The Stolen Child

When I was in college, I heard this song for the first time.  Mike Scott of the Irish band, The Waterboys, wrote the lyrics, based on a poem by William Butler Yeats.

All these years later, I’ve not read much Yeats — though he’s on my reading list !  — for sure though,  I soak up the Irish spirit every time I hear the song, and read these words.

On this Saint Patrick’s Day, I celebrate the spirit, and share these words…

Stolen Child

by Michael Scott, 1988

based on poem by William Butler Yeats

Come away, human child
to the water
Come away, human child
to the water and the wild
With a fairy, hand in hand
for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand

Where dips the rocky highland
of Sleuth Wood in the lake
There lies a leafy island
where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
there we’ve hid our fairy vats
Full of berries
and of reddest stolen cherries

Come away, human child
to the water
Come away, human child
to the water and the wild
With a fairy, hand in hand
for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
the dim gray sands with light
Far off by furthest Rosses
we foot it all the night
Weaving olden dances
mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
to and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles
while the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep

Come away, human child
to the water
Come away, human child
to the water and the wild
With a fairy, hand in hand
for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand

Where the wandering water gushes
from the hills above Glen-Car
In pools among the rushes
the scarce could bathe a star
We seek for slumbering trout
and whispering in their ears
We give them unquiet dreams;
leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
over the young streams

Away with us he’s going
the solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
of the calves on the warm hillside;
Or the kettle on the hob
sing peace into his breast
Or see the brown mice bob
Around and around the oatmeal-chest

For he comes, the human child
To the water
He comes, the human child
To the water and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand
Human child
Human child
With a fairy, hand in hand
From a world more full of weeping than he can understand…
Than he can understand…
He can understand…

glenar waterfall_countyleitrim_stolenchild

And here’s the tune, in case you’d like to hear it:


G-096: Dispatch from the DMV CA

I hadn’t been into the Department of Motor Vehicles in a long time. And so when it was time for my 2019 Driver License renewal? It was time to pay a DMV Field Office a visit.  I was headed to the office in Santa Clara.  It was the place I had taken my original driving test long ago.  It is actually the only DMV office I’ve been to.   I was psyched.

I didn’t think far enough ahead to make an appointment before my license was due to expire, so I queued up on the Non-Appointment Line when I arrived. It was 7:49am on Saturday. There were already 50 people in line outside. The office didn’t open until 8:00am, so the website said. I thought, “51st in line? Shouldn’t take too too long.”

A little boy in a black and red checkered hoodie was waiting on a bench, brought along by his parent on a Saturday morning for the adventure.  My kids were still in bed at home.  Actually, our son had woken up just before I left the house.  The other two were still snoozing.

“Good Luck,” my wife said as I departed. “Enjoy the solitude and your book.” Funny thing, being a parent with three little kids, any time to yourself is luxurious.

When I got inside the DMV building, it seemed like there were a couple hundred folks in various lines, at different stages of being processed, taking care of their business. There were a lot more than the folks I’d seen in line.   But everything seemed to be clicking along at the many work stations scatted throughout the big room.  Bureaucracy at its finest.

I wasn’t sure how long it would take.  Funny thing? I didn’t mind.  I was happy to be taking care of something that had been on my to-do list for a couple months; I was happy about that little bit of solitude; I was happy about the hot coffee in my travel mug.

I chatted with a nice lady in line, enjoyed a little people- watching (I’m told by others that it’s more like “staring”, but I’m working to be more discrete). The variety of people reflected the variety that live in this busy and diverse San Francisco Bay Area. Various languages and attire, on folks of all ages and persuasions. I love it.

A lot happens at the DMV, a variety of transactions and tests and miscellaneous state government business. It’s a main government channel to the masses. If you haven’t been in an office for a while, or haven’t browsed the department’s website, you might forget. I sorta did. So I was grateful things kept moving. Every minute or so another number was called; screens overhead told us what numbers were being served where.

My number? It was G-096.

I waited maybe a half hour, maybe 45 minutes. Then I heard my number on the loud speaker, saw the number on the screen, and things started moving.

I went to Window Number 9. The person there was pleasant and professional. She cut me a little slack to help me correct an error I’d made on my application.

After she was done processing my application and support documents from her station, she sent me on.

I arrived to queue in Line D. Another 10 minute wait. Another nice person at the desk to do her part helping my application move though the process, including the universally loved / hated license headshot photo. I gave a little smile.

Then I moved to Line C to wait for the final steps  of the transaction and issuance of the temporary license.

And then it was done. I walked outside into the brisk morning sunlight. I felt a little moisture in the air, promise of the rain due later in the day. I heard geese honking in the distance.

A couple hours of my life complete, the rest of the weekend ahead, a quiet satisfaction in my head. A basic but very necessary task was accomplished, and some simple lessons, ones I seem to learn over and over again.

Be early. Be prepared. Be friendly. Pay attention. Listen carefully. Be patient. Take your time. Think.

These lessons I try to teach my kids, kids like that little boy I saw sitting on the bench. They’re lessons I keep learning over and over again, too.

Addicted to Data?

A day without wearing a steps tracker, that’s what today is.

And my initial reaction, my feeling, is mixed. I feel like it’s going to be a little empty today. Weird, right? I mean, who really cares how many steps I take? Why do *I* care so much about the number of steps I take in a day?

I ask myself, “Am is addicted to data?”

The jury is out…I’ll let you know how it goes.

My X-Factor — I Celebrate Her Too!


I’ve talked about her before as my own personal “X-Factor”…in fact, that nickname  started before she was born.

In my house growing up it was just me and my brother. Simple, dyad relations. Oh well, our parents were there too. 🙂 And our poor mom, she was the only female in the house.

Fast forward several decades, my wife and I have our first child, a girl, awesome; two years later our son is born – super, perfect set, two, done. Or so I thought.

Silly me.

Soon there after we found out we were pregnant again. I started thinking then and there, this kid’s gonna be the x-factor do me, because I don’t know what it’s like with three kids in the house. When she was born, the realization that we now had three kids (in three years), and that I had two daughters (!)…well, I was just awe-struck. It was both AWEsome, and at the same time I was AWEfully sure it was going to be like nothing I had experienced previous.

Being a dad to three kids, and especially to two daughters, has been the one of the most significant blessings of my life. Honestly. I mean I love them all equally. That’s a fact. Each of them, their personalities, just everything, I love them for who they are, endlessly, and forever.

That said, as we celebrate Number Three now five years on this earth, well…she’s lived up to the whimsical nickname I gave her — she is my own personal X-Factor.

Her spirit, her passion, her humor, they all inspire me, and humble me, and teach me things over and over and over again. Her facial expressions, her fanciful dancing about, her zest for living. Her stare at the screen, the slow way she wakes up in the morning, the way she carries her luvy still.

And so as we celebrate the birthdays this weekend, I wish for her like I wish for my other daughter on her birthday five days earlier:  Long life and learning and laughter and good health and love and happiness ~ a lifetime and then some! Happy Birthday, Louie!

Random, Repeated — Parent, Life Insights

These reminders might have been shared before.  If so, still worth sharing again.

1/ Be bouyed by simple pleasures. Example? Tea station fired up for the week.  Hot coffee.  An extra hug.  A goodbye kiss.  An unexpected “Hello”.

2/ Make eye contact. And smile first. Teach your kids to do the same.

3/ Keep learning.

4/ Don’t be intimidated, be curious.

5/ Believe you can learn new things.

6/ If things go sideways, adjust to the new reality, don’t lament the inconvenience.

7/ “We know not the hour or the day”, so make most of every, single, one.

#halffull #parenting #worklife #goodstuff  #everyday

Celebrate Her

We did our best to celebrate her on her birthday.

We made the day mostly about her, and I think it was a good one. My wife led the way, as she usually does. And so on top of being grateful for my first born, my first daughter, I was thankful for my wife once again, and her plan for the day too.

It was a simple day, it was a great day.

The menu was laid out in advance. Scratch chocolate chip pancakes and bacon for breakfast, black berries too; hot dogs and veggies for lunch; spaghetti and home-made meatballs with brownie and sorbet for dessert. YUMMY.

After dinner, the candle flickered for a few moments stuck in the scoop of mango treat in my daughter’s bowl before she wished and blew the flame out.

She took maybe a hundred pictures with her new camera, capturing the world around her: in the house, down the street, the birds on the porch, the kitchen appliances, and more besides.

For some reason I had a ho-hum attitude earlier in the day. But I couldn’t help but push aside the blah, lifted up and fortified by the simple joy of the day.

Our first born, she who is funny and thoughtful and loving and smart and joyful. We’re so lucky, so blessed. Our Number One: she’s got a great attitude, she keeps trying even when she struggles, she’s helps around the house, she’s a great leader to her brother and sister.

So lucky, so blessed.

Anatomy of a Lions Charity Crab Feed

The work started months ago. A handful of Lion leaders doing early prep work for the event scheduled for Saturday, 9 February, the 23rd year of the Cupertino De Anza Lions Club Charity Crab Feed.

We need a 12 foot box truck, and refrigerated rig too, to handle all the transport of gear and foodstuff and all-important crab harvested off the Pacific coast.

This year we initiated a concerted effort to recycle all we could. Besides bottles and cans, we also gathered the food waste for compost.

In addition to the two rented trucks, several Lions transported various material to the event site: sound system, auction and raffle items, etc.

A crew of near twenty Lions and friends set up shop inside and outside too, where the crab pots were staged. We had easy-ups arranged too, for the rain that was expected.

We were ready to keep our outdoor cooking team dry and safe for the hours of hustle ahead.

The Condiments Station was prepped to give out lemons, tartar sauce, and cocktail sauce too.

The kitchen team prepared the salads and the bread.

The wine and beer station was set up to provide the refreshments that would be served, tasty pale ale options and red, and white wines.

The pasta line was prepped for the spaghetti onslaught.

The silent auction and raffle were set for display, promising plenty of good deals for our patrons. The dining tables, 27 for each seating, were readied for the diners soon to arrive.

Treasure Chest keys and buckets of raffle tickets were at the ready for good fun and many generous folks to try their luck and help our charities.

It was a long night, it was a wet night, it was a good night.

14 hours and nearly 15 miles of steps later, another crab feed was in the books.