Swim School Mondays

Five years ago, on the Fourth of July when LittleMan was just shy of two years old, we attended a lovely baby shower in the guise of a backyard barbecue at a home with a big old pool out back.  I don't remember much about the party, though, because I spent the entire day in abject terror that if I took my eyes off LittleMan for even one second he would DROWN. My fear was not entirely misplaced.  LittleMan was chasing around a soccer ball at one point, and where did that soccer ball wind up?  IN THE POOL, with LittleMan teetering on the edge in pursuit.  There were some fascinating big kids ... [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]

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]

Vacation, Week Two

There were two straight days of rain.  The first day felt cozy and lazy.  The second day was frustrating.  Looking at a grim forecast, we felt robbed of our sunscreen-slick skin, our dry, sticky hair, our ice cream on the bench above the beach, our late afternoon grapefruit margaritas by the pool.  The children became restless, squabbly, cranky.  We scrapped our plans to grill spare ribs, contemplated the stove.  Our summertime vibe, man, was at stake.  So. Not. Cool. Puzzles, Candy Land, Netflix.  A fire in the fireplace (in August!).  Cookies in the oven.  A long drive, just to get out. ... [READ MORE]

Dawn, Lakeside

On our annual Tahoe vacation, unfettered by the 5:15 gym routine and the lunch boxes and the office hours, I totally dig mornings.  I like the peace of the morning: a hot, bittersweet cup of coffee and a good lakeside sunrise and a soundtrack of geese squawking in chevron flight.  Up until approximately 6 years ago, I liked putting Joni Mitchell on the iPod and cracking the paper and letting the morning happen.  I liked long walks before the world woke up.  We indulged in leisurely marital debates on the merits of a hike versus a bike ride, beach versus lake. As it turns out, on our annual ... [READ MORE]

Riding in Cars with Moms (and Fun.)

Every time Don McLean's American Pie is on the radio, my husband stops what he's doing and turns up the volume.  As he listens, he talks about hearing the song for the first time in a Volkswagon Rabbit convertible with his mom one summer, how she exclaimed, "I love this song!" and turned up the volume herself.  I do not know exactly how old he was when this memory was formed -- ten, thirteen years old?  But I know that not long after she would endure a brief and aggressive battle with cancer, and that she would pass away at age 48, leaving her 15-year-old son with -- among many things -- this ... [READ MORE]


Though the Rim fire burns hundreds of miles away, a thick, purple cloud of smoke lay like a blanket over Lake Tahoe as we drove over Donner Pass on Friday evening, the final weekend adventure before back-to-school.  On Saturday morning, we woke at dawn to air thick with the soot and the smell of it, the lake barely visible, the sun bleeding red in the sky. Eventually, as the sun rose and the winds began to move things around, it was clear enough for a walk, and my sister and I ventured out with the girls in their various transports: Babygirl in her jogging stroller and my niece snuggled in ... [READ MORE]