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Deli scene/ ode to Elan and Aidan

date-night-sNp
David’s Delicatessen, Geary Street, San Francisco.

This is a test. If this were a real blog post, it would have appeared loooooooooong ago.

Slowly trying to blow the gunk out of the engine, here with an image of my favorite old companion (20 years together means we get to say “old,” right?), taken with my  favorite new companion, a wee little mirrorless camera that more or less fits into my pocket. I’m daring it to take noticeably better pictures than my cameraphone (who ever thought that would be an issue for any kind of quality camera), and also daring it to be in my life so effortlessly and regularly that it actually does help me see/ share the world via visual images nearly as much as the proverbial cameraphone in the pocket does.

I blame Palinode, specifically this post of his, for even getting the notion of nabbing myself a mirrorless 4/3s . Continue Reading →

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For the short time that we’re here, we are here together

Partly to get that ginormous picture of me in the previous post off the “top of the fold” of this site (gadzooks that’s a big picture! even though I hope you locals will spread the word about that event!), partly because I just happened across it again today, and was struck anew at its depth and eloquence, partly because now, nine years later (weeks after my daughter’s birthday), I now know every word of my dear old friend’s to have been not just brave but prophetic, I share with you my friend’s essay, “Extended Family.”

 

UntitledI wrote an ode to her here: “Happiness is an old friend.”Context: I met Sybil Lockhart,  author of “Extended Family,” in September 1980, when we were both fresh-faced, mulletted freshmen in college (okay, maybe it was only me who was mulletted; memory is a tricky thing). She is a neuroscientist (really! a Ph.D.! in neuroscience!) and a very gifted writer. The essay appeared years ago, first at Literary Mama, where she wrote a column and served as book reviews editor.  Later it formed a part of her moving caregiver’s memoir, Mother in the Middle.

Two more things to keep in mind, as you read what Sybil wrote. One, the children she speaks of – hers and ours – have now been special cousins to each other for as long as my children can remember, and probably most of what hers can. Sybil’s youngest now strolls over to our house once a week after middle school. We’re an old, familiar way station-away-from-home, a place to sip a smoothie and do homework (or play with our kids) ’til one or another parent picks her up at the end of the afternoon.  She comes to us now just like her older sister did before her years ago, when she was in middle school, needing a place to come to rest as much as we needed to provide it to her.

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3/30: my lady love

myladyfriend

Mother of my children, people watching, San Francisco, CA.

How do I love her? I would count the ways, but they’re countless, so all I can do instead is paste up confetti piece after confetti piece onto a pastiche-collage that will take me a lifetime to complete, and even then it will be incomplete. She once heard from a psychic that we’d been lovers many times over in past lives. This iteration was different, though. I apparently told her, last time around: this next time I will be different. You will have to find me in a new form.

And so she did. She thought she was looking for the man who would love her well and for the rest of her life, and instead she found me.

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Ninety

pops@52
Pops at 52, Castro Valley, CA.

Today my Pops turns 90. He has outlived more family members than he ever expected to, including younger sister, wife, first grandson. For as long as I can remember, he’d say, regarding his projected longevity: “Live ’til ninety, then start counting.”

We’re hoping the counting will go on for quite some time.

I remember taking the picture above some 38 years ago with my first camera, a Kodak Instamatic. I was roving around taking portraits of every family member, bipedal and quadrupedal, that would hold still long enough to let me.  Most pictures were of my dog, and then later, landscapes on family trips. I remember that of all the family portrait subjects he was the most accomodating, but he had to get up and procure himself something to hold, so’s he was — I don’t know — more occupied. Kind of more official-seeming. I think he’s holding a baseball hat of mine. Hard to tell against the shouting-out-loud polyester cover we had on that couch.

Now he’s got a pugnacious Dupuytren’s contracture, a condition that bends the pinky and ring fingers in toward the palm. He would be able to hold that baseball cap now, but with a little more difficulty. Can’t play the piano anymore. When he remembers to put in his hearing aid, he is still never 100%. Whenever he knows he’s been asked a question, but didn’t quite hear its particulars, he answers, “Probably.” Which works pretty well in most circumstances. At a table with more than a few chatting people, he can make out that people are having a lively conversation, but often is challenged to identify exactly about what.

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I can’t seem to stop singing wherever I am

[Warning: jumbo post alert. But this is about Julie Andrews, among other things, so I must be forgiven.]

We are all of us preparing around the house for a very important family event later in the week. Thanksgiving? Naaaaaw. I mean, that’ll be wonderful, sitting around a long table with our extended family, feeling warmed in the bosom of our mutual love and understanding, reflecting on the many blessings for which we each feel grateful. Don’t get me wrong; it’s one of my most favorite holidays. Even after becoming a vegetarian, which puts a decided kink in it.

But no. I’m not talking about Thanksgiving. I’m talking about the one, the only, the SING-ALONG SOUND OF MUSIC, people. And it’s coming to the Castro Theater. It bears noting, for those not familiar with San Francisco, that the Castro Theater is a grand dame 1920s movie palace, among a handful in the country built back then and still screening pictures. It’s home to one of the Bay Area’s few remaining Mighty Wurlitzer organs, which is in constant use (they play a rousing version of “San Francisco” before weekend shows, if memory serves, and definitely use it to accompany silent films, etc.).

And it’s smack-dab in the gay people part of town.

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Happiness is an old friend


Special Cousin and Special Auntie dote on the lil’ peanut, while the lil’ monkey takes flight.

You just never know, is the thing.

Ever so many years ago I was a college freshman, worried on the one hand about living away from home in a big smelly student co-op, yet thrilled on the other by the sensation that I was at the center of my very own intellectual and social super-nova. Non-conformity, I found to my delight, was not only not something to be ashamed of, it was actually worth cultivating.

Lunchtimes at my high school, by contrast, I’d often eat alone. I would pick my way carefully to an out-of-the way spot I’d located between two buildings, behind the cover of some ferns, down against the building and beneath a window where I could read and eat my turkey sandwich and drink from my small milk carton in peace. I’m not sure which I sought out more earnestly: the quiet, or the concealment of my solitude.

But when I came to college, not only was I a fish finally in water, but the water was an ocean, not a pond, and there were species of fish I had only read about in books, and there they were, wriggling right past me, dazzling me with the sunlight bouncing off their scales!

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