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.

Three portraits


Niece with sparkler, Berkeley, CA.


Nephew with sparkler, Berkeley, CA.


 Daughter with sparkler, Berkeley, CA.


My niece turned 11 the other day. We had a “village” dinner tonight, village meaning all three households in our little cohousing community (four kids and five adults among us, ranging from six to 50). The feast, which the culinarily precocious birthday girl had largely conceived of and executed (with loving sous-cheffery from her dad and mom) concluded with a sparkler-fest in the back yard.

The littlest kid, my son, decided he really didn’t want to hold a quasi-exploding chopstick-sized wand, but everyone else had a blast with them, each very much in their own, unique way.


Enterprising souls

Pencil seller and shop assistant, Berkeley, CA.


The sign’s small print reads: “PENCILS AND OTHER PENCIL-RELATED STATIONARY SUPPLIES FOR SALE.” Taped on the front bench is some original artwork, for sale at a modest price ($25 per) by the shop assistant at right.

Recently I was talking on the phone to a friend and colleague, while looking out the front window. I told him I may have to jump off abruptly if some untoward person walks by, because my kids were out on the street selling pencils.  And we do get an untoward person or two strolling by pretty much daily, at some point or another. He chortled at what he thought was a quip at our family’s financial straits, at which point I had to say, “No. Really. They’re on the street selling pencils.”

Read moreEnterprising souls

First day of school

Playground squeeze, first day of school, Berkeley, CA.

He is ready.

He’s been ready for who knows how long, whether he knew it before today or not. He was ready today, from the moment he awoke, to the moment he tied his shoes on the stairs, to the moment he sat with his sister and two cousins out in front of our shared yard for the annual all-cousin first day of school portrait, to his holding hands and skipping up the street to the schoolyard with his sister, through the bumpy patch of the mosh pit crush of parents, caregivers, and schoolkids in the yard, to the transitional minutes in the classroom during which we sat and read with him, all the way up to the moment the teacher asked parents and caregivers to leave the classroom, and we did.  Some more reluctantly than others.

“Bye, Baba,” he mouthed, waving as he sat cross-legged on the colored-grid rug. And that was that.