Archive | August, 2013

Here, now

Dadtryptich
Left of his bed, our hands, right of his bed, Castro Valley, CA.

Tomorrow will be the twenty-year anniversary of my mother’s death. Breast cancer metastasis. Hers was the second in a three-part string of family cancer deaths, the oldest to go (my dad’s younger sister died not very many years before).

My dad had only just retired from his position as a Geography professor just a few years earlier, and had been teaching classes at the local community college, primarily for the enjoyment of it, and because he’d been asked. The two of them were going to write a textbook together, a long-discussed and long-delayed project. Hydrology of California? Something in the field of physical geography. He had met my mom when they were both graduate students in Geography, and hydrology was her area of concentration. She helped draw the maps for his doctoral dissertation, later helped him craft syllabi, grade papers, and, when he was away, guest-taught his classes. She was always a hit.

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Rainy day cabin

rainydaySereneLakesAug13
Hailstorm near Soda Springs, CA.

In the realm of vacation getaways, we are perpetually dependent on the kindness of friends and colleagues who own such things. We’re lucky to have them. Kind, kind folks, whom Mrs Dad has known for years, offered their beautiful mountain home as a late summer getaway.  And so hence we hustled, laden down with playing cards, bathing suits, and gratitude.  This getaway the more appreciated since as of a few days into our last attempt at a family vacation, our girlie’s body temperature shot up never dropped below 100. So home we went, playing cards, bathing suits, and all, to nurse the rest of the week-long bronchial scourge.

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And then we visited the moon

monolake+girlie
Tufa Towers, Mono Lake, CA.

Not only wordless, but nearly out-of-this-world Wednesday.

Our original family vacation was to have entailed a trip to queer family camp  in northeastern California (a post in the germination room now), and then a trip thence on to L.A. I say “original” because our girlie took ill for the last half of the queer family camp. We didn’t go straight home, hoping that she’d pull off a miracle recovery. To her great disappointment and ours, she did not. Upside, we did take the scenic route home.

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Diner confidential

confidenceatNicelys-LeeVining
Post-breakfast confidence, Nicely’s Diner, Lee Vining, CA.

 

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He enjoys being a boy

This post is inspired by Shot@Life, an initiative of the United Nations Foundation that educates, connects and empowers the championing of vaccines as one of the most cost effective ways to save the lives of children in the world’s hardest to reach places.

moustachioed My son is smack-dab in the middle of his sixth year, entering what child development folks call “middle childhood.” A number of physical, cognitive, and social milestones mark this time: by this point, kids can dress themselves, catch balls, follow a beat, begin to show independence from family.  They start the swing from “learning to read” to “reading to learn,” and grow to be able to describe their thoughts and feelings in greater depth.

We’re extremely fortunate that so far, our boy has been more healthy than not, thanks to the vaccinations and medical care we’ve been able to provide him. When he has become sick, we’ve seen him through to well again.  So our milestones are sweet, interesting, fun ones, and he seems to be arriving at them more or less on time.

I’m guessing on that, of course, because we tend to make sense of our kids using yardsticks of our own fashioning, derived from our read of our kids (“Do they seem happy?” “Do they seem at ease in their worlds?”). If we’re worried, we becalm ourselves with the rhetorical exercise practiced by so many parents before us. “Do we really think they will be engaging in ____ [insert worrisome behavior] by the time they’re ______ [insert age comfortingly far enough in the distance]?” So far, so totally okay.

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