Saturday, September 14, 2013

Domestic Moments, Life in the Fog Zone

Julia and I were up at dawn, and out into the cold, windy, wet morning and a drive across town to her soccer game. At the last minute Aidan came along to the park, and then lent his little sister his sweatshirt since she had forgotten hers.

Then I drove him to Glen Park where we had breakfast down the street from where he works. He took me into the upscale market, where he earns the minimum wage stocking produce, and he showed me all of the exotic fruits and vegetables he is learning the names of.
Back at the pitch I caught the second half of Julia's game. They were playing an older, better team but stayed close, losing 1-2. Julia was called for two fouls, and both times the opposing players rolled across the turf. They were marginal calls, but when a player "flops" they often get the call.

The other factor is during any such collision between two players these days, Julia tends to have a size and strength advantage.

She was playing with injuries -- a sprained ankle, which she wrapped, an injured toe, and a hurt calf -- but during the game she said they didn't bother her. (Adrenalin.)

Afterwards, she hugged some of her teammates and we returned home where I cooked sausages for her and Dylan.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Off to the Dance

Now they're freshmen in high school, the girls have a dance with their old Middle School friends tonight.
They're excited to reconnect and compare notes from their first few weeks in 9th grade.

Tomorrow morning we have a soccer game at 8 a.m., so from the dance floor to the soccer pitch over at 11-hour period (most of which hopefully will be sleeping).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Progress as a Dad (I hope)

Tonight, my 14-year-old daughter called me "Daddy" during our nightly phone call check-in. That has not happened in a long while.

So that is the headline of my day. For many months now, I have not had a name, only more of a shrug, an eye-roll, and an inaudible grunt. Her brothers, witnessing this and sensing how it has affected me, have been criticizing her for a while now.

Though I am grateful to them for being sensitive to the subtleties of how we communicate with each other as a family, I've also told them to lay off, because she is going through what all 14-year-old girls go through.

Of course, as her Dad, I understand. Plus she is not the first but the third of my daughters, so I get it on many other levels. My goal at this point is just to make sure we stay connected while she migrates her way through the almost unimaginable painfully experience of being a teenaged girl.

Here is what I try to do.

I ask her what it is really like to be a young girl riding public transportation. "Does anyone bother you? Do you ever feel threatened? Are there any weirdos who try to approach you?"

Then I suggest to her what to do if anything like hat happens. She is shy but also strong. She also has self-defense training, which is a good thing.

Then I ask her about school.

Who are the kids she is meeting and how does she feel about them? Who might become a friend? This is the difficult social aspect of being a freshwoman in high school.

Any suggestions are welcome. I could use help. Few people respond to these posts any longer, since I took this blog private.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I am working on a raw idea here and I would really love some feedback from those of you who read these words.

Collective cultural memory matters. Unless those of us who are now growing older document what we've witnessed, and how we felt about the historical events in our time on earth, in the form of memorable stories told in a form understood by our grandchildren (or those children we have bonded with, family or not), the human race is doomed. That is a strong inference I draw from various academic researchers, particularly historians.

We also live in a society that does not routinely honor its aged members. So as elders, we are at risk of not having any voice whatsoever unless we solve the problem I have posed. I could easily point you to some scary evidence about what we Boomers face as we age, should we not have anyone who cares enough to protect our voices as we enter what used to be called our "golden years."

What can we do about this?

I have many memories of the aftermath of 9/11 and they include taking my 7-year-old son to the first baseball game after play resumed. We both held American flags, stood, sang "God Bless America" and cried in the 7th inning.

Frankly, I'd never felt enough part of this society on an individual level enough to ever have done that before. But on that night I did.

That's an example of what I am talking about.

How can we best tell these stories?


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pork and Beans

When I was a kid, we always heard this was the food that bums ate. I guess cans of pork (probably mainly fat, actually) and beans were affordable. The concept I retained is that the guys who hopped trains and ate over campfires next to the tracks had this for dinner,

Anyway, I do not recall ever tasting pork and beans until a church trip when we canoed down a Michigan river. The canoe I was in tipped over and I was cold and wet by the time we cooked our dinner over a campfire.

A can of pork and beans.

I've gotta tell you that all these years later I still remember how good it tasted.

So much so that today, while shopping and stocking up for my kids' dinners these coming nights, I bought a can of baked beans. When I opened it, if I am not mistaken, a piece of pork fat rolled out.

Then I added some hot dogs. But these were kosher beef hot dogs, so I'm sure I ruined the combo.

Still, it tastes pretty good right now, close to my memory.


Sunday, September 08, 2013

Back to the Pitch (Finally)

 My youngest showed off her defensive prowess in the hot fog of Pacifica today. I call it that because you always get a bad sunburn in that kind of fog, which is what I got watching the game.  :(
She plays defense well, but had a few problems in this game -- dehydration (headache) and a hurt ankle (we iced it this afternoon and evening) -- but in the main she did well.
Besides a lot of steals, big kicks, hard hits (see the above photos) and throw-ins, Julia gave me a thumbs-up at halftime that she was fine to continue after going out holding her forehead.
 Two of the fans at today's game were Julia's former coach, Aidan, and his buddy Ozzie.
 At halftime, Aidan demonstrated for Ozzie how to kick a goal from mid-field.
After the game, as we headed to a local cafe for lunch, Aidan caught a tennis ball that came flying from some courts nearby in midair and tossed it back to the guy who hit it.