April 2015


What are you doing about the drought? We’ve put buckets in our showers, pulled up most of the plants in our yard and replaced them with bark, and are attending the PMS Water Conservation Showcase tonight at 6:00 pm at Community Hall. Plus we constantly hound all house teenagers to take shorter showers. So I thought we were doing our part. I also presumed I understood the central issue of the drought: too many people living in the desert, all trying to recreate their east coast childhoods with lush lawns and plentiful golf courses.


man spreading

It’s tax day, its own special category of hell, but I’m not that fired up about it this year. Politicians are announcing they’re running for president with depressing regularity, foreshadowing the nonstop campaign-talk for the next eighteen months, but I’m resigned to that, too. What I’m really peeved about this spring of 2015 is a scourge that until recently had no name: man spreading. (more…)

mexico 2015

I’m off the grid this week in Tijuana, but thought I’d offer a lightly updated repeat of my feelings about the PCC/PHS trip that so many people in this town work so hard to make such an extraordinary experience. I tip my gold-blingy trucker’s hat, as always, to Scott Kail and his band of builders with the patience of saints.

I’m not going to lie. The first time I heard about the PCC Mexico Spring Break trip, I rolled my eyes and quickly labeled it a “rich kid trip.” Growing up middle class (as in flyover zone five-figure, not Piedmont middle class) and attending college with the mainly affluent, I developed a cynicism (jealousy?) towards semesters in Nicaragua or winter breaks teaching paraplegics to ski.

Why couldn’t Piedmont kids focus on desperately poor families in Oakland or Richmond? Wouldn’t it be far more efficient for PHS to raise a chunk of money to send a skilled crew with a cement truck to build twice as many houses in Mexico?



The other night over dinner I took the opportunity to run a mini focus group. My junior had a couple of friends over and I had just read an alarming editorial in the Palo Alto Weekly by junior Carolyn Walworth titled The Sorrows of Young Palo Altans. I don’t know what I was expecting, but whatever it was, I definitely didn’t get it. I had my daughter read Walworth’s article out loud and then asked her and her friends what they thought. Rather than the utter shock and despair I felt, they all nodded fairly nonchalantly and said, in as many words, yep – that’s us.