I decided to go to yoga just as I was telling my wife that I would be going home to do my taxes after work. I pocketed my cell phone and spotted a red dot in the sideshoot of a poorly-pruned palm tree. I crossed the driveway to see it. It was a catsup orange ladybug, half the usual ladybug size, no speckles. I’d seen a black ladybug with red spots earlier in the day, but I couldn’t remember where. This morning with Benjie or at lunch? Landing on my fingertip or crossing my windshield at the gas station?

I lingered at work as my coworkers started getting chatty, then stepped out and walked around to the yoga studio next door. I found the meditation room and sat down, propping myself up with a block. Another student came in, rolled out her mat, and sat. Half an hour later, an older woman came in and turned up the lights. When she saw us she took the other student aside and told her something. The other student returned to her mat, rolled it up, and left. I sat for a few minutes longer before I got up and walked away.

He’s Got Character

I got up late this morning and walked into the family room. Benjamin was sitting at the corner of our big round couch eating a toaster waffle. He looked, newly de-mulleted (first haircut yesterday), wearing a red zip-up sweater. Tricia was taking a cup of lukewarm coffee off of the table next to him. “I gave him the waffle and he just came in here and sat down where I was studying. Then he picked up my pen and used it to stir my coffee.” There was an informal handoff: Tricia went off to the bathroom, and I watched Benjie, poured him some milk, and started a kettle of water for myself.

“Good morning. Hey, do you want to watch some Sesame Street?”

Clear as anything, Benjie sang out the first three notes of the Sesame Street song. “Dooo doo-doo.” Not quite enough that royalties would have to be paid if it had been broadcast, but enough that the music could be recognized, and enough to impress me.

A week ago, I picked him up from daycare a couple of hours early. I walked into the classroom, navigated the childproof gate, and found him and another boy huddled over a xylophone. When Benjie heard my voice, he turned and started to run toward me. Halfway across the room, he hesitated. He turned around and walked back over to the other boy. He bent down onto his knees, put his hand on the boys shoulder, and looked him straight in the eye before turning around again and walking calmly back toward me.

Is Was

The title for the job ad says, “This is not a job.” I think that this is a coded reference to the Rene Magritte’s famous painting The Treachery of Images.” So I follow the link, and the first line says “…it is a career!!” Two exclamation points.


Yesterday at around dusk I walked out into the side yard. There was a quail standing in the walkway. I wondered if it was the mother quail I’d seen out with her chicks the day before. Just as the quail started getting nervous and prepared to flap its wings, my focus shifted and I saw the others. There were thirty adult quail scattered all across the yard. The first bird’s flight triggered fifteen seconds of chaos. Thirty birds rustled away in every direction.


A man with shaved head and tidy beard wearing a long gray cowl with a wooden crucifix hanging from a knotted rope belt, all the trappings of a monk, surrenders a disposable camera to a tourist couple and poses at the railing with Alcatraz over his right shoulder. After the picture is taken, he walks quickly away.


Yesterday on the bike path that we walk on to get to the park and the plaza in our new suburban neighborhood, I noticed a sprinkling of orange flowers (this kind), all wound tightly into little buds. In Seattle these flowers are already open, I told Tricia. This morning I walked up the same path. The flowers had all opened up and flattened out wider than I ever see them in Seattle.

Damage Control

If you see interview footage of me on the local news saying something intelligent about security cameras in parks, then I assure you that my words were taken completely out of context. My answers were actually inarticulate and internally inconsistent.

If there’s footage of me playing with my son in that news story (captured perhaps by security cameras), and if it looks like I knocked a three year old girl in the head with the back of a swing, that’s exactly what happened, and I regret it.