Alexander Micek commenting on Hidden Deek +

Deek is Essie’s word for cake.

John commenting on Flu +1

feel better Alex, praying for you guys!

Encino Oak

A Tall Tree’s Tale; the beginning and end of Encino California’s 1,000 year-old oak.

Heartsick, I myself took nothing more than a single, small leaf that I still have. It was enough.

Hidden Deek

“Crouching Tigga, Hidden Deek: A Memoir of My First Two Years of Life”
by Esmé Micek

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Oasis Café

Breakfast at Oasis Café this morning, the first time we have ever been there, and what looks like the beginning of a fine tradition. I’m always so proud when Ess colors with her crayons, eats our food, and enjoys herself when we eat out. I look ahead to summer vacations and little weekend jaunts during the school year with great excitement. I love to get a glimpse of the world through her eyes, to see the world again through that lens.

Two Word Sentences

Out of nowhere, Essie says two word sentences to us. This helps us meet her needs and wants, until she runs out of the correct words. Then we’re back to sign language and grunts. We’re also seeing the advent of frustration, whose development I find interesting yet a little sad. This little girl who before would sit and try to do something over and over, showing perseverance but no frustration, will now get immensely frustrated over her inability to do something, typically something physically intricate.

The upside to this is that we get to begin our role as teachers. We get to try to help Ess become a person who responds with patience to frustration, empathy to pain, courage to peril. As I read about the television show “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”, I find that betterment is the core message. That there is a person in you with intrinsic worth, who has all kinds of feelings and needs, and your truest self comes out when commit to the most human, least animalistic actions: compassion, generosity, patience, kindness. A real mensch.


Not too long ago, while Mykala was driving us to Ikea, I was watching spring out the window of the car. For the first time, while admiring the buds, I caught myself thinking about the autumn coming later this year. Caught me off-guard, and I felt old. A poem seemed appropriate. So, more bad poetry, a blessedly rare occurrence here:

Afresh, buds become leaves

A cycle now, I see

Ripening green mirrors
Autumn’s fade


We all had the stomach flu for the entire long weekend. I didn’t get healthy as fast as I expected, and the lingering aches made my health feel mutable in a way it never has.

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As I scroll up the pictures on my phone, Essie gets younger, just like that.
As the days go by, she grows up, just like that.



So we drove the few hours, through a dark morning up to Duluth, Ess sleeping in the backseat after a few miles of sleepy babble. We were bound for a dance competition for mama’s work, and like she always does on long trips, Ess woke up just as we were turning into the slow roads between freeway and competition. Once there, Ess received a little ladybug from Robin. Meant to be good-luck disposable hand-outs for the dancers, our daughter took her particular ladybug to be rather different than that.

Now these ladybugs are, I suppose, about five times larger than a real ladybug, albino in coloring (since they glow in the dark) with red spots. This large bug brings about a sense of creepy-crawliness in the observer, but as if to remind you it is harmless, bounces when thrown. This was one of the first things Ess found out about her bug. With the staccato wind-up and pitch of a toddler’s throw, she would throw the bug repeatedly, to watch the random bounces.

That was nearly two weeks ago, and Ess has decided her bug (“bugg-ah” as she says) should always be with her. Frequently, she’ll have clutched it so tightly in her little hand that if we try to see if she has it, we can barely tell she’s holding it. Buggah is a friend, a talisman, a toy, and now bears the marks of life with a toddler. Since insect-styled, chemiluminescent, thermoplastic trinkets aren’t really engineered with durability in mind, buggah is down to two of her original six legs. Her antennae are gone. And a soup dinner at Nannie’s has permanently colored her once-white body in a stew-colored muted orange.

Mykala devised a bed for buggah on my bedside table, so Ess can put her to bed positioned just-so on her Little Pea book. This is the only way to separate them without tears: to put the bug to bed for the night. Upon waking up, buggah is the first thing Ess asks to see. Together, they go on walks, in the car, through the house, through meals.

Ess took blocks over at Nannie’s and built what my dad called BuggahTown, a place to walk and “op-op-op” (hop) around, if you are five times the size of a lady bug, and not far from the color of the wood blocks around you.

In Ess’s toddler actions, I see budding empathy: dedication and caring and love.

War’s Futility

Inadvertent confirmation of war’s futility, from a Wikipedia article about American Samoa:

In March 1889, a German naval force invaded a village on Samoa, and by doing so destroyed some American property. Three American warships then entered the Apia harbor and prepared to engage three German warships found there. Before guns were fired, a typhoon wrecked both the American and German ships. A compulsory armistice was called because of the lack of warships.


Ess bowled two strikes in a row (with the help of a ramp to launch her ball) on her first day bowling.