It's that time again to shed my shoes and lounge in the grass, languishing in the evening heat and loving Summer.  It is a time of festival and freedom and fireworks and friendship. 

This weekend, the Livermore Rodeo is in town (indeed, the fastest rodeo on earth!).  The Alameda County Fair will begin its three-week run on June 20.  Before we know it, Independence Day will dawn, and with that comes the Cedar Grove Community Church BBQ (not to be missed) and the incomparable athletic antics of the Pancoast Family & Friends at the Fourth Annual FOJSBO (Fourth of July Scar-Belly Open). 

Pssssst. Hey Dad, don't feel bad that you lost last year.  You're old.  It's okay.  And yes, Jonathan and I will be hoisting our giant 2007 FOJSBO Champions trophy and flaunting it that day.  I am the master.

Of course, summer is a terrific time to travel.  Along with the inevitable and exciting camping trips to Yosemite, Jon has a conference in Las Vegas in August, and I'll be joining him to party down on the weekend.  We're also hoping to hit the Bear Valley Outdoor Adventure Camp in August for the second time.  Last year we had so much fun!  And, of course, Jon and I will be celebrating our 4th anniversary in August with a trip to Disneyland.

But along with these sentimental rituals, summertime brings a brand new 13-week classic film festival at my mecca: The Stanford Theater in downtown Palo Alto, CA.

I highly recommend it as a destination for friends, lovers, families, all.  And this Summer Fesitval, running from June 7 to September 2, promises some of the best classic movies of all time!

209975_black_and_white_rose.jpgMy Grandpa Pete's wife, Helen, passed away last weekend.  Because my family lived in California, a cool 2,000 miles from our Campagna relatives in Moline, IL (Mom's side), I only met Helen a handful of times.  She was a very petite lady with large-lensed glasses and curly auburn hair.  Most of all, though, I remember that she was a sweet lady who loved my grandfather very much. 
Grandpa was the one who took special care to send birthday cards and Christmas cards each year, but Helen also enjoyed sending presents to us when she could.  When I was eight or nine, she gave me a toy dog made of bright pink yarn.  Sounds strange, right?  But I loved that dog.  And when I got to that age of curiosity and developed the nagging need to know HOW things were made, I carefully disected my dog doll and found that her skeleton was simply a coat hanger.  Whether Helen or Grandpa made the dog, I'll probably never know.

My finger traces a mystified trail
From his nose across his cheek,
Round the curve of cartilage at the base of his ear,
Down alongside the thick artery in his neck,
To the cavern of his clavicle,
The bridge of his sternum.

In our intimacy I realize
I don't know the names of all the joints
Or all the bones in the roadmap of his body.
From mind, so great, to hands, so strong
To the incomparable sanctity of his chest cavity,
I want to know his anatomy
As I already know his soul.

With my palm flat to the
Firm plate of his pectoral,
I lean in to hear the rhythmic, mystic whisper
Of something vibrating deep.

What I remember of the Tin Man
One after his own heart,
Is the hollow sound,
the metallic echo of Dorothy's knocking.
None of us knew whether the echo was an answer
Or the question, the question, the question
Returning to her fist.

Anatomists would instruct me that the heart
Houses no emotion.
Love does not permeate the ventricles and
Heartbreak does not denote a jagged crack
Running the pulsing length of the muscle,
Increasing in severity with each thump.

But lying here, ear to chest,
I feel myself flush to the rhythm of his heart.
It is speaking to me
By Braille through my fingertips.
My love, my love, my love.
If only the Tin Man had listened more closely.

So, while I suppose I'll take the lesson
For the sake of my own brain,
I cannot say I'll take any of it
To heart.


diner.jpgI'm thirsty for creation.

Sit in the dark.  Wait until the house is silent and then, with all the shades down and the door double-bolted, back into a corner and wait for your Imagination to rise from the shadows.

If I follow my own direction, I find Her there, blossoming from the murky air around us.  I am not alone.  She emerges like Venus, like the Creature from the Black Lagoon, like Klatu from his ship, like Sonora from the pool with her diving horse.

Tonight she had a lot to say.  I was reminded of a storyline, one of many I've neglected over the last year, but still a favorite.  It has all the potential of a newborn, a thought which scares me almost as much as it thrills me.  For wherever there is potential for success, there is potential for disaster.  My storyline's pendulum won't hover on the side of perfection forever... at some point I'll sigh as I watch is hurdle on its predetermined arc back to the realm of shoddy drafts and mundane concepts and obvious morals to be learned.

But here, at least, with the help of my Imagination, who opted at random to aid me in my quest for productivity, the pendulum is hesitating near success.  Perhaps the magnet of my mind has been clicked on and is holding it steady.  Perhaps the planets have shifted, stars have aligned, God has smiled.  Who knows?

Tonight, Della danced in the diner.


zurich.jpgWalking three miles is easy when you're holding hands with a blue-eyed boy and planning your future travels together. 

That's what I did this afternoon.  Between laundry and other chores, between writing computer code and watching Friends, we decided to take a walk.  It was a lovely day.  Seventy degrees and breezy, not a cloud in the sky.  And it felt good.  Our pace was brisk, but it matched the energy of our dialogue. 

You see, beyond the trip we just completed to Seattle last weekend, and beyond our planned trip to Las Vegas in August, we just booked a trip to Zurich, Switzerland for September!  It's a city we've both always wanted to visit.  Beyond the draw of the chocolate, the pocket knives and the neutrality is the sheer mystery of what is considered to be one of the cleanest, most efficient, financial centers in the world.


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