Get Lucky

September 16, 2015

After bath and brushing, Hugh, now 7, was rinsing his mouth rhythmically for an annoyingly long time.

“Come on goofy,” I finally said. “Let’s wrap it up.”

He spits, then slurps while pulling a breath.

With drool fresh on his little smiling lip, he entreats, “know what song I was swishin’? … Get Lucky,” he says. (Daft Punk, 2013)

Moments later, without grace or segway, he hurriedly asks, “is Bat Girl good or bad?”

“Oh, she’s totally good.” I say. “She helps Batman.”

“Whada’bout Cat Girl?” he asks.

“You mean Catwoman?” I ask.

“Yeah, Catwoman,” he says.

“Hmmm – she’s kinda both,” I say. “Sometimes she’s up to trouble, sometimes she’s helping Batman. ”

“¿Más o menos?” he asks excitedly.

“That’s right buddy – She’s más o menos,” I say.

And she’s up all night to get lucky.


Baby days and daydreams

September 16, 2015

Today a young man at work became a father. He and I had a chance to talk yesterday and I gave him the same advice I give to all expectant fathers – which I only share with expectant fathers.

Afterwards, when I heard they had their baby today, their first, I thought about them and wondered if they had good support, if his or her parents were coming, etc.

I thought back to when our first son was born, more than a decade ago.

We were living in Oregon at the time, just the two of us. We had support in the first few weeks, my parents flying in from New York for a bit. They arrived a few days after we came home from the hospital.

As I thought of that young girl delivering today, I thought of my own young wife eleven years ago, giving birth in a foreign country, her own mother half a world away. A gentle girl in a rugged western state, and joined only by a young and foolish man she wed just scarcely two years prior.

What courage. She was so strong. But she must I have been terrified. I would have been. Hell, I was.

But she was so brave.

The more I think back today, the more I’m filled with awe, with such respect, and with such renewed gratitude for her.

I’m filled with respect for women everywhere, giving birth in strange places, holding it together with strange people all around, and enduring such pain that some welcome the alternative – a huge needle stabbed into their spine.

I heard from the young guy tonight. He texted me a picture. Cute baby. They all are. He reports that both sets of grandparents are enroute, and everyone is doing well.

But we all are really.

As the great Bengali sage and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore reminds us, “every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.”

Don’t lose faith, friends.

There are still little miracles every day.

Spring Cleaning

March 20, 2015

The boys are upstairs, cleaning feverishly, and singing Bastille’s Pompeii in off-pitch harmony. Kumi walks in and announces the inspection. I hear her humming the Imperial March (Vader’s Theme) as she enters. I wouldn’t kid. She proceeds to open and close drawers, and look under beds. It’s a raid. A shake down. Pompeii is silenced, buried under the weight of it all. Her humming continues. Then silence. Laughter erupts, cheers ensue. They win the prize! Movie night is salvaged. Spring break is epic.

Somebody needs a punch

October 20, 2014

As the boys goofed and giggled and thumbed through their art binders tonight (after being repeatedly told to put them away and PLEASE get into bed!) Philo says excitedly, “Dad, you know what we need in this house?”

I can only imagine.

“A three hole punch!” he declares.

Listen folks, it’s late and I’ve been trying to get these beasts into bed for about ten minutes.

Three hole punch. Right.

“Oh yeah – that’d be great,” I say, wearily feigning excitement. “Now let’s GET TO BED!”

Hugh catching and over-interpreting my faked excitement at the prospect of a three-hold punch, closes in and swipes the last word.

His eyes widen into a fixed stare and his mouth draws into an astonished little bow.

“Wait …” he demands wearing a serious gaze …

Wait for it.

“What about a QUADRUPLE punch!?”

Clearly four is better than three.

And apparently hilarious.

They both laugh hysterically.

I express something to myself through teeth, and turn out the light.

Good night moon.
Good night lunacy.

See you tomorrow.

Winter memory …

February 5, 2014

I remember one winter during a snow storm, my mother and I made an intrepid but foolish run to the shopping mall about 45 minutes from our house.

We never made it.

Instead, about 3/4 of the way, an oncoming sedan slid down a hill, veered into our lane and thrust us into what I consider the most undeniably violent collision I’ve even been in. Aside from hopelessly lost heaps of metal, my bloody nose, sore shoulders and shock, we were all fine.

This was before cell phones.

We walked to a nearby station and called Dad. At once, he set out to rescue us from that storm, which had worsened considerably by then.

Mom was worried about the car, our insurance, and what Dad would say. Dad later said he couldn’t care less about all that. He arrived relieved to find us OK, and we continued slowly home, early afternoon, in the very storm which by now was atrocious.

Thirty minutes became an hour, which became two.

Along the way, still some 30 miles from home, we neared the crest of a steep snowy hill. Dad’s old pickup crawled ahead, lost grip then stopped – then slipped and skipped backwards and dumped sideways into the ditch.


Still traumatized, and me with tissue in my nose, we three abandoned the dry heat of the truck, and headed out on foot for the nearest structure in sight, a municipal shop at the top of the hill.

The shop men let us in, put on coffee, and there Dad called a tow truck.

This was before debit cards. When the tow truck arrived and settled on a price, Dad produced his check book on the spot and wrote the bearded man a note for $150, no questions asked.

I’d never seen him do that before. At that time and in those parts, that was pretty decent dough.

“That was the easiest one hundred and fifty dollars I’ve ever spent” he would later say whenever we told the story of that day.

And every time he said it, it made me feel safe.

One lucky kindergartner is going to shine in art class next week

September 14, 2013

HughDrawingHere we have the results of an hour-long anatomy drawing lesson, buckets of frustrated tears, a few animated pep talks, and the resolve of one determined five-year-old boy.

At his request, I left the room for 10 minutes while he made his final attempt. I came back to find this.

I told him Dad was super proud of his drawing – but “super-duper” proud that he didn’t give up.

Naturally, he was pretty super-duper proud of himself too.

Debate: Avocado Sandwich

July 22, 2013

During our Skype session tonight, Philo challenged me to an open debate (we’ve done this for years now.)

The topic, which he chose at random, was “Avocado Sandwich.”

He was on the side against (they are bad), I was on the side for (they are good.)

He made his first major error in his opening statement by taking up the issue of taste, although he did so quite aggressively and at great length. I countered ruthlessly, citing the folly of using opinions in a debate, and I gained the upper hand by simply emphasizing the fact of nutritional value. He fired back with ramblings about pesticides and chemicals used in white bread. I closed in, clarifying organic avocados and whole wheat bread from raw ingredients.

He turned his head to the side and tipped back slightly, looking off, deep into the distance and speaking under his breath. Searching, grasping.

After a prolonged silence, I told him to go rebuild his argument and let his little brother chat for a while.

We talked about Pokemon.


A moment with Picasso

February 24, 2013

“Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.”

~ Pablo Picasso.

15 Fascinating Scientific Facts About Siblings

January 21, 2013

Came across this interesting collection of tidbits about brothers and sisters today, enjoy!  Read more.

If a child lives …

January 18, 2013

If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise,
he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.

If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

    ~ Dorothy Law Nolte