Monday, September 29, 2008

An emergency: You can't possibly think she's qualified....

The second installment of Katie Couric’s interview with Sarah Palin aired 9/25/08. The topic was the great wide world. One exchange deserves special study. From the transcript provided by CBS:

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and, on our other side, the land-boundary that we have with Canada. It’s funny that a comment like that was kinda made to…I don’t know, you know…reporters.

COURIC: Mocked?

PALIN: Mocked, yeah I guess that’s the word, mocked.

COURIC: Well, explain to me why that enhances your foreign-policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of. And there…

COURIC: Have you ever been involved in any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth, we do. It’s very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state.

OK -- no matter your own political stripe, you just can't tell me this woman is qualified to be one heartbeat away from the presidency. Please take a moment to express that, no, you don't think she's qualified.

Turtle talk

Had you guessed? Sharyn guessed, and perhaps I built it up too much so that maybe Lesley thought it would be more than this, [edited to say just me being foolish, yet again!] but the turtle eggs laid in the front of the house in June have finally, finally hatched out as baby turtles in September. In our case, it hasn't been like one of those National Geographic specials where there are hundreds of baby turtles emerging all at once (although maybe that part did happen and we missed it). For us, it is now a daily process of discovery -- is that a rock up ahead or is it a turtle? Thankfully we've found more alive than dead, though it is still heartbreaking to come across them once it's too late to rescue them off the street and into the woods. (The black stuff on Dean's hands, by the way, is paint from a school project and is not turtle-related.) They are perfect little ancient-looking things, fragile yet resilient, ready to make the long walk down to the river. I hope all this rain has helped them.
I was marveling the other day at how rich a wildlife summer it has been, and I was wondering why all of a sudden we've got so many creatures active in our yard so far this year. Coyote, turkeys, snakes, rabbits, toads, turtles, chipmunks, deer, bats, and more different birds than we've seen before, including gorgeous flocks of Canadian geese just recently. Then I started laughing at myself as I realized that in all likelihood this is no different than any other year; what's different is that we are outside in our yard and on our street for about 2 hours every day now since we have a dog to walk. These wonders have been out there all along, but we've missed most of them because we used to spend time outdoors in nature by getting into the car and driving away from our house and our street and going someplace else to walk and observe and admire. Makes me feel better about all that time that's "wasted" in dog walking....

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I love the quality of light on rainy days. I love the color saturation you get when you bring out the camera. I can feel the sadness in these beach toys; they just seem to know that now summer is on its last, feeble legs.
Despite dire forecasts of nasty flooding and downpours, the weekend's rain managed to stay quite civilized. It was no problem getting into Boston yesterday to see Kooza, the Cirque du Soleil show we'd bought tickets for months ago. Kooza is one of their traveling shows, and I urge you with all my heart to check out the list of cities and see if it's coming near you. And if it is, go see it. We love Cirque du Soleil; all three of us have seen La Nouba, and Ken has seen a bunch of the Vegas shows (he didn't care for Love, though so we don't recommend that one). Anyway, it's hard to describe what these shows are like -- all I can think to say is that it's like an intense dream of a circus; something more rich, more layered, more textural, with more meaning. I'm struck by how, even though it's one "ring" (although that's hardly the word) unlike Ringling Brothers' 3 rings, you still struggle to try to take in and see everything that's happening at once. It is performance art and music and costumes and staging and unforgettable experience -- you'll see things you can't even believe you are seeing and that you will surely never see again. We missed Corteo when it came through -- last year, I think -- and I'm kicking myself. We'll never let one pass by us again and if we had the $$ we'd head down to NYC to see Wintuk.
And then there's 't.' Or, 'T.' Still ABC-Alonging, see?
In June, Dean and his friends spied this turtle laying her eggs out in front of our house, near the road. 'T' is for 'turtle,' and we've been watching and waiting all summer. 'T' is also for tomorrow, and that's when I'll tell you what we've recently discovered....

Friday, September 26, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008


No matter how much you love him, there can be times, frankly, when supporting your child's interest in playing a sport can be a sacrifice. It takes up a decent amount of time and money every week to get him to and from practices, to keep him in gear that fits, to keep said gear clean between games. It can be miserable to be out there for a game -- when it's hot, when it's cold, when it's wet (although you always feel more for your child than for yourself with having to play in difficult conditions). Saturday, however, was not one of those times. Not in the least. I kept saying to Ken, who kept agreeing heartily, "there's absolutely no place on Earth I'd rather be right now than here, watching this game." People, the weather does not get any better than this. Sunny but perfectly and completely mild and comfortable. The boys played a great game; Dean played defense this week and had, if I do say so myself, some utterly brilliant throw-ins. Oh, sure, at the end of it we'd lost 5-6, but it was a heroic effort and really just being there was worth it.

I'll just say, too, that I love the impossibility of what the body does in sports, when you can catch it on film. If you look at Dean up there in the act of giving it all he's got to boot the ball, you'd think that momentum would carry him over, that he'd fall backwards after bringing his leg through the arc, but he didn't.
The force of delight did nearly knock him over when we got home after the game, however. More treasures from Gina! Our Mr. Torres there on the cover and my own Mr. 9. After a nice, hot shower Dean just set himself up with a cold drink and his stack of football news. Heaven. Sheer heaven. Our return envelope for Gina is in the works, with every expression we can imagine of undying gratitude.
But for this, we're still gasping for breath, groping for words. When this priceless treasure (no, I am not employing hyperbole here, not one bit) arrived in the mail we all three of us just stood looking at each other, then back down at the comic, then back up at each other. Greg Farshtey himself signed one of his own Bionicle comics for Dean, thanks to Max and Natalie who thought of Dean at the moment they had the chance to do this. PLUS pressed pennies, which Dean collects, and one even from California Adventure which will be a collector's item as it's being given the heave-ho (that is, the park -- California Adventure -- is being given the heave-ho -- NOT the pressed penny!). The magazine is going to be framed in special UV-protective glass and hung in a place of honor -- I'm thinking a small special shelf of Bionicle figures right beneath it would be appropriate -- our own shrine. Max and Natalie, we haven't figured out yet the words, the language we need to take us as far beyond "thank you" as we need to go, but we're working on it.
There were so many other wonders, wonderful things, about this weekend. My brother Tony and sister-in-law Carol went to Alaska last month and sent us a box of treats (tons of photos, baseball hats for me and Ken, a shirt plus lots o' loot for Dean including evidence of dragons) that arrived over the weekend. We had that perfect weather I spoke of earlier and we reveled in it. We even cleaned out the garden shed, and you can see through the windows again (a miracle!). I guess as a reflection of the jubulant mood, Ken broke out the blender to whip up a rare batch of margaritas -- which called for my bringing forth the very best in barware....

Heaven on a stick. Dipped in chocolate. Shared with a friend. Made possible by friends. Impossibly good friends. This is heaven, this life.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flashback Friday

My brother Chris, circa 1969

Monday, September 15, 2008

Oh, Susanna!

There truly is nothing else quite like opening up your mailbox and discovering, completely unexpectedly, a package from a blogging friend. It's in a whole category of delight unto itself. Susanna sent me one of her unbelievably beautiful bracelets, a gorgeous photograph, and a candy bar from Finland that I am saving to eat at a time when I can savor. every. bite. Out of the blue, these wonders came.
"S." Right? You see it too, don't you? Dean says he sees it, and so it goes into my ABC-Along file.
And 's' is for 'snake.' We met this fellow in our front yard, right up by the steps to the house. His face is there, in the back, between the green leaves. Saying 'hello.'
My own out of the blue offering for you -- a morning glory at its finest. I particularly love the flowers that reach up to the sun and that bow back down at night, tucking themselves away. They respond. I love response.

I've got Dean's Halloween costume in the works and will share a peek soon. I'm busy at work but happy; the effort seems worthwhile. We seem to be managing the weekly round of homework and lessons and practice and soccer games and birthday parties and play dates and everything else that comes our way. I'm awaiting the cold snap, the end of the soccer season, to ramp up on the sewing I keep talking about, thinking about.

But for now I think this: make it last.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Flashback Friday

Me, Chicago circa 1969, on the street where I grew up

Another picture taken by my brother Tony, I believe. My parents were both professional photographers, so it's pretty easy to distinguish their work from, ah, others. My question here is: were cropped pants and cropped sleeves the style, or had I grown more that summer than my mom realized? It must not have been too long after this picture was taken that all the large trees on our street, like the one next to me, were cut down -- dutch elm disease.

Monday, September 8, 2008

When it's working

Isn't it just wonderful when life's pieces fall exactly into place? We went to buy Dean's jersey for the new soccer season; the store that sells them puts on a variety of numbers ahead of time and you just go and pick one. As I approached the rack I started to ask Dean if he cared what number he wore but stopped myself and said instead, "show me lucky number 9!" And there it was!! So now Dean channels his inner Fernando when he plays and didn't his team win its season opener on Saturday! (Although, yes, I AM counting on Dean to carry through the season uninjured, unlike our man Mr. Torres.) Ah, life is good.
Very good.
This particular mini golf course isn't great in terms of hole design. Most people go here for the full-size golf driving range, although at least they have recently refurbished the giant animals so they aren't full of holes themselves anymore. And we love these animals -- so 1950-esque.
Definitely white with black stripes.
A glorious weekend. Despite feeling just on Friday that summer was holding on, there's a bit of fall in the air that arrived after the tail end of Hurricane Hanna passed by. I'm thinking a lot these days about focus, and energy, and seeing things in a new way. Sure, establishing good routines but also breaking out of ruts. Trying to change how I see myself. I'm always interested in the idea of change, of understanding what is and isn't changeable within ourselves. I know it starts with the psychological piece, dealing with the imbedded "I can't" and turning that into "I can, I will." And figuring out the right places to simply say, "I am."

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I've been searching, and have had Ken and Dean in on the search, for the letter form 'r' or 'R' for weeks now. Weeks! Even though it's not ideal, and is in fact a bit o' a stretch, I hope you will look with me at this cloud formation and see in the blank (or blue) space the lower case 'r' form. The challenge with letter forms in clouds isn't in finding them -- they are there all the time! The challenge is getting the camera up to the sky in time to snap the picture before the form morphs before your eyes into something else. Try it sometime to see what I mean; it is the inherent nature of clouds to be just utterly, constantly changing, but you might not realize how quickly it happens until you try to capture some exact formation with a camera. Anyway, I'm not giving up on finding a more believable 'r,' but being a deadline-driven soul I feel the need to get something posted before we're officially on to 's' for the ABC-Along.
And then of course 'r' is for 'rabbit.' Dean took this picture in our yard; the wild rabbits trust him to come closer than they allow me. We had the biggest wild rabbit population this summer that we've ever seen, but then it has been followed by the most active coyote presence, too. I've heard coyotes for years, singing at night, but this was the first year I actually saw them -- two -- walking right through our yard. There is no mistaking a coyote for a dog; the big ears, the long legs, the wild lean body of a true hunter make the difference clear. We find, um, coyote poop on our driveway pretty regularly which is a little unnerving -- are they trying to tell us something? A warning to Biscuit? Dean and I did not do our usual camp out in the backyard this summer because I didn't want to meet a coyote in the middle of the night out there.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Flashback Friday

First day of school, September 2002

First day of school, September 2008

So, okay, where did my baby go? How did all this happen, and how did it happen so quickly? Dean is finishing up his first week back to school and is loving it just as much, if not more, than he did when he first started. More, really -- loving it more.

I'm making the transition, too, back to all our routines and establishing the new ones we need. Not quite caught up yet but I feel good about the progress I'm making. Gosh but I love a fresh start.

Summer is still here in spirit, in weather, anyway. Natalie wrote beautifully about the Southern California summer and I have to agree with her that September here, too, feels more like summer than fall. I try to pick a favorite season but I never can; I think what I love most are all the transitions from one season to another. I love reveling in the tail-end of one and anticipating the next. I love the different feelings, foods, opportunities, holidays, skies, stars, and landscapes of each season. I love that today is kind of hot and sticky in a way I wouldn't love it the same in July, because today I can treasure it as amongst the last and know that cool crisp days are coming. My biggest challenge lately has been appreciating the season that's just passing for all that we DID do, and not seeing it only in terms of what we did not do -- and I am working on that.

I'm also trying to get on (stay on?) more of an efficiency kick, and to that end I'm going to go now and clean the upstairs bathroom and fold the piles of laundry and maybe (gasp!) even vacuum a little before going to pick up Dean and one of his friends from school. Gotta feed 'em and get 'em ready for and over to soccer practice later this afternoon. I feel lucky to be here now, to have these tasks to do (ok, I'd rather not clean the bathroom, but you know what I mean). I feel optimistic and hopeful and ready.