Holiday Letter 2017

Since I spent the day at a coaching intensive, I had pretty much no brain power for a full entry.  Instead, I’m including my holiday letter for this year – it’s also a very summarized summary of the last year and a bit.

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s been awhile since I actually managed to send out holiday cards, and as there have been quite a few changes in my life since the last letter, I figured it was time to get it together.

First the biggest change: after 18 years in San Francisco, the kids and I moved to Fairfax, a small town in the North Bay.  Tom was moving to Marin to be with his girlfriend and her family, so I wanted to keep the kids close, but more – I was ready for some quieter living, with more green space and more freedom for the kids.  In April I found the perfect house, closed in May, and moved in August after doing a little work on the new house.

Tai and Miriam were sad to be leaving friends, and Tai was a little nervous about starting a new school – but the big back and front yards, and (even better) a room of their own, they were convinced.   They were happy to pick out a color for their room (Tai, blue; Miri, pink – to no one’s surprise). We’ve also discovered that there is more wildlife here in the ‘country’ – we regularly have deer browsing in our yard.  The mamas and fawns come in the morning and afternoon, while the bucks tend to come in the evening or after dark.  They all munch the apples and pears from our trees.  Fairfax is so much greener than the city.

The kiddos were also excited to discover that their new school, Manor Elementary, is directly across the street.  On nights they stay with me, they just walk across the street in the morning – no more frantic rushes through traffic with Mama dropping inappropriate f-bombs at other idiot drivers.  And Mama gets 10 more minutes of sleep in the morning.  Win-win!

Manor Elementary has been great for both of them.  Tai started fourth grade this year.  His teacher is very environmentally conscious – she runs the Green Team, where kids help with recycling/composting/cleaning up litter around school, they take care of the school garden, and do various earth-friendly activities.  Just this past week, Tai’s class wrote letters to the County Board of Supervisors, encouraging them to purchase a golf course and turn it into a park, as a creek running through is a habitat for Coho Salmon, who are endangered.  His teacher asked for volunteers to read a letter at the Supervisors’ meeting, and Tai volunteered.  He spoke in front of a room of at least a hundred people – and he was the youngest one there.  Afterword he told me he was so nervous he was shaking – but he did it anyway.  I am so proud of him – there have been too many times that I have let being afraid of something keep me from doing it.  One of my main goals as a parent is to help the kids do stuff even when it’s scary.  Tai is also rocking his math lessons – sometimes it’s all I can do to keep up!  He’s made several new friends, and enjoys biking around the neighborhood with them (well, and playing video games).  I wanted the kids to have more independence here – it’s working pretty well.  

Miriam is more ambivalent about school – at least during drop off.  But when I go to pick her up at the end of the day, she’s never ready to leave.  Her teacher has been teaching kindergarten for more than 15 years, and has two young boys of her own, so she’s seen it all.  She’s been very kind to Miriam, and to me, as we’ve made the transition to kindergarten.  Miriam’s made some good friends both in her class, and from older classes during the after-school program.  She also has more style in her pinky than I do in my entire body – she likes to dress up, and have all of her clothes matching. She is into art and craft projects, and we have fun making things together.

I’ve gone back to work, finally making use of my English degree as a Grant Writer.  I’ve been apprenticing for a couple of years now, writing grant proposals and reports for various nonprofits, usually those with a focus on the arts.  I’m really enjoying it, both helping the nonprofit organizations as well as telling stories.  I’m also working to start my own coaching business, providing transformational life coaching for women in spaces of transition.  I’m lucky enough to be able to work from home most of the time, which gives me the opportunity to be around for the kids when necessary.

We also have a new addition to the family – in the beginning of October we adopted a new pup. Tai was wishing for a dog who would play fetch and run around with him.  Foxy, while only 8 years old, never felt that she was a dog.  Playing fetch was not in her vocabulary. At 13, Sweet Potato might want to play fetch, but doesn’t really have the energy.  Enter Chocolate Chip (or, Chip, usually) who has energy in spades.  He came from Tijuana, where he was a street dog.  He’s a mutt, probably a terrier of some sort.  And he loves fetch.  And chase.  And zooming around the yard. And barking at the deer.  And chewing on absolutely everything.  And nibbling your hands.  And eating.  The puppy energy is a needed change in the house, though Foxy and Sweet Potato might disagree.  While Sweet Potato is mostly bemused by him, Foxy keeps him in line when he gets too boisterous, giving a show of teeth and growl and nip.  She’s firm with him, and he lets her be the boss.

I hope you are well, and that you have a happy and healthy 2018.

All of us – Miri, Me, Sweet Potato, Foxy, Tai, and Chip


Loss for words

An unusual state of affairs for a writer, but there it is.  After all of the shootings that have happened in the past year, I don’t even know what to say about it.  Something has to change, but I don’t have a clue how to make even the smallest step in that direction.  Especially since my brother is a gun person, and I have yet to find a way to have an honest conversation with him.  So I’m stuck.  Silent, at least for the day.

Instead of intellect, I offer a few things that made me smile today:

  1. James Marsters and Charisma Carpenter as married, dueling witches on Supernatural.
  2. Dean lip-syncing to Air Supply’s “I’m all out of love”.  (Yes, also on Supernatural).
  3. Singing to Miri as she fell asleep, and having her interrupt to ask if ‘our skeleton that keeps us up’ is different ‘dry bones’ than ‘sculptures’, which are ‘not real.  Just imagination.’  I think she’s questioning whether our physical skeleton is different than halloween skeletons – but I love the way she asked.
  4. Tai showing me the ‘book he wrote’ on Minecraft.  One page had the lyrics to ‘twinkle twinkle’, the other to the ‘abc’ song.
  5. The smily face pictures Miriam made for me, with bright pink cheeks.
  6. The second email in two days from a friend, after both of us being out of touch for far too long.
  7. The sunset.