Sunday, February 23, 2014


Dear Son,

Last week, you turned thirteen. The two of us spent the long weekend in Seattle, and it was a trip that I will never forget. I hope it's a trip you won't forget, either; the Experience Music Project, skateboarding in Ballard and at Seattle Center, going to Jazz Alley with your great uncle and grandma to see Mindi Abair play Heart's Barracuda on saxophone, and exploring Pike Place Market: 

I am mostly okay with you becoming a teenager - that is, until I remember that you are my youngest child. In five years, you will leave for college and move on to adulthood. Likely, this will be harder on me than you; I have spent much of my adult life child-rearing, while you've spent all of your life working on the business of growing up. Moving forward will be no stranger to you, and I know you will be successful in anything you set your mind to.

One of the things about parenting that I always looked forward to was sharing my favorite music with you and your sister; I took great pride in taking you to see The Black Keys in concert, as well as listening to the new Black Sabbath album together. What I didn't anticipate was that you would reciprocate and share your favorite music with me: Let Her Go by Passenger and Disclosure's When A Fire Starts To Burn are all kinds of awesome. 

My hope is that your life will always involve music. I have seen your enormous musical talent solidify in the last year. Part of the reason is that in addition to your weekly drum lesson, you started studying jazz this year. You have gone from being a novelty as the youngest drummer in your music academy to a solid onstage presence in five short years. It is no exaggeration to say that when you performed last month, it was one of the best days of your father's life. 

It is a joy watching you perform with your sister. Speaking of which, you are an excellent brother. One of my proudest moments was the time you stepped in and told your sister's then-boyfriend, who was being an idiot and gloating over beating her in a board game, that he needed to 'let your girlfriend win'. 

Happy birthday, son. I love you always.

I love that I know what 'rock to fakie' means, but mostly...I love you.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014


So, you remember the post about my girl-crush? As if Danielle wasn't busy enough writing clever ditties about her travels while running a marathon in each state across the country, she and and her business partner Natalie recently started a website called Ramblen. 

Well, they have invited me to be an ambassador on their website! I'm thrilled to be a small part of their organization and their dynamic concept. I also get swag: a ramblen t-shirt, plus the coveted T-Rex technical tee:

That's Danielle. Sorry she's not sorry.

Dude! I'm so excited! Designed for the athlete who is looking to stay on top of their training and nutrition while traveling, the website offers a search-by-city of the best running trails, gyms, lap-pools, healthy restaurants, athletic-apparel stores...or spin instructors worth the drop-in fee. *cough* 

It's brilliant!

Boom. Stephen Colbert knows *exactly* how I feel about all this.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Yabba Dabba Doo

The first car I can remember my mom driving was a little orange Honda 600Z Coupe:

This is exactly what 'Z-Car' looked like, right down to the racing stripe!

A friend said it reminded her of Fred Flintstone's car. Our car was so small, it wasn't out of the realm of possibility that two or three adult men could have lifted the car and moved it: 

"You could poke your feet through the bottom and run,
just like Fred Flintstone!'

We were a bit of a spectacle. People would frequently stop my mom in a parking lot just to get a look at our car. The most common question people asked her was how many miles to the gallon it got. According to the factory specifications, the car got 40 mpg. However, just by the simple physics of drafting, my mom could get almost 50 mpg out of ours. 

"See? The truck in front of us pushes the air around it, creating a sort of tunnel. Can you feel how we are just pulled along in the draft of this semi?' she'd explain. 

To be honest, I couldn't feel any difference. Although, as an adult with almost 30 years of driving experience and a parent of two kids, seeing her explanation written out like that makes me think of two words: death trap. Regardless, I always felt perfectly safe. But our tiny car wasn't just for the sake of novelty; at $1,500 it was a small fortune for us. Even though we always managed, I was too young to really understand how poor we were. 

For example, our favorite brand of peanut butter was Skippy. I preferred mine creamy, and my mom preferred crunchy. In the 80's, there was a drought that affected the peanut crop and created a shortage of peanut butter. It was a splurge at almost $3 per jar, so my mom couldn't afford to buy more than one jar at a time. There were frequent disputes in the grocery aisle over whose turn it was for 'their' favorite style of peanut butter.   

We spent many summers traveling across the country in our orange car, camping along the way. Not only was it an inexpensive way to travel, it was a lot of fun. My mom could efficiently pack an impressive amount of gear in our little orange car, and we would make our way across the state visiting relatives and staying overnight at various campsites. 

One summer, we were halfway through our trip when our tiny orange car broke down. My mom managed to get someone to tow it to a mechanic, but the cost of repairs was more than she could afford. To settle our bill, she agreed to sign the title of our car over to the mechanic. And then she sat down on the curb and cried. It was one of only a handful of times I've ever seen my mom cry.

In hindsight, I have puzzled over this scenario: What kind of person would take advantage of a woman traveling alone with her daughter in this way? I cannot get over how anyone would be so heartless. My only hope is that karma was swift.

After my grandma refused to come get us, my mom called 'Uncle' Lenny, one of her oldest and dearest friends, and asked if he could pick us up. Lenny drove over 300 miles straight to get us, and another 120 miles to take us home. That was the day I learned the real meaning of friendship. 

Oh, we ain't got plenty of money
Maybe we're ragged and funny
But we're rolling along, singing our song
Side by side!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Few Photos From A Long List Of Things Our Puppy Has Eaten

1. Plants

Silly me for thinking my
baby-proofing days were over. 

2. Toys

Oh, Hello Kitty. I am so very sorry.

 3. Pens

Where did I just set my pen? Oh.

4. The Last Straw

This chewed piece of plastic used to be my
coveted Millennium Falcon window ornament.
So basically, my dog ate Star Wars.