Saturday, June 30, 2012

My Life

His ankle ligaments are torn, I believe, so my son again missed a game tonight. The advice I've received from various quarters is contradictory:

(1) tape the ankle and let him play,

(2) get him to a hospital and have a MRI,

(3) have him rest it, ice it, elevate it, and take Ibuprofen.

We chose option three today after he strapped on his cleats and tried to run in our backyard.

He couldn't run, he couldn't put enough pressure on the ankle. It's torn up, and all we can do now is wait it out and let him recover.

This sucks, for a competitive athlete, especially because he knows his team needs him. But perhaps next Saturday, he will be ready to play again.


My daughter wore as her nightshirt last night an old uniform of mine. The Michigan Mafia. For 29 years here in San Francisco, this was my main social network, not the Facebook kind but the real kind.

We were a mediocre softball team but a very nice social team. Our slogan was "only the medicore are always at their best."

Tomorrow she is leaving on an adventure -- an all-girls wilderness trip, where the goals include learning survival skills, risk-taking and self-confidence.

I will be missing her. She will be fine.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

Slip-Sliding Away

I walked to the Sports Basement store near here today. On the way I said Hi to my daughter, as she supervised younger kids from the SPCA camp at lunch in Franklin Square in her role as a junior counselor.

At the store I bought tape for my soccer playing son, who injured his ankle yesterday stepping off a bus on his way to work.

Today the ankle knob is swollen with a big circular bruise around it.

I'd hoped we could tape it and he could play. That's what his coaches hoped, also, and what his team needed.

But the moment I picked him up from work, I knew it was not to be. He is wincing even as he steps, let alone runs.

It is so hard to be the parent of a young athlete at moments like this. There is an attitude that he should play at all costs in a big game (which tonight's is, for his team), regardless of the longer-term consequences.

But I'm both his parent and his biggest fan. Tonight, I decided to be his parent and told his coaches he should not play.


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Take Care of Your Spaceship

Driving back from Reno last fall, I startled when something flying off a truck ahead of me on the interstate smashed a tiny hole into my windshield.

Yesterday, after some gardening, I read my grandson a couple chapters from a book written in the '50s called The First Boy On The Moon. This obscure book imagines a kid and his friend being stowaways on a rocket.

The plot includes the team of astronauts setting off a small atom bomb on the moon in order to determine what materials compose its core. They do not shield themselves from the radiation with anything more than a pile of rocks.

Although the book has few illustrations, my grandson listened spellbound, no doubt absorbing and interpreting at least 25 percent of the words as new vocabulary at his age.

Regardless, he could follow the story.

Anyway, on their way back to earth, the astronauts face disaster when a meteorite the size of a speck of dust penetrates their spaceship's outer layer, causing an oxygen leak.

I won't give away the exciting conclusion, but suffice it to say, there was a happy ending.

As I recounted the plot of this book, complete with its naive depiction to my youngest son, who is 16, at one of his favorite cafes today, he couldn't believe the part about the atom bomb.

So I explained to him that when I was growing up in the '50s, Americans were bombarded with government-led propaganda about the wonders of atomic power, including a pamphlet circulated at our elementary schools called "Our Friend the Atom."

We had never been told about the dimensions of the horrors suffered at Nagasaki and Hiroshima. They didn't teach us that kind of stuff.

He was appalled. I am appalled. Yet history is history.

Anyway, maybe it was that leak in the spaceship that prompted me today to finally listen to my 13-year-old daughter and stop by an auto glass shop to inquire whether they could fix that hole dating back to last fall's Reno road trip.

They can, and it will take 40 minutes and cost about 20 bucks.

P.S. She'd been reminding me for months. Tonight, I called to thank her, but I also should thank the author of that little kids' book from sixty years ago for imagining an event that helped me find the motivation to do something about my own personal spaceship.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Catch a Falling Plum

The plums are ripening on our tree, so its branches grow heavy and droop. Every day, I anticipate the first few to drop. Multiple times a day, when I'm around, I go out there and stand under it, hoping to catch one of the fruits before they crash below and split open.

It's a hopeless mission, but writers often specialize in hopeless missions. It's one of the ways we preserve our hope.

I may never catch a falling plum, but I'll know that I tried.


The nature of life and work are changing around San Francisco, and across the world, though here they are perhaps the most pronounced.

Now people are meeting, finding little jobs, and creating new businesses on their iPhones. I get to find out about these initiatives in my role as a blogger, here at the epicenter of the technology boom.

That's fairly cool. But that's not what I feel like writing about tonight.


Tonight I feel like writing about writers and artists of all types. In contrast with the wonders of technology and how it is altering, even transforming our lives, is the serious havoc many forces are playing with our collective creative spirit.

If there could be one, and only one definition of art, I seriously doubt "commercially successful" would make the final cut.

Art is presumed to come from some other part of our soul.

It's also apparent that art is not logical, it is not data-driven, it will never satisfy an engineer's desire for control and result.

Art is messy. It involves more emotion than cerebral/logical/math and metrics.

You don't know you are successful as an artist because someone buys your work. You only know when your work has touched someone's heart.

Then again, fans can be fickle. So how does the artist react when one who claimed to be affected deeply by your work changes her mind and no longer cares to be?


There are many kinds of violence in this world. This is a post about many kinds of violence -- nature's violence, allowing fruits to swell and ripen only to crash below to a dirty and bitter end.

Never truly tasted. Of course, after they rot, the seed can split and multiply and reproduce, so a bigger (p)art of nature's plan is met, we may presume?

Or human violence, emotionally, on artists. About how a human can offer the connection that's equivalent to standing under that bending fruit tree, hoping to catch your words, only to blow away with the wind, as if none of this ever really happened.

What is fiction and what is not? Is this nature's plan as well?

And does any of it matter?


Sunday, June 24, 2012

On a Roll

Way out in The American Canyon, in the wind and sun tonight, the Seals won their game, 3-2.

They're now 4-1, and having their best season ever.