Monday, June 28, 2010


I can't get enough of this:

or these:

and finally, this:

Little Sis and her happy little world.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Still Waters

Here is a poem from 2002:

You are the only one who knows.
Over parched and arid landscape,
You, a divining rod,
Plunge through the deep, darkened earth of my eyes
To find moisture seeping—
buried, silent.

Stepping lightly over the consistent landscape
Of my life,
You’re the only one who knows.

And I am still,
Wishing the springs to run dry
Before a well is dug
And undercurrents rise
To muddy the ground beneath me.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Groundhog Day, Crabby Version

You may not know about this reality show on the Discovery Channel called Deadliest Catch. I too would be ignorant of this epic portrayal of Alaska crab fishing were it not for the fact that whenever my husband has the remote, he seems to find this show. Hence our conversation tonight:

Me: Honey, is it the same boat and the same crew and the same storm every time on this channel?

Him: I know it seems like it. But it is always probably a new storm.

Me: (laughing) Always probably?

Him: Always probably maybe for sure.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Re-Post: It's Hard Out Here for a Dad

For Father's Day 2010, I bring you an oldie but goodie from 2008:

My closest friends and I, who are pretty Strong-Willed Women, married Really Nice Men. To a certain extent, I mean this As Opposed to the Men We Dated, who were not necessarily Not Nice, but who perhaps didn't keep our best interests in mind in quite the same way that our spouses do. I've been appreciating these Nice Men lately.

When I hear a parent of young children bemoaning the loss of the Life he/she Once Had, I tend to agree that we're in The Trenches. Despite the picture suggested by smiley, sweet holiday photos of families with small children, these are not very easy times. Most young-family parents I know are either still growing their careers or abandoning them for the time being, while balancing the desire to have the right housing for their family with the goal of remaining financially solvent.

We're also wistfully remembering when we used to exercise. When we used to excel at something or have hobbies. When we used to sleep and read books. When we used to give attention to and spend time with people taller than four feet, including one another, our friends. And our spouses.

We're not exactly feeling sorry for ourselves; I think we all have reasons to feel fortunate.

But we complain on occasion. Women in particular, we Moms and Wives, have some pretty nifty mechanisms for griping. The Old Friends Network is primary, of course. We've been keeping up with hometown, high school, college, and/or neighborhood friends by phone and email for years. And we've added playgroup and work friends, and maybe even friends we made in the grocery store or doctor's office. Blogs and online discussion boards have more recently emerged as popular means for Moms to express themselves and connect with others.

Let's face it: all of us could probably benefit from more healthy soul-searching and honest expression of how we're really feeling. But women have some outlets. We have places to vent and sympathetic ears waiting. And our sympathetic company tends to be fully clothed, and our interactions free and legal.

Dads, on the other hand, have some challenges. Sure, they catch a break not having to be pregnant and breastfeed, but there are some bonding benefits for Moms associated with those not-always-rosy experiences. There has to be a helpless feeling that comes from Dads knowing they're sidelined for these parts, too: they can't exactly take on the stretch marks for a while. They're not so helpful with sore nipples. And none of the females in their lives are sympathetic.

Moms are exhausted. Moms are trying to do it all. This is true, and this is well documented and publicized. But the Dads like my husband and many others I admire are full 50% or more Partner/Parents. They bathe, dress, feed, change, teach and snuggle their children as well as prepare meals, do dishes and laundry, and clean bathrooms, because that's how they roll. It's (MOSTLY!) not a contest for Who Does More in partnerships like these. I appreciate Nice Husbands who put their heads down and work really hard with their kids and families even though they are bound to occasionally screw up and get crap from their wives. It's not that they're not sometimes giving their wives crap,'s just that they're not getting IT as often anymore, either.

If you know what I mean.

Which is why I'm thinking my husband and others like him have sacrificed a lot during these Young Children Years, AND they've done so relatively quietly in comparison with their wives, who talk about all this stuff a lot more, and with more people (and then feel better as a result). The women I know recognize that they don't have much time for themselves and then seize opportunities when they arise. The men I know recognize that their wives are spent and emotional, and their children are needy and, well, immature. And that everybody needs them to suck it up and help hold it all together.

So, I'm not arguing that there is a contest of martyrdom which the Dads are winning. I'm not calling for a Daddy Pity Party. I'm just saying, (invoking Bud Light's Real Men of Genius ad series), here's to you, Mr. Patient Dad of Young Children (and Dutiful Husband) Guy.

Today we salute you, with this rewritten rendition of Three 6 Mafia's Oscar-award-winning song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp":

It's Hard Out Here for a Dad

You know it's hard out here for a Dad (you ain't knowin')
When he tryin' to get this money for the pad (you ain't knowin')
For the diapers and the carseat money spent (you ain't knowin')
Because a whole lot of mothers talkin' smack (you ain't knowin')
Will have a whole lot of wives jumpin' ship (you ain't knowin')

In my eyes I done seen some crazy tantrums in the streets
Gotta couple grannies workin' on the whinin' for me
But I gotta keep my eyesight on the remote for game night
But like takin' from a baby don't know no better, I know that ain't right

Done seen babies poop, done seen kids who can't deal
Done seen myself lose it when my peeps won't eat their meals
It's messed up where I live, but that's just how it is
It might be new to you, but it's been like this for years

It's spit-up, sweat and tears when it come down to this prize
I'm tryin' to get some sleep 'fore I wake up to someone's cries
I'm tryin' to have time but it's hard fo' a Dad
But I'm prayin' and I'm hopin' to God I don't slip, yeah


Man it seems like I'm duckin', dodgin' diapers everyday
Wife hatin' on me cause I got no breastfeeding in my day
But I gotta stay cool, gotta not let it bother
Can't keep up with my offspring, that's when stuff gets harder
Bachelor Pad is where I'm from; now I'm playground bound
Where fathers all the time end up lost and never found

Man these wives think we demand thangs, we sleep alone instead
They come naggin' every night, they lucky we ain't dead
Wait I got a kindergartner, and a toddler, too
If I pay the right price, can they spend the night with you?
That's the way the game goes, gotta keep it strictly even
Gotta have my hustle tight, makin' sure no one's leavin'...

Happy Father's Day, Dads of all kinds!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Camp Wa-Na-Kum-Ba-Yah

It’s time for summer camp, kids. I mean, ADULTS.

Seriously. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

I picture my BFF from 5th grade and myself reenacting our campfire performance of “Blowin’ in the Wind” from the summer of 1985 at Camp White’s Landing in Catalina. I imagine the forced luxury of time to braid a lanyard, or two. I envision a mess hall full of giddy adult campers, drinking bug juice.

Would you sign up? Here's what I propose:

What: Summer Camp.

Who: Grown-Ups.

Where: A tranquil natural setting near you. Sleep in cabins, bunkhouses, or tent cabins.

When: Two nights/three days.

Why: Because we need to get out of Dodge, relax, exercise, and even get a few things done.

Don't forget bug spray, suntan lotion, and stationery. Use computers and phones only at designated sessions, please. There are no mirrors. Don't bring makeup or anything fashionable. Just be!

Schedule of Events:

Day 1:

Noon-3:30 PM: Check-in. Claim your bunk and orient yourself to your surroundings. Swim in the lake or pool, go for a walk, play some badminton, take a nap.

3:30-5 PM: Happy Hour

5PM-6:30: Chow Time in the Mess Hall

6:30-8 PM: Evening Sessions, including: Nature Walk with Horticulturist; Know Your Pinot from Your Shiraz: A Wine Tutorial; Making Fire, Survivor-style; Poetry Writing at Sunset; Pick-up Basketball Game; Harmonica Lessons.

8-9:30 PM: Campfire: S’mores and Singing. Bring musical instruments.

9:30 Late-Night Session: Snipe Hunt in the Woods; Karaoke in the Mess Hall.

Day 2:

6-9 AM: Wake up at your leisure. Strong coffee and green tea available. Go for a walk/jog/swim or yoga at dawn by the lake. Breakfast in the Mess Hall.

9-10:30 and 10:30-Noon: Morning Sessions I and II, including: Archery; Bouldering; Macrame and Crafts; Diving Lessons; Canoeing; Orienteering. Workshops include: Improv/Drama; Digital Photography; Planning Your Trust/Will; Organizing Your Life (pay overdue bills, file photos, clean out your inbox); Musicians, Bands, and Singers You Should Check Out; That Movie You've Been Meaning to Watch; Avoiding the Mid-Life Crisis; Handwrite Letters to People You Love; Plein-Air Painting.

Noon-2:30 PM: Lunch and Nap Time

2:30-4 PM: Afternoon Sessions, including: Giant Parachute Game; Scavenger Hunt; Bladder Ball Tournament; Mini-Boot Camp; Vigorous Hike. Workshops include: Let's Form a Band Right Now (Tambourines and Triangles available); Learn to Play Chess, Pinochle, Bridge, or Mah Jongg; Jewelry Making; Nature Photography; You Actually Don't Suck as a Parent (But You Could Let Go of A Thing or Two); Dealing Productively with Life's Annoyances.

4:30-5:30: Happy Hour: What’s the Hops? Let's Learn about Beer, from Ale to Lager.

5:30-7 PM: Chow in the Mess Hall.

7-8 PM: Sunset Walk; Meditation; Spiritual Service.

8-9:30 PM: Campfire: Talent/Variety Show.

Late-Night Session: Stargazing with an Astronomer; Skinny-Dipping in the Lake.

Day 3:

6-9 AM: Wake up at your leisure. Strong coffee and green tea available. Go for a walk/jog/swim or yoga at dawn by the lake. Breakfast in the Mess Hall.

9-3 PM: Off-site Community Service Project. Lunch included.

3-5 PM: Farewells and Check-out. Back to the Real World.

Now, to imagine a synonymous camp for the kids, down the road just far enough away...

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Today is the last day of school and tonight is graduation.

This senior class is special to me; when they were freshmen, I was a rookie Vice Principal. I've learned more than a few things from these students over the past four years, and many have generously invited me into their lives. I never sat alone in the stands at a game, and a group of regulars joined me and the principal for lunch almost every day.

I will miss them.

The Class of 2010 heads off toward a new horizon and another crop prepares to appear on mine next year.

And so it goes.

Last Days of School

for my students, June 2000

these are the bittersweet
minutes and hours and days.
broncos at a rodeo,
we press against the rails
waiting for the floodgates of summer
to fling open,
so we can pour out into
the rivulets of our futures.
you struggle to contain yourselves,
pollen on the wind in spring,
as I vainly shout after:
pleas, chastens, and advice,
echoing, dissipating syllables.
the knowing of you
the training in your ways
the anticipation of your moods:
all this to be flung aside,
trapped in file folders
and faded memory.
in September the mystery starts anew:
someone else will discover you.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lemony Thai Noodle Soup

One of my favorite meals is the Buddha Bowl at Isabel's Cantina and I have been wanting to replicate it at home. The good news is that Isabel released a cookbook including the recipe for that yummy soup; the bad news is I don't have it yet.

But I forged ahead and made something different yet delicious--good enough to share, and which my daughters loved too.

Some of the ingredients came from Trader Joe's, but are easily substituted.

Lemony Thai Noodle Soup

2 TBS olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, sliced lengthwise for slivers
Chicken breasts or thighs, diced/chunked
1 small head cauliflower (or broccoli)
Some carrots, sliced in lengthwise matchsticks
A bunch of bok choy, chopped
A bunch of cilantro, chopped
Juice of one or two lemons (you could try limes!)
1 can of coconut milk (I use light)
1 carton chicken broth
1 11-oz. jar Trader Joe's Thai Yellow Curry Sauce (a yellow curry paste can be used instead to flavor)
1 package rice noodles (Trader Joe's "Rice Sticks")--or--serve soup without noodles over basmati or jasmine rice
Salt and pepper to taste; chili flakes to desired heat

(Use or add other vegetables on hand, including green onions, green beans, snow peas).

Saute garlic and onion in pot with hot oil till just translucent; add chicken until cooked and then vegetables, saving bok choy and cilantro. Add lemon juice, coconut milk, chicken broth, and Yellow Curry Sauce. Set aside.

In a separate pot, boil water and cook rice noodles. Drain and add to soup. Add bok choy and bring to simmer. Stir in cilantro and use sprigs for garnish.

Serve and share--enough to feed ten!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What It Means.

It means you’re afraid. It means you didn’t get it all done. It means there’s something left that you didn’t notice. It means you're not in charge. It means you forgot to tell someone how you really feel. It means you should say you're sorry. It means there’s more where that came from. It means you can’t go back again.

It means things will never be the same.

It means you got your point across. It means they really like you. It means that nothing matters that much after all. It means no one noticed. It means you're responsible. It means you can go now. It means that life is short. It means you'll have another chance. It means that some things take a very long time. It means you didn’t really mean it.

It means nothing.

It means the world to you. It means that you can take a break. It means that you are more than your parts combined. It means some things never change. It means you’ll never find out. It means you can’t take anything for granted. It means you better watch what you say. It means there's a hidden meaning. It means you meant what you said.

It means more than you will ever know.

It means what you think it means. It means exactly what it says. It means the world is ending. It means you deserve it. It means a fresh start. It means don’t give up. It means surrender. It means read between the lines. It means think outside the box. It means exactly the opposite of what you think. It means you should stop trying.

It means whatever you want it to mean.