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happy birthday, dad

May 26th, 2008

“I am no more lonely than a single mullein or dandelion in a pasture, or a bean leaf, or sorrel, or a horse-fly, or a bumblebee. I am no more lonely than the Mill Brook, or a weathercock, or the north star, or the south wind, or an April shower, or a January thaw, or the first spider in a new house.”

— Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

Well, well, well. Let’s review this past school year, shall we?

1) September: My husband and I became pillars of society and I gave you a list of words to substitute with, should my swearing bother you.

2) October: I decided I wanted to live like Carmela Soprano and that would best be accomplished in Beaverton. (Yeah, don’t try to wrap your brain around that one for too long, you’ll go crazy.) Then “I Went Out to the Hazel Wood…”

3) November: I invented No Arguing with Assclowns on the Internet Day. (Have yet to quit arguing with assclowns in real life. Prey for me, wouldja? Cuz I’m trying.)

4) December: I dreamt about Benazir Bhutto. We decided not to move. I started working at the neighborhood high school. My husband and I had the following conversation:

Hockey God: “Cooking a pot of beans and a pot of rice does not count as ‘cooking,’ per se.”
me: “Yes, it does.”
Hockey God: “But you didn’t do anything with them.”
me: “So?”

I decided that I am much happier working than cooking. Not that I dislike cooking. I’m an okay cook. It’s just… relentless. Three meals a day, people barely say thanks, then there’s the shopping, chopping and cleaning up. Now that I’m working 60 hours a week, cooking seems like a break. I actually cook more now than when I was a housewife. Go figure. Plus, we can afford to eat out, if we want. Huh.

5) January: I remembered how much I love the song Peace Frog by the Doors. Some of us fought for love. (Really, equal rights for all, eh? Is that too much to ask? Love for all should not be too much to ask.)

6) February: Celebrated Valentine’s Day. Missed my dog. (Wacky Boy: “Remember how he never got into the garbage? Or ate the compost? Or ate the house? Or ate our books? Or rolled in poop? Remember?” Uh. Those were all things he did constantly, by the way.) We went to Disneyland and saw a lot of big ol’ asses.

7) March: We were sick a lot. My girl, my boy, my husband, me. Blech. I would like to say we’re all better now, but it would be a lie. We’re trying to get healthy. No lie.

8) April: It snowed.

9) May: Celebrated my dad’s birthday yesterday by taking flowers to the family plots, and going for dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, Amalfi’s. (He and my mom used to go there for dates. Later, my sister and I would tag along to “Moufi’s” for pizza. My kids love Moufi’s.) This is sort of crazy — but Rose City Cemetery, where my family is all buried, is right next door to Amalfi’s. Crazy, right? He loved Amalfi’s so much we had to bury him there.

My mom and sister went with us — they told me a funny story about how the area where dad is buried used to be a baseball field. A mom they know of asked to be buried “right here at second base,” cuz she’d watched so many of her kids’ games there. So that’s where they buried her. My dad loved ball — loved to play, loved to coach, loved to watch games — so it’s especially fitting that he’s now where the ball field used to be, next door to Amalfi’s, down the street from where he went to school (Beaumont Elementary and Grant High) and right down the street from where he grew up on 52nd.

Happy birthday, dad. Love you. And looking to the future…

10) June 10th: School. Is. Out. I’m working some this summer, but man oh man — there is nothing more exciting to me than last day of school. It’s been a good year. I didn’t need to move across town — I just needed a job. I love working in the library, doing my community outreach thing, recruiting for our neighborhood schools, looking forward to a day when segregation in this town is a thing of the past. Wacky Girl’s homework a few weeks ago was about Ruby Bridges. We talked about how things have changed — and how they haven’t.

The extremely liberal transfer and enrollment policy here in Portland is a way to continue segregation. So when you go into a high-poverty school, where the white parents refuse to send their kids, I want you to think about Ruby Bridges, sitting in that classroom all by herself because the white parents wouldn’t allow their children to go to school with a black girl.

I can keep working on this, and fighting for equal rights. I will do it on Ruby Bridges’s behalf, and for my kids and their friends.




  1. projectmommy says

    Well happy birthday to your dad! I know what you mean about cooking!

    May 26th, 2008 | #

  2. Vixen says

    Quite the year. Sounds like you had a nice time visiting your Dad for his birthday. My thoughts are with you, sweetie.


    May 26th, 2008 | #

  3. Jennymcb says

    I just read the story of Ruby- how fortunate for her to have adults who cared in her life. Sounds like you are doing your part for Portland’s schools.

    That is a nice story about where your Dad is now and how you are all still connected, through food and location.

    You did a lot more than me this year, LOL loved the bit about cooking for a non-appreciative group. Can I ever make them all happy?

    May 26th, 2008 | #

  4. edj says

    Oh this was beautiful. I love that the cemetary used to be a baseball field and that it’s right near the pizza place. A good way to remember our dead, and to remember that death is a part of life. What a good way to remember him.
    Happy Memorial Day!

    May 26th, 2008 | #

  5. Laura says

    Happy Memorial Day! I’m so glad you found a job you love – that’s so important in life.

    May 26th, 2008 | #

  6. nan says

    Aww, it’s great to get back to the blogosphere and find such positiveness! Hope next year is just as full and happy.

    May 28th, 2008 | #

  7. MamaToo says

    thanks for all you do, and of course for sharing it through your writing… :) hoping to see you in the halls when the school year returns.

    June 2nd, 2008 | #

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