Friday, December 28, 2007

48 days

It's the 3rd day of Kwanzaa and Christmas merchandise is 50% off. Holiday retail sales were not as dismal as predicted, but it appears there wasn't any "growth." And that's what it's all about. Drug stores and boutiques have pushed Santa aside introducing Valentine's cards as snowman and reindeer replacements. It appears the potential profit of kitch and cards celebrating New Years, Cuban Liberation Day, Al Hijra, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Candlemas, and Chinese New Year have yet to be fully recognized.
You have 48 days to pick the perfect Valentine card. Plenty of time to come up with something better than a dusty rose photo topped with
I love you for the person you are
in ornate non-union print shop calligraphy.

In other would-be sweet news that we found depressing, today, the shelter has no pet rats.

Hot chocolate + almond late + an hour out of the wind and rain = consolation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

You know what they say about pictures

In September, December held promise of down time. Lingering coughs, experiments in employment and a surprise trip to the ocean devoured every possibility of surplus time. So, we're considering sending New Year's or possibly Valentine's cards and wouldn't have it any other way.

We trust the pictures to tell the story. Consider it an Encyclopedia Brown/choose-your-own adventure type plot and feel free to write your ending.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

S to the 4th power


Before live model Father Frost, a santa-type- regal in blue, took his pose at the drawing jam, the snow began. The pirates and nudes and musicians held series of short poses, we observed or exited quickly, quietly. We weren't official event photographers, so didn't document Ukiah's charcoal sketched wings or Aslin's print making process. Soap-making filled the multi-media studio with evergreen then chocolate, a combination inspiring to the camera. Snap shots out the window only.

We missed the snowballs but had plenty of time in the slush. Ukiah, Aslin and Brad hiked through the dark to meet me at Samarya's holiday party/fundraiser where sparkling cider ran short but the chocolates lasted all night. I tried to look nonchalant when Aslin pulled first one, then two of my raffle tickets. We haven't been to the Volunteer Park Cafe and will happily add it to our next conservatory visit.

"Can new people join next quarter?" Aslin asked, no doubt hoping another girl or two will join her drama class. Of course that would mean Queen Aslin would have to share the female roles in the end-of the-season performance showcase. I especially appreciated the inventive use of character props in the kids' adaptation of the picture book, My Lucky Day.

Snow turned to rain and eventually, a little water in the basement. The kids and I braved the elements again, bussing to the aquarium where the diver in the Washington Waters exhibit assured us she, swimming in 120,000 gallons of water, was drier in her suit than those of us waiting to watch the octopus feeding. The speech for school groups included discussion of the territorial disputes between the wolf eel and the octopus. Behind us, away from the preschool ears, other aquarium folk described the method the octopus uses to stun his prey. I shuttered at the eye removal and joined the kids at the touch tank.

Friday, November 30, 2007

winter wonderland

I've been thinking of Tucson. Or Maui. Or Greece. Somewhere a little warmer. Well, it's part cold, part wanderlust that has me thinking of other places. Topped by a bigger part that wishes to visit with friends. So, I'm torn between conspiring to travel- how 'bout a month in Alaska next summer? And really rooting here, where there's a new pea patch a block away and winter cupcakes are just up the hill.

Working parking for the Field Cup Tournament last weekend gave me plenty of time to consider the possibility of Mexico in February and also, I think, gave my cough and sore throat some staying power.

So I didn't ice skate. Ukiah and Aslin, who hadn't skated in years, held the wall for a few laps before finding balance and eventually speed. Ukiah lie down to make ice angles, Aslin learned to do turns and someone named the little walker Sherman.

I remember ice skating at recess in first grade. Mostly, I remember trying to tie my skates and being scared of the big kids who were so much faster than me. My elementary school, unlike the winter wonderland in the Center House, was not in a gravity-impaired alternate universe. Or maybe this teeter-totter is just frozen in the weighted, but up position. Waiting for the house to open for Peter Pan, we continued our I-Spy investigation of the Country Christmas Village. Aslin spotted the homeless men and the $10 horses. Ukiah saw a fallen skater, possibly with broken leg and the hot air balloon anchored by a single man. We all spotted a cat, lying in the snow- poisoned by the man with an outstretched hand hovering above him? Brad noted the gulch with a discarded wagon wheel and I spied a blacksmith with no goggles or protective gear, surely an OSHA violation.

Under tank-top, tee-shirt, long-sleeve, sweater-coat-and scarf, I'm cold. I sometimes feel cheated by the discomfort without benefit of romantic winter snow. A perceived climate betrayal that layered with hints of wanderlust finds me re-inventing our lives in other, warmer, colder or more charming places. But as the city's display master-story tellers make clear, under the idyllic presentation of life, it's the flaws that sustain our attention. And sometimes, like Peter Pan or the doll watching the miniature Victorian brass band, a person's head is disproportionate with the rest of their body, let alone the rest of their world.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Twenty-eight dollars cash or forty-two in credit? Decisions, decisions.
We said good-bye to a few juvenile readers, duplicate copies of Choke and Eargon and opted for credit.

Last week, craigslist introduced us to the new owners of the too-large chair, a couple from Renton. He liked the chime and the miniature tea set on the table behind.

I collected a lil'somthin from Gypsy Trader for clothes I don't remember. They're not a clothing store anymore, lost most their business when the Fremont bridge was closed. So now they do some home decor, but mostly, it's about the cafe.

We're considering separating ourselves from a too-small sleeping bag and have taken steps towards letting go of a couple dozen albums. Classics like TSOL's- Revenge, The Ventures'- Walk Don't Run, and No Nuclear War by Peter Tosh.

I really shouldn't talk about it, should not re sort the box headed for Goodwill.

I'm organizing, cleaning, possibly inventorying. Making sense of, plans for the next phase of Seattle life. The books aren't shelved alphabetically, but for now, there's a clear distinction between the short stories, medical science, and history.

And speaking of books and history, seems like a good time to post another well-intentioned yet incomplete booklist that's been kicking around the draft file for months.

Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
New Buffalo: Journals from a Taos Commune, Arthur Kopecky;
Ironweed, William Kennedy
Case Histories, Kate Atkinson
13 Stories, Eudora Welty
Walden, Henry David Thoreau
Between, Georgia Joshilyn Jackson
Lies My Teacher Told Me, James Loewen
Under the Banner of Heaven, Jon Krakauer

The Bear Comes Home, Rafi Zabor
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
All the Pretty Horses, Cormac Mccarthy
Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
Dreams of My Father: Stories of Race and Inheritance, Barack Obama
Founding Brothers, the Revolutionary Generation, Joseph Ellis
Fledgling, Octavia E. Butler

The Black Stallion, Walter Farley
Ivy and Bean, Barrows & Blackwell;
A Dog Called Kitty, Bill Wallace
Sixth Grade Secrets, Louis Sacher
A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'engle
Calvin and Hobbes;
School Rumble
Tithe, A Modern Fairytale, Holly Black

The Sirens of Titan, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Why Don't Penguins Feet Freeze?
Stuck in Neutral, Terry Trueman
Shredderman, Wendelin Van Draanen
The Library Card, Jerry Spinelli
Eldest, Christopher Paolini
Greatest Mysteries of the Unexplained, Holland & Doncaster
Java for Dummies, Barry Burd
Megatokyo, Fred Gallagher

shared by multiple owlhouse residents
Appetite for Life, Julia Child
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
Fat Kid Rules the World, K.L. Going
Collected Stories of Carson McCullers
The King's Fifth, Scott O'Dell
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney
Eragon, Christopher Paolini
Full Metal Alchemist
Ninjas, Piranhas, and Galileo, Greg Leitich Smith

In case you're looking for Holiday gift suggestions, we recommend most of the above.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

tip-toeing towards rats

A man in a dark wool trench coat and starched sky dress shirt hooked a leash to the cocker spaniel's coller. Past the outdoor doggie gym, away from the noise of 15th Avenue. No cell phone, no cigarette, just a young man in patent shoes walking a dog who looks and jumps and calls like Tawney. She's been neutered and it will be another week before she is cleared to fetch or climb through tires. The man's (cashmere?) checkered scarf compliments the dog's golden hair and both blow in the wind. All the dogs need walking, twice a day.

An older woman, close cropped silver hair highlighting her diamond studs, sits on the floor. Wrapped in a small pen, legs tucked at a not uncomfortable 45 degree angle, the socializer sits an inch or two away from the litter box. Jeffery Eugenides Middlesex lies open, upside down, across her thigh. She picks it up a half dozen times, likely rereading the same two paragraphs for an hour. A red-eyed, white rabbit sniffs, retreats, sniffs and paws his the bald spots along his back.

We came for the rats. The Rat Pack boys and girls keep separate apartments, a dwarf hamster centered between them. The girls, slightly smaller, nose over one another to reach us. Aslin's in, pinky finger from each hand offered for exploration. I follow with one shy knuckle, Ukiah eventually joins us. The trio of boys, interested initially, move on to climbing the walls before we've fulfilled our visiting need. Ukiah and I watch the little guy, the one with only 3 feet and half a tail while Aslin returns to the girls. Maybe we'll need two cages too.

We left the shelter with our adoption application and volunteer information. I'm not quite ready for pet rodents, and have some concerns about Cutie's relationship with our potential new pets, but am keeping the words of a stranger in mind.

"Don't worry about it too much," he looked me in the eye, and I think would have held the bus door open for us if it weren't automatic. Charmed and confused, I watched him climb the stairs and settle on the back seat of the 2. From the sidewalk, I gave a muted wave and rushed to join the kids in a 4-block fight with the wind. We bought mini-doughnuts to share with our new group, a treat to mark the end of the library scavenger hunt. I didn't worry about transfats or sugar and am trying not too be concerned with the lack of parental excitement over our group offering.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I hate ABC

It wasn't too much of a surprise when they didn't cover the Women's World Cup. But they didn't even pretend, didn't list games on their schedule and then opt to air ignorant blowhard Fred Thompson instead. But this morning, they made changes to their scheduling line-up, pushing the MLS championship to ESPN 2.

Who knew my disgust with corporate media could reach new heights?

Saturday, November 17, 2007


went on a little holiday. In past visits with preschoolers, he's backed himself into corners, gotten stuck behind book shelves, narrowly avoided tricycle wheels, peed on the floor and impressed everyone with his climbing and speed. This month, he ventured out with out us and has been complimented as a fantastic guest, which may have something to do with the extra care and attention of his hosts at King St. Thank you!

In his absence, a bookshelf took up residence. Great space for the nearly two boxes of book we mailed home from Cambria and Tucson; problematic as shell will have to relocate a little farther from the heat vent. As a fellow cold-blooded creature concerned with his health and comfort, I turned to the ever trusty Craigslist. In the free section, not far from home, a terrarium with lights and a heating pad was listed. The catch?

"No cracks, but haunted with mischievous and cruel ghosts."

So, I'm wondering...
Is the haunting of all the equipment, or just the terrarium?
Is the heating pad safe? Electrically sound? Could we smudge it?
Do ghosts inhabit objects, or just space?
Is it a human, reptile or amphibian ghost?
I didn't email my questions to the person who placed the ad.

Sure, we could go the pet store, spend money and get a new heating pad. But that is likely to end in hours of rodent "window shopping" holding and negotiation. Aslin's ready, pet rats are still a topic of debate for the rest of us.

Maybe we'll move the bookshelf.

In unrelated pet news, a predictable coup has ended with Cutie as master of Ukiah's new beanbag cushion.

Piper (cute, charming, well-behaved Piper!) and his type are considered thugs by some in Montlake.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I'm pretty sure that was not a dog running down my street at 6:30 this morning.
About a month ago, I saw a raccoon, lounging like the Cheshire cat in the one tree adjacent the Safeway parking lot.
Not too uncommon, but a coyote?!?

Monday, November 12, 2007


Before we ordered vegan Mongolian beef, before I dumped a cup of tea, before we noticed that our table cloth had doubled as a napkin for earlier patrons, the women across the room cracked their fortune cookies.

"You will soon follow your heart's desire."
The dark-haired woman crumpled her fate, pronouncing it "lame."

Four pots of tea later, Aslin arrived at the same fortune, finding it lame only for its lack of originality. She's inherited my tendency to collect the conversations of others and looks to the empty table where an hour earlier, her would-be destiny was discarded.

Fortune cookie superstition has us debating the proper procedure for the reading of fortunes. Split the cookie, eat half, read, finish cookie. No, read the fortune before eating any cookie. NO, don't even look at the fortune before finishing the cookie.

Ukiah- "You will meet someone famous."
Brad- "You will enjoy good health and financial independence."
Nora- "You will welcome many people with your smile."
Aslin- following you heart's desire? not lame.

I pocket the forecasts for an art project I would have finished years ago, except that I occassionally misplace my fortune reservoir and have to start over.

In the past month, we've been blessed by visits with butterflies. (A word of caution for the birds, the Heliconiidae of the long wing family, is brightly colored to warn you of their terrible, bitter taste.) Thanks to craigslist, we've got two new-used exercise balls ideal for video game seating. Plus, as a pirate and newspaper zombie/samurai/guy the kids picked up a ton'o candy trick-or-treating.

With the homeschool group, they helped NorthWest Harvest package a literal ton of chocolate and learned this bit of Seattle candy trivia-
FR edrick
A nd
N elson
G ift
O f
S weetness

And let's not forget the marvel that is pumpkin beer. Thanks to the brewers at Elysian for hosting us, and letting us take the empty pumpkin keg for pumpkin-cauliflower soup.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

2 truths and a lie

Our game repertoire is expanding. In between singing the rainbow song and practicing kneeing against an enormous soccer ball, I'm learning to Wake up Fred and play Battleship at work. Ukiah and the homeschool teens spent half an hour silently arranging themselves according to their birthdays. Expanding his terms of endearment vocabulary, Brad won a few hands of Quao. And after last week's drama class, Aslin taught us what could be a fabulous party game or a unique communication style, 2 Truths and a Lie.

  • I'm learning how to knit.
  • I'm trying to read all the books in the house.
  • I hate Kelly Clarkson.


  • This werewolf is headed to Germany to promote cobweb sales.
  • I was driving through Madison Valley when the brakes gave out.
  • I'm not giving up the green chair.

  • I don't like socks.
  • I'm learning to use a zambato.
  • I like clay toasters.

  • My hands froze selling Liberty and Scarlet O'Hara apples at the market.
  • I'm taking a break from Earl Grey tea.
  • I haven't heard any squirrels on the roof in days.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

been there, done that, would do it all again

This incomplete list of trip favorites use to live in the side bar. She graciously moved to a post knowing that no matter how painful, it's time for the Owlhouse to move forward.

Cape Disappointment- Long Beach Peninsula, WA

Saturday Market- Eugene, OR

Crater Lake, Oregon

Barack Obama, 2008

Cowboy Poets- Elko, NV

Gilgal Sculpture Garden- SLC, Utah

Lazy Lizard- Moab, Utah

Mesa Verde, Colorado

Carver Brewing- Durango, CO

Taos Pueblo, NM

Georgia O'Keeffe Museum- Santa Fe, NM

White Sands, NM

Chiricahua Mts, AZ

Bisbee- Bisbee, AZ

Desert Museum - Tucson, AZ

Sonora Co-housing - Tucson, AZ

Sam's Family Spa -Desert Hot Springs, CA

Ghetty Museum - Los Angles, CA

Camp Ocean Pines - Cambria, CA

Pipestone Vineyards - Paso Robles, CA

Sacramento Valley School - Sacramento, CA

Guemes Island - Washington

Lake Okanagan - Kelowna, British Columbia

Lake Louise - Banff, British Columbia

Kaslo- Kaslo, British Columbia

Kamloops Farmer's Market - Kamloops, British Columbia

Touchstone Farm - Mayerthorpe, Alberta

Gaetz Lake Sanctuary- Red Deer, Alberta

Local Currancy - Calgary, Alberta

Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum - Drumheller (Badlands), Alberta

Glacier National Park - Montana

Coeur d'Alene Library - Idaho

Grand Coulee Dam -Coulee, WA

Sunday, September 23, 2007

appropriate use of cheese cloth

"Do you have any cheese cloth?"
"That depends, are you going to use it make cheese, or adulterate it in some way?"
"Adulterate. But in a positive way."

It was three weeks ago when I paid way too much for u-pick blackberries only to come home and make a dreaded phone call turning down an inspiring job. Taking the misfortunes in stride, I headed to liquor store. Turns out a fifth of vodka is about 2 1/2 cups. To double the recipe I'd need 4, so I took a second walk up to 23rd and Union, wondering if I should avoid eye contact with the clerk who sold me my first bottle just a half-hour earlier.

I can't find my sewing kit. My guess is that it and the cheese cloth I remember packing away, are at the bottom of the closet I can't bring myself to dig through. Not until the hall is free of the bed frame and dresser and Goodwill box. No rush now that the man at Kitchen Basics approved our use of the cloth.

Yesterday, after a morning of soccer with toddlers, an almond latte followed by a sunny afternoon in the dahlia garden and climbing the camels at Volunteer Park, we strained the berries and toasted the birthday Joan Jett and I share.

Blackberry Liqueur

1 pt Fresh blackberries
2 1/2 c Vodka
1 Vanilla bean
1/4 ts Whole allspice
1/2 c Sugar syrup (2part sugar/1part water, boil, cool)

Select full colored and plump berries. DO NOT wash until ready to use as water causes mold to form. Rinse berries and place in a mixing bowl, lightly crushing to release flavor.
Add vodka, vanilla bean, and allspice. Stir and store in bottle in cool dark place for 3 weeks.
Strain mixture through dampened cheese cloth, squeezing as much juice
as possible.
Pour back in bottle adding sugar syrup to taste (1/3 to 1/2 cup
per pint) and age another 3-5 weeks.
Yield: 1 pint plus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

celebrate, matey!

Today be Aslin`s birthday. She`s been countin' th' days an' be thrilled t' finally b 11. Yesterday, at Izilla, she spent a bit o' her cat sittin' treasure on a gift fer herself. A new lanky cat. Mashimaro. Marshmellow. "Because three of her paws are white and the rest of it is the color of a toasted marshmellow, and, she's just cute and fluffy."

(We're still looking for a Japanese language class for Ukiah. In the meantime, he's teaching Aslin what he knows.)

Also celebrated today, International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

elf + elf =


Yesterday, after a very wet hike near Olallie State Park, we made tea and settled in for some arithmetic from the Wayside School.

After experimenting with our own spelling/algebra rules, we solved the first chapter, including:
  1. stays + say = trust
  2. dell + ewe = woods
  3. seed + iced = spice
(each letter represents a different number between 0 and 9)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

second breakfast

Home fries at the Crocodile Cafe are fresh cut red potatoes, not too greasy. The cinnamon french toast has the slightest hint of nutmeg. For some, it's hang-over food. For us, it's an almost clean table with a view of the Sunday morning puddles and people of 2nd/Blanchard and second breakfast. Today it includes free samples of Izzy Essque sodas. Mandarin is light on sugar/calories, soft on flavor.

The tables are full, there's a shortage of soy milk, the coffee is fresh and a steady stream of two-headed dolls, re-crafted vintage wear and beaded jewelry are making their way into the cafe. I heard a rumor that I Heart Rummage was on hiatus, but we didn't cross paths with it in our time on the road. Anyway, it and its hand-crafted pillows and lemon verbena soap are back. With a vengeance. As displayed by our super-fantastic new Ninja pint glasses. Thanks Miss Val!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

blog o' the day

We turned here when the cookbooks failed. Because what else goes so well with tomatoes from the garden?

Note: the garbanzos cook up well even if you're tired, a little nervous about your new job and forget to soak them over-night. A day long bath works just fine. Which is especially important now that Aslin is down one of her finest chewing teeth.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

we heart plums

Most of us, anyway.
I exhausted my usual plum resources last week with the first batch of plum sauce. At the park, hillside trees hold their branches just out of reach. Until we return with milk crates. Ukiah and I stack them in various combinations, knowing the incline is too steep, but figuring the mud should give traction to the boxes. Still, as is always the case in fruit picking, the best plums are just beyond reach.

Down the ally, a single tree offers what could make a dozen coffee cakes. The neighbor says she "can't possibly eat them all" and from the fruit-littered pavement, it seems as though she's not even trying. So Aslin and I carried over the step stool, scratched ourselves climbing the tree, lost our footing sanding on top the fence, felt a bug in our eye, and eventually brought out the 8-foot ladder.

Plum Sauce

In a medium pot, combine-

5-6 garlic cloves, minced fine
1/2 ounce fresh ginger, minced
1 small onion, minced
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon crushed dried chilies
3 lbs plums, pitted & chopped
1 lemon, juice of, fresh

Bring to a boil, simmer for 30 minutes

Strain, returning liquid to pot

1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
Add to solids and blend/process until smooth

Return plum puree to pot, simmer until thickened

Serve with noodles, spring rolls, rice, tofu, stir fry
I suggest freezing or canning some extra, cause plum season is just about over

Ukiah generously donates his share of the family plum treasury to Shell, who enjoys them in a salad with fresh kale and earthworms from the garden.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Real World

At what point is it acceptable to swear in public? To/at your children's doctor?

A couple of guys joined us at the back of the bus last week. Not entirely sober at 10am but friendly. "Look at the little man," the one on the aisle gestured to Ukiah. And they looked at Ukiah, apparently charmed by his "training to be a little man" posture. "Hey, you gonna be a lawyer?" Ukiah shook is head, politely. "No, really. What you gonna be? Cause if you a lawyer you ain't never gonna lose a case. I feel sorry for that district attorney, cause if you just smile, it's all over. You got a good smile, little man. How many cavities you got?"

Aslin pretended to sleep as Ukiah graciously nodded, smiled, met a high-five and turned to me for reassurance. "No cavities."

"See that?" the aisle man asked his window friend. "See, you got somebody who loves you. You know that? I want you to know..." Window man was unsuccessful in getting his friend to shut up or leave the nice kid alone. Aisle man continued, "Your mamma take a baseball bat to the back of the head for you." He smiled at me, approval of my parenting. "I'm not trying to be graphic, but she'd move right in at get hit for you... I'm just trying to tell you how much love you got...You guys all right..."

The unlikely family-support workers left the bus a few blocks before us.

More highlights from our recent weeks in the real world-
  • A cross city walk from Belltown to Seattle Center, to Pike Place, to the International District, to a different bus to Ranier, where we walked to collect the truck from the shop.
  • Meeting Rasta the rooster
  • Cat sitting Suri
  • Evaluating diversity in gaming and the Army's presence at PAX
  • Pickin berries, apples, flowers and feeding goats
  • Suffering through the "worst game of capture the flag ever"
  • Turning down a dream job
  • Helping Grandma move furniture, boxes and files
  • Reserving a dozen manga titles at the library
  • Cooking pizza, stuffed peppers and plum sauce
  • A bike ride to the dog park
  • Mowing the neighbor's yard
  • Hosting a veteran of the 1st Gulf War, learning of his recently discovered uranium bone-poisoning
  • Inventorying the My Little Pony and Magic card collections
  • And a bad encounter with the doctor

This whole resumption of normal has proven challenging, especially as we opted not to return to our routines. Brad's making bloody ducks and severed limbs. My new job comes with Sounders tickets but with out a classroom. We're experiencing a prolonged/delayed broken heart in Clearwater's move out of town. I miss preschool and we all miss the staff discount on groceries. In two weeks Dawn and Kalin will move next door. And we've already eaten more than half our winter supply of blueberries.

Adding to the challenge and self-doubt of putting our lives back together, "well child" check-ups that included the question, "how long are you going to protect them from the real world?" Height, weight, blood pressure, spine check and "That's not a judgment, I respect home and alternative schooling, but why don't you just put them out there?"

I've been wondering what shape our lil' blog might take as we resume a settled life, not especially anxious to join the masses of family stories already floating around. In part because writing with our names attached, means censoring to protect the subjects and/or audience. And partly because with out the built-in drama of the trip of lifetime, what could there possibly be to say? Then I remembered that scenes from the real, day-to-day lives of ordinary people make some of my favorite stories.

So, I confirmed with the doctor that I did feel judged, not at all supported. I listed a half dozen of the kids' real world engagements and kindly told him, "don't fucking push me on this." My eloquent response would have sounded a little something like "I can talk educational philosophy and developmental psychology for hours, probably weeks and surely the rest of my life. You've only got about 5 minutes, so listen to the kids' lungs, answer their questions and offer me some resources, if you'd like." I think he heard my message even in its abbreviated form.

For the record, Ukiah's 5'3, Aslin 5'1.75. Both appear healthy despite my unwillingness to allow them to participate in the real world. Maybe because I'd take a bat to the head for either of them. I'm not trying to be graphic.