Saturday, October 24, 2009

Empty Nest

All of a sudden, it is quiet here.

After probably the most intense and active four weeks since I moved in here, with people coming, going, and staying, suddenly my place is silent.

A half moon shines over the city.

My friend and I ate dinner at one of the diviest of dive bars in these parts, the 150-year-old 7 Mile House way out on Old Bayshore.

Best burgers anywhere.

My soccer players did us well this week, winning four and tying one, outscoring their opponents collectively 17-2. That represents a lot of parental cheering over roughly seven hours.

I am exhausted.

The national battle over health care reform is tipping in the right direction. Obama continues to provide the only adult leadership in Washington. Not only the Republicans but the Democrats in Congress are corrupt and disgusting.

I doubt I will ever vote for anyone for Congress ever again. Only if a true leader, like Obama, should emerge from this district.

Pelosi? A joke.

Amidst these selfish little people, the President continues to stand tall.

But one other thing. In my laundry room, I have boxes of possessions so old that they read "U-Haul, Check your white pages under 'U-Haul'."

White pages? What the hell are those?

I really gotta clean up this place...


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Feels Like Teen/Team Spirit

Lots of action today at Hotweir World Headquarters.

First, the sports report: Balboa High's varsity soccer team defeated Galileo 3-0 this afternoon and now is guaranteed a playoff berth for the first time in a long, long time.

How long nobody seems to know, but the last time they were San Francisco City Champions was in 1981.

The only freshman member of the squad who has started and played every game was a happy (if exhausted) young man (#2 above) tonight, as were the parents of the seniors, who have never had a winning season until now. Their record is 8-3-2, with three games left in the regular season.

But we had another reason to celebrate in our family this evening. My youngest is turning 11 in a few days, maybe not a teenager in numbers, but as I am sure many others can appreciate, most definitely a teenager in spirit.

We held a little family party for her, and as the indulgent Dad I am, I gave her a bag of goodies, none of which were politically correct, health foods, or recommended by a certified nutritionist.

All of which, however, are certifiably delicious.

You know, the longer my run as a parent extends, the more I appreciate how hard all of this is for all of us, this work trying to raise responsible citizens who might in the future make contributions to help our society develop in a more responsible direction, as opposed to other, less desirable outcomes.

That so much can hinge on just one person doing one thing at one time is no relief for any parent. We do not want to make mistakes; we realize our kids are tomorrow's participants, perhaps even tomorrow's leaders.

Speaking only for myself, and as modestly as possible, all I have tried to do is help raise good people who respect others and are willing to work with anyone else to try and make things better.

The problems around us transcend sports triumphs or family birthday celebrations, of course. These are private moments, of definite meaning within our nuclear units but otherwise not at all significant in the great patterns of time, which is also one of the lessons we try to convey to our kids.

Later on, I know that none of us will necessarily remember this particular soccer victory or this particular birthday party. These are but the daily trivia of our collective present. But we are all down together in whether this year, 2009, yields a new national health care system, or an economic recovery, or a peace process in the Middle East.

None of us can ever let immediate concerns replace larger issues. Yet, none of us can afford to skip celebrating our little victories, minor though they may be, in the meantime.

So, that is simply what I am doing here tonight.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Fall Sky Above; Uncles & Nephews Below

This is the time of year that it is good to look up at the trees and notice how they fit into the sky. Those that lose their leaves reveal their essential patterns in autumn; those that don't show their explicit skeletal shapes year-round; either way, you learn something useful about where our shade comes from.

Balboa High's soccer team now is assured that it will not have a losing season for at least the first time since 2002, and probably much longer.

This, despite losing its two top scorers due to GPA issues. It is an ongoing tragedy in America that historically under-performing groups, including Latino boys, continue to do very badly in school.

Nevertheless, the team played well today and won 5-2. Their record is now 7-3-2 with four game left. If they win two of those games, they should also make the playoffs, for the first time in memory.

Beyond winning, losing, GPAs and other issues for me today was the delightful sight of a 2 1/2-year-old nephew cheering on his 15-year-old uncle today. "Go Bal!" he shrieked in his high-pitched voice.

After the game, uncle and nephew scrimmaged for a while.

Meanwhile, the rest of the family locally showed up by game's end and his 13-year-old uncle raced across the green to embrace the little guy.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Goodnight to a Special Mother

My friend's Mom in Michigan is down to her last day or two tonight, according to an email he sent me today. She was the hard-working wife of a German Lutheran farmer, the kind of person who never complained about anything.

She grew lots of crops in her garden in the warm months, canned them for the cold months, and always had plenty to share when someone like me showed up.

Everything she served was delicious.

She had an infectious optimism, the kind of outlook that even in the midst of a long Michigan winter taught us younger ones that the sun would indeed be returning one day, warming the seeds, sending new sprouts upward, for yet another season here on earth.

Good night, Clara Kohn. May your passing be peaceful and may you rest in peace, eternally. And my love to your entire, wonderful family.