Sunday, August 22, 2010

Poem of the week: In honor of birth

I spent two days at the hospital with my friend K, who gave birth to her lovely little girl baby early Saturday morning. Her husband was there, too, of course. It was a long, grueling labor, but everything came together in the end. There were moments when I thought I'd never seen K look more beautiful.

3 : 6 (excerpt)

one hesitates to bring a child into this world without fixing
it up a little. paint a special room. stop sexism. learn how
to love. vow to do it better than it was done when you were
a baby. vow to make, if necessary, new mistakes. vow to be
awake for the birth. to believe in joy even in the midst of
unbearable pain.

Alta

Friday, August 13, 2010

Beach evening in San Diego (July)

Early evening at the beach.




TZ is the kind of beach-lover who runs constantly:



KO is a different sort of beach lover altogether:

Sand in the mouth.



Eventually, the T's convinced KO to come down to the water.


father and son

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Finally: Our Visit To Redlands, CA

A month ago, we drove down to Southern California to visit some very good friends and to go to Legoland. I posted a moment from the Legoland trip last week. As much as the "BUY LEGOS" message bothered me, I did like the park itself a lot. Clean, low-key, and totally manageable for both boys.

Before going to Legoland, though, we stayed for a day and two nights with my wonderful friend W and her two children, who live in Redlands. She was single-momming it that week, as her husband A was on the other side of the Pacific for work. I love being with her and her family because they are all so...so...nice. Kind and generous and all that is good. Her children are polite and kind and helpful and well-behaved--we never once heard them quarrel or talk back or whine. TZ totally stepped up. If he ever gets too awful, I'm sending him to live with them.

The Quarry
While in Redlands, we went to what's called "the quarry" by the locals--I guess it used to be a quarry, but it was all cemented up and filled with water, and they built a locker room, installed a slide and a raft, hired a lifeguard, and opened a pool. As W said, it's a total throwback--it's like stepping into the fifties or something. The people in charge fill it in the beginning of the summer, and drain and refill it periodically--I assume this means that there's no filtration system. But they must chlorinate the water, or the pool would be filled with algae after a while...right? Lucky for us, it had just been refilled when we visited, which meant the water was nice and cool and clean. Which was good because the temperature in Redlands hovers around 100 degrees in July. The sides are sloped, as you can see, so it's easy to hurt your feet if you misjudge the angle/depth, and I'm sure the depth markings were inaccurate--the longer the time since re-filling, the more inaccurate they get, I'll bet. One--that's right, one--lifeguard in the corner by the locker rooms with limited visibility of the pool--no way she could have seen around the big raft in the middle of the deepest part of the pool. No real rules--want to go down the slide and  try to land on a boogie board and surf your way across the pool? Go for it. How about playing tag on the raft--which has a two-foot lip/step on two sides? Sure! It was great. TZ kicked/pushed KO all around the pool on one of those foam raft things, they jumped off the big raft, they played on boogie boards with pool noodles...what a great afternoon. Thanks, W!

Poem of the week

Last week's post reminded me how much I love and have not been reading poetry. So now, Poem of the Week.

I bought Tai a copy of Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends, and inspired by his delight, broke out his old Poetry Speaks to Children. As we read through it, I saw a poem by Billy Collins, one of my favorite poets. Here it is:

Wolf

A wolf is reading a book of fairy tales.
The moon hangs over the forest, a lamp.

He is not assuming a human position,
say, cross-legged against a tree,
as he would in a cartoon.

This is a real wolf, standing on all fours,
his rich fur bristling in the night air,
his head bent over the book open on the ground.

He does not sit down for the words
would be too far away to be legible,
and it is with difficulty that he turns
each page with his nose and forepaws.

When he finishes the last tale
he lies down in pine needles.
He thinks about what he has read,
the stories passing over his mind
like clouds crossing the moon.

A zigzag of wind shakes down hazelnuts.
The eyes of owls yellow in the branches.

Monday, August 2, 2010