Sum Sum Summertime

June 30, 2015

Nevermind it was something north of 105 today… some said 108, some said 109.  Someone commented that we are lucky to live in the low humidity state of California where it can be 109 but only feel like 101.

Yay us.

No matter how you do the math, it was hot.

I like the early evening light and shadows…IMG_7200

I also like how a sprawling, gangly teenager can make a large-ish couch look small. This is not a love seat.

On the Hill

June 29, 2015

Wes made my job easy today.  Thanks. Again. Wes!


‘Nuff said.


And unrelated, but it does need to be said: dear friends let us know last night that they are splitting up. As I contemplated the impacts on so many people–not the least of which are the mom, dad and kid–I realized life is:

1. so temporal;

2. ridiculously unpredictable;

3. not always what it seems.

Among other things.

I thought about how this spells the end of a relationship (theirs) and the comfort and routine of a social relationship (ours) that I assumed would just sort of go on forever. As their kiddo takes off for college and beyond, I also realized home for him is now an open question. And I wondered what home is.

I know. Where the heart is. But c’mon… this is new.

So many thoughts came up.

I realized that Peter will also, soon, leave for school and beyond, and while I’ve known this and thought about it plenty, it will also be a time when our boundaries will be redrawn. Our life is nearly wholly built around our family life–Peter’s life mostly–and is defined by a social construct that is largely based on his activities and friends. Our lives, up until this point, have been comfortably nestled in certain routines that won’t even exist once he’s gone and baseball is over. In about a year. I know all this, but have conveniently not thought too much about it–busy as we’ve been with the task of keeping up, keeping current, keeping our eyes on the prize at hand.

But watching our friends go through two separations–the process of transitioning their son out of the house, and now this marital split–I realize shit’s getting real.

Profoundly sad. Weirdly destabilizing. I’ve been near tears all day. Had a nightmare-like thing last night.

Peter’s departure will be thrilling….. in the sense that raising and preparing our children to survive in the world and knowing they are as equipped as they can be, and that they’ve got a rich journey before them and we did our job–exactly the job we signed up for–and we did it well, is what this parenting thing is all about.  Well, yes, thrilling.

And it will be terrifying. Destabilizing. So many things are going to come to an end in a very short year. One day it will be like it’s always been, and the next day it’ll be not at all like it’s always been. I expect to feel a bit lost.

And I can’t even fathom how that feels on top of the dissolution of what seemed a totally mutually satisfying marriage between two people who seemed like best friends and soulmates.

‘Nuff said about this, too. With lots more to come as the year goes on.

Over the Hill

June 28, 2015


It can be hard to sit in the scorching sun of the central valley on a scorching hot day, while the Sierra Nevada looms teasingly off in the distance. If you’re at Fresno latitude, you are looking at Yosemite to the East.  Ooooh… that’s mean.

If we can’t be in the cool Yosemite high country, the only other place on earth I can imagine wanting to be on an early Sunday morning–and Dianna said these exact words–would be watching (and scoring) a baseball game. Bonus if Peter’s in it, which this morning he was. He got to throw the last seven pitches of the game–the last game of the four-game tournament, in fact–so I was happy.

After Friday night’s disaster of an outing, this was a good note to go home on. I just realized, he was the opening pitcher in the first game of the weekend (and got pulled after the first 5-run inning), and was the closing pitcher in the last game (and did fine, though they lost 6-4 what had been a very close game).

Sigh. The “Buchanan Baseball Summer Elite” is the highlight of the summer season–29 powerhouse teams from all over the state.  And Davis lost all four of its games.

It’s not so much a tournament, as it is an opportunity to get four games in against super strong opponents. For everyone, it’s a chance to evaluate and oil your players.

You never see all these teams because they distribute the games all over the Fresno/Clovis metropolitan area. Honestly… we drove thirty minutes from our hotel just to get to the fields.. all of which were far away, requiring lots of zig zagging through farmland:


Still, they always have a lot of fun. Lots of late night pool time, for instance. Here’s a shot I snuck from our third floor room last night at about 10:30pm… seniors holding court…


Wes got a couple of good shots today. Here they are stretching…


And here’s the money shot of the day….


(Not really running through sprinklers, but I’ll bet they wanted to!)

Fresno, Fresyes

June 27, 2015

Varsity baseball summer road trip. It’s definitely a thing.

Headed south down a very traffic-impacted Highway 99 yesterday afternoon, bound for Fresno. Passed a truck hauling skinny green things. Gadzooks!


Even though we are on the south side of Fresno in an older, industrial part of town–a town rough around more than just its edges–and even though it’s going to hover in the low hundreds today with few trees to be found and even less breeze, and even though Peter could not find the strike zone in last night’s game and feels like dog poop, and even though we are playing two more games today during the height of the heat (and one more tomorrow) in this inferno of a sprawling valley town…..  there is actually a lot to be said for a road trip with the team, and a lot of beauty to be found.

At about 8:30pm (game time 9:00), I looked up and noticed a stunning sky.

IMG_7181 IMG_7182

Here is a shot Rick M posted to Facebook. It’s actually a beautiful, incredibly modern stadium, with, yes, a few trees!


Otherwise, focus was on the game. And on keeping cool. And not sweating bullets when Peter was on the mound.


June 26, 2015


A few victories for the good guys this week:

In the aftermath of the horrific murders of nine peaceful black worshippers at a Charleston church last week at the hands of a tragically misguided young man–a self-proclaimed white supremacist–there is a tsunami of public opinion that is leading to the removal of confederate flags all over the south. Slow at first, with a lot of initial resistance, governors are, one-by-one, announcing that they are taking them down. Even Walmart is removing all confederate-themed paraphernalia from its shelves.

Symbols matter. The flag’s gotta go and this is certainly an important symbolic gesture.

And then on Tuesday, the Supremes issued a ruling in favor of the Affordable Care Act. It was the clarification of some sloppy, ambiguous language, but has huge ramifications and most importantly, affirms, yet again, the validity of O-BAH-macare.

Oh those poor, tortured republicans.

And finally, but not least, is the decision this morning to affirm, via the case of Obergefell v. Hodges, that same sex marriage is legal in all 50 states.

Law of the Land.

Landmark Decision.

All steps in the correct (not right) direction. Hope renewed. I am feeling surprisingly relieved and grateful.

In celebration, some happy shots from around the hood, more or less:

These are very red roses in front of Jennifer’s old B&B on A Street, played with the color a little:


And of course those outrageous sunflowers at Poleline and Covell… the five minute photo shoot:

One hopes for a bit of dramatic cloud action, or the light from a stunning sunset, but today, it was just a field of yellow flowers against a flawless sky:


Did what I could….IMG_7164


It was so windy, and the sunlight so intense, it was hard to frame a close up with my iPhone. But outstanding in one’s field, even the misses are kind of neat:IMG_7166


June 25, 2015

Seventeen sounds a lot older than sixteen did. I know you know what I mean. It’s just weird that our little kid is actually not a kid. Seventeen seems to qualify as young man.

I don’t wonder where all the time went; I have pictures. Lots and lots of them, in lots of places doing lots of things. So it’s not that. It’s just.. I look at him and see that he’s a young man, his own person of a young man with a fully formed personality, a life-at times–apart from ours. He’s got a family personality, and I now realize he’s got a personality that is all his own and shines outside of our family.

He shines at home, too, but in a different way.

I do love this guy and love the man he is becoming.  Here is this year’s snapshot–the seventeen year old version of Peter:

– He seems really comfortable with life, with who he is. I think he is enjoying himself. He likes his friends, he feels comfortable at home and with us, he loves being part of the baseball program, he loves diddling around with music, he loves working out and going for runs. He just seems very content.

– He likes school. I could qualify this by pointing out that his knee-jerk response to school is that he hates it, but I don’t really think he hates it. I think his dislike is the same as most teenage boys when asked about school. It’s school. But I see that it’s a huge part of his life and that there is a lot going on there that has nothing to do with homework and tests. Whatever else school is, it’s a big giant laboratory for figuring out who he is and where he fits in and who everybody else is and what matters to him. Of course, that’s what this school thing is all about. And he’s actually learning stuff. Bonus. And he’s doing well. He got a 4.2 both semesters of his junior year. Overall he’s hovering around a 3.9. He manages his classes with our barest intervention. It’s all working according to our never really articulated plan.

– He remains curious, spending a huge percentage of his online time researching physics, largely, or just listening to lectures, or taking tests. Really. He loves testing his knowledge of things. He prides himself on how much he knows.

– He’s not off the charts anywhere, or a music prodigy, or a future pro ball player, but he totally enjoys and is good at most of what he does. And when he’s not good at something he seems okay with that. I especially like that last part.

– He is actually really good at physics and pretty good in math. Physics, for now, has really lit his fire and given him a focus as he nears the part about applying to colleges. He got exceptionally great SAT scores on the math side of the house, which will help him make a case for physics. He awaits his physics AP score, but will take that again anyway when he actually takes AP physics next year. His passion is genuine, and at least at this point in time, he sees himself pursuing a career in some branch of physics. I know he could zig zag all over the place once he gets to college, which is fine, but I am so pleased he has a clear focus now. It may help his prospects at universities he’s interested in. We’ll see.

– As I write this, he’s off playing golf with Solly and Ray. Maybe James. They are planning a backpacking trip. He still loves to hike. They go swimming at the river or Lake Berryessa. He also still hangs with Reed, Daniel B, Jordon, Jacob, Michael and–when he’s available–Jack. Sleepovers are still happening. A bunch of them have already got reservations for a post-graduation trip to Hawaii.  He spends a lot of time alone at home, but he also spends a lot of time with his friends. I’m grateful that, in addition to the baseball team and longtime friends there, he has a solid social cohort. We like these boys, too, and know well almost all of the parents.

– He remains a very obsessive guy. When not obsessing about physics, he’s currently obsessing about baseball gloves, squats and benching increasing amounts of weight.

– He sleeps a lot. He still turns on every light in the house when we’re gone. He still makes up random games involving long chains of rubber bands or foam dice and wooden spatulas, or objects submerged in sinks full of water. He’s still messy and leaves solitary socks absolutely everywhere. He still can’t open an envelope without tearing it to bits. I still discover pencil chards all over, and too many surfaces are still inexplicably sticky.

That’s all okay by me.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things… will add as I do.

– A lot is missing from the list that might show up on the list other seventeen year olds: chores, dating, working, partying, attitude, drugs, alcohol. I’m glad some of that is missing and expect other stuff will show up in due time. We’ll just have to see.

I am looking ridiculously forward to having him all to ourselves for a month later this summer. Two upcoming trips. I am seeing the travel as a great chance to do a lot of hanging out and bunch of talking all the while doing completely new things and taking in a ton. I’m hoping our relationship deepens and expands. Hoping I’m not too eager and don’t overplay this. But wow, I think it’s going to be awesome.

I’ve got a lot of pictures from yesterday… so here goes:

This year’s cake order was red velvet. He didn’t know that was chocolate and when he found out, he requested I modify in some interesting way, in particular he wanted a layer of vanilla… so… I made a red velvet bottom later:


Which yielded two layers, one of which we froze for later:


Then I added a layer of strawberry ice cream, thinking “ice cream cake” sounded great!IMG_7132

But when we added the layer of vanilla cake and commenced to frost with a butter cream frosting I’d made, the ice cream sort of melted (the cakes were totally cooled off, but it still melted, so clearly I don’t know how to do this ice cream cake thing):


So I popped it into the freezer to try and stop the melting, but instead the ice cream absorbed into the bottom later. It was weird.

Still, we threw the candles on and called it good. We just ate fast:


See… no ice cream layer!


Peter liked it well enough…


Here are Jim and Peter:


Okay, so before the cake, we’d gone to the Buckhorn for dinner:


And had their complimentary birthday cheesecake (which complemented our dessert at home):


Exiting the restaurant:


Drove home in the gorgeous light of a beautiful sunset…





After cake, cards and presents… here’s Peter taking his new bike out for a spin:


My favorite downtown spot. At least for an au lait, a poppyseed muffin and some great music.


Never. Gets. Old.



They are celebrating their 20th anniversary. Remember well the day they opened down the street in what is now that fish place. Or is it that nail place? Either way, their current location is better. A very attractive addition to the downtown scene.


My view this morning…


The 9-10s

June 23, 2015

I’ve been a volunteer scorekeeper this week for the annual District 64 9-10 tournament that Davis Little League is hosting in its too-charming-for-words complex at F and Covell.

It’s been fun.



They are tiny compared to the men whose scores I now keep.


June 22, 2015

I can’t bring myself to post the bloody close up version of this, lest I get all queasy again. So, here is the cleaned up version of it:


This is what happens when you work like a fiend on Father’s Day.

Not really.

This is what happens when you slam a post-hole digger (I’m not sure I’ve got the hyphen in its proper place, or whether it requires a hyphen, or what) into the ground and it, for some reason, comes ricocheting backatcha and bonks you on the noggin.

Who does that?

Jim’s a brave guy, though, I must admit. After he did this, he just kept working, until the blood, which he didn’t know was spilling forth at great rates from the shallow but productive wound, began to run into his eyes. Then he stopped, applied some baby wipes, stemmed the worst of it, and finished the job.

Did I mention he was out in the middle of nowhere. By himself? At least he facebooked it so people would know where to find the body.

He came home and asked for a little assistance in cleaning the thing. Which, I was willing to provide. Until I got so queasy I needed some help. Peter, too, got a little queasy, but we got through it (it was a long hour).

Anyway… head wounds bleed a lot, but there is nowhere for the wound to go before you hit the skull, so it wasn’t terribly deep, if heavily vascularized.

He’s fine. The pillow survived. He can comb his hairs. It’s all good.

Saturday, Near the Park

June 20, 2015

Just a few shots of some spots on the outskirts of Saturday’s Farmer’s Market, sparing you shots of vegetables and fruits (though those are lovely, too), my Mishka’s donut of the week (never quite as good as a poppyseed muffin) and day two of the Dustin Pedroia Summer Classic (no shots of Peter, even though he got an inning in right field and a trip round the bases as a courtesy runner…. ah, the life of a PO in a game in which you’ve got a sizable lead).

Here is, um, glass man.  Sits in front of the Pence Gallery and shimmers like nobody’s business. Nice, if you like this kind of thing:


Further down D, the scene in front of the Mustard Seed and Cloud Forest:


Walking out of the park, these are the current blooms in the Central Park garden:


And heading home along 4th, near the corner of University Ave, the oleanders are hanging low: