Posts Tagged ‘vocabulary’

Jeebus and the Big Poop

May 29, 2014




He ran around the kitchen giggling like a maniac and hollering out “Jesus” at the top of his lungs.

“Shh, honey, that’s enough,” but I sort of had a grin in my voice and I could not even take myself seriously.


He looked up at me, “Jesus?!”


“Ok, that’s it, no more,” I hesitated, is it a curse word?

It was said like a profanity, he overheard it in the stroller at the corner of Stanyan and Waller by a woman walking across the street who got startled by a turning car.

It’s not like he was saying “fuck!”

Or damn it or shit or douche bag.


He was just taking the lords name in vain and it was making me laugh.

But I also didn’t want the mom to come home to her two-year old son running around saying, “Jesus!” loud, proud, and bold.

It turns out it was ok, though,he had a change-up pretty immediately.

“Big poop!”


I know what to do about that one.

I scooped him up and took care of business.

My two-year old charge has got a vocabulary to beat the band and he’s talking and telling stories and occasionally making up words that when we carry on a conversation will make perfect sense, then I catch myself, what are we talking about?

There are lots of conversations about airplanes, his biggest obsession.

And then many more about the train that he got for his birthday.

He got a lot of amazing toys.

Toys that I sometimes want to sit down and play with.

Most of the time, though, I am just trying to keep them out of the mouth of the 16 month old, who is getting better about putting floor snacks in his mouth, but he does still have a tendency to revert to getting his fiber from the carpet fuzz.

I don’t swear in front of my charges, but other people do.

Kids do.

Adults do.

Sometimes I want to be the school yard monitor and tell someone to pipe the heck down, see, I said heck, but I tend to keep my comments to myself.

It’s been a good week with the boys and I feel like I have my mojo back after a rocky start to the week.  Which wasn’t really rocky, it was just getting back into the flow after the big music festival weekend and all the travelling.

Next stop.


Although, I might, actually I better book that now, get a little road trip with a friend who is leaving for a very long, cross-country road trip from here to New York at the end of June.

We compared notes as he will be somewhere in the Midwest around the time that I will be in Wisconsin.

But not quite at the same time.

So, a small road trip on the back of his “new” motorcycle that he got to do the cross country ride.

We talked about heading down to Santa Cruz and doing the boardwalk.

Which I have never done.

I’ve been down to Santa Cruz twice since I have lived in California.

Neither time did I hit the boardwalk.  There could be some fun to be had there. And it seems the perfect distance for a ride on a motorcycle.

Not too long, but long enough and along the gorgeous Pacific Ocean.

I am in.

My friend who I bought the scooter from, said scooter that is working, thank you very much, suggested we might also make the trip down to Santa Cruz as well on our scooters.

Not quite sure about doing that yet, but I did get my scooter over 40 mph when we went out riding.

He came over Monday afternoon and I showed him how I was starting it and he checked it over, including the fender, which he pulled out a little more and said that the cost to repair it was going to be nada, and basically I was doing two small things that weren’t working to my advantage in getting the scooter started.

And voila!


Started right on up.

I was over choking the engine and he suspects that I was putting too much oil in the gas tank when I had topped it off.

So I ran out the gas and when I got back to the neighborhood after our riding adventure I took it down to the gas station a few blocks away, filled it up ($3.00 even) and added half the oil I had been.

Running like a top.

It’s still vintage and old, so I may have to fiddle about, but it works and it, the problem, was not the scooter, but me.

We took our rides out, he has a brand new white Vespa, and my old vintage black Vespa, and got lots of looks and thumbs up and whistles.

It was fun.

We went up the coast just a tiny bit, hitting Lands End, which I probably hadn’t been to in years, parked, sat and watched the ocean and the sky, the Golden Gate Bridge spanning the bay and I gave him a big hug.

It’s really good to have friends.

We soaked up the ambiance of San Francisco, then hopped back on the scooters, headed down the Great Highway we got up to 40 mph and I got to feel how fast that is.

Truth be told, I have taken it up to 40 a couple of times on Lincoln Avenue, keeping with the speed of traffic, but it was different being on the Great Highway and I appreciated knowing what it felt like.

A stop for coffee at Java Beach on Sloat, then we rode up through Portola and over Twin Peaks.

Holy shit batman.

I never thought I would be taking a scooter up and over Twin Peaks, my own scooter, with me driving it.

The wind was fierce and I probably said Jeebus under my breath a few times, truth be told, but fortunately, I did not have a big poop.

I did feel like peeing my pants once or twice, but made it over without any bodily fluids being split.

It was pretty exciting.

And I am ever so grateful to continue to learn and grow.

Sometimes I feel like the two-year old discovering all there is to discover.

Sometimes I feel like running around and yelling “JESUS!” at the top of my lungs.

Good thing some one taught me to use my inside voice a little while back.




Duck, Duck, Duck

October 30, 2013


He said with a coy little look.

Oh my god, my little boy made his first joke with me.

I just about died.

It actually topped his new favorite word for me, which when told that he combined two of his father’s favorite foods into one delicious noun: “cheesebutter,” over the weekend when his papa was cooking dinner.

Yeah, baby, put some cheesebutter on that please.

In the back yard of the house in Cole Valley there is a lovely little swath of grass, a couple of Meyer lemon trees, a deck that rises over the yard and a large rattan couch and chair with assorted outdoor pillows and cushions.

When the weather is nice my guy and I will sit on the back porch and I will point out things to him.

“Lemon tree.”



“Raspberry plant.”


And he will point out things to me.


“No, sweetie, that’s a flamingo,” I say pointing to the pink plastic bird abandoned in the back yard, an odd gift from a visiting friend, because, you know, everyone needs a pink flamingo in their yard, right?

“Duck,” he says again very adamant, very serious, “duck.”



“Fla-ming-go.” I will say, drawing out the word long, sounding it out for his ears.

“Duck, duck, duck,” he says, giggling and saying the word as fast as his little 18 month old mouth can make up the words.

“Goose!” I throw in for a twist.

He laughs, I laugh, and then he says, of course, to get in the last word, “duck!”

And there it is.

The gist of many my afternoon’s of conversation.

That ain’t too bad when you think about it.

I don’t have anyone breathing down my neck to get a report done, I don’t have an employee calling sick with “stomach flu” or even better, “food poisoning,” I don’t have a boss monitoring me all the time.

Although I am on nanny cam.

I don’t know how often that it is monitored, but it’s there.

They basically have security cameras in all the rooms.

I would too if I lived in their house, it’s a nice house, they have nice things.

But occasionally I know that mom will slip in an observation and say something about my routine or make a comment and I know pretty much that there was some camera watching going on.

However, I don’t believe that they really spend a lot of time monitoring me.

I feel quite trusted and cared for.

Mom makes sure the tea drawer is stocked with teas I like and she has drawn up a contract basically putting me on salary to assure that I am not losing money if she happens to come back early from yoga class or acupuncture or work.

She actually had to work at the office today and wouldn’t it be the same day that I forgot to set my alarm.

It happens every once in a great while and though it did not throw me into a panic (I still made my bed, had breakfast, washed, dressed, read my daily readings, and addressed the powers that be to guide my day) I still was on a hustle to make sure that I got to work on time.

14 minutes.


Door to door.

Up hill.

Well, the hill isn’t all that steep, but it is a grind and my legs know it and to push a little harder this morning to make sure that I got there on time, so that mom could leave on time, was important.

I popped a sweat three blocks earlier than I normally do.

I got my cardio today, I did, I did.

I got to work with five minutes to spare and wiped my brow down and drank half a liter of water out of my Sigg bottle.

I put the bike in the garage, locked it up, and headed up the stairs to the kitchen.

Where my guy was busy putting on his morning oatmeal mask.

He knows how to use a spoon, but usually what that entails is scooping up the oatmeal and then grabbing it off the spoon with his other hand and shoving that into his mouth.

Or eyebrows, or ears.

I find oatmeal on him for hours later.

I always tell him to really enjoy this time, oatmeal masks in the morning, two naps, being pushed around in a stroller, sung to, massaged, held, cuddled, I could go on, he’s living the life, basically.

The mom tells me that she took him in for his 18 month check up and the doctor was blown away by his vocabulary.

He’s a verbal boy, not all boys are.

But he’s got a super smart mom and dad, mom’s got a doctorate, dad’s an engineer, he’s not from stupid folks.

And then there’s me.

I know that the kids I take care of are a head of the curve partially because of me too.

I teach them.

I read to them.

I talk to them like they are people.

I tell stories.

We dance.

I mean, learning is no task, it is fun, when did it become a challenge for me to learn something new?  How young was I when I was informed that I should be careful and hold back and not leap?

Too young.

Anyway, I digress.

The mom related the story of how over the weekend he finally said flamingo.

He would not perform, he would not say the word for me, but he did slip out a sly little quiet “duck,” and I saw a glint in his eye, underneath all the oatmeal.

And two and a half hours later when I was changing his diaper in the nursery we were talking, farm animals, you know, what they sound like and all, “what does a dog say?”


“What does a cow say?”


“What does a kitty say?”


“What does a duck say?”



Oh my god.

I almost dropped the diaper.

I grabbed his toes and said, “what does a duck say?”

He giggled.


I just about died.

“Flamingo,” I said, waiting.



It was awesome, made my day, and my day was a long busy, baby juggling kind of day.

But every once in a while he would slip in a “flamingo” and I would laugh.

My boss has a great sense of humour.

The moral of the story is not that there is a silver lining in every cloud.

But there may be a flamingo.

There’s Nothing Wrong!

July 15, 2013

I will stop trying to fix myself.

I almost screamed this into his voicemail.

Sorry, John, I was a little giddy from lack of sleep, meditating for a half hour at 6 am and having a spiritual conversation with someone before bicycling 8 miles at 8 am around Lake Merritt to go to Alta Summit Bates Hospital.

To get lost.

To get found.

To go, what the fuck am I doing here, and say thank you, I see that it’s working for you, but I gotta go.

I spent the rest of the day in a haze of gratitude, no way, no how, am I going to give up doing my daily writing to put myself through that experience again, instead I spent it gorging myself in an absolute blur of…


Lush, descriptive, well crafted, words.

Words so definitive and enticing that I read 423 pages of them.

In fact, I just put the book down.

Partially to draw out the pleasure, like a good little addict, there’s one really nice fat bump left on the plate before I split the bag with fingernail and dump the crumbs, thrusting the tip of my tongue into the small ziplock bag and then ceremoniously placing the crumbled bit of dead plastic in a tissue to ball up and push down into a public garbage can.

It has been a good, greedy, fat word day for me.

I have been reading The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach.

I first read of him when I was going to Paris.

There was an interesting article in the issue of Vanity Fair I had on the plane with me.  It was about getting agency and the odds of getting paid and published, and it spoke of how often he had to go back and re-work the story, all the bad jobs he worked while he continually wrote and crafted, excised and plucked the words perfumed with story from the heavens over Northern Wisconsin.

There is that too, it’s set in Wisconsin, Northern Wisconsin, but still a Wisconsin that I am familiar with.

One with humidity laced summers so wet with moisture in the air that just sitting still the back of my knees would break out in a rolling sweat.

The swollen sun setting in the thick tall grass, the corn, knee-high (by July) thrust impudent from the black loamy earth in the back corner of my grandfather’s garden in Lodi, Wisconsin.

I know the lure of nostalgia, and that lure is there whispering in the chop of waves breaking against the prow of the ferry-boat ushering picnickers from Devil’s Lake State Park across the Wisconsin River and back to all points Madison, Waunakee (the only Waunakee in the world), Sun Prairie, DeForest, Windsor, and the like.

It spoke to me rash and thick, like the breath on Lake Monona on a day when the high summer heat and the algae bloom have finally banished all thought of there ever having been a snow day on campus, the foetid wash of rot buttering the air like corn at the fair.

I don’t know if it was the book, the blurb, or the first few chapters that sprang up all the Wisconsin imagery, because at times I would get the feeling that I was not reading Harbach, but I was reading A Prayer for Owen Meany or The World According to Garp, it felt almost East Coast in style and feel.

Then like some one wrought homesick for lightning storms and the powdery smell of grass that was cut  wet in the morning to dry all day in the sun, a kind of high summer smell more romantic to me with possibility than perhaps any other smell.

Not that much did ever happen, occasionally a tumble in the orchard or a flirtation at the baseball diamond.

Mostly just me, walking the train tracks, balanced on one rail, feeling the heat bake-off the silca stone gravel heaped along the rails; sensing that there was something being whispered in amongst the snap dragon flowers and if only I could discern the language, break the spell, and tumble forward, I would somehow make it to the far off island, the hillock supporting one spare spreading Oak in the field, that I would cross over into fairy land.

Not that I knew what I wanted, I just had the ache, yearning and tight, that I can still feel– the hand print of it on my person and the wealth of sense knowledge, the pangs of being restless and too smart and not smart enough, wondering how it was that I could discern the shape of pepper and pink in the white clover that studded the field, next to the rich purple heads that seemed more grassy, less floral, and somehow, false.

Or the heavy nodding heads of peonies in the grass.

Florid pinks, fuchsias, punch drunk cream heavy whites with carnations of blood blooms, veins of red that splashed the rumbled edges of petals.

I never like the peonies as much as the other flowers, too much showiness.

Not enough scent.

And that was what caught me.

The scent of story and the bildungsroman of it all, the coming of age, it was Infinite Jest,  the break down of the young tennis pro, without the footnotes, The World According to Garp with its full on love of the coach (wrestling still has not been so wrought with words than that story), it was Updikean and despite wanting to be all things Melville (in scope and lust of detail) where it shone, is still shining, I haven’t finished, leaving those last bits of cake to languish in the frosting where I will lick it off surreptitiously in the dark light of my room while the rest of the house falls asleep, is in the narrative.

It also felt like it was often about to veer off into being overwrought, too many plot twists and turns and overstylization and there were times I thought, nope, no one talks like this, but then something would pop and I would be drawn back in.

I found myself rooting for the story, for the characters.

And though I did see the craft of it and I do believe it a tiny bit overworked, it is a good book.  Perhaps not a great book, but a really good one, one which propels me to do for myself and encourages my own literary dreams.

A book is a book worth its weight when it encourages the vocabulary in my own heart and paints me a picture.

I watched a long movie today, in a book, sequestered at times in the stained glass afternoon light of sun, with a demanding Maine Coon cat on my lap, it will be made movie (I bet the book is optioned already), but I won’t see it, the film so strong in my head.

I love words.

I love to read.

I got my book on today.

It was good.

%d bloggers like this: