Really, Really Hot. Seriously.

So, I worked all day taking care of children at a campus that was, literally, as hot as a thousand suns all rolled into one and placed in a Frydaddy and deep fried then shoved into a bottle of tabasco then fed to me. Absolutely literally.

It was hot. The thermometers on campus got to 103, apparently. That is hot. Normally shy Bastyr girls were wearing nothing but pasties made of ice and a few sprigs of parsley. Which was fun, sort of, until you realize that most of them are insane and would scream at you for nothing. And when you realize that it’s 103, and you don’t want anyone near you in the first place.

We survived today, though. I actually think we may go to the zoo tomorrow, which shows either my commitment to the kids’ fun or my lack of sense. I have plenty of both. Good luck to me! And my poor kids!


Arkaedi And Pretty Illness

We had one of those parent nights last night, with Arkaedi Sue puking on us and keeping us awake. It happens. Thankfully Viri decided to sit this one out, and after rolling over to see what the commotion was, cuddled up to his baby doll and went to sleep. That’s my good lad.

Arkaedi managed to be pretty throughout, of course. The ability to remain pretty with vomit in your hair is incredible. I salute her commitment to the prettiness.

Things like this make me glad we are in the situation we are. I stayed home from work, fixed some oatmeal with an herbal concoction that Jaime prescribed, Arkaedi is napping, and we are sailing through the morning. Being mostly a full time Papa has some huge advantages, and flexible part time work is one of these.

I hope she is okay today. I definitely get into crazy father territory with Arkaedi. I can deal with Viri, but Arkaedi inspires an insane amount of protectiveness. Oddly, I worry about her less: she just seems so solid and strong. But when there is cause for worry, however slight, I get nuts. I’ve been monitoring her like an ICU doctor all morning. She finally just gave up and grabbed her phone and baby doll and plopped down in my lap. I guess she figured if she was going to be under my watch all morning she may as well just sit down and make a few phone calls.

So, back to watching over my sleeping princess. Get better Arkaedi Sue.

Cougar Mountain

We had a much needed family fun day today. We hiked around Cougar Mountain. It’s awesome, and has an amazing view of Lake Sammamish. The kids walked around. (Arkaedi Sue: “Walk? Walk? Walk? Outside? Outside? Outside?” ad infinitum)

I love our family days. We haven’t gotten so many lately, for various reasons. Mostly NPLEX board related. That is down to the last few weeks though, so once Jaime passes, life will get way more fun. Or funner. If you like the sound of that better.

Cougar Mountain is a place that makes me wish my dad lived here. It’s totally his kind of place, a huge park, woods, views of the mountains and the lake. We could easily spend days hiking there, checking out the animals and the birds. There are pine martens and muskrats as well as cougars and bears! (Mostly pine martens and muskrats. Still…pretty great.) I was interested in the variety of birds we could see and hear. I have to get him out here so we can check it out. My dad would really enjoy my old man hobbies. My kids already think I’m crazy.

They did like the woods though. They got a little tired, hiking on the mountain paths. (Viri: “Can we go home? It’s really steep.”) But they had fun, and were sound asleep by the time we drove back home. We made a slight detour to South 47 Farm, and J picked a bunch of fresh herbs. I still smell basil and lavender. Which is great. In fact, here is some lavender. Just smell the screen. Mmmm.

Browsing. The Final Frontier.

I’m not typically one to gush over new features. I usually don’t care at all, in fact. But I have to say I am really excited that the new version of Safari is set up to look like some science fiction spaceship.

You can chose among a series of little windows showing your recent history. It’s really cool looking. I don’t know how practical it is, I just got it. But along with all of my music being available at one touch, this continues Apple’s success at making my Star Trek gadgets come to life. I’m expecting iPhaser and iTransporter by 2012, Apple. Do not disappoint me.

Charity Work At Blessed Sacrament

Our Hearts Should Do This More

I sit in the streets with the homeless

My clothes stained with the wine

From the vineyards the saints tend.

Light has painted all acts

The same color

So I sit around and laugh all day

With my friends.

At night if I feel a divine loneliness

I tear the doors off Love’s mansion

And wrestle God onto the floor.

He becomes so pleased with Hafez

And says,

“Our hearts should do this more.”


This past Sunday I worked at the Blessed Sacrament Catholic church’s soup kitchen, with a group of my fellow darvishes from the Sufi house. It was really interesting, strange work. We served a really nice meal to hundreds of people, and I poured gallons of coffee and fruit punch. A large part of our order is chivalry, how we treat others, and these periodic efforts in the community are a way to perform some good service together, as an order. Different houses, or khaniquahs, do different things. We help out at Blessed Sacrament.

I was impressed with their operation. Say what you will about the Catholic church and its problems and faults; they can pound out the charity when they want. The whole thing has been going on for a few decades there, and they have it down to a science. We were neatly plugged in and the day just flew. There were a few elderly people who were skeptical of us; I’ve never met so many people who had never heard of Sufism. We explained simply and politely, and they politely left us alone. They were glad for the help, I think, but they never did get why we were there. Maybe they thought we were a Sufi gang doing community service. (I want a jacket that says the Darvishes!)

The people who came to the kitchen where all types, but mostly who you would expect. Mostly men, middle aged, with varying degrees of problems. A few people had to be asked to leave, but by and large they thanked us and ate in peace. It was mostly white, but there were a lot of Native Americans, which was sad and alarming. Considering the total population in Seattle, to see so many so down on their luck made me really ashamed of my ancestors. (You know who you are, 17th and 18th century Barkers! Not you, mom’s side. You’re Irish and came here in 1920. We’re cool.)

It was really great to be of help. We do so much for ourselves, and so little to help out others, and when there is a direct and obvious way to just give out food and keep people fed, it feels great. All of the darvishes who showed up, even with their own families and busy schedules, are amazing. The Master asked us to perform this small service, and many of us did. Those who made the effort, they inspire me to be a better darvish, and they make me proud to have started on this path.

West Seattle Summer Fest! Everybody Fest!

One of the things I love about Seattle is that there are always things to do. There are things and stuff, and even junk to do. Today we went to the West Seattle Summer Fest. I don’t think that is the official name, but that’s generally what it was. It’s a street fair, with music and food and crafts and such. Herc got a donkey load of records, which Arkaedi is probably really looking forward to pushing back against the wall, Viri got to ride a giant inflatable bouncy slide, everyone had fun.

Speaking of those giant slides, when did they become ubiquitous at every event on earth? The kids love ’em, and they are really great. But they are a parent torture; you have to say yes to them. And you usually have to pay. And it’s low enough that you can’t really justify saying no. At least I got nice words out of the deal. (“May! May I want to ride the giant bouncy slide please Papa? May?” “Um, yes. You may want to.”)

We had a good time, and I love having the chance to get out and do this. There were multiple events this weekend, actually, including milk carton races and a U district street fair. We picked this one, because I get to use my MST3K Soultaker references aplenty. (There is a vague fest in that show.)

Oh, and check out this picture! Pretty Sue, courtesy of the Smartz family! Thanks guys!I love when I get random photos of my kids. Especially Arkaedi, who is less well documented than Viri. The curse of being the second child, and less of a ham than the first. Of course, Viri post-Arkaedi is poorly documented too. (I say, as I write the newest blog post on them…wait…)

Now, everybody fest!

I’m Having Fun Fun, Old Man!

I probably have a lot of weaknesses of which I am totally and blissfully unaware. In fact, I am sure that I have. There is one weakness, however, that I and everyone I know are well aware that I suffer from: I am attached at the hip to my kids. So, today, Viri is off playing at the beach with a friend. This is a great thing, he’ll have a great time, and I am reminded that I don’t need to micro-manage my children.

For some reason, it’s especially difficult with Viri. Arkaedi is younger, but she seems so stable. She seems so tough. She is my baby girl, but I sense her strength in everything she does. She even sits at the top of tall slides with a confident swagger.

Viri has strength too, of course. He just seems fragile from certain angles. He will do great things, I know. But he needs support. I want to provide him with all of that support and more. People don’t always get him. He’s odd, I admit. But I don’t want people to confuse that oddity with problems. He is very sweet and smart. He is definitely an avatar of justice, and he wants to make things right. At three, that can be obstinate, or whiny. At thirty, it will be leadership. He’s a better man than I’ll ever be, and I want him to have the chance to realize that greatness.

As Arkaaedi Sue sleeps peacefully on me, I am happy to have this chance to let him go out and be an independent little boy. I want to write this down, to remember how blessed I am. I have a sweet daughter cuddled to my chest, a great and wild boy running around on the beach with friends. I also have, hopefully, the sense to let them go when they need to go, and shelter them when they need protection.