Solemn thought for today

In conversation, the phrases “they’re undeterred” and “their undie turd” are distinguishable only by context.


Haiku of Summer, month 2

A continuation of the Haiku of Summer challenge (see first month here).

#34 — 7/24/18
House full of darkness
before dawn, warm and waking,
murmurs of night’s end.

#35 — 7/25/18
To the spider who
overnight spun a nest tied
to a parked car: Sorry!

#36 — 7/26/18
The wind stomps around
slapping flags, shaking their stripes,
tugging them to life.

#37 — 7/27/18
Motions of routine
inaugurate each sunrise,
put each moon to bed.

#38 — 7/31/18
Cool cantaloupe sky
opens ripe and clean, over
roofs and brick chimneys.

#39 — 7/31/18
Now I hear my wife
upstairs: hair dryer, footsteps.
Geese go by outside.

#40 — 7/31/18
Daytime miracles —
having good work and good food,
inhaling the breeze.

#41 — 7/31/18
Wires and LEDs
slither and flash like pale vines
and clouded starlight.

#42 — 8/1/18
Early afternoon
settles uncomfortably
on a floating house.

#43 — 8/3/18
Evan points upward
and shouts “Mmm!” Sewn on the sky,
bright button: the moon.

#44 — 8/3/18
Empty coffee mug.
Empty yard awaits the rain.
Patience for fullness.

#45 — 8/5/18
Snow-ribbed mountainside
naps serenely over trees;
desktop wallpaper.

#46 — 8/5/18
Storm of joy and gifts,
thunder of barking and tears.
Weekend winds recede.

#47 — 8/6/18
Voices in the car
flow calmly from radio.
Crickets when I park.

#48 — 8/7/18
Ten thousand small tasks
clamor like minnows for time.
Whales dive deep, unseen.

#49 — 8/8/18
Child cries: four-forty.
Overcast. He clings to me.
Love dawns before light.

#50 — 8/10/18
Below horizon
or behind clouds? I can’t say
where the moon’s hiding.

#51 — 8/10/18
Beep, beep! Toast is done.
Brittle and crunchy and brown
like deep-August grass.

#52 — 8/11/18
Yesterday raindrops
fell in the sunshine, scattered
and bright, striking me.

#53 — 8/14/18
Map of the planet
hangs from wall — five billion years
summarized in ink.

#54 — 8/14/18
Small trees, leaning trees,
wait spring to fall, fall to spring:
sighing obelisks.

#55 — 8/14/18
Meteor plunges,
dies in the dark among peers.
I watch silent fire.

#56 — 8/15/18
Low, fluttering bird
circles strangely … now I see.
Low, fluttering bat.

#57 — 8/16/18
Indecisive rain
dampens yard, sputters and halts.
Sleep calls me back in.

#58 — 8/21/18
Waking at midnight,
not sure why, or what to do.
Shadows thick as fog.

#59 — 8/21/18
Room of sleepy ghosts.
Pale reflection in window
obscures the peach tree.

#60 — 8/21/18
Restless, my son stirs
on gray monitor, goes still
again. Cricket-song.

#61 — 8/21/18
Starlight races down.
Multitrillion-year journey
thwarted by shingles.

#62 — 8/21/18
Flowers in glass jar
lean on each other mutely.
It is time for bed.

Sesame Street cred

For a couple of weeks, Evan was in love with this Sesame Street video where Usher does the ABCs, and that got me thinking about other celebrities who’ve appeared on the show. I knew Katy Perry had done it, and I knew there were a lot of others.

So I did some digging.

The sheer number and variety of famous people who have been on the show is staggering — and just seeing a list of names doesn’t quite convey it. So I took a little time and went the visual route.

Every single actor below has been on Sesame Street at least once. This isn’t even close to a complete list — it’s just a sample. Enjoy.

Doing the alphabet

Evan: I?

Me: I is for “Ides of March.”

Betsy: (shaking her head) Brian …

Evan: J?

Me: J is for Julius Caesar, who was killed on the Ides of March.

Betsy: Brian.

Evan: K?

Me: K is for “killed,” which is what happened to Julius Caesar on the Ide —

Betsy: Brian!


I saw a meteor last night — a really long, bright one, very cool to watch. I went out around 10 p.m. for the Perseid shower and waited five or ten minutes, and didn’t see anything, till that one flashed overhead really quick — less than half a second. I called that Mission Accomplished and went back inside.

What have you seen in the sky lately?

Twinkling and/or shining

Lately, as part of Evan’s bedtime routine, I’ve been singing him a couple of short songs before he goes to sleep. It was Betsy’s idea — she started doing it first, and it seems to be working. Pretty often, the songs are “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “You Are My Sunshine,” in that order.

It was only yesterday that I realized something: the end of the first song asks a question (implicitly), and the beginning of the second song answers it correctly. Check it out:

Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are.

And then:

You are my sunshine …

What is a star? It’s just a sun that’s further away.

This is especially cool because it’s a science-y question and a science-y answer, featuring knowledge that’s relatively new on the grand timeline of astronomical inquiry. (I don’t think the ancient Greeks would have agreed that the sun is a star.)

I’ll tell Evan when he’s older.

Have a good weekend!

Nooo outlet!


Outlet safety is not a joke.

Evan’s been obsessed with electrical outlets for a long time. “Outlet” (“ow-leh”) was one of his first words — I’m not kidding.

But lately we’ve been reading a book that shows, among other things, a baby looking at an outlet and the word “No!”

So now, every time he sees one, he shakes his head and says “No … outlet.” He looks at me and adds gravely, “No way. No … outlet!” His expression is like Daddy, are you getting this? Serious business. (In the photo above he’s actually saying something different, but it’s close enough.)

Electrical safety has become an area of major concern in our household, especially in the two-and-under demographic.

Of course, after delivering this dire counsel, he then goes over and touches them anyway. But you can’t expect miracles.