Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Enzo's 1/2 Birthday


Notice the Sun way out in space, up in our sky.  Think about the vast space surrounding the sun, within Earth's orbit.  Look past the sun to the space beyond it.  When the Earth is all the way on the opposite side of that Sun in the sky, when we have traveled millions of miles through space and around to get to that other side, that will be Enzo's 1 year birthday.

And on that day 6 months in the future when you look past the sun to contemplate the space beyond it, you will be looking to this point where we are at right now.

1/2 an orbit since, and my days are full of loving this beautiful son Enzo.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Trying on Styles and Personalities


Remember finding yourself?  Well, that's too big for this post.  Remember starting to look for yourself?  It may have happened around your middle school years.  It did with me.

Tami and I recently found the movie Breakin' on cable and watched it for nostalgic reasons.  The first time I watched that movie it was an early pre-middle-school peek for me at testing identities.  I didn't really try to be a break dancer but I recognized that I wanted to know how to break dance because that was cool and I paid attention to the style associated with break dancers as they were portrayed to me.  Watching the movie two days ago was just funny.  Movies like it are still being made for new generations with similar story lines and acting.  In middle school I actually thought that somewhere in our world people would converge around a random dancer in the street and wriggle and clap to the beat in awe of the dancer.  I'm still waiting to see this happen kind of like I'm waiting for all the students at my work to spontaneously break into choreographed dance and song. 

After that time period came the middle school years of my life and the trial of various identities began.  It was that strange time in my development where I, as most of us did, would try on different personas to see what fit.  For me that translated into skateboarder, surfer, all black clothes mysterious dude, sunglasses, loafers, shoes without socks, flannel, attach├ęs, slacks, and.. well, I think those are most of the styles and accompanying personalities I tried on at the time.  Note, I tried on the styles and personalities, not the skills.  I could barely stay on a skateboard and the only surfing in my life were the pictures on my surfer t-shirts.  It was a valuable time for me.  It was also just the beginning.  Next came the trying on of different philosophies, opinions, and world views beginning in high school and peaking in college.  That was when I began the quest to learn from as many interesting people as I could talk to at coffee shops, as many interesting song lyrics as I could decipher, and as many books as I could consume.  By that point, I was not only trying on but taking off some of the views I had inherited from my upbringing to see what life was like without them.

There were three misconceptions that I had about the identity search process I was going through when I was young.  It's okay, it was part of my experience, but they were misconceptions according to my current perspective.
1) I was in a crisis situation; I needed to find an identity as I was lacking one.
- I wasn't in a crisis without an identity.  I was in a normal process of developing my identity.
2) I was searching for an identity to suit me for life.
- I was testing identities to suit me for the time of my life that I was in and those facets of identity would not necessarily serve me for ever; I could evolve.
3) I was looking for the real truth.
- It's possible to find something is incorrect, but different perspectives make sense for different people in different situations and that includes family, friends, strangers, and my self.  I was really just searching for perspectives to make up a malleable world view that worked.

Now in my 30's, it would seem that the majority of the trying on, taking off, adjusting and trying on again is in the past.  I find myself more often satisfied to fine tune that which I have already found to fit me well.  That's why it's so fun to have the opportunity, at my age, to try on different styles, personas, and perspectives.  At this point in my life it's not as simple as buying a pair of Vans shoes and walking around for a while.  That's where Matt has provided me with a golden opportunity.  What's it like to be one of those guys driving a cool old VW Bus?  Now I know.  What about a slammed Bug?  Got it.  And now, how about a muscle car?  Maybe a '68 Plymouth GTX?  Excellent.  In middle school I just couldn't borrow a buddy's Airwalks, GT bike, and talent.  But if you are ridiculously fortunate as an adult in the opportunities presented to you as I have been, your friend just might offer you to take care of his GTX while he is in Mexico for a week.  What a difference in driver experience and conversations with strangers that GTX made in my days.  These are not just superficial experiences to me.  I believe that I better understand others who make different choices for their every day lives and don't just borrow the style for a week.  I've been thinking a lot about those decisions we make out of habit as with vehicles, homes, clothing, opinions, politics, etc.  If, for example, I were to go buy a car two years ago I would have bought the nicest car I could afford that was practical at the dealership.  Now I'm thinking: What is interesting out there, what could I lower, what would look good with Mexican blankets as seat covers, what would be entertaining to drive The Kid around in, what would make the commute to work into a cruise to work?  And from that I go on to questions such as: Why live close to work when there are so many interesting places to live that are close enough?  Why wear the same type of clothes when not working?  Why not question the simple and obvious decisions I make to see where there is room to add some color and adventure to the mundane?.  Good questions.  Thanks Matt, for another adventure in self discovery and a week of driving the coolest car everywhere I went.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 8

Home Sweet Home.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 7

We went to the Kansas City Royals game today.  Yes, as you see in the picture, Tami brought Enzo's A's stuff for the game.  She makes me laugh.  Then again, I learned that they were the Kansas City A's before moving to Oakland.  Tami picked up a cool KC Athletics green and yellow hat at the stadium.  What a great stadium.  There is a Royals Hall of Fame, a great video screen, and an extensive kids area with games and activities.  Neat.  Tami likes to see games at various stadiums when we travel so she was very excited that our trip coincided with the Royals playing.  Royals won and we had a good time with family, ten of us in all.  I think Uncle Tito enjoyed his birthday. 

It's been so fun living in this busy house and seeing family come and go every day.  I'll miss this.  I'll also be glad to get back to our family and friends in California tomorrow.  Vacations are awesome. 

Tami and I just remembered that Father's day is almost here and it will be my first as a father.  When I think of it, the opportunity to spend so much of my time with my child like this is the greatest gift and opportunity I could imagine as a father.

Monday, June 14, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 6

Enzo and Tami had their first Waffle House experience!  That's how we started our day.  But first things first.

Enzo got a good night's sleep last night and had plenty of energy today.  His mocos have dried up so his nose is done dripping.  All that appears left of the cold is the occasional cough with that phlem sound but those have been far fewer.  We are glad.  Enzo never looked too uncomfortable but it still affects us to hear his coughs and sneezes so we're glad that this cold is almost passed.  Meanwhile, he is constantly loved, played with, held, kissed, and told how adorable he is by all of his family out here.  He is a lucky and well loved child.

Okay, back to The Waffle House.  It's safe to say that the place is not Tami's kind of breakfast place but she made her best effort to smile for me while I enjoyed it.  Enzo was pretty happy to see his dad enjoying his scattered, smothered, covered, and diced hash browns.  Yes, indeed.  Also, coffee, eggs, and grits.  There was no room for sweet tea or pie but you just can't cram the whole experience in to one event.  You know?

After that we finished picking up the tamale ingredients and headed back to the family's house.  Yum, home made tamales!  They were a hit.  A pretty good day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 5

Enzo caught his first cold.  Well, that's my amature assessment. Acording to the infinite knowledge of the internet, one may expect a baby to catch 4 to 10 of them in the first year as they build their immunities to the common cold strains.  The symptoms seem to match. Tami thinks it is possibly alergies to the pollen, etc. that we are encountering out here.  The symptoms are so similar and the internet does not settle such debates absolutely.  Either way, The Kid has sniffles, occasional cough, occasional teary eyes, and plenty of mocos (what my family calls boogers or nasal mucus).  Still, he smiles when people give him attention and that's rather often.  Actually, he looks and acts normal except for the occasioanl signs and discomfort from congestion. He does not like having his mocos wiped from his nose and face, that is for sure. The main discomfort is that neither he, Tami, nor I had the best sleep last night and that has made all three of us a little more tired today.

We did manage an outing today with some family.  We made it to the Nelson Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City, Missouri.  It's great.  Tami and I had spent several hours there last year in February when we came out here for another cousin's wedding and we loved it.  We had to skip one section last year so we went back to see that section today.  We would like to go back again next time we come out as the collection includes some fascinating works and artifacts.

The weather has been dramatic.  It's near enough to 90 degrees most of the time but, depending on the whim of nature, it is either a torential down poor that causes us to pull off the freeway on the way to a museum or it is perfectly sunny and dry where you would swear a giant puddle existed an hour before.  In between these two ways of the weather exist bursts of thunder and soft warm wind that carry smells of warm nature and traces of food and flowers.

In fact, the sky is a beautiful strobe light right now.  Cousins just came down to tell us to go out and see it so we stepped out a second to admire it.  The clouds blanket the sky so the lightning bursts, separated by only seconds, are difused across the sky.  The rain had not yet reached the house, only the light show had, so the whole family was outside enjoying it.  After stepping out briefly to appreciate it Tami and I are back in to rest with Enzo and the first rain is now reaching this house.  Inside now, I can hear the loud cracks as the thunder moves closer.  A kid just yelled out from upstairs "Did you hear that?  That was awesome!"  And the rain is again torential while the ground vibrates to the the cracking thunder.

From lack of complete sleep, concern for Enzo's comfort, walking around the museum and the Plaza area of town, my feet are sore after our relatively short outing.  When I rubbed them I was pleasantly surprised.  My feet are SO soft!  Everywhere I touch I can actually feel my finger through the nerves of my feet as there is hardly any hard skin and my orange toes are smooth like glass.  I had forgotten that I had a pedicure two days ago.  My feet feel like the feet of a person much younger than I have become acustomed to.  On the outside anyway.  On the inside they wonder how my fingers continue to move on this phone's keyboard as they crave stillness and they question weather my mind is making  a coherent stream of words.

Enzo is sleeping quitely right now.  I noticed hopeful signs of lessening symptoms through the day and I hope he will get to sleep better tonight and feel better in the morning.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 4

Today we went to Desirae and Matt's wedding.  Everywhere you go people are different and this wedding was different from all others I have been to.  It's interesting  to see how different people ritualize events and add meaning to the important events and rights of passage in their lives.

Speaking of monumentous events, I've been thinking a lot about the process of mourning the loss for each new change in life.  Mourning for the loss due to a change is only half of the event but it's what I have been considering lately.  It started with a discussion and reading in night school last semester.  The point was made that every change in an organization requires mourning no matter how small the change may appear to the one making the change.  The idea is that a manager needs to recognize and allow for the mourning of the loss, of the way things were, when a change is made even if it is as simple as a change in the lunch time.  People adapt and attach their lives to so many aspects of life that changes appearing insignificant to one may be quite significant to the other.  Another aspect of this is that the person making a change may come across resistance when they did not expect it because that person has already had time to mourn, contemplate, and convince themselves of the appropriateness of the change during their consideration before announcing the change.  Others need time to catch up and it is unfair to expect them to instantly see the light of another's ways upon first hearing of them.  These are some of the thoughts I have been considering.  From small to large I am trying to see how I mourn and embrace change and how others do the same.  I appreciate this perspective and it was useful for me as I said good-bye to my life as a classroom teacher and became open to my life as an assistant principal.  I also see now the mourning component of my annual pilgrimage to Santa Cruz on my birthday where I go to contemplate my life as a form of ritual in which I mark the passing of my years through recognition of what has been, acceptance of it's passing, appreciation for what is, and preparation to appreciate what will be.

Enzo has brought great change into my life as well.  I don't feel in anyway that I am missing out on anything in exchange for his presence in my life but it feels valuable to recognize those changes and appreciate them.  I have said good-bye, at least for now, to staying out all night with friends, riding on long distance overnight motorcycle rides, seeing boobs solely as rare and special objects of desire, and the knowing that no one is dependent on me.  It's interesting that I don't feel bad about those losses.  They came as easily as their acceptance; as if a cloud is noticed in passing.  They are only temporary, so perhaps that affects the feeling.  Well, the boob one may be significant in that breasts will never appear exactly the same to me.  They can never be so simplisitic now that I have watched them nourish my child.  I remember a time not so long ago when boobs were magical beacons of attention-grabbing enchantment.  To see an exposed breast would be something to write home about... if I lived in a very odd home, I guess... but you get the point.  I remember my friend in middle school telling me that he and his family went to a nudist colony in the Santa Cruz mountains regularly and me trying to imagine what kind of booby-Meca such a place must be.  I really couldn't understand how a boy could walk through such a place without extreme pressure in his pants all of the time...... if he had pants, which he wouldn't at a nudist colony.  Then again, at the time I couldn't understand how to make it through math class without that pressure either. Oh, memories and hormones.  But now, I have seen exposed breasts more in the last months of my son's life than I can count.  They are so different to me now.  I understand Julia Robert's character's line in the movie Notting Hill differently now.  Paraphrased it went something like:
"What's the big deal with men and breasts? They're just breasts! Half the people on earth have them!"
"Oh, silly Julia", I used to think.  "They are breasts!  That's the big deal!!"  But now, I see the point.  They are first a part of some women's bodies, secondly they may be useful tools to feed children, and only lastly are they apparently magiacal instruments to attract my attention.  I think I could see every bare breast in the world as I walk down the street now and not trip on the curb. I know they will someday cease to be food makers for my child and I look forward to that shift in roles for the magnificent pair, though I don't rush to that day as I find it best to never rush to the future.  Boobs will always be more to me now and that's cool though very different than I would have expected.  Middle school Randy wouldn't possibly understand.  He'd be too busy sitting very carefully in math class.

I wonder if Desirae and Matt took any time to mourn the losses and anticipate the changes as part of their marriage ritual today.  For my wedding, I definitely took the time to anticipate the changes and the time to appreciate the significance of the event.  I don't believe I was wise enough to mourn the losses, however.  Instead, I gradually said good-bye and adapted to those losses that came with my marriage over the course of a few years.  Ha! That process always provided for interesting conversations.  In less than two months from now Tami and I will have been married for five years.  It has been such an interesting experience. Humbling, to be sure.  A maturing experience, as well.  My favorite aspects have been the fun and the silly parts.  And traveling.  We make great traveling partners.

Well, today on this marriage day of a family member.... Here is to mourning losses great and small, appreciating what we have, experiencing what we may, and making the most of the new from every change.

Friday, June 11, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 3

Tomorrow is the wedding so the ladies went in to get their nails done. My plan was to walk around with Enzo until Tami and the ladies were done.  When we got to the nail place, however, Enzo stated the he was already hungry.  So, I ended up in the waiting area for a couple of minutes when I decided I may as well go for a first walk alone because Enzo would be eating for a while.  On my way to tell this to Tami, one of the guys that worked there said that I could sit in the empty seat while the others got pedicures, no need to wait in the outer area.  He convinced me when he mentioned the seat was a massaging seat.  "Okay, I'll hang out hear for a bit."  But massage chairs are aparently a gateway salon expereince. One thing led to another and I walked out with my first pedicure.  Complete with bright orange nails!  Sweet! Enzo seems to like them.  The experience was cool and my feet look pretty happy about it all.  Maybe it was the massage that's part of the pedicure or maybe it's the fact that it's impossible not to be happy when you are bright orange!  Happy orange feet!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 2

This is a photo of Enzo taking a nap on me. I know, you can only see The Kid. I assure you we both look adorable together. Enzo has that affect of imparting beauty on all scenes.

Oh wonderful world of fireflies! They are everywhere here.  Tami, Enzo, and I went out for a walk in the neighborhood after eating to take in our surroundings as the sun was getting low.  The lower the sun got, the more the grass came alive with briliant short bursts of happy mini fireworks in light.  Beautiful and endlessly entertaining.

Today has been fun for another reason as well.  The house we are staying in was host to many of the family for a big and delicious dinner complete with Puerto Rican rice and Puerto Rican eggplant.  The eggplant dish was Tami's contribution.  There was so much life in the house with children running around playing and adults eating, talking, and playing with the kids.  Enzo got so much attention and even met Micah, a boy born just one day before Enzo and who is also staying here at Auntie Leonilda and Uncle Tito's house for the wedding.  Right now both of these nearly 5 and a half month olds are hanging out on the couch getting love and attention as I type.  The party is winding down now and so am I.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

K.C. Trip Day 1

We're in Kansas City, Missouri for Tami's cousin Desirae's wedding.  This is Enzo's first big trip out of California.  I was originaly worried about the flight; concerned that we would become the loud family with crying baby. Of course, no such issues happened. Tami fed Enzo on the way up and on the way down to help prevent any discomfort in Enzo's ears as the pressure in the cabin changed.  On the way down, Enzo got a little fussy but Tami convinced him to eat a bit more and that seemed to do the trick.  Most of the flight time, Enzo slept. When he was awake we chatted and I got some good pictures of him looking out of the airplane.  I'll add those pictures when I get home. 

We decided to bring Enzo's potty on the plane instead of packing it in the checked luggage.  When planning for this trip we considered getting disposable diapers for convenience.  The adventure of doing this the old fasioned way, and the environmentalist way, won out.  We'll be here for a week so we brought all of our cloth diapers and picked up baking soda, vinegar, and a good healthy soap  from a grocery store when we got here.  I'm glad we decided on cloth. Enzo also has a little potty for when we are at home so we brought that. Near home Enzo goes in the potty and on the road we generally pull over and Enzo goes in nature, or potty, or in a restroom.  But the plane would be different.  There is not a lot of room in an airplane bathroom for an adult to help a 5 month old go.  Should we bring the potty on the plane or have him go in his diaper?  The diaper sounded easier but Enzo doesn't like to... who likes to pee in their pants?  So, we went with the potty.  That meant I got up twice to empty the potty in the little restroom.  The flight attendant gave the potty a second look but I'm not sure if she figured out what it was.  Anyway, the flight went well and we arrived safely to the beautiful weather and skies in Kansas City, Missouri.

We're staying with family here in a house full of good people.  It was fun to watch the kids get excited to see and play with Enzo.  I got a kick out of listening to Enzo's seven year old cousin Kamia sing an impromtu song while acting out the words for Enzo with his stuffed panda that he likes so much.  She sang:

"The itsy-bitsy panda went on the baby's back. Down came the rain and washed the panda down. Out came the sun and dried the panda out. And the itsy-bitsy panda went up on the baby again."

Awesome. Experiences like this remind me why I love people.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Sister

Katrina is now a High School Graduate!
A tribute in reverse order...

The Graduate.

Walking the stage.

Feels like only a year ago my sister was graduating Middle School.

This does seem like forever ago.

Look at that cuteness!

My favorite attitude photo of my sister.

Congratulations Sister.  I love you.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Picnic

We went for a picnic on Monday and I have to share this, my new favorite picture.  If we were in a family band right now, this would be our album cover.