Friday, August 27, 2010

Big, big love for a tiny girl

That heat wave I wrote about? Oh, it lasted all of 36 hours. That's fine - the heater guy came yesterday and worked some magic. And yes, we routinely use our heater in August. Brrrr....The downer of all this is that Ada and I were stuck in the house all day waiting for the magician-slash-heater guy.

We made the most of it.


Ada got hold of the camera and did a wee self-portrait


And my Heart... Wow. Something is different about her this week. Tim noticed it too. She isn't bigger but she is cognitively just a different child. Again! She is running everywhere, she wants to be chased, she makes little subtle jokes and then laughs at herself, she insists on feeding herself, she is an organizing machine: the unused cat food cans in the recycle bin, the reusable water bottles in the refrigerator, and the cat toys in the shredded paper bin (which is where I found her other mousey shoe that was misplaced last week).

It lays me flat to feel this giant love for her. Just when I think my heart can't get any bigger or fuller with love for her she smiles and my heart stretches a bit more to make space for the swell of adoration. She is hysterical and I love her. sometimes I have to pinch myself - this kid is my kid.
Imagine that.



Today we went to the Trader Joe's south of town. There is a World Market there too. Following the great purge of 2007 - we sold everything we owned when we left Jacksonville - we had to buy new dishes. They're sold only at World Market and they are so easily broken. 20% off today so off we went!! On the way we happened upon this scene, which made me smile.


and then I took a picture of this one because she is so adorable even when she's just sitting back three humming to herself.


World Market was like that trip to Joann's 2 weeks ago but amplified! She ran through the throw pillow aisle begging me to chase her. She found some cool little owl baskets and the LemonHeads. She was drawn to everything remotely breakable - and there's a lot of breakable stuff there. The bangle bracelets were just at her reach like some brilliant display person put them there just to keep a tiny girl squealing in delight.


All the displays worked on me - shameless. I'm embarrassed that I'm so susceptible to the in-store advertising. Sigh. Nevertheless, I am ready for the next season. I've always loved fall - my favorite of the seasons. Ohio does it right - sweaters and boots, the new crispness in the air, and how the shadows grow long as the light of day tapers to the long winter nights. San Francisco captures some of that. Hey, at least our pumpkins don't rot in 24 hours like they did when we lived in FL. I'm ready to carve pumpkins, light spice-scented candles, make butternut squash soup, and enjoying all things apple. The first of the apple harvests showed up a the farmers market last week so I'm looking forward to the chard and squash that come in the fall. To quiet some of this anticipation  I left World Market with a maple bread mix and pumpkin butter and some flowers to invoke the spirit of fall. Mmmm....can't wait!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Heat Wave

While the rest of the country has been baking we smug San Franciscans have been laughing our asses off at all of you.

"Ha ha ha!" we laugh. "The temperatures here are so moderate!"

 And we feel very proud of ourselves for choosing to live in a place with such very fine weather (although my mother-in-law would adamantly disagree).

I am a fan of justice - but much less so when it bites me in the ass. And while I really, really didn't like the heat of Florida at least that state was prepared to deal with it. San Francisco, on the other hand, is completely not prepared.
At all.
Today the temperatures reached 97 degrees farenheit in the Mission. I think it reached about 93 degrees in my house. I really did wear my long, robin's egg blue, wool coat and a scarf to the store on Friday night - I wasn't exaggerating that. And on Saturday night we sat outside at Va de Vi under a heat lamp and I contemplated NOT ordering the blondie sundae with carmel sauce for dessert because it took an extra 12 minutes to prepare and I was cold. Then I realized how dumb a thought that was so I hugged my arms tighter to me and I ordered it (it was my birthday, after all).

As I sit here writing this I am wearing boxer shorts with monkeys on them and a tank top. I am hot. We have nothing that even remotely resembles AC in this house. When Tim got home I sent him down to the garage to unearth our one fan that was being stored down there. Our whole house has slowed down...considerably... we are slow like how houseflies get when it's really hot.

Ada - sans sleep sack and with the one fan oscillating to keep her cool. Still, with that swamee-style blankie on her head...


The cats are all outstretched, lazying around or pressed up against the window screens. Poor pampered creatures...


And best of all? Tomorrow is the end of my work week. I get to spend time with this one. Oh my gosh, she is so funny and so damn smart these days! Today she got to running across the room and just fell right onto her face. These things take practice. She got right up and off she went again, giggling, and mouth wide open. That is the happiness, the perseverance, the spirit that I want to preserve for as long as possible.



That face on the right is cracking me up. She never looks so mischievous as this but here she looks like she is thinking up something good...and so bad!

Monday, August 23, 2010

My 39th Year

It went exactly as planned: Ada and I spent the whole weekend hanging out. It was, in a word, heaven. We didn't have to do anything (but we did) and we didn't have to go anywhere (but we did that too). There was lots of playing, reading, and snuggling under a blanket because our heat is out. I wore my wool coat and a scarf to the store on Friday night. Oh, San Francisco summer...

Thursday morning the unthinkable happened - we woke up and there was no coffee in the house. How could we let this happen? With I in my comfy old yoga pants and a baby still in her footed jammies we went on the early morning walk to work with Daddy. A few torturous minutes later with coffee in hand the fog in my head and over my city began to clear. It was one of the nicest days we've had here all summer. Ada and I went outside to pull up the dead cucumber, basil, and tomato plants. Poor things...there wasn't nearly enough sun or heat for them. They perished in the cool fog. Instead, we planted bright beautiful flowers. We shared some fruit, yogurt and granola for breakfast. My happy Heart thought this was very much fun.


Then we spent most of the rest of the day mostly in silence and I cleaned my house. I completely realize how strange this probably seems to most people. I also know that a clean house shouldn't make a difference to my sanity, but it does. For one thing, when I am surrounded by clutter, disorder, and mess I am completely unable to think. Secondly, taking control of my environment gives me a sense of control overall. And I need some semblance of control like I need air to breathe. At the end of the day, when the house is quiet and clean, I light some candles - it's like an earned exclamation point at the end of the day. Something special.

Friday Ada and I walked. We walked far and long and fast. That's how it goes when I get to walking and thinking. The walk was really motivated by my need to make some space for thoughts just like the previous days cleaning. But the thing that got us out of the house was the excuse that we had to do some errands. It's like walking meditation- with errands. Errands like dropping off the styrofoam packing peanuts at the shipping store.



And waiting in the lobby of the Wells Fargo for over an hour for the one guy in town who actually does medallion stamps for signature guarantee.


During our trips up and down the hills she was humming and kicking her legs I was completely lost in thought.

What is it about milestones - these turns in time - that make me so reflective? The 1 year anniversay of my Mom's death is approaching - as is her birthday. I am stalled in my career, which feels unknown to me like wearing someone else's skin. it is: I'm 38 years old now. That's 38 years of learning. 38 years of all manner of things to be sincerely grateful for, laughing, crying, making mistakes, making friends, and healing my broken parts. I just can't believe that I don't have more of "it" figured out just yet...and that now I'm going to try to help another little human figure it out. My thoughts these days are like a moving target. Too much thinking - I annoy myself!

Who needs to think when it's so clear? My purpose right now is to pour all of my heart and soul and love and joy into this little foundation so that she has some chance at feeling confident.


Amid all that thinking, Tim and I had two dates this weekend! We went to Nombe - highly recommend it. Then Va de Vi in Walnut Creek - meh. It was OK. Most importantly, I got some time with my main squeeze. Well, happy birthday to me!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I might have thrown a decent party

A few things I've learned about Moira over the past 3 years:
1. she likes the look of sewn paper
2. she likes gray
3. she's married to an astrophysicist
4. she loves it when people have fun

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins and all but I don't think it's too wrong to feel like you did a mostly good job at something.  I tried real hard and worked at it a lot and, perhaps I'm wrong, but I think Moira's baby shower was kind of nice. Of course, there are a few changes I would make in retrospect and one of her presents didn't show up on time but even still...

I didn't get pictures of the food...too bad as I think that came out reasonably OK too.

The scene:


Moira & Ben, the parents-to-be:


The mantle:
The banner is inspired by Annalea.


Baskets. Those were sugar cookie favors that I forgot to force on people as they left. I think there were 6 dozen cookies left over.


The mobile:


The paper garland was inspired by Annalea. You can see a bigger view in one of the pictures above and here is a close-up:


A happy, but tired and a bit loopy, hostess watching Tim lead his mystery baby food game


Saturday, August 14, 2010


I'm throwing a baby shower today. I've been preparing since before our trip - like weeks before. This kind of stuff is so fun for me! I get to be all crafty with a purpose and it's an achievable goal - and that kind of thing gets me all fired up. The more crafty stuff I do, the better I get at it. I'm trying to not focus too much on the fact that the invitations weren't perfectly centered and the edges weren't finished. I think that a lot of the other stuff came out really well.

So many pictures after tomorrow...
A cryptic sneak peek for Moira.
Guess what this is?


With all of the preparations have come several trips to Michaels and Joann's. Ada about lost her little mind in there yesterday.


So much stuff to pick up and chew on - stuff like giant spools of thread, fabric swatches, skeins of yard, spools of ribbon. I'm excited to be able to do crafty stuff with my girl. Do you know that I have an entire box of stuff - just things I find in the $1.00 aisle that will be so much fun to do with her. I already have crayons (she colored on my couch with one and ate another one) and finger paints (also goes in the mouth still) so I'm ready...I keep trying with her and one day my girl will be ready (read: not putting everything in her mouth).

Ada tried on my sunglasses yesterday. This was about the most fun she could have in a given day. Check her out:


Recent activities have also meant lots of boxes for the cats to hang out in.


In one of these boxes came a birthday present for Ada. Heather had a quilt made - so thoughtful - she used our wedding colors and the word that our wedding was built around: "Cherish". With the components for a toddler bed sitting in a box in the closet -we are ready. Not that I'm pushing her to grow up. Oh, no!! Just always building that dream...


Included was a great bag for mama. Hey Heather - it did work out to be big enough for all my stuff and all of her stuff! My new bag/diaper bag :)


Some playtime for my girl



and exactly 7 minutes of Sesame Street online.


Tim used this to keep her occupied while I went out to harvest one 2" long squash, one 3" long zucchini, and 3 snow peas from my pathetic garden. This summer has been one of the foggiest and coldest in San Francisco history. My cucumber and tomatoes did not survive it. Sigh. Maybe next year? Maybe Ada will have to wait to learn about where her food comes from until after we live in a place where there is sun and a yard.

OK I'm off to get cookin'. Shower today! Pictures as soon as I can.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What does the body, mind and spirit need today?

My massage therapist, Barbara, asked me this before my massage on our last day in New York. I scheduled an 80 minute Swedish massage. Ridiculously self-indulgent, I know.

I nearly choked up at just being asked that question. In my mind, I explained to Barbara that I didn't know were to begin with that answer. All of things that weigh on me: my Mom, my Grandma, my family, my mistakes, regrets, insecurity, self-doubt...all of it.

Instead of getting all complicated, I just said, "relaxation". It seemed like a simple, if impersonal, answer.

By the end of the massage Barbara was hugging me while I cried. It's remarkable what the body can - and will - hold on to. I fought it so hard too. I got that burning rock in my throat and pressure in my ears that comes when your body can't physically cry as hard as your soul needs to. Despite my best efforts to hold them all back - the thoughts, memories, and feelings flooded me and I was powerless to deny them their insistence at coming to the surface.

I never do this. Cry, that is. It's like the fact that my waxist, Ob, and husband can see me you-know-where. I don't show that to just anyone - and two-out-of-three are there to get a specific job done. Similarly, there are few people who can ever see me cry with abandon. It's too vulnerable. And I hate to lose control. But I did it: I covered my face with my hands and did the ugly cry right there with Barbara, a total stranger. At the end of the massage (and sob-session), my mind lightened and my body gave in. I took several deep breaths and could imagine the gentle, baby-yellow rays of sun insist their way through the parting tangerine-laced clouds. I showered and let it all wash away.

As Barbara broke the secrets from my brittle muscles it occurred to me that your person-within-the-person is recognized instantly the person-within-a-person of another. Some call it intuition. Maybe this is why people fall in love or are instant life-long friends and why others send you scurrying like a mouse from the fall of a broom. But you know them - if they are good or bad, sincere or repressed, on the side of human-kind or watching out only for themselves. I trust my inner person in a way I didn't before.

I'll confess it here - the this seldom-read void on the interwebz - that my inner person is screaming at me to run like hell. I want to hug my kid tight to my chest, clutch my husbands hand, and run for our very lives as if the hounds of hell were after us. From what, I don't know. And to where is even foggier. All I know is that I feel like running. I put a petition out to the universe and specifically to my Mom and Grandma to please help me find a path to my true hearts desire right now. I'm still waiting for an answer.

While I wait, this one keeps me busy. She is growing. She is walking and getting molars and babbling emphatically. She has tantrums now and they suck. But ultimately I find myself squeezing her to me and saying, "I love you, Heart." And I do.


I fear that she will be cursed with the same shyness and social awkwardness that I have. Amidst the flurry and excitement she keeps to herself. My heart. I hope this means that she is blessed with her father's gift to not know or care that she doesn't quite fit in.


Friday, August 6, 2010

We're back!

If you've checked in over the past few weeks you may have noticed that the only thing updated was the playlist - there was a clue in there. We were in Ohio (and New York). I started to post about this trip we were going to be on for 2 weeks and then thought better of it given how the interwebz work and all.

Anyhoo, the skeleton of the trip breaks down like this:
1. Transcontinental travel with a toddler is not for the weak. I became "that woman with a screaming baby". Further, I won the contest between Tim & I because I had more of Ada's bodily fluids on me by the end of the first flight.

2. Family: it's not always what you thought it was.

3. Ada is only satisfied with full-body contact at all times. I am exhausted.

4. This was our "twighlight tour" of Ohio. I have no reason to return. It was emotional and too often, disappointing. I am still sorting through the details of my feelings. I might post about them or I might not.

5. It is completely worth it to indulge in the extra-long massage.

Tim's brother got married last Saturday. Everything was lovely :) Big events like this are different with a toddler. Take, for example, passing the bride in the hotel hallway as she is headed down for her big debut. I weakly explained that Ada had just dropped an exceptionally stinky load in her diaper. Quick change and I was back before the big walk. Not that it mattered - I spent the rest of the evening keeping Ada from screaming at all the wrong moments.

I did find Tim's cousin + family of 3 small children at the wedding and had some bonding time with them. In a situation like it starts to feel like the only people who aren't looking at you as if you were a complete asshole with a screaming baby are the other people with babies. They know how it is. If the ceremony starts at naptime? Well, you just do your best and that's that.