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December 13, 2010

While Minnesotans are wondering why snow is pouring through the roof of their indoorfootball stadium I’m sitting down to an espresso wondering what kind of surfboard to put on the roof of my car. Shortboard? Longboard? Shortboard? Longboard?

Sam and Henry have tennis matches so, with temperatures reaching the upper 70’s here in Santa Monica it’s time to dress Theo, Ollie and Simon in black neoprene and hit the beach for the 3rd straight day.

An Espresso in the Sun

Simon in the Sand

Waves are small and fun but the water is a chilly 57 degrees. Simon, who is 4 years old puts on a size 8 spring suit which fits him not like a glove but like a full wetsuit and we are good to go. Our destination is Bay St. While Simon busies himself catching sand crabs I’m able to sneak in the water and catch a few waves.

Theo with Uncle Allan’s Old Gordon & Smith circa 1974

Ollie, who is all skin and bones, gets cold real fast in the water and decides to get out and bury himself in the warm sand.

Ollie in Wetsuit and Sand

The beach is crowded with people taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. Kids whose parents didn’t bring swimsuits are stripped down to their underwear and are running in and out of the water. They end up on the beach shivering under towels, wrapped up tightly by their moms and dads warm embraces. They got that look on their faces of living in the moment. “I want to run in the water.”, “I’m cold.”, “I’m comfortable.”

Watching Theo in the water getting the hang of surfing on my brothers old surfboard I start to think about the water and waves. The sun is just beginning its downward afternoon path. I think about how far I can walk without getting wet. Simon is making a sand angel and Ollie is still trapping sand crabs. My only regret is that I don’t have my ukulele with me to practice Christmas songs.

With promises of tacos and Santa hats intertwined with shivering jaws and blue shrivelled fingers it’s easy to get the boys to leave the beach.

Simon towelling Off

We leave a trail of sand in our Volvo and Tacos por Favor. It’s bean and cheese burritos for the lads while I get an al pastor and a chorizo and cheese taco. We wash it all down with Mexican Cokes as we head back to the car.

Eyes Like Bottlecaps

We are parked on the 14th street overpass spanning to 10 Freeway. Like me, the kids are mesmerized by the cars heading east and west. Theo says, “It looks like Autopia at Disneyland.” Ollie is singing/ screaming some bawdy song in Japanese which the strangers in fast cars will never hear.


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March 18, 2010

Baseball season is just waiting to blossom, the temperature is rising, and it’s St. Patrick’s day already? Life skips along like a stone thrown into incoming waves. Speaking of waves and seasons, it’s gorgeous in southern California. The sun is out, it’s not too hot and it’s really clear. We are having the kind of days that as your driving to the beach with your board on top of you car you catch a glimpse of the snow capped mountains in your rear view mirror.  I guess this would work the other way around, where you could be driving to the mountains with your skis on top….. well you get the idea. It’s great.

El Porto

Debbie got back last night from the desert with Henry. Actually, she got back at 1:30 in the morning with Sam and Theo then drove back out to retrieve Henry at noon. My hat off to her for having the energy and devotion to make their week a dream come true. So, it’s me at the helm of the U.S.S Boys Farm or what ever the heck you want to call this home of ours. With Debbie away, it’s been a test of my fathering or negotiating abilities . I don’t want to be the kind of dad who has to use bribery to get his kids to do what they need to do. But sometimes… You know what I’m talking about. “Ollie, stop wiggling your loose tooth, your hands are dirty.” Actually the tooth fairy (Mommy) is out of town.

Our Mad Hatter

So it’s St Patrick’s day and Ollie wants a green hat to wear around. I take the boys to Ursala’s Costume Shop to try to grant a few Irish wishes. Now, I’ve never been in a costume store before. I didn’t realize that taking your kids into a costume store would be like taking them into a toy store.

It's not easy being green

This is the place where Sam goes every year on Halloween to pick out his costume. One year it was a bear mask, another year it was a rooster mask and this year it was a Larry from The Three Stooges mask. Actually Sam didn’t wear the Larry from The Three Stooges mask this year, he wore the rooster mask again. Anyways, Ursula, an older German lady is getting a bit nervous that I’ve unleashed my children into her store. They are running around trying on everything in sight and playing with every prop imaginable.

None of the green hats really fit Ollie, the kids are bringing stuff up to the counter and I can tell Ursala’s patience is beginning to grow thin as she rings up the items and bags them up and says, “Okay, time to go.”

One Of The Village Green People

So it’s as easy as that, “Okay, it’s time to go.” Maybe it was the way she said it? Maybe it was her German accent? We are out of there with no green hats but vampire fangs, a corn cob pipe, a Sherlock Holmes pipe, plastic hand cuffs, and skull and cross bone tattoos.

Jolly Good

It’s too hot for corned beef and cabbage. Besides, Debbie and Henry aren’t home for dinner anyways. Maybe tomorrow. It’s carne asada night. We are off to Don Felix Meat Market for 3 lbs. of flap meat and 2 bottles of Mexican Coca Cola. I know, I know it’s Coca Cola but I’m really thirsty.  The people who run this place are really nice and the food is great.

Ollie, it's not a twist off

Ollie, it's not a twist off

"Daddy, why are they wearing short pants? "Why not?"

Back home, Sam is setting the table. Ollie and Theo are on the production line for tortillas and I’m manning the grill. You can feel  a balance emerging.

The balance of masa and hands

But, it begins. “He got more than me.” Why does he get the bigger tattoo?” “It’s not fair.” The balance is slipping away. You know what? And this is the key to parenting, trying to convey to your kids that life isn’t fair and just and that balance and happiness are not attained by what you get but what you give. I try to teach this on a daily basis. I don’t know if it’s working. If anyone out there has an other suggestions, please let me know. Until then, Debbie should be home soon. I’m done. I leave you with a Doppler Effect video our little circle of life if you will .

[wpvideo TR4fjf3A]

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