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Lost: my voice

Found: two deer ticks, one on Rio and one on me. Happily, the on site doctor let us know that deer ticks have to be attached to your body for at least two days before they can “do any mischief” (ie: transmit Lyme disease). So we all had a thorough “tickle check” before bed, and it looks like we made it out unscathed.

Taken: photos. many, with the amazing new-to-me camera that was placed under my care in the midst of the weekend.




A few weeks ago, I was biking when I passed by a field where a lot of old guys* were playing soccer. I stopped my bike and asked a teenage girl who was watching the game what was going on.

“They just play here,” she said. I told her my husband loves soccer, because he grew up in Argentina and he’s always talking about wanting to play, etc. It was all true: he loves soccer.

“If he wants to play,” she said, “he just needs to show up around this time on a Sunday morning. Bring $5.”

I rode off. A little later I took four little girls to a toy store (because I am INSANE). Rio spent her carefully saved allowance money on a little wooden plaque for her dad, for a Father’s Day Gift. It’s shaped like a princess crown, and she decorated it with pink glitter and plastic gems and little pink sparkly stickers that spell “Dada”. She insisted he put it on his desk at work.

Me, I kept my pennies and practiced the gift of silence. When I got home, I didn’t tell Martin about the pick-up game at the park. On Father’s Day, I told him I wanted to go for a ride with the kids, maybe take a picnic to this park. I secretly packed a tote bag with a water bottle, his soccer shoes, and a crisp $5 bill. We went to the park. As we approached he broke into a grin and said, “Hey, is that a pick-up soccer game?”

I handed him the tote bag. “Happy Father’s Day.”

He smiled. He might have thanked me, but he was moving pretty fast toward the field. It was raining, and the game was underway, and he didn’t care. He put his cleats on and stood by the goal until one of the players invited him to join in. Invited might be an overstatement. The conversation went like this:

“Who the hell is that?”

“Some guy! Says he wants to play.”

“I guess you can have a red shirt. But if you suck, you’re out.”

Thirty seconds later he scored a goal. They let him stay. He’s planning to make a habit of this.

Best Father’s Day Gift Ever. It’s healthy and fun. Granting a wish he’s had for years but been unable to grant for himself. Possibly lifechanging, if he keeps it up.

And it wound up costing me nothing but time. Turns out the first one is free, just like crack.

my daughter, the flower girl

my daughter, the flower girl, photo by S. Whedon

Rio was a flower girl in a fairy tale wedding yesterday, which Yours Truly officiated for two dear friends. She had, I think, the hardest job in the entire ceremony. She had to walk alone down a very long green hill, down an aisle between 150 people, and up onto the terrace where the ceremony was being held, looking calm and happy and throwing flowers into the audience. And she had to do all this while being only five years old.

I know this was a tall order because I also had to walk up to the front and center of the event and do some stuff, and it was a wee little bit scary. I heard from many guests (and the wedding photographer!) that it was a wonderful ceremony, for which I can take but little credit – I think the radiance from the bride and groom would have kept everyone alight with no ceremony at all surrounding them. I did work hard on it though, and was happy to see it come together so beautifully.

Rio also worked a little rain magic, asking the thunderstorm looming overhead to please wait until after the wedding to rain. It blew over during the opening bit, and the sun broke through and lit up the bride’s face as she said her vows. Magic.

Rio executed her flower girl duties with joy and solemnity, which was the theme of the wedding. She took great care to sprinkle a few flower petals at the feet of the bride’s mother and the groom’s. She joined the bridal party in line behind the celebrants.

And when she realized that she had signed on for something incredibly boring that was going to drag until the end of time, she quietly slipped away to play unobtrusively with a few other little girls. They frolicked like bits of sunlight out on the hill behind us, and were so entertaining the musicians missed their last cue because they were lost in the cuteness. Which might have been awkward except that it wasn’t. It was simply magical. Part of the ceremony revolved around each witness offering their blessing, and the event was truly blessed with the mojo of little girls.

Rio and Natalie get warm under Sarahs wrap

Rio and Natalie get warm under Sarah's wrap, photo by S. Whedon

Martin took Ian (his 15-yr-old son) to the Shepard Fairey exhibit at the ICA last month. They spent the evening at the museum (which is free every Thursday), and then came home and surfed the web for awhile getting more information about Shepard Fairey.

Then Ian sat down at his computer and made this:

Liberty has no posse

Liberty has no posse

I love it when homeschooling works like this. A simple field trip, which was as much parent-child bonding as it was a “lesson”, followed by a child-led research mission, followed by an entirely spontaneous creative project that helped seal in the learning and express his own take on it. I bet he learned more that evening than in a month of classroom history lessons on the same topics.

Ian is not homeschooled most of the time. He attends a charter school in Denver, where his mom lives. But we can’t help wrapping him right into our homeschooling life when he’s here.

I read a fair amount of personal finance advice these days. I’m also a consumer of green living tips, and I enjoy learning about how people are making their lives more sustainable. But here are ten common tips that I would be happy never to see again:

1. Eat less meat.
2. Drink less soda.
3. Cut back on premium cable channels.
4. Drive less.
5. Use fewer processed foods. Shop the edges of the supermarket.
6. Consider buying used clothes at thrift stores or consignment shops.
7. Scale back subscriptions to magazines and services like Netflix.
8. Discover Freecycle, and other forms of community barter.
9. Grow some of your own food.
10. Refinance/consolidate your debts to a lower interest rate.

I am already doing all of these things. In most cases, I’ve completely outdone them. I’ve never eaten meat. I’ve never been a soda drinker. I’ve never had cable TV. My household has one 13-yr-old van we rarely drive. I buy my food from local, non-retail sources; I haven’t set foot in a supermarket in months. I don’t shop at thrift stores because I swap for all my family’s clothes with other families or at clothing swaps. I have no subscriptions. My garden takes up most of the outdoor space on our property. My highest interest debt is a 9% rate on a credit card.

Some of this is particular to me: not everyone has been a lifelong vegetarian, or works at home, or has space to garden. But does anyone seriously start slashing their expenses and not notice that HBO or SUVs are a bad deal?

Far from helping me, being admonished over and over to do these basic things simply depresses me. Is this all there is? If I’m doing this stuff and my finances are still broken, does that mean they’re unfixable?

Ian is here for spring break. I am reveling in his intellectual energy. He flew in overnight, from Colorado, and had to sleep on the couch when he arrived because we had weekend houseguests staying in his room.

When I came downstairs in the morning, both his little sisters were climbing all over him. He looked sleepy and rumpled, but happy. As soon as he saw me, he said, “Hi! It’s good to see you! Look what I’m reading.”

What he’s reading is a 500 page biography of Trotsky. Which he wanted to talk about at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Oh! to be 15 again.

Seriously, I would never be 15 again for all the wisdom and hot sex in the world. OK, maybe for all of it, but certainly not for any amount of it I had access to when I was 15.

But I love it that he is 15, and that’s he’s sharing so much of his discovery of the wide world and all the cool stuff in it with me. When we’re hanging around the house, he just talks at me all day. About his Shadowrun game, about the economy, about Trotsky, about Chinese history, about the Mormon kids at his school. Half of what he says is either flat-out factually wrong or adorable in its naivete. But he’s talking to me!!!

My little girls talk, talk, talk at me all day long and by dinnertime I’m praying they had an off-switch. But I’m painfully aware of the monosyllabic fugue teenagers can drift into, and every day that goes by with the words still flowing between me and my teenager feels like an epic win.

Was it good fortune or bad fortune that, ten minutes before our first date in months was set to begin, Martin’s hand was badly injured and we had to go to the ER?

On the one hand, that sucks. On the other hand, we had three hours of unscheduled time and a babysitter already lined up, which made it suck a lot less. On the other other hand, I wasn’t exactly planning to spend that time in the emergency room.

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A little bird told me…

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