Month: July 2014

Fixin’ Food, Together.

Great first blog post by Zego’s CEO. Real-world stuff.

sunflower exchange

I’m a fixer. My mom is a fixer, my sisters are fixers. It runs in the genes and starts showing in early childhood.


I was a happy, active kid, fixing the problems of my day — like having 2 friends who both want to be Cinderella in our attic play.


Then, I broke.


My preteen years were tough—I lost energy, stopped growing, was in constant pain, starting breaking bones, couldn’t pay attention in class. I withdrew. No one knew how sick I was so there was virtually no community support, no external recognition of my struggle. I had one doctor tell me I was making up my symptoms to get attention. I had classmates giving me attention by calling me a “pregnant bird.”


By the time I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease at 15, I did look like a pregnant bird and had the graceful movement…

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El Dia de Los Legos Diez Mil.


There’s no other way to describe it.
We live in a war-torn state here on Beach Street.

Lego shrapnel abounds. Lego bombs lurk around every corner. Tiny pieces lie in wait, sometimes for months, eager to inflict some damage on some poor, unsuspecting innocent.

It amazes me that neither Hilary nor I have ripped the plantar fascia on our feet bottoms via inadvertently stepping on those sharp suckers.

I live in fear of that scenario.

Creeping across the bedroom floor in total darkness for a bathroom run, delicately placing my feet on the floor with a dainty touch as though checking for land mines or a glacial fissure. Eyes wide trying to use my rods or cones to catch a glimpse of a luminescent piece of plastic before I wreck my foot on it and go hurtling headlong into the dog’s crate. Likely impaling myself on the metal frame, bleeding out right there on the carpet whilst my family sleeps peacefully.

The Legos also serve as evidence; an indication that Everett was recently there. He carries little figurines and space ship contraptions in his pockets at all times. Then deftly deposits one on the corner of a couch, next to an abandoned dinner plate, on the floor of the guest bathroom. Maybe like a serial killer who leaves tiny little origami swans at crime scenes. A calling card.

They are literally everywhere.

We bought the two large Lego bags pictured above a couple years ago. Hoping that the Legos could be gathered and stored neatly within them. Instead, the bags spend more time split open, spilling their blocky contents out like bloated piñatas.

The sheer number of Lego pieces they contain boggles the mind. Just the thought of having to someday count them for some unfathomable reason makes my temples throb.

I have no idea how we accumulated so many Legos. None showed up in-bulk. None en masse. Rather, one packet at a time. Like an unattended faucet drip drip dripping for a month that silently floods an entire home.

On occasion, I smile giddily at the prospect of offloading the Lego cache. Everett’s — they’re mostly within Everett’s exclusive dominion at this point — interest in them hits a lull. The satchels stay stuffed but sinched in a closet for a month. The boys have younger cousins on the east coast that would love to get their hands on these bad boys. My older nephew would likely rip into the USPS box like a wild animal. Drooling a bit. So exciting. He would remember always the day “the 10,000 Legos showed up.”

El Dia de Los Legos Diez Mil –maybe my sister and her husband will celebrate this day annually as such!

More likely, she won’t speak to me for a time. Happy that her kids are happy. Secretly fuming that her plantar fascia are now in jeopardy. That she or her husband may impale themselves. I hope her rods or cones are superior to mine, night vision-wise. That is her only hope. Good luck, l’il sis….

Thanks for reading.

I Fought the Lawn and the Lawn Won.


This is how nature is supposed to look.  Well, let me try that again:  Ignore the Snapseed and Instagram bells and whistles.  Ignore the posed look on Everett’s face.  He insisted.  Basically refused to move until I took the photo.  Ignore, too, the fact that the dog is over it.  Near impossible to get her to stand still on that small rock, with Everett stuck in time.  And she probably didn’t appreciate Everett’s left hand maybe grabbing a bit of skin to keep her in position. 

Ignore all that. 

Ahh, that’s better.  OK, so like I said, this is how nature is supposed to look.

I say “supposed” because I’m still trying to come to terms with what’s happening at this very moment in our backyard.  As Everett just pronounced when he stumbled into the living room this morning, “Are the guys still doing our turf?  Yeah, I heard voices.”

Yep.  We are getting a fake backyard.

I used to scoff at the notion of artificial turf.  The Montreal Expos’ field.  That’s my first recollection of the stuff.  My first interaction with the surface as best as I can recall.  That turf was so bad, they changed the team’s name, moved it stateside to Washington, D.C., and now they have a right fielder who, when in situ, looks very much like that Patterson Bigfoot film from Washington State. Or maybe it was Oregon.  Anyhow, the point is, ownership of that team was so repulsed by turf that they overcompensated in the other direction, over-paying to have a Skunk Ape look-alike roaming their now natural grass in the outfield. 

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By the way, not that it matters, but I’m referring to Jayson Werth, the Nationals’ right fielder.  I don’t mean to demean him.  I’m just saying his look is the opposite of artificial turf.  I’m sure he’s a wonderful guy.  A real model citizen.  A fine human being.

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Actually, I have no idea if he is wonderful, a model citizen or a fine human.  But I do know that he’s something like 6’5″ and 240 pounds.  So I don’t want to agitate the man.  And on the odd chance that he somehow finds this blog, I don’t want to find myself in his cross-hairs.  Um, hi, Jayson.  Apologies.  But even Jayson (hi, Jayson) would have to scratch his head over the eery similarities between the photo of him below, and Roger Patterson’s photo of the gent in the gorilla suit above.

Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 8.43.14 AM

See what I mean?

So like I said, the lengths to which some people will go to avoid artificial turf, erase it from their memory banks, pretend they never had anything to do with it — those lengths are apparently pretty extraordinary.

In another day or so, our little backyard lawn will be gone.  Vanished.  Replaced by synthetic plastic rolled out in rectangular pieces of green carpet.  Not exactly what nature is supposed to look like. Fortunately for me, however, the stuff purportedly works like a necklace of garlic when it comes to Jayson Werth.  Which is a relief.  We can’t have a ‘squatch roaming around out there.

Thanks for reading.


Variety Is the Spice of Life (and Just Might Save Your Life).

Much is made in the news media about the importance of moderation and variety as key components of a healthy lifestyle. Supposedly, this is particularly true with respect to one’s diet. We all know by rote by now all the reasons for living this way.

But I think I have stumbled on another, less traditional rationale for this age-old admonition. And stumbled on it in a non-traditional way, no less.

You see, our Lab-Shepherd mix (this is our latest guess) “puppy” has evidently taken this moderation and variety advice to heart. Following it quite literally. Adopting a very precise approach.

Preparing to leave Wailea home alone for a couple hours has forced us to develop an entirely different perspective on what does, and what does not, constitute “food.” I survey our bedroom before leaving, scanning the tops of bedside tables, the reachable areas under our bed, the backyard with its endless jetsam and floatsam of dog toys and kids’ toys. Once convinced that Wailea’s area is “food-free” after making a few minor modifications here and there, I shut the door and leave the house with confidence.

When I return, I see my arm and hand reaching unsteadily for the bedroom door knob. It’s like an out-of-body experience. My pulse quickens. I catch myself mumbling or maybe chanting or half-praying that nothing irreplaceable has been ripped to shreads. Some combination of “Give my peanuts to Uncle Jake” and “Hava Nagila.” (This is one of those rare occasions when my Atheism causes me problems.) I hold my breath, pinch my eyes shut, turn the knob, push open the door. And then, typically with a dropped jaw and wide eyes, I survey the damage. Calculate the associated expense — economic and psychological. Sometimes it’s both.

Allow me to elaborate. She has devoured an English-to-Chinese dictionary. “Obliterated” may be more apt. It looked like a debris field in the aftermath of a satellite crashed to Earth. (I would like to be able to describe this scene in Mandarin, but alas, I can’t, since the Mandarin dictionary did not survive the crash).

More recently, Wailea has eaten: (a) a deck of playing cards, (b) a walkathon pledge form, (c) a blue felt tip marker, (d) a photo of Hilary when Hilary was 10 years-old, (e) a bushel of apples and pears set out as a lovely dining table centerpiece, (f) my iPhone earbuds, (g) one fairly expensive (I think) shoe belonging to my wife, (h) a One Dollar bill, (i) a checkbook, and (j) a bright orange, papier machet work of school art the size of a cantaloupe that might have been a piñata but looked like a gargoyle head.

If I’m being totally honest, this last meal I was sort of happy about. The luminescent gargoyle head had been making me uncomfortable for the past several weeks. It just showed up one day on a table in our bedroom, out of nowhere. Strange tribal markings spiraled around its bald head. Protruding eyeballs. A porcine sneer. Huge fangs. (OK, I’m not positive about the fangs, but that’s how I remember it).

I don’t know which of my sons made it. Or if either of them made it. It scared me, I think it gave me bad juju, and I am frankly glad that it is gone. And I know it is truly gone because I saw pieces of it that Wailea had later, ehm, “recycled.”

So long, Orange Devil Head! See yah! That’s what you get–all chewed up, torn to pieces, and passed through my Lab-Shepherd’s innards! Go tell all your bad juju friends: The Beadling Homestead is closed for business to all manner of malevolent, otherworldly forces — demons, devils, gargoyles, poltergeists, the whole lot of you. Don’t come ’round here no more, ya hear?!!

I don’t know what terrible misfortune Wailea has spared us by eating our money, checks and Chinese dictionaries. But surely, there again, she is keeping us safe.

So like I said, maybe there is something to what the news media says about moderation and variety. And perhaps variety is the spice of life. At least when it comes to the various, seemingly-random items Wailea works into her otherwise pedestrian dog food diet.

This is the only logical explanation for what Wailea has done. Otherwise, I’d just be another pissed off dog owner, cursing and helpless upon discovering another semi-important household item destroyed by a low-IQ pound-bought rescue mutt. And that’s just not me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to walk back home to discover how our dog has protected our family’s well-being today with her varied diet. For example, there are a couple of tiny, ET-meets-Ninja Turtles-meets-tropical drink decorations figurines striking threatening poses from Everett’s bed post. I am tired of being threatened. I want them gone. I want them made an example of.

Thanks for reading.

I Got A Woman.


I bolt awake at 4 am.

Max has a baseball tournament in Sunnyvale, the first game of which begins at 8 am. Show up time is 7 am. The drive will take an hour. We’ll need to be on the road by 6 am. Raising Max from his slumber will take 5 minutes. Tyga’s “Rack City” is my go-to with Max. Guaranteed to jumpstart his sleepy head and elicit some odd hip-hop moves that I should probably forbid.

Scrambling around the house collecting all the pieces of Max’s uniform will take 15 minutes. (This despite my orders last night to have everything packed, zipped, and ready to go.) Net, net, this all means a 5:30 am wake-up call. It’s only 4 am, but I slip out from under the covers, taking inventory on various aches and pains, exacerbated by a night’s sleep short by a couple hours.

This is how I begin the morning of Hilary and my 17th wedding anniversary. This is what my life has come to.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’ve had a rough year, of sorts. Family and friends have passed away. I’ve endured several months of being considerably less than 100%. We have weathered a handful of bitter disappointments. Slights real and slights imagined.

All of which has served to give me perhaps the deepest and broadest perspective on my marriage, and on my life, that I’ve managed to conjure up in my 45 years.

The Lemonade–Grandma’s Lemonade–is tasting pretty good. Even with the wooden spoon picked up off the floor, particles of dirt stirred in there. Maybe a long black hair entwined around one of the ice cubes. A few too many lemon seeds in there, one of which tries to ruin my sip by jumping into my thirsty mouth along with a big gulp. Gonna need to try harder than that, seed.

So yeah, I’m feeling thankful this morning, 17 years to the day from when Hilary first showed me how much stronger and tougher she is than I —

She strode purposefully down the red-carpeted aisle, standing tall, clear-eyed, solid.

I, on the other hand, was a puddle. Tears welled up in my eyes rendering me nearly blind, squinting to keep my eyes trained on my approaching bride-to-be. My throat so tight. Had I spoken during her proud walk, Kermit the Frog’s voice would have come out. At best. My head swam. It was all I could do to keep my feet and not topple over.

It got worse during the actual ceremony. My Best Man had the foresight to bring along something should I need to wipe my brow or cough. Unfortunately, that something was a wad of toilet paper. So there I stood, my face dripping sweat into my burning eyes. My eyes overflowing with tears. My cheeks blushing red. Little pieces of toilet paper clinging to my face as I swabbed myself repeatedly, in a desperate attempt to keep my shit together.

In my wretched state, I glance at her. Her eyes hold mine. Her smile so calm and confident. Her right hand squeezing my left just a bit harder now. Pushing her strength into me. I pull through. Depleted, drained, spent, tapped out. I pulled through. But only because of her.

I mentioned it’s been a rough year. But this is when Hilary is at her best, you see. Our wedding day was just my first glimpse of that truth. So during this tough patch, she remains: Unwavering. Loyal. Her hand literally or figuratively squeezing mine. Squeezing allof our hands — my hands as well as those of our sons.

So these are the warm thoughts in my head as I return to Earth and have to sprint across the chewing tobacco-stained and sunflower seed-littered parking lot to catch the start of Max’s 8 am game.

Maybe not exactly the sort of anniversary Hilary had in mind.

Then again, maybe exactly the kind of anniversary she had in mind, because I’m spending the morning with our first-born. His birth was the second time Hilary showed me how much stronger and tougher she is than I. So it seems fitting that today I get to sit and just watch him zip around the field for the next few hours; one of several amazing things, the product of 17 years ago today.

Happy Anniversary, my love. And please keep squeezing my hand. 🙂

Thanks for reading.