Sunday, June 24, 2007

Camp Food

Dane and Aubrey have been making food in a cooking class at camp* every day. They've made banana-strawberry milkshakes, berry cobbler, banana pancakes with strawberry topping, and spaetzle. Every afternoon they excitedly recall ingredients and procedures for us.

Here is a "recipe" they created themselves this morning (Sunday) for breakfast. They wrote it down so I could make it myself sometime. Here it is:

two Rise Cakes crubld. - Ster it - Put serl in - Brown ShuGr - milk - razins - ster - then-eat-up.

[rise = rice, crubld = crumbled, serl = cereal]

Be sure to let us know if you try it. We'd have two very happy cooks here.

*Dane and Aubrey attend Mill Valley Rec Center's day camp 9-noon M-F. I work 9:30-11:30 with pre-schoolers at the camp, and in addition to my wages, my kids attend their camps for free. They're attending 4 weeks of this day camp, and 2 weeks of Splash camp in August, which will be from 9-4. These are fabulous camps and we are really, really lucky.

In other news, Friday night's Mama Monologues was a huge success. If you want details, email me!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Here's the flyer for the event I'll be attending tonight.
I'll be reading my mini-essay, "Moustache Revolution."


The Mama Monologues Spoken Word Event @ Book Passage

Friday, June 22nd, 7-9 p.m.
Book Passage, 51 Corte Madera, Calif.
Event Info: 415.927.0960
Directions and Parking:

It’s Mothers’ Night Out!

The Writing Mamas Mama Monologues Spoken Word Event @ Book Passage will feature salon members reading their personal essays and blogs about motherhood. Leave the kids at home, come for a laugh out loud evening, have some wine – girlfriend, you deserve it – enjoy delicious food at the Book Passage cafĂ©, and share what motherhood is really all about.

Joyce Maynard, author of the best-sellers, At Home in the World, To Die For and Internal Composition, and mother of three! will be our guest celebrity Writing Mama! ! !

To learn more about The Writing Mamas Salon, contact: Dawn Yun, dawnyun@, 415.233.2483 or visit

Price: Suggested donation: $10, all profits donated to charity.

Please pass this invitation along to friends and family, and enjoy a Mama’s Night Out!!!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Somethin's rotten in Marin City.

After my previous morbid post, you probably think I'm speaking figuratively, but I'm not. This time, I'm being literal.

I've scrubbed my bathroom, where I first noticed a rancid smell -- think dead rat, dead cat, dead neighbor. Then I smelled it in the kitchen, so I scrubbed under my sink (ew!), re-garburated the garburator, loaded all my dishes up and ran them in the dishwasher. I picked up anything on the living room floor, I lit candles in the living room and kitchen, I sprayed a little Pledge on the bookshelf. (Well, really, just one shelf -- there's obviously nothing dead up there, so why go to the trouble? I just needed to spray something clean-smelling.)

But that rotten smell's not going away.

On my way up from my fifth trip to the laundry room (I know now it's not my stinky laundry) I got a clue. New guy coming out of the apartment under mine.

"Hey! Are you one of my neighbors?" I say.

"Uh, no," he says, holding a plastic bag behind his back. "No, I'm just living here for a little while."

Thought nothing of it at that point, said, "Well, hey, I'm your neighbor upstairs," and walked on up.

Now I'm suspicious, though.

Maybe HE'S here to dispose of the dead body.

If it's still smelly tomorrow, watch out -- I'm all over it, fella.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Dear Friends,
I'm sad to be posting this.

Trust me, I'd rather be writing about Tahoe and Father's Day and the first day of summer camp (and I will), but instead I find myself needing to write about our home.

In many ways, I've loved living in Marin City. The weather's gorgeous, a terrific bike path is minutes away, the library's across the street, and we live among a friendly and diverse community of people. Our neighbors are of different races, religions, economic status, and abilities -- and I've loved that Dane and Aubrey find such diversity normal and good.

However, I never EVER want them to believe violence and violation are normal, and, quite frankly, this is an aspect of Marin City that infuriates and terrifies me.

Remember my post about the Iranian woman who was mugged? Since then, there have been several muggings -- of men, women and teens.

Remember my post about Dane's bike being stolen? Well, I hate to say it, but a kid broke into our garage just 2 weeks ago and rode off with the replacement bike we'd purchased that week for Dane. A man in the parking lot saw it happen, called the sheriff, and within minutes a sheriff was at my door asking me down to my garage to file a report. (Good news: I told one of my favorite little 4th grade boys about it and he was on the lookout for it. Two days later, he found it on the lawn across from the library, banged up but fixable. He is NOT a suspect. AT ALL.)

A local pastor was recently picked up at 3 a.m. wandering around drunk, with a crack pipe in his jacket. To his church's credit, they held day-long and night-long vigils in the community (I could hear them from my balcony), focusing on the sickness of addiction, reminding each other to look out for each other: If it could happen to their pastor, it could happen to anybody.

Marin City needs help.

There's more evidence that would make you sick to your stomach, but I'll just include this final piece.

This ugly, evil event seems, unfortunately, to represent the risk of living here. It fits with the reputation Marin City residents have tried valiantly to overcome, but, honestly, haven't.

In spite of all the love and kindness and goodness found in the rest of my neighbors and our friends at Dane's school, such an assault weighs heavily on me. In spite of the huge list of reasons I could give for living here, I question my standards of safety, and try to assess my ability to keep us all safe here for one more year. There's an ominous, scary tone to such a statement; I can only hope that by articulating it, I can come up with a good solution.

Of course, it all begs the bigger question: What needs to be done to make it safe here? What needs to be done that's not already being done? And can it be done while my family's here?

FYI: Marin City is a very small place -- it feels smaller than most amusement parks. This beating took place just two blocks over from our apartment.



From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Diana Walsh and Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, June 18, 2007

(06-18) 12:33 PDT MARIN CITY -- A 13-year-old Marin City boy remains in the hospital with serious head injuries after he was beaten with a baseball bat, allegedly by another 13-year-old who now faces an attempted murder charge, authorities said today.

The suspect, who also lives in Marin City, will appear in juvenile court today. He was arrested early Saturday on the Drake Avenue in Marin City, where the beating took place, said Marin County sheriff's Sgt. Keith Boyd. The suspect's name was not released because of his age.

Boyd said police who responded to a call of a boy bleeding from the head about 4:49 a.m. Saturday found the bat on the street. The victim was taken first to Marin General Hospital, then to Children's Hospital Oakland after his condition stabilized.

The boys know each other, Boyd said. He would not elaborate on what the motive for the attack might have been.

On Sunday, a woman who identified herself as a cousin of the victim said the boy's face was badly disfigured and swollen. She said that he had been conscious when she arrived on the scene and that he had been able to talk to paramedics.

But she added, "I was crying so much, I didn't understand what he said.''

The woman, who asked that her name not be used, said the boy was on a ventilator at Children's Hospital Oakland.

Boyd would not provide specifics on the boy's injuries other to say he was seriously injured.

Garvin Williams, who lives on Drake Avenue, said the two boys were friends and that the incident was not gang-related. "Both of them are good kids; nobody really knows what happened,'' Williams said Sunday as he sat near the blood-spattered concrete where the beating took place.

Shelia Jones lives in a unit just a few yards away, but said she heard nothing until paramedics arrived shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday.

"It's a tragic thing. Two kids' lives have just been destroyed," Jones said.

Jones, the mother of three, said the incident made her think about moving.

"You come out your front door and CSI is here roped through your front yard. That's too close for me,'' she said. "You don't know if you are going to become a witness or a victim."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


You say goodbye...

And I say hello...

Monday, June 11, 2007


Wednesday, June 06, 2007


The above sentence should be written in bold, gigantic, swirly lettering. I can't do that on the iMac, though, so let me repeat:


That's right, after Mick completes his final final at 4pm today, he'll be a THIRD YEAR dental student, a SENIOR at University of the Pacific School of Dentistry.

What that means for the short term: After today, he'll have a 4-week break before school starts again on July 9th. During that time, he'll lounge around a lot, skateboard and kiteboard and bike and maybe even surf, head to Tahoe with us for a long weekend, and take a road trip up the coast with us looking for potential new home towns for that June '08 graduation date. He'll also do a 1-week rotation at a dental clinic mid-June, which will free him up during the school year to have more school clinic time.

What that means for the long term: We're entering YEAR 6 of our 6 YEAR PLAN! (3 years of pre-req's at Western, 3 years of dental school.)

So of course:


Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Sluggers

Dane and Aubrey have been meeting with their t-ball team, The Sluggers, for the last couple of months. They play (2 at-bats, no keeping score) on Wednesdays from 4-5 and on Saturday mornings, 9-10. After the Saturday sessions, Coach Jack gives them donuts. (See pictures.)

Coach Jack has been volunteering here for 21 years. He coached the parents of some of these kids. He makes coaching look easy, with the way he splits the kids up for the field or to bat, and how he lets them each take a good couple smacks at his aluminum bat before they swing at the ball on the "T." It's pretty fun to see the huge satisfaction a kid has when s/he makes that bat sing. (And, yes, Jack's brave -- imagine letting a 5-year-old swing at a bat you're holding near your body.)

A few times I've begged Jack to let me take a nap in my van during practice, but he's made me the official assistant coach -- and Mick's helped coach a few Saturdays and even a Wednesday. That means we get to play catch, make sure they stay behind Coach's red duffle bag while a teammate is batting; it means that in the field, we remind them to stand in a ready position instead of picking grass or sitting on the cones used for bases. Oh yeah, we also have to encourage them not to fight each other for the ball that four of them want to pick up and throw to first base.

#1 - Xavier, Aubrey, Jaylen, Dane and Coach Jack in background
#2- Aubrey and Jaylen in front, Terrance and Dane in back, Jack in background
#3 - Aubrey and Dane
(We have more pictures to add when I can download onto my computer; we should also be getting official team pictures soon.)


Friday, June 01, 2007


I wish I had a third hand.

-Aubrey, trying to tie bow and flower on Care Bear's ear