Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Start by Violet

The girls and I are savoring our first spring in the condo. It's all happy and fresh.

Here is one of our new favorite walks, through the six-year-old eyes of Violet.


Most Fun Earth Hour We've Had

That's what Daisy said this evening, about 45 minutes in: this is the most fun Earth Hour we've had. I had to give her a firm high-five.

Because we've had some good ones, but maybe I'm a little chapped after receiving this Earth Hour non-message from Bindy herself:

Quinn and I were laughing last night about your earth day.  We remember the 20 made-in-china candles, burning black toxic smoke against your mirror in the living room. 

Really, what earth day, Bindy? If you can't remember the name, why do you remember black smoke that didn't happen? What the hell kind of memory is that?

Know what else? Quinn left a message for me about Earth Hour. She didn't pick up when I called her right back, but she called. 

Earth Hour 2013: Monopoly Junior Party in candlelight, talking about the earth, and dancing to Marvin Gaye.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour 2013

Who could miss this on purpose?

Only a really dorky person.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Earth Hour 2013 (NOT) Tonight!

You might ask - what is Earth Hour?

Oh I don't know . . . only the raddest hour of the year with the least amount of hype. If you're not my friend. Because my friends are the lucky recipients of much Earth Hour enthusiasm.



2012 (doh)


OK, so I forgot to invite Bindy this year, and I really miss my ladies. Fortunately, I sent out guidelines:

Earth Hour is 8:30pm this Saturday (almost now). *false alarm* it's 3/23!

Make sure to turn all electronics/lights/everything but your phone off for one hour.
Light some candles. Who wants to facetime?
Check here for more info.

Join us!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tooth Fairy Then and Now



Violet: Look! the tooth faiwy remembud this time! A Tahget giftcahd!

Me: Oh nice. That's a five dollar Target giftcard.

Violet: It's weihud the tooth faiwy knows Tahget.

Me: No it's not.

Violet: How does she know Tahget anyway?

Me: She's real. Everyone that's real knows Target.

Violet: Oh.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Redwood Sunday

I took my children on a short Sunday drive to walk in the redwoods. They were cranky, and it wasn't a smooth process to get them walking. When they finally chilled, they insisted we take turns reading the guided tour in our pamphlet. They ran circles around me, thanking me for taking them there as we breathed in the beautiful air.

Later, at home, Daisy had a meltdown that challenged me greatly to say the least. Sometimes, helping a kid decompress means weathering an emo storm you never saw coming.


Friday, March 1, 2013

End of an Era

Forty minutes from the sprawl of Silicon Valley, my town is isolated, like an island, bordered by mountains and ocean. I have met people here who have never been “over the hill” in their entire lives.

I moved outside the city limits in the fall, to an even smaller town with two main roads. It’s quiet, a relief after living amid the growing population of drifters, addicts, and mentally unstable people around my old apartment. The local bumper sticker campaign to keep my city weird is a success. You can check that one off the list.

In my experience, over the last couple decades, the weirdness has mostly been aesthetic. While I was eating lunch at a table outside a deli in the middle of downtown years ago, I noticed an unusual man who once gave me a small box carved out of bamboo and decorated with suns and moons, antler and purple stones, approach a tall man with dreads to discuss the powerful magic of the spring afternoon. I listened, fascinated, by the spiritual tone of their conversation. I’ve forgotten what they said, but I will never forget the deer that came suddenly barreling in through the backdoor of the deli, hooves beating against the wood floor rhythmically until it burst out the front door and streaked by, the tall man declaring, “That’s powerful magic.”

My town’s stereotypical hippie vibe is a draw for people who embody more of the so-called weirdness than the families who have lived here for generations, though I don’t think this is what co-workers meant when describing Jeremy Goulet as weird. Goulet’s weirdness was much darker. Reportedly, he came here a couple months ago for a new start.

I have lived in a city where police behaved inappropriately; my family and friends have experienced police harassment firsthand. That is generally not the case here.  

In my college days, my friend had more alcohol than he could handle one night, coming to in his running car, in an intersection, facing an ocean cliff he was feet away from with a police officer standing over him. He came to my friend’s aid, parking his car and driving him downtown to a payphone. Before the officer drove away and after a lecture about how lucky he was he didn’t end up in the ocean, he handed my friend a quarter to make the call, saying, “Remember, Santa Cruz cops are cool!”

When I was assistant principal at the charter high school, I used to team with the neighboring sheriff’s department. One sheriff was a body builder who went on Oprah to discuss the molestation he experienced as a boy at the hands of a Catholic priest. Another was an ex-NBA player, a father of a teenager himself, who worked with me to scare kids just enough to keep them out of juvi.  He also coached youth basketball.

This is a town where you know faces.  When I worked a downtown job, I became familiar with the bank tellers, shopowners, chefs, parking enforcement officers and florists. I knew a little about their jobs and backgrounds, and over the years, I’ve watched a few of them raise families from a distance. After living here for several years, there seems to be no more than one degree of separation between any two people.

The police officers who were killed in our town were familiar faces. Detective Elizabeth Butler might have been the one to give my daughter’s brownie troop a tour of the police station. Over the years, I’ve noticed her driving by in her police car and talking to homeless people downtown. Sergeant Butch Baker signed a fixit ticket for me a couple years ago. When I approached him, he was patiently talking to a man who seemed half out of his mind - and a big fan of Baker’s. I have driven by police incidents and glimpsed at one or the other officer many times over the years. The aura of these two people always seemed calming, not elevating.

Goulet was one of those new arrivals who like so many others in our town, thought a new location was the answer to his problems. Perhaps he hated police. He must not have been able to see these two people for who they were – kind, hardworking, humble contributors to the community he was drawn to.

In the style of our strangely interconnected town, a popular astrologist with a local column used to live where the police officers were killed, and her daughter now lives next to Butler’s home. Her assessment was this.

To understand it more deeply & as I wrote a friend this morning, violence in our cities will accelerate. It doesn’t have anything to do with guns. It has to do with the changing of the ages = a time when laws no longer hold sway. It is a time of all levels of social breakdown. Societal restraints will no longer be respected. It is a time when each of us must choose where, how and with whom we will live in order to have protection and safety. It will not be in the cities, large or small. Gangs will take over the cities. It has already begun.

I’m not one to spout doom and gloom, but I have to wonder after what I saw around my old apartment, a short walk from where the murders occurred. The growing number of people who seem to be good candidates for social services of some kind, the slashed city budgets, the overcrowded jails, the lack of decent jobs, the high cost of living, and the reputation of our town drawing mentally unstable people flame the instability and chaos. And gangs are certainly in the mix - selling, stealing, threatening, and protecting.

Recently, I was running errands with the kids. We stopped by Whole Foods, across the street from where Goulet lived. As we walked in, a man behind us got close and I turned around, expecting to recognize the person, but instead it was a stranger with a smile and look in his eyes that made me uncomfortable enough to grasp the girls' hands in mine as we walked away. He resembled the pictures I’ve seen of Goulet in the paper. It might seem like a long shot that it was the same person but maybe not in this town.

Our community is wounded. It’s not that murders don’t happen here; they do. But to take away two public servants so brutally and unfairly is the end of an innocent era.

This is not something that gun control laws can fix. A person who is capable of this kind of violence is not concerned with permits. S/he will obtain a gun illegally or use a different weapon. The problem of people who are not connected to their communities in productive ways, who need health services, who need jobs, who need education, cannot be ignored without great cost.