Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Embarassing

The other day we went out as a family for poboys. When I ordered the waitress suggested I might want a half sandwich instead of a whole. For some reason I felt the need to say I had skipped lunch, which was true, but I felt a bit embarrassed because I do tend to eat a lot in any case.

Anyway, while we were waiting for our food Brent went with the girls to look at the fish tank and I sent him the text pictured below. But his phone was laying face up on the table, which I didn't notice until the after the waitress had brought our sodas... the whole rest of the evening I kept wondering if she had seen it.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesdays with Grace

Now that Willow is in Kindergarten and we're settling into a new routine as a family, I"ll be spending a lot more time with Grace just the two of us. I love this, because I'm noticing how much I don't know about Grace and I feel like I'm just getting to know her in so many ways.

Mondays and Fridays will be my days to work hard in the garden with her, and Wednesdays and Thursdays are her mornings at preschool, so Tuesday mornings will be her time at the park. Brent will be taking Willow to school that morning and volunteering in her classroom, and Grace and I will go to the park. My goal is to have gone at least once to every park in the city that has a play ground with her by the time she is in Kindergarten. I don't know why I'm fixated on this, but I am, so I'm going with it.

This past Tuesday we walked to the place we call "The Nearby Park", since it is mere blocks away and it's a really perfect walk for a two year old. In the picture below Grace is on the "wiggly seat", which is a seat that hangs from cables, with a rope ladder going up to it. Grace loves it, and loves to be wiggled on it, but is not yet ready to climb up the rope ladder all by herself. (Though she is now very adept at climbing up the ladder at home into her sister's top bunk!)


Monday, August 13, 2012

Slip Slidin' Away: From the First Day of Summer to (Almost) the Last

For almost the entire summer, I've been thinking of the Simon and Garfunkel song, Slip Slidin' Away. Grace is really fully a child now, no longer a baby. It's Willow's last summer as a "little" kid... in less than a month, she'll become a Kindergartener, entering into her journey as a school age kid. Years ago I had the idea that we might go to every single park in Seattle with a playground before Willow started Kindergarten. But when I found out there are 140 of them, the idea kind of faded away for want of a plan. As kindergarten looms, and Grace loves playgrounds too, the idea has come up for me again. Let's see... a little math.... 140 divided by 3... 47 visits per year... one visit to a new park each week with five weeks off. And then there is the garden, and yoga, and taking the kids to various classes, and just hanging out and playing, and time with my sweetie, and and...

Children mark time, as they grow and change, learn to talk and walk and ride bikes and get taller. We're in Atlanta visiting my in-laws right now, for the first time in two years. They've come to visit us several times in the interim, so the girls know them well and are developing strong relationships with their grandparents, but realizing the other night as we rode from the airport to their home that we hadn't visited in over two years was one more reminder of how quickly time passes.

And now it's our last night here and we've had so much fun. Time at the water park, walks around the community, a short bike ride for just me and Brent, a canopy zip line tour... but tomorrow we go home, say goodbye to nephews and cousins and grandparents for another year, or two, or...

There is just no hanging on to time. Each moment passes, and the next one follows, and on and on as we slip and slide our way through life. A week or so ago Willow said "Sometimes I don't need a camera because I can take pictures in my mind!" Yes. That's what I want. To relish, to remember, every single drop of life that comes my way.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Vacation

We are in Georgia visiting Brent's parents. Having a really wonderful time and enjoying time with the Auntie, Uncle, and cousins as well.

Just finished a 2 hour marathon bedtime with two very tired girls, and Grandpa said "Good job". I said "Yeah, it sucked", and he said "Yeah, reminds me of the tough ones". His youngest is 42. I said "You don't forget, do you?" "Nope," he said.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Curiousity and Inspiration

Just think of all the years of work, the culmination of which we can see here.

Source: http://ibnlive.in.com/news/watch-nasas-1st-npowered-rover-lands-on-mars/279064-2.html

Friday, August 3, 2012

Sharing: Tina Zucchero's Thoughts Regarding Chick-Fil-A

One of my favorite people in the world is my close friend, Tina Zucchero. Her last name derives from "sweet" in Italian, as I understand it, and this well describes her. She is wonderfully kind, and sweet, and heartfelt. She posted a very sad but also inspiring and heartwarming note yesterday on Facebook, again about the Chick-Fil-A kerfuffle. Is kerfuffle too whimsical a word? I don't know... read on and decide for yourself.

"A Note from my Soapbox" by Tina Zucchero

I was called the “N” word again yesterday.  I was boarding a bus when a man suddenly decided he wanted off the bus, pushed past me and said, “Out of my way you fu*king N- b*tch!”  The really cool parts of this experience were the few people who rushed to my defense.  Strangers I never met yelled at the guy and encouraged me to ignore that “ignorant ass”!  One older man looked at me and said I was his “sister under God”.  That made me smile!  It was a really cool experience, especially because in the past I have witnessed passivity or the bystander effect from people on the bus when things are not comfortable.  I have seen a lot of looks from fellow passengers that said, “If I ignore it, it will go away” or “This is none of my concern”.  So to have not one but several people boo at the guy and offer encouragement truly felt good.

This is not the first time this has happened of course and it more than likely and unfortunately will not be the last.  Most of the time I let it roll right on by because I know right then and there that it is a ridiculous statement and hate will not prevail.  Like last year when the guy came into my store and wanted to return something he purchased four years prior.  He was not happy with my ‘no’ and so, rather cowardly in my opinion, left the store and called back to leave me a message calling me some pretty derogatory names.  I laughed out loud and to this day still poke fun at the whole situation.  My friends and coworkers jumped to my defense there too which again, felt good and proved my point that hate will not prevail.

I am a woman of mixed race. Of what races, I am not exactly sure because I was given up for adoption at birth and I have no personal information other than the date and place of my birth.  I was adopted into a very white family with an Italian dad and a white southern mom in Philadelphia, PA.  This was 1969 and it was still a time when pregnant girls were sent away to have their babies and friends were told they had gone to visit ‘family’.  This is also just two years after Loving vs. Virginia, when Mildred and Richard Loving, a mixed race couple won their right to be married.  While anti-miscegenation laws were beginning to be over turned, a person’s race could and would still play a key role in the judgment of individuals.  The family I grew up with refused to acknowledge that I was anything but white.  I had aunts and uncles and grandparents that were very comfortable using the N-word (not at me, but around me).  Until I got brave and started asking them not to. There were many family rumors about my adoption.  One in particular said that I was given up for adoption because my mom was white and my dad was- not.  I often wonder if racism is the main reason I have never known my birth parents.

Today I keep thinking about having just been called the n-word again. Now, I am not thinking about it in terms of having been victimized. I am stronger than that.  Nor do I hate the individual that called me that.  Rather, I am thinking of it in terms of this country and how as a people we always seem to find someone to hate and fortunately we can twist words in a bible and suddenly have God on our side of the hate line.  At least that is what it looks like from where I stand.  When anti-miscegenation was coming to an end in the 60’s, there were people carrying signs of hate and quotes from the bible that spoke about the sin of mixing races.  People of all types shouted their opinions on the radio and television and in newspapers.  Jerry Falwell preached that allowing mixed marriages could destroy the white race forever.  When the judge sentenced Mildred and Richard Loving to a one year prison sentence for entering into a mixed race marriage (which was suspended for 25 years on the condition that the couple leave the state of Virginia), he used God in his reasoning: “Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”  In this man’s interpretation of God, I should not exist.

So by now we have all seen “Gods reasoning” in being for or against gay marriage.  We have heard and read the passages in the bible twisted just so to fit either side nicely.  That’s our prerogative.  That is up to our own individual definitions and interpretations- our own opinions.  But what happens when opinion becomes a tool in which to hurt another individual?  What happens when it hurts a whole race or group of people?  Where is the line that defends what is right vs. what is opinion?  No one on that bus last night looked at me and said, “Well, sorry lady, but the guy is entitled to his opinion.” which is an absolute truth that I will not deny.  Instead, they did what I hope I would have done in the same situation.  They saw that someone’s outspoken opinion could have brought me down and they worked to counteract that and build me up.

When the Westboro Baptist Church pickets funerals and high schools and other public events, they have free speech on their side and they are most certainly entitled to their own opinions.  But it doesn’t stop other individuals from putting up barriers between the picketers messages of hate and the families.  Those individuals that use themselves as shields against such hatred are building up.  But hatred is not always as clear as a WBC picket sign.  When it is subtle, we can pretend not to see it.  When it is opinion we can forgive it. We can avert our eyes and hope that someone else will do something.  But can we really allow ourselves be taken over by the bystander effect?

How many bodies from those that have been pushed down do we have to step over before we look down and realize that we are the ones to do something?

I will not support or vote for a person, group or company that uses God as a tool to spread hate and keep others down.  I hope you choose the same.

Tina
Feel free to share note where you think it may spark good conversation.






Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sharing: Wayne Self's Thoughts Regarding Chick-Fil-A

Because this post sums up so much of what my blog and my life is about (connection, community, friendship, caring, empathy, compassion, living my best life, living my values), I'm choosing to link to Wayne Self's wonderfully articulate and deeply touching thoughts on the recent Chick Fil-A debate in lieu of a post.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My World/Your World


Willow is a super sweet, very smart, very helpful little girl. She loves babies and younger kids, and talks about wanting to be a mother. She likes to help Grace choose and put on clothes, to get snacks for her, and lead her in all kinds of games.

I love how kind and helpful she is, and feel grateful when she helps me with Grace. But some days it drives me crazy, too. Because five year olds think it's ok to jump off the sofa half way across the room, and teach the (much less coordinated) two year old to do the same. Because five year olds make new snacks for little sister by stacking peanut butter sandwich crackers between layers of yogurt, which makes a mess and no one likes and, guess who cleans it up. Big mama, not little mama.

But as I'm exiting from my parents visit, existing so immediately between the generations, I'm reminded of why I wanted to have children in the first place. A big reason I decided to have children is to deepen and enrich my spiritual journey, to allow myself to learn from a child and be taught by the future. One of my favorite songs is Sweet Honey in the Rock's rendition of Kahlil Gibran's poem "On Children". It's been a favorite since I was barely out of childhood myself, long before I had decided that I definitely wanted to be a mother.

The bit that I come back to over and over is the following:
"...You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams."

Not even in your dreams. I've had dreams of visiting other planets, creating whole worlds, flying and building and living in places I can't fathom well enough to even remember when I wake - but even there, in my dreams, the most fantastical places of my mind, I cannot hope to visit the home of my children's souls.

Lately I've been feeling a little old, in part I think because my hormones and body are shifting after weaning Grace. I'm noticing little wrinkles and sags where they weren't before, and starting to feel on the waning side of life. As I was thinking of this one night, and talking about it with Brent, I suddenly realized exactly how I can begin to feel young again. Dive in, let go, really do the thing I've wanted to do, the thing I had children for in the first place: Let them teach me. Really open up, listen, and allow them to show me their world.





Willow and Grace Looking at an Injured Crow


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Goodnight

My last post was three days ago, so I thought I'd better post something. My parents were in town for ten days and left this afternoon. We had a great time with them and I was sad to see them go. At the same time, it's going to be good for all of us to get back to our own daily routines. I'm tired and want to veg out a bit before sleep, so, goodnight. Sweet dreams.

Below is a photo I took at the Tutankhamen exhibit at Pacific Science Center, to which my parents treated me while they were visiting:

Friday, July 20, 2012

Happiness and Tragedy, Ignorance and Innocence

The other day I was tracking a Facebook conversation on a friend's page where, apparently, some folks had commented and had their comments deleted by said friend because they weren't safe for kids as far as she was concerned, and she has several youngish kids as friends.

One person was taking the position that he preferred to keep it "real", saying among other things that "innocence is ignorance" and a person isn't doing kids any favors by keeping the truth of how the world works from them. This got me thinking about how, growing up, I somehow got the idea that happy people are stupid, and the happier, the stupider. Over the years though, and after years of life and therapy, I've come to change my views somewhat. My current thinking comes down to two central ideas: One, that innocence is (as the above commenter astutely pointed out) a fairly recent phenomenon in human childhood, and corresponds with the level of priveldge one has. Two, what is "real"? I think when we talk about keeping it real, being real, etc., we're usually talking about the horrors of life, the negative stories of the world. But isn't the love and joy just as real as the horror?

Today, I woke up to the news that 12 people had been killed at a screening of Dark Knight Batman in Aurora, Colorado. Horrible, sad news. I felt just sick to think about the grief their loved ones must be feeling. I played a song, I posted some words on my Facebook page. And then, I went about my day. Packing a lunch for myself, our two daughters, and my parents, who are visiting from the Midwest and had plans to take us to Vashon Island to visit some friends. Seeing my husband off to work, getting dressed, getting breakfast, cleaning up. Getting on the ferry, buying criminally over priced treats for the kids, getting off the ferry. Breathing the amazing air, fresh with the scent of recent rain. Watching an egret dive for fish in the Puget Sound. Watching my two year old climb a ladder, and my five year old push her little sister on the "big kid swing" higher than I would ever consider doing. Watching the little one hanging on tight, wind in her hair and glee in her face. Watching Grandma and Grandpa play with the girls, and visiting an old family friend on their farm. Visiting chickens and horses, cats and dogs.

And still, the victims of today's massacre are no less dead, their loved ones no less aggrieved. But at the same time that the joy doesn't cancel out the horror, neither does the horror cancel out the joy. Innocence is a privilege, and one I feel lucky to be able to give my children for as long as they'll allow. The joys and miracles of life are no less real in the face of senseless tragedy. Indeed, it is in times of senseless rage, senseless grief, that we must lean into those little miracles. The glow of a cat's soft fur, the clumsy answer to a child's question "How did everyone get born?"

So yes, let's get real. Let's talk about real things, heartful things. Things that are horrific, things from which we must never turn away. And then, let's remember the egret, the trees, and the smell of the air. Because those things, after all, are why we're here.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Butterfly

I have a lot on my mind, including a blog post in progress, but I'm just too tired right now. So below you'll see a picture of a butterfly. It's camouflaged. See if you can find it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Big

Life is so big, so full of itself. Last night I couldn't sleep for thinking about all the many things I want to do over the next few weeks and months, and feeling like too many things are happening too fast. I just want to stop time, linger in this place right here where Grace is a nutbrained toddler and Willow is a sweet, protective big sister about to embark on the huge adventure that is kindergarten. Where by 3 pm I'm too exhausted to see straight and I fall in love every night anew with Brent. At least I know that last part won't change. That much I do know.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Habits

I haven't blogged in almost two weeks. I wasn't sure how long it had been and I was surprised to see it had been so long. I've been thinking about blogging and knowing I haven't posted in a while, and as I thought about that I realized that I was out of the habit, or, more precisely, in the habit of not blogging rather than in the habit of blogging.

So tonight I'm getting back into the habit of blogging.

Below is a picture of a grape in Grace's hand. The other day she said "Can you take a picture of this grape then I eat it?" So I did.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Soccer

Both girls have their first soccer classes ever tomorrow. We have to leave the house at 8 am, so I'm off to bed.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Before and After

I've started taking before and after pictures in the garden as I work, so I can see and get a sense that I'm making progress. It's so hard to see the small improvements and easy to focus on what has yet to be done. The pictures below are of our front path. It took about 10 minutes for me to clear that section.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Not Feelin' It

I've missed the past two days posting. I just haven't been in the mood exactly. I have a long post I've been working on for the past couple weeks that I really just need like 45 minutes of solid time to finish, and I haven't found the time. But I have a feeling that my reasoning isn't very clear. It's not a writer's block exactly, it's almost the inverse. I have so many thoughts and ideas that I can't keep up, and I get overwhelmed and feel paralyzed. Also I start to feel mad and resent the fact that I haven't taken the time I need to finish the work, or that I don't "have enough" time. Then I sort of rebel by not posting. A sort of "perfect or nothing" scenario. So here is my beginning for breaking this pattern of freezing when things start feeling difficult.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

I Have Had

This song in my head for the past 3 days.


And how about the old-school 80s style narrative video, starring Aubrey Plaza. I love her.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Getting There

I've been getting some time in the mornings just by myself, about 40-45 minutes while Brent takes Willow to her day camp. It's opened up a whole new way of being for me to have that time. Combined with the 90 day plan, I'm feeling more accomplished but also more relaxed at the same time.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Aggravation

The talking talking
Little cold raindrops prick prick
All over my mind

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Today I

Got up, made lunch for Willow, got the girls on the trail-a-bike/bo-bike contraption and took Willow to school, rode home, made and ate lunch, rode to pick up Willow, came home, cleaned humidifier, organized the tea shelf, did a load of laundry, picked strawberries, made dinner, put the girls to bed, and vegged out with my sweetie.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Process

I'm on day two of a 90 day plan Brent and I are doing: each night making a schedule for the day, and each evening noticing how we did. We're using email to keep track of our lists, and I think I'm going to make a schedule in the evening of what I actually did. So many things come up during the day, for example last night when I made my list I didn't include making Willow's lunch for day camp tomorrow. I used the word "notice", which is my intention. However, more often than not the noticing is laced with a lot of judgement, shoulds, and frustration. I want so much to have everything done, now. I know this process will help me let go of that, and even help me get more done... but the habit of focusing on the future, focusing on the result, is so ingrained. I keep taking another breath, and coming back, and another, and coming back, over and over again, this is the process.

Pumpkin with Blossom 2010

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Renovation

As I've been going over my blog I've decided to add pictures in the body of each post, and remove the images and links in the sidebar over time, moving most of it into the bodies of posts. There may be some things I can't add that way, in which case might add them to a new page or delete it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ambition

"The most difficult times for many of us are the ones we give ourselves."
- Pema Chodron

I have big ideas by which I am often overwhelmed. My reaction to feeling overwhelmed is generally to go into a tailspin of furious yet inefficient activity. For example, I'm very likely to be found emptying cabinets and wiping shelves in the middle of a kitchen full of dirty dishes. This weekend I'm going to make a daily schedule. It will be a sort of ideal day for each day of the week. I don't expect that I'll actually stick to this schedule accurately, but I'm hoping it will help me stay focused and free my mind by giving me an outline for the day. A morning song with the family, an affirmation for the day, and time for meditation and yoga will be part of this new structure. I'll be posting updates as things develop.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ahhhh, Life.

The thrumming, drumming, heaving, furious, fiery, magnificent heart of life. Thank you, thank you, eternally yes, thank you.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Presence

I've been struggling all day today to be in the moment, to let go of my to do list. But for some reason this morning I woke up with a list in my head and it chased me around the house all day, keeping me from just being with my family, enjoying a Saturday together. Well, now that it's almost 11:30 at night and I'm sitting in bed with my sweetie, I think it's time to move on and be in the moment with him.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Open During Construction

I'm experimenting with different layouts and templates for my blog. I only have short bursts of time to work on it, so you might be seeing different formats from day to day. I'm also going through and adding images for each post.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'll Say It.

Vagina. Vaginavaginavagina. (Sticks out tongue in childish manner.)

http://blog.seattlepi.com/seattlepolitics/2012/06/14/two-michigan-legislators-say-vagina-then-silenced/

No There, There

There is not there. There is right here. Today is Thursday. On Sunday Brent, Willow, Grace, and I all went on a bike ride up to Carkeek park to celebrate a family friend's high school graduation.

We left the house at 11:45 and arrived at the picnic at around 4. We had hoped to get there closer to 2. It was an incredible day, filled with lots of beautiful scenery, excellent weather, awesome company and finally, good friends.

The past 4 days I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to post a slideshow of the trip to go along with this post. Sunday I enjoyed the real knowledge of being right here, in the moment, having fun, knowing that "there" never arrives, that there is nothing waiting there, because when you get there, you're already here. This four days of failed attempts, buggy widgets, disk clean up... has been the other side of that coin. Be here, right now, even if right now things are not as you would wish them to be. Even if what you want to happen, what you're trying to make happen, isn't happening. Let go, back off, be here with what life is offering you right now.

Of course, I haven't yet learned to back off or let go... as you can see by the link to the slideshow below. Enjoy.

No There, There


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Practice, Practice

For the past two days I've been trying to create and post a slideshow to go with a blog entry. But it's been so long since I've done a slideshow, I can't remember how. I wanted to have it done and online by now. But, instead I have to take my time, relax and enjoy the process.

Monday, June 11, 2012

More Tomorrow

Rosemary in Bloom with Bee
It was a long road getting Grace to sleep, and I have to pack a lunch for Willow's camp tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for a more in depth post tomorrow.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

First Big Bike Trip

Tomorrow I'm heading out for an all day family bike trip, the first all day ride I've ever done with the girls. I used to ride my bike along the lake parkways growing up in Minneapolis, and some of my best days were spent that way, riding most of the day and playing at the lake.

Tomorrow we'll ride from West Seattle to Carkeek Park: 14.4 miles one way, not including the side trips we'll make to various spots along the way.

At Carkeek, we'll get to celebrate Willow's Godmother's daughter's high school graduation. I'm super proud and excited... I've known her since she was three years old. More about it all tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Little Glitches

I wish I had taken a screen shot. My Facebook app on my iPhone was showing random different pictures of other people in place of my profile picture on my profile page, but only on my phone. So I knew it was a glitch just on my phone and not a hacked account or something. Turning the phone on and off didn't work, but uninstalling and reinstalling the app did work. I'm just fascinated by how these things happen though. It seems there are whole worlds of possibilities out there, lurking just under the surface.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Every Day

Yesterday I decided that I'm going to post an entry every day. It could be just a picture with a caption, or a whole article about environmental economics. Today it's a picture of a watermelon rind with seed flowers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Counting Blessings


Yesterday I found out that the best friend of another mother I know lost her child this week. He died just a week short of his second birthday. I didn't find out exactly what happened, but discerned it was some sort of sudden illness. Grace's second birthday is only a couple of weeks away, so this news hit me hard. I've been thinking a lot of what this woman and her husband, and the rest of their family and friends, must be going through. I cannot imagine it. I choose not to try very hard to imagine it, in fact. But I do know that I, and so many others I know, are truly, deeply blessed. Whatever we may be dealing with at a given moment with our children, whether it's day to day annoyances, acute or chronic illness, or any of the myriad other issues that crop up in the course of parenting, we have our children today, now, in this moment, with us in our lives. To say each moment is precious is certainly a cliche, but that makes it no less true. We don't know how long this gift of life we've been given will last, for ourselves or those we love. We don't need to be happy and joyous in each and every moment, but let us live in each and every moment: whatever the feeling, whatever the circumstances, let us be fully in that moment. And the next, and the next, and the next.