable about crying but, if there is stuff to be done, I will do it, even if I have tears in my eyes. I will mow the lawn and sob instead of sit on the couch and sob. So, there I was on Thursday making plans to travel, taking care of kids, wife, house, cats, chickens and trying to manage a flood of emotions, and memories of my Grandfather.

One of the thoughts I had, that I became fixated on, was something that I am sure other exmormons might be able to relate to; how to go to an L.D.S. funeral and pay tribute to a beloved relative without getting all hung up on how you disagree with all the dogma.

It was a real concern, I pictured myself sitting there in the chapel listening to one of my relatives talk about the afterlife while I cringe. Over the next couple of days I convinced myself that I could sit there in that pew without cringing.

This was my Grandfather after all. If he were in my position how would he have dealt with it? He would put aside his prejudices and just do it, and he would do it while being kind to everyone around him. I always felt valued by him, regardless of how freaky I looked when I was a teenager. Sure, he made comments about my ripped black jeans and my spiky hair, but he betrayed his true feelings by the hug he always gave me and the way he would smile when I would show up at family gatherings; gatherings I often did not want to be at because of the awkwardness.

Naturally, this awkwardness increased for me when I left the Mormon church. I know that it was disappointing for him to not see his first Grandson go a mission, even then, he did not let on how disappointing it was. If I could give him that satisfaction in return for the respect and love he that he has shown me and my wife and kids over the years I would put aside my disbelief and go just for him.

What I did for him, instead, was bring my family to Salt Lake for his memorial. And at the funeral, when prayers were offered I bowed my head and listened, when hymns were sung, I sang; when my mom and two uncles talked about seeing him in the heaven, I did not engage in an imaginary debate, with them about whether heaven is a pretend place or a real place.

Not only did this exercise make it easier to be at the funeral but it made it easier for me to talk to my relatives no matter how brief the exchange was.

It feels like a small token; somehow too me just being civil with my aunt, uncle's and cousins does not seem like enough. We all have lives of course, for more than one of us, those lives are vastly different and only intersect when someone passes away. Frankly, I do wish it were not like that, I would not mind having relationships with them that are as easy as they were when we were all kids playing in the woods on a camping trip.

And wouldn't it be a fitting memorial to a grandfather who cared about his grand kids to have them all talking to each other?

Goodbye Grandpa, I miss you.

Alfred Carl Nielsen

Alfred Carl Nielsen 1917 ~ 2007 Alfred Carl Nielsen passed away on November 29, 2007 in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of 90.He was born on November 9, 1917 in Castle Dale, Utah to Alfred C. Nielsen and Mabel Ruth Steele. He married Lucy M. Springer on March 13, 1945 and was later sealed in the Salt Lake Temple on November 15, 1945. He served in the Pacific in the Navy during World War II. He then joined the Army Air Corps later the Air Force and served in the Korean War. He retired from the Air Force on June 1, 1965. Alfred was active in the LDS church. He served a mission in California and later with his wife in England. He served in numerous callings including branch presidencies and bishoprics, Temple Square Host, the Church History Museum, and as an ordinance worker in the Salt Lake Temple. He was always willing to help those in need. Alfred is survived by his wife of 62 years, Lucy M. Springer, children: A. Carl (Elizabeth), Marion Wilson, Larry (Marsha), Sheryl (Marc) Atkinson, Bryon (Julie), Robert (Lisa); sister, Ella Hoskins, 27 grandchildren and 35 great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his parents and two brothers, Grant and Ross. Services will be held on Monday, Dec. 3, 2007 at 12 noon at the Brickyard Ward, 1111 E. Charlton (2800 So.), Salt Lake City, Utah. The family will receive friends on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2007 from 6-8 p.m. at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary, 3401 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah and before the services from 10:30-11:45 a.m. Interment will be held at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving...

I always feel a little guilty for the days leading up to Thanksgiving. We eat pretty well at our house, I don't mean steak and potatoes well, but we are far from starving.
Whenever my daughter tells me that she is starving, I tell her that she does not know what that word means, and probably will never experience starvation.

Our average dinner consists of a salad, some sort of stir-fry with lots of veggies and rice or potatoes, rice and a variety of beans. Sometimes I make an enchilada type dish or I will buy a roasted chicken for dinner.

Usually, there is enough left over for the adults to have a small portion of seconds, and my wife to take some for lunch the next day. Portions are not piles of food but small, probably a quarter of what you might get at a place like Applebees.

I felt the guilt start to come on when I did my first Thanksgiving shopping trip. My shopping cart was already pretty full when I went to look at the turkeys. The ten and sixteen pounders looked too small, I grabbed a 23 pound one and had to shuffle stuff around in order to get it in the cart.

It was then that I realized that I had enough food to feed a rather large family used to eating only rice for dinner. It was even more than enough for us; we were, by the way, only entertaining two other people.

The guilt stems from the idea that, normally I have enough, but on Thanksgiving it turns to more than enough. Is this a way for me to give thanks? To sit and over-eat while I know that there are thousands of people who can't conceive of what I eat on an average day. That I am lucky enough to not have to suffer in the way that the malnourished suffer?

I will feel grateful, when I will realize, that I have not had to grocery shop for a week and a half because of all the leftover turkey.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am not in the least,

I read an article written by a relatively new Stay at home dad, former New York Times foreign correspondent Charlie Leduff

His experiences as a Stay At Home Dad are pretty typical, turned away at the Yoga studio, (did not happen to me) hanging out with the nannies at the playground. (I once went to a playground, with the daughter, where the only person who would carry on a conversation with me was a cute, young, French au pair.)

I will stop myself before I fall into a pit of Hyperbole about how bad the social life of a SAHD is. (really bad acronym if you asked me) It really is not that bad.
The best part of the article, is the rebuttle from Judith Warner on her domestic disturbances blog.....It gets even better, The comments
were way better than her view that parents are engaged in some type of warfare.

The comment that I would like to comment on is this one:

I was a stay-at-home Dad, (ie S.A.D.) for 6 months. My wife, along with the wife of a good friend, had babies about the same time, and my friend and I decided we would pal around NYC taking care of our kids since we both have freelancing professions, and the wives have 9-to-5s.
We were not cut out for it. After 6 months, we both sprung for nannies, and I can tell you that the sound of the nanny arriving at 8am is like hearing Mozart playing live in my living room.
Please forgive the sexism, but changing diapers, making bottles, cleaning up spitup, bundling up baby, putting them to sleep, soothing their cries for 10-12 hours a day is just not a man’s work. At least not for this man. We began to resent our kids and our wives.
Nothing ever made us want to work harder than having kids - to work at our chosen professions, to provide. Every diaper became another 5 minues away from what we were supposed to be doing with our lives. A word of warning to potential S.A.D.s - you may not be cut out for it.

— Posted by UseProtection

Of course, I agree with this guy, some are just not cut out for parenting. Some people can't handle life outside of the everyday ego gratification they got from their high paying jobs. You start taking care of kids, you get judged for not being at work and you don't get a paycheck or a pat on the back for all your hard work. (This is the extreme judgmental side of me.)

His mistake is assuming that one can be cut out for parenting....No one is cut out for parenting....It may come easier for some, but it is something you have to work at and nothing can really prepare you for it.

Dude, you just gave up to early the first six months are the hardest.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Kid Story

The four-year-old daughter loves dance, so much, that for the past couple of years we have had her in several dance classes. Her appetite for dance is insatiable. Her little brother has tagged along to all of her classes and, also wants to dance .

He is not nearly as coordinated or graceful as the the three and four year olds in his sisters class, but has at least as much passion. His dancing consists of running around in a circle and occasionally a simulated leap. (As much of a leap as a toddler can manage) He ends up on the floor a lot, being almost two falling down is de rigueur, it does not phase him in the least.

The few times which he has successfully invaded his sisters class, and the dance teacher allows him to stay, the girls generally don't mind him but they often just think he is so cute, they end up too distracted to keep dancing.

Maybe he can take this lesson into his teenage years; girls love a guy who really wants to know ballet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Two Good Wheels

One of the reasons I wanted to move to Eugene was it's bike ability. Eugene is a relativley small city, it is easy to get around on a bike, plus there are several designated bike routes. My goal has been to use the bike instead of the car whenever I can to run errands. So far, we have been doing pretty well.

This goal is not a recent goal for me, it is something I have been thinking about for years. When I was a kid, pre-drivers lisence I got around either by foot or bicycle all the time. Of course when I turned sixteen it was all about cars too me. I lived in a suburb and for fun me and my friends would go to Salt Lake City. When I finally moved there I was still in "car mode;" I would drive places that were only a five or ten minute walk away.

I would return home feeling stressed; I would sulk into my apartment with my groceries and listen to Ministry. I would sit there in my black clothes and think about how great it was that I did not have to drive so far to get to my favorite dance club.

Then one day, I realized that I did not have to drive. I walked to the store, it was liberating. I did not have to find parking, I didn't have sit there and wait to turn left. (these were all very stressful things for me. I was a nervous driver. I used to get really upset that other people thought that they could drive in front of , behind and to the side of me; or drive at all while I was using the road.) None of that concerned me while I walked.

When I arrived home with my bag of groceries I felt so good, I did not want to sulk inside with my Ministry tape (yes, that was before cd's were all the rage and way before mp3's) Soon enough, if it was close, I walked to my destination. Eventually I rode my bike to destinations that were further away.
One of the first things that I noticed was that distances were not nearly as far as I had originally thought and I got to know the city a lot better.

For two or three years I did not even own a car. When I eventually did buy another car I was already used to getting places on foot so, I only used the car for long trips. Like going to San Francisco or New York.....heheh....or more interesting and fun places like Canyonlands National park and Yellowstone.

Of all the reasons I chose to, and choose to, get around by bike the environmental reasons are minuscule. (If I were really hard core, I would not even use a bike, the metal and rubber had to come from somewhere and will eventually end up in a landfill)

It really is about ease and pleasure for me. Plus it is about the only exercise I get on a regular basis

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Mike: Desert Explorer

My Brother -in- law lives in Moab Utah where he is able to go out and explore. I am fairly jealous. He has told me several times that he would take me out on one of his trips; I will take him up on that someday.

This is the text of an email he sent; there is a link at the bottom for his Flickr page.

I just got back from a great journey out into the San Rafael Desert; meeting with Chris Schiller, who was just coming up from Natural Bridges and a visit with Dave and Peggy, and (briefly) Mike Painter.
We met at the little kiosk where the dirt road splits to either Hans Flat and the Maze, or north toward Horseshoe Canyon and Green River, both arriving within ten minutes of each other--not bad given the distance/terrain. The dirt road was generally in decent shape, but got a bit more rugged as we passed the Horseshoe Canyon turnoff, following alongside of a wash on the sage plains with little sign of the canyons that cut deeply into the seemingly sandy desert.
We located our turn-off, parking the vehicles for our trek into Moonshine Canyon, as suggested by Chris a little while ago, one that I hadn't heard of before (and then saw a picture taken by Aaron Ralston at his talk last week of this same canyon). The weather couldn't have been better for a slot canyon hike--zero clouds and a reasonably cool day (there was frost on the windshield when I left Moab), the temps getting to maybe the mid-seventies. Perfect.
We noted another vehicle down the side road a bit, hard to believe, but it looked like someone else had the same destination. Oh well.
We simply headed overland until we came to an opportune drainage, which in turn led us right into the canyon that we sought--which at this point was a medium sized wash with walls of thin rock strata layers.
We indeed located two pairs of fresh footprints in the sand.
The wash quickly started to go deeper, usually by the big steps of pour-offs, many of which included some pretty massive chokestones to get over and down from. The plunge pools below started dry, but as we got further into this deepening gorge, they got slick first, then had over-the-boot deep water, making the going with dry feet a challenge (we both maintained dry socks!).
We stopped for a snack, and poked around a little side canyon; it didn't go very far until each of it's two branches became vertical. Soon after resuming our journey, Chris noted that the pair of prints we had been following were gone. Strange--neither of us noticed any "escape" out of the deep canyon, and we didn't pass anyone.
The narrows run out after you pass under an old sheepherders bridge--I doubt highly that I'd try to cross it myself. We followed for another hour maybe, meandering in a beautiful scoured drainage lined by the constantly changing character of the sandstone walls--sometimes smooth and curving, with huge water streaks running down the vertical walls, sometimes highly textured by strata or water and wind. Awesome.
After debating for a second, we decided we needed to head back up the canyon to get back to the vehicles before dark. It was a hoot climbing back up and over all the obstacles we came down, stemming over the narrow canyon by wedging ourselves between the two walls and shimmying our way along. We once again noticed the two sets of tracks that didn't belong to us--still no sign of where the owners went, or how they got out of the canyon.
We had no trouble finding our way back to the vehicles and a couple of almost cold beers--and noticed the other car down the road was gone. Weird. Chris made a great red bean, rice, sausage and salad dinner, and we chilled out until we had our fill of shooting stars and the getting-cold air.
We woke this morning to a colorful sunrise, and absolute silence.
We went our separate ways after some more chatter, including the idea of checking out sites for AFXII--possibly near Goblin Valley/Little Wildhorse Canyon--Chris might have more to say later.
The ride home was great, a slow journey over the San Rafael River and on to Green River, then the frontage "road" along the freeway to Clay Hills, finally hitting the pavement by the Moab airport, only fifteen miles from home. I even got to meet Collette for lunch before going home and getting mauled by the dogs--who would have never made it through the obstacles of the surprisingly pretty slot canyon.
some pix can be found:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Us and Them

After spending the last ten years sort of practicing meditation I finally decided to become more serious and start attending services at a Zen temple. So far, I have been happy with the choice I made.

There have been times ,though, that I wonder why it is so important to me to belong to a religious community and to even explore "spirituality" ( I really don't like using this term; mainly because it seems to be so vague. What the heck is spirit any way and what do all these various practices have to do with it.)

I always just put it up to my L.D.S upbringing. I was so concerned for so long that I adhere to all of the commandments, directions and prophets; that even after leaving the L.D.S. church it was inevitable that I continue to want to perfect myself. Figuring out what God is and what God wants seemed to be the way to go in order not to go to Hell.

Recently, I decided to take the next step in Zen and commit myself to it as full-time practice. I feel that I have done this already, now I am making it official. What is odd for me is, now, in my little un-enlightened lizard brain, I have recognized the us and them mentality. I had this before, it just was not as prevalent. The challenge of course, and the Buddhists emphasize this, is to take on the path and learn that there is only us.

The L.D.S. church seems to emphasize that there is an us and there is a them and we must work to make the them an us. Not being much of a salesman, this mentality made me pretty uncomfortable, so much so, that when it came time for me to put my Missionary papers in, I split.

I learned over the years, or told myself, that everyone is OK how they are and it is totally up to the individual how they conduct themselves. I still have this lingering thought though, that if everyone wants to be happy they should all become Buddhists.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It Is The Carter Family's Fault.

I blame the Carter family.

When my mother- in- law visited a couple of months ago she observed how I get Chas to take his naps. I sit in our recliner, rock him back and forth and sing to him from Rise Up Singing; a collection of popular and folk songs.

Up to this point, the only people who were privileged to hear my voice have been my wife and kids; None of them have complained about my singing. ( I am really not too bad.)

Before I started, my mil stated that I could not really carry a tune. My mil and I get along so well that I was not a bit bothered by the comment and I began singing Sound Of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel) . I mean it's folk music right how can I really mess that up?

Well, OK, if I were singing say...some of the songs the Carter family made famous you could not say I was messing it up. They sang the way they would sing in church, which is about my level of ability. They may have been great singers in their time but just about everyone, regardless of skill sang. On the other hand, Simon and Garfunkel's music is much more refined, to sing one of their songs even sort of well, takes practice.

So my mil has a point, I can't carry a tune but compared to whom. I listen to music a lot and I sing along, loudly, to whatever is playing and I know the words to many of the songs. Most of the singers I listen to have much stronger vocal ability than me, of course being the pros that they are, probably have to practice and some probably have access to voice enhancers.

What do I blame the Carter Family for? I blame them for becoming radio stars and recording artists. Granted back when they were playing the recording industry was very different. I am only guessing that the general public new the songs the Carters were performing and also sang their own variations at home and at church.

The difference between the Carter Family and the general public though, was that the Carters were being paid for what they did so, were able to refine their style. They made it possible for other aspiring musicians to become professionals and of course every new generation of musician became better and better so that eventually their musical abilities are much more refined than their audiences abilities.

Now days, many of us are mere consumers of music and would not even try to make it ourselves. Why bother, we would never be as good as a lot of artists who probably spend years training their voices, before they ever record. I don't think the Carters had vocal coaches and they would resent the blame I am resting on their heads. If they had not made that first recording we all might still be singing.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fall Is Here .....and no where else

Yesterday we had a Fall day.
The day started out cool and cloudy and despite our plans to stay home we ended up driving around on Forest service roads.

We started out by going to a local theme farm where three Alpaca breeder's had their Alpacas on display. After Charlie tried to climb into the Alpaca pens several times we took the kids to the farms playstructure. Upon leaving the farm we decided to find a restaurant but ended up driving into the woods.

We did not really know where the road would take us (other than up into the hills and the clearcuts), We did not have cell phones and we were low on gas.

Even though I assured my wife that we would be fine she remained unconvinced and hungry.

Sadly nothing exciting happened; we did not get shot at, run out of gas or get taken hostage by hillbillies; Charlie did fall asleep. We made it home in one piece just in time for it to start raining. We had our first fire of the cold, wet season.

Friday, September 28, 2007


I am saddened today about the actions of Burma's (Myanmar) military junta.

I watched the news with hope that the Buddhist monk's protest would continue but I feared that the military would......well....act like a military and crack down.

The monks, I am sure, knew what they would face by standing up to the government but protested anyway.

According to most reports the only way for the military to stop the monks was to actually detain them at their temples.

All I can do is hope that in the end few lives are lost and the people of Burma will have their democratically elected government instead of what they have now.

"Every day we do things, we are things that have to do with peace. If we are aware of our life..., our way of looking at things, we will know how to make peace right in the moment, we are alive." - Thich Nhat Hahn

More news of Burma

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Could I Have An Interpreter Please

I was busy with some child, household or computer thing the other day; when Charlie comes in and starts emphatically clapping his hands and rubbing his belly. The belly rub, in our house, is the universally accepted sign for "please."

But the clapping I did not recognize, fortunately I have an in house sign language interpreter.

"Ruthie! Ruthie please come in."

Ruthie ran in all out of breathe.

"Yes Daddeee"

"would you please tell me what Charlie wants?"

Charlie did the hand thing again this time for his sister.

"He wants a tortilla with cheese"

After producing the tortilla with cheese it was clear that it was what Chas wanted. He walked to the table smiling.

I just know that, without the sign language interpreter, we would have had a crises of monumental order. " All I wanted was a cheese tortilla, you wouldn't give it to me and now I am in an institution."

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Trip To Deseret

My Friends Sara and Colin, along with their two lovely children, are on an expedition to the Land Of My Birth .

I have not heard much form them yet but she did post a quiz on her blog.

It is obvious from a couple of her questions that they took some of my sight seeing advice. Also it sounds like Park City is actually large enough now to be part of greater Los Angeles.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Missed Connection

I saw you in my rear view mirror as I headed west on I-80. Your buildings, towered over by the mountains, glimmered in the cloudless summer morning heat. You were beautiful and inviting but still, I made up my mind to leave.

I grew up with you; supported by your church taught by your schools. I found calm in your mountains and parks. Even when I discarded your church I found bars and coffee shops and other ways of finding meaning; you offered much. I had to leave, you did not seem to mind.

It's amazing how so much can change in just a few years but remain the same. I thought about you a lot, it was hard living where I decided to live and, at times, I wanted desperately to come back. I missed the clean streets, the snow, being in the mountains. Would you have me? Would I belong? Or would it just be too awkward? I am too different, it seems shallow to say, but your beer is ......well..... just too weak.

Now, I am living in another completely different town and... I don't really want you anymore. I miss your dry climate during our gray winter days but I would rather just visit. You probably already know that I am not coming back and maybe you don't miss me either. Maybe we can be friends and I could come for a visit once in a while.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Another Summer Gone

Yesterday, Chas (the one year old) and I saw Kyle (the eleven year old) off at the Portland airport. The two-and-a-half hour drive gives us plenty of time to talk and rehash all of our issues.

Kyle spent some of the time telling me that he did not want to go back to his moms, which is hard for me to hear because I would rather have him here.

This evil side of me (believe me, the evil side is fairly significant.) likes to hear that he does not really want to spend any time with his mom; this is something he told me frequently this summer.

He explained to me that the goals he has for himself are not in sync with what his mom wants for him (my words not his), so she chooses to down play and ignore them.

I am not surprised by this; she seems to be of the ilk that wants her child to like what she likes and do what she wants him to do.

It is a dilemma for me, when I hear him confirming what I already feared I want to swoop in and just take him away from her.
On the other hand I think that this transition thing is stressful and he is just expressing it. Going from house to house was much less stressful for him when we were doing it every week. The change was less drastic. Now, with half of his family living so far away, the change is huge. It is more like a visit; we don't refer to it that way of course, (he has his own room and some of his stuff is here.) but it can't be denied that being here for less than three months is more like vacation than just plain life.

Frankly, I miss just having him around

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Let's Call Burning Man, Disneyland

I say let him burn!

I find it ironic, that at the festival where thousands of people go, so that they can be spontaneous and not quite so boring; this burning man inmate gets convicted and fined for being spontaneous and not quite so boring.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Wayne the quasi-adult

At the age of 36 I still am not completely assured that I am an adult. (Does anyone else have this feeling? ) Aside from being old enough to legally buy beer and pornography; what do we do that gives us adult status?

Recently, I took Kyle on a canoe trip with the Boy Scout troop he joined. We paddled down the Willamette River about fifty-miles in three days. The difference between the boys (most of them elven-years-old) and the adults was obvious, we (the adults) were pretty intent on paddling safely along without trouble; the boys wanted to be in the water.

One break we took on the first day, the boys found some fast moving water and with their PDF's still on, jumped in, and let the current carry them down; myself and one other adult were the only ones to jump in too. The other adult was a mom.

The other men busied themselves with looking at the route we were taking and discussing the amount of time it would take for us to get where we needed to be before nightfall; none of them took the plunge into the river. (maybe it was the three eyed fish)

As I over-analyzed this, the feeling that I am not grown up and serious enough came up. The fact, also, that I was the only adult- male in the water made me question my manliness.

heh---yer a stay at home dad......

Yes, even renegades, such as my self, question and worry about fitting neatly into gender and age related roles.

One aspect of Adulthood, that I am sure of, is the ability to think of the well being of others before yourself. Becoming a parent often forces those of us who have not reached that ability to do that. The conclusion I came to was: I had to jump into the river, so I could make sure it was safe and so the boys could see that adults could appreciate the same type of fun.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Why I left Mormonism

I admit it, I am sure this will clear everything up once and for all why I am no longer L.D.S. (Latter Day Saint). It was "Plan 10 From Outer Space" that really did it.

If you have never seen it even this review won't really explain it, so here is a link to IMDB
Note: read the comments.

It was plan 10 that really illustrated to me how silly Mormonism is (just writing this makes me squirm). The belief that god lives on a planet called Kolob is a belief that many mainstream "Saints" might not be aware of. Sure, even when I considered myself a faithful saint I thought this Idea of Kolob was a little strange, like something out of a Star Trek movie.

After seeing this very campy, yet funny in a off-kilter sort of way, Science Fiction take on some of the odd Mormon beliefs. I realized how much some of my beliefs were off kilter, funny and science fictiony things. And could I, this cynical, Urbane, kid who wears black, is very cool oh so serious and not nerdy(I did not play dungeon and dragons, am not an out of the closet Trekkie) in anyway, really hold religious beliefs that seem strangely like Lord of the Rings and the old Battle Star Galactica. The answer is no.

As is predicted by many a True believer in the Mormon Church once you harbor the first doubt it is impossible to turn back; this did happen with me. The further you get away from the church, the more doubts you harbor, eventually it becomes impossible to go back.

I started looking for a religion I could take seriously. I read Buddha's first noble truth: "Life is suffering." Whoever said that was serious, I remember thinking. They even wear black to worship in. According to my standards that meant that they were not joking around.

Boy, was I wrong.

(Those Monks are Tibetan; I think they may laugh more than Zen monks. )

Friday, June 29, 2007

Before and After

So, the other day I was lurking around the Recovery From Mormonism discussion board when I came across a post from someone who is in the midst of leaving the L.D.S church. His question was without the church what keeps us going everyday. Everyone responded differently, naturally. I gave him my list of random things that keeps me going Gardening was one of them.

I am not "the gardener" in our house, that title belongs to my wife. I am the grunt; I do what she asks plus other things that are obviously needed; like pulling weeds, getting rid of Ivy, and trimming our little forest.

One of our main reasons for having a garden is for the food. We grow and preserve what ever we can, I try to limit what I cook to what is available out there and our reasons go way beyond "just becuase we can." All of our reasons fall into these categories Economics, social, ecological, and environmental some may make sense to others for example in the long run it is cheaper for us to grow our own food. We have our beleifs about why we grow our food and those beleifs keep us going even if they are just fiction, besides the end result is that we have food on our table and that is the most important and concrete.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Teaching in Eugene

I am a bit frustrated. I am not a teacher or the parent of a High school student; I am, however the husband of a high school teacher. Having been the spouse of a teacher for seven years I think that I would be used to the abuse that teachers get and could just be loving toward my wife when she gets home and not be upset about all the stuff she has to deal with.

....No, it is not that easy.

I am guessing that the only people that are reading this blog, who live in Eugene, already know my wife and have maybe heard the story. Please pass this on, hopefully, any parents who have kids going into the public schools will read it.

When I met her she was just finishing up her B.A. In Math education at UC Santa Cruz; not only did she graduate with honors but was well liked by her professors and fellow students. She was passoinate about teaching, especially, to those who did not have much social capital.
She chose to get her credential at Mills College in Oakland; one of the top two teaching schools in California.

She graduated from Mills and went straight to teaching at a middle school in our neighborhood. Though is was difficult she did well and so did her students. She taught there for five years then moved to Eugene. She has been teaching High school for the past year and things have not been going well for her.

Within the first couple of months she had several (seems that way from my perspective) students request to drop her class. She had parents complaining about her banning calculators and that their kids were not passing. This seemed to go on for some time with her coming home feeling depressed and incapable of teaching. She also did not feel that she was getting support from her principle but when asked how her department head felt, she would perk up and say that her department head liked her.

Finally, at some point in January, a retired math teacher came in to observe her class. Her report was that she was doing a great job and is a competent math teacher. That lifted her spirits for some time and things were much better for a few months. Now that the school year is winding down one would think that things would get better. She is having more kids dropping her classes, she has had one really difficult parent conference, and has been coming home in tears almost every day.

Granted, I am not a student in her class, I am biased. The only times that I have directly experienced her teaching is when she helped me with my algebra classes and when she tutored our eleven year old. ( I passed with an A, and my son knows his multiplication tables and is doing well in his pre algebra classes.)

When she comes home feeling like dirt and tells me that her students are just smirking at her because they know that mom and dad will pull them from her class if they blame her for their bad grades; it puts me into a very bad mood. She had one parent insist that she be suspended from teaching.

It just seems so utterly pathetic to me. How can they really be blaming her for their kids failure? If their kids are not doing well they need to look at what their kids are doing wrong and look at what they are doing wrong. Teachers are professionals they have studied what they are teaching and are aware of the standards.

Maybe things will be easier next year.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Rampant Animal Abuse

Yes, the title does suggest that the end is near, the sky is falling.....( I don't really think that)

What does this article say about our society. Is this an isolated problem, geographically speaking, or is this type of thing something that happens all over.

15 goats in herd grazing on brush shot, killed

The Bay Area has not had a mass shooting like those in Columbine and Virginia tech for reasons I can only speculate about. And the explanations for those events were that the killers were disturbed. Senseless killings happen there, one of the consolations for some of Bay area residents is that shooting victims are usually gang members. Why does it make a difference? Sure if you are not involved in that life you are less likely to get shot. However if someone can just shoot a bunch of goats what is to prevent them from doing the same to people?

What leads people to do this sort of thing? Is it boredom? Lack of self respect? It could be any number of reasons. It comes down to the availability of a weapon.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Why My Four Year Old Never Sleeps

Me: Ruthie, you look tired!

Ruthie: I can't sleep.

Me: But I saw you sleeping last night.

Ruthie: I was just resting my eye's.

Me: Why don't you like to sleep?

Ruthie: Because it makes my brain die.

Well, there ya go.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Am I a slacker mom?

I did that "what type of mom are you survey?" according to them I am a Zen mom. That their survey found that I am zen was not surprising but I am still not a mom.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mothers Day

Mothers day at our house is a relatively quiet affair. The kids are still a bit young to really do anything for her and Charlie still does not know that he and mommy are not the same people.

I wish the wife a happy Mothers day then she calls her mom and I call mine.

What do I really know about my Mother? She brought six kids into the world; she wanted more.
She wanted to be a full time homemaker but by the time her last child was 3 years old she had to get a job.
That was disappointing to her for several reasons; She really believed that her place was at home making sure all six of her kids and her husband had an orderly place to live and healthy food to eat. From my perspective that is not such a bad thing to want even though her choice was heavily influenced by her religion, that is part of why it was devastating for her to have to work full time.

I was not a particularly bad kid; I always went to school, I would not have ever dreamed of missing church, i n that way she never really had to worry about me. What did cause her concern was that despite my good attendance at school my grades were always really low. (If you have read enough of my postings you may notice that my ability to punctuate is suspect).

Things got harder as I entered my teens. I struggled with depression and my (pop-psychology moment) self-esteem was low. I am not sure how much of this she was aware of. Moms, even dads, are pretty aware of how their kids are; it is what to do when your kids problems seem more complex than just hungry.

As I aged I became more interested in dance clubs, doing funny things with my hair and wearing black; I am positive that this made her worry. I don't know that she suspected it, but I do know that my school principle and maybe some people at church thought I was doing drugs. (I never tried anything until I was about 21.) By the time I was 16 my mom seemed pretty overwhelmed, not just by me, but by the demands of her other kids, my dads depression and suicide attempts, her job and probably by her wish that life would just go the way a faithful Mormons life should. (husband makes decent money, mom does not have to work out of the home.) Mom seemed to weather all of this fairly well. There were times when I could tell that she was sad; mostly, when there was bad news she would sigh and keep going.

When I did not go on an L.D.S. mission, I am almost positive that what insulated her from disappointment was that she must have realized that her kids were going to do what they chose regardless of what anyone else wanted. And the best that she could hope for, for me, was that
I would end up a happy, ethical, person with kids who she could visit. I have happily provided this for her and I can tell she is happy because when she visits she does not give me that disappointed look then sigh and walk away.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Reply For The Alpha Mom

I have been thinking about the wonderful comment you left in reply to A View From The Non-Alpha Male.

At the end of your comment you asked: "Why are people so quick to judge."

I said that the Register-Guard article rubbed me the wrong way then did not articulate the reasons. I just went ahead as any bully would do and just put in that I would like to vandalize your house. My reaction was more to the article than it was to you so, maybe I should just puke on it. (it went into the recycle bin like all the other old papers)

From the article I perceived you as being someone who feels as successful as a parent as she felt at her career. Careers and parenting are, as I am sure you well know, completely different areas; not even comparable. The article suggested that you have pulled this parenting thing off with the help of technology and the ability to make play dough (Do you have a recipe for this? Is it edible?). This is why I judged you the way I did, that you commented the way you did, so early in the morning, makes me doubt my judgement.
To feel successful or even to have the appearance of being a successful parent is one that many parents covet. The marketing companies and diaper fabricators and the television companies know that and want to exploit it so that they can continue to be profitable. In my small family I have found that there is nothing that anyone can sell me that will make me feel on top of things. In fact technology tends to limit those precious parenting moments when you ...(gotta change a diaper) say " ahhh all is right with the world lets sing Khumbayah. " (We really did sing that yesterday)

Once you feel like you have a handle on things the rules change. One year Dr. Sears tells you that everything is fine and don't worry about your 6 month old's cough; then suddenly you are sitting in the principles office wondering why your 4th grader mouthed off to the teacher. (That happened; not with the same kid. There is nothing that can really prepare a person for parenting, I agree that some things can make it easier on a person: foolhardiness, confidence, a relaxed attitude, (yes the house is a wreck; but hey my kids are happy), someplace to get away from the house and relax (a good meditation hall works well for me).

With two kids at the ages of 1 and 4 (Same as mine) I am sure that you know quite well what I am talking about.

Two Wheels.....No, Four Wheels Good

Today, as I was riding my bike with the kids in the Burley, I had a flashback. I was ten it was June, I was riding my bike down some road in West Jordan. I felt free like only a kid can feel.

In reality (yes, thats right, reality rears up it's ugly head) when I was ten I would not have been pulling a bike trailer with two kids whose combined weight is somewhere around sixty pounds.

I digress; on days when I justify using the car I am much more stressed out when I get home. Even driving here is not a big deal but time spent in the car, I find, is not nearly as relaxing or freeing as time spent on bike. In a car you don't get to take anything in, even the unpleasant garbage in the creek, that is not such a problem.

I have railed on cars before (What a waste) I won't do it here. For a few minutes as I was riding the path along the creek I had a sense of Eugene as two separate cities ( of course in a city of 160,000? there are 160,000 different cities.) One that is car based (searching for parking spaces, waiting a traffic lights, buying gas etc) And one that is a little more relaxed; people getting around on bikes. Finding parking is not problem, all you need is something good to eat in order to fuel up. The exercise is usually enough to reduce stress. I know that Alpha is a lot happier now that she commutes to work everyday on her bike.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Daddy My Heart...

"Daddy, my heart got out of my body and went away. It is walking down the street."

The four-year-old told me this after she waited too long for me to read to her and put her to bed.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A View FromThe Non-Alpha Male

Alpha Mom?

I hope the link works. You have to read the article before my commentary.....


Did you read it?

Ok this appeared in our little local newspaper, which, is not the NY Times or the Portland Oregonian. It does a pretty good job of giving us the news.

But this article just rubs me the wrong way for so many reasons...... I have to wonder if the guy who wrote it realizes how totally ridiculous it is. My first reaction to was just one of world weary sighs. Then I launched into my usual hyperbole.
A type people bother me anyway and then we have to read about them naturally after reading about this woman's lifestyle (I feel sorry for her friends that the guy interviewed) The best action I could come up with was to go puke on her front porch.

Then I thought about it....I would first have to find out where she lives, then I would have to figure out when I would have time to do such a thing. (seems like a lot of work) Then I would have to figure out a mode of transportation, (take the bike and put the kids in the Burley...oh ya then I would have the kids with me. That would slow down the escape. Or drive the car, I could put the old California plates on the Vanagon) With the kids along I would have to plan to go to the park and bring snacks. Of course if I were to puke I would have to have a recently full stomach and I would be in need of food afterward. If I have the kids we will have have snacks and possibly go to a cafe near the park.

No, puking on her porch is way too much work; I suppose if I were an Alpha parent I might be able to pull it off and even have time to play the wii (whatever that is) afterward, while giving the chef and maid the week off. But I am just a low achiever with no real shopping goals or marketing directions.

Maybe I will just blog about it.

May Day

Happy May day!!!

Go out an support your Union.

Unions are great things.....They gave us the eight hour work day and some of us the 5 day work week. But sometimes they just seem to get in the way.

As at home parent I don't really need a Union, I am almost constantly in negotiation with my bosses. Sometimes I am the unsympathetic Dictator and other times I am just a clueless war monger. (If your brother tries to take your toys, Ruthie, hit him back but I might have to intervene by imposing sanctions. Then when your military is at its weakest I will invade for made up reasons, depose you then.....wait she's my daughter.)

Seriously folks. My only real experience with unions is through my wife. When she started teaching for OUSD(Oakland Unified School District) Things were looking really good for us; The new superintendent was raising teacher pay. Just months into my wifes first year or so, oops! the district discovered that they had lost 100 million dollars!! The sup gets tossed out with the bath water, and replaced with state appointed administrator. The Union says "oh gosh, the teachers would love to help. Here we"ll take a 4% pay cut. But you have to promise and cross your heart that the pay will get raised to present levels."

Of course the pay was never readjusted and the teachers protested and, it seemed, the teachers were threatening a strike for the whole 5 years my wife taught in Oakland. It made me wonder why the union leaders were even there.

Finally, last year, the state administrator and the union came to an agreement. (just before we left Oakland and the administrator moved to SoCal) They would "raise" teacher pay by 6%. My Wife, the math teacher, after looking at the numbers assured me and everyone we knew that they had not really received a raise at all. (of course I realize that without divulging the numbers non of this makes much sense)
Chronicle Article

Again, I think unions are a great idea but sometimes they end up screwing the workers and not supporting them.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Charlie is climbing.


A few weeks ago I heartily encouraged Charlie (the one year old) to climb the little "climbing wall" on the play structure at the park. Charlie more or less figured it out, he made it to the top, with a little help from me.

Either to impress me even more or he is just exploiting his new found skill to it's fullest; he has figured out that he can now climb the chairs and get on the kitchen table. While he was sitting on the table eating his sister's left over cereal I tried to explain to him that he was breaking the law. He just smiled and kept on doing what he was doing. I pulled him off the table and said "no more climbing on the table." he seemed intimidated....really.

The wife and I figure that he will continue to climb and eventually fall off. In thirty years he can work it out in therapy (sob.......why didn't they stop me.....sob)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Not my favorite way to spend Spring Break.

I can remember all those years ago when I was in high school being excited about the prospects of Spring Break. Spending the whole week camping in Southern Utah or just hanging out with friends in town. Now Spring break is totally different.

One of the nice things about being a high school teacher the wife gets all the same breaks as the kids, so she has the week off. Last year we spent that week visiting Eugene OR to see if we wanted to move here. Then we visited her mom for the last couple of days before driving back to Oakland.

This time we are not having as much fun. On Monday I had a minor surgery that will hopefully prevent my wife from ever getting pregnant again. So, I have spent the last two days sitting around. (that does not sound so bad) I hate it, I would rather be spending my wife's time off traveling with her or actually getting a bunch of yard projects done.

Sure I am getting time off from taking care of the kids but it is difficult for me to not want to help out while my wife struggles to get things done and take care of the kids constant needs.

Monday, March 19, 2007

21st Century Girl

Words that my three-year-old knows that I did not when I was six.

1) Sushi- This is number one. I knew about Chinese food, not Japanese. Of course in Utah no one that I knew of ate raw fish.

2) Cafe- Ok there were plenty of Cafes, at six I knew the word restaurant or Mc'Donalds. My daughters concept of cafe is very different from the one I had growing up. Cafes are where daddy gets lattes, which brings me to my next word.

3) Latte- I knew about coffee; to me it was something only Non-Mormons (bad people) drank. Lattes on the other hand were not something I knew anything about and I doubt that there was a single place in Utah( especially not Provo) in the mid seventies where one could be had. My six year old self would be utterly shocked that I partake of it.

4) cell phone- this one has less to do with culture and more to do with the advance of technology. I mean, my parents had no clue about PCs, VCRs etc.

I know there are many more words and concepts than this little list. I will re-post this when I hear them.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wonders of Nature.

Today we went to the Willamette river park way and took a walk. While we were walking past the playground, after Ruthanne finished protesting our not going directly to the playground, she asked: " why did they build the river next to the playground" I asked why she thought they did. She replied " Playgrounds are a good place for rivers because they are beautiful".

I then explained that The river was there long before the playground. "you mean, like, TEN YEARS!" Longer......(she was stumped) " A Hundred? " At least. Ten is a really long time to her... one hundred is forever.

Friday, February 23, 2007

What are televisions for?

During my sons last visit to the Dr. He (the Dr.) explained that television is just plain bad for kids under three. I knew that the medical community has been urging parents to cut back the amount of hours that kids spend watching the tube but I did not know that they were suggesting none to the younger set.

His explanation is that TV gets in the way of a toddlers main job, exploring. Well this is not a problem in our house, we don't have a television and have no plans of getting one. The kids are absolutely free to explore, make a mess, chop wood clean floors....o0h ya and surf endlessly on the Internet for hours.

No we don't have television but we do have high speed dsl. The wife was sick the other day, she spent most of here time looking at things like this

She is not the only one guilty, in our house, of spending a lot of time on the Internet. I am here a lot and I am possibly more addicted to it than I was to TV, the amount of actual time is much less.( I used to spend hours in front of television)
Fortunately though this does not affect the kids as much. They are not terribly interested or enthralled with much of the content that I view. (mostly blogs) So, while I am sitting here reading short blog articles about someone else's kid's pooping habits; my kids are running around exploring the medicine cabinet.......oooops.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I Miss Oakland

Let me qualify that statement; I don't miss the loud cars, the traffic the thugs on High street and in city hall. (Maybe with Ron Dellums this will change, I did vote for him with the hope that he would bring some unity to this diverse city. (Real diversity is a difficult thing, especially when people would rather stick their tongues out at anyone whom is slightly different than have a civil conversation or debate.))

I digress, I don't miss being in traffic for four hours a day, and I don't miss Kyles mom. Mainly I miss all the people who were friends or becoming friends. I miss the East Bay Dads (and Camille), they are always good for breaking the isolation of full time parent hood and helping to expand your beer pallette. So far there is no Eugene dads, the two or three at home dads I have met did not seem at all interested in getting together. They seemed to enjoy being the ground breaking maverick at the Library story time. (This is where parents "network")

I miss the neighborhood playgroup, possibly filled with the hippest moms in the known universe. We almost never talked about accessorizing the baby or compared prices on strollers; if ever anyone bragged about a baby gear find it was because they got it for free or from GoodWill. The few moms that I have met don't seem interested in including us in any of their activities.

Ironically, a couple of the coolest parents I have met are also "from" the bay area. Could it be, that living in a place where there is so much negative crap going on, it makes you more willing to accept and even befriend someone who is a bit different?

Friday, February 09, 2007

All About the One year old.

Charlie is now a bit past his 13 month birthday. (Strange how we classify babies birthdays; I mean, at 35 when you are asked how old you are you don't reply: " I'm Four-hundred-twenty Months old.") I didn't get it and I could not keep track with the first two kids. It's easier for me now) They change a lot from month to month besides when someone asks, especially another parent, it is a point of pride to tell them your kids age while they watch your child flawlessly run circles around their 14 month old. ( parents are not known to brag about their child's development. ("little Charlie is only thirteen months old and he has climbed Kilimanjaro, did I mention the counter-proof he wrote on string-theory.")

At 35 change does happen but is so subtle that it takes work to notice it. We don't always notice that we are changing until it seems huge. (nothing really drastic is happening. This blog was supposed to be about Charlie.)

Charlie started walking about a month before his first birthday and has gone form walking to running, dancing and spinning in circles. (funny how babies resemble Dead-Heads) When I took Chas to his one month check-up, the Doctor handed me one of those development check-listies. ( Does your child pick up things and put those things in things? Has your child figured out how to take those plastic "safety locks" off the Poison cupboard doors? (Chas does this, I am embarrassed to say I am proud that he has thwarted mommy and daddies Fascist ways).

The Dr. asked me if Chas was walking with help, ( I had Chas on my lap). It took me a second to reply; when I eventually did I said "no." As the Doctor told that I should not worry, Chas would learn to walk without help; Chas jumped out of my lap and ran to the exam table to inspect the electrical chord and socket. (That kid has perfect timing)

There is so much more I could say but, right now, Charlie is stuck in his chair at the kitchen table demanding to be fed.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


As is usual for me, I have been trying to write a thought provoking entry on drinking during play groups, nothing is happening. " Are you dead upstairs"? you ask. Maybe because I haven't written anything in so long.......(Charlie be gentle with the cat!)...Crises averted.....where was I..hmmm... Oh ya .....(Ruthie! Put your diaper in the...No I don't want it....put in the the can you are a big girl) ....ok yes something thought provoking... The phenomenal and the absolute are two sides of the same thing, they are one mind...wait that's not it.

Something about why it is ok for parents to have a drink during playdates. Forget it, I need another cup of coffee. It's about socializing, it won't damage the kids if they see their parents drinking.
Unless, the parents are alcoholics of course; and the drinking is so excessive that the parents can't take care of the kids. Or let's say that people bring the kids to the "playdate" and plug their poor kids into the dvd player, and the only actual playing going on is between the parents.

Don't kill the poor kids brains, let them play, they will learn a lot more if they are free to run around.

Enough said.