Saturday, April 15, 2017

How Everyone Should Be

X is extremely good at making friends. Of course, when you're five, it isn't hard. Generally he bonds with another kid his age over a mutual love of candy, airplanes, or Paw Patrol. He's extremely earnest in his desire to make friends, and most kids welcome his advances.

We were in line at Target the other day, and he noticed that the boy in front of him had an AYSO soccer medal. X also has a soccer medal. They started talking in the way that five year olds do, largely in questions and exclamations. After discovering that they almost have the same birthday, that they each have grandparents, that they each love candy (though different kinds of candy) and Paw Patrol, and that they've both been on an airplane, they were extending theoretical birthday party invites. Theoretical, of course, because they were both born in November. It was extremely cute. When the other boy had to go--he was first in line--the cashier said that everyone should be like that. I think that's a little simplistic, but I have to admire her idealism. Five-year-olds are pretty special.

The thousand yard stare

He's worn out

Riding Radar at Gunstock Ranch

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Why Five-Year-Olds Can't Run Zoos

X and Bobby are playing Zoo Tycoon. X has a distinct bias towards elephants. The other animals in his zoo become neglected and unhappy, and he sells them off to buy more elephants. Have you ever heard of a zoo that has only elephants? That zoo would go under in no time. Either that, or X is onto something....

Saturday, February 4, 2017

X and the State of the World

When I go back and read pieces of this blog, I am most pleased with the X vignettes. How quickly I forget his endearing idiosyncrasies. So part one is X. Part two is what has been rumbling around in my brain for a few days.

To say that X is obsessed with airplanes would be understating things. Airplanes are the focal point of his existence right now. He only wants to read airplane stories. He wants to know when we will next go on an airplane at least once a day. Bobby and I bought him an airplane calendar, which he pores over after bedtime. His airplanes of choice are commercial jets, though  in a pinch, he'll admire a jet or a biplane as well. Since we work on a base with an air station, he has ample opportunity to watch planes.

He's involved in his first intramural activity: soccer. He is an okay player. He's quick and could dominate the game, but he's too interested in interacting with the other kids. His little scrimmage matches consist of me telling him to watch the ball. He loves playing, though he wishes he scored more goals (magically, apparently, since he often won't run after the ball).

So here's part two. I have to admit that I'm frightened right now. I have just completed an intense training course that honed my critical thinking skills, encouraged me to consider possible future consequences of my decisions as a leader, and spoke about mistakes our government has made in the past. I have a very uneasy feeling that we are at a turning point in our country, and one way or another, we will end up redefining who we are as Americans and what we believe in. We--well most of us--expect our elected officials to have the best interests of the country at heart, whichever side of the aisle they are on. There are rules in place that prevent them from personally profiting from their positions, rules which we expect them to follow. We honor our basic freedoms, like those of speech and religion. If we lose these things, we will lose ourselves.

There have been some disturbing actions by our executive branch right out of the gate, and I am waiting anxiously to see the other branches can course correct it. One thing I have always had faith in is our system of checks and balances. It is designed to protect the minority and prevent tyranny. As a small part of the executive branch, I am also concerned that I will have to decide where my line is, and have the courage to leave rather than cross it. We should all think hard about these choices we may have to make one day in the near future.

Soccer!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

2016 has been widely acknowledged to be a "dumpster fire" year. It definitely had its ups and downs for us, but I can say that we as a family are better off now than we were at the beginning of the year. We're all doing well, and Bobby has a stable job. I worry for our country. I worry for our future. But today I can say we're all okay.

X continues to grow every day. Two months ago, I would have sworn that he's not ready for school. Now I'm pretty sure he is. He unfortunately has the leanings of a class clown. When I take him to a show/story time/ event, he would rather have the other kids in the room pay attention to him than pay attention to whoever's at the front of the room. I will feel sheepish delivering him to his future teacher.

As I watch him now, he's playing with his new pirate ship with abandon. He has a big imagination and a lot of curiosity. These things will take him far in life as long as he doesn't lose them.

Anyways, without further ado...Christmas at the Healey home.

X and me at a dogsitting gig

We got a real tree this year

He waited in line for 1.5 hours to see Santa

Pretending to be Santa

Us with our Jingle Rock Run medals

Pretending to be Santa again

At one of those Christmas lights neighborhoods on Christmas Eve

Santa came!!

It's a pirate ship!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Stop This Ride, I Want to Get Off

In three days, we will choose our next president. There has been a lot of purple prose about how this is the most important election of our lifetime. It is, of course, but the reader in me doesn't go in for hyperbolic phrases.

I am left leaning. I get into passionate arguments about our obligation as a country to ensure that the same opportunities exist for people of all backgrounds. Nonetheless, I understand that the United States are not mine alone. We have been disagreeing since our inception about the roles and obligations of government. That's humanity, and while democracy is not perfect, I really believe that it's the best form of government. I believe in the "myth of American exceptionalism." Not only that, but I believe that we are largely getting better at this whole governing thing. The America of today is closer to its founding ideals than the America of thirty years ago.

Which is why it's very hard to stomach what's happening now. A man who has little respect for women, people of color, people of other religions, or, if we're being honest, anyone but himself is inexplicably gaining ground. People I like are supporting a bigot. A bigot who thinks I'm an object. His campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again," is a pean to the days when only white males had opportunities. While I get that my values will always be different from those of the religious right, I find it incredibly hard to stomach that this man's ideals are shared by nearly 50 percent of our voting population. I had no idea that I was surrounded by such vitriol. That hurts.

I am SO tired of the argument that Hillary is the "lesser of two evils." She's not even in the same league as Donald Trump. I was an enthusiastic Obama supporter in 2008. I loved that he spoke to me like I was not a chump. In 2008, politicians tended to believe that they had to win the support of the lowest common denominator, and Obama was the only person who didn't. Looking back from six years as a female leader in government service, I can honestly understand why Hillary followed the herd back then. In a way, I think she faces a bigger uphill battle than even Obama did. Every day I cringe at the charges that would not be leveled against her male counterparts. I witness even well meaning supporters marginalize women. I watch, aghast, as an admitted molester climbs closer to the presidency. And I pray.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Kauai

We found Kauai to be much like we had heard: a sleepy, rural island with a lot of hippies and chickens. We drove (almost) the entire circuit of the island in two hours. We passed through Lihue, the main "city", which resembled a North Carolina town like Lewisville or Gastonia. We saw super-touristy Kapaa, higher end touristy Poipu, the fiercely independent enclave of Hanalei--far from everything, with a lot of "no trespassing signs", though tourists were still welcome in town. We stayed outside of Waimea, which was a small hippie town on the desert side of the island.

By outside, I mean thirteen miles outside, in the remote base of Pacific Missile Range Facility. It was beautiful. We were on the biggest beach I've seen in Hawaii, in a small outpost of eight cabins. There was a little area of the base where we were allowed to go and a good deal of "off limits," presumably where the missiles are. We could see Niihau, the "forbidden island," from the beach.

We spent the mornings on the beach and in the cabin, traveled around through lunch and early afternoon, and came back in the evening to play on the beach and cook dinner on the grill. The waves were normally too big for real swimming, but X enjoyed playing in the surf. While sitting on the beach, I saw several sea turtles, all sorts of crabs, and spinner dolphins, so named because they do Sea World-style tricks in the ocean.

It was a wonderful break, and I was sorry to leave.

Us in front of Waimea Canyon

Giant leaves at Koke'e State Park

Eating a Puka Dog

This is the plane we flew over on.

Shop in Waimea

Our cabin

Playing in the waves. You can see Niihau in the background.

Seascape from the mountains.

Waimea Canyon

Big honeymoon spot, apparently

Jumping tires at Koke'e State Park

View from our porch

Nene

Na Pali coast

Hidden beach on the Na Pali coast. We forgot to bring swimsuits!!

This was in front of a cave.

X playing some game which involves having a stick on his head.

X in front of another cave

Na Pali Coast State Park

Running through the tree cave

Na Pali Coast State Park

Beach time

Wailua Falls

A spectacular playground we happened across

Fern Grotto

X and Bobby on the ferry to the grotto

Glass beach

Beach at sunset

Beach at sunset

Sunset

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Wild Avocados

X and I were at Ben Parker Elementary, where we go every Saturday for the farmer's market. He likes to play on these climbing structures behind the school. Last Saturday, we noticed some guys climbing in the trees and shaking the limbs. X asked me what they were doing, and I told him the truth: I had no idea. We didn't figure it out until the guys brought me an avocado. X had been playing on that avocado tree for years, and I didn't know what it grew! The avocado, by the way, was delicious.