Atticus

Lunar Mission Gone Awry

March 9, 2009

Our little boy, Atticus, spots a bright moon at dusk. He’s holding a toy modeled after one that was around when I was a kid, the Dan Dare Planet Gun. Pull the trigger and it launches a spring-powered propeller disk. I’ve wound it to the max. From our front steps he aims at the moon […]

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An Unspoiled Mind

February 19, 2009

Sometimes I need reminding how wonderful life is for those not yet afflicted with cynicism. The reminder came from our son, Atticus. “Where do dreams go?” he asked soon after waking this morning — a question I don’t recall contemplating at any age. Then he answered his question: “A dream is a cloud with tiny […]

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Naked Artist at Work

January 28, 2009

Someone might question a father who posts a photo of his naked toddler online. But I’ve cropped it tastefully, which helps focus the viewer on Atticus’ intense gaze as he loses himself in shower-time “drawing.” I captured the image last night not with my expensive Nikon but wimpy iPhone camera. Besides the photo’s unusual quality […]

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Another Holiday Rule

December 28, 2008

I drilled into our little boy today another of my dead mother’s irrational holiday rules: everything Christmas related must be taken down before the new year begins. Otherwise, the most dire bad luck will ensue. Atticus accepted the rule as if our very existence hinged upon it, and we did mom proud. As a bonus, […]

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Christmas Tree Rules

December 18, 2008

I’m a dictator when it comes to decorating our Christmas tree. Blame my mother. As free-wheeling and independent as she was in most aspects of her life, Joanie had rules and regulations aplenty this time of year. The most rigid of all was this edict: big ornaments on the bottom of the tree, smaller ones […]

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Snow Lessons

December 14, 2008

Snow in downtown Portland is rare and scant enough to incite giddiness. Decades ago, however, blizzards buried the city. Doing historical research, I’ve come across microfilmed newspaper clippings from early in the last century that describe snowfall measured in feet, not inches. In some instances, the city was so paralyzed that food shortages occurred. What […]

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Sunset of Conspiring Clouds

December 6, 2008

Across the Portland area, people are posting to blogs their photos of today’s sunset. It was breathtaking, and I too have pictures to prove it. For those of us living east of the West Hills, memorable sunsets are rare. This is especially true in December and many months to follow because of the persistent rainy […]

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Something’s in the Air

October 11, 2008

At the Portland Farmers Market, roasting chilies perfume every cool breath. Autumn has thinned the crowds but not the produce. Along with poblanos, I buy what may be the year’s last peaches, several varieties of apples, shiitake mushrooms, and more. The once-ubiquitous volunteers registering people to vote are nowhere to be seen beneath the canopy […]

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The Mountain Lion Game

October 4, 2008

Thirteen years ago, a mountain lion looked at me. I still see clearly its long sleek body, two hundred yards away on a bare hilltop. Suzame and I were hiking at Point Reyes National Seashore in California and had reached the highest point, Mt. Wittenberg. At first I thought the mountain lion was a big […]

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On the Beach

September 29, 2008

What will the boy remember of yesterday? Years hence, is Atticus, my son of three, doomed to never recall his first day at the new edge of his known world, the Pacific Coast? As I watched him run toward and away from tiny advancing and retreating waves, I realized how fleeting the moment probably was. […]

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Head case

August 25, 2008

Oh, the travails of parenthood. How do father and mother anticipate this scenario: Atticus, newly turned three, begins crying. We find him wearing on his head a rigid cardboard can, his Lincoln Logs container. “Why are you crying, son?” I ask. “It’s stuck!” he wails. We can’t budge it. Suzame pries out his ears and […]

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Gun: does not compute

August 9, 2008

Atticus Bales Tong, three days shy of three years old, doesn’t know the meaning of the word gun. Suzame and I didn’t set out to deprive him of this knowledge, though it’s no doubt a dividend of allowing scant TV viewing — and only since he turned two. I learned this today when I handed […]

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Drummer points the way

July 31, 2008

“You just changed the course of my son’s life,” I tell Phil Bondy. Phil’s a young guy pounding away on a full drum set at the corner of Northeast Alberta and 13th in Portland. Atticus, who turns three in less than two weeks, is enthralled. The occasion is Last Thursday, the once-a-month event when the […]

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