Home

Baseball Revisited

October 22, 2016

Beautiful day in the way-southland. I think they forecast another day of 90s.

We chose a place in Del Mar for breakfast … a wonderful outdoor-only place called the Stratford Court Cafe–seems you can have those kind of places down here:

img_5308

And yet another great vanilla-ish smoothie-like drink … this one: orange juice and vanilla powder. Jim had a Belgian waffle, I had a veggie scramble with a mountain of arugula and avocado… Mmmmm…

img_5309

Eating fresh organic, outside in late October. Love California.

And for a bit of gravy: baseball!

We were lucky to be in town for a club baseball double header: UCSD Tritons v. USC Trojans. We headed over for the start of the 10:00 game…which we missed while searching for the field, but arrived in time to see Bobby at the plate in the bottom of the first.

img_5312

Not too far from UCSD is University City High School. This is often where the club team hosts its home games. Nice field with shadeless bleachers.

Club ball is very low key.. it’s about fun and camaraderie, playing a sport you love. They self coach and self manage. They also provide and launder jerseys (not sure who does that), and provide most of the equipment (including helmets, bats). Players provide their own pants, belts, socks, cleats, gloves.. of course.

It’s official, too. They have umps, a league, league standings, titles, tournaments they travel to and hope to win (for example, the team traveled to Las Vegas last weekend and narrowly lost in the championship game), and big fancy things like world series (if they win their league and prevail in a series of post season tournaments). So, mostly it’s fun, but they also want to win.

It was incredibly fun, and such a bonus buy, to see Peter on the mound today. And Bobby, who played for DHS before Peter came along, and Ray.  And, AND, it was fun to play against Nate whom Peter & Ray played with in their junior year, who now plays for USC.

Look how pleased we are to be at yet another Peter baseball game:

img_5325

We sat in the bleachers with parents of another freshman, Kyle T, who’s from San Mateo. Got some good info about the team, dorm life and what the first quarter at UCSD feels like from another’s perspective. Nice folks.

Peter started the second game of the double header:

p1200834

He has such a distinctive style… it was fun to see that signature wind up..

p1200833

Lead off batter for USC in the second game was none other than Nate. I think Peter went about 2-2 in the count before grazing him slightly on the elbow:

img_5279

All pitchers today went a max of two innings. Peter pitched well enough. The Tritons won both games, 6-0 and 5-0. Good for them.

Afterward, the four former DHS varsity players posed together… Classes of 2013, 2015 and 2016…

p1200879

Peter stayed to work on the field, Jim and I headed out for some drinks. Decided to check out the UTC — University Town Center — a very upscale outdoor shopping mall that we’d heard about, just across the freeway from UCSD.

img_5350

After a while, we got a call from Peter who’d gone home and showered and was now ready for dinner.  We picked him up at his dorm…

IMG_5353.jpg

…and he even let me come inside (no pics). It was interesting… cramped, messy but not horrible. They have a lot of stuff. The mini-fridge is great and very appreciated.

For dinner, Peter picked an Italian restaurant in Little Italy: Mimmo’s. Great ambiance, good service and our dinners were all excellent. My guys:

img_5357

Walked around a bit after dinner..

img_5374

I liked this apartment building. Little Italy’s about two blocks up from the water, great location in downtown San Diego.

img_5369

There was a Lamborghini show in the street. Peter and Jim checking each one out..

img_5364

Then… something bizarre… we found a new concept in desserts: iDessert…

img_5380

… where you construct your own dessert via a bank of iPads set up along a long counter. Here is Peter through the window making his selections:

img_5379

This guy, Jean-Philippe has come up with this unique dessert concoction and figured out how to make the entire selection process so gimmicky you want to try it. You first choose an outer meringue layer from a lengthy menu of options. Then, page by page, you customize your dessert by making similar selections in a range of categories: flavored creams, gelato flavors, sauces, cake types, crunchy toppings, fruit layers, etc.  You fill your entire order this way and then pay online. When they call your name, you retrieve your masterpieces:

img_5381-1

Those are the upside down meringue shells, on top of all that other stuff . Jim’s is mint something, Peter’s mocha something, and mine is vanilla and coconut-themed. They were good… but a little contrived, if you ask me. Not sure we’ll go back, but interesting to try.

And that was that day. Again, mostly just a treasure to spend it with the kiddo.

 

 

 

 

It’s Go See Peter Day!

October 21, 2016

The day didn’t start out well. Well, actually, it did (in my view), then it went south, but then it came back.

The rough start had to do with the travel anxieties that typically characterize our departures, particularly those that involve planes. The short of it: Jim and I have different time sensibilities. It’s gotten to a point where even if I’m on time, it’s not on time enough, probably because of past infractions. He starts with the assumption that I’m going to be late. I am a victim of the late label, slapped on way back when. I’m late before I’m even late. And it’s quite a hole to climb out of.

We, of course, have different definitions of late: mine is a tad relaxed, based on standard societal conventions (a few-minute window on either side is reasonable and acceptable); his is rigid. It’s become even more rigid, I believe, as a result of past travel wounds. The truth is, I’m late before I even start getting ready. I’m already late the night before, as we negotiate alarm times. He’s already girding for my lateness.

The irony is, I’m not a crazy late person. Not even close. I’m within the totally normal part of the bell curve. If anything, and I’m serious here, I’m on the slightly obsessively punctual side. It’s just–and this is a reality that runs through all my dealings with Jim–I’m on the late side of Jim.  Not normal people. Jim.

But this time, I wasn’t late. I hit it right on. He wanted us in the driveway at 5:30. I was walking down the hall at 5:29. He seemed cold and stiff. Which I thought was odd, but I didn’t react. I was pleased with my effort.

Then, as we’re moving out the door and into the driveway, he says: We’re late.

I protest. He stands firm.

I tried to make my case. In addition to hitting–even bettering–my acceptable window of timeliness, I also think I should get credit for 1) trying super hard (he had no idea how close I’d come to actually missing my mark), and 2) having to overcome greater packing challenges (always the case).

But it fell on deaf ears and that stone cold Frame facial expression. In his mind, we weren’t in the driveway at 5:30. What more need be said?

Let the record show,  I was sitting in the car ready to go at 5:34 (a huge steamy black cloud over my head, and defensive expletives flying).

We rode in silence to the airport. I maintained a sizable contact-free zone. I sat separately on the parking shuttle bus. At the airport, we mechanically went through all the check in procedures, avoiding eye contact. We were offered seats on an earlier flight (we were there so early). I got TSA-pre and he didn’t and had to wait in a long and winding line, so we showed up to the gate at different times. We were the last seated. We sat in silence.

At some point on the flight, I broke through with something like “I don’t want to be mad.”  We talked, we softened, we reasoned our ways to a better place. And, finally, we shifted our focus to the happy reason for our trip: PETER.

Let the wonderful visit begin.

~~

Due to our very early departure, we arrived to see the sun shining through skywalk windows:

img_5281

Peter had classes (which we knew), so we went to breakfast. Drove a mile and half up the hill from the airport to the Hillcrest neighborhood and had breakfast at Crest Cafe… that wonderful diner Peter and I found last time:

img_5286

Yum yum. Loved it.

We were able to check in early, so did that, then headed over to campus, found the Hopkins parking structure, did that, then wandered around. Nice. Still feeling nostalgic about it. Still. I’m keep shaking my head that we ended up here… in the same place I went to school. Still amazed at how much I recognize, as well as how much has changed.

Anyway.

Ended up at Muir for iced tea, a vanillacano and a nice break. Sat here on this very cool bench/art installation and watched students come and go:

img_5255

Turns out, we missed Peter and Ray by minutes; they’d finished lunch in the Muir dining hall just before we arrived. Unplanned, but wouldn’t that have been fun to run into them…

Jim did run into another fellow–the same one who, weeks ago at the Revelle orientation, had complimented him on his hat. He was sitting in the same plaza area today and when he saw Jim’s hat, came over to say hi. So funny. Like an old friend.

We explored a while longer, then went back to the hotel to wait for Peter to be done with classes. The plan was to meet Wes, Bobby and Ray for an early dinner. We ended up registering for the Parents Weekend and then meeting up with Wes and Ray at the Price Center to just hang out for a while. Very nice to meet up!

Oddly, coincidentally, it turned out Max from the DHS baseball team was on campus with his family touring UCSD as a prospective school to attend next year (unrelated to Family Weekend), texted Ray/Peter, and were just around the corner. We met up with them:

img_5296

Honestly.

We meandered through Warren College… so pretty. This part of campus did not exist when I was there. This is the engineering building with the house on top:

img_5299

Here are Ray, Peter, Wes and Jim…

img_5301

Met Bobby at Rock Bottom, a brew pub down the hill from our hotel, right across from campus… great to talk with all three about school, classes, baseball, future plans…then Wes grabbed an Uber and headed to the airport… proud dad:

img_5304

Peter, Jim and I had tickets to see a comedy show.. a comedian/magician who definitely had some very funny moments:

img_5305

I completely enjoyed him, as well as the other two, though less polished.

Took Peter back and that was our first full day.

It’s normal, comfortable, and yet it’s different. It’s weird to say goodnight and drop him off in a dorm parking lot. But it’s also good to see he’s finding his way and fitting into his new place. Couldn’t have imagined quite what that would be a year ago.. but it’s this. It was an abstract concept then, now it’s not abstract. And it all seems just totally good.

 

 

 

 

 

Limp In. Smile Out.

October 20, 2016

img_5217

I saw this billboard the other day as I was driving along I-80. Looks like hip replacements are trending!

And speaking of which, Kaiser called me today (not Sutter Health) and we scheduled the surgery for my hip replacement. Mark your calendars, friends, it will be January 10, 2017!

Well, at least I’ll mark mine.

I have to say, I am REALLY looking forward to this. By the time the surgery comes around, it will have been nearly exactly TWO YEARS since the so-called flare up that was the sure indication my hip had crossed a line into symptomatic osteoarthritis.

That’s two years of a very nagging pain that at times has severely interfered with mobility and activities.

In some ways, I wish I’d accepted Dr. Haight’s initial arthritis diagnosis (in February of 2015 ). But I simply did not believe it. Instead I spent the better part of two years trying to fix it through alternative therapies..anything but the nuclear option (surgery). That included physical therapy/training with Hideshi, physical therapy with Scott the Kaiser PT, regular massage therapy with Kellie, acupuncture and cupping with Brian Dempsey, cryotherapy, over the counter anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen, glucosamine, something Dempsey gave me), various anti-inflammatory diets, the ol’ raisins & gin concoction (thanks, Robin!), ice & heat of course, cortisone injections (2)… and then hoped for a Steadman Clinic stem cell procedure, but that was a no go. I think that about covers it.. and nothing really solved the problem.

Additionally, in the two years since I hurt it, I’ve gained quite a bit of weight and lost a lot of my baseline fitness/strength. In addition, I’ve got mechanical issues up and down the chain… a recurring back issue, now this frozen shoulder thing. I can’t help think that any deviation in our basic mechanics manifests in some kind of misalignment elsewhere. And so it goes.

You can’t say that quality of life was not affected.. it was. I limp and hurt and am discouraged a lot. And I definitely missed out on a lot of good hikes.

On the other hand, I’m mostly glad I tried everything I could. I learned a lot. I will certainly recognize the signs when my left hip starts to go (only a matter of time), and will know to proceed right away to the stem cell option…

Anyway, now with a date certain, I can execute my get in shape and drop some weight plan with a little more intention. Knowing there’s a clear block of time I’m working with, for some reason, helps.

So yeah… I’m totally ready. And excited to get back to life.

Hil Yes

October 19, 2016

Tonight… third and final debate.

I, like the entire country, am so relieved these debates are behind us. I truly found them stressful. He’s been such a wild card and so beyond standard decorum you just didn’t know what to expect. Through it all, she handled herself with dignity, strength and self-respect, but I still had a hard time watching him abuse her. His demeaning bully tactics–the name calling, the interrupting, the stalking (at the second debate)–were chilling and ugly. He has no place in the public eye. I shudder to think how young people perceive his behavior. Do young men find his behavior admirable, something to model? Do young women think they deserve to be talked to like this? His complete lack of basic decency and civility is appalling.

But now.. the debates are over: we don’t have to pretend anymore that this is a normal campaign for the presidency. Hillary and the Donald do not have to appear on the same stage any more.

We can coast to November 8 now, and just ignore his [sure to continue] silliness.

Deep, deep, relieved breath.

~~

Speaking of the debate stage, here is a supreme boo boo of a camera setting that accidentally resulted in a pretty cool image:

img_5251

Darlene, Sharon and I watched together while drinking champagne and eating sausage.. among other things. It was mildly cathartic, certainly fun.

It seems the overwhelming consensus is that Hillary won, again. All she has to do in the last weeks of this campaign is run out the clock; her lead is substantial and he’s doing nothing to turn things around for himself. She did in this final debate what she’s done in others–presented her policy positions, repeated details of her experience and credentials, pointed out his shortcomings, stayed calm.

He did none of that. I personally thought his tactic this time of railing on her vulnerabilities was effective, even as he lied and lied. I thought he landed numerous wounding punches. But the analysis afterward seized on his dramatic and eyebrow-raising comments, most notably his sly, teasing and irresponsible statement about not accepting the outcome of the election.

Unless he walks that back, that statement’s going to be front and center for days, if not weeks, if not historically.

Such a doofus.

~~

So Hillary….  our next president. I have these two favorite photos… been wanting to post them for awhile. They are useful in demonstrating her strengths and his weaknesses.

She has a passion for public service, which came across last night, as it has in all debates. She has a long, long record of working in the public sector and always in the public’s interest. A brilliant honor student at Wellesley and Yale, she had the chops and choice to do anything, but she chose to devote her life to public service

Once in the trenches, always in the trenches:

hill

When it comes to a real and demonstrated commitment to public service, she runs circles around anybody, but especially the self-serving, personal empire building Donald, who cares about one thing only: his name in lights.

She is also the most qualified candidate ever to run for president. Period. Which also came across last night, as in all debates. Her understanding of how government works in combination with her experience in a variety of roles is completely unparalleled. In addition to a thick CV of academic achievements and honors and an insanely impressive employment/public service record, she served as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady, Senator, Secretary of State. She knows her stuff. As a wonk, her poring over policy briefings never ends. She lives and breathes it.

This, and her preparation showed again last night. And really.. isn’t that exactly what you want from a leader? Someone who comes to the table completely informed, someone who has not only the interest but the sheer capacity for taking in great gobs of information, has the ability to process it, can make reasoned decisions, and can present her arguments cogently and persuasively? I’ve watched West Wing, I’ve watched House of Cards. This is no place for someone who has no patience for minutia.

My favorite photo of the non-glam side of politics.

notglamhil

But the Donald…. he’s the opposite of policy wonk. He has no interest, no curiosity, no capacity for the details of the job. He had no patience for preparation. He boasted about this before each and every debate. Instead of doing his homework, he opted to continue with his large stadium rallies, his favorite stage, where he was bathed in adoration. This is all he’s ever wanted from the job.

He is the most ill-equipped individual ever to seek office, let alone the presidency. No dues paid. No patience for the minutia. No time served in any trench whatsoever. He claims this as a plus, and on some levels I understand the argument: an outsider sees things differently. An outsider is not beholden to a process that many see as flawed. But I don’t see it that way. Politics is all about process, compromise, relationship building, and common ground; and I’ll take her depth of experience in government over his brash, corporate, dictatorial style any day.

So, again, sigh, his lack of preparation and lack of knowledge was in full view on the debate stage: he ran out of things to say long before his two minutes were up on any given policy question.

There has never been a person less suited or less equipped to be a government leader.

Blah blah. No need to even go here anymore.

In fact… so many have voted already, and he’s so far behind in the polls, and, he’s lost his last chance for a national stage on which to make his case, that the race for presidency over. Definitively over. The only battle now is for the Senate and a productive number of House seats.

No need to fret anymore.

img_5253

 

Baseball Revisited

October 18, 2016

Notable deja vu text of the day: “I can’t, I have practice,” said Peter, when I suggested we have a phone conversation this early evening.

Practice refers to baseball; the team is the UCSD club baseball team.

 

Now, this baseball thing has been an interesting road. Let me go back….

When Peter ended his Davis baseball career last June, the question of whether he’d play again (competitively) was an open one. At times, he seemed eager to play again, and at other times he seemed more inclined to prioritize his studies. One thing was clear, he wanted no input from us.

For most of the summer, he was expecting to attend UC Santa Cruz. He and Solly talked about playing club together, we presume, but nothing was certain. When he found out he’d gotten into UCSD, the conversations–again, we presume–continued, but this time with Ray.

When it was time to pack, he opted not to take any baseball paraphernalia. He got a bit testy when I suggested he take stuff just in case. He acquiesced to taking a glove, but made what was clearly an important distinction: he would not pack it together with his other belongings… it had to sit, uncommitted, on the back seat.

We didn’t say anything.

When it came time to unload the car, the glove stayed behind, and remained in the car for the next four days.

We didn’t say anything.

It wasn’t until the last moments before Jim and I were heading back to Davis, that, in a sudden spontaneous move, Peter leaned into the car and swiped his glove off the backseat.

Jim and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows, but didn’t say anything.

For the next couple weeks, no mention was made of club ball, but Peter did say that he and Ray were playing some catch here and there.  A couple weeks ago, we learned that Peter and Ray were participating in a surprisingly lengthy (1-2 weeks) tryout. A couple days after these tryouts started, Peter asked us to send a box of baseball clothes. A few days after that, he needed medical information for some insurance forms. We learned that the final stage of the tryouts was to pitch in a game weekend before last, which he did, and apparently did well enough to make the cut. He mentioned this pretty nonchalantly. This past weekend, he traveled with the team to Las Vegas for a big tournament. The Tritons won their first three games. Ray pitched and won a complete game! Peter started in the fourth and final game, the championship game and went 5 1/3 innings. They lost that game, and he said he didn’t pitch his best, but it was a lot of fun. We are visiting him this coming weekend and we learned tonight that there may be a home game against USC. He said he’s enjoying playing on the team and likes the guys.

Can you believe that paragraph ^^ ?  Wow!

Now, I love baseball. I love Peter playing baseball and I love to watch him play. But I was also totally fine with him not playing in college. I thought it would be wonderful for him to have a community of friends, especially a bunch of baseball guys, especially in a nerdy, sciency place like UCSD, and have a ready way to keep active and fit… but I was also okay if he was done with baseball. It was totally up to him.

Duh. He’s a college guy now. An adult college guy who is ready to make his own decision.

But hey! He decided on baseball. At least for the fall season. I’m thrilled for him and I just hope it’s worthwhile and full of friends. He should do it–if he wants–as long as it’s fun.

Here’s a pic… a screen shot of the UCSD Club Baseball Facebook page… as much as I could get in a single screen shot. There’s a bit of a write-up of last week’s double header against the University of San Diego Toreros. Peter’s name is mentioned a couple times:

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-11-19-10-pm

How about that!!

 

 

 

 

Memiest of the Memes

October 17, 2016

This is probably my favorite meme over weeks and weeks of very clever, cleverly smart, smartly funny memes. Lately, there has been a firehose of memes… you know, this being election season… an election season in which, well, you know, there is just a lot to meme about.

And this meme isn’t even about the target of some of my most favorite election memes. It’s just a fun, funny memy meme:

 

img_5213

 

 

Good Job, Mom

October 16, 2016

I went on a creative journey today.

My ever-talented friend Lorilyn facilitated a workshop called, “Empty Nest? Wondering What’s Next?: A painting workshop to Imagine the Next Chapter of Your Life.”

It’s a workshop she lead as part of her certification in the intentional creativity program, a program offered through an organization called Cosmic Cowgirls. Longer story, but the important thing is we got to be trial subjects–her guinea princesses–so it was a good deal all around.

The workshop is best described in Lorilyn’s words:

  • I’m delighted you’ll be joining me on a creative journey to help you move beyond the story that’s been centered on raising a family and find a new story for your life now that your kid/s have left home.
  • You’ll gain insights and tools to help you navigate this transition. You’ll experience an approach called intentional creativity, and have a chance to explore new possibilities through ritual, reflection, painting, writing, and sharing.
  • We’ll be painting and writing, but it won’t be a painting or writing class. No experience in either is needed. So relax!

The journey actually began last night with a three-hour prep session, followed by today’s all-day session.

Last night, we began with an overview, a red yard ritual, followed by a reading, and then LL facilitated a fascinating guided imagery exercise.

When done well, guided imagery is like dreaming while awake. You go where prompted, but the imagery that presents itself is all your own.  For example, during the mediation, I saw a very sunny, warm and delicate alpine meadow surrounded by strong, towering redwoods. There was also a woman in levi’s and a white long-sleeved shirt, rolled halfway up her forearms.

Right?

She prompted with a light touch.. it was definitely my subconscious at work. Much of it made sense, and some of it was a bit baffling. At least initially.

We each shared what came up for us and tried to make some sense of it. We were asked to distill our thoughts into a single theme or question.  Mine was “where will my heart lead me,” referring to life after child-raising.

This question has to do with my desire to make a distinction between where my brain (specifically my left brain) might take me, and where my heart (or perhaps right brain) might take me in this new phase of life. I am the consummate left brainer–an organized planner of a structured life filled with routines and tasks. I love my tidy boxes. Sometimes I value organizational tidiness and routine over risk and the unknown. Maybe more than sometimes. As my world changes, I am interested in getting in touch with my less structured self and be guided instead (or at least in addition!) by my heart, by my passions.

Sounds pretty awesome, huh?

We wrote our questions in charcoal across the canvas.

We were then to create our “portal”.. our first foray into actually painting. Our job was to convey on canvas what came up for us during the guided imagery session. Perhaps not literally, but in a way that suggested the energy of our journey thus far. We were only to use three colors, and were to paint right over our charcoal scrawl.

This was a bit of a stretch for the tentative artist in me. But hey, I’m the one who said I wanted to let go of my brain and instead by guided by my heart… so I just let her rip. I basically ended up using yellow, green and a bit of brown to paint an abstract version of a meadow surrounded by a few clumsy trees. I completely forewent the levi-clad woman…. because my literal mind just couldn’t figure out how to transcribe her in art form. And denim blue was beyond my three colors.

Here is a shot of our makeshift studio and you can see the start of my painting on the far easel… this was before I added the clumsy trees:

img_5226

Anyway… that was our 3-hour introduction.

It wasn’t until driving home last night that I realized what that woman was all about. She represents a confident, capable, strong person. A badass, basically. I realize that after being a mom for 18 years, I’m not sure who I am anymore outside that role. I was a pretty good mom (thank goodness for excellent dads), but now who and how am I?

So yay! I now have a bunch of questions to ponder: 1) What — what am I going to do with myself, my time, my energies now that my kiddo is on his own? 2) Who — who’s showing up to deal with that very big what… and is she up to the task/s, whatever it/they is/are? 3) How — I do have confidence that my left brain will be totally on the job,  but I also want to make sure my right brain’s involved. 4) Where — where will my heart lead me?

Lotta overlapping question marks, but good stuff came up last night, ya?

Today, we just had to paint all that!

To get us our hearts stirring, we started with a bit of a ritual. We’d been asked to bring symbols of our life as a mom and symbols of what we wanted in our next phase of life to place upon an altar. I brought these:

img_5248

That’s a label from my favorite maternity shirt (that I wore for years, until it fell apart), a baseball (which symbolized our supporting role in Peter’s life), my beloved Buddha rock that I got in Nepal (symbol of my desire to explore a more spiritual life), and a heart rock (obvious symbol of love and compassion).

The creation of a painting, according to Cosmic Cowgirl’s intentional creativity approach, is a 13-step process. It’s possible we did two of those steps last night, not quite sure, but today was all about proceeding through the remaining steps until we had a completed work of … art … or until we had a completed representation of our current state of being (complete with dreams, affirmations and lots of others stuff). There was a pattern to this process: LL would read something, or pose a question, or introduce an idea or a technique, or whatever, and we would journal our thoughts. Then we’d proceed to the canvas to add those elements to our painting.  There was a framework, but the implementation was all ours.

For better or for worse.

Here is an early version of my painting (we might be in about the fourth or fifth stage here) …

img_5227

Let me explain: We start with a pretty prescribed template of a face, which we’d placed right over our initial “portal.” Believe me, it was very crude at the beginning, sort of Picasso-esque, so this is a lot of refinement. I can actually draw faces pretty well, but I started with an abstract and tried to bring it to life. Awkward, but fine… it’s more about process than art, per se. Anyway, at this point, I’m starting to develop an idea… that I want to light up my right brain and quiet down my left brain… thus the light and dark on the face, and the open/closed eyes. I went kinda literal on the woman, rather than a warrior princess type, made her sort of a self portrait… which…. I might have been better off staying kind of abstract… but I have left brain issues.

Then came this idea of opening my eyes (and right brain/heart) to my passions (nature, for example) and turn down the volume on my structure and tidy self side (boxes). Literal, I realize, but there you go.

I also added a symbol of my life as a child-raising mom… baseball stitches within my heart. Yep. That’s what I did.

Looks like I disappeared the river at this point. Sure I had a reason.

img_5237

Somewhere toward the end, after glazing (a washing away process) and other more subtle embellishments, I added a symbol of my desire to connect more deeply to a higher spirit… that would be the Nepalese symbol for the Buddha, which I placed over my head.

Many painting and journaling steps later, we’d gotten to the end of our thirteen steps. I think my final touches were to add lipstick and remove an errant hair.

img_1641

And there you have it. My wishes for my next phase in life: to be guided by gentle wisdom and a graceful spirit; to live life with peace and contentment; a mind open to passion; and a heart full of love.

I titled it, “Good Job, Mom,” but if I’d thought about it more, I might have chosen a title that reflected more the gift of parenting my precious son, the thrill of my continuing role as his mom, and the privilege of transitioning to new stage with eyes and heart wide open.

But Good Job, Mom works okay, I guess.

At the end of the workshop, we were tasked with reading a letter that the subject of our painting might write to us (which meant we had to write that, of course). Basically, she conveyed those themes and reminded me that I’m safe, loved, nurtured. And funny. I liked that (actually, she said whimsical and fun, but close enough). She also reminded me that I have a great life.

Here we are.. have you ever seen so much color!

img_1651

It was an affirming and worthwhile way to spend a rainy day.  Thanks Lorilyn!

 

 

 

 

 

 

House Concerts

October 15, 2016

Forever, it seems, I’ve been on the mailing list for Bill Wagman’s house concerts in Davis, and until last night, had never gone to one.

At the recommendation of a music friend (Jeff), Jim and I decided to go last night to hear a guy named Rick Shea (hails from Covina, of all places).

Not a lot to say about this, except I liked the intimate setting (about forty people), liked seeing a few people we knew there, liked having a glass of wine (even cheap, even in a plastic cup), and loved the music.

There was even an opening act… Peter and Gabby, “The Good Intentions” from Liverpool, England, believe it or not:

img_5218

Rick played a few songs with them…

img_5219

…before he took the stage alone:

img_5220

(As you can see, I experimented with a few different filters… the lighting was low, so nothing really came out…)

And I liked him so much, I bought a CD (of course… never met a folk singer I didn’t like):

img_5221

I’d NEVER have had him sign it, but Gabby put a pen in my hand and said in her thick english accent, “Go on, he’d love to autograph it for you.”  So I did, and he did. It felt utterly silly, but there ya go.

House concerts.

 

 

 

La Note

October 14, 2016

It was breakfast with Elliot in Berkeley day–always right up there in the category of fun times reconnecting with valued buddies.

Lots conspired to make it a non-routine get together–a huge storm that was expected to slam into the west coast (it did, but it was manageable); the traffic that goes with the first big storm of the season (we each experienced accident-induced slow downs on our respective commutes); Rick and Ann’s was closed for construction (wha…??); parking was hard to come by at our chosen Shattuck Ave. alternative (and I futzed and futzed and futzed with my parking meter while trying to hold onto my very unwieldy umbrella); the line to get into La Note was out the door with a forty minute wait (in aforementioned rain)….

BUT… by the time we were in a sheltered part of the line, and especially by the time we were eventually seated, everything was its usual great.

We’d eaten at La Note before, but it had been years. We’ve come to appreciate routine.. and eating each time at the same place–Rick and Ann’s, across from the famed Claremont Hotel–was just one less thing to figure out (it’s hard enough finding workable dates for our 2-3 times/year brunches!).

Breakfast was EXCELLENT… brioche with a lavender honey spread, omelet with emanthaler cheese and ham, tomatoes a la provencale, and cafe au lait (the place is country french). Elliot had a fancy pancake with a raspberry spiral atop, a pile of bacon, scrambled eggs and toast.

Here’s the place:

IMG_5215.jpg

We might have to go back there next time.

 

 

First off, congratulations to poet/songwriter Bob Dylan, the world’s newest Nobel Laureate in literature. That just gave me chills.

bob-dylan

~~

And, speaking of Nobel worthy lyrics… somebody’s sinking like a stone in his own toxic sludge.

Guess who?

Holy sinking stone. First there was the nauseating video last week of a repugnant 59 year old Donald J. Trump boasting about grabbing, groping and kissing women whenever he wants because he’s a star. Then there was the disturbing revelation that as owner of various beauty pageants he enjoyed the “perk” of entering dressing rooms without warning and again boasted, this time to Howard Stern, that he’d seen plenty of beautiful naked women [some teenagers, by the way]. Then there are the accounts of numerous women coming forward to describe the creepy details of Trump’s unwanted advances…all of this pointing to a pattern that disgusts most but surprises few.

In the last week, since the initial tape became public, his campaign has unraveled. He started with an awkwardly delivered, carefully scripted and totally disingenuous apology. His debate performance three days later was wince-worthy. Instead of contrition, we got an amping up of defensive rhetoric. Instead of a disciplined return to strategic talking points, we got a caged animal lashing out.

The whole week’s been like this. Tweet storms; lawsuits; vile, barnburning speeches delivered to his base in which he calls for stringing up and/or imprisoning (I guess) his opponent. He’s sinking in the polls, his surrogates are spinning like tops, republican leaders are fleeing like cockroaches when the lights go up.

There’s been a flood of satisfying reads and I admit to finally being able to relax just a teeny tiny bit about the outcome of the election. Thank goodness for Fivethirtyeight, newspapers with integrity, and smart people everywhere. I’d never make it without them. And Jim. So calm and reasonable.

So, yeah, I’m gleeful about the election prognoses, but also, man, still just sick to my stomach.

For example, this excerpt from a Slate piece this morning (Laura Anderson, the entire article’s sharp) really got my blood boiling:

“Put yourself in Hillary’s shoes for a moment. You’re 68 years old. You have spent decades—decades—in the public eye, absorbing criticism from every possible angle. Your opponent is an impulsive, amoral ignoramus with a long history of humiliating women. He has made it his strategy during this debate to dredge up what are probably the darkest moments of your personal life—your husband’s affairs and alleged sexual assaults—as evidence of your failures as a wife and as a woman. He has brought three of these women to sit in the front row during the debate in an attempt to throw you off guard and cow you into submission. He literally tells you to your face that he will imprison you if he wins the election.”

 

hilanddonny

That is just some kind of cruelty. What a petulant, entitled, boorish, cowardly man-child. Holding that “press conference” before the debate and inviting those women to sit in the front row was the most classless, desperate, mean-spirited thing I’ve ever witnessed. The nerve.

Newsflash: Bill Clinton’s not running for office, doofus.

Newsflash: karma is a bitch.

I got into it on Facebook with a family member, an evangelical pastor from the midwest. I shouldn’t have, but had to. Here’s my response to the good pastor, who made a snide remark about Hillary’s outfit, Bill’s licentious ways, and I’m not really sure what all he was getting at:

I’d hold their 40-year marriage up to Donald’s three any day. We can never know for sure what goes on behind closed doors, but from what I read, the Clintons went through hell two decades ago, but have since worked hard on their marriage and are stronger and more committed to one another than ever. That seems like a good outcome. I never condoned his behavior, as I don’t Trump’s, but I see a man who changed as a result of the experience and left that behavior behind. Not the case with Trump, as far as I can see. In my mind, Bill earned her forgiveness over a two-decade span of time characterized by immense, demonstrated respect and support for one another. Trump’s “apology” for the lewdness of the video, on the other hand, was hastily scripted and did not ring true. Maybe you heard something else.

What I can’t figure out–and as a pastor, maybe you can help me understand–is how do evangelicals square Trump’s behavior with their values? Everything I see in Trump seems to be the opposite of Christian values… from the horrible and inhumane way he talks about people, to his complete lack of community/public service, to his failure to pay taxes and contribute to the public good, to his coarse/crude language, to his failed two marriages and long record of philandering, to the FACT he lies over and over (see Politifact), to his utter lack of humility… does he even go to church? What is the appeal?

 

Breathe.
~~

I’ve been impressed with the fact that not a single solitary living president–democrat or republican–has come out in support of this year’s ridiculous republican standard bearer. And not a single solitary credible major newspaper has endorsed him either. Today, for example, the Washington Post released its endorsement of Hillary, no surprise. They were fair in presenting qualities good and bad, but on balance were very enthusiastic and compelling in their support. But hold onto your seats for this stunning excerpt, as piercing and unequivocal an indictment of Trump as I’ve read yet:

“Mr. Trump, by contrast, has shown himself to be bigoted, ignorant, deceitful, narcissistic, vengeful, petty, misogynistic, fiscally reckless, intellectually lazy, contemptuous of democracy and enamored of America’s enemies. As president, he would pose a grave danger to the nation and the world.” 

Wow!

Newspapers that have never endorsed democrats are endorsing Hillary. Newspapers that have never endorsed period are coming out for Hillary in the strongest of terms.

The Atlantic last week ran a good one and I’m just going to paste it here in its entirety… mostly so when I’m looking back at these blog posts decades from now I’ll remember what a totally cooky and scary time it was:

In October of 1860, James Russell Lowell, the founding editor of The Atlantic, warned in these pages about the perishability of the great American democratic experiment if citizens (at the time, white, male citizens) were to cease taking seriously their franchise:

In a society like ours, where every man may transmute his private thought into history and destiny by dropping it into the ballot-box, a peculiar responsibility rests upon the individual … For, though during its term of office the government be practically as independent of the popular will as that of Russia, yet every fourth year the people are called upon to pronounce upon the conduct of their affairs. Theoretically, at least, to give democracy any standing-ground for an argument with despotism or oligarchy, a majority of the men composing it should be statesmen and thinkers.

One of the animating causes of this magazine at its founding, in 1857, was the abolition of slavery, and Lowell argued that the Republican Party, and the man who was its standard-bearer in 1860, represented the only reasonable pathway out of the existential crisis then facing the country. In his endorsement of Abraham Lincoln for president, Lowell wrote, on behalf of the magazine, “It is in a moral aversion to slavery as a great wrong that the chief strength of the Republican party lies.” He went on to declare that Abraham Lincoln “had experience enough in public affairs to make him a statesman, and not enough to make him a politician.”

Perhaps because no subsequent candidate for the presidency was seen as Lincoln’s match, or perhaps because the stakes in ensuing elections were judged to be not quite so high as they were in 1860, it would be 104 years before The Atlantic would again make a presidential endorsement. In October of 1964, Edward Weeks, writing on behalf of the magazine, cited Lowell’s words before making an argument for the election of Lyndon B. Johnson. “We admire the President for the continuity with which he has maintained our foreign policy, a policy which became a worldwide responsibility at the time of the Marshall Plan,” the endorsement read. Johnson, The Atlantic believed, would bring “to the vexed problem of civil rights a power of conciliation which will prevent us from stumbling down the road taken by South Africa.”

The Atlantic has endorsed only three presidential candidates in 159 years. Abraham Lincoln (1860) and Lyndon B. Johnson (1964) were the first two. 

But The Atlantic’s endorsement of Johnson was focused less on his positive attributes than on the flaws of his opponent, Barry Goldwater, the junior senator from Arizona. Of Goldwater, Weeks wrote, “His proposal to let field commanders have their choice of the smaller nuclear weapons would rupture a fundamental belief that has existed from Abraham Lincoln to today: the belief that in times of crisis the civilian authority must have control over the military.” And the magazine noted that Goldwater’s “preference to let states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia enforce civil rights within their own borders has attracted the allegiance of Governor George Wallace, the Ku Klux Klan, and the John Birchers.” Goldwater’s limited capacity for prudence and reasonableness was what particularly worried The Atlantic.

We think it unfortunate that Barry Goldwater takes criticism as a personal affront; we think it poisonous when his anger betrays him into denouncing what he calls the “radical” press by bracketing the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Izvestia. There speaks not the reason of the Southwest but the voice of Joseph McCarthy. We do not impugn Senator Goldwater’s honesty. We sincerely distrust his factionalism and his capacity for judgment.

Today, our position is similar to the one in which The Atlantic’s editors found themselves in 1964. We are impressed by many of the qualities of the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, even as we are exasperated by others, but we are mainly concerned with the Republican Party’s nominee, Donald J. Trump, who might be the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency.

 

These concerns compel us, for the third time since the magazine’s founding, to endorse a candidate for president. Hillary Rodham Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender. She has flaws (some legitimately troubling, some exaggerated by her opponents), but she is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency. We are confident that she understands the role of the United States in the world; we have no doubt that she will apply herself assiduously to the problems confronting this country; and she has demonstrated an aptitude for analysis and hard work.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.

 

This judgment is not limited to the editors of The Atlantic. A large number—in fact, a number unparalleled since Goldwater’s 1964 campaign—of prominent policy makers and officeholders from the candidate’s own party have publicly renounced him. Trump disqualified himself from public service long before he declared his presidential candidacy. In one of the more sordid episodes in modern American politics, Trump made himself the face of the so-called birther movement, which had as its immediate goal the demonization of the country’s first African American president. Trump’s larger goal, it seemed, was to stoke fear among white Americans of dark-skinned foreigners. He succeeded wildly in this; the fear he has aroused has brought him one step away from the presidency.

Our endorsement of Clinton, and rejection of Trump, is not a blanket dismissal of the many Trump supporters who are motivated by legitimate anxieties about their future and their place in the American economy. But Trump has seized on these anxieties and inflamed and racialized them, without proposing realistic policies to address them.

In its founding statement, The Atlantic promised that it would be “the organ of no party or clique,” and our interest here is not to advance the prospects of the Democratic Party, nor to damage those of the Republican Party. If Hillary Clinton were facing Mitt Romney, or John McCain, or George W. Bush, or, for that matter, any of the leading candidates Trump vanquished in the Republican primaries, we would not have contemplated making this endorsement. We believe in American democracy, in which individuals from various parties of different ideological stripes can advance their ideas and compete for the affection of voters. But Trump is not a man of ideas. He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar. He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent.

 

Well, there ya go.

I hope the republican party rebounds one of these days… it’d make our country stronger. Mac Stipanovich, republican strategist, says the party may need to wander in the woods for a decade before it regains its sanity, its moral core. In the meantime, enjoying like heck watching it implode. They get exactly what they deserve.