The Beach Painting


The Beach Painting (circa 1998) by Jō Mikals Adachi. Find more of his work here.

The Beach Painting (circa 1998) by Jō Mikals Adachi. Find more of his work here.


Me: (walking, seemingly aimless around the house, holding up signs)

Hank: (finding me in the hallway) Mom, are you okay?

Me: Yup.

Hank: (curiosity peeked) What are you doing?

Me: Trying to find a place to hang these signs.

Hank: Why?

Me: Because I want them in plain view, in a place to be seen often and I’m walking around the house looking to find just the right spot.

Hank: What about here in the hallway, under The Beach Painting?

Me: No one spends time in the hallway. It is a thoroughfare.

Hank: (admiring the painting) I do. I love this painting.

Me: You do? Tell me why you love it.

Hank: Because it reminds me of me, but I know it isn’t me because it has always been here and I have not always been this big.


Hank: And the boy in the painting is doing my favorite thing in the world.

Me: Is that right?

Hank: Yes, he’s climbing on these rocks by the sea and I love to climb on rocks by the sea.

Me: You do. The person in that painting isn’t a boy, though.

Hank: It could be anyone. That is why I like it.

Me: Could it?

Hank: You could hang your sign here, right under the painting and I would see it.

Me: Huh.

Hank: Who is the person in the painting, mom?

Me: Jeni, Iris and Bill’s daughter.

Hank: Oh, your best friend when you were young.

Me: Yes. Your uncle Jō painted this for me from a photograph I took of her. He literally stole the photo from my apartment to paint the painting then he gave them both back to me. This was a very special day and how I always like to think of her.

Hank: I love this painting.

Me: I will tell your uncle Jō.

Hank: Are you going to hang your sign here?

Me: No, I don’t think so.

Hank: You will find the right place.

Me: (wistful) Thanks, buddy.

Hank: (leaving then turning back) You miss her?

Me: (still standing in front of the painting, lost in thought) Yes.

Hank: Good thing you have the painting and you always carry her in your heart.

Me: I do.

Hank: She died, didn’t she mom.

Me: She did, yes.

Hank: I love the painting more now.

Me: Do you?

Hank: Before I made the painting about me, but now it’s like I’ve met her and I know we both like to climb on rocks by the sea.

Me: That’s a lovely thought.

Hank: Do you want help with your signs, mom?

Me: (having forgotten all about my silly motivational signs) Um…

Hank: Hang one in your office where we all work accept Molly since she’s only two and hang one… here on the bookshelf door by the kitchen. We all pass by here everyday. I promise I will see it. Did you make these signs for me?

Me: Yes, I thought these ten things were a good anchor to keep you grounded as you’re growing up so fast. When I was young whenever I left my mother’s side she would always remind me to be kind.

Hank: And you are kind. Everyone says that.

Me: Well, her wish for me stuck.

Hank: I’ll go get you some tape to hang your signs, okay?

Me: Sure, thanks buddy. (still standing in front of The Beach Painting realizing it has been 22 years since we stood on that beach and 22 years since she left us)

Hank: (calling from the kitchen, breaking the spell) Mom, I can’t reach the tape plus papa’s exercise machine is in front of the shelf and you told me not to mess with the machine so I can’t help you unless you help me first. (literally saying the word “hashtag” before each phrase) #imtooshort #timeforagymmembershippapa

Me: (side smile, walking away from the past and into the present) #momlife

conversations with hank


The Deadly Silent GH

Nuvens, Clouds. Photo taken by Hank as a part of the #guimaraeschallenge.  See more here.

Nuvens, Clouds. Photo taken by Hank as a part of the #guimaraeschallenge. See more of his photos here.


Me: HelllloooooooOOOOOOOooo! Welcome home, my lord, how faired your daily scholarship?

Hank: (frozen in the doorway) What? Um, mom?

Me: Forgive me, my brain is still in the 16th century. Let me start again… (clears throat) Hey, pal! How was school?

Hank: (entering the house) Good. I mean, I had a crazy English class with the test and not having enough time, but the teacher knowing that and saying she won’t count it against us, but still super stressful and um… yah. I don’t think, actually I KNOW, I didn’t get a perfect score because of the spelling. Like I for sure messed up Fire Fighter. Like, mom, how do you spell Fire Fighter?

Me: You tell me.

Hank: F-I-R-E

Me: Correct.

Hank: Okay good. F-I-T-E-R…

Me: Nope! That is where you lost it. Where was the studying, buddy? You didn’t tell me you had the deadly “silent GH” words on your test. You said you were prepared. That GH requires work! Screws up EVERYONE at first. I mean… WHY IS IT EVEN THERE WHEN IT IS SILENT?! We must investigate this.

Hank: Exactly! Light? WHY is there a GH in Light? Why isn’t it L-I-T-E?

Me: I feel you, but if you knew you’d have these irregular spellings and questions on and about your test why didn’t you ask for help?

Hank: Argh!!! (dropping his backpack) So that I could learn this lesson the hard way. I have no excuse. I just thought I’d be fine.

Me: Guess which words you just said contains a deadly silent GH? Which, just to blow your mind, sometimes is pronounced like an F as in cough. Can you spell cough?

Hank: English is so hard AND I SPEAK ENGLISH, like speaking doesn’t even help you at all!!!!!

Me: True story.


A Poem for Our Resident Pterodactylus and Yours!

Conversations with Hank (a conversation with molly)

Our resident Pterodactyl grooming her pet Apatosaurus


Me: Gooooood morning, Mz. Molly MaGoo!

Molly: (wrapped in a blanket on the sofa, newly arisen) NOOOOAoaoaorrrrrrrrrrk!

Me: (not taking much notice of the fact that Molly is 100% pterodactyl in the morning) I trust you had a wonderful trip to Bedfordshire.

Molly: ArrrrRRRRRRrrrwarquk!

Me: I have a brand new pair knee-socks for you this morning.

Molly: (practically spitting mad) grrrrrraa-AAAAAAWWWWWQUARKKKK!

Me: Do you know why they’re called knee-socks?


Me: Because they are so long they stop at your knees, silly!

Molly: MOOoaoaoarrrkrkrkyquark! (climbing out of the blanket and into my lap)

Me: (sigh) Have I ever told you the story of the girl who went to bed herself, but every morning woke up a pterodactyl?

Molly: arrrrrrrr-no-arrrrrgh.

Me: Shall I then? Shall I tell you?

Molly: (nodding, still growling)

Me: Once Upon a Time…


There was a lovely little girl,
Full of twists and turns,
Giggles and wiggles,
Adventure and mischief and play

Who every night went sweetly to bed,
And awoke a pterodactyl the very next day!

Molly: (lifting her head from my chest, meeting my eyes knowingly, before slamming her head back down again)

Me: OOfta!

The pterodactyl would squawk, and flap and spit!
She’d refuse kindness and kisses and screamed for FISH STICKS!

She’d protest and roar about all that was done.
She’d shriek and she’d hide her face from the sun.

Her parents were worried, her brother concerned,
For regardless of temper she had so much to learn.

They took her to the doctor and even to the Zoo!
But even the experts hadn’t a clue what to do!

Her condition was a mystery,
There was nothing to be done!
They suffered the pterodactyl
For clearly, she’d won.

Her family they loved her,
No matter what form.
But often their patience
Were tired and worn.

She was still their girl, loving and sweet
Even if she were monster when morning they’d meet.

Funny thing about their pterodactyl.
It’s curious you see,
While eating her midmorning snack
She’d giggle with glee

And often with a sneeze, a wiggle or a twirl
The Dinosaur would turn back into their special little girl.

Her tail would recede,
Her scales into curls,
Her wing would be folded,
And dissolve with a whirl.

And her sweet, mischievous, charming self…
There she’d be!

So, if you often wake with a dinosaur in your house:
Give them space, give them time, give them snack

Not everyone is kindness and gladness when you meet,
But all can be restored with the right things to eat!

Molly: (lifting her head when I’d finished)

Me: (brushing her hair from her eyes) Not everyone is meant for mornings, Captain MaGoo.

Molly: (tilting her head to one side)

Me: Do you know who that story is about?

Molly: (nodding yes)

Me: Who is it about then?

Molly: (tilting her head back and releasing a great ROAR)

Me: You are correct! That story is about you, my charmingly spiky morning monster!

Molly: Again, mommy!

Me: You want me to tell it to you again?

Molly: Again, arrrrrrgwak!

Me: I understand that was pterodactyl for please. I speak semi-fluent Pterodactylus at this point.

Molly: Again, please.

Me: Once Upon a Time…