Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I thought it was a little too quiet!

It should come as a surprise to no one that Alden does anything he can to keep from going to bed. Usually, this means a request for Apple Jacks right as his head is about to hit the pillow. For some reason (probably my own exhaustion) tonight I gave in to his request, and went into another room to import some photos while he ate. It got really quiet after a few minutes . . .

At least he didn't face plant in the bowl. Or maybe he did, and just slid off--hard to tell with the mess he left behind.
Kate is just as bad, but her weapon of choice is to read children's biographies of Chagall and Cezanne late into the night. How is a guy supposed to resist that? So she is sitting by my side as I write, and reading about Cezanne ('Dad, did you know he was 67 when he died in 1906?'). At this hour, even she is having to work hard to keep her eyes open. . . .
She didn't fall asleep mid-sentence, as her poor tired mom did, but she has finally given in.

By the way, Keegan, aka Dream Baby, went to sleep at about 8:00 p.m., with out so much as a peep.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Fountains and Churches

It would not surprise anyone to learn that the Bay area is blessed with amazing public art and space. Exhibit A: the Town fountain, a new landmark which is perfect for a small sailing town. (The sails actually rotate around, pointing to different directions of a compass marked in the surrounding pavement, and giving a slightly different view every few minutes.)

What some may not know is that the Bay area is home to a surprising number of really beautiful churches. Yes, the need for God and spirituality is alive and thriving even in the very heart of secularism. I plan to take more pictures of these anomalous (if you believe Fox News) spiritual centers over the coming weeks. I begin with one of the smallest: Old St. Hillary's. If there is a more picturesque church, I'd sure like to see it. What a great place to contemplate the meaning of it all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Dancing with Shrek, part Deux

As I may have mentioned earlier, Alden's favorite sport these days is "Dancing with Shrek," and now you see why. It involves:

pulling out the hide-a-bed while watching a great video

jumping like a madman (or woman, as the case may be)

and finishing with the finest John Travolta flourish.

What could possibly be more fun?

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Consumer Excess or Happy Refuge?

Though it may reflect consumer excess of the most excessive kind, at least for a 7-year old, this picture may soon remind me of simpler times.

Two Saturdays ago Kate and I went to Safeway for some groceries. There was music on the radio as we began the drive. From the back, I heard Kate say, "Dad, could you turn off the radio so we can talk?" I had to clear my ears. Usually, meaning every time until now, this request goes the other way. ('Dad, can you turn on some music?' 'What about just talking?' 'Oh, no thanks.')

We engaged in a truly delightful conversation, the kind I always envisioned having with my children, about friends, school, what they thought on certain issues, etc. This continued during our grocery shopping, and I began to be a little excited and quite happy. It seemed this was not just a one-time event, but that things really had changed somehow. In the midst of this ongoing discussion, we arrived at the checkout line which, as is usual on a Saturday, was packed with people. Every checking isle had 3 or 4 carts in it, and they all curved to the right, in order to make room for carts passing along the central walkway. This meant we were closely surrounded, on all sides, by people standing with their grocery carts.

Then it happened.

In a strange, vortex-like event, everything became inexplicably quiet just as Kate asked, out of the blue and in a loud, high voice: "Dad, do boys have uteruses?"

Not wanting her to think this was a bad or silly thing to ask, I determined that a non-chalant, "no dear," in my regular, conversational voice, was the proper response.

"Well, what do they have?"

Heads turned. On the back of my neck I could feel the grins growing behind me. Abandoning any hope of being a confident, in-control parent, I answered, VERY sotto voce, with the correct anatomical terminology. To which Kate responded (without any change in volume or tone):

"Oh, well, whatever it is, could you and mom hurry and snuggle together in that special way again? I really want a sister."

A quick, hushed promise to talk to mom about it managed to extract me from further attention by our quietly chuckling neighbors. Suddenly, I was the one wanting car music, and found myself missing the days when all that mattered was Barbie's hair.