Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Long Weekend

Do you seek out an easy life - or do you welcome a few curveballs out of left field? I would like to think I'm the latter but really it's more the former. Succulents love a hard life don't they? They more you forget to water them, the more colourful and flowery they get. Here's some snaps of mine blooming over Memorial Weekend from share neglect. Or at least sporadic waterings.





Not technically a succulent but...

Cousin Leah from New Zealand and Tallulah had made many pilgrimages down to a second hand clothing store called Crossroads and they went to the school dance (called a "social" in NZ). Leah said the kids at Tallulah's school were very outgoing and the boys actually asked you to dance which was nice.

Attempts at a group photo. In focus: Tallulah and Leah

I took Cy and friends down to pool before crowds arrived and (skim)read a funny article in New York Times about how we all skim read everything and then fake "cultural literacy - social media lets us pretend to know something about everything." Bit like my brother-in-law's funny expression: Topsoil Knowledge. We freely hold forth on the grandiosity of Cheryl Strayed and Solange Knowle's attack on Jay Z in the elevator captured on the security camera, when we haven't read the book or seen the video, we've just read something somewhere about it.  Quite honestly this is where I live -  I am the mistress of skim-and-holdforth.

Apparently too, readers give more credence to the comments on a blog post than the actual post, which is no surprise to me as people openly say they read the comments on my blog posts first. There is actually a commenter's shorthand "TL;DR" - too long, didn't read. Feel free to use at my place.

Then I (skim)read Bill Bryson's The Mother Tongue which is a corker. Apparently the enunciation of the poshest people in England, i.e. Prince Charles, actually allows the face and the lips to be excused from any movement and expression. Just thought that was a satire.

Putting in a brutal day at the pool


People who like a challenge love Oakland. It's an incredible place with amazing stores and restaurants and people but there is still loads of crime and loads of work for us all to do. On the shiny, happy side of it though, my article for the San Francisco Chronicle on a glossy new guide to Oakland (read here)


Good Stock in Oakland. Photo by Kristen Loken

Talking of people who don't go for the easy option, my brother, Tony, and his family popped over from San Fran on Sunday. His youngest daughter, Cecily, eight, has the most delicate face but the grit of a prize fighter. At nine months old she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy: her left side was very impaired. The many, many doctors they consulted said it was unlikely she would walk and she would probably spend her life in a wheelchair. Hours and days and years of therapy and hard work and ta-da! look! she dances. Cecily and my brother Tony:

video



And ta-da! she plays tennis with her cousin, Cy.

Make him run for it Cecy!

Cousins; Cy, 10, and Cecily, eight.

When Cecily comes over, whatever they play -  swingball, soccer or tennis -  her constant call to Cy is: "Don't go easy on me now Cy. Don't go easy on me!"

(Do you know someone like that?)









31 comments:

  1. Oakland now has a very good reputation which wouldn't have seemed possible 30 years ago.
    I keep trying to watch the video of Cecily and it freezes at 22 second mark. It may be my wireless connection is extra slow right now so I'll try again in the morning. I really like her spirit!
    Always like seeing pics of Tallulah and Leah!

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    1. Thanks for letting me know GSL, these jolly vids are tricky aren't they. Hope you had a great Memorial Weekend!

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    2. Oh yes I see now, it's okay with Google Chrome, but safari doesn't like it...and I guess most people use Safari?

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    3. you're right it did work with chrome on my phone...glad I got to see the big finish! Tell Cecy she has a big fan in Chicago!

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    4. Thank you! I'll tell her that - Cecy will be chuffed no end

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    5. It played just fine on IE. Cecy has a big fan in San Diego too.

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  2. Cecily is amazing. What spirit! (the video worked fine here btw, but then I'm a Chrome person)

    I never could handle skimming through a book. If I can't get into it within the first couple of pages I'm done with it, but if I like those first two pages I become part of the book. Maybe that's why I've no time for Twitter and Instagram (isn't that what's called?) Ha, who knows. :)

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    1. i can only do it with non fiction like. Fiction - I need the full immersion, even if it's a Harlequin romance (did i just say that?)

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  3. That video of Cecily just was precious. She's an amazing young lady! Loved that. How nice she is close to your kids. Cousins are the best.

    I'd love to get that Bill Bryson book. Is it new? I love him. Have you read his book about Australia? Hilarious. I'm a succulent lover because you can neglect them and I'm a sporadic waterer and gardener. Plus they just look so cool. Natural art! x Kim

    p.s. I'm a skimmer too. Hate that and force myself to get off all media sometimes and hide away with a book.

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  4. Go Cecily.... she must have greasepaint in her genes like her auntie!

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  5. Isn't topsoil the best part? And at times I will think TL; SR (too long; skim read) but can't resist but to read all your bits.

    Cecy has a big fan in San Diego too.

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  6. So much to agree with you in this post!! I love C's spirit, too. I think that's why I have become a stalwart teacher...I love seeing this daily. Do I know of anyone like this...yes, one of my students who I taught from eighth grade cooking...and craft (and also English) anyway point is, she had no fingers, just a palm she could crinkle and crease..she'd grab anything....including pins or needles to thread. She's now a surgeon in Perth. I keep waiting to see her on television. Good grief, I constantly skim to keep with the young things. Beautiful succulents, you green thumb. Xx

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  7. Oh I want an easy life with a few challenges. Can't say I have ever asked for something to be more difficult. Cecily has got loads of spunk and a wonderful spirit. She has life by the tail.

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  8. Precious video, so sweet :)) I'd like an easy life, but then I learn nothing really, I tend to get myself in all kinds of messes even if I try not to, but that's ok. :) xx

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  9. Love the video and the story!

    I am a worker and a plodder (good Capricorn that I am!) so never expect it to be easy, though I am more and more enjoying the experience of getting there! That's where the real joy is, isn't it? We call them socials here in New Brunswick, too! I was the Queen of them in 1977-78 - point me in the direction of one and there I was, a dancing machine!

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  10. What a champ! Wish my oldest had a bit of determination... taking his dummy/pacifier away from him aged 10 months old, and he cried for around 1 minute, then gave up. He has stayed true to this early sign of character I might add.
    Your brother clearly has a few dance moves of his own - did he too attend Miss Shirley's school of Dance and do the Sailors Hornpipe as well?
    I don't skim with books, but I do with pop culture, tv and other things like that. Multitasking at the same time usually... like now - watching tv (Grand Designs), reading blogs and doing laundry. None of them very well...

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  11. Cecily sounds pretty amazing!

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  12. I remember reading a few years back about how the crime rate in Oakland is dipping. Is that still the case? And to answer your question, I more than welcome the challenges out of left field :)

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  13. Cecily is inspiring. I love her spirit!

    I am a guilty skimming too! I submit, in all skimmers' defense, that we are simply inundated with too much to read and be educated on it all. I have at my fingertips lengthy news articles from the world over. How can I possibly stay abreast. And so I skim. Or sometimes, just read the headlines so I at least know what it is I don't know!

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  14. What a darling girl! She is going places with that spirit.

    My youngest nearly ended up in Oakland as she was seriously considering a job in SF; in the end she has stayed put for a better job in a cheapy place to live for now. She would have been the one with 7 roommates, living in the squalor one ignores in one's 20's. I was looking forward to visiting her there!

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  15. A few curveballs are fine by me, as they will happen at every sea. I know a few that never like it to be taken easy on them indeed

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  16. WOW..........that is wonderful news about your niece!
    I just planted my first succulents......i have already lost one !!!!
    I know zero, zip about whats happening in the world,its better that way for me I find it all so, so sad.

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  17. Go Cecily you have the best attitude towards life. I think we develop as people due to the curveballs we deal with in our lifetime.

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  18. A plucky girl who is obviously going places, God bless her.

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  19. Jody,
    I just tried to send you another email and it got sent back undeliverable. I will be out of town the next 3 weeks so will catch up on my ALW then. May have occasional smartphone access. Will start blog upon return. Tell Tallulah, Leah, and the undaunted Cecy, they'll be in my thoughts!

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    1. Shoot, my email doesn't work, poltergeists in this jolly computer of late, thanks again for letting me know.
      Have a great break -business or vacay? and we are all looking forward to the inaugural post on the GSL blog. Buntings and banners and good frocks for the occassion.
      I am off too on Monday for NZ for two weeks, how funny!

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  20. On one hand I am completely like Cecily - always yelling
    Don't Go Easy On Me, but sometimes, secretly, I wish life would! That being said, it is funny you mention skimming, I realize that I've been doing that a lot lately and am terribly worried I am going to come to regret it. Fortunately I always read your entire posts, so I am sure that I am actually well informed about the world around me!

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  21. Firstly please tell Cecily and your brother that they really entertained me here in the UK today! Isn't she amazing. I love a plant which likes to be neglected and I have to get my hands on that Mother Tongue book as I'm fascinated by language and accents etc. Topsoil Knowlegde - love that too. You see I always read your posts properly - no skimming!

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  22. What an amazing girl is Cecy! You must all be so proud.
    I thought I had read all of Bill Bryson's books but I missed that one. Just bought his new paperback, One Summer. I never skim read his books, or any books to be honest - magazines and newspapers and online stuff, yes I have topsoil knowledge!

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  23. Love the group photo, I have taken so many like that!
    And Cecily is amazing, what spirit and determination she must have.
    I love Bill Bryson, only started to read his books last year but have got through 3 and Mother Tongue is on my list - I love to read about the origins and the quirkiness of the English language , especially, I imagine, with a Bryson slant!

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  24. That video of Cecily dancing is absolutely amazing! I am a total fan! What a beautiful lady, and what a great attitude. You are lucky to have her in your family as a daily reminder of what a determined mind can accomplish. Bravo, Cecy!

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