Getting hitched.

It’s official:  Mikey and I finally getting married.  It only took us 13 years, a daughter, a dog, a cat, a remodel, a house sale, a house purchase, countless job changes among other things to finally realize we are right for each other.  🙂
The date is set of Saturday June 28 which also happens to be our 13th anniversary and also Gay Pride Saturday in the San Francisco area.
All the details can be found here: http://wedding.lasmanis.com/
 

MaMa

We got a call on Tuesday night that MaMa has passed away. We are forlorn. She was amazing and her connection with Calliope was awesome in the true sense of the word. I often think of it this way: As MaMa got older, and Calliope got older, they came to the same place in the mind that was extremely simple. They played together like two toddlers. Spurts and fits of activity with lots of hugs and animal noises. We are extremely grateful in our hearts that she is in a better place and that her suffering was not great. She will be sorely missed. And I can only hope that Calliope will remember her in her later years as I know that I remember very little from the age of three. And I hope she left me that mink coat that she liked to wear so much.

Point Pinole Loop


Calliope and I went on a great hike several days ago (March 30). We did a 4.5 mile loop in Point Pinole Regional Shoreline Park. Calliope did the entire hike under her own power. I was very impressed.
The hike started off great; the parking lot is right next to the Southern Pacific rail lines and we saw two big freight trains go by before we even got into the park. This was a big hit and Calliope was super excited to see some more trains as part of getting back to the car; more on that later.
We started on the Bay View Trail, which as its name implies, offers a wonderful bay-side route along the San Francisco Bay. Calliope was using one of my Telemark poles as a hiking stick and had a wonderful time playing with it as we hiked. She really didn’t use it as a walking stick; at least it distracted her from drinking most of her water in the first 20 minutes of the hike, so our potty breaks were a bit more normal on this outing. She finally got the swing of the hiking stick, but mostly it was something new to play.
I decided to let her take a few photos on this hike and she grabbed some good ones; she took the third and fourth photos of the slide show (the shot of the bay and the shot with Dad in it). I’m happy to have a nice photo of me for once to put into these posts. We had a leisurely stroll along the bay. The trail was a fire/equipment road and had a lot of bike and dog traffic on it. The bikes and dogs thinned out as you got deeper into the park, but at the start it was much more than we were used to. We took it slow, had a lot of snack breaks, and really just enjoyed each other’s company.
About half way to the pier, I started noticing a lot of trash on the trail. I always have extra trash bags on me, so I started picking up garbage along the trails. Calliope got totally into the spirit of helping Dad out; I was super impressed. It ended up turning into a game of looking for trash along the trail and then figuring out who got to pick it up. In Tilden Park, I usually finish up with 5 or 6 pieces of trash at the end of the hike; on this trail, I picked up nearly half of a Safeway bag full of trash. I suspect it has to do with the number of bicycles on the trails as a good bit of the trash was half-filled water bottles.
We finally got to the pier and had a wonderful snack break on the bluffs overlooking the Bay (last photo of the slideshow). It was pretty windy, so we snuggled up in a bit of grass and had our Cheerios and granola bar. Calliope was starting to get tired at this point and we still had to make it back to the car. I had under-estimated the distance of the loop and we probably had almost 1.5 miles to make it back to the car. We headed back along Owl Alley Trail to Cooks Point Trail. Calliope and I were determined to make it back (well at least I was). It seemed like the only motivation Calliope had been to see more trains which I of course used to my advantage. We finally made it back to the bridge over the train tracks, but there wasn’t a train in sight. We heard some in the distance but they didn’t end up coming our way. So after waiting for some time, we finally started getting into the car only to realize that the trains had been running just on the other side of the road. So Calliope finally got to see some more trains as we were pulling out. All in all, we had a very nice hike and I am very proud dad; I don’t know many almost 3 year olds who can hike 4.5 miles under their own power and who are excited about picking up trash along the way as well.
Total Distance: 4.49 mi
Total Time: 03:32:59
Moving Time: 02:30:10
Average Speed: 1.3 mph
Average Moving Speed: 1.8 mph
Max Speed: 4.0 mph
Min Elevation: -43 ft
Max Elevation: 144.36 ft
Elevation Gain: 187.01 ft
Recorded: 3/30/13, 10:03:48 PDT

Not tonight, thank goodness

I’m writing tonight because it has been a good night. I dare not write when its a bad night, for its scary just to be here on those nights, much less relive it. Oh, its not all that serious, so settle down. We are just going through a phase. Its the “I want to do it myself” phase. Other parents will know exactly what I speak of… and some will come to know what I speak of later… and some will never know. And that is why I feel compelled to share.
When a parent describes this phase, it could be in any number of ways. I characterize it as the “I want to do it myself” phase because that is how it is expressed by Calliope. She wants to do everything herself and if not by herself, in the way that she deems it should be done. Don’t walk on that side of the hallway. Let her hold the toothbrush. She must be the one to remove the potty seat when we go to brush the teeth. Everything. Her way.
I’m fairly stubborn and I’ve had a lot of people walk all over me through the course of my life. In many ways, I think I’m too nice and I let them do so. I’m not so nice anymore. I’m older and wiser and my “nice” comes in carefully measured doses these days. Of course, when it comes to Calliope, I’m eager to give her all the nice I have been reserving. Unfortunately, she doesn’t give a rats ass about my nice when it comes to doing something her way! I laugh now, but in the moment, its unbearable. I want her to do it my way. Those of you who know me and have been around me know that I’m very specific with Calliope and I have certain expectations. And believe me, she has been an A student until recently. She used to listen well, follow directions. Now she considers everything said and decides to do exactly the opposite of what I say, whether it is a command or a plea or a suggestion. If I thought of it, she ain’t doing it.
What does she do when I insist that she does something you ask? She falls to the floor with uncontrollable crying. The kind that is immoral to ignore, no matter how good you are at seeing the truth for what it is. You’ve been had. And that is all there is to it. Time outs don’t work. Counting to three is a death sentence. If you want her to go to bed, you better pray. That is the best you can do. Even if you do everything that she has lead you to believe is the right thing to do, you will mess up somewhere along the line and get something wrong. Because she makes it up as she goes. You think you have it under control, that if you just do everything she asks and suggests, it will be fine. She will go along. Nope. Wrong. Horribly wrong. The next thing you know, 7pm is long gone. Its now time for you to go to bed and she is still going strong. What happened to the days when I could close the door when she cried and let her “cry it out”? Simple enough, she gets out of bed, all the time yelling, comes to the door and opens it and starts screaming “Daddy, Daddy Daddy… I want….” and there is nothing you can do. You can’t force her to stay in bed. Strapping a kid down is illegal. Isn’t it? I don’t know the answer to that, but I don’t think I could do it anyway. Plus, since we adopted, we are ever careful about being reported to the CPS (child protective services). I am a little worried right now about writing this down!
Bedtime is truly the real battle because we need her to go to bed and get rested for the next day’s activities. During the day, its a little easier to walk away from it and have her be distracted by something else. And of course, preschool is great too. I keep asking the teachers if she has thrown any tantrums etc… expecting the worst. Nothing. Apparently, she is a little angel.
This is about a month in. And unfortunately, bedtime has turned into a sad time for the whole family. We always start off happy and ready to go, but by the time we get to her room to put on pj’s, its all over. My thinking is that we have somehow made this a habit. Its now a part of her routine, so we have to stop it. And it might not be easy, but we have to get out of this rut. It kills me on so many levels. And for a while, I thought it was just me, but she is the same with Michael. So, we’re putting on our thinking caps and doing everything we have learned over the last thirty eight years we can to get a smooth nighttime ritual going again. We had no idea how lucky we were until this came along.
However, I do think it is a phase, and I am praying it doesn’t last much longer. I do feel a small letup from her this last week. I don’t know if its something we are doing or if she is just tired of crying all the time (please let this be the case) but she is definitely less defiant. Or, it could be that I am just getting used to it and learning to deal with it better. Who knows. All I do know is that twice this week we have been able to get her down without the huge hassle of late. And believe me when I say that is great!
The only real advice I have is for parents to go out and find that ever elusive patience pill. Then once you figure that part out, talk to your child. Explain the ins and outs of the situation. Take another pill, explain some more. I have found that the explanations sometimes work. Mostly as a distraction from her wants. Also, don’t focus too much on the thing that she wants, because she doesn’t know what she wants. She wants to be in control. She wants to understand. She wants to go to bed because she is so tired she can’t think straight. Oh wait, thats me. Or is it? She is definitely confused and is having a hard time understanding the ability to make decisions for herself. It haunts her and its so very hard to watch her go through the emotions. She doesn’t understand what she is doing or why. And its hard for her to emotionally deal with this confusion. I will say that this phase has lead to a lot of bruises and scrapes because she insists on doing something herself, and because I let her. She has fallen down the driveway more times than I have fingers. She doesn’t cry very often because she often understands that she fell because she wouldn’t let me help her. Its a very steep driveway, by the way. I think this has been helpful. She is starting to understand that the reason I tell her to do something, or not do something, is out of love and concern. But its taken a long time. And she is still fighting the good fight, determining which things I can “tell her” to do and those she can decide for herself. And of course, I’ve come a long way too. The important thing is to guide those choices carefully so that she comes to a place where she feels empowered to make decisions for herself but still understands the concept of authority (parental). Sure, I want her to be independent. But I also want her to do as I ask. Even if what I ask seems unrealistic. As with everything, its a fine line we walk.

Tilden Park – Jewel Lake Loop


Calliope and I went on a short hike in Tilden Regional Park this afternoon. I was up in Tahoe for most of the weekend, so it was nice to get some Dad and daughter time. Plus Mikey really appreciates some time to himself especially when he has been on duty for most of the weekend.
We did a short loop starting at the parking lot for Little Farm. We headed down Lower Packrat Trail. Not more than five minutes in, Calliope suddenly got totally scared; so scared, that she was having trouble telling me when she was scared of. After some calming words from Dad we continued on. As far as I could tell at the time, something in the bushes/branches spooked her. A little while down the trail, we came across a father and son coming up the trail. The dad was very excited to tell us about a bee hive in the trees just around the next bend. We thanked him for the heads up and continue, only to have Calliope freak out again within a few steps. It turned out that she is still a bit freaked out by the bee sting from our last major hike back in the fall. After calming her down again, we finally made it to the bee hive which is way way up in the tree and she was ok looking at it; she even made a bzzzz sound. 🙂 This pattern of getting spooked continued to happen a few more times. In reality, I think she was equating any flying insect (fly, gnat, etc) with a bee. So I began stopping every time I saw a flying insect; we would sneak up on it and looked at it really close and I would explain what it was (emphasizing how it wasn’t a bee). Eventually she got past the freak outs.
We finally make it to Jewel Lake which was very picturesque today; there were a lot of people on the trail but it seems to clear out once we hit the lake. After our snack, we set off to finish off the loop along the Sylvian Trail. This allowed for a bit of elevation climb and a longer loop. We had not taken more than 10 steps away from the lake, when the first of many pee breaks occurred. And of course, we are nowhere near an outhouse. Calliope had been sucking down water (nearly a quarter liter) during the entire first leg of the hike (she loves her backpack with integrated hydration pack). It felt that we had to find a pee spot about every 15-20 minutes on the way back. Dad was a bit over it by the time we got back to the car. I need to figure out some what of distracting her from the water as we are hiking; I was very happy that she was hydrated, but this was a bit much.
We finished up our hike at the Little Farm. Most of the animals were in the barn for the night since we got there a bit late. However, the cows were out and we met a very nice boy who shared his celery with Calliope to feed the cows. We also said hi to the rabbits, the goats and got to pet the sheep.
It was a beautiful day in Tilden, and I love that I got to spend some good quality time with my daughter after being away for a few days.
Total Distance: 2.55 mi
Total Time: 02:32:20
Moving Time: 01:19:22
Average Speed: 1.0 mph
Average Moving Speed: 1.9 mph
Max Speed: 5.8 mph
Min Elevation: 472.44 ft
Max Elevation: 774.28 ft
Elevation Gain: 301.84 ft
Recorded: 3/17/13, 15:16:25 PDT

Word of the day

Discipline. I don’t have a lot of it. Its the reason I have never been able to work out for longer than three weeks at a time with any consistency. Well, that and the fact that gyms make me extremely uncomfortable due to my own vanity. That and the fact that I am petrified some straight guy will see me stealing a glance at their perfectly shaped …. fill in the blank, I’m sure whatever you put in that spot will work just fine. Its not that I stare, but I’m male and like most males, gay or straight, I like to look. And it can be dangerous for little ol me… so I just don’t put myself in that position. Moving on… Michael has loads of discipline. When he puts his mind to it, he can start running on any given day, even if its been a year and half since he last ran. Then he is solid for years at a time. Its why he was able to participate in five (i think maybe six) Aids Rides from SF to LA. Wow, that is truly amazing. And I have no idea where he gets it from. I admire and envy it all in one fell swoop. I wonder if it has anything to do with his parents and how he was raised. Or even better yet, did they decide from the beginning to instill discipline into his core being? How do you do that? I would replicate it if I could. Sure, everyone needs love and support as a child from their parents growing up, but if you can instill discipline, you are doing them a great service. In this world today, its one of the things that will keep you going. And it makes me wonder if private schools with their uniforms and strict ways has this affect on kids. Dear Calliope, please learn discipline from your Dad. Thank you very much. Sincerely, Daddy.
Having said that, I do have my own way about the world which works. I don’t think it works so well as Michael’s discipline, but my hairbrained emotionally charged way of doing things works pretty well for me. I’ve done alright. I can’t complain. I just wished it were a smoother ride sometimes. Michael seems so calm and steady. From over here inside my head, it looks so lovely.
But when I have to and really put my mind to it, I can do just about anything too. What brings this line of thought? A desire to be healthier in my ways, to take care of myself. Exercise, regularly. Eat better. So that I feel better and can better take care of Calliope… and Michael too when necessary 🙂 Yes, sometimes he needs me to take care of him, in whatever way that might be.
This is me embarking on a new journey, a new way of thinking. Its about embracing a deeper love of myself. Realizing I’m not getting any younger. Knowing that only I can change my habits. You could even view it as a sort of new year resolution. This is all a bit heady me thinks. Just wish me luck as I hopefully start working out soon, exercising more and eating better 🙂 Send me some discipline!!!

Success!

Many times I have wanted to braid Calliope’s hair. Usually, she doesn’t sit still long enough for this to happen. But the other day I was exuding patience and made my first real attempt at a french braid. I already posted this on facebook, but I wanted to capture it again here. I can’t help feeling so proud. I’ve done a pony tail with a plain braid before, but never have I done a french braid on her or anyone else. I used to braid my little sister’s hair all the time when we were wee little ones, but again, not french braid. Here are a couple of pictures. It stayed in for a couple hours without getting too messy…

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