Friday, June 29, 2012

Me, a Helmet, a Bike

A nice little get out of the house time to cheer me up as I finish getting over feeling ill. I took the Norton out for a short ride in my new super shnazy gold metal flake 3/4 helmet. I was having a good time, smiling through the trees. I wondered what I looked like in my happiness and how I would sound and look if I could watch me go by. Then I decided to find out. My iPhone, two rocks, and a stretch of road presented themselves and now I present this.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


I watched 500 Days of Summer last night. I'm not sure how I feel about the movie yet. I have mixed emotions. But, not about the song below. In the movie this plays when the characters are talking in the car. So I stopped the movie right then to look up the song on the internet. I love the internet. So, it's Carla Bruni. Name didn't ring a bell. But then in the search for info about the song I notice other words in the search results and find out that she is the woman who married French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Yeah, with the résumé that includes past experiences: model, actress, First Lady of France. She's a musician too. And an excellent one. I now am listening to her whole first album. Wow. Listen to the song below. Then read the lyrics translated into English below it. I can listen to this over and over and over.

Quelqu’un m’a dit
(this translation found here)

I’m told that our lives aren’t worth much,
They pass like an instant, like wilting roses.
I’m told that time slipping by is a bastard
Making its coat of our sorrows.
Yet someone told me…

That you still loved me
Someone told me…
That you still loved me.
Well ? Could that be possible?

I’m told that fate makes fun of us,
That it gives us nothing and promises everything,
When happiness seems to be within our reach,
We reach out and find ourselves like fools.
Yet someone told me…

That you still loved me
Someone told me…
That you still loved me.
Well ? Could that be possible?

Well ? Could that be possible?

So who said that you still loved me?
I don’t remember any more, it was late at night,
I can still hear the voice, but I can no longer see the face,
“He loves you, it’s secret, don’t tell him I told you.”
You see, someone told me

That you still loved me
Did someone really tell me?
That you still loved me
Well, could that be possible?

I’m told that our lives aren’t worth much,
Passing in an instant, like wilting roses,
I’m told that time slipping by is a bastard,
Making its coat of our sadnesses.

That you still loved me
Someone told me…
That you still loved me.
Well ? Could that be possible?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Soup for Company

The lonely bowl-o'-pho.

I am about to experience my first night away from both of my kiddos. The first and only time away from Enzo is when he stayed with Aunti Tia while Tami gave birth to Ana. That was two nights away. And I've never spent
a night away from Ana.

We are all supposed to be on the road together to Southern California for an educators conference that Tami is presenting at. Instead, I came down with food poisoning after stoping at a local food chain for a snack before getting home on Monday night. Argh.

Luckily, I have a great sister in law who loves and is loved by my kids. She is on the road with my wife, kids, and another teacher right now instead of me. So, my kids will have someone they love to play with while Mami presents. Thank you Traci! Sorry for the short notice.

And that leaves me at home feeling a bit crummy. I am hoping to feel better soon and then maybe fly out to join them. For now, I took myself out for a bowl of vegetarian pho. If I stay inside too long I often get mopey. It's the second time I have eaten today so that is a good sign. Yesterday I had only eaten once by this time. The good news is that, despite the headache and skin aches and upset digestive system, my brain works so I've been able to read. Also, I have a sense of excitement at having a quiet house and forced downtime even though I won't be with my wife and family. I love being around them. I am not exactly looking forward to this night away from both kids for the first time. It's weird to imagine no kiss or hug or cuddle good night. And yet, I must admit, I am appreciating the quietness and accepted lack of responsibility.

So, a bowl of warm soup for company. A phone chat with my family later. And a lot of quiet. The recipe for the day.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Camping at Memorial Park

First things first;  my daughter has six teeth now! Four centered above and two centered below. Tami saw the new one last week but I just finally got to see it. Ok, and also in recent days...

We went camping at Memorial Park in San Mateo county. I have ridden by on motorcycle rides to and from Pescadero Beach so many times but I had never camped there. Tami had and chose our first camping trip of the summer with Shea and Nicole. Apparently camping is popular. We had hoped to get two camp sites at a couple of near by camp locations throughout the summer so we could invite others to join. Unfortunately, this year we were just too late. We plan to start camping plans earlier next year. In the mean time, one spot is thankfully enough for us and Shea and Nicole. Excellent camping company and we have so much fun with them.

These orange glow in the dark bubbles that Nicole brought were the hit of the night for Shea and Enzo. The cameras couldn't capture it but they had the weirdest look in the dark; the kids that is. They kept running into the bubbles in the dark. The bubbles didn't glow as much in bubble form but they sure did glow bright as spots on faces and clothes once kids ran through them laughing. Our kids looked like they had glow in the dark orange chicken pox. This gave me reason to ponder why kids love bubbles so much. Then I came up with a clear answer watching them. Bubbles are so cool! They float. They are a chamber of air in the air flowing with the air wrapped in a rainbow of transparent and shiny bubbleness. What is not to love?

We arrived in the night to light a fire, relax, and play with bubbles. This made the whole place a new adventure in the morning as the kids explored in their footy pajamas.

Once Tami showed them the banana slugs, Enzo and Shea found them everywhere. I couldn't see them until one of the two would shout out that they found another. They were all over the place.

So cute. No helmet law on luggage.

Playing in the Pescadero River.

Crossing the cold water. Tami reminded me how last summer, when Enzo was just a little older than Ana is now, he wanted to play in the freezing water forever. Now, he'll cross it and go in for big rocks but he'll happily sit along the side to throw rocks in for the afternoon as he relaxes in the sun.

Ana, however, is at that phase now where she wants in and does not care about cold. It's exploring time. The added complication is that she is currently fearless.

Where is the deep end? Let's go look! What's over there? I'm going in. Mami wants to hold my hand as we cross the water? Then I'll choose the deeper side to walk on. No one holding my hand for a minute? Run for it! Touch it all! Taste it! Rocks? Not bad. A hand full of dirt? Not so good to eat as I scrape it off my tongue while whimpering and tearing.... Wow, was hoping this same pile of dirt would taste better then 5 minutes ago when I tried it and Papi helped me clean it off my tongue.

My love.

Deeper water!

Let me in! I see stuff to eat and look at!

Cold, big throwing rock searches.


At early o'clock and looking much cuter than we probably smell.

Tami's new stickers.

Camping was a blast. We'll be back to that park.

And now for something a little different.

When we got home a couple of packages awaited me. The contents of one is pictured below. I don't know what the top speed of my Civic Hybrid was last week but I am sure that it is now 10% faster. The fastest Honda Hybrid Civic around because it has this:

Hand made Italian Momo shifter knob. It's the same model I added to my Miata back in the day. I love it. As a kid, Momo shifter knobs and steering wheels became associated in my mind with proper sport luxury and Ferrari's. Exquisite. One superb aspect of marketing is that it adds pleasure to life by creating desire, appreciation, art, and satisfaction. Life is just better because Ferrari makes beautiful machines, Apple makes beautiful technology, and Disneyland makes wonderful stories and a place to immerse oneself in. I know there is a line somewhere where the marketing is dangerous and cruel. I know there is a zone where marketing is unhealthy and wrong. But I also knowthere is this zone where anticipation creates pleasure and makes a life better. My kids always laugh more when they see the tickle coming and I when I repeat the process several times so that they can anticipate the tickle. That look of anticipation and laughs escaping from their smiles before the tickle even gets there is priceless.

So not as ticklish but still making the drive so much more fun, is my Momo hand made Italian shifter knob. Thank you now-gone, high-end, automobile accessory store in downtown Los Gatos for the gift to a middle school student of a future of added excitement from every drive for less than $70.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let's Dance, Let's Shout

Dancing at the Sunnyvale Summer Concert Series. Wow! The Kid likes to dance. We're along the side of the stage where it's not as packed as the closed off street in front of the speakers and not as loud. Crazy. The Kid is two and a half and frankly is almost as good of a dancer as I. Yeah, I'm going to go ahead and claim to be a better dancer, while I can,.... but just barely. At this rate he'll be about twice as good of a dancer as I when he is five. And that simple math does not even take into account that he had to learn to walk before dancing in these first two and a half years. Enjoy the video. I sure have been. Happy Summer Solstice!

Here is another one.

Relaxing and Playing

Here is a post I started several days ago and never finished until now:

I think I have been having a SUPERB summer experience this last week. While summer began for students at work earlier, this was the first of a few weeks I'm taking off this summer. Interestingly, I had chosen this week off randomly at this time last year. My position requires that I select a certain number of days off for the whole year in June. As it would turn out, Tami became short staffed at work and was going to need to go back to the classroom for a week and teach. Who would watch the kids? Me!
Well, at first my answer was "Me!" Then, as we got closer to the week, it went to "me..." and then "me?...!!" I had never cared for and protected both kids at the same time all by myself for more than a few hours at a time before. I was still bragging because I managed to take both of them to a restaurant all by myself. What was I getting myself into? Tami did it all the time but this would be new for me.

Then Tami told me how I could work it out to have only one kid each day. Yes! That became my plan and I felt a lot better. But then the day came, Monday morning, and the peace of summer and a desire to be with both kiddos became the greater motivation. As it would turn out, I kept both kids with me every day of the week and we have had a fantastic week. I won't say it was easy but I will say I needn't have been so worried. They take care of each other to a degree and that makes it easier to take care of them both. Legos were stacked, cars were rolled, balls were kicked, parks were visited, swings were swung.

Enzo is becoming a young kiddo. It's so neat to watch him develop. I revel in each new word, association, connection, and those moments that he mimics something seen or does something unique on his own. Beautiful moments in learning. One of the good ones is when he and Ana had been quiet for a while when I was cooking. I walked in to the living room to check on them and Enzo had the largest Lego structure I had ever seen him build complete with a tall tower. I said "what a cool building!" He said "Ana helped, Happy birthday to you, it's a vela" and pointed to the tower. He had made a birthday cake with a candle (vela)! I never showed him that. We always make buildings, towers, and bridges. Mostly bridges for his cars lately. But he went and made something completely different on his own. So cool. And he even gave Ana credit for helping which must have something to do with how they worked so quietly for so long.

Ana too, continues to mature. I swear she keeps getting more and more cute. And she smiles at me. She smiles often. She plays and she pats our backs sometimes when we hold her. And, in poop mile stones; this week she took herself to the little potty we keep near the family room, pooped, and then came to find me! My little baby girl took herself to go poop! I had left her playing alone in the family room for a few minutes because I had to use the restroom myself. Soon after, she walks to look for me in the back of the house. I pick her up, go back out to where Enzo is and see that the little potty was used. I stare at it, confused because I know Enzo hasn't moved since I had put on Plaza Sesamo on TV specifically so that he wouldn't move, grab a chair, open drawers and get into mischief with his sister while I went to the restroom myself. He dose not move when Plaza Sesamo is on. It's the greatest tractor beam on his attention that I know of. So, I stare at the "occupied" potty confused and Enzo turns to me casually and says "Ana went poop" and casually turns back to the TV like it was no big deal. But it was a big deal! Awesome. My daughter took herself poop and my son was able to resist the tractor beam on his attention long enough to keep an eye on his little sister and again to help his Papi out of bewilderment.

This whole week has been delight-Full. I will probably never recount all the special snuggles, I love yous, brilliant experiences, and adorable occurrences. But the effects of those treasures have embedded themselves in my being. My bones will show the rings of loving years lived when they are counted after my time.

Here are some pictures taken since the Hybrid post.

Enzo getting his first autograph from Travis Blackley.

Playing in a pool.

Ana's first swim.

Ana playing in a jumpy house.

Ana giving me a blade of grass that she picked up.

Enzo pushing Ana on the swing.

More swings.

Ana having fun on the turtle. 
We spent a lot of time at parks this week.

And, we spent a lot of time in the backyard in our underwear.

Cruising in downtown Campbell.

This is the picture we sent out on Father's Day.

Enzo dancing with Mami in Downtown Sunnyvale. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Randy: If there existed Granola Scouts and you were a Granola Scout you could get a new badge on your vest now; a Hybrid Owner Badge.
Tami: Oh! We should create the Granola Scouts!
Randy: That's going on my blog.

I traded in our Mazda 3 for a Honda Civic Hybrid. And it's stick shift! Sure, it's kind of a plain car and it's an econo car but it's a manual transmission and now I am having so much fun again.

I told Tami a couple of months ago I wanted to get something different and trade in my Mazda. She said get what ever you want. So I started looking. I then told her I was having trouble finding something interesting but I was hoping to find a '60s Cadillac or something similarly interesting. She said no! She said I already had a '65 bug and so needed a practical car. I told her it was too late because she already said I could get whatever I wanted. So there!

Balancing several factors I decided on this cool civic. Then, I surprised Tami with it yesterday. She was excited. We are now one step closer to living the eco friendly adobe hut subsistence farming high speed wireless Internet grass roof fantasy life style that resides in Tami's sub-conscience. And I have a stick shift.

Monday, June 4, 2012

5 Teeth and Stage Presence

(In the Green Room.)

Ana has 5 teeth! The newest incising member is top, right of the center two. Also, the family went to a recital where Tami was helping her sister and where Hun and Tata were performing. And of course, Aunti Tia and Tami get Ana and Enzo out on stage every chance they get. If these kids ever have stage fright it won't be for lack of exposure to audiences and lights. Almost all of my pictures were blurry this time, especially the smiley ones. But still, I think it is clear from the pics I did get that these kids are adorable. I didn't even know they made dance clothes so small but Ana looked so cute in hers. Apparently the stage is like the ocean, Ana kept running to get out there from back stage. We could distract her for a bit, but then she would make a run for it. She made a lot of runs for it. The Green room was a little safer being further from back stage. It was like visual ice cream with whip cream on top. There were so many little kids all dressed up for their dance routines. Pretty much as cute as could be and in this is my gorgeous cutie daughter making friends, smiling, climbing up and down from every chair, reading other peoples books, getting smiles and compliments. And then these adorable little girls are telling Ana how cute she is. It was like ice cream with whip cream and a cherry on top. It was like the genius calling the scholar smart. It was like the cherry calling the raspberry red. Simply, it was uber-cute.

(On stage for the Finale.) 

(In the Green Room.) 

(Playing between the curtains.)

(This was at the Art and Wine Festival in Sunnyvale over the weekend.)