The Itchy Witch in France ‘n’ Disco

While we were in San Francisco applying for our residency visas in Spain, we left our tiny Chinatown hotel room to take Soleil to Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf.


“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” so goes the saying.

But we got lucky. The weather was gorgeous. Blue skies, no wind. A temperate 7o degrees.

When I was little, I couldn’t say San Francisco. For me, it was France ‘n’ Disco. I also used to say “less-a-day” instead of “yesterday.”

“Less-a-day I talked to Auntie Christy in France-‘n’-disco!”

Soleil has various of her own malapropisms that tickle my heart. Instead of “evil witch” she says “itchy witch,” and instead of alone,” she says “alonely.”

“Don’t leave me all alonely! The itchy witch might get me!” 

And then she has the ones in Spanish. “To fly” in Spanish is “volar.” So, Soleil logically but incorrectly deduced that a fly in Spanish must be “una vuela.”  “Una vuela” actually means means a flight; a fly in Spanish is”una mosca,” completely unrelated to the verb.


This face-paint artist was amazed by how still Soleil could sit. The woman in the background even stopped to take a picture of the perfectly obedient child. I kept thinking of Marcel DuChamp and Renee Magritte and the other surrealist painters that challenged our perceptions of reality.

This is not a calm child. This is a picture of a calm child. 


This is my real Soleil! IMG_2714IMG_2707IMG_2715

I love this next series more than words can express.

The Tiger and The Seagull


The Maze of Mirrors- things are not always what they seem

IMG_2740IMG_2738 IMG_2741

The other day Soleil sat down on the stairs with a concerned look on her face. Whatever it was couldn’t wait.

“Mama,” she said, “when I grow up, will I still be Soleil?” 

“Yes, of course. You’ll always be Soleil,” I said.

“But when I grow up, I won’t be Daddy’s Little One anymore. He says he wants me to stay small forever.” I gave her a hug and assured her she’ll always be our Little One, no matter how big she gets.

I suppose it was another malapropism of sorts, a misunderstanding revealing quintessential human anxieties… Who am I? Who am I in relationship to you? And if those things change, will you still love me? 

It’s funny how children–with all their mistakes and mispronunciations–have a way of communicating our deeper truth. They ask the questions we adults are too afraid to ask. If we were more like kids, I think I’d be less of a closet misanthrope. 

Update on the Itchy Witch in San Francisco: I went back to San Francisco on Sept.7th to face off the Itchy Witch (aka Dragon Lady) again and (hopefully) turn in my application for Spanish residency. I had a freshly minted Marriage Certificate in my two-inch thick folder of documents and really sweaty palms. So much was riding on this day! Fortunately, I was lucky enough to be picked up from the airport by my dear friend and mentor, the wonderful writer Victoria Zackheim. We went for lattes, she fed me lunch, and then dropped me off at the consulate with great words of advice: “kiss her ass.” Finally an hour after my scheduled appointment time, I was called in and, to my surprise, the Itchy Witch wasn’t there! I was able to turn in my folder to a kind woman, and, as of yesterday, the process has begun! (Yes, it took two weeks for them to just implement the info in the system.) In fact, if you’ve made it this far in the post, I’ll tell you a secret: I found out yesterday that Tree and Sol have been accepted. We’re not announcing it yet since we won’t get my approval for a while. We’re praying to the gods of flight (should we call them ‘moscas’ for a little  fun?) that we can still make our end of October departure date. Fingers crossed. 


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  1. I just remember not being able to say jacuzzi. Jah-whosy

  2. My son would Hop-te-cop-ter for Holicopter. I love the photos of Soleil running from the seagull…just simply happiness written all over her face!

  3. Ding ding!
    She will ALWAYS be our Little One.

  4. My daughter when young would say ‘hunert bimations’ instead of 101 Dalmatians. 🙂

    • That’s cute! I think I”ll modify that to “hunert libations.” 😉 Soleil can’t say pestanas (eyelashes) in Spanish and instead says “Espanas,” which, come to think of it, I should’ve mentioned in this post.

  5. I am so happy you didn’t have to face the dragon lady and that things are progressing towards Espana.
    Sol’s questions very mature!

  6. Great news!! I wish you the best. I hope you get the final answer soon.

  7. Love your stories and pictures Stevie!! You’ll be able to go to Spain, I can feel it in my bones!!!
    So fun getting in a little visit with you yesterday before your trip.
    Your sister is so sweet and the girls are hilarious and super cute together. I’m so happy that the four of you have each other ❤️
    Love you like no other… my dear friend!!

  8. Hey guys,
    Still enjoying your posts.
    We are heading to Europe next year too, flights booked for February, so we might finally catch up.
    Carlie, Mark and Levi

  9. xxooxxxx

  10. Peggy Langdon says:

    Mucha buena suerte!!

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