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Still here

Father love, Berkeley, CA

“Still here” meaning both the author of this blog (quieter of late), and my pops (even more quiet of late). The photo above was taken a year ago today. My pops has aged a lot over this past year, more so in the past six months. Still more so, it seems, in the past six weeks. During this, his 92nd year here, time is speeding up all around him, and taking its toll.

But today, I am grateful to be able to say, we can still thank him directly for his loving presence, his affection for people, his inherent generosity, his sincere desire to make those around him smile. So after breakfast and home-made kid gifts in bed, we’re off to see him, whether or not he sees much of us.

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Of ravens and stories

A storytelling of ravens, Belmont, CA.


“Ravens give me the creeps,” Suzanne said. She was among the trio of angelic preschool teachers who ushered our kids into their first understanding of community outside our home. Each one radiated warmth and calm. Quite naturally whenever I dropped off or picked up the kids, I lingered and chatted, sponging up what I could.

“I saw a bunch of them as I was walking to work this morning, like a gang,” she said. “I just don’t like ’em.”

I hadn’t given ravens a good deal of thought before that, but once she said it, I had to agree with her. Who’s going to like a carrion bird?  Even if they serve a vital purpose in any ecosystem, even more so in an urban one like ours.

“They do seem like bullies,” I said. I recalled to her a disturbing scene I witnessed not long after we moved to our Berkeley home a few years earlier. I’d heard a cacophony of birdsong from out in front, and saw small birds moving restlessly from branch to branch in the trees and bushes there. Eventually I figured out the object of their attention. A raven perched on a power line above our small sidewalk acacia tree, transferring its weight impatiently from one bony-leather claw to the other. This was the same tree in which I had just a few days earlier identified a sparrow, incubating eggs in a nest.

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Godot, schmodot


Waiting for Mama, Berkeley, CA

Mama went on a phenomenally unusual (for her) week-long meditation retreat last week.  Since she gave birth to the first of these kids, she had never taken that much time for just her, and she returned a remade woman.

We all made it through the week intact (a feat made nearly inevitable by my current status as work-at-home, self-employed Baba), but lordy did we miss her, and lordy were we happy for her to return. After a long drive from the Santa Cruz mountains, she texted us to say that she was at the local market picking up provisions. From that point onward, I couldn’t pry the kids off the porch.  And when mama finally arrived, I couldn’t pry them off of her.

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From our kids to your families, OK and beyond


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Weekend bonus shot, 05.12.13

Happy truck washer, Berkeley, CA.

This time I convinced him to get outside the vehicle as I washed it (last time: he stayed inside and listened to a Sondheim musical).  He had that huge spray nozzle thingie in his hands for a mere moment, and he instantly understood why Baba has so dadgum much fun washing the vehicles. And he was danged good at it, too.

I tried to convince him that going on a dump run was about as much fun, maybe more. “Huge piles of garbage, taller than that building there!” I said. “Ginormous tractors just pushing the garbage in a huge pile! So much flying dust they have to spray a mist of water down on the pile every so often! Can you think of anything more fun than that?”

As it happens, he could. Spraying the nozzle thingie with soap and water all over the side of the truck. I’m going to keep working on him about the dump run.


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