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Around the World, Around Dar’s World

September 20, 2018, 11:19 am

When I was eight, my mother took me around the world. It was audacious and efficacious and perspicacious. Dar is eight. We haven’t taken him around the world. Instead I wonder what the world looks like that he traces in his own mind. He can never tell us. When I was eight, we visited Hiroshima for the 34thanniversary of you-know-what. We walked past thousands of people holding hands and chanting. We walked into a museum displaying mannequins with permanently melting
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Instead of Cock-a-Doodle-Doo

September 13, 2018, 4:58 pm

I’ve long thought that I would make a terrible farmer. One reason is that most farmers seem to own chickens, and chickens tend to wake up at daybreak and cock-a-doodle-doo their little throats out. When I hear that noise, it makes me want to do something to those throats that the Audubon Society would not like. But I live with that anyway. I live with Dar. Instead of cock-a-doodle-doo-ing, he tee-tee-tees. And it’s loud. And it wakes me up. And
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Dog, Dad, Dar

September 7, 2018, 8:26 am

Last week I returned our family dog, Athena, to the pound from where I’d adopted her about a year ago. I only learned the phrase “owner surrender” last week when I had to do one. I can put up with a lot, but I draw the line at violence. She was an angel with humans…well, it’s more accurate to say that with humans she eagerly leapt into their/our laps like a frisky terrier. But with dogs, we had one too
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Dar As a Star Student

August 30, 2018, 10:00 pm

This is Dar’s first week in third grade. His new teacher is very nice. She asked Dar to come to the classroom on the day before school started, and so I brought him. Did it help his adjustment? Who knows. He also has a new aide who seems capable and professional. This is the beginning of Dar’s fifth (!) year at his current school, Thousand Oaks. How much has he learned in the previous four years? Well, he’s learned a
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From Hose to Hot Tub

August 22, 2018, 11:27 am

Regular readers know that Dar loves water. But there are circumstances when he doesn’t. One of these occurs at water parks when he refuses to ride waterslides. Another occurs when we wash his hair; he screams at the decibel level of a dozen car alarms. We think perhaps it’s because he doesn’t know what we mean when we implore him “CLOSE YOUR EYES!” Or maybe he does know but he doesn’t like the traces of soap. So I was skeptical
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Hurricane Darbor

August 15, 2018, 2:02 pm

How do you solve a problem like Maria? No idea. How do you solve a problem like Dar? I don’t really know that either, but I know that we try things that have made him smile in the past. One of these is taking him to water parks. Another one of these is avoiding previous mistakes at water parks. This last weekend, we made sure to avoid arriving at the park during the minute it opened, to avoid those queues
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The five things Dar wants to do

August 9, 2018, 11:24 am

This is a picture of Dar enjoying my tickles. That’s great when it happens. Not pictured: all the times he doesn’t want to be tickled. During that vast majority of his waking hours, what does Dar want? For something like eight years, we never knew what Dar wanted. I can hardly understate the difficulty and despair that goes with living this way. Ever hear the phrase “be careful what you wish for”? Right. Well, be careful wishing for knowing what
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Amazement Parks

August 2, 2018, 5:06 am

Hi and thanks for reading. Sorry about my unannounced hiatus last week, but we were at Southern California amusement parks, which is what this post is naturally about. I can remember thinking, maybe twenty years ago, that people jockeying for advantage in amusement parks probably fake or exaggerate the disability of a member of their party. I used to think that people would pretend that their kids have, you know, a particular aversion to lines (queues). I remember thinking: you’re
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Supposed Former Reunion Junkie

July 19, 2018, 1:25 pm

Back in summer 1998, when Alanis Morrisette was putting the finishing touches on her album Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie, I was helping to put the finishing touches on my high school’s 10-year reunion. At the time, that didn’t bother me at all. Along with a few classmates, I threw myself into reunion-organizing, even giving a (poorly received) speech at the event. Later in life, I would wonder why I spent so much time on something so ephemeral instead of something
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Righting the Boat

July 12, 2018, 1:50 pm

When I was Dar’s current age, my mother took me around the world. The trip was audacious, vaguely inappropriate, and entirely wonderful. I remember very well our adventures in Japan, China, Thailand, India, Nepal, and Germany and Britain (yes). If Mom calculated that eight was an old enough age to remember things for a lifetime, she calculated correctly…at least for a kid like me. For a kid like Dar, it’s impossible to make such a calculation. If I were to
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