Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Friday, January 23, 2009


Seal Babies

A lot of seal pups are growing up on one of the beaches in La Jolla. They usually stay on the rocks and islands out in the water, so it's very good to be able to watch them. The guards put ropes around to keep people from bothering them, but they seem used to having a lot of people up on the breakwater to see them.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


The Inauguration

I know that Miriam and Alice are very excited about our new incoming president, and wish they could go to the Inauguration in Washington -- but it's going to be too crowded. They told Evelyn that Malia and Sasha, the Obama children, are lucky because they will be living in the White House.

I thought all the children in the family would be interested the following letter that Barack Obama wrote to his children:
Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me-about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential-schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college-even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity.

I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other.

Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war and other dangerous situations to protect our country-but when we do, I want to make sure that it is only for a very good reason, that we try our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, and that we do everything possible to keep our servicemen and women safe. And I want every child to understand that the blessings these brave Americans fight for are not free-that with the great privilege of being a citizen of this nation comes great responsibility.

That was the lesson your grandmother tried to teach me when I was your age, reading me the opening lines of the Declaration of Independence and telling me about the men and women who marched for equality because they believed those words put to paper two centuries ago should mean something.

She helped me understand that America is great not because it is perfect but because it can always be made better-and that the unfinished work of perfecting our union falls to each of us. It's a charge we pass on to our children, coming closer with each new generation to what we know America should be.

I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give something back to this country that has given our family so much-although you do have that obligation. But because you have an obligation to yourself. Because it is only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you will realize your true potential.

These are the things I want for you-to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world. And I want every child to have the same chances to learn and dream and grow and thrive that you girls have. That's why I've taken our family on this great adventure.

I am so proud of both of you. I love you more than you can ever know. And I am grateful every day for your patience, poise, grace, and humor as we prepare to start our new life together in the White House.
Love, Dad

This letter was published in today's Parade Magazine.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


California Pictures

We are seeing lots of interesting birds by the sea. Lots of wading birds like to peck their long beaks into the sand and into piles of seaweed along the shore. Pelicans skim over the water or sit on the rocks.

Last Sunday we saw seals at the La Jolla Cove, but this Sunday, they weren't there at all, and we found out that it's unusual for them all to come up on the beach. The first picture shows the beach with all the seals last week. The second picture shows the beach a week later -- still nice and sunny, but they were all out on the other rocks, I suppose.

This Sunday we were at an old car show in the park right near the cove. I liked the dashboard of this old car:


Fairy Tales

I was reading about fairy tales here:

Are Fairytales Too Scary for Children?

(This reference is for grownups who read this blog.)

The author says that fairy tales are too old-fashioned, too scary, too cruel, and don't give a good idea of what girls and women are able to do. She doesn't like the Disney princesses in the original stories. I think a lot of girls like the princesses. I was talking to a father with a little girl and a little boy in the park yesterday, and the girl said her favorite princess was Ariel.

Lots of girls have a favorite princess. I think that's ok. The princesses actually have to do a lot for themselves and for other people, even if it's old fashioned. Belle was very brave, tried to save her father, and realized that the beast was ugly but good. Ariel explored a whole new world. Snow White was kind to the dwarfs. Sleeping Beauty was curious, though it wasn't good for her.

Cinderella really was pretty clever too, some writers have pointed out. Her stepmother kept her in the attic, so she made friends with the animals. She wanted to go to the ball, but it wasn't easy. She did all her hard work, made her own dress, and then when the stepsisters messed up her dress, she found a powerful helper: a fairy godmother. She also managed to get out of her attic, show the other slipper, and become the princess.

Miriam, Alice, Theo, Lenny, and I have all been reading two modern fairy tales: Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air by Diana Wynn Jones. I think Sophie, who is in disguise in both books, is a wonderful magical character, though not in fact a princess. I think this is a great fairy tale for both grownups and children.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Family we visited

Ruby, Jon, Don, Lenny, Jay

Myrtle & Howard


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