Tuesday, September 28, 2010

First Annual Siskiyou Challenge Fun Run

Ready to run Saturday morning.

Coming 'round the corner at station #2 - in 2nd place!

Coming 'round the corner at station #2 - in 3rd place!

These two maintained their standings and finished in 2nd and 3rd! And it was a middle-schooler who took 1st.

Mick, Sharkles and I were super proud of our runners. They finished a mile (+) in 12:15 and 12:30. Way to go, guys!

Friday, September 24, 2010

DNA Test Not Required

Sent from my pal Karen via her blackberry:
"uh, I think this picture might prove 
better than any dna test that Dane 
is the product of you and Mick. He is 
the perfect embodiment of you both - 
in all the good (yep, and creepy) ways:)" 
Um, thanks? 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursday Inspiration

I found one of my favorite poems ever in a box today. The poem was published in The Sun Magazine a long time ago - I have no idea which issue.

Essay on Compassion
--for Stephen Dunn

The cat curled against my wide foot's sole idles himself to sleep.
I tell myself he loves me, past food, warmth, shelter,
past my fingers' rough massage.

I think I know this to be true, but say
I tell myself to prove I'm no sentimental fool,
to leave me one ironic out.

When I cut my hand he lapped blood
where it pooled like cooling grease
but showed me more affection when I cried

for what I thought was loss of what I thought was love;
stared into my eyes, touched my cheek with one dry paw
until I looked away.

The paper tells the story: a giant sea turtle
carried a shipwrecked woman most of two days
before delivering her up to a fishing boat.

How would a biologist dismiss this
as coincidence of instincts, the woman saved
without the turtle caring?

How to explain the turtle's choice,
that it rose beneath the woman twice
before she let herself ride that hard back;

that it didn't dive once in two days;
that as much as we want to say so and do not,
it saved her life because it wanted to?

On every God-road known, compassion's the highest good.
I've never made or saved a life,
but, well-fed in calm salt water and good weather,

that turtle had no stronger thirst that day
than to try on a cast-off human goodness
to see how well it swam.

When this slack-ribbed cat, almost twenty, hearing gone,
gets up to walk his bones across the room, then stops,
seems to slowly reconsider, limps back to where he'd started,

I think it better to assume that when he seems to think
he thinks; that when he seems to love
he loves; that the turtle knew exactly what it did

and what would happen if it didn't.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Random Update Post

The kids started school! And they love their teachers! And they love their classes!

Mick's going to buy an off-road motorcycle! (Gratuitous exclamation mark there.)

Dane's playing fall soccer at the Y. ("You know what I like about the Y, Mom? They don't keep score...")

Aubrey's taking Gymnastics at the Y and moved up from Hot Shots to Level 2. ("Mom, when do you think I can move up to Level 3?")

Dane's reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret for his first book report. In addition to his written report, he has to think of his book as a movie and imagine how he'd direct it. Then he gets to make a "movie poster" to accompany it. What a cool assignment. There's not as much text in Hugo Cabret as I'd like to see, but (1) it's his first report of the year, (2) the text that's there is thought-provoking, (3) I'll be pushing him to elaborate on his ideas and connections in his book report (that's our agreement), and (4) he has to read another book he started, Heat, as well. That might sound rough, but Dane's still excited.

Aubrey's reading Tom's Midnight Garden for her first book report of the year. She's a quarter of the way into it and enjoying it. I think it holds a special place in her heart because I read it as a kid. (It's my copy.) I'm not sure what her report assignment will be, but today she took a little 3x5 card to school with a synopsis (half copied from the jacket, the rest in her own words -- oh well!) and a picture she drew of Tom.

Mick's reading Consider the Lobster by his current favorite author, David Foster Wallace (RIP). Foster Wallace is masterful in his sentence structure and style, his ideas and connections, and his depth and humor. For all those reasons, Mick smiles a lot when he reads this author.

I'm about to read Auntie Mame for book club, but I'm dying to read Beatrice and Virgil, by Yann Martel, author of the incredible Life of Pi, instead.

I scored 20 points (3rd place - here's how they scored) in Session 1 of my NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Contest. This is a great score and puts me in good standing to advance to the next round - if I score high again on Session 2. Here are the prompts I was given:
  • Session 1 - Genre: Comedy. Location: A Dance Club. Object: A Motorcycle.
  • Session 2 - Genre: Romantic Comedy. Location: A B&B. Object: A Snow Shovel.
I'll let you wonder what I wrote while I decide whether I'll post my stories.

I took a job teaching 9 credits (3 classes) of Writing at Rogue Community College, Mondays and Wednesdays, 9:30 - 2:30. I start September 27th.

Our Siskiyou Challenge team fell apart when two athletes succumbed to back injury. They're fine now, but our pushing-40 bodies reminded us not to push our luck this time around. Sorry, now you can't ROOT FOR US!

Our back yard is kind of done - at least for this phase. The new fence is up, the ground is mulched, the sprinkler system is up and running, and the lawn's grown in. We now have a drawing/plan of how we'll fill it in over the next couple of years - and my mom is coming down this fall to help me put in a perennial garden and plant some trees. (Right, Mom???)

Mick's amazing grandmother (Mimi) is taking her entire family (23 of us?) on a cruise this Christmas for her 95th birthday - and we're headed to the Bahamas! And... before we board the ship in Baltimore, our little family of 4 is going to hit Washington D.C. for some history tours. (This fall we'll be doing some U.S. History prep!) Added bonus? We'll stay in Mimi's home a few of those days - and Mick's excited to show the kids where he's visited her since he was four. Right now we're in the throes of purchasing plane tickets, acquiring passports, renting cars, reserving tour spots, and arranging to kennel a dog.

The dog! Sharkles is still our fuzziest, lovin'est, happiest little pal in the house.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Hours and Hours of Driving Made Easy

We've been in the car A LOT in the past two weeks. This weekend we drove to San Jose and back for a wedding (7 hours each way) and the previous weekend we drove home from Seattle (9 hours).

But it was great - especially because of THIS book:

We listened to all 7 cds of The Story of the World, Vol. 1 - and we'd listen again.

This is an amazing book, providing an amazing literary and historical base for 9-12 year-olds in terms of a classical education. This book focuses on "The Ancients," basically the beginning of civilization to the fall of the Roman Empire. Greek gods, Old Testament, Christianity, Pyramids and Pharoahs, ancient China, the Americas, and so on.

The idea is that if kids this age are introduced to these major stories and events in narrative form, when they're introduced later in actual text or reference, their minds will already have a grasp on them.

Dane and Aubrey now know the story of Remus and Romulus, of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (one of the world's seven wonders), how mouse hair was used for the finest calligraphy brushes in ancient China, how Greek and Roman gods correlate, and how the tribes of Israel formed.

I'm so excited about this introductory book for my kids. We'll definitely listen again (and perhaps again?) - and I'm already scheming about how to get my hands on the rest of them: Volume 2 The Middle Ages, Volume 3 Early Modern Times, and Volume 4 The Modern Age.

And finally:
The narrator sounds like Jon Lovitz.
Drawback or Bonus? You decide.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Tucked In

Aubrey: When I hug Mommy I get sleepy.
Dane: Me, too...

Lights out.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Drunken Boat Issue 12 Goes LIVE

"DB12 has new and unpublished poems, prose, and hand-written drafts by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Franz Wright; an intermedia/multimedia exploration of "Desire & Interaction," encompassing video, sound art, web art, video games, photography, and more; short short fiction on "Freedom & Belonging" by 22 exciting contemporary authors; and a tribute to 20th century dramatist Eugene O'Neill entitled Celtic Twilight, with essays by over two dozen Irish-American authors and artists. This issue also features 50 new poems, as well as fiction, non-fiction, photo essays, and readings."

Read my short short in this issue here.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Oregon - Washington Road Trip


Day 1

The kids and I left Monday the 23rd for Washington; Mick would fly up and meet us at Sea-Tac a week later. Our first stop was just outside of Grants Pass at this little museum, focusing on Oregon's historic Applegate Trail and the trials early settlers faced as they forged an alternative route to the Oregon Trail.

And of course we had to make our favorite stop at Wildlife Safari to see who was out. This is our first visit where both rhinos were up close and personal.

The hippo was fully out. Usually we just see his mouth sticking up out of the water.

I call this Still Life with Hippo Butt.

First ride ever on a camel.

Dane hooks Teddy up with one of his kind.

Day 2

After an overnight in Albany and a stop at my writer pal Ellen's in Portland, I told the kids we were meeting my friend Michelle and two of her kids at Great Wolf Lodge. They'd barely even heard of the place, but I'd heard enough friends report that it was a super fun family outing that I jumped at the chance for a spiffy little staycation.

Here's Dane with Kyle, who reminds me SO much of his dad, Brian, who was one of my good pals through junior high, high school, and college.

Here's Aubrey with Jessica, who's a fun little combination of Michelle and Brian. I'm not sure where all the pictures went that Michelle and I took of ourselves in our bathing suits. We took scads of them, of course.

Days 5-12

(which was in the towel and goggle bag)

As soon as we left Great Wolf Lodge, we went to my parents house in Puyallup for two nights, where we played trap ball and watched sports and cartoons on TV.

After that, we went to Mick's parents' home in University Place. I dropped the kids off early and drove to Seattle to see my cousin Dani and my grad school pal Robyn, and spend movie night at my best pal Karen's. The next day, I met up with my college roomies ("The Garden Girls") for an impromptu night at Chara's in Seattle. We couldn't believe all six of us -- Maureen and Shelby from Bellingham, Chara in Seattle, and Michael and Jenny from Olympia) could clear our schedules on the spur of the moment to sit around and catch up for a twelve-hour overnight party.

On Sunday, Karen and I saw the interesting movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and then I met up with the kids in University Place.

Aubrey had a raging earache there that night, so I took her in to a clinic in the morning - to discover she had an inner and and outer ear infection. Solution? Antibiotics and ear drops for four days.

And no water.

Which I forgot.

But it's okay, because my girl got to WAKEBOARD when we went out with the Lanes - which never would have happened had I remembered!

Here's Dane with Cole, getting jazzed to try wakeboarding on a choppy but sunny Friday night.

Receiving exceptional coaching from Dad (aka Jeffy).

And encouragement from the Lane kids!

Aubs is ready to give it a go now.

And she's up, too!

Cheryl and Kai huddled up on the boat.
That's Dane behind them.

And Aubrey.
Blue but not blue on blue.

Oh! And somewhere in this week, Karen and I took the kids to an M's game. (And I can't believe I didn't get a shot with Karen in it!)

Am realizing as I post this that I don't have a full family picture and I don't have any pictures of Mick! The next post will have to remedy that - especially because we also spent time in Bellingham with the Camandona-Beans and the Friesens for a big 43rd birthday dinner for Mick, and had a blast.

Wait. Here's one. Mick and Dave after a motorcycle ride. (Mick borrowed our friend Andrew's.) Mick's big huge amazing purchase this decade is going to be his own dirt bike. Coming this Fall.

Yes, those are star pants. 'Nuff said.