Totally Summing Up Noe Valley By Age 3

This morning Hazel said, “Daddy goes to Apple, and Mommy goes to yoga.”

Ugh. Demographically pegged by a preschooler.

Cannot forget that Hazel still says “crocodile” as “tacodigle”.

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Wherein My Sister Lets Our Dad Know His Daughters Have Officially Exited Their Princess Phases

Princess Email 1  Princess Email 2





Princess Email 3

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It’s Big, It’s Heavy, Get Used To It

Okay, so my friend Joe has a challenge. He’s STRAIGHT, but he lives at the intersection of GAY & MORE GAY (a.k.a. Castro and 18th, S.F.). AND he lives above a gay erotica store that always has a sign announcing, “We Buy Gay Stuff”. I’m always wondering where the “gay stuff” line is drawn with them. Just bondage gear and dvd’s? Antiques? Eyelash glue? Opened bottles of weight-lifting supplements? Joan Rivers bootlegs? Todd Oldham craft magazine articles? Candles? Louis XIV chairs? Good recipes? Awesome party ideas? An excellently-written thank you note? I mean, where are the parameters? There are femme gays and butch gays and bear gays and druggie gays and intellectual gays and like normal-whatever neighbor gays, so what counts? I just want to understand.

ANYWAY. My straight dude pal Joe has lived in his apartment for 15 years. If you know anything about the way rents are going here, you know that he CANNOT walk away from a HUGE 2 bedroom in a Victorian that is centrally located for $1800. That is like, EPIC.

But his ex-housemates painted waaaaay back in the early 90’s, and they were uh…like Burning Man people with a penchant for living in a crappy version of video for “Groove Is In The Heart”. I mean that in the worst way possible. Of course, I cannot rest until this situation is mitigated.

Here are the before’s for the front room:
photo 4

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

And here’s the look we’re going for:

Afters to come, but it’s been painted and progress has been made.

So I wanted to find some tree stumps to save on budget and make some side and coffee tables. Jack and I drove on Saturday to Pacifica to buy fireworks, and next to the fireworks stand was a guy with a chainsaw cutting up beautiful cedar logs for kindling. I asked him if I could take a few sections and Jack hefted two pieces into the back of our car, and then I had Jack take them to Joe’s house.

The difficult part was that Saturday was also the beginning of Gay Pride, and Joe lives at the epicenter of the Castro.

Joe saw the larger of the stumps and the three flights of Victorian stairs that lead up to his apartment and said to Jack, “Your wife is crazy,” and Jack said, “Yeah, I know”. So they got one stump up into the apartment and had to leave the other stump on the sidewalk.

A few hours later, I get a text from Joe showing the stump being used as a cocktail table after the Dykes On Bikes Parade.


















I was kind of hoping that it would stay there and become a neighborhood fixture and that people would protest when the city tried to remove it, but by yesterday morning it was gone like a fleeting rainbow.

Anyway, that was my contribution to freedom.

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Well, I Dig Your Style Too, Man

Truckee isn’t the town it used to be. Between Sacramento and Reno, the Old West railroad town was just a collection of boarded up saloons and storefronts and abandoned Victorians and shacks a mere fifty years ago.

The town’s come back to life and has acquired a much higher-end feel as the the resorts around the town have become increasingly exclusive and expensive. You’re more likely to find antique mining equipment decorating multi-million dollar second homes than a store actually selling mining equipment these days, and over the past few years the number of yoga studios that have popped up around town has been startling.

And of course, I’m representative of the “new” Truckee. While I grew up going to the rinky-dink resort on the southern edge of town, Jack and I have bought into the condo of my childhood and we now partially own property at a development that has become staggeringly luxurious in the past few years. And I practice yoga in one of Truckee’s many studios when we’re up there.

Most yoga classes I’ve taken in town have been standard fare, though perhaps a bit more difficult for me at times due to the elevation. They’ve been taught by a cadre of lithe and soft-spoken younger women, much as one would expect anywhere else. And then I took a class from “John”.

He didn’t wear a stetson or have dirt under his nails, but John sounded like he’d grown up on a ranch somewhere north of Sparks. He had the authentic accent of the West that’s been largely replaced by coastal speak of Californians.

“Suck in them thiiiigh bones up into yer ribs,” he boomed like low thunder over the chaparral. “And lengthen yer spiiiiines right outta yer butt.”

As the class progressed, he began voicing approval after every pose the class completed with little “Woooooohoooo!”‘s, as though we had been collectively successful in ropin’ a herd of calves.

While laying in shivasana, instead of bringing my mind inwards and being present, I found myself imagining that John was circling our still bodies, removing rattlers that had slithered into the studio and placing them gently and deftly outside on boulders in the summer solstice sun before they could disturb anyone’s peace.

Instead of a closing “om”, it seemed like it would have been more appropriate to just sing a few ranching songs around a campfire.

He reminded me of “The Stranger” in the Big Lebowski, sans the handlebar mustache. John was imbued with the same lost nostalgia for “the real West”, and the same calm and watchful wisdom.


I could easily imagine John delivering such “Stranger”-esque nuggets as, “I guess that’s the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin’ itself”, or, “Sometimes you eat the bear, and well, sometimes he eats you.” Yogic philosophy in a Levi’s pearl-buttoned shirt.

John has changed along with Truckee and instead of mending fences in the ravines of the Sierra Nevadas, he’d taken off his chaps to bring the beauty of the peaks into the souls of the town’s new inhabitants.

After the class, when I thanked him, he didn’t place his hands together in prayer and wish me a beautiful day. He simply slapped me firmly on my back and said, “Nice ta meetcha”.

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All About Catch Up

photo 1 photo-2 photo IMG_2745

We’re up in Tahoe. So great to have the girls not only have vacations in the same house that I had most of my vacations in, but to have them swim in the same lake and rebuild the fort that my cousins and siblings and I built.

We’re watching “The Muppet Movie” tonight.

I told the girls that if they ate their kale and quinoa (so California, I realize) that they would get strong. Hazel asked if her muscles were bigger. I told Hazel that her arms were as big as Kermit’s in the opening banjo scene.  She was incredulous at her massive body build-up.

Now to try to get them straight on the difference between Paul Williams/Elton John and Dom Deloise/Chef Paul Prudhomme. That confounded me for years.

Also, I’d like to add that there are no good current family variety shows on the major networks today. Futtzing with girdle and chewing on cigar.

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The Kids Like the Macabre

Say what you will about the horror and gore of fairy tales. I notice that most parents now shield their kids from the more gruesome “The Three Little Pigs”, not telling them that the first two pigs get eaten, or that the third pig cooks the wolf in a pot and eats him. I also notice that most parents tell a version of “Little Red Riding Hood” where the wolf doesn’t eat the grandmother or Little Red Riding Hood and the woodsmen doesn’t have to hack the wolf apart to save them.

It’s not like I want to encourage violence within my kids. It’s just that I feel like these tales get at something elemental within the psyche of kids. Children are evolutionarily programmed to be in flight mode from predators. They have dreams of monsters and love to play tag.

I loved most macabre Grimm’s tales as a kid, as well as a book of heartbreaking Dutch fairy tales. I grew up a bit to devour all Roald Dahl. And I’m a peaceful, functioning anti-gun voting adult.

Here’s Violet’s favorite “new” film, Tim Burton’s 1982 adaptation of Hansel and Gretel.

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Yay Mom

Today my mom came over.

We were eating lunch and there was a long silence and out of nowhere she says, “So. I took a selfie.”

Near spit take.


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Show Of Hands

How many of you beg for a week for a new toothbrush, and then, when confronted with a new, light-up sparkle toothbrush that meets with your ultimate approval, break down into hysterics at the mention that the old toothbrush might be thrown away?

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Violet yesterday..

“Santa Claus comes at Christmas.”

Me: “Yup.”

Violet: “And matadors come from Spain.”

Me: “Also correct.”

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New Motherhood Video From My Sister Lauren

…..Starring my cutie-pie nephew Roland….

Motherhood in 45 Seconds

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