Being There

I'm feeling a little bit under-appreciated by my kids lately.  Can I say that?  Is that selfish? It's summer vacation, and unlike past years when I froze in the face of tackling childcare/camp/travel for twelve weeks, this year I stared it right in the face and planned -- if I do say so -- a pretty fah-bulous summer break for my kids, complete with Lego Camp for the kickoff, a camping weekend, and no fewer than 3.5 weeks in Tahoe including 4th of July fireworks.  BAM.  I am #winning at summer. Except that we are, oh, 4 days in, and my kids are not sharing the feeling.  Instead of being ... [READ MORE]

Chasing Waves

It is a dangerous business, as a parent, to try to recreate perfection.  Invariably it leads to disappointment, because any moment is really the sum of its parts: how well everyone slept (or didn't), how hungry they are, how much they really just wanted to stay home and chill quietly with that new book, who has a tummy trouble or a hangnail...I mean, these are little things but when you travel as a pack -- as families and friends so often do -- you may be dealing with all, or nothing.  It's a delicate balance. I almost went back and deleted that word, perfection, because obviously nothing ... [READ MORE]

Failure: An Anecdote in Three Parts

I. Signs that you have not had enough downtime in the last six months or so: You get so excited just to be alone in an airport bookstore that YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT. In my defense, the entire landscape of the SFO Terminal 3 has changed significantly since the last time I was on an airplane back in the Dark Ages.  It’s all vast and light-filled and there are about 50 restaurants.  Walking into it I was like a child who hasn’t seen the outside world before. Also, the flight left ahead of schedule by about ten minutes.  (This, by the way, is why they advise you to be at the gate 30 minutes ... [READ MORE]

Aftermath

I realized this year that the only day that makes me as happy as the day we decorate for Christmas -- and I LOVE that day: love buying the tree, love the everything-old-is-new-again wonder of pulling 3.5 decades' worth of ornaments out of the storage bin, love the way my kids dance around my husband who just wants to get the lights on before we start hanging things please and for heavens sake you guys, love the way the Manhattans taste just a little bit toastier in the glow of the lights, love it all -- is the day we take it all down and reclaim our living space. Much more than New Years ... [READ MORE]

Summer Coming

Our closest neighbors are a colony of wild parrots.  Actually, the city is dotted with several of these colonies -- yet one more point to add to the quirky, rebellious urbanity that is San Francisco.  Only here would thousands of tropical birds mate and multiply and stake their claim on a city park.  I can imagine the initial turf war between the parrots and the pigeons, these flamboyantly feathered friends dropping in on their drab, dirty cousins and declaring: This is San Francisco, bitches.  Step aside.   The parrots hunt -- as parrots do, I suppose -- at dawn and at dusk: rising like a ... [READ MORE]

Perfect

My husband's favorite month is October, and for the longest time I thought mine was too.  But strangely, I woke on November 1, 2014 feeling more optimistic than I have in months.  While LittleMan and Babygirl staggered through the morning-after-Halloween in their various states of exhaustion and sugar-fueled bursts of energy (or tears), I blazed around the apartment, tearing down the paper bats and skeleton bunting, tossing out tired-looking pumpkins, and eventually re-arranging all the toys and purging yet more "baby stuff" that no one plays with or wears anymore.  Practically whistling while ... [READ MORE]

Beauty Lurking Everywhere

For the second year in a row, a massive wildfire scuttled our plans to take to the mountains for one last gasp of summer. If parenthood teaches you nothing else, it teaches you how to flex.  And so noon on a September Friday found me with the car fully loaded, THREE children wedged into the backseat (we borrowed a friend of LittleMan's for the weekend, in a rather foolhardy weekend-long play at our first-ever sleepover), and no clue where I was headed.  My husband called: "Guerneville.  Check your email for the map.  I'll be out front of the office." Lake Tahoe, Russian River...any old ... [READ MORE]