Sunday, February 18, 2018

Smacksy Sunday Links

A delightful trash can banana peel appetizer.

One simple shift to turn life into an adventure.

Adam Rippon's (How much do we love him?) stress strategies.

How to break up with your phone.

A beautiful orangery in the Cotswolds.

Stevie Wonder + Tom Jones + 1969 = Wonderful

And this man halts a charging elephant with his calm energy.

Happy Sunday.

Friday, February 16, 2018

One More Week (Hopefully)

I'm pretty sure that one-handed batting is against the rules but, you know, The Cast.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Year of the Dog

One of my girlfriends told me the beginning of 2018 had been so un-impressive, she was starting the year over on the Lunar New Year. Since my January-and-a-half has also been rough, I’ve decided to do the same. This is the Year of the Dog. I am completely on board with this. Dogs are typically loyal, honest, selfless, and in our house they are also always hungry and on complicated medication schedules because some things just run in the family.

Today is the day of the week the dogs and I go for a forty-five minute car ride to avoid the gardener induced panic attack experienced by Levi. Or you might know it by its nickname: Thursday. As the guys and I headed south on Atlantic Boulevard this morning, I noticed red banners and lanterns hanging outside the shops in celebration on the New Year. I focused on trying to come up with a word of intention for my new, new year.  The best I could come up with was “better, maybe?” which seemed not specific enough.

For a mile or two as we drove, we followed a guy in a brown Hyundai Solaris with a bumper sticker that read “My other vehicle is the Mahayana.“ An extremely simplistic way to explain Mahayana Buddhism’s deal is that we should seek to help end the suffering of all sentient beings. Sentient beings would include just about everyone I know and definitely all of the animals. I often look for God in the voices of other people and maybe today, I was reading a little God message on a bumper sticker on a dusty, compact car.

The last few weeks have felt like half of the folks I know are in leaky lifeboats with the other half of us swimming from boat to boat to try to help bail. In honor of the Year of the Dog and because I can’t swim, let’s say I’m dog paddling from boat to boat and doing what I can. Sometimes all we can do is keep bailing.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


A portrait of 5th grade friendship in Skittles and Fun Dip. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Another Last Time Elementary School Milestone I Didn't Realize Was Going to be a Thing: Valentine's Eve

One of those this-is-the-last-time-this-will-happen-things just snuck up on me again. Nine years of putting together Valentines with Bob for his classmates is now complete. This year I may have forced him into it a little when I told him either he would be giving cards to his classmates or if he refused, they would each receive one signed, From Bob's Mom. He gave in. We finished them up in an hour. Nine years and an hour.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Pockets Full of Sand

Third base looks strange with somebody else’s kid on it. My kid is in the dugout wearing a hard cast covering the wrist he broke at school two weeks ago. The opposing team is from Korea. Their players are only a year older than ours but already look like men.
“That pitcher swore to me he’s twelve. He showed me his birthdate on his driver’s license,” our coach says. It’s an old joke that doesn’t exactly work in this international context, but the parents huddled in the stands chuckle anyway. It’s cold outside for daytime in Southern California and it doesn’t feel like baseball weather. The black coat I’m wearing hasn’t been out of the trunk of the car since a trip to the beach last November. I can feel sand in the pockets.

“Heads up! Heads!” A foul ball hits the eucalyptus tree behind the bullpen, scattering a few wild parrots. The next pitch, a fastball, hits our batter in the bicep.
“That pitch looks good on you, son! Walk it off, Number 12,” our coach says.
“Way to wear it!” I can hear my son call out from his place on the sidelines.
We applaud as the batter takes his place on first base. The old metal risers we’re sitting on vibrate whenever anyone shifts in their seat. I wish I had brought a Thermos of coffee with me. I’m out of practice. The last few weeks of hospital visits and doctor’s appointments feel far away but we’re only in the middle of the healing process.
Our team takes the field. Their first batter fouls it off straight at his coach who jumps out of the way and yells out something in Korean. We all laugh. None of us speak the language, but from his tone we know he’s asking if his player is trying to kill him. Like dad jokes, coach jokes are universal.
My son closes the field gate behind him and walks past. “How’d you end up in a cast?” I hear a mom ask. He explains that he fell backwards on his arm horsing around at recess. The day he fell, when my phone rang I could see the name of the school on my caller ID. When I answered, all I could hear was my son screaming in the background.
“Yikes. Well, you’ll be back on the field before you know it,” the mom says.
“Yeah, I guess so,” he says waving his cast and heads off in the direction of the bathrooms.