Author Archive


Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Just thought I’d drop by and check-in about what I’m doing via my Moominmamma’s webspace.

California, California… I’m currently still working for Childhood Matters and Nuestros Niños. For those of you who don’t know what we do (or what I do), we produce two radio talk shows on parenting (one in English, one in Spanish). I was the Assistant Producer for the past year, now I’m the Communications Associate, and do um… lots of different things related to operating a non-profit. Those of you who have young youngsters should visit our website – I honestly think we have good information for parents, and all of our shows are available for free on our website. I’ll stop plugging our work now…

My roomie and long time friend Jess and I have been living in Berkeley for the last year and are now trying our hardest to move across the bay to San Francisco, but it’s been more than a little difficult since the housing market here is both expensive and cutthroat competitive (and we’re both busy).

And what do I do in my spare time in the wonderful Bay Area, you ask? Well, you know, hang out with friends, explore, go to the beach. And a lot of rock shows. Just Sunday, Jess and I went to this (clickheredoitnow) on Treasure Island in the middle of the Bay. Treasure Island and this great festival bookended our summer – if anyone wants stories about Sasquatch I’d be happy to tell them. But for now just imagine Jess and I with four days and nights to make it to George, WA and back.

For a first time festival Treasure Island was amazingly well orchestrated. They had parking in SF, and shuttles to take all concert-goers to the island, since there’s not much space for parking there. We hardly had to wait either coming or going, and there was free ice cream while we waited to leave. It was big, but didn’t feel big, and I have to say I’ve been waiting to see certain of these bands for years. Best of all, there were two stages, but they staggered the performances so we never had to choose between two bands!

For anyone who cares, here’s some music gobbledygook. Modest Mouse was as great live as I’ve been hoping since the age of 15 (16?), although they played too many newer songs for my taste. The highlight was the encore, in which the band played one of the new songs, and while in the instrumental portion Isaac Brock starting inserting lyrics from an older album into the song – pretty incredible if you’re familiar with Modest Mouse. I definitely left feeling like I’d be willing to pay to see them again. Other highlights include M. Ward who put on an all around good show, Two Gallants who I’ve been listening to since moving here (they’re from SF), and one of my all time favorite bands, Built to Spill. Doug Martsch played an amazing solo version of Car, the song that makes everyone love Built to Spill. I don’t think they played that last time I saw them play in Chicago.

We go to a lot of smaller shows too, but I don’t think I need to get into the musicky details or you’ll all ask that I never post again. Other highlights in the life of Elizardbreath include cooking (gotta go make spaghetti sauce) and eating, sleeping, watching The OC on DVD (I know, I know, it’s awful), reading, speaking Spanish, my cousin Renee’s birthday beach bonfire, and planning a trip to visit my SoCal pals in October.

Lastly but not leastly, I was saddened to learn last night that Shakey Jake died. My dear old dad pointing Jake and his bowties and guitar out to me (most likely from the fresh and healthy atmosphere of the Fleetwood Diner [ha. {not.}]) is quite possibly one of my earliest memories.

This was pretty long, but I’ll be happy to see many of you at Christmastime, and keep in touch. Hope you weren’t bored :-).

guess how we woke up at 4:42 last night? renee?

Friday, July 20th, 2007

article. i looked at the clock, and it was 4:42.

if it’s july 20, check out the big blue square… we live just to the left of that.

in other news, i will be home early on the morning of august 1 (these events are, in fact, unrelated).
love to all,


¡Atención Beach People!

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

I will be skulking in the general vicinity of Birch Point Beach Between August 1 or 2 and August 7, so take that into account in your summer vacation making plans, if at all possible so I can maximize my visiting time. I’m just finding that the Northern California Pacific isn’t as swimmable as good old Lake Superior for my purposes =)


Friday, March 23rd, 2007

I want to post something I wrote about Granddaddy when I was 17, for a Short Story Writing class with Judith – I think the assignment was a character sketch of someone we knew. It’s complete with bad writing devices and grammar. I clearly didn’t have some facts straight, and I think I took some liberties with details (unknowingly or not). I should point out that my father has since brought to my attention that Granddaddy used to listen to the ship scanner for what was coming up or down river and then walk down to the beach and know what it was, seemingly by magic. I also want to add one last story:

When I was in Spain, I called home around Christmas time when my parents were visiting my grandparents in the Soo. It was snowing, and Granddaddy informed me that I really ought to come home to shovel the walk. I responded that it would be a little difficult for me to get home and he said that it was fine, I could just parachute in from the plane it wouldn’t even have to stop, in fact the snow would cushion my fall.

The Big Friendly Granddaddy

My granddaddy is a character, but not of the type that you can tell just by looking at him. If you’ve ever read The BFG by Roald Dahl, that’s hwat he reminds me of. He doesn’t look like a big friendly giant, but that’s kind of how his personality is. Quiet, a little silly, and just maybe a little shy. He seems tall although he’s gotten smaller as I’ve gotten older, and he wears a lot of old clothes. Occasionally, my grandma will look at him and say “Jack, I didn’t even know you owned those pants anymore.”

I think he’s always been the way he is. One day in kindergarten, the class was sitting in a circle on a big square carpet in the kindergarten room and the teacher left for a minute. While the teacher was gone, granddaddy and another kid contrived to turn the entire class around by turning the carpet. Another time, the teacher sent him outside to collect all the children who hadn’t come inside from recess, but he didn’t come back and eventually the teacher had to go and get them all. I think they were all paddled.

Once, when he was a little older, he bought a baby alligator from another boy for ten cents. He kept it in the bathtub until that night when his mother told him he had to get rid of it. The next day he sold it to another kid. Of course he made a profit of fifteen cents by selling it for twenty-five.

I don’t know a whole lot about his teen years, but he grew up in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. During the winter, he lived in town, but during the summer his family moved out to a log cabin on the very last bay of Lake Superior before it becomes the St. Mary’s River.

He went to college in the Lower Peninsula, and it was there that he met my grandmother, Fran, then the roommate of his sister, Betty. He asked my grandma to go out with him one day. He came to get her on foot and she asked him what they were going to do.

“Well, I thought maybe we would rent bicycles. Do you have fifty cents for rental?”

They ended up walking down to the river, and proceeded to find a place to sit down under a tree. Granddaddy decided to initiate a conversation.

“So, what do you think about God?”

I’m not sure of the year they were married, but it was during World War Two, because they had to be married on or near Granddaddy’s Air Force base in Texas. He never actually made it over seas, but instead spent the war teaching other men to fly planes for the U.S. He kept his piloting license for many years and took his family out on plane rides on Sundays.

After the war my grandparents moved back to the Soo. Graddaddy became a banker and they had two children, first my mother, Anne, and a couple years later, my uncle Jim. My mom doesn’t talk much about my granddaddy when she was young, but she has told me numerous times what he used to do when picking up she and her cousins from downhill skiing at Minneapolis Woods at night. The high school boys would always hold on to the back of the car in order to get a ride back to town, and granddaddy would manage to knock them off the back without injuring them. I hear this story a lot in the midst of lectures about good driving.

He retired from the bank in his mid-fifties. My grandma tells me that she would leave early every morning (she still worked as a teacher at Soo High) and granddaddy would sleep in, then make the bed by pulling the covers up as straight as he could around him, then creeping out without wrinkling them much.

When I was a little girl granddaddy used to get a cookie under my watchful eye, then turn to me and say “My cookie.”

“No, my cookie!” I would reply.

Eventually I caught on and started arguments of this sort myself.

“My chair!”

“No, my chair!”

“My blanket!”

“No, my blanket!”

The one I remember best was “My dress!” to which granddaddy didn’t have much of a response.

Although there are a hundred thousand or so stories about granddaddy (and just about everyone else in my family), my best memories of him will always be at the beach. He will be walking the beach with me and my various family members, being careful to walk on the cool, wet packed sand at the water’s edge because it’s easiest there on his bad knee. He will look out over the water towards the island and the enormous lake freighter making its way up or down river to Duluth or Detroit and he’ll guess what it is. Uncle Jim and my cousin Val will proclaim its name much louder than my granddaddy. I’ll steal my mom’s binoculars just to check, but even without them I know he’ll be right every time.

Like I said, I have about a million stories about him, and I like to think that I learned a lot from him. Most importantly, I miss him. I like to think he and Jim are raising all sorts of strange, fun… stuff on the beach, impervious to the wintry weather. And I hope you all find the story I wrote funny!


Friday, February 23rd, 2007
California report:

Received a rather explosively frog-hued package this afternoon. Couldn’t understand the strange noises coming from the back room of the post office until I got it home and opened.

Earthquake around 3:45 – 3.4 on the Richter scale. Have not yet found a better way to ascertain that I am a Michigan girl through and through. Boss’s eldest daughter (visiting from New York) was heard to say “It does feel a little different when you have a baby to worry about. Hm, bet that one was about a five.”
Lot’s o’ love!

P.S. Excited to visit now, mama? Mouse?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY #2 of the week

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007
…Skirting around the fact that it’s her BIRTHDAY!!
With love from California,

Two things

Monday, January 15th, 2007
  • ¡Feliz cumpleaños a Grinch! Que te cumples muchos (as?) más.
  • This is incredibly nerdy, but there is a Beach Cousins facebook group. Any cousins of mine that I am friends with on there have been invited, but all beach cousins NOT in my friends on facebook should be encouraged to either look me up or join facebook and look me up. =)

With love from California.

(Moom, I don’t remember the tag to make it blue…)

Back to the Bay

Thursday, January 4th, 2007

¡Buenas noches a todos! I am back safe in Berkeley, as of New Years Day, and happily back at work and now simply awaiting the arrival of my dear roommate, Jess.

I wanted to stop in on my Moom’s blog and say that it was wonderful to have a chance to see everyone that I saw while home. It’s always nice to see family, but of course, being away from home gives you a different sense of appreciation. I’m sure my cousins (like the Beautiful Renee) who have also moved away from Michigan will back me up on that one =)

¡Un prospero nuevo año!


She doesn’t know what she’s done.

Thursday, December 28th, 2006

My moom thought it would be a good idea to add me to her blog as a contributor. She might learn to regret that, if she doesn’t first regret giving Froggy administrative capabilities.