Sunday, April 10, 2011

Science Project Week - Oakland Unified School District

Once again, it is Science Project time at my kids' school. And as many parents know, Science Projects (not always, but often) fall into the lap of the parents to guide, hand hold, help, and ultimately stress out over. I have no idea why this is so, but it is. So I find myself right now, at 5:16 pm Sunday evening, the evening before the projects are due....printing out the photos that will be glued onto my kids' poster board to be turned in tomorrow. I just thought I'd share.

My son decided to soak eggs in 4 different types of vinegar for 4 days, because we read somewhere that in doing so, they would bounce. These are the quick shot of this. And yes, after 4 stinks. Especially when they break open. We had to air the kitchen out after that one...

My daughter wanted to see what a snail likes better, chocolate or a lollipop. Turns out...neither. Although on the second try, our little guy decided to climb up on top of the chocolate...although we didn't see him/her taste it at all.



Saturday, April 9, 2011

Introducing...Jared Karol - writer extraordinaire

My good friend Jared Karol is an amazing guy. We've been good friends since high school and he's always been one of the most creative people in my life. He's a musician, he's a teacher, he appreciates (my) art, and he's also an AMAZING writer. He is currently a teacher and in this last year has decided that truly, his passion is his writing. And so, here I am supporting HIS art. I wanted to post this short story he wrote, because I think it's hilarious. If you would like to see more of his writing (although I will also be posting more of it on my blog in the future...) go to,, and also

Oh, and Jared is also the husband to Erica (super cool) and the dad to TWIN two year olds. You rock Jared.

I was supposed to "illustrate" this piece with some photos, but I've been crazy busy (yay portraits and preschool photos!) so I decided to post it without. Besides, I think the visuals in the story speak for themselves.


Attack of the Berkeley Mom
By Jared Karol

February 13, 2011

The playground was crowded but peaceful. Nothing was out of the ordinary. Throngs of two and three year olds swung, slid, climbed, pedaled, shoveled and toddled around in an organized sea of chaos. Adults stood by in the wings ready to intervene should intervention be required.

“Mommy, look at me”s and “Daddy, I did it”s echoed around the play area. The sun shone. A pleasant breeze cooled the air. Frisbees glided gracefully in the adjacent park. Pot wafted in from behind the tennis courts. A “preacher” proselytized on the corner. This was Berkeley. Everything was perfect.

Unexpectedly and without warning the sky thundered and roared. The breeze became a hurricane. Sand blew in eyes, blankets were upturned, frisbees nosedived, roaches were extinguished.

Sudden weather changes like this did not occur in Berkeley. People couldn’t figure out what was happening. They philosophized, they intellectualized, they harrumphed, and they blamed it on non-organic food, U.S. foreign policy and Michael Crichton.

Then the people looked up. The answer to the disturbance came in the form of a helicopter hovering over the center of the park. The people openly wondered who was in the helicopter. Famous people didn’t visit Berkeley. Someone said that they thought it might be David Hasselhoff, but they weren’t sure. Anticipation grew, wind blew sand, hands shielded eyes.

Then, anticlimactically, out of the helicopter stepped a frumpy mom in her early forties and her maniacal five-year-old boy. People moaned in disappointment. The boy bum rushed the play structure, while the mom lagged behind and talked on her cell phone. The helicopter lifted and the park returned to its previous state of recreational calm.

While there had been no meteorological storm, a shit storm was about to take place within the gated fences of the play structure. The boy, freshly escaped from his padded room, ran around wildly like someone had put hot sauce in his go-gurt. He trampled younger kids. He hooted and hollered and Tarzaned his chest. He snatched toys out of two-year-old hands. He pushed kids off swings. He steamrolled babies at the bottom of the slide.

I looked around for R.P. McMurphy but couldn’t find him.

Meanwhile, just outside the playground fence, the mom continued her cell phone conversation. Topics included pedicures, celebrity sightings, and who was the biggest bitch on the new season of The Bachelor.

The scene was mildly amusing and made for good social commentary. That is, until the five-year-old asylum escapee knocked my daughter on her ass at the bottom of the slide.

“Can you believe he chose her? I mean, do you really think he’s going to spend the rest of his life with her? Come on. They’re not in love.”

I tried to channel the Buddha. Observe without judging or reacting. I picked my daughter up and dusted her off. I breathed deeply.

Less than a minute later, cries that I recognized as my son’s came from behind me. He lay on the ground next to a big wheel. Chief Bromden towered over him, before he hopped on and pedaled away laughing.

“You’re not really gonna get 20 Candles on Your Cake, are you? I got that last time and I totally wished I had gotten Bastille My Heart! It so goes with my skin tone better.”

Buddha? Hello? He wasn’t answering my calls. Instead of counting to ten, my mind was deciding which would be more appropriate: whooping a five year old’s ass, or beating some sense into a “my son has never heard me say no” Berkeley mom.

As I was deliberating, a third incident of barbarism occurred. No response. My children were not prepared for this. They had not worn their army fatigues and battle gear. They were unarmed and they needed me to protect them from the lunatic that had escaped the asylum.

“No, I’m dead serious. Sarah Palin is going to be at the Guerrilla CafĂ© for lunch tomorrow. They’re going to give her some serum to make her a liberal. Swear to god.”

“Look here, chief, you’ve hurt my kids three times now. Do you think – “

Before I could finish my lecture, I was knocked to the ground with a heavy blow that seemed to have come from the tree behind me. A woman with tall red boots, a stars and stripes bikini, and a gold headband stood over me.

“Wonder Woman?” I said, in a daze.

“Don’t you dare talk to my son ever again. He will do as he pleases, and I will protect him from any danger that he may encounter. Our family does not believe in discipline and you have no right to introduce your rules and morals in this manner. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

I tried to explain, but she kicked me in the teeth and tossed my crying children on top of me. The three of us lay strewn in the sand like a kicked over trashcan, wondering what had happened.

Wonder woman swooped up her son from the sand box and they flew off into the distance. They do know everything, I thought. They really do.