Category Archives: etc.

A tale of two feet

Claire’s feet: 1990

Those of you who have read Birth Day will recall this image of my daughter Claire’s feet from her birth record.

Here’s their owner, all grown up at her graduation from UC Davis yesterday…

That went way too fast…


Filed under About the photos, Birth Day, etc., Fathers

Call me Eli

Elihu Yale: Fabulous hair.

I’m in New Haven this week, attending the Yale Writers Conference. The attendees are mainly fiction writers, with a medium number of us nonfiction types, and even fewer screenwriters. (The poets either weren’t invited or they boycotted the proceedings. You never know with poets.)

It’s been a fascinating few days, sharing notes and ideas with other writers. There are novelists working on murders and zombies and crooked corporate CEOs and dysfunctional families (sometimes all four), and there are memoir writers working on real versions of the same things, minus the zombies. Nobody but me is writing about babies, except as cute little fictional props squeezed in between scenes of mayhem.

I’m here because I’m working on book two, code named “Son (or Daughter) of Birth Day.” I would tell you what it’s about, but my instructor here at the conference, who is a well-known, literary-battle-hardened L.A. writer and editor, tells me that only someone who wants their book idea stolen tells people what it’s really about.

So I’ll tell you this: There are no zombies. There will be babies. And I hope to bring back Queen Victoria for an encore.

What more could you want?


Filed under Birth Day, etc., Writing

Why I Love Kids: Storytelling edition

Just for fun…

"And pizza! And yogurt!"

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Filed under etc., Why I Love Kids

For space-nuts of a certain age…

Monday is the 50th anniversary of John Glenn’s historic three-orbit space ride. That means it was probably fifty years ago tonight that I started worrying about him. I tossed and turned in bed, visions of catastrophe filling my eight year-old head: What if he can’t get back down? Could they send another rocket up to get him? How long would his food and water and oxygen last? Visions of poor John Glenn endlessly circling the earth, waiting to die, kept me wide awake.

He made it back, of course. We cheered in class when we heard he’d splashed down. Sister Margaret Jeanette even cried–a shocking sight for a room full of second-graders, since none of us knew nuns could cry. I slept like a baby that night.

Happy anniversary to John Glenn (and the rest of us astro-nuts).


Filed under etc., Science, Things I learned en route to looking up other things

Buy a Fiat? Here??

Up next?

My blog appears to be haunted–by car commercials.

Yesterday when I looked back at an old post, I found a car commercial attached to it. This happened a couple of weeks ago, too.  (Toyota and Fiat, if you’re keeping track).

I’m flattered that Fiat would think my little posts worthy of sneak-attaching an ad to one of them, but a more believable explanation is that it’s some kind of glitch. Have any of you come across ads of any kind attached to my posts? Please let me know. And do any of you WordPress-savvy readers out there have an idea how this sort of thing happens?

Do tell…

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Filed under etc.

A comment on comments, Part 2

What's best?

I’ve decided to close out the comments related to my recent home birth posts. I’ve received quite a few of them in the last couple of weeks, the large majority of which are attacks on one category of midwives or another, are often personal in nature, and contribute little if anything to the discussion of home birth’s role in American maternity care. As promised, I didn’t publish them. There are obviously deep divisions among midwives (at least among many of those who wrote in) and  a blog shootout isn’t going to accomplish anything.

I’ll write more on the subject of home and other out-of-hospital birth in future posts, in particular about how place of birth increasingly appears to impact a baby’s long-term health, but for now it’s time to give it a rest.

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Filed under etc., Home birth

A comment on comments

Is this really necessary?

There are literally millions of places on the web you can go to engage in the shout-’em-down style of “discussion” that seems to have taken over most of American life. This isn’t one of them. I’m interested in exploring children’s health issues in ways that advance understanding of the topic, not in promoting behavior that should have been left on the playground long ago. Hence, I reserve the right to edit, or refuse to publish, any comments that contain personal attacks or ridicule.

If that’s censorship, as one angry commenter recently claimed when I asked her to remove a single personal-attack reference in a very long post, so be it. There are a lot of other blogs, forums, and chat rooms out there.

A special thanks to all of you who maintain a constructive tone, even when it isn’t easy. That’s the only way to move a discussion forward. Please keep the comments coming!


Filed under etc., Politics