Saturday, August 01, 2015

Old Map

One of my sisters moved recently and found an old letter from me written in Kabul 0ver 45 years ago. She snet it out plus an old map of Kabul that dates from that same era.

It occurred to me it probably has some value and maybe I will get it framed.


This morning I went shopping as we were almost out of food. Julia helped create the list -- mainly fruits and vegetables and bubbly water -- and at the top of her list wrote "large latte."

There is a Starbuck's embedded in the nearby Safeway so it wouldn't require an extra stop. My one worry/ That I would forget, because once my recyclable bags are loaded with perishable groceries I normally march straight home. especially when we are in the missle of a heat wave.

So while checking out the food I mentioned to the checker -- a friendly woman who has worked there for years -- that I as afraid I would forget my daughter's latte. When we finished packing up the foos and supplies she said "Don't forget the latte!"

I didn't.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Last night I had four kids here, my three youngest plus one of their friends. One son stayed out way late -- 2:30 a.m. or so, causing me to worry -- without cause as it turns out. He was just partying with friends.

But my sleep was disrupted in the process, which in turn affected my day.

Yet it was a good day, even if a sleep-walked through much of it.

At 8:15, Julia and I left for her volunteer counseling job at the SPCA. She asked if we could leave then so we could stop on the way for her to buy a latte at Starbucks.

Of course.

When she got in the car with her coffee, she described the scene inside...a long line, made longer by a customer who repeatedly complained that she had not been served what she ordered and abused the servers verbally.

"They all stayed nice and smiled at her and apologized," Julia said.

"Working in retail is very hard," I rejoined.

I am sure when Julia made it to the front of the line she was polite, friendly and smiling.

That's my daughter. To be explicit, I feel there is no greater human quality than empathy. Abusing others in any way is unacceptable needs to be bred out of this killer species. Maybe, if we are all lucky, that unhappy, entitled customer at Starbucks this morning will never reproduce.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Slower Pace Desired (Sleepless in San Francisco)

You know what I yearn for? Some retreat from Twitter, Facebook, social media of all kinds. It has finally started to overwhelm me, or maybe I am just getting old.

I used to have time to go out in my backyard, lie in the hammock and gaze at the sky. I used to get paid to guide long-term projects through to completion. No longer.

Now all is 24-7 and it is wearing me out. I find that I have trouble sleeping, as I keep worrying about all of the news stories we should be covering that we do not have the resources to cover.

Maybe I have grown a bit too old for this pace? And this place.

Yet I feel I have nowhere to go, so like many older people I just cling to my space and routine and I fear change.

That frankly sucks. I have never before feared change. I have been an agent of change. But the pace of change has overtaken my ability to deal with it. Technology has overtaken any reasonable sense of value.

Over and out.


Monday, July 27, 2015

Urban Chickens

The El Cerrito chickens are growing and getting closer to the stage when they can begin laying eggs. Stopped by to see them yesterday before the party in the park.

Unfortunately, three other chickens have died over the months, so the survival rate is not great. But the prospect of fresh eggs and the value for the kids to learn about farm animals makes this a great parenting move,  IMHO.


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Growing Up Together

Yesterday, up in windy Arlington Park in El Cerrito, I did what I always do when we get together -- observe my grandchildren closely. I think little kids are so interesting in the way they develop and differentiate themselves within families and groups.

In families with three kids, particularly, you get to see the triangulation of relationships, but it happens as well with only children, two, four or more kids. It is just part of the human process of growing up.

Since I have had so many groups of three (four) within my own familial unit, I've always been intrigued by how the oldest child takes charge, the middle child negotiates space, and the youngest child observes and joins in.

Right now, Oliver is the third of three brothers. Sarah and I think he is a little bigger than his brothers at this age; he is certainly very physical. Just watching him play within the group, you can see his eyes tracking the older kids and then emulating them in whatever they do.

Laila and I discussed Sophia, her 4-year-old middle child. The thing about Sophia is she is the first girl, now with a little sister, and older than Oliver. So she often initiates games that appeal to Oliver when he cannot keep up with the big boys.

I love the photo yesterday of the two of them and little Daisy holding hands, headed for the playground.

Meanwhile Uncle Dylan has become something of the local hero to all of his nephews and nieces. Such a kind-hearted fellow, gentle and tall. He lets them rough-house with him and yesterday played sports with them -- something he doesn't do so often. A real champ.

For me, sitting in my lawn chair and watching, there was so much to see.