My 11-year old daughter lead climbing at Smith Rock.

Circling turkey vultures look down as I hang from miniature knobs halfway up a sheer ten-storey volcanic tuff wall. While I’m safely strapped fear climbs alongside.

“Are humans intended to scale these walls?” fear asks.

Once safely down, each of my children takes a turn completing the 80-foot climb. Unlike me who can only climb safely strapped to a securely anchored rope, my older two carry the rope that secures against a fall and clip into bolts they find cemented into the rock — they lead climb.

On the trek back to the car after a few thrilling hours on…

After years of assimilation, I relearned the importance of loving myself — and my Puerto Rican culture — in full

First days of swim team, one of my first steps towards assimilating to life in the States. Courtesy of author.

Once upon a time on a Caribbean island, I would climb palms, knock down coconuts, and sell them for a dollar. But 35 years have passed since my family left Puerto Rico for the States. That’s three decades for this transplant to sprout new roots, time enough to bear three ripened fruits of my own.

My core formed on the tiny tropical island of Puerto Rico. Surrounded by the different hues of Caribbean blues, I grew up swimming anywhere that kept me cool. Then, when I turned 10, my dad’s government job transferred him to Texas. …

Reflecting on the positives distance schooling delivered.

Distance learning was far from ideal. Who wasn’t angry that public schools couldn’t find a more creative solution to teaching? But, this article does not chronicle my complaints about the school year. As we prepare to return to two days of in-person school this week, it reflects the positives that stemmed from the experience.

Distance schooling with a view.

Remote learning naturally gave us the cherished freedom to learn from anywhere.

The kids logged in from Seattle, Palm Springs, Dallas, Arnold…I-5. …

How I got my kids to think about the five food groups at (most) every meal

A lesson on researching, analyzing, debating, and voting on federal, state and local elections and ballot measures.

For better or for worse, my children were consumed by the 2020 election. They peppered me with questions about a candidate or an issue. So when time came to fill out my ballot, I decided to do it with them.

The San Francisco ballot is a tome of propositions. In addition to federal, state and local offices, I voted on 12 state and 13 local ballot measures.

I add, I don’t vote willy nilly. Instead, I spend the time to read through the…

The perils of paying the credit card minimum after unabashed charging

Over the years I’ve had friends end up with massive credit card debt. My friends amassed the debt by spending unabashedly and then only paying the monthly minimum.

It’s not surprising a person might think it is fine to pay the credit card bill minimum. Paying the minimum is offered front and center on the bill.

In fact, the words “Pay the minimum” almost endear like a friend helping when you are in need. “Don’t worry about it. We all at times spend more than we have. …

The benefits of asking family to regularly practice drawing and singing with my children

Probably the easiest lessons taught this year were those taught by others in my family. My brother who illustrates for Netflix Animation resonated with the lessons on scale and point perspective. Likewise, my father-in-law, a former soloist for the Seattle Men’s Chorus, got a kick out of us trying to write a song to express ourselves during the pandemic.

While the goal of my lessons was to supplement distance learning with hands-on-learning, both possessed skills easily taught via weekly Zoom meetings. …

How I tried to implement the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People into my family

The story of how my kids convinced us to get a kitten

Tips on how to reduce your family’s energy bill

I like to think we care for our environment. We recycle and compost. Our electric car gets us around town. Groceries arrive home in reusable bags.

Yet, when I look at our electricity bill, I think, “Is this bill for real?” Our monthly bills suggest we could run a large industrial complex.

Over the years, I’ve made changes. Still the bill surprises. I had not enlisted the help of the family, so I thought a lesson on our family’s energy use could perhaps lead to a breakthrough.

“How much energy does our family use?

To enlist, we first studied the…

Jorge Robert

San Francisco stay-at-home dad of 3 writing the next chapter

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