Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Brunch with Benefits

42nd birthday morning at Biscuit Bitch, Belltown Seattle

When I was fourteen and bussing tables at Elmer's Pancake on weekend mornings, I would see couples wander into the restaurant and spread out a newspaper over their table while they ate their breakfast and sipped their coffee. They would hardly speak to one another, yet they seemed so content. Even as a young teen, the images of those couples represented what I wanted my future to look like: the freedom of adulthood but with the stability of having a loving partner by my side.  

Turns out, real adult life isn't exactly full of long, lazy brunch weekends like I had once assumed. But it is fun to do when we get the chance, like to celebrate my recent birthday. 

Sometimes it is the smallest dreams that really are the sweetest.  

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Seattle Adventure: Meeting Jerry

We loved meeting Jerry Greenfield of Ben and Jerry fame! (Noé was not impressed).

We've had a beautiful fall here in Seattle and we've tried be outside to enjoy it all as much as possible!

A few Tuesdays ago, after a long day of work and school, we headed down to the lake for a walk around the path. Ed was running late from work, so I took the boys down to Ben and Jerry's for a cone while we waited for him.

We walked into the ice cream shop, where there was a small crowd gathered around a bearded older gentleman. We headed to the counter to place our order when the man came over to greet us and then asked if he could have a hug. Someone sitting at a table next to us whispered, "It's Jerry!" Asher was the first one to understand which 'Jerry' he was and immediately gave him a great big hug. An ice cream hero in his midst!

At first I had a very real fear that we had won some type of ice cream sweepstakes based on the frequency of our visits or number of cones purchased (how do I explain THAT to people? Jerry from Ben and Jerry's came all the way from Vermont to personally thank us for eating so much of his ice cream! It's not exactly the type of accomplishment that you want for your family). But it turned out he happened to be in town for an environmental conference and often visits his franchised locations while traveling.

Jerry was very personable and a fun conversation ensued. He seemed to enjoy being a minor celebrity. He told Asher the story of how he and Ben met in middle school on Long Island and their dream was always to open an ice cream shop together, which they (obviously) got to do. Asher is now convinced he will rise to stardom and wealth with his middle school BFF.

We ended our conversation with some pictures. Actually it turned into an entire photo shoot's worth of pictures thanks to Noé's strong objection to putting down his ice cream for the photo op.

As I told Asher on our way home, "Good things always happen when you get out into this city!"

Sunday, September 17, 2017

DACA editorial

I wrote a FB post in total frustration and despair after 45 announced that he was dismantling DACA. To my shock it got a lot of traction on social media. A couple days after I posted it, I received a call from the Editorial Page Editor at the Seattle Times, asking if I'd be willing to turn the post into an editorial for the newspaper.

Here's that article. Don't read the comments.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Summer '17

Pianos in the Parks, Salt and Straw ice cream, Disneyland and California Adventure, Dodger games, a treasure hunt at Volunteer Park, picnicking at Golden Gardens, kayaking to Duck Island, Outdoors For All, riding the new burnt orange electric cargo bike around town, boogie boarding at Huntington Beach, hiking the rim of Crater Lake, In and Out burgers, fries and shakes, watching the solar eclipse with Grandma and watching the bees suddenly disappear and the crickets chirp,  picking blackberries all over town, swimming at Green Lake, 4th of July fireworks and BBQ at Grandma's house, hiking and playing in the sand at Oxbow Park with cousins, Pips Donuts, camping and tidepooling and hiking the rocky shore and the gorgeous sunset over Canada in the Peninsula, Mariner's Baseball with River, picnicking at Gasworks Park for a 16th Anniversary, biking the Burke-Gilman trail, Ultimate Frisbee camp at Woodland Park, frozen yogurt, biking EVERYWHERE!, Hollywood Walk of Stars, Tepayak and churros from a truck with good friends, mosquitos at Diamond Lake, surprise piano performance at the Portland Art Museum, Mt. Tabor and Voodoo Donuts with good friends, biking to the farmers market at Wallingford, OMSI, marionberry scones and chai and good friends at Gresham Farmers Market, pizza buffet at Track Town, walking through Portland neighborhoods and dreaming, walking around Green Lake, slurpees at 7-11, s'mores and campfires, watching the new middle school be built before our eyes, early morning boot camp at Licton Springs, smoke and hazy hot days, morning runs around East LA, LEGO mega projects, exploring Seward Park, architecture tours of downtown and Queen Anne, exploring International District, playing in the International fountain at dusk, hanging out on Abuelo's porch, drawing classes and long walks along the Alki boardwalk.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Teaching Lego Robotics to 6-year olds in North Seattle

A Lululemon mom might drop off little Espen, but the nanny picks him up.

A little boy walks in on the first day with his arm tightly bandaged. "What happened?" I asked with some exaggerated sympathy.

"I fell off a golf cart when we were in Hawaii last week."

I am helping a little girl untangle a robotics motor from her hair and she asks why I wear the same shoes every day.

Tiny backpacks for tiny pale children filled with vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO snacks. Bars that resemble cat shit and smell even worse. Organic pouches full of squashed up vegetables, basically repurposed baby food. Sunscreen, with firm instructions to apply and reapply for the ten minutes of overcast Seattle skies we will see each mid-morning break.

The kids are polite, but demanding. And not just in the typically demanding way of your average six year old. In a way that lets you know that if they ask nicely, they always get what they want.

All of the kids are nice to the little girl with dark skin and tight curls, but no one wants to be her partner.

At pickup, parents want a full report of each hour of camp. I want to say, "Sebastian stood on his head during my 45 second lesson on gears, broke a $15 motor and secretly pocketed a couple of LEGO pieces after I told him he couldn't take his robot home." But I manage to put a positive spin on the day. If I've learned anything at all running this business, I've learned that parents don't really want to hear the truth about their kids.

Moms snap iPhone photos of my robotics kits so that they can overnight their kid his own for home use. No one ever blinks at the $200+ price tag for each kit.

For these Amazon-subsidized parents, tuition for my camp is a pretty small line-item in their budget. But I stretch their money a long way. I can pay for a month of Asher's piano lessons in an hour. Noe's speech therapy for the entire year takes me a week. Oops, I still need to fill my IRA for this tax year. Done!

So I apply all the sunscreen, unwrap all the free-range vegan buffalo bars, tie all the fancy shoes, and sort all of the LEGOs. With a forced smile on my face and a pocket full of cash.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The many contradictions of Noé Guzman

He insists on shutting all the windows, even in the heat, while keeping all of the kitchen drawers and closet doors open.

He has to touch every plant that we pass, but won't pet a dog or cat that is looking for attention.

He will request a million different foods and then not eat a thing.

He carries a grown-up mug around the house. But instead of coffee, he has it full of chocolate milk. Heavy on the chocolate mix.

He plays Christmas music in July and Beach Boys in January on his beloved iPad.

He won't wave a simple hello, but will perform an 8-step handshake.

He will put on multiple layers of clothes through the night. Even the hot-as-hell-with-no AC-nights in July. But he will prance down the stairs naked with no warning.

He makes us crazy and we love him.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Root Beer Float Happiness

Tonight was Father's Day and I bought ice cream and root beer to celebrate Ed. However, Ed was not the most excited person in the room when I pulled out dessert.

That honor belonged to Noé.

Noé celebrates food in a way like no other. When he is eating something he really likes at the table, he'll close his eyes and go into a trance, chewing slowly, enjoying every bite.

When he saw the root beer and ice cream come out of the fridge, he reacted much like I would if someone handed me a check for $1 million. He first looked on with shock and surprise, and then, as realization set in, a slow, wide grin covered his face. To finish off his celebration, he started jumping and hopping around the room, laughing and whooping it up.

Sometimes, it takes very little to make him so happy. Other times, it feels like nothing will make him happy.