Friday, August 3, 2007

Good Night Sweet Fourty Five

Our last night at the house and all is near done. It is one of those bittersweet moments. This has been such a great neighborhood and in particular, a great few blocks. I have never been so close to neighbors and felt so a part of a community. We have been very fortunate and it is going to be more difficult than I imagined. I think I have been ignoring the present sorrow and focusing on the future 3 bathroom glory. The past year has been almost unbearable in the small house (read: weensy kitchen, one bath, kids sleeping in basement....) but a great year of outside living and interacting with our neighbors. Larry from two houses up has brought over two very distracting bottles of wine this week to prevent us from packing. Did you know that packing is way more fun after two glasses of wine? It is.

One of my main concerns to obsess over this week has been memories for the kiddos. I worry as we simplify and toss "clutter" that we are erasing childhood memories and breaking any sort of attachment to things they have built. I see small class projects, silly notes, clippings, etc. ending up in the rubbish bin and hope that they themselves chose to not keep the item. I hope they have preserved memories in their own little way and held on to keepsakes they deem important. Not that I expect them to move a box full of half used notepads, tacky souveniers, random desk supplies and such (not that I am hinting that it has been done or anything.) Remember Woodstock? No, not the epic outdoor concert, but Snoopy's sidekick? I kid you not, I moved a plastic windup woodstock for YEARS. He rarely left his box he shared with Suzy Zoo notepads, smiley face stickers, rainbow heart shoelaces, and jumbo pencils, but he went where I went. My dear Grandpa Dick had given it to me when I was like, 8 years old. So, I hope the kids have their Woodstock somewhere safe to follow them through our moves. I know that I look forward to unpacking my sturdy tea mug with the peace star on it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Wound up Tight: the good, the bad, the necessary

As many of you know we are in the midst of a move. Now, moving in itself is a wee bit arduous. There is so much involved: packing, purging unnecessary items, trips to donation centers, garage sales, clutter, make shift pantry meals, and so on. However, one of the key factors of moving is having a place to actually move into. That is where the story gets funny. After months of looking for a place to move into we threw up our hands in despair. Okay, maybe not uber dramatic, but we did raise our eyebrows. One evening Brian was on his laptop and I was on mine when he starts to chuckle. I looked at the posting he was reading from temporary housing online and low and behold, our friends were listing their house for a 10 month lease. It was as if someone had handed us an envelope with the "golden answer." I liken the whole situation to a group hug. They need a family to lease the house whilst back east, we needed a place ASAP, we get more time to find the right place...The fun is just beginning.

Our friends leave for the East Coast August 28th. We need to be out of our current place August 4th. Oh you say, that's 24 days in between. Why yes it is. Fortunate for us, we have friends that vacation. We will be staying at some friends' for 10 days, then the house for 9 days while they vacation in Hawaii, then who knows where for 5 days. Sound crazy? I like to say it is nomadic.

So you could easily see how one could be wound up pretty tight. Me too. I have decided to approach this move with enthusiasm (it is a neat house to move to), flexibility (so I am working extra, Beck wants to potty train, I am interviewing new nanny's, there are two extra soccer practices a week....)and a calmness. Is it calm or denial of what all needs to be done, because denial gets us nowhere. And explain to me how you can pack up three boxes, clear out a whole entire cupboard and Viola' the clutter reproduces and there is even more to pack. Seriously, answer me that!
I could easily be wound up tight. Maybe I am, but have good coping skills.

Our dear friends Rich and Cyn and their new baby Stella invited us up to their house for yummy pizza and salad. We had been busy all day with a grage sale so were good and plenty ready to relax. When it is time for baby stella to fall asleep, her mama wraps (ie, swaddles) her up nice and tight. The necessary version of wound up tight.

At least I am not frantically running around being unorganized. Oh contraire. It is so satisfying to clear out a closet or cupboard. We really ought to put out and APB for people to go to Goodwill for some good stuff!!

My favorite lunch this week has been a whole wheat tortilla, finely shredded lite cheese, a handful of market fresh butter lettuce, tomatoe, and a smear of my homemade white bean spread. All nice and wound up tight in the tortilla. Yum.

So this week we are hiring a new sitter, moving, potty training, gearing up for a soccer tournament, working, and moving forward!!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

You, Person at the Fray Concert

Dear Person at the Fray Concert:
Sit down when people behind you are sitting. Now, I know that tight french braid you have with the scrunchy on the end took you awhile, and you were feeling pretty spiffy 20+ years ago when you were at the Billy Joel concert wearing the very same scrunchy, but that is not the free ticket to stand in front of us. Your husband sat nicely and he could see fine. Did you note that you were on a little bit of a hill, so it's kind of stadium seating......

Girl in the green knit halter top. Marry that boy next to you. Without hesitation he asked the two teenagers behind you to take a picture you two. That is adorable. He will undoubtedly capture many important events in your life. And the way you kind of leaned your hip into his and he yours? Too cute. Seriously, marry him.

Hairy overweight dude. Please do not take your shirt off like that again. I know it was really sunny out and you were warm. Drinking a lot of beer makes you even more sweaty. Trust me, I saw the beads of sweat around your body carpet. Thank you, though, for reminding me that Hard Rock Cafe's are still in existance. I had kind of forgotten about them and seeing your tank top with deep armholes reminded me of a fond afternoon in SF when I was 13.

Pretty swedish looking woman with the great haircut, I hope you enjoyed the concert. I think your spouse would have rather been at a Jimmy Buffett concert so thank him for taking you. Actually, did you even tell him that you were in fact, not at a Jimmy Buffett concert? His polo shirt with the really big margarita glasses all over it was a dead give away. By the way, your hair looked fantastic.

Little girl in the brand new red Fray t-shirt. Thank god you got that shirt in time to make it back to the front of the crowd. You and your friend were darling up on that stage. Truly, the way you jumped up and down with the tamborine and grinned...well let's just say you were a portrait of cuteness and happiness. I hope your mom got a picture of you up there. Keep having fun!

All the 13 year old girls please do not think that it is cool to wear uber short shorts, pumps, and run around slirring your speech and spilling bits of expensive beer on people. Frankly it is gross. So stay sweet and kind of awkward.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

I know I have done right.....

When at a restaurant, one of my kiddos opens the bathroom door with a paper towel.
When I have to pull one of my kiddos away from the fancy cheese plate at a soiree.
When one of the kiddos knows the difference between French Press grind and drip.
When they fly a compliment to a grownup about something.

Oh, I am sure there are more situations, but right now these catch my fancy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Independance Day

Independence is defined as freedom of control or influence of another or others. And freedom? Unfettered, unrestricted, unconfined. The power to act or speak or think without externally imposed constraints. There are many things in my life that I have decided to free myself from. Most importantly I have freed myself from undue guilt. I no longer feel guilty eating ice cream at 10pm (yes, that recently happened. Like, less than two hours ago.) It is also difficult for me to ask for help with tasks that I consider my duty to fulfill. So, I have decided to be less guilty when seeking help with watching the kidlets, especially if I am doing something personal. One should not have to feel guilty about having productive time (like going for a longer run) In a sense, I am working towards being independent and free from unjustified views or thoughts of others.

The summer of my 13th year was full of learning experiences for me. One particularily sunny summer day my best friend Nancy and I went *alone* to the zoo. It was a big deal to do this on our own. We had a lovely day acting like teenagers and walking all over that zoo in our sandals and miniskirts. That night my family ate on the deck and we had the early season corn on the cob. My parents went to bed early and I stayed up just a bit longer to watch some pageant on TV. I hated being up alone so I made sure to go to bed before my brother. I vividly remember telling myself to get up from bed to shut my room door, becuase we were always taught in school to shut doors in case of a fire. That was very rare for me to have a shut door, but I had no qualms that night. Sleeping was difficult, as I kept staring at that door but I did not get back up to crack it. Finally I fell asleep. Suddenly I was awakened by commotion and I became hot and prickly and my throat felt tight. My parents were urgently waking us up because of a fire. It was scary to run down that hallway, but my dad told us to go out the front door and across the street. As I ran out, I could hear loud popping in the garage. The entire contents were crackling and shattering. We could not see anything but smoke from the roof, but man was it loud. My mom kept going back in the house and I was so mad at her because even I knew to never re-enter for personal items. Our neighbor across the street had been up, and saw smoke and flames on our garage from his bedroom window. He called us just as my dad smelled smoke through his open window. To make a long story short, we watched the fire dept. chop our garage down and douse huge vertical flames. Mind you, there were two cars in that garage that I was certain would blow up the entire neighborhood. Rumor has it that there was also a fiberglass canoe filled with some plants that fortunately did not emit it's unique smell and land my dad in jail. (as a side note, he was housing them for someone else) My mom had rescued the $400 cash in the Kitchen Queen for our pending Disneyland trip that was slated for the following week.

We spent at least three days in Downtown Portland eating at VQ, the Metro, and other fun and yummy places and made our trip to Disneyland.

For a really long time I was creeped out about my premonition to shut my room door. I did not go to the zoo the rest of the summer and everytime there was a pageant on TV I could not bring myself to watch it. I tossed the light blue and white cotton nightgown I wore that night. Our fire was the week after the fourth of July which only prolongs my agony regarding fireworks, roofs, and random acts of ESP. Although I am not free from my fears of fire, I am working on it.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Star Struck

The other day a friend, and brand new mom, asked if the novelty wears off or if staring at your child in awe ever ends. Surely she was wondering if there came a day that the productivity increased past "baby watching." As I pondered her question during a sunny field day up at the elementary school I realized that the novelty does not wear off. I am still in awe with the kiddos. It is still fun, after all these years, to sit back and take in the children. I love seeing Nathan work on his homework or playing with Beck; watching Chloe pick flowers or learn to pump on the swings; glancing at Jake interact with his peers or work on a soccer trick; and Beck, where do I even begin with that little guy! New words, strutting his stuff, rolling down the grass hil......I have come to the understanding that year after year I will still be in awe and take delight in watching them. Wins, handling losses, graduations, new jobs and hobbies, friends, and their own families. Yes, my children keep me in awe.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

When I am an old woman I will own 10 vacuums

Maybe it is the way the simple knife glides through at the two 45 degree angles, or how the wedge is handed over without a touch, or perhaps it is admitting that transitional peaches are better than organic. Decidely, it is the way they can pronounce mame sapote with flair. Yes, I have a crush on the fruit guys at New Seasons. I can not help it. It does not matter what the fruit man du jour looks like, smells like, or sounds like. They are all so good, so sweet. Like a bite out of Taylors Gold. Each week I visit the fruit man. Mind you, I do not intend to even speak to the fruit guys, but there they are, blade in the holster waiting to cut a piece of fruit for the baby and I. Half the time no words are exchanged, a simple nod in the direction of a certain pile of fruit, or a smile to the child with me. I never think of the fruit men until I see the fruit men, then it all begins anew. Suddenly, a delicate sliver of fruit is placed in my hand, a chimoya ends up in my cart. Two minutes later and satisfied, we move on to the vegetables and the dairy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Differences: In a nutshell

At what point did I become less fun and more practical, or worse yet was I ever fun? I do not possess catlike qualities. Shimmy through a crack in a door? No. Jumping over a wide space in hopes of getting across? Only in an emergency. Chasing a mammal? heh heh, big no. Curiosity is not on the top of my character list. After mulling this over for most of the day I realized that my curiosity differs from others. Okay, so I could really only compare to a 2 year old, but still....Children are extremely curious. Ever notice how often they can check gravity? A LOT. Gravity involving water, food, balls, grass, and so on. Jack in the Box's and Peek a Boo were created for a reason! To note, Jack in the Boxes freaked me out. The anticipation was really a challenge for me, and I like surprises. Physical curiousity is the most common form according to me (and probably "they" would say so too. Ha!) Opening a shut door, climbing a tree, going a new route and so on. I, on the other hand, am mentally curious. ie: a daydreamer, a romantic, "lives in a fantasy world." When I was in college I read my perfect bumper sticker * Not all Wanderers are Lost.* I am far more curious about the couple seated next to me in a restaurant, or the person running on my route, or the squirrel girl.

She was at a bus stop on a busy busline. Longish brown skirt, coat, leggings, brown leather-ish boots, squirrel hat. Yes, perched upon her head framing her pixie face was a knitted squirrel hat. This was not a stylish childish statement like the cute exchange students in kneehighs, cheerleader skirts and Hello Kitty backpacks. This was full on I am the nut, here is the squirrel. There was a bit of an edge to her that gave a boundary to all living things. In other words, if you got too close, the squirrel would jump off her head onto it and the strings would wrap around and choke you. I was so curious about her that to this day I still think of her (obviously)

To make myself feel better about being practical and not uber curious I told myself that it is a good thing to balance out everyone else. So if you are dining with me and ordering wildly off the menu and I get what I *always* get, rest assured I can find great pleasure in the other possibilities presented to me just a table away.

A Sea of Thoughts

Before I had a chance to unclasp my grip, we all spun and went under. Down and down we spiraled letting the current of 100 bodies take us down. Fortunately I have a good lung capacity so I was able to look around and make sure the others did, too. All I saw were shirttails floating and the circle of people going under. Finally I broke free and kicked up, my heart racing. As I surfaced, I decided that this was enough. It was time to get the group organized and do something else. Where was the supervision? Was anyone in charge, or were we all in charge of ourselves? I did not like it and wanted out. Running around collecting my friends felt fruitless, yet at least I was trying, right? A loud exploding sound woke me up. I can see how the sound of gunfire or bombs cand send someone into a panic attack, heart attack, or a bowel attack. The neighbors car obviously shot something out it's tank and brought me back to "reality."

As I laid there getting my bearings, I remembered the dream I was in the minute prior. I told myself to tell the kids that if a bunch of people want to go under water, don't be dragged down without a big breath and be responsible for their own body. Also, to not be in a situation that has potential for lethal repercussions. I actually became more scared of the inevitable time when my children will be making decisions on their own and going places that I don't know of.

I am sure it will sound really weird when I tell them the deep water warning, but at least I put the bug in their ear. At least I tried.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


My dad is a smart man. Growing up, there were many "rule #1" moments. He was usually able to catch us before we broke the unknown rule. If, by chance, we had already committed the crime, we were quickly set right. For example, "rule #1" was to buckle your seatbelt before the car moved. Another- "rule #1" hand the scissors so the reciever could grasp the handle, not the blades." There were so many rules, and *all* were #1. Over the years, I have learned some rules of my own.

Rule #1: do not state that you'll never do something you haven't actually been faced with. The day will come that the baby leaves the house in pajamas, or galoshes and shorts, or even a runny nose. Saying never will inevitably come to bite you in the butt.

Rule #1: "They" will never be discovered. "They" say that chocolate does not have it's own section in the food pyramid. "They" say that children need a bedtime routine _every_ night. I honestly think there is a devil they and an angel they.

Rule #1: Because I said so.

Rule #1: Be the one to load the Goodwill bags into the car. If you leave this job to others, well, someone else might be walking around with your favorite cardigan.

Rule #1: If it feels weird it probably is. If it feels right it probably is. Make good choices.

Rule #1: Being polite always works in your favor.

Rule #1: Hindsight is pretty clear.

Rule #1: Don't settle. Unless it's down.

Rule #1: Chocolate chip cookies cure everything.

I am sure there are more so as they come to me I will post them.

Why is it that we are so quick to judge on things that we have yet to face? For example, before children I was convinced, *convinced* I say that my children would never go to the store in pajamas, or with a sticky face, or goofy outfits. Okay, so my first child followed my exemplary attention to grocery store preparation but I am the first to admit that there is no crime in taking babies out in there pajamas. I say as long as the diaper is not sagging underneath then go for it. I have been known to put clean pajamas on for reasons I am not sure of. Likely it is some hidden fear that we are breaking rule #1. So with this I leave you, take a walk in on someone elses route. Be extra nice. Do not be unnecessary.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Small Steps versus Giant Leaps

We began moving forward before our "existance" in the world. It was such a natural journey simply guided by a single path. Is it amazing to think that to this day, this moment, we are still sensitive to our surroundings and we react in ways similar to our entrance to the world? The only difference is that now we have past experiences to mold how we express ourselves. I often wonder if I freaked out the moment I was born, as I really do not like loud noises or bright lights. However, I do not mind being cold. Did the people that love firecrackers, sirens, and drums respond intrigued and without a cry to the noise but rather to the cold air? I am not one to change my preferences to certain stimuli, but I am adaptable and because of it am capable of changing how I respond and deal with situations. I am moving forward.