Weekend bonus shot, 03.31.13

Pops, Berkeley, CA.

Dad, not quite a year ago, in the Easter bonnet I got him. OK not bonnet, but that’s how we jokingly referred to it.  Tried to get it on Easter, and the hat shop was closed (duh), so we went the next time he was in town with me. Hats like these are made for gents like my dad.

Thinking a lot about him today.  He is more gone than here, more out than in. Thus, the heightened value of stolen moments like this one, showing me him and his love, utterly present.

He would never ordinarily feel this unselfconscious in front of a camera–would always stiffen and pose uncomfortably, the ineffable essence of himself evaporating in a puff.  This image exists because I held the camera against my chest, and–yes, I’ll admit it–took three or four pictures stealth. He was looking into my eyes, not at the camera’s lens.

We sat under a shade on a sunny June afternoon; he’d just finished watching his youngest grandson “graduate” preschool in a ceremony the school held in our backyard with all the other kids;  he hadn’t tired yet. We had been talking about something or another which I totally forget now. Something that made him smile like this, mostly with his eyes, which have been capable of reflecting and inspiring so much mirth for so many decades.  And there he was. Being him.



Weekend bonus shot (Monday edition), 10.01.12


Ascending the ladder to the trapeze platform, Oakland, CA.

Her schoolchum (with whom she shares a desk in 3rd grade) held her birthday party at Trapeze Arts in Oakland, and basically wow. Oh, no, I wasn’t freaking out in the least. I was perfectly calm.

This ladder led to a platform on which the kids were hooked to safety ropes, then handed a trapeze bar and swung out into the open air. Those who could then hooked their knees on the bar, some even did a flip off the bar down to the net.

That ladder has 21 rungs; there’s a net under the platform, but it doesn’t to extend under the ladder so you best keep a steady grip.

“Were you scared to climb up there?” I asked, after her first go.

She looked at me and her eyes widened the merest bit before she gave a quick, short nod.

“It’s like 14 Uncle Curtis’ stacked on top of each other.* But it’s worth it. Once you get up there, you get to fly.”


*Her Uncle Curtis is the gold standard in tall, at 6’8″.

Mom’s passing, 19 years later (Weekend bonus shot, 09.02.12)

Pops and family, Castro Valley, CA.


The summer of 1993 I was slowly adjusting to a breakup (not my choice; the axe fell just outside a Lesbian Avengers meeting in NYC).   My mother spent that summer in a convalescent hospital, ostensibly healing from first one, then another bone break earlier that spring. She was a heavyweight and older woman, unaccustomed to advocating for herself anywhere as fiercely as she advocated for others.  These were the reasons, I decided later, that no doctor had valued her body enough to thoroughly examine the x-rays of her bones as of her first bone break.  She had had a double mastectomy just three years before, and the bones that broke (we would find, posthumously) were textbook bones for a breast cancer metastasis in a woman her age.

Read moreMom’s passing, 19 years later (Weekend bonus shot, 09.02.12)