- mr. man looks at his watch -

I had hoped to be a little more prolific in this new year, but c'mon, who are we kidding?  Those first few days of 2000 held such promise, the old year was fully exhaled and I was determined to produce oodles of words all over the place.  Yeah, well, it's like this...

1.  Viv and I have been preparing for Amy's IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting next week.  An IEP is an attempt by the school district and parents to address the needs of handicapped kids, and while the intent is good and many of the professionals who try to develop a good plan are quite dedicated, the result can sometimes be unsatisfying.  With practice however, which is an optimistic way of saying after trial and error, the plan can be distilled into a set of very specific goals and objectives that is workable by those folks who actually have their mitts on the kid on a daily basis.  

That's the theory anyway.  We'll see.

2.  In preparation for this meeting, Amy has been undergoing a series of tests.  Some have been at school, some have been at a psychologist's office, and some have been at the place where she gets occupational therapy.  Just call me Mr. Shuttle.

3.  Amid all this, we've decided that Amy should participate in the after-school drama club which meets on Wednesdays.  To avoid an ugly emotional scene wherein an eight-year-old kid explodes with the Anxiety Of Something New, I have become the designated hand-holder and escort from classroom to rehearsal stage.  You'll be hearing more about this endeavor in future entries, I'm sure.  Lest you think we are being heartless stage parents, I assure you it really is "for her own good" and, surprise, she likes it -- at least after the first session.

On its face this wouldn't seem like much of a time sucker, but when you consider that it might be unwise for a parent to show up at his child's school wearing pj's and a 48-hour stubble you realize that a time-consuming hygiene program has to be undertaken.  Serious mirror time has to be scheduled.  My creams and lotions, sprays and such, and the plucking -- sheesh, where'd my afternoon go?

4.  I'm running again.  Yep, back to the old routine of trail-running through the Santa Monica Mountains to maintain this virile glow of health and vigor I covet so.

These things take time.


I can't go jogging off into hills without thinking about being in nature's solitude, remembering to breathe in that fresh coastal breeze, and imagining grabbing my chest as I collapse into the weeds.  Not that I'm having any symptoms or anything, it's just that I'm almost 43, an office chair jockey, fairly nervous, and the proud owner of a family history that says be careful.  And now that Letterman has met the rib spreader it's been no trouble at all to pick up a tub or three of Benecol.

What a remarkable product that is.  Eat it and actually reduce your cholesterol!  It's delicious, especially slathered on lobster, but save room for that vanilla ice cream -- you earned it.

This is why I run with my cell phone on.


There has been an enormous fight going on across the street from me as I write this.  An absolutely humongous explosion between my neighbor and his adult daughter has made its way out into their front yard.  This is the sort of domestic crisis that makes you wonder just how far it's going to escalate.  It's a downright snot-throwing shouting match at this point, and I'm learning way too much about somebody's life.  Since the avoidance of eavesdropping is impossible at this volume, the experience is guilt-free, but still, man, this is all pretty eerie.  All I can do is keep a squinting vigilant eye on my once-quiet cul-de-sac and hope that it ends with nobody physically hurt.

The episode is certainly putting a new perspective on my own troubles these days.


  today's music:

"Paradise Squat" -- Count Basie" -- COUNT BASIE: JAZZ MASTERS 2


today's wisdom:

"I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it."

- Harry S. Truman