Friday, September 30, 2011

currently


I loved watching a feather waft beside me for a few paces of my run this morning, seemingly out of nowhere.
I loved being too hot a time or two this last week of September.
I love toast with salted tomato slices for lunch.
I love having a new friend.
I love my brother. Today is his birthday.
I love having a Friday night tradition.
I love that the four of us are such homebodies.

Thank you so much for all your nice comments this week.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday

a neighbor's flower pot.

Today, I listened to a thought-provoking piece about filter bubbles; a TED talk by Eli Pariser. I think you'll find it worth nine minutes of your time to click the link and watch it.

I woke up this morning to both boys in our guest bed, together, reading. Now they're asleep together, sweetly, in one of their beds. I'm so glad they have each other.

Happy Thursday. xo

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

thankfully

morning, evening.

I believe there are some people with whom we’re meant to cross paths. Yesterday, I found out that my oncologist of 13 years is retiring from clinical work to take an administrative position at the hospital. I felt like crying, and baking him a cake.

To say we’ve been through a lot together would just be too little. Alexi has been with me through childbirths; Henry has seen me just as exposed and vulnerable, for different reasons. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and consequently became his patient months after he finished his fellowship and started practicing. Because of his youth, I related to him like the older brother I always wished I had. We became, and have remained, fast friends for these many years.

I keep expecting the news of this change to make me feel insecure all over again; make me worry that something’s going to wrong and then what will I do, without him to take care of me, but I haven’t. I don’t relish the thought of building a relationship with a new doctor, but I am not worried. And that is a miracle unto itself.

By serendipity we live within walking distance of one another. He has coached my kids at little league. We will continue to watch our young families grow together, and be thankful for the privilege.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September 27


This morning on NPR, I listened to part of a program about music and nostalgia - maybe you heard it, too? I came in at the point when the audience was invited to call in and comment. One of the callers described how her mom recently told her she now listens to The Cure and The Smiths on occasion, because they remind her mother of her. And the caller recounted how her mother hated them at the time she lived at home and listened to them. The story really moved me, both that it happened, and that the mother shared the experience with her daughter.

May we all find peace and comfort in each other, in whatever ways we can.

Monday, September 26, 2011

these days

We get up, share a little time at breakfast, in the car, and on the walk from the car to school, one holding my hand quietly and one full of conversation, and then go our separate ways. Intermittently, later in the day, I still become disoriented when I don't hear or see them around me, until I remember about school.

This morning, we wore coats with hoods for the first time in months.

I keep mental lists all day long, of things to remember to tell each of them. I'm glad for the productivity I have on my own.

Back at home, after school I cook, while one does his homework and one plays, elsewhere in the house. I light the candles for dinner, then books and lights out.

Tomorrow we'll get up and repeat some version of it, again; some collective effort at a smooth start to the day, a few individual triumphs, and the coming together again at the end of the day.

Best wishes for your week.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

how it went


In his birthday card to me, Abbott described me as someone who is 'loving, caring, and loves children.' (Thank you, Abbott.) And, he said that I 'make excellent food,' and tuck him in at night 'nicely'. It's the best self description I could ever hope for. For his part, Cal worked in a fashion true to himself, carefully, precisely, to make his first ever bubble letters on my card. Alexi made the weekend for me - he knows me well, and he worked hard to make it special in the big and small ways he knew would matter and make a difference to me. And you people! I still can't get over the emails, cards, phone calls, text messages, and facebook and twitter birthday wishes that came in all weekend long. Thank you a thousand times over.

Another year gone by, a new one starting, and I can't imagine anywhere else I'd rather be. xo

Friday, September 23, 2011

unprecedented


Growing up, I used to wonder if it would snow before my birthday; hope for it, actually. It didn't happen all that often, but it was something to anticipate. Now, in another time, another place, with kids as old as I was for those sometimes snowy birthdays, we're having nearly record breaking heat for this time of year in our part of the world. It feels just as unprecedented, just as exquisite as those days in my childhood when winter would come out of sequence. And all I want to do is drop everything and sit outside, just as I did for those first snows. It seems to me this is a perfect mindset for the eve of a birthday.

I'll let you know how it goes. xo

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday


For most of my life as a parent, I've heard next to nothing about anything from their day apart from me. So I've grown accustomed to saying, 'It's nice to see you', and then telling them: 'I listened to the Radiolab podcast about games...' or, 'I walked around Green Lake today, with Molly' or, 'While I was at Target this morning, I stocked up on all things Halloween - facial tissue! Marshmallows! Glow in the dark teeth!'. Keeping up my end of the conversational exchange; giving them the space they seem to need. Then one day, recently, one of them started giving me glimpses of what weighs on him, bit by bit, day after day. 'I'm worried about this.' 'This makes me self-conscious.' 'Am I ok?' Those very same questions that every person who has ever made it through childhood has wrestled with, in some way or another. Yes. Yes, you are OK. And I am here for you. Always.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

on my radar right now

at Brave Horse Tavern

I have three friends whose birthdays are in close proximity to mine. Today, I had lunch with one of those friends, to celebrate our birthdays. I love that it's still warm enough to eat outside.

I'm really looking forward to the season premiere of Modern Family tonight!

A few good links:

What if the secret to success is failure?

The role of the artist in society.

London style.

Happy Wednesday! xo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

urban hunting

After school and some homework, Abbott headed to the neighbor’s, to see if he could play. Shortly thereafter, I heard him running through the house, shouting, ‘I’m grabbing my camera! (Neighbor) just spotted a snake and is keeping his eye on it until I come back.’ A couple of minutes later, I ambled out the door in their general direction; all three (my two plus neighbor) kids at that point were running around the neighbor’s yard looking for the snake that had apparently slithered away. They wanted to know what snakes eat, in order to lure and trap one. I told them I had no idea, and then wondered if that is something I ought to know. In they came to google search about snake diets, and disappeared again moments later. Alexi told me, long ago, there are no poisonous snakes in Western Washington so I guess I’m going to go with that, and continue enjoying this sunny late summer afternoon silence.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the bird is on the wing

A few last images of late summer.

I had to change all six of the bulbs that illuminate the front of our house, and one above our dining room table; probably they’ve been out for months. The light fades earlier by the day. I also cleared out a couple of garden beds, and emptied a few spent flowerpots.

We have an abundance of tomatoes and are eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

taking it on

Yesterday, I mentioned to the boys that, when my sister and I were kids (not sure if our younger brother ever had to or did), we learned to cook. For one night a week, we were responsible for planning the menu, presenting our mother with a shopping list, preparing the food we'd chosen, and helping clean up. All of it. I told them, when you are older, you'll do this, too. I want you to grow up knowing how to take good care of yourselves, how to eat healthily, how to make it happen. They said, what are we waiting for? It was decided they would make Sunday's dinner together; lengthy discussions about salmon vs. chicken ensued. We shopped, and then this afternoon, they scrubbed potatoes, cut herbs from the yard, measured and prepared. Mostly, I stood in the background, taking it all in; watching the two of them working side by side, talking about this and that and sometimes nothing at all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday


We went to a fourth grade class picnic/potluck at Gasworks Park this evening. As I handed Abbott a plate he asked, 'what did you make?', and then proceeded to fill his plate with only that, and a brownie.

Thank you for all of your nice comments this week. Happy weekending. xo

Thursday, September 15, 2011

when was the last time you...

at Jones Creek Farm

Picked apples? Or did a crossword puzzle? Abbott's fourth grade class is solving Monday's New York Times crossword puzzle every week. I'm thinking I'll join them. I'm sure a crossword a week would be a good thing for me - and fun, to boot.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

fall uniform

Last weekend at Delancey, one of our favorite places for dinner.

In every one of my school pictures, aside from the year I wore my rainbow shirt (remember those?), I wore a striped shirt. If you look through pictures of my kids throughout their childhood, you'll see I'm doing my best to indoctrinate them in stripe love. With or without a scarf, and with or without a sweater or cardigan, striped shirts and jeans are still my favorite everyday fall and winter wear (I just ordered a new one from Saint James), with ballet flats or Dr. Martens or wellies or boots. I'm seeing jeans in bright colors everywhere these days; thinking I might add a pair to my fall uniform. Along with this fall tote.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

these are the days


These times are some of the things I know we'll always remember.

Monday, September 12, 2011

the long and the short of it


As we walked in the front door upon returning from our after-dinner walk, Cal wanted to know if we had to drive anywhere tomorrow. And that kind of sums up where we're at. School hasn't yet fully settled into our consciousness. We're still getting used to living by the clock, sitting in classrooms, structured time for them, unstructured time for me in their absence. We're all exhibiting signs of growth and positivity combined with evidence of the strain of it all. I feel like I'm making headway on delayed household maintenance; chores and tasks left undone due to travel and guests and kids home this summer. Today, I was almost too busy to get in a shower before picking up the kids at school. I loved being productive in obvious ways like getting my oil changed, buying groceries, doing three loads of laundry, cleaning out a closet.

What I mean to say is, the sun has been shining; our lives are shifting; good things are happening.

Best wishes for your week. xo

Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11

Ten years ago, we were newlyweds. In our little apartment, we set an alarm that awoke us every morning to NPR. We kept it on in the bedroom while we got ready for work. On this morning ten years ago, just as Alexi was on his way out the door, I heard the news of the day starting to filter in from the east coast. I ran after him in a panic. 'Something has happened. Something horrible. We've been attacked.' He looked me incomprehensibly and said, as if to make the words go away, or as if I were babbling incoherently, 'I've got to get to work.' It took a while to find out, but one after another, we received calls letting us know that our friends and relatives in New York were among the lucky, were all safe. One of Alexi's colleagues was not so lucky; it felt like half of his hometown in Connecticut died. We were scheduled to fly to see one of my grandmothers a couple of days later; no flights went anywhere that week. Instead, I spent those vacation days walking and walking, for hours on end, looking at the flags out on so many houses, trying to breathe, to process what was going on. One day I walked downtown, joining thousands of other people who also needed to not be alone.

I did not point out the absence of the towers to my boys when we were in Manhattan last week. They will never know that skyline. They do not know a time when you could wave goodbye to loved ones as you boarded a plane, until they were out of sight; will never know the sense of anticipation of seeing a loved one upon exiting a plane. And they don't know what worry is. When we fly, we take off our shoes as we go through the security line, we limit our liquids to 5 ounces contained in a plastic bag because it's the rule; it's just what we do. I wonder if this is a pale version of how our grandparents felt, after living through World War II. Their children, my parents' generation, grew up with these parents who, among other things, raised them with an ethic of frugality, but they, the children, couldn't understand fully where it came from, didn't know the fears of their day, the suffering, the loss, the fear of attack.

The Encyclopedia of 9/11