Monday, September 30, 2013

'Cause I've bound myself to virtue/But I'm bound to make a move - The thirtieth anniversary of High Land, Hard Rain

I've been thinking a lot about Aztec Camera's "High Land, Hard Rain" turning 30. I've been thinking a lot about 15 year old me listening to it so damned intently, as if it was gospel and a primer about growing up, getting the hell out of the suburbs, and getting into the world. I have been thinking a lot about the remaining 30 or so years of my life (the fates willing) and how not to squander the time left.

My dad spent 11 days in the hospital with a blocked bowel. Seeing the tubes going in and out of him and seeing him so worn and skinny put a lot of things into quick perspective.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Field Trips

Last week was a field trip to Fish Slough - a neat little riparian habitat in the middle of our local volcanic tableland. The dragon and damsel flies were all out, as was a golden eagle, and it was a pretty special morning.

Babbo has a classmate who comes from a disrupted life - he came late to the dual immersion program, he gets excluded by the other Spanish speaking kids - maybe because he's El Salvadoran and not Mexican, and he's moved three times this year.

The boy and I were walking across the Bishop Tuff - this uneven solidified volcanic ash- and I asked him to hold my hand. I squeezed his little hand really hard, and he pulled away. I was starting to do the three squeezes trick that my mom taught me and I taught Babbo. Three squeezes stands for "I-Love-You." I apologized and said that it was just habit for me to squeeze Babbo's hand that way. I told him what the three squeezes stood for, and he gave me his hand back.

Today, I am left with the positive feeling of that kid being willing to be loved.

Last week was also a fun, intense, exhausting trip to my cousin Cathy's wedding at the beach. So many cousins and aunties and uncles I hadn't seen in years, so little time.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Terribly unPC post goes here, but, mind, it's made with love

Babbo: Mommie, are we lesbians? We love each other and we dress alike.

Babbo admitted he didn't know what a lesbian was the other day. This is awesome in light of the fact that he has been raised and very much loved by the aunties in his life. We told him really plainly that lesbians are women who love each other...and then we added the cheeky addendum that, sometimes, they dress alike. I know, horrible stereotype. The boy and I are starting to share clothes. We look like hipster nightmares.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

"My shins!"

That's the sound of a boy having a growth spurt. Babbo grew over an inch in about a month. The blood sugars tended surge overnight and he was waking up with ketones - really bad ones - a first. We now know to keep a stock of Gatorade G2 (the low sugar ones) on hand to avoid having to run to the gas station kwikie in the morning when the vomit is flowing. In the end, he did well and we did well. Yay us. Now, I wish he'd stop obsessing over Nerf Gun wars on Youtube.....

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The boy doesn't even know about the Newtown massacre

The other day, Babbo confessed that he's been unable to stop thinking about the fact that we live and we die, but the earth just keeps spinning and spinning as if we weren't here at all. This is what has been making him afraid to sleep in his own room - because the thought was just making him so sad. We talked a bit about the meaning of being here, and I pointed out that most of the folks he knew were at peace with the fact that one day, some sooner than others, they would die. In addition to being at peace, they were honestly happy people. I encouraged him to be mindful of his actions on others, but to go ahead and to pursue those things that make him happy.

In other news this week, thanks or no thanks to our friends from the north (Mark, Mary, and Loz are down from Vancouver), the boy has been working on his Michael Caine impression.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Valerie and Judy see each other again after 8 years!

Chris and Valerie came back from the big city for a visit to the East Side around Thanksgiving Weekend. It was great to be with them again. We had a little wander around the glorious Tablelands on a glorious Thanksgiving morning, and we ate like princes and princesses (thanks Chris!).

On the morning I went in for surgery, my dad and Judy came up to help watch Wyatt. It'd been over 8 years since V and Judy had seen each other. By all reports, J recognized her dear buddies right away. Bless.

Yes, but is it going to be like a Costco inside there?

* still have this to look forward to in the coming years. 

Five days post-op from a laparascopic hysterectomy and man, I feel alright. I am on very little Norco and Ibuprofin and I am grateful for the talented and young Dr. Arndal who was able to keep the procedure from becoming a full laparatomy (the long incision through the abdominal walls), even though she found stuck ovaries and scar tissue.

Despite giving up: my left ovary, two fallopian tubes, a uterus, and a cervix, my innards feel pretty normal. I was afraid that having all those organs removed would render me into a Costco warehouse - all big and empty. Happy to report that my stomach and guts are only too happy to fill the void.

My remaining right ovary is a bit sore, but hey, if you'd been unstuck from your hiding place and cleaned up, you'd be sore, too.

I am grateful that my uterus and other reproductive organs aren't going to be my favorite topic of potluck chitchat (Hey, I am still an American and inappropriate topics at dinner are our birthright) for years on end (one year was enough). I am grateful for some insurance (such that it is - the procedure was approved only as an outpatient deal - right. I was vomiting from the anesthesia until 9 pm the night of). I am very grateful for Matty, Babbo, and my family and buds.

What we did on our holiday

Back from a very good trip to Europe. A week month and some later, the whines, the bouts of dehydration, and the fussiness over the logistical minutia have faded. A month and some later, the memories of being someplace familiar, but different, the good old-fashioned catch up with dear and new friends (Gary and Sandy Linn bred while we were breeding and their boys are awesome), and the random acts of kindness among strangers have prevailed.

I am grateful that Matt insisted on seeing some new places – and suggested the Swiss Alps. They, as well as Chamonix, are very special places. I guess we get all emotional about mountains and not beaches in the end. I'm glad that Schober got to see and climb around the Fatherland in a week of glorious autumn weather.

My night in London, with Carosello and Mark, Ed Sterns from my Hong Kong C/NBC days, Owen Harris – who is now in Sydney, Spence Bayles from Leeds and so many other old-timer, hardcore Mutton Birds fans was a dream. It was the weirdest thing to be in pub with folks I've known for years only online and to finish each other’s fragments of conversations with a Mutton Birds’ lyric. The band played very well and the highlight for me was looking over at Carosello, who openly wept to “Ngaire” and “While You Sleep.” It was also special to be in a venue with maybe 800 folks who knew the words to all the songs and all shared that special “mutton moment.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

"He's adorable like a puppy and a little boy rolled into one...."

Actually, Anthonie Tonnon of was a lot more than that. We put on our last houseconcert of the year, and truth be told, I wasn't sure how it'd all turn out. (Okay, truth be told, I ALWAYS don't know how it's going to turn out). For one, Tono doesn't perform music that you can dance to. We're sort of dancing fools in this town. He sings in a broad New Zealand accent about life in your twenties - about falling in love, the economics of being broke, the ghost of old girlfriends, etc. His "Skinny Jeans" is a primer on getting it on in the modern age.

But, I have been a fan for about five years - ever since I heard Graeme Downes sing Tono's praises on National Radio in New Zealand - ever since I wrote that quick note and bought that first release - and every release thereafter.

Matty said to me the night Tono and his friends arrived, "They get younger and younger each year." Babbo was so thrilled to be in the presence of the singer of his new theme song (ugh, 7 year olds wanting nothing but skinny jeans) - even more thrilled when said singer showed him a thing or two in soccer. I will always treasure the sound of Babbo squealing like a school girl and the sight of Tono in barefeet stealing the soccer ball time after time.

Turn out for the show was light (20-24). It was a school night. It's getting dark early. The twentysomething climbers in town are all broke. As always, the folks who came (and some aunties in particular) were very generous. The lights went down and we were blown away by the storytelling arcs, the lovely and touching and hilarious lines. I could hear folks chuckle as they listened through the veil of recognition. I could hear wee gasps when some line like this was sung:

One day I might be the mayor
And history has seen stranger things
It’s seen shrews grow wings
But no bat would exist
If mammals never leaped from trees
Following stupid dreams
Into the dirt face-first

AT and Karen took us to Rusty's, and Michael from Seattle, Karlya from Plimmerton, and Tono from Dunedin got a bit of that famous hometown hospitality. I even went. AT and I danced a few rounds of her jumping up in the air and touching the ground with our hands jig to Nick Cave. It was that fine of a night.