May 22 2013

San Francisco Subsets

- I don’t know her. She’s part of the ping pong crowd.
- … That’s a thing.
- That’s a thing.

Image: Stuart reading a piece on mortality at You’re Going to Die.

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May 20 2013

Yes, Exactly

Walking up from the river with a bottle in hand, my shoes squelch and crunch in the gravel. Warm wind blows over the mouth of the bottle, and it starts to sing.

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May 15 2013

Oysters in the Panhandle

Last weekend we were invited to Matt’s birthday. We met in the park to BBQ and kill oysters together. It was magical.

A couple of Matt’s friends woke up at the crack of ungodly, drove to the Tomales Bay Oyster Company and brought home a cooler of fresh oysters. If you live nearby, you should do this. It’s $40 for a bag of 50 oysters, and if you bring them into the city, you can have margaritas without worrying about how you’ll get back from Tomales Bay. Genius.

I’d never shucked an oyster before, but some friends at the party showed me how, and it’s surprisingly easy.

You hold the oyster in a towel or with a glove, then wedge a knife in any chink you find, preferably near the shell’s joint, but whatever. Then you wiggle the knife back and forth until you see a bit of water seeping out from the shell.

Once you do, push the knife in and pry upward to pop the shell open halfway. Then use your knife to disengage the oyster from its attachment to the shell. Sorry oyster.

We ate all the oysters and Jasper got into the tequila.

New goal for summer: Spend most of my time in the company of shellfish.

Oh, and this guy.

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May 10 2013

I’ll Drink to That

Me: Cheers, Feisty!
Mai: …
Me: Cheers, Sassy!
Mai: …
Me: I’m toasting you with names I don’t want men to call me at bars.
Mai: Ah. Cheers, Cunty!

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May 7 2013


It’s a light rain. I’m floating alone in the swimming pool, when a red-tailed hawk cuts through the clouds above me. I think of him hours later, after the long drive home. My hair still smells like chlorine.

Photo by David Bell

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May 2 2013

Epic Playdate: Yeah. It Was OK, I Guess.

This post is brought to you by The New Santa Fe from Hyundai.

This weekend, Hank and I took a road trip south to attend the Epic Playdate Hyundai put together. If you were following along on my Instagram, you may have noticed that it was so amazing it crossed over into absurd.

A bunch of blogger friends were there — Rebecca of Girl’s Gone Child, Heather from Dooce, Liz from Say Yes to Hoboken, Jordan from Oh Happy Day — and each of us was responsible for a kids activity on site.

There was beach blanket volleyball.

And balloon swords.

We made paper rockets.

And did the kids up in tinfoil armor.

I hosted a paint fight, which I was super nervous about because there wasn’t a clear way to clean up afterward, but Wet Wipes took care of most of the mess, and no one bit or punched anyone during the fight. That I know of.

Throughout the whole event, all the adults kept gawking at each other. Several of us have experience putting stuff like this together, and we couldn’t believe how much work and thought went into it. Attending without having to lift any boxes was a little odd for all of us, I kept feeling like I should be refilling the lemonade or finding someone a Bandaid.

We’d all traveled to be there, so they set up a campsite for the families. When evening came, we headed over the hill for dinner, and gasped when we saw the view.

Most of the kids ran around on the beach, and Archer and Hank sat talking for hours about Star Wars and what the world would be like if the Force was real.

It took those boys about an hour to start plotting how they could hang out together again. If you’ve watched Archer grow up over on Girl’s Gone Child, you know he’s is a thinker, and Hank is too, but it was startling to see how similar they were even in their mannerisms.

Isn’t it so gratifying when your kid gets along with the child of a friend you love? Rebecca would see them playing together, yank my sleeve and say, “Are you seeing this? Where is my camera?”

Speaking of which, here’s Rebecca in her natural state.

Well, one of her natural states.

Having all our families together was like being at the best wedding on record.

And then? Then Brett Dennen showed up to sing us campfire songs.

Of course he did.

If you have no idea who Brett Dennen is, he’s one of my favorite musicians and also a good guy. He does lots of benefit shows, and I’ve posted about him a few times. His was the first show I ever went to on my own because none of my friends were free, and I was too disappointed at the thought of missing him. After a long day of surprises and squealing kids, finding him at this event was disconcerting, like waking up in a Saturday Night Live skit.

Brett sat down by the fire to sing to a bunch of exhausted kids and glassy eyed parents, and I scrambled over to get Hank.

“You know how mom goes to lots of shows? This man with the guitar is one of my favorite singers, and I really want you to come hear him with me.”
“No thanks.”
“Baby, I really want you to hear this.”
“Mom-mom, I’m playing.”
“I know, but I think it will make you feel happy.”
“I do feel happy.”
“I’m gonna go play flashlight tag now.”

GAH! I resisted the impulse to grab the back of his sweatshirt and use my weight advantage to force my musical tastes upon him. Barely, but still. Instead I found a glass of wine and walked back over to the fire where Brett was sitting on the ground singing kids songs.

Families peeled off for bed until there were only a few of us left, so I finally said, “I feel a little silly asking this, but there are like four of us here. Can we sing ‘Sydney’ together?”

And Brett said yes.

So this is me and Brett Dennen, singing one of my favorite songs from my last two years of music delving. That, my friends, is a deathbed flashback in action.

Eventually Hank ran back barefoot and asked for water. So Brett chatted with him while I found a bottle of water, and his shoes, and then we said goodnight and headed up the stairs to our tents.

And whoa, about those tents. They were exactly like that episode of Gillmore Girls where Rory goes with Logan to that Life and Death brigade party and they seal their love by jumping off that platform with open parasols…

…Don’t you think?

All of it made me feel so grateful for my surreal job, and my sweet kiddo, and the creative community that over the years has come to feel like an extended family. I like you guys. I’d jump off a platform in a ball gown with you any day.

If you like this post, you might also like:

Movie Night at the Barn
Life List: Giant Food Fight? Check.

Huge thanks to everyone at Hyundai and Federated Media for putting this together, and for including me and the little guy.

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May 1 2013

Conversations with a Six Year Old, Religion

At bedtime, reading Hank’s current favorite book on unusual animals.

Me: “The Jesus Lizard gets its name from its ability to run on the surface of water.”
Hank: That’s just like little Mario in the new Super Mario Brothers U.
Me: …Truth.

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