there's more to life than this (

Last Tuesday I picked up Hanley and decided to do something different. Instead of taking her home or going to the playground, we went to Agora for coffee. I ordered a mocha for myself and a double espresso for Hanley. Just kidding. She got an orange juice and a banana. We found a table upstairs and Hanley asked me a million questions. Actually, she pretty much only asks one question, which is, "What's that?" But she asked it a bunch of times while pointing at different people and things. Her teachers have told me that they're astonished by her vocabulary and are often surprised at the words and phrases that randomly fall out of Hanley's mouth. I'm just glad she doesn't say, "Holy crap!" in front of them, or worse, because I constantly slip and accidently swear in front of her. Bad manny!

She stayed in her seat, ate her banana, was relatively quiet, and drank her entire container of juice. I was impressed by her behavior. Unfortunately, she pooped and I didn't have a diaper bag. On her way out, she ran up to a cute guy. I feared for his laptop, but he smiled at her, which made him even more attractive, until Hanley suddenly went, "ROAR!" at him, like a stinky werewolf child about to maul his ankles, and the cute guy visibly recoiled. "Sorry," I said, and guided her away.


The next day when I picked her up from school, she climbed into her car seat--Oh, yeah. She can now climb into the car, traverse the void from the front seat arm rests to the back seat, and get into her car seat all by herself. She can't quite manage the straps yet, but I'm sure she'll figure them out any day now. So I turned around to strap her in to her seat and she said, "I want coffee!" I said, "Ask me nicely." She said, "Um. Um. May I please have coffee, please!" Sometimes she slips a redundant please in there, but I'm told that level of politeness is unheard of for a two year old, so who the hell cares? Back to Agora we went.


I ordered the same thing for us, we sat at our same table upstairs, and she was on her best behavior once again. I was reading news stories on my iPad, so she climbed into my lap to look at the pictures and point and scroll when instructed. (She's quite adept with electronics, which is why she's the boss lady. I imagine she'll lead a hostile takeover of the Sheinhardt Wig Company by the time she's 3.) After a while she got bored and said, "I want to get down." "If you get down from my lap," I said, "you have to sit in your chair." Silence as she processed that statement. "Which is it going to be Hanley, my lap or your chair?" "Um. Um. Um. Um." A brilliant negotiator, she was hedging and hoping I'd forget the terms. Crafty. "Chair or lap, Hanley? Or, we can leave." "Hanley sit in chair." "Good choice!" She finished her banana, pretended to give her stuffed rabbit, Dash, some juice, and then we left.

Next, we visited the Menil Collection. We had recently visited a month ago, so there were only a few new paintings here and there to see. In the Surrealism exhibit there were a rash of Picasso paintings that I'd never seen before. I thought they were great, but Hanley glanced at them and said, "Meh!" Clearly, she was unimpressed. Nothing grabbed her attention, so we walked across the street to the Menil's Cy Twombly Gallery. Inside, Hanley perked up and pointed to a Twombly painting and asked, "What's that?" "A painting." "Painting," she repeated. "You're probably better equipped to explain it to me, since Twombly's work is rather childlike," I said. "Womly," she tried. "Twombly," I corrected. "Twomly." "Close. Twombly." "Twombly." "Yes." We walked through the exhibit and she was silent, taking it all in, until she announced, "I want to color."


mighty real (

Back in my NYC days, in the mid 1990s, I answered an ad in Backstage in which a songwriter was looking for a singer for a demo recording. There was no pay, but the singer would get a copy of the demo and a credit on the recording. I thought, Why not? I'll meet people, get my name out there, and get a demo tape out of it. What a great stepping stone moment. This will be great! I called, got the address and time for my audition, and showed up on the appointed day with my instrument warmed up and ready to go.

The songwriter was a gay man in his mid to late thirties. I was a gay man in my early to mid twenties. I was also a gay man in his black vinyl pants that left little to the imagination. I thought I had the gig in the bag the minute I walked through the door. Still, the songwriter asked me to sing his song. A mere formality, I was sure. He played it through once on the piano, while explaining that it was a theatrical number that had pop crossover potential in the vein of Sondheim, Gershwin, or Alice in Chains. I assured him that I understood what he wanted and we took it from the top.

When I finished singing the songwriter paused, looked me up and down, and then said, "I'm sorry, but I don't think you're right for this. But you know what you should do? You remind me of a male Sandra Bernhard. You could be her little brother. You should sing back-up for her."

Funny. That job never showed up on my 8th grade career assessment test.

"I'll get right on that. Thank you for your time," I said and left.


tuesdays with rexford


working for the weekend

Rex and I had a big weekend. Becky's birthday was on Saturday and we were going out to dinner (the humans, not Rex) and then coming back here for cake and presents, which meant people for Rex to jump on! I kept him in my apartment most of the night, but I think he did get to jump on Lisa K. On Sunday my friends Amy and James came over for dinner. More people for Rex to jump on! Amy and James are from Maine, but were in town visiting relatives, and I haven't seen them since last year, so it was great to catch up with them. It was great for me, but I'm not sure how much fun they had fending off Rex the kangaroo dog! Rex certainly had a good time, which is all that matters.


bubble pop electric (

Hanley has an agenda. Like her mother, she's kind of Type A and an agenda makes her happy. Yesterday, I made the mistake of absentmindedly saying, "Give me a minute, Hanley. I need to let Lloyd outside before you and Daddy go to the doctor." "Doctor?" Hanley pondered. "Yes," I said. (Not "yeah." We're making a conscious effort to say "yes" around Hanley, because she says "yeah" and "yup" way too much, which is pretty much my fault.) "You're getting shots." I closed the door behind Lloyd after he ran outside, and turned to find Hanley shaking her hands and dancing in place, a small whine escalated into a wail. "Hey, now," I said, "stop that. You'll go to the doctor, get your shots, and it will be over very quickly, and you'll be fine."

After that, she kept repeating the agenda like a soothing mantra. "Hanley go to doctor, get shots, over quick, be fine!" I mentioned that she might get a sticker out of the deal. The mantra changed to "Hanley go doctor, get shot, get sticker, put sticker on knee, BE FINE!"

She has spring break this week, so I've been spending my days at Hanley, Inc. this week. After a rousing breakfast of pancakes, faux sausage (soy) patties, and applesauce, we went over the agenda. "Change diaper, get clothes, go to park, see kids, Hanley lunch, and BUBBLES!" "You forgot your nap in all that. You have to nap before we can play with the bubbles." Blank stare. Not the N-word! By the time lunch was consumed--a heaping plate of diced chicken and tomatoes in a carrot tomato "sauce" (read: baby food) over whole wheat noodles. And she ate three bites of my sandwich, thank you very much--her lids were heavy and she fell asleep on my chest in the rocking chair, something she hasn't done in quite a while. Two hours later, I went to see if she was awake and she immediately sat up and shouted, "Bubbles!"

Bubbles are an agenda I can definitely get behind.