Thursday, February 28, 2019

Poor Peppa

I should preface this by saying I’m not a fan of Peppa Pig. I find her...not cute and kind of pretentious? She’s on par with Caillou for me. Also I’m not super into British humor so maybe I’m missing a big component. I was always grateful that none of my kids really got into it. BUT. This poor pig family! It seems like every internet scare hoax has some tied to Peppa. That creepy bug-eyed chick is imbedded in her YouTube. She’s banned in Australia for trying to get kids killed by spiders. Watching causes autism. Her accent is causing widespread speech issues. She’s akin to the animated antichrist! Like really, if we want to scare parents shouldn’t we pick something more malicious like JoJo Seewa (F your $20 hair bows) the lady who makes the weird unboxing videos with princess dolls?

Peppa, I’m not going to suggest that my kids become fans but I will stand up for your innocence in all these allegations. Even if you really, “coincidentally” look like a dick and balls.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Prison tiers and murals

This week I spent a couple days at San Quentin State Prison. As part of my job, I walk the tiers and talk to inmates. San Quentin is one of the oldest prisons in the state and the tiers are very much what you'd picture if you picture prison. It's always striking to me the way that modern trappings are superimposed onto such a historical setting. Also, once you're at the top you can't help but look down and get a little dizzy. I can't even imagine what it would have been like with all these inmates out of their cells on the tiers if something were to happen.
Image result for san quentin tier
This is a historical photo, but the actual tiers. It's five stories up accessible by narrow staircases. I definitely got my steps in. 
 BUT, that's not what I want to write about! Someone I was touring with this time casually asked if I'd ever seen "the murals." When I told her I hadn't, she found an officer to let us into the dining halls. I 100% was not prepared for what I saw. Six HUGE, complex murals covering the walls of three separate dining halls, and portraying the history of California, all done in amazing monochromatic detail. I have never wanted to take a picture in prison (STRICTLY forbidden) so badly in my life. Thank goodness for the internet! 

Alfredo Santos was a young inmate in San Quentin in the fifties and he was chosen to paint the murals when he won a contest run by the prison. They gave him two colors, brown and black. It took him two years to paint. For years after he paroled, no one knew what had happened to him (turns out he ran to Mexico for a bit, opened several art galleries, and even worked at Disneyland for a while.) However, when he heard that the Smithsonian was interested in the murals, he wrote the prison and asked for a picture of them. Since then he has toured the prison and actually been given an honorary San Quentin key. The Smithsonian has bought the rights to the murals, if the prison ever shuts down.

Image result for san quentin murals 
Image result for san quentin murals

This is the best site I found to see the pieces in detail, but up close you lose the sheer enormity of it. It's really breathtaking and I was sorry I didn't have longer to look. There are so many teeny little pieces hidden throughout it (including, apparently, a caricature of the warden as a prim old woman in a courthouse). There's also all these pieces that are painted in a way that messes with your perception of dimension; eyes that follow you and vehicles that always seem to be coming toward you. I had no idea that it was over fifty years old when I saw it. 

I love prison architecture and I'm fascinated by how different prisons have been designed through the years. There's so much that goes into it, and a lot has to do with the political climate of the time. For example, more modern prisons afford more in ways of "human comfort" while older prisons are obviously designed primarily with confinement in mind. I always wanted to look into it more but, shockingly, there's little written on it. Until now though I haven't paid much attention to prison "decor," frankly because most prisons don't have a lot of sanctioned art work. I'm absolutely obsessed and fascinated by the history of these murals though. There are several more on the prison grounds by other artists that I can't wait to find out more about. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

The Case of the Missing Paragraph

At the kids' school, the third graders always put on a play. It's pretty involved, and Syd has taken it REALLY seriously. Way more seriously than Eli did when he went through. She doesn't exactly love being the center of attention, so I was cautiously optimistic about how much she was going to actually enjoy the experience. Even more so when, days before the performance, she casually mentioned that she had two solos (!)

It was so unbelievably precious (of course). The play was a whodunnit about a missing paragraph, so it was all about writing conventions and essay composition. Syd had two parts, one as a maid and the second as Amelia Earhart.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

Catching up with the happenings

We have been SO BUSY, and it's not even a cliche. My work has me traveling a ton, we're wrapping up the wrestling season (and with it the 12 hour tournaments) and the girls are really just along for the ride. Some of it's been really fun, and some has been ridiculously mundane. We got our pool fixed! And the guy came, did the work, and charged us what he said he would. It's a miracle! C has been volunteering for all the things, including spending the night at the church this weekend as security. I am trying to be all body-positive and tried to buy some new work clothes yesterday. It was awful and made me feel both lumpy and old. When did we start putting stripes down the side of slacks? Why don't pants have pockets? Why are all the work shirts sheer? WTF is happening?! I went to two malls and Nordstrom Rack and ended up with a pair of pants, two sweaters, a jacket, and a panic attack. Guys? I even tried the old lady stores that smell like mothballs and memories. So now I have three pairs of black pants and I'm committing to another round of Whole30. Right after I finish these boxes of Girl Scout cookies. 

Know who doesn't have any problem keeping up with fashion? Averson.
I puffy heart her fashion sense. She originally had on a cheetah print jacket as well, but she declared it to be "too much cat." 

1) They aren't trying to emotionally destroy each other and 2) they're actually playing. Like children. I pretty much cried right there. I believe the tween/teen years are going to be AWFUL with these two. 

C and I went to BINGO for our date and it was AMAZING. We were easily the youngest and least skilled there. Shirley, Blanche, and Robert took us under their wing and showed us the ropes. Then Shirley came on to my husband. 

With all of my early morning/late nights, C's been making lunches (and making me look bad in the process. Again.) 

Dinner, eaten in the bleachers of a high school gym during a tournament. This is why I have to do Whole30 again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019


One year ago. February 6th, 2018. The longest, worst day of my life. There's so much about that day I don't remember and yet other moments vividly intrude my consciousness as if they were happening right now.  I hope that at some point, the memories will become more controllable. I doubt that they will.

I hate that when I think of my dad, the memory is colored with that day. I hate that every memory contains an "and then..." My dad was so much more than one day. He gave a speech at my wedding that brought the room to tears (of course).  In it, he talked about how life is made up of moments. Moments that feel big while they're happening, and moments that you don't realize were monumental until afterwards. I feel like that's my dad. He was always orchestrating "Moments." So much so that we joked about how he had a script and the rest of our jobs was to figure out what it was. God, I'm so grateful for that now. Because of him, our family has all of these amazing memories together, doing things we'd never consider doing without him. But it wasn't just the capital M Moments. Life with my dad was also full of moments that you didn't know were happening. A lunch that stretched out for hours as we talked over dessert. A hike that ended with everyone hot, dirty, and sore from laughing so hard. A health and fitness fanatic breaking out a bottle of tequila and a stash of chocolate chip cookies. Always with the cookies. He loved people, and he especially loved his people.

These are the last pictures I have of my dad. He planned a trip for all of us to spend the weekend in San Francisco at a ridiculous hotel downtown right after Christmas. My poor dad was always trying to take us places that were FAR classier than we were (as noted in maybe the most perfect group selfie ever.) I always felt like he was simultaneously horrified and a teensy bit proud of our ridiculousness.

My dad wanted to take everyone to see the San Francisco Maritime National Park. Of course, because that's how these adventures with him went, and because my dad made friends everywhere he went, we ended up getting offered a free, private tour of the entire place, including ships that weren't  even open to the public. It was amazing and such a fun, unique experience for all of us. A Moment.

And then later that day, this moment. Nothing ground breaking, just a grandpa and a grandson having deep conversation while they wait for their burritos. But I am so grateful that I thought to take a picture. 

This is my dad. Big Moments and small moments. I am eternally grateful that we have so many amazing memories together, and it breaks my heart that that's what we have left.