Archive for the ‘the miscellanea’ Category

Lost, and found.

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Dear lost-and-found Gods,

I hope you enjoy the bounty my son has provided over the last eight years, from lunch boxes and water bottles to fleece jackets, hats, swim trunks and library books.

But can we talk about this latest offering? To instill a sense of responsibility I have insisted he check you daily through the end of the camp session, but between us I’m totally okay if you don’t return the spiderman hoodie that he’s worn every day for a year, chewed on the sleeves of, and on more than one occasion abandoned overnight on the kickball court.

You don’t even have to cough this one up five months later in a backpack bin used by the after school program like you did with his fleece jacket in the first grade (just in time for summer too, gee thanks).

Nope, this one is yours! If you keep it, I’m willing to call it even between us and we can start the third grade on fresh footing. Who knows what treasures are headed you way this year…


Jonah’s mom


Two days later….


Scenes from solo parenting…

Monday, October 12th, 2015

When Jonah was a baby Lee traveled a lot. I often felt that Jonah and I really pulled together in those times–maybe as an infant he allowed me just a little more sleep than usual, or as a toddler he rolled with things in a very smooth un-toddler-like fashion. We got good at it.  Lilah isn’t as easy-going at this point in her development, my job is particularly stressful, and our house is under mild construction. So I wasn’t as worry-free about these latest trips Lee took

But surprisingly, some of that old magic came back–between me and Jonah and a little even seeped-in with Lilah. It wasn’t without tantrums (from each of us) but we got through it pretty dang well and I had some great moments with both kids.


Lilah is keenly interested in books and one morning when I was busy pulling up elephant board after the house work ended, Jonah read to Lilah for me.


One afternoon Lilah and I were cuddling and reading and Jonah decided to join and cuddle with us.


Playing at Malcolm X.


When you can’t eat at the table (it is covered in plastic and the room is covered in dust), you sometimes do laps in the kitchen.


And on Friday night when I hit the wall, Madegascar 3 went on. Lilah’s first screen time.  They had a ball. Lilah watched for about as long as her bowl of pasta and half an ear of corn lasted before losing interest.  Jonah was so grateful for the movie he threw his arms around me afterwards and thanked me. I’m thinking Friday night movie should be our new thing… It is a great way to wind everyone down. Many before me have already figured this one out. I realize I’m late to the game on it.


Hello old friends…

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Since my last post: a house move, an office move, settling into the new home, getting my sea legs with a new role at work, 2 trips to NYC, a full-fledged toddler emerged, five summer camps for the 7 year old, after which, a second grader appeared. There were tantrums (grown-ups and kids), lots of food thrown (only the littlest kid), baby teeth arrived, permanent teeth arrived, the words “no,” “mama,” “dada,” and “mine” have found their way into Lilah’s vocab, and mom and dad’s vocab have received some well-deserved reprimanding from Jonah. But here we are, mostly on the other size of the crazy.  Well at least that chapter of the crazy. I’m sure a new crazy awaits…in one form or another.

As I get my blogging momentum back, I’m sure there will be some summer flashback posts, but until then, a few things…


The night we closed on the new house…


An echo-y celebration.


Lilah’s first tush-tastic nap in the new house.


When there are no toys, a catalog entertains all…


Meanwhile, over at the office….


First plumbing problem…requires sawing holes in the ceiling.


Hardware store is the new playground.


Lee on the roof with the roofers.


A sleepy baby at her new local playground.


Messy day at camp Kee Tov.



Helping daddy.


Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

Recently traveled to Austin for SXSWi. The team and I accompanied an author to some events, and attended educational panels on our own too.  Two of the best talks I saw had people live illustrating the talk…


Wheels down, Austin.


First Texas Sunrise.


Nathan Myhrvold and Kerry Diamond.


Illustration of Myhrvold talk.


Hugh McCleod talk / illustration.

Lego Bazaar

Friday, February 13th, 2015

As a follow-up to the recent post about the underground Lego economy at Jonah’s after school program, yesterday I happened to walk in at prime Lego time. When I miss the energy and excitement of a 3rd world marketplace, I’m definitely going to spend more time here.

I walked in at a feverish moment. Jann was trying to get Jonah’s attention and in a sweet voice imploring him, “I want you to get back the Golden Ninja.” Jonah was unresponsive.

I couldn’t help myself. I asked Jann, “I thought Jonah traded you his Death Star for your Golden Ninja?” (Before he even left the house Jonah reported that this trade had been negotiated.)  Jann confirmed this, but relayed that Jonah had since traded away the Golden Ninja. Naturally, before casting judgment I asked what he traded it for. Jonah relayed that he got Obi Wan Kenobi “in disguise” and an R2 unit with one leg.

Shit. This was the first moment I realized that as well honed a negotiator as Jonah is at home for things like dessert and gum and pancakes, he is lacking these critical skills with his peer group. As I’m processing this I had no less than six first grade boys all talking to me at once, loudly, trying to give me a play-by-play of the day’s trades.  Simian shows me a trade he did with Jonah, while Jonah disputes the terms of that trade. Xander shows me a sword he scored.  Jonah is marveling at his one-legged R2 Unit and Jann is still grumbling about how Jonah shouldn’t have traded away the Golden Ninja. Dailen is safely tucking the Golden Ninja away as Davis looks on and reports back about Kalin’s score of some other character earlier in the day. Jann is gripping his new Death Star and Satchel is keeping a safe distance, protecting his haul.

These are the trials and tribulations of the first grade Lego bazaar. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to draw a map of the transactions, interview each participant, learn more about the trade criteria, and dig into their motivations, but alas, shrimp tacos were waiting at home and both kids needed baths.

That night, after Jonah was asleep, Lee and I took a close look at Jonah’s new figures. Jonah had replaced the R2 unit’s lost leg with one of his own (not an exact color match) and stuck Ned Flanders head atop the R2 unit. And Lee discovered that the other figure was not actually Obi Wan in “disguise,” but rather a sand person. From our point of view it is nearly impossible to imagine that these two figures, and even a gaggle of their distant cousins would be worthy of swapping away the Golden Ninja, but alas we’re a bit removed from the desires and motivations of a first grade Lego lover. Sometimes it is enough just to be pleased that while your kid may not be chief negotiator, at least he has a sense of humor.


Overseen on the playground…

Saturday, February 7th, 2015

On Thursday morning I learned that Jonah and his friends have been bringing Lego contraband (specifically their “Lego guys”) to school. They remain stashed in backpacks all day and they take them out to play with together in their afterschool program.

Sure, this might explain his shrinking collection—perhaps some are lost in sandboxes or dusty corners of classrooms and an occasional case of sticky fingers—but mostly they seem to have established some sort of currency or communal sharing economy. I often see Jonah giving duplicates away, lending them out, or trading.

Until now I’d only witnessed this on play dates. I didn’t know he’d been trafficking Lego peeps to school. In fact I’d asked him not to, in order to avoid the distraction. However as I watched the enthusiasm and excitement with which his friends congregated on the playground before school to preview today’s cast of Lego characters, and the simple joy it brings them, I decided to let go of any concerns associated with it. We’ve told him we won’t replace lost Legos and he gets that. The lessons in loss, fair trades and sharing can’t be taught in the classroom or by us, so let him learn on the playground. The losses are his and the joy is his too.

On Friday morning as he packed-up for school he didn’t have to hide his Lego selections. He shared with me which ones he was bringing, and why. He explained that some kids couldn’t bring any, so he was bringing extras for them. He was bubbling over with excitement about this, and I kind-of was too.


First sighted having a confab.


Jonah realizes he’s caught!


Jann shows off his Lego guys


Jonah shows his guy



Some more Berkeley graffiti

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

Here are some posts on my fascination with Berkeley graffiti. And here are some new snaps. These might also qualify as some sort of urban environmental poetry.


IMG_8050 .

Even More Berkeley Graffiti

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

I’m amassing quite the collection of unusual street messages from around town.

>vegan tags<
>pregnant tag<


Crayon Project.

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

These turned out so pretty we don’t even want to use them.





More Berkeley Graffiti

Saturday, August 16th, 2014

Berkeley graffiti is as odd as the city itself. You might recall the vegan-tags from last year. Well today I stumbled across a tag that, aside from being downright weird, is my worst nightmare…