Wednesday, October 31, 2007

An Eagle Has Landed!

Thursday, October 20, was DS#2's District Board of Review for his Eagle rank. He was one of seven that they had to interview--his took an hour; who knows how late the rest of the group were there.

The District Board consisted of three Scoutmasters. All of them knew DS#2; two have known him since DS#1 was in Cub Scouts. And they know that Hubs and I are active in the Scouting program.

That should have been DS#2's first clue that this Board of Review might be a little bit different than what other candidates experienced. Sure enough, one of the Board Members asked him, "So, how did your experience in Cub Scouting prepare you for Eagle?"

According to DS#2 (since parents are not allowed in the Board of Review), that question caught him off-guard.

"So how did you answer?" I asked.

"That my Pack really didn't help me, but having my mom as my den leader did because she was really strict."

I smiled. "And what did they say to that."

"They laughed because they all knew you."

So it must have been the right answer. I had worked with the Board Member who asked that question when I was the Program Director for Cub Day Camp and supervised the Scouts acting as Den Chiefs. He was in charge of the Webelos Weekend the year DS#2, as a second-year Webelos, and Hubs participated. I had to come by early to tell them my dad had died.

Hubs turned in the paperwork to Council and we're waiting for National to stamp it "official." When I came back to the parking lot at BART, my car had a new addition: a bumper sticker that says "I'm proud of my Eagle Scouts."

And I am!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Easy Listening

I finally learned how to download music into my PDA. I loaded up music that I like, but that make my children cringe when I listen to it at home. Albums like Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits or Unforgettable by Nat King Cole.

On my way to BART, I decided to listen to my tunes to see how they sound. And I found myself singing along to Nat and dancing to the soundtrack to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Looking around, I was the only person doing this.

How do people listen to music without moving or singing? Or is it the fact that Simon & Garfunkel and Nat King Cole are just so much more singable than modern artists? (Although DD#2 also sings along with her favorite songs.) And how can you not dance to "Shoo Bop, Shoo Bop"? Unfortunately, much as I like to sing, I'm not very good.

Am I the only one who does this? Or is it a matter of finding more sedate songs?

Stressed Out Students

I don't often disagree with Michelle Malkin, but I am in this case.

DS#2 and DD#2 go to one of the top public high schools in the state. Hubs and I went through the appropriate channels to get an interdistrict transfer because of this high school's reputation. The counselor told DS#2 that in this school it's cool to be a good student. Even the jocks are scholars.

(Music to a parents' ears.)

These students are under tremendous pressure to be the best. It's not enough to get into a university--it has to be a top tier university: Cal, Stanford, Harvard, Brown. Mom and Dad are high-achievers themselves, with Dad often a partner in a law firm or a top executive or an entrepreneur. Mom might stay at home, but she's a volunteer fundraiser or a gourmet cook or she organizes all the paperwork for registration.

These students go to summer school not to make up classes but to get a jump on the next year so they can take yet another class. They join clubs and teams, looking for ways to improve their resume for their college applications, take classes after school to improve their SAT and ACT scores.

And some of these kids can't handle the stress, so they turn to drugs and alcohol, both readily available in the affluent suburb.

Some of these kids wait until they get into Harvard or Stanford to have their meltdowns.

To help prevent that, the school has started the "Stressed Out Students" program. Yoga isn't a part of it, but alerting parents to the problem is a start. Most of the program is common sense: eat right, exercise, get enough sleep. Encouraging students to talk to an adult if they feel overwhelmed. And emphasizing to the parents that it's more important that their child take a few AP classes and do well than take a lot and do poorly. That it's better if the student participates in one or to clubs or activities than list a raft of them where they're only nominally active.

The counselors encourage the students to use high school to find their passion--and encourage the parents to let them.

I don't think this is a bad thing.

In high school, there is no "recess." At my kids' high school, they get a 20 minute break mid-morning and a 50-minute lunch break. Classes start at 8:00 a.m. and end at 3:10 p.m., when it's time to do homework. (We're very fortunate that both the school library stays open until 6:00 p.m., providing a place for kids on sports teams a chance to do their homework before practice.)

Hubs and I try to keep our expectations realistic. And we remind our kids that life needs balance: academics are important, but so is friendship and fun, service to the community, and--most importantly--God. Stressed Out Students help those families who have forgotten this.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll--Again

So there DD#2 and I were at our Girl Scout meeting when the room began to shake. The feeling was subtle at first, beginning from the floor and moving up to the table. The shaking continued on for what seemed like a long time--relatively speaking. And then I asked the girls how strong they thought the quake was. I reminded them that every number increases the strength by a factor of ten. (These girls are in high school and they're all pretty good in math.)

The consensus was that the quake was between a 4 and a 4.5. I was quite surprised to discover that the preliminary indication is that the quake was a 5.4! I'm usually not that far off.

Hubs asked if I had the girls stand in the doorway. None of us felt that was necessary at the time. But the quake was a conversation stopper. Which is difficult to do with a group of 14- and 15-year old-girls.

Costume Capers

Much buzz over at Townhall and Michelle Malkin about skanky costumes aimed at young girls and boys as well. I have to admit, the first time I walked into our local costume chain store and saw a pimp outfit, I was surprised. What kind of boy would want to wear a costume like that? What kind of parent would let them? And what kind of a parent would pay real money (over $25) for a cheaply made costume the kids only wear once?

Back in the day when I had some control over what the little Hare wore, the only time I spent real money on costumes is when they were either pajamas or sweats. DS#1 wanted to be the Red Power Ranger one year. Toys 'R Us had Power Ranger sweats, complete with hoods. Unfortunately, there were no red ones. So he was the Blue Power Ranger and I bought a cheap plastic mask for him to wear. My parents actually bought the costume and they bought it big. DS#1 wore those sweats for two years. He was thrilled.

The other option is, of course, to make your own. Since I don't sew, this meant I had to become rather creative with a glue gun. (Kind of like when one of the kids had to be a cow in the school Christmas pageant.) Sweats and felt were my friends. So was the local thrift store. Do you know how many different costumes can be made using an old graduation gown? Especially if you want to be The Grim Reaper or a socerer. Just add mask or hat and that's it!

DD#1 decided to be a serial killer one year. She wore my old trench coat (over her school uniform) and carried a suitcase with a stuffed leg and shoe hanging out of it.

Pirates and gypsies have also been popular choices. Old bridesmaid dresses are the basis for fairies and princesses.

My children are now in charge of their own costumes and makeup. They rummage the attic or my closet, looking for inspiration. This year, DD#2 found a pair of black ankle boots at the thrift store. She dressed all in black, borrowed DD#1's black cape and used my make-up to create a "Goth" look. She actually looked pretty good! Best of all: all important parts were covered and the cost was minimal.

Homemade costumes allow children to be creative, don't break the bank, and keep us away from pseudo pimps and hookers who shouldn't even know whose those kind of people are, let alone try to be one! Hallowe'en should be all about the candy! Okay, and scaring your younger siblings.

Update: It looks like the same subject has been on the Captain's mind as well.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Book Review: The Shelters of Stone

This is the fifth book in the Children of Earth series (which began with The Clan of the Cave Bear) by Jean Auel. I didn't realize that she had written this book until I found this copy. The copyright date is 2002, which means Ms. Auel writes more slowly than J.K. Rowling!

Be that as it may...

When last we left Ayla, the H. sapiens woman raised by H. neandertals, and the love of her life, Jondalar, they had just crossed the glacier and were entering the region of Jondalar's family. Ayla is a bit concerned about how she will be accepted, since there is considerable prejudice against the "flatheads," as the Neandertals are referred to. (Ayla refers to them as "Clan.") Jondalar is worried as well. Not only has he been gone for a long time, but he has to tell his mother that his younger brother has died.

But they are not returning empty-handed. Ayla has tamed two horses, which they are riding, and a large wolf. She has discovered how to make fire using flint and iron pyrite and Jondalar has invented a spear thrower that will fling a spear farther and with more accuracy.

Ayla is also a skilled healer. She may also have a special connection with the Spirit world--a connection that the Zelandoni, the spiritual leader of Jondalar's cave, realizes early on.

Not everyone is happy to see Jondalar and Ayla. Marona was supposed to be mated with Jondalar when he decided to go on a Journey with his younger brother. Laramar is ranked low on the social scale, but feels that Ayla, as a stranger, should be ranked lower and is upset when she is placed near the head of the line. And Brukeval, who hates his Clan blood to the point of denying it, resents Ayla pointing it out.

Ms. Auel has spent a lot of time researching prehistoric Europe. Unfortunately, she wants to use it all. What she really needs is a good editor. Not only is there a lot of academic information, it's repeated. Then there is the matter of the poor writing. One of my pet peeves is when words (other than articles) are repeated in the same sentence or within a few short sentences. After awhile, I began to get a sense of deja vu: didn't I just read that description, conversation, action just a minute ago? (And don't get me started about The Mother's Song.

I felt like I was slogging through this book. Even the birth of Ayla and Jondalar's daughter, much discussed and anticipated throughout the book, is rather anticlimactic. It's a "set up" book, setting the stage for the next volume when all these people who object to Ayla will (presumably) begin to act out their parts of the drama. And Ayla has to decide if she will accept that she has a gift and become an acolyte to the Zelandoni.

But, really, it didn't need over 800 pages to tell this story.

On the March Hare scale: 2 out of 5 Golden Bookmarks

Book Review: A Site for Sore Eyes

I'm not sure where I picked up this book--some used book sale somewhere. The title caught my eye, though, because I love a clever title. And the fact that this is a mystery novel, a genre I was especially fond of in my youth. So, even though I didn't recognize the author (Ruth Rendell), I took a chance.

My first surprise was the book takes place in England. That information isn't in the blurb nor was it apparent in the first chapter. However, when the characters in the second chapter were talking about pubs and "ciggies," it dawned on me that this was not taking place in the U.S. When one of the characters moves to Notting Hill, I realized they were in London.

That mystery solved, I moved on to the next, which is how the three primary characters and their associates were going to finally come together.

First off there is Harriet. Harriet is famous because of a portrait painted of her and her rock star boyfriend. The only talent Harriet has is that she's breathtakingly beautiful--a talent she's traded on since she was 14. When the rock star throws her out, Harriet has to find another way to survive. She catches the eye of Franklin, a successful, married older man. Franklin divorces his wife, marries Harriet, and buys the house where the famous portrait was painted.

Meanwhile, there's Teddy. Teddy's parents, Eileen and Jimmy became engaged when Eileen found a ring in the ladies room on a trip organized by their pub. They got married after Jimmy's mum died and Jimmy realized that there was no one to take care of him and his brother, Keith, who also lived with their mother. Eileen didn't think she could become pregnant and was astonished when she did--but not enough to bother with going to the doctor. Nor had she or Jimmy thought of any names for their new child until their neighbor brought over a teddy bear as a "Welcome Baby" gift.

Having Teddy didn't make either Jimmy or Eileen sit up and take notice of what was going on around them. They drifted through their lives, not paying much attention to Teddy or to anything else. Keith had his motorbike and his cars. Only the neighbor, Mr. Chance, noticed the young boy and taught him woodworking. And Teddy's grandmother, who offered to give him a pound a week as allowance, but stipulated that Teddy had to come to her place to get it. And say, "Thank you, Grandma."

Despite this rather bleak upbringing, Teddy developed an inner esthetic, an appreciation for beauty. He attends a lecture while in college and during the slide show sees the portrait of Harriet. He is caught by the color, the lines, the composition. He is studying Graphic Design and Arts in college and, as a final project (kind of a senior thesis), he has to make something. He designs a mirror in a wood frame, which is exhibited in a local gallery, along with the projects of other students.

The third character is Francine. When she was a young girl, her mother was murdered while she was in her room, having been sent their as punishment. Francine hears the gunshots, hurries downstairs to find her mother in a pool of blood, which is where her father finds her when he returns home from work. Francine is traumatized and cannot speak. To help her, her father takes her to a child psychologist, Julia. Julia's qualifications are a bit dicey, but she does have a license. Julia takes an almost obsessive interest in Francine--which, in fact, does become obsessive once she marries Francine's father and becomes Francine's stepmother. Julia keeps Francine on a very tight leash, not allowing her to visit her friends at their houses or go to the movies or other normal activities. When Francine decides to attend Oxford, Julia talks about moving there to be near Francine. Instead, Francine decides to take a "gap" year. And her friend, Holly, persuades her to go on a double date and attend the exhibition where Teddy's mirror is displayed.

Teddy sees her and is struck by how beautiful and how perfect Francine is.

Meanwhile, Harriet, now considerably older, has a habit of hiring young handymen and seducing them. When she sees Teddy's ad (he's decided to go into cabinetry for himself now that he's graduated), she decides she needs some bookcases and hires him.

And the stage is finally set: three damaged people whose lives intersect. There are serious consequences because of that intersection, their actions, and the actions (or inactions) of those closest to them.

Site for Sore Eyes isn't a classic mystery in the Agatha Christie sense. Rather, it's more a psychological study, almost Hitchcockian. I wanted to shake some of the characters, those who showed they might have had some sense. It was kind of like watching a train wreck--horrifying and fascinating.

A good weekend book to curl up with under the covers with your favorite hot drink and snack nearby. No deep psychological dilemmas. Just kind of fun, in a creepy sort of way.

Since it was written in 1998 and is not by a commercially popular author, it probably won't be the easiest book to find.

On the March Hare scale: 3 out 5 Golden Bookmarks

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Just a Question...

Okay. I'm dense. But how can you have a religion that "embraces many different beliefs"? How can that be considered a religion? And what if my beliefs directly contradict yours? How can they both be valid?

The religion is Universalist Unitarianism. And they claim their lack of dogma allows everyone to search for the truth in their own way. All ways to the truth are equally valid.

Which leads to an interesting photo on their website: young women dressed in white wearing crowns of holly and candles on their heads. The caption claims it to be Candlemas; to me it looks like the Scandinavian Santa Lucia celebration. And one of the young women is wearing a hijab. Did no one see the irony of this?

So why the claim of "religion" rather than "philosophy"? Wouldn't that be a more accurate description of what the organization is trying to accomplish?

The UUA website freely admits they are liberal, which undoubtedly means social conservatives like myself need not apply. I'm tempted to say that it also means that they are a "guilt-free" religion--no need to feel badly about yourself and your actions as long as they were all done on the quest for truth. But that's probably just the cynic in me talking.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Book Review: A Swiftly Tilting Planet

This is the third book in Madeleine L'Engle's series that began with A Wrinkle In Time. So far, it's my favorite of the three I've read.

It's Thanksgiving, and the Murry family is gathered at the family home. Meg has married Calvin and is expecting their first child. Calvin, however, is overseas at a conference, but Meg invited his mother to join them. For the first time, she agreed to join the Murrys. The twins, Sandy and Dennys, are in law and medical school. Charles Wallace is fifteen and in high school.

Before dinner can start, Mr. Murry receives a phone call from the President of the United States. A tyrannical dictator, Mad Dog Branzillo, has threatened war. Should he launch his nuclear missiles, the U.S. will have no choice but send their anti-ballistic missiles.

Mrs. O'Keefe, who has been silent, says, "At Tara in this fateful hour..." And becomes irritable because she can't remember the rest of "Patrick's Rune." Her grandmother from Ireland taught it to her and "set great store on it to ward off the dark."

And then she looks at Charles Wallace and states, "You. Chuck. I come because of you."

Charles Wallace realizes he must go out and face whatever it is that must be faced, using Patrick's Rune. But he is not alone. He meets a unicorn at the Murry's stargazing rock and Meg is home to kythe with him. Charles Wallace must travel through time and space and save the world.

Mrs. L'Engle plays with some interesting ideas about the importance of individuals in history and that opportunities can be missed because of inaction. Patrick's Rune is as much about using the power of Heaven and the Universe as it is about one teen and one unicorn standing together.

There's also the message that there often is more to people than meets the eye. Meg comes to understand why her mother-in-law is the way she is.

Although the book was written in the mid-1970's, it is uncannily prescient about current events. Pretty sad--the world hasn't changed much.

Meg is less whiny in this book. The interweaving of local historical events and world events was quite well done. The introduction of the unicorn was okay, but I'm not sure it was necessary. I also didn't really see the point of Meg kything with Charles Wallace, except as witness to the story.

And a minor quibble: The main characters are Welsh. Wouldn't it be "David's Rune," rather than Patrick's? Okay, they're both Celtic cultures, but really...

On the March Hare scale: 4 out of 5 Golden Bookmarks

Another Anniversary

After DS#1 was born I asked Hubs to bring me a copy of that day's San Francisco Chronicle. My mom kept a copy of the paper on the day we were born and I wanted to continue the tradition.

Little did I guess the headlines would read "241 Marines Killed in Lebanon."

There I was with my precious newborn son, wondering what kind of world I was bringing him into.

Shortly before his 18th Birthday, the Twin Towers fell. That weekend we were at an Eagle Court of Honor and I looked around at the young men I'd known since they were Cub Scouts, wondering what would become of them. Would the world erupt in flames? Would they be drafted? Would they volunteer? How many would be killed or maimed?

On the hill in front of the Lafayette BART station, there are nearly 4,000 crosses. They represent all the men and women in the military killed in Iraq. But where are the crosses for the 241 killed by a suicide bomber, while sleeping in their barracks, on a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon? Where are the crosses for those killed guarding the U.S. Embassy in Iran, trying to prevent those inside from being taken hostage? Or the Khobar Towers? Or the U.S.S. Cole? Or Afghanistan? Or even the 3,000 killed on 9/11?

But Lebanon is an Inconvenient Truth. The U.S. barracks were bombed (as were the French barracks) and President Reagan withdrew our forces. No retaliation. No scenes. Just picked up our marbles and left.

But, of course, in this case, the U.S. and President Bush are the war-mongering, imperialist, capitalistic fascists. Everything would be honky-dory if the U.S. Just Left.

Yeah. Right. That strategy worked so well 24 years ago.

Happy Birthday--Okay, A Day Late :)

For me, Mother's Day will always be October 23. That's the day DS#1 was born. Hubs and I became responsible for a helpless human being--a fact which hit me like a ton of bricks the morning we took him home. (Hubs also learned, rather quickly, about post-natal hormone fluctuations!)

And now I've been a mom for nearly a quarter of a century. I've learned a lot, mostly that parenting is a balancing act, that a child is not a tabula rasa at birth, mistakes will be made, and my parents were right: I have done things I never would have had I not had children. (And that life really does begin after 40. But that's another post!)

This is the first year that DS#1 has not been home to celebrate with us. In fact, we probably won't see him until Thanksgiving. Thanks to the miracle of AIM, we do communicate often. And I send him snail mail. But he's living his own life, as is appropriate for a young man in his mid-20's, trying to discover who he is and what he wants to be.

Still, I kind of missed having a cake with him and the rest of the gang last night.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Book Review: Baby Proof

Too busy to blog does not mean too busy to read. (One more reason to ride BART!)

I was looking for something fun, quick, and easy to read and Baby Proof, by Emily Giffin, fits the bill. I read it in two nights.

Claudia Parr has known that she does not want to be a mother since she was young. Now in her mid-30's, she has a terrific job as an editor in New York City and has resigned herself to a life of singledom. For most of the guys she's dated, her statement that she does not want children is the "deal breaker."

Then she meets Ben. Also single, articulate, and straight, Ben also does not want children. After several months of dating, they elope and enjoy two years of married, childfree bliss.

Until their best friends announce they are expecting.

Claudia figures that once the baby arrives, Ben will realize all the problems that come with one, but the baby is, of course, one of those "perfect" children: no colic, no tears, minimal mess. Ben wants a child more than ever and Claudia is upset and hurt that Ben broke their agreement.

They divorce.

Claudia looks for support for her decision from her friends and family, but receives little. In fact, more than one suggests that the real reason for Claudia's reluctance to become a mother has more to do with Claudia's mother than anything else. Meanwhile, the marriage of Claudia's older sister is falling apart (because that sister chose the flashy but unfaithful guy over the duller but madly-in-love with her guy) and her middle sister and brother-in-law are suffering the strains of infertility.

Baby Proof is an interesting look at how the legacy of our childhood follows us into adulthood, the bond between sisters who are very different, and female friendship. There's some discussion of why women chose the men the do and the consequences of those choices. And how very often, other people have a clearer insight to our behavior than we do.

Not bad for a "chic lit" book!

The ending is pretty realistic as well. Not all the ends are neatly tied up, but they're not quite left undone. The sad part is I'm probably closer to the age of Claudia's mother than I am to Claudia and the women of my generation don't come off so well!

However, it was a nice change from the science fiction that seems to be dominating my reading lately.

On the March Hare scale: 3.5 out of 5 Golden Bookmarks

Where Has the Time Gone?

My last post was October 1? What the heck?

Well, I know that I've had meetings of one sort or another almost every night for the last two weeks. That's what happens when you're in charge of two different events for two different organizations on consecutive weekends. And then DD#2 was in charge of the "Songs & S'mores" event as her Silver Award project, so I was involved in that. And the Girl Scouts "Amazing Bay Day," which I wasn't in charge of, but my troop participated.

Anyway, my parish celebrates Oktoberfest the first weekend of October. It's our parish festival that raises money for the parish and the school and brings all of us together in celebration. I'm not quite sure how, but apparently Oktoberfest was originally a city-wide Fall Festival. When the city decided not to sponsor it, our parish did. The biggest supporter was Fr. Paddy, a Marist priest from Ireland.

And our city was originally part of a Spanish/Mexican land grant.

The most popular food booth is the Filipino food booth. A Frenchman runs the pasta dinner.

I run the pig race.

At the beginning of September, each school and Faith Formation class receives a neon-colored, battery-operated plush pig. They dress the pig up and we have a beauty pageant. Then we race them. The winners get a trophy.

However, the first race is always the school principal and our three priests. This year the Director of Youth Ministry also raced--my last child is in the first year of Confirmation prep and I badgered her into it. Anyway, we time the races so that Mass is done. And every year, Fr. R. cheats. Okay, he's 80. And after six years, it's tradition! It's wild and crazy and the kids and draws a huge crowd.

Last weekend was our Girl Scout Association Camporee. 90 girls and almost as many adults spent a rather damp weekend under the redwoods. The raccoons, who are generally obnoxious, must have been somewhere else. The older girls taught the younger girls important skills, like using a compass or building a shelter. Then the younger girls got to hide the older girls for another group of older girls to find. That activity was almost a bigger hit than the "treasure" the older girls were holding ("banana boats", which involve bananas, chocolate, and marshmallows).

And my employer expected me to show up at the office and actually do some work. The nerve!

One more event in October and then its back to the normal get-ready-for-the-holidays stuff!

Monday, October 01, 2007

It's Bye-Bye, Barry

image courtesy of

The title of this column is taken from Hall-of-Famer Lon Simmon's, long-time "voice of the Giants" radio announcer, call whenever a Giant hit a home run: "It's bye-bye, baby!" And Barry Bonds certainly hit plenty of them while wearing a Giant's uniform.

I have mixed emotions about Barry leaving--as a friend pointed out over the weekend, I feel much like I did when the 49'ers let Joe Montana go. I understand that baseball is a business and Barry is more of a liability than an asset at this point. The Giants are a National League team and there is no DH spot.

Still, if Yankee Stadium is the House that Ruth Built, Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T Park is the House that Bonds Built. There were sellout crowds the first four years after the stadium was built--and that wouldn't have happened without Barry. In fact, that whole area of the City (known as South Beach/China Basin) has been rejuvenated because of the stadium (and the 1989 Earthquake that demolished the freeway). Love him or hate him, Barry brought attention to the game and put fans in the seats. There was a sellout crowd for his final game in a Giants uniform--which would not have happened in an otherwise disappointing season. Even before then, when there was a glimmer of hope, when Barry came up to bat, cameras and phones came out to capture his stance, his swing. You never knew if he was going to hit a homer or where that homer would land.

And when he was younger, you never knew when he was going to steal.

The saddest part about the steroid scandal is that Barry had real talent. He had Hall of Fame numbers before he allegedly started taking steroids. And, rumor has it, he started taking them because he was jealous of the attention Mark McGwire was receiving during his run after Roger Maris's record.

I think there's a deeper reason: all Barry has, really, is baseball.

Unlike other Bay Area sports celebrities, Barry is not personable. He has no chance of making commercials or endorsements, even locally. He's burned Bay Area sportswriters and sportscasters; he's burned his teammates. (He had the same reputation in high school.)

But he seems to have had a good relationship with his dad, Bobby Bonds. Barry took time off to be by his dad's bedside during his fight with cancer--while the Giants were making a run for the National League title. After his dad died, Barry made the gesture pictured at the top of the post after every home run, acknowledging his dad.

And then Barry heads to the dugout to give his son a hug and a kiss. The son who is now almost as tall as his dad.

For many years, Barry wore the same earring on game day. It was a cross--and the cross belonged to his grandfather.

And Barry is very respectful towards his godfather, Willie Mays, and another great, Willie McCovey, acknowledging their skill and their importance to the game.

But his divorce from his first wife was spectacularly nasty. And it played across the sports pages of the local papers. That must have been difficult to deal with.

I wish Barry well. I hope he finds happiness--maybe with another team, a team that has a chance to win a World's Series and give Barry the ring he's missing. I hope he finds inner peace and a purpose beyond baseball. Maybe not coaching, but maybe scouting for new talent. For the next skinny kid with uncanny eye-hand coordination.

I hope the Giants will be able to use some of their freed up payroll and hire some decent pitchers. And honor Barry when he enters the Hall of Fame as (I hope) a Giant.