Sunday, December 30, 2007

Graciela Iturbide

There's a fascinating piece in the L.A. Times about an exhibit by Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide. Thanks to Tex(t)Mex for the tip. (Above, The Angel of Sonora, 1979.)

A student of photographer Manuel Álvarez Bravo and perhaps most famous for a prodigious, alluring body of work made over six years in the remote village of Juchitán in Oaxaca, Iturbide, 65, has had a prolific career and has shown all over the world. This month, however, marks her first museum exhibition in Los Angeles. "Danza de la Cabrita (The Goat's Dance)" at the Getty Center contains nearly 140 pieces highlighting Iturbide's work in Mexico and the U.S. -- and the line in the sand that attempts to separate the overlapping lives she's found there. "The Mexican and the American Mexican," says Iturbide, "are marginal people -- on both sides of that line.

"Her work expresses "the culture between the culture," says author Luis Rodriguez, who has also been pulled to the worlds that call to Iturbide -- Oaxaca and of course the East L.A. gangs he became famous for writing about in his memoir "Always Running." "It's the way I think of Mexico when I'm in Mexico City. You feel all the layers -- the ancient, the indigenous, the modern all coming together. Her photographs are borderless. Everything comes streaming over it. No border, no wall will stop that."

Friday, December 28, 2007

23 Months Old!

We're overjoyed that Amado is over his bout with the flu or whatever it was that he had. The last couple of days have seen some big changes:
  • He's abandoned the bottle for the sippy cup
  • The high chair is out, replaced by a booster seat at our dining room table
  • We got him his own little table and chair set for Christmas (bright red!), where he can colour, build Legos, spin his tops, and generally hold court
  • Today was his last day at Kids + Co. I so wish there was some way we could have let Amado know he was leaving so he could have said goodbye to his friends, Jack, Parsa, Emma, and Emily. Annie, his favourite teacher, cried when we picked him up and gave us a little present...which nearly made us cry as well. He starts at Novus on Jan. 2.

He is getting big fast, but he`s still our little boy.

New Music

Wendy got me this album for Christmas (thanks sweetie!). I don't know why it's taken me so long to take an interest in Remember Shakti, a 1997 album that revived one of my all-time favourite bands, Shakti, the mid-70s Indian-Jazz fusion group. I guess I didn't want to be disappointed. I definitely was not.

Remember Shakti is a brilliant collection of live music -- much more in vein of traditional Indian music than it is jazz. The big names on the album, guitarist John McLaughlin and tabla player Zakir Hussain are featured much less than I would have thought. Instead, bansuri master Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia dominates this double album with some of the most incredible, moving flute music I've ever heard. His playing on the two pieces of music he wrote for this album, "Chandrakauns," (33 min.) and "Mukti" (63 min.), as well as on the Shakti standard "Lotus Feet," left me with a profoundly reflective spirit. Vikku Vinayakram, who plays ghatam, which has to be one of the more soulful percussion instruments in the world, also has some really beautiful runs on this album.

I'm now on the hunt for Remember Shakti's follow-up album, The Believer, where Hariprasad Chaurasua is replaced by the Carnatic mandolin player, U. Srinvas. Also, I'm sure I've downloaded a couple of Remember Shakti's live shows from Dimeadozen over the years. Now I just have to dig them up, which isn't as easy as it sounds.

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was a flawed politician by many accounts, but I don't think there's anyone who would deny she was the one of the most courageous leaders that the world has seen in some time. Although her father--and some think her brothers as well--were murdered by Pakistani military rulers, and she and her mother were imprisoned and exiled, Bhutto returned to Pakistan under the threat of death because she truly believed she was perhaps the only person in the world who could bring democratic renewal to the country. She was probably right, and that's why the U.S. supported her return as well. But now the worst has happened and Pakistan looks like it is headed for some very dark days ahead.

The great tragedy here isn't simply the loss of an inspiring leader, rather it's the murder of hope by the killers of Bhutto in a region of the world that so desperately needs it.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song

Anarchists in the Aisles

A New York Times piece on "shopdropping." Above, a D.I.Y. t-shirt featuring Karl Marx, the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin, and Che Guevara slipped onto a rack at a Target store in California. Viva la revolucion!
Otherwise known as reverse shoplifting, shopdropping involves surreptitiously putting things in stores, rather than illegally taking them out, and the motivations vary.

Anti-consumerist artists slip replica products packaged with political messages onto shelves, self-published authors sneak their works into the “new releases” section, while personal trainers put their business cards into weight-loss books, and aspiring professional photographers make homemade cards — their Web site address included, of course — and covertly plant them into stationery-store racks.

“Everyone else is pushing their product, so why shouldn’t we?” said Jeff Eyrich, a producer for several independent bands, who puts stacks of his bands’ CDs — marked “free” — on music racks at Starbucks whenever the cashiers look away.

Retailers fear the practice may annoy shoppers and raise legal or safety concerns, particularly when it involves children’s toys or trademarked products.

“Our goal at all times is to provide comfortable and distraction-free shopping,” said Bethany Zucco, a spokeswoman for Target. “We think this type of activity would certainly not contribute to that goal.”

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy December

By the way, our 2nd WonderCafe webisode is posted on

Political correctness is a hot topic on -- but not everyone is jolly about it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


We've spent much of the last two days in the Emergency Room of St. Joseph's Hospital with Amado. His temperature has been hovering around 40C / 103F for almost 4 days. We went in yesterday about 7:30 a.m. and saw a doctor pretty quickly. She wasn't able to diagnose him, other than the fact that he had a fever and had been throwing up, which we knew. She had us continue with the Tylenol and added doses of Motrin on top of that to battle the temperature and told us to come back in the morning if he didn't improve.

The double dose of Tylenol and Motrin wiped Amado out. He was mumbling and stumbling around the house. Wendy said he reminded her of one of her clients. We didn't like what it did to the little guy, so we stopped the Motrin and continued with the Tylenol. Besides that, the dosage the doctor wrote down was really hard to figure out and when we checked back we got several conflicting messages about how much Motrin he should be taking.

Last night, Amado's temperature soared above 40C / 103F and he wouldn't touch anything to eat. In the morning his temp was 39.9 C / 102F, so at 6:00 a.m. we brought him back to the ER. This time the place was swamped with a lot of kids--several of whom had pneumonia. We saw a different doctor this time, the head of the unit, who basically said that fevers are a natural part of childhood and other than making a child uncomfortable, they wouldn't hurt a kid. Nothing to worry about he said. He wagged his head when we told him about the other doctor prescribing Motrin. "That's just the drug companies pushing that. It has nothing to do with medicine." Umm, ok.

He found Amado to be slightly dehydrated and had us force feed him electrolytes in the waiting room for almost two hours.

Now we're back home. Amado and Wendy are sleeping. I almost think the way it has turned out we might have been better off figuring out how to care for Amado ourselves. But I am glad we at least had a couple doctors take a look at him. Poor little guy.

[Above, Amado being a trooper this morning near the ER fish tank.]

Monday, December 17, 2007

Alma's Soulfood is 2 Today!

It's been my pleasure to serve you.

[Art © 2005 Jonathan Day-Reiner / -- a very interesting Toronto-area photo blog]

Huckabee Fin

If you want to know some of the reasons why Mike Huckabee would not make a good president, this 11-page article in The New York Times Magazine lists about a billion of them, starting right on page 1:

Huckabee is an admirer of the late Jerry Falwell (whose son, Jerry Jr., recently endorsed his candidacy) and subscribes wholeheartedly to the principles of the Moral Majority.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Good Morning Toronto XVIII

Outside, we've been getting hit with a big winter storm for the past two days. Inside, all three of us have been terribly sick with a wicked stomach flu that Amado brought home from daycare. Amado and I are slightly better this morning (we even ate alittle!), though I don't think Wendy has made much progress.

So...Let it snow!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Do We Really Need Glow-in-the-Dark Cats?

Scientists Clone Glow-in-the-Dark Cats: South Korean scientists have cloned cats by manipulating a fluorescent protein gene, a procedure which could help develop treatments for human genetic diseases, officials said Wednesday. In a side-effect, the cloned cats glow in the dark when exposed to ultraviolet beams.

Groovy baby!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


" may no longer consider himself a Christian, but you cannot truly be considered a Mexican unless you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe."
--Carlos Fuentes

[Art from Shana Brown.]

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gram Toni

This was my Gram Toni's (my dad's mom) favourite picture of herself. As the caption says, it was taken in 1925 when she was 16 years old. It was taken in front of our family house on Nevada Ave. in East L.A., where Gram Toni and her sister were raised, my dad and his sister were raised, and my brother and I were raised. I'm not sure who the car belonged to -- it has Colorado plates, which doesn't help because I don't know of anyone in our family who lived in Colorado.

Gram Toni died in 2002 at the age of 91. She would have been 98 years old today. She was warm and friendly and devout. She is the source of all my stories about my ancestors on my dad's side of the family. But as I consider her life I think it may have been a really hard and lonely one. I feel bad about that and wish I could have done more. She was always so sweet to me.

She would have never told me this, but I like to imagine this was her favourite picture of herself because it is such an image of freedom. A young girl behind the wheel of a hot car. She could have gone anywhere. She could have torn out of East L.A. and never looked back. But she didn't. Her sister did, but she didn't.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Teletubbies Dance

Amado is just mad about the Teletubbies.

The Republicans Find Their Obama

I don't want anyone to think I've become a Republican (especially my Mom), but I'm just finding the politics of the Republican presidential race interesting and of course I'm against "Nixonian gloom and paranoia" everywhere.

Here's an excerpt from Frank Rich's column on the odd man out in the Republican race, Mike Huckabee. As usual, Mr. Rich is brilliant:
The real reason for Mr. Huckabee’s ascendance may be that his message is simply more uplifting — and, in the ethical rather than theological sense, more Christian — than that of rivals whose main calling cards of fear, torture and nativism have become more strident with every debate. The fresh-faced politics of joy may be trumping the five-o’clock-shadow of Nixonian gloom and paranoia favored by the entire G.O.P. field with the sometime exception of John McCain.

[But] Mr. Huckabee may well be doomed in the long term. He has little money or organization. He’s so ignorant of foreign affairs that he hadn’t heard of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran a day after its release. His sometimes wacky economic populism riles his party’s most important constituency, Wall Street. And who knows how many other Arkansas scandals will be disinterred along with the paroled serial rapist who popped out last week? That Mr. Huckabee has gotten as far as he has shows just how in sync his benign style is with the cultural moment.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

22 Months Old!

Opps! Back on Nov. 28 Amado reached the grand old age of 22 months, but we were having computer problems and couldn't access our photos. It's not quite set up on the new computer, but it's getting there. So for now, you will have to enjoy this pensive shot. More to come. Promise!

Gmail Tags

Gmail now features colour tags, which makes my inbox light up like a Christmas tree. I'm stoked. Gmailers can find more info here.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Adelanto Bowl

These are the pictures I've been hoping for! Tony Elfering sent me these amazing pics of the P*Land Boyz shredding an amazing pool at an abandoned motel on old Route 66 in Adelanto in 1983 or 1984. Here's his note:

Little P*LAND history for you. This was a couple of years after high school graduation. Some of the few remaining P*BOYS would get together and shred the Adelanto bowl. This bowl was one of the P*LANDERS favorite spot to shred. I can't remember if you ripped this bowl. I think you did. It was next to the Roadway truck depot and Maverick stadium. At one time we were skating this bowl and a few of the Dogtown boys showed and shredded it with us.

From the top:
Devin Mills - extreme backside wheeler
Tony Elfering - frontside edger carve (or is that AIR?)
Tony Elfering - wicked frontside grind
Robb Perry - pure backside tile

Tony, I did skate this pool once with you guys, but I would hardly call what I did "ripping." By 83-84 I was well beyond my skate years. I was reduced to doing baby carves around it. You guys however (Sol was there too) killed it: frontside and backside air, frontside and backside roll ins on pure vert, vertical laybacks, grinders, extreme wheelers, etc., etc.

I remain amazed to this day about how hard you youngins shredded the Adelanto Bowl! Thanks for sending these to me. Hang in there man!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Good Morning Toronto XVII

I love mornings like today when it is snowing, but the sun is shining. Best of both worlds! Click to make big!

Monday, December 03, 2007

O Come On!

Here's a Christmas card that Emerging Spirit has produced for United Church congregations to customize and use to invite their neighbours to a Christmas service. You wouldn't think it would be controversial (or at least I never thought it would be when producing it), but it is, at least in some quarters of The United Church of Canada.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Weekend Update

A quick weekend update....

1) R.I.P. Evel Knievel. In the early-70s my "Big Brother" Mike Crum took me to an F1 race at the old Ontario Motor Speedway (that's Ontario, Calif.). Before the race, we saw Knievel jump a bunch of buses. That was pretty cool. Knievel seemed sort of like a hard ass though.

2) Our desktop computer has passed away, after almost 6 years of hard labour. I was able to find a refurbished Gateway computer online with a ton more power and capacity for just $349 (the old computer cost almost $1000 in 2002). I haven't finished setting it up yet, but hopefully we will be back online sometime tonight, this time running on Vista. We will finally have the ability to edit all that video I've been taking of Amado.

3) The COLD weather is back and a big winter storm is on its way tonight. We're running out to get Booji (that's our baby, in case you didn't know) snow boots this afternoon. We'll see if we can get him to wear them when he needs to. So far, we've been unable to get him to wear mittens, no matter what temperature it is.

4) I watched some of the CNN/YouTube Republican debate the other night. You know, I'm not against all Republicans per se. I've met some Republicans who are nice people doing great things in the inner cities by investing in business and employment opportunities for the poor. But the obsession of some Republicans with guns, illegal immigrants, and "do-you-believe-every-word-of-the-Bible-ism" is scary and something I would spend time campaigning to keep out of power. I thought Huckabee and McCain did pretty well in the debate. Huckabee seemed like a sincere man; McCain killed Romney in the exchange about waterboarding. Neither Romney or Fred Thompson had a very good night in my opinion. Not that I'm voting for a Republican anyway.

5) I have to write a short article for Sojourners that I'm running late on.

6) rdydersdrfyyyyytrttt3w2trtrr7y7yyyt6ttree3e3e/lfffrrdssaeawq333333wheuuyyuuuuyuf
ytttyyyu6rrfkkolrrtr4wwwsiireeweerrtrrrwrrwrryleeessd (that's what Amado has to say about it all).

7) Ok, got to run.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Daycare Strike Averted

This just in, five minutes ago....

Hi All,
At 5 am today mediation ended with a signed settlement. This means that there will not be a strike!

The settlement does need to be ratified by our employees and this will happen early next week.

The first collective agreement (we have been told ), is always the most difficult. We are pleased that we have signed a three year agreement and are thrilled to be sharing the news of this happy outcome for all.

Our employees, directors and parents have all been incredibly patient, professional and optimistic during this lengthy process. We appreciate everyone's support and recognize that we all have a common goal-offering high quality child care.

We will continue to work together and trust that the children will develop and thrive in our centres. Caring for them is our first priority.

As always, please do not hesitate to be in touch.

With warm regards,

(President of Kids and Company)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Only 3 Days Until the Strike!

Amado's daycare workers are set to strike on Thursday unless they are able to work out an agreement with Kids and Company. We haven't been able to find anyone available to watch him in December, though we will be able to cover a day here and a day there between Wendy and I, and friends and family.

CUPE has posted a letter from a parent that is similar to the one I sent, though stronger.

New WonderCafe Ads

The new set of WonderCafe ads we developed were released a couple of weeks ago. I think they're pretty NICE. You can check them out here.

This one says, "And God said, Let there be energy efficient, fluorescent light." The window was designed by an actual stainglass master here in Toronto.

New Music: Led Zeppelin - The Song Remains the Same

Well, not exactly new since this was one of my favourite albums in the late 70s. But I have haven't heard it since, and it's newly remastered, so I picked it up at iTunes. Crank it, it still rocks.

I remember in the summer of 1979 almost every weekend (it seemed) Sharon, the Boyz and I would drive down from Phelan to La Puente in LA to catch the midnight showing of The Song Remains the Same. It was incredible to see Led Zeppelin perform this concert on a huge screen with huge sound. But it was about a two hour drive, and the midnight show ended just before 3:00 a.m. So now I'm thinking...was I crazy?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

First Snow 2007

If you look carefully, you might be able to see some of the snowflakes falling this morning. It's actually snowing more than this Treo picture shows, but the weather report says we won't get more than 20 cm (7 inches).

Happy Thanksgiving to my American peeps out there! I'd rather be eating turkey and watching football games with ya'll today!

For the Lives that Could Have Been

" I think I know what Johnny Cash means when he says he wears black for the poor and the hungry, for the prisoners, for those who never read the words of Jesus, for the sick, the old and 'for the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold....I wear the black in mourning for the lives that could have been,' as Johnny sings."

This is from Lorette C. Luzajic's article on WonderCafe that I mentioned a couple of days back. It reminds me of my Mom's powerful tribute to Johnny Cash and to her sister (my aunt) who died on this day in 2000.

My Mom did a reading of her tribute on KUSP radio and I have a recording of it, but I haven't been able to figure out where to post it so everyone could hear it. I will one day, I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Only One Week Until the Daycare Strike...

The workers at Amado's daycare became unionized a year ago and have not been able to work out a collective agreement with Kids and Company. On Oct. 19 they voted to take strike action.

I spoke with a CUPE union representative yesterday who told me that the Early Childhood Education teachers at Kids and Company make significantly less than other ECEs in Toronto, and don't receive worker's comp and other benefits.

I don't know if that's true, but there's been such heavy turnover of teachers since Amado started at Kids and Company in September that we figured something wasn't right. I've actually lost count of the teachers and assistants he's had there in just 2 1/2 months.

On the other hand, Kids and Company was ranked as one of the Top 50 Growth Companies in Canada this year and their CEO Victoria Sopik was selected as one of Canada's Top Women Entrepreneurs by Canadian Business magazine. According to CUPE, Kids and Company had a profit of 1,621% between 2003-2005, before they started expanding. The business doesn't appear to be struggling.

A daycare strike would really be hard on us. We have no idea what we are going to do with Amado. But a better work agreement for the teachers and assistants could really help create a more stable environment for Amado and the rest of the kids.

Long Live the Queen (oh yeah, and her hubby too)!

Yesterday as I drove to work I listened on the radio (CBC2) to person after person dedicate music to Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip on the occasion of their 60th wedding anniversary. An official representative from The Monarchist League of Canada even came on to request a classical composition called "The Bridal Path" to mark the occasion.

It's times like these I am reminded I don't live in California anymore.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Astronaut's Wife

There's a great guest speaker column over at WonderCafe by Lorette C. Luzajic, author of The Astronaut’s Wife: Poems of Eros and Thanatos. The author tells the sad tale of her husband's death by crystal meth. She's a beautiful writer. The article is in the left column.

Above is her painting, The Astronaut's Wife, which is filled with symbols of her late husband. There are more samples of her painting and writing on her website, The Creativity Vault.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bub Bub

Amado attempts to enjoy the tasty bubbles at his dad's birthday party, Nov. 15, 2007. (If you want to hear him attempt to speak, turn your sound on!)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some Post-Birthday Reflections

1) "As the drop poured into the ocean is the ocean, not the ocean the drop, so the soul drawn into God is God, not God the soul. The soul is in God as God is in God." --Meister Eckhart
2) I need to remember I was born an artist.
3) Don't forget where I came from.
4) Don't forget where I'm going.
5) Honour my temple (which is Christianese for "a little exercise wouldn't kill you").
6) Yesterday, the moment Wendy threw her back out, I knew that our weekend was not going to go as planned. She's still in bed and in a lot of pain. I definitely know what she is going through, having been there before.
7) I'm sorry I won't be able to go to the Santa Cruz flea market again.
8) I am thankful for my birthday gifts: a blender, Raptor tickets, Ondaatje's Divisadero, some great phone calls from family, among other cool things.
9) Amado and I have had a bad cold for a week now. That should be long enough.
10) The Toronto Argonauts are playing the Winnipeg Bombers for the CFL Eastern Championship right at the moment (2nd quarter, Winnipeg leads 11-1). I wonder why I am rooting for Winnipeg, when I live in Toronto and the game is happening just down the road. Worse, why am I more interested in the Detroit Lions game on the other channel?

Above, Huntington Beach, Calif. in happier days.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Many Years Ago...

...this little kid was born on this day somewhere east of L.A. I'm still trying to figure him out!

The History of Barrios Unidos

My review of the book, The History of Barrios Unidos is now posted in the current issue of Sojourners. Barrios Unidos is an organization that works to develop alternatives to gang violence and build opportunities for youth. Frank de Jesus Acosta did a great job on this book. It's an essential read for anyone working to build a not-for-profit organization of any kind, I would say.

Once upon a time I was working on a book with Barrios Unidos founder, Nane Alejandrez (above). That book, a more personal story of Nane's spiritual path, still deserves to be written. It's a tremendous story that would inspire many.

Check out the review and then subscribe to Sojourners. For many, many years now they have been doing a great job of raising deserving stories like that of Barrios Unidos to a wider audience.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Lest We Forget

"I am become death, the destroyer of worlds"
--Robert Oppenheimer, Trinity 1945

Oppenheimer, one of the creators of the atomic bomb, said he thought of these words from the Bhagavad Gita when he witnessed the first atomic bomb explosion.

That's all I could think of when I saw the stunning picture above from the a 1970 French test of a thermonuclear bomb in the South Pacific. (See the full set here.)

Evil. Lest we forget.

[Thanks to Jordon Cooper for the link.]

Friday, November 09, 2007

Happy Birthday to My Dad

Today would have been my Dad's 69th birthday. He died at 33, so it's hard to imagine him that old. I always wonder what it would have been like if he had lived longer. Judging by his smile in this photo, I think the years may have turned out good for him.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good Morning Toronto XVI

From a picture Irene took this past summer when her and my Mom were in Toronto. Nice!

Pat Robertson Endorses Giuliani

Maybe I'm up in the middle of the night looking for stuff that will put me to sleep, but I just thought I would say that Pat Robertson's endorsement will bring Giuliani exactly zero new votes.

The Music Determines Who's Going to Come

A non-sarcastic article in the New York Times about evangelical Christianity. Victorville certainly didn't have anything like this in the late 70s when I was growing up nearby.
The house bands that play every weekend in High Desert Church in Victorville, California — there are a dozen or so — scavenge some of their musical style from the radio and television. They reflect popular taste, though with lyrics about the power of God, not teenage turmoil.

They are not aiming for commercial success. Church-based Christian rock — often referred to as C.C.M., for contemporary Christian music — does not exist primarily to compete in mainstream culture; it exists first to bring together a community.

“When you start a church,” said Tom Mercer, 52, the senior pastor, “you don’t decide who you’re going to reach and then pick a music style. You pick a music style, and that determines who’s going to come.”

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New Music

John McLaughlin and I are perhaps the only two people in the world who have never given up on jazz fusion. On this newish album, McLaughlin's amazing guitar is totally synthed out, and blends really nicely with some electronica, some Qawwali, and tons of brilliant percussion. But it's still essentially jazz fusion, in many ways an updated version of what McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra was playing in the early 70s.

Industrial Zen features songs dedicated to Micheal Brecker, Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, and the Dalai Lama. I can't stop listening to it!

Check out an interesting review here.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Amado's new favourite activity is to go to the park and feed crackers to the squirrels. I wish you could have seen his look of astonishment when the first squirrel took a cracker and ran up a tree!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Carlos and Deborah

The sad news that Carlos and Deborah Santana are divorcing after 34 years of marriage caught me by surprise. I've had several opportunities to meet each of them and have always thought they were the perfect compliment for one another. Deborah's memoirs, Space Between the Stars (2005), revealed that all was not perfect in their marriage though. In the book she seemed like she was ready to step out on her own if things couldn't be healed, and I guess that's what happened. Still very sad news to me.

Above, happier days in 1977.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Fall Leaves

After the Halloween party, Amado and I went for a nice stroller ride in High Park.

Happy Halloween?

Not impressed by candy, Amado quickly became distracted at his daycare's Halloween party. (By the way, we think he was a lizard.)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Haunting

Our first house in the high desert was--in 1973--way out in the middle of nowhere (pictured above as it looked in 2002). It was a ranch-style place with no electricity, no phone, and water had to be trucked in. This house had a real ghost inhabiting it that many people encountered, but that's not the story I'm going to tell today.

Instead, I've been thinking about a seance that we had there one Halloween night. My brother and I, along with our best friend Calvin--all teenagers--gathered around a candle-lit table with the woman we lived with at the time who definitely had some kind of psychic powers. Maybe my mom was there as well.

We held hands and instead of conjuring up the ghost who lived in the house, the woman asked us to concentrate on the two graves that were in the front yard. These graves, marked by a sign that said "Hard Times," were there when we moved in, along with a lot of other "ranch" paraphernalia. We had pretty much come to the conclusion that these graves were props to make the place look more like an Old West ranch. But there was always a small bit of doubt. Maybe the graves were real?

After a while, the woman said she was getting an image in her mind. She said the people buried in the graves were trying to communicate. Keep concentrating she said. I thought I felt the table move. I thought I heard voices in the dark upper corners of the room. I thought I heard a bell.

She said she saw a man...he was wearing a uniform who looked a like a military man. She couldn't tell what branch of the service he was in, but he had many stripes on his sleeve. He was a high-ranking military man. He was there and he wanted us to know something. I thought I saw him in my mind too. He had a confession to make. He had committed suicide and killed his wife. They were the ones buried in the graves out front. He wanted us never to forget what had happened.

The woman then abruptly stopped the seance. She said she didn't think it was a good idea to go on. Then she got up and left the table, leaving us teenagers there stunned.