Saturday, September 30, 2006


That one’s that skinny, and that one’s that skinny,” Aubrey says, pulling my face close and grabbing my eyebrows into an uneven pinch in each hand.

My right brow looks like it always looks after I wax. Subtle. Full. A clean crescent. My left brow I must now lovingly refer to as “the skinny brow.” Not so subtle, not so full.

Yes, Aubrey sat in the bathroom and watched me accidentally remove the lower half of my left eyebrow this morning. Much of it. Oh, and she listened to some expletives.

Somehow, when I gave the wax strip that glorious, edifying pull from the outside of my eyebrow inward, I had a line of eyebrow hairs the equivalent of a pigeon feather stuck in the strip.

Oh, vanity.

And since the wax strip hadn’t gone all the way to the inner tip of my eyebrow, I had about a half-inch square of brow bulk next to the sleek little line I’d just made.

Given my competence level at this point, the thought of re-waxing it brought visions of no brow at all to mind. However, that inner bulk was so ghastly next to said skinny brow, I knew something needed to be done.

With the help of our hair-cutting scissors, I went to work. It improved, but let’s just say I eventually ended up with a nick of skin visible in the thick of the brow (bringing to mind the lines the boys at my high school etched onto their scalps in the late 80s) and a look of perpetual perplexity.

Oh, vanity.

Eventually, I patched up the nick with some brown eyeshadow.

Then I changed my hair part.

And, no, I will not be cutting myself some bangs anytime soon.

And, I’m going to guess Aubrey’s not going to ask me to do hers either.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Recent Reads
(Covers January through September, so read the term "recent" loosely)

Angle of Repose, Wallace Stegner
The Attack, Yasmina Khadra
Book Doctor, Esther Cohen
Breakfast of Champions, Kurt Vonnegut
Ghostwritten, David Mitchell
July's People, Nadine Gordimer
Montana, 1948, Larry Watson
Nights in Rodanthe, Nicholas Sparks
The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory
Peach Cobbler Murder, Joanne Fluke
The Sea, The Sea, Iris Murdoch

Axe Handles, Gary Snyder

-environmental memoirs:
Body Toxic, Susanne Antonette
My Story As Told By Water, David James Duncan
creative nonfiction, essays:
The Boys of My Youth, JoAnn Beard
Distance and Direction, Judith Kitchen
In Short: A Collection of Brief Creative Nonfiction, ed. Judith Kitchen
Small Wonders, Barbara Kingsolver
A Journal of a Solitude, May Sarton
The Professor and the Madman,
Simon Winchester
-memoir/geographical journalism:
Walking the Bible,
Bruce Feiler
-on writing:
Zen in the Art of Writing, Ray Bradbury

Note: Email me if you want the low-down on any of the above, or if you want to tell me what you're reading.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Creature Comforts*

Dane, my five-year-old, is sitting on the couch watching Prehistoric Planet, his favorite DVD about dinosaurs. Leiopleurodon—an ancient whale-like sea creature whose jagged-tooth jaws have just been likened to a giant car-crusher—has eaten, well, a dolphin thing. (Dane, of course, could tell you its name).

Dane’s cozy under his afghan but his hands are cold. He woke up too early today so I sit out here watching the video with him. I hold a homemade hot latte in my hands. It feels so good I think Dane will like holding it too. He holds it and looks so comforted I tell him he can have a sip. He raises an eyebrow and cocks his head at me.

“Go ‘head,” I coax with a nod.

He brings the cup to his lips, tips his head back a little, drinks a sip in. He slowly brings it back down to his lap, looks over at me, and smiles the smile of a conspirator. I smile back a knowing smile.

“Good stuff, huh?”

I feel like a junkie who’s just scored a kid his first hit.

Since he’s able to recall every arcane detail about the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, I’m tempted to tell him that these are Blue Bottle beans, voted by some to be the finest coffee beans roasted in San Francisco, home brewed on our Rancilio espresso machine.

Instead, I just let him hold my cup as Leiopleurodon makes his way further into the deep.

*I submitted this entry to the blog. Hopefully it's in the queue for next week.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Angel Island Pix
(from earlier/July entry)

A short break along the Perimeter Trail.

Hydrating--it was HOT that day, pushing 100.
LOTS of water and Gatorade.

The Angel Island Immigration Station (known as the "Ellis Island of the West" and very important to Chinese American history) was further down the hill from our 5 mile perimeter loop, so we didn't attempt it--the perimeter loop was enough for the new cyclists. (Maybe next time.) So, no pix of that National Historic Landmark; however, the island also had old buildings where soldiers from WWI and WWII received support. We explored those for a while.

Above, inside one of the military support buildings.
Lots of cool old stuff like this to stick your fingers in.

I took a picture of Aubs on the ferry.

Aubs took one of me at the support station.

On the trail.


Monday, September 25, 2006

First Day of School Pix

Dane at his backpack/coat/helmet hook

Dane with our zippy little neighbor, Geornae.

Aubrey and Mom returning from first-day drop-off at school.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Writing, School, Camping

Dawn Yun, the leader of my Writing Mamas writer's group at Book Passage, has just launched a website: Check it out if you're curious to see what I/we've been up to. I've submitted one piece; I hope to submit more soon. (Yours truly is also in a photo.)

In other news, Dane's still enjoying kindergarten (will post pix as soon as I can download them) and Mick took his last final at 2pm today. Done with quarter #5. This one just sort of snuck up on us!

We're going camping this weekend at Mackerricher State Park, about three hours north of here; will pull Dane out at lunchtime tomorrow and start driving. Bringing bikes, kite, s'more fixins.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ms Get Smashed By As

$2 ticket night at McAfee Coliseum earlier this summer. Picked Mick up after school and drove into Oakland to watch the Ms lose to the As something like 7-zip. No worries, though. The kids just had an experience similar to our Mariners experiences in the 80s--well, maybe even the 70s and the 90s too. Like all seasoned Ms fans, we knew to turn our attention to food, clapping to the organ music, picking candy up off the ground (oh, c'mon, everyone gets a one-time shot), and trying to ignore the boos of Oakland fans. Ichiro got an earful. (Youch. They're ruthless!)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Excuses First, Updates Second

My computer monitor red-lined two weeks ago, so I've only been nabbing computer time on an occasional evening when Mick lets me use his laptop, or for fifteen minute stints at the library when I log on for all I'm worth. Additionally, we've had the start of the school year and out-of-town guests. (Those are two things I can appreciate though.)

Dane's thrilled to be at school. He loves bike riding to commute, playing at recess, and... being a SUPER STAR! To clarify, the teacher uses a 5 star ladder system to encourage or discourage various types of behavior. Everyone starts each day in the middle/third star and is moved up or down accordingly. Let's just say little Dane Reynolds has got it goin' on. Every single day he has been a Super Star, and one day he was the only Super Star in the classroom. That meant that on Friday, his teacher surprised him by having him stand up and go to the cupboard to pick out a prize for being the only student with two full weeks of Super Star status. You should've seen him run down the hill toward me after school yesterday with two huge gold star stickers on his green uniform shirt and a surprise in his backpack. When asked what it takes to be a Super Star, he said he had to be the "behavedest." That's my boy!

Other than that, he's reading and spelling all the time at home, always asking for a piece of paper to use with his pencil. I find little lists like: DISHS, UVINTOP, FLOR, VACUM, UVIN and BATHRM (after a particularly helpful day), or AUBREY, DANE, LUKE, CATE, CAT (when he's thinking about his sister, Star Wars, and who knows what else).

Aubrey's enjoying words too. Here's what she recently wrote: SIT, LIP, SIP (with a smiley face princess at the top of the little piece of paper). I think she's up to snuff with Dane, but she's laying low for now. She's adjusting well to Dane's day-long absences (8:15am-3pm). This week she had Grammy Jan here for paper dolls, and Monday she starts her classes at the Mill Valley Rec Center with Miss Jane again. She'll do a 10 to noon pre-school class and, on Mondays, noon to 1pm Yoga Bugs class, and on Wednesdays, noon to 1pm Twist class. That'll give her some good structured time, and it'll give me a good three hours of free time twice a week. Since she and I will commute there via trail-a-bike, I'll hang out somewhere nearby, starting or revising/polishing essays.

I went in on Thursday for a cleaning at UoP with Mick. My teeth feel gorgeous, slippery, sparkly. It was interesting to watch him think through processes-- like how he'll establish a pattern for himself for the teeth cleanings, or how he'll adjust the chairs and his arms to reach for certain parts inside the mouth, or, most importantly, how he'll hold his arms so he doesn't brush up on the chest of the female he's working on. (I caught him using my chest as an elbow rest once, but I think he knew exactly what he was doing.)

I'm pleased to report he has a gentle, confident manner at chairside and it's very clear that he's embarked on a fitting career. It's really exciting to see him working so hard at school (and at home).

Signing out.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Deja vu (with a twist)

"What are those little bumps on your face?" Dane asked while studying my face this morning. "On your nose and next to your nose?"

"Those are moles, also called beauty marks," I said, raising my finger to his face. "You have one here by your eye and one on your cheek and one by your eyebrow..."

He waited a second and then said, "Mole marks? Mine are made by raccoons."