(A lucky thrift shop score I found just before Lake's birth, this tree of life has four figures, Papa, Mama, and two boys, along with a creative menagerie of animals.)
6:35am: Wake to Lake crying from a bad dream about a basketball coming out of his nose. What?!
Tuck him into bed with Calder and return to my own bed for a last few minutes of rest.
6:45am: All the boys are in the kitchen and, from the bedroom, I hear whispers and the sound of chalk art being made on the chalkboard.
6:50am: Calder and Lake run in to get me up and out of bed to see the "Happy Mother's Day" greeting and artwork they've drawn with Jeff.
7:00am: I make breakfast (waffles) while Jeff does some much-needed yoga.
~ a couple hours pass easily by with waffles, pear sauce, coffee, piano playing, car+trucks+trains ~
9:00am: Jeff and Calder go for a quick bike ride in the neighborhood. I take a shower. Lake plays with his cars.
9:30am: Clean and dressed, the boys back from their ride, I set myself down amongst a pile of diapers(!)
10:30: From where I sit on the bed I can...
HEAR: Calder and Jeff playing T-ball in the yard;
SEE: Lake, his long blonde ponytail reaching halfway down his back, completely occupied in the sand boat outside; and
FEEL: Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cloth diapers/liners/covers surrounding me. We've accumulated so many through Calder and Lake's baby-hood. They were both out of diapers early, and the bags and boxes of quality bum-covers have taken up space in the closets and bedrooms for far too long. I'm buried in diapers we haven't needed for years, and it's time to sort through and post them on Craigslist. A giant cloth-diapering pot-o'-gold for some lucky family.
In and amongst all this, I KNOW: All this, all I see, hear, feel, and do today IS because I am a mama. It's wonderful and difficult, easy and complex, scary and amazing, trying and fulfilling. Thanks to my boys (Jeff, included) for all the love and recognition. You guys made me "Mama", and everything about my life was forever changed.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Cumquat marmalade that Rocky made here last Saturday from fruit grown by her brother.
On a dish I made and broke and mended.
Eaten while working on more.
And thinking about a place I hardly know, of which I have such vivid memories full of curiosity and fear.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Dark and stormy...
turned to bright and sunny. (Really amazing rock formations on the beach.)
8 friends. 24 hours. 60 miles. 50 years.
The coast was striking in its changes. The time away was sweet. The tarot reading was uncanny. The laughing and wine and all that chocolate!
What a wonderful way to spend a day.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Happy Valentine's to my boys.
Handmade Puffy Heart Pins to wear today.
Share the love, friends, and have a fun day!
And if you'd like to make your own Puffy Heart Pin...
Place two pieces of fabric right-side together and freehand cut out your heart shape, (roughly 2"x2".) Sew the hearts together with an 1/8" border, leaving an opening from the bottom point to about 1" up one side. Turn the heart inside out and fill with wool roving, cotton balls, or your fill of choice. It would be easy to add some lavender at this point if you wished. Stitch the opening shut. Sew the pin back onto the heart.
Give your heart to someone you love, pin it on their sweater, and watch them head off bearing a little bit of your love into their day.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
I'm embarrassed to say how long this bathroom has been a work in progress.
If I'm being honest, I think it's been in some state of flux since we bought the house 8 years ago. Neither of our bathrooms have windows to the outside. (Such a drag!) We had solar tubes put in a while back, so at least during the day there's some natural light, and you don't have to flip a switch to see your face in the mirror.
I take these rooms as major challenges to my need to make my space(s) just so. My efforts as a maker/designer/inhabitant have touched every surface of this home inside and out, but none as often as this little bathroom.
The fixtures, a matching set of sink, tub, and toilet in a pinky tan, are slowly but surely being changed out. A few years back I bought an old sink with a great faucet from OSU Surplus for $5 that had been removed from somewhere on campus. And a couple months ago I lucked into the right-sized wall-mounting bracket for said sink at the Habitat ReStore for 75 cents. With instruction from a contractor friend, I did the mounting work and another friend did the plumbing for trade. We changed out the toilet a couple years ago. Man, it was satisfying to take a hammer to that old, color-coordinated pot!
The tub has been a different story. It's odd size makes it tough to replace, so I came up with a reclaimed cedar "curtain" of sorts to surround the tub and completely change the bathing environment. I was power-washing these boards in our driveway a few days before Lake was born, and I only just finished nailing up the last of the surround pieces yesterday. (That was satisfying, but good Lord, I have a problem letting projects sit incomplete for too long!)
And now the floor. I've recently added this thin sheet of plywood - it's taken me for.ever. to make a decision on what to do here. Tiny bathrooms are really expensive to re-floor by the professionals. There's minimums on material and base-rates for labor. The bids averaged around $500 for less than 35 square feet of space! So, I conceded I was on my own, and I'm proud of what I've done so far. I cut the sheet well. "Measure twice, cut four or five times to make it fit." Right? Whatever. I got the sheet down and patched all the major spots. In a few days we'll try it with a coat of paint and some sealer and see what we think.
Painted, too, and for the 4th time in 8 years, the walls of this little room. (See the history of colors in the little heart that usually hides behind the mirror.) I think the beige of the last few years was a good call. For once, the bathroom stopped screaming for attention. But now, with the weathered cedar and the white sink and toilet, I'm trying on the most pale of blues. It's a flat finish - a "mis-tint" from the paint store I bought a while back. The same paint is in the other bathroom and, maybe due to the "flat" part, it's cracking/crazing on the walls there. I wouldn't mind the same thing happening here too. We'll see.
The boys helped me a bit with the painting until I realized Calder was unconsciously wiping his painted fingers on his school clothes... oops. I take credit for that brilliant handing over of the loaded brush. So they moved on to Legos and I finished up one wall before Jeff came home and the evening rolled on. I like it so far.
Damn that "orange peel" texture! This '70's ranch is going to have some history and charm hiding in it if I have to do it myself! I've left a little love note to each of the colors this room has seen. Wonder how big this heart will grow? I doubt it's seen it's last color change!
More updates to follow as changes come. I'm just starting to feel proud of my progress and maybe, with a little bit more problem solving, things will get closer to... I hate to say, "done," but perhaps something close to it. Wish me luck!
Monday, February 04, 2013
The boys played all day, every day with new friends. So great to watch the sweetness and ease with which these solid new friendships were formed with the children of some of our dearest friends. My 39th birthday was spent eating really really really really really well, and enjoying the incredible 70° and sunny afternoon on Seabright Beach.
Santa Cruz is a pretty incredible place. It doesn't feel the same as when we used to live there, but many of our usual haunts were familiar enough to feel homey. I'm pretty sure I was even offered some shifts at the store. How easy and odd would that be to just slip back in?
The place really started tugging at me when we drove up to campus. It's difficult to comprehend how beautiful this setting for higher learning truly is. It even smells amazing... redwood duff, coast live oak, and California bay all mixed together underfoot. I know that the most likely way we would ever find ourselves living in this part of the world again is if Jeff got an incredible job here. And right now, we're not considering this.
Photos here, by Petra.
I feel like we left Santa Cruz really grateful for friends who let us into their homes, friends who were so happy to see us and our boys and spend time catching up. I'm so grateful, too, for the years we lived wonderful lives there. Because of that time we can call it "Home" and we will always feel welcome and familiar there. To be able to say that about such a special part of the world eases my mind and lets me enjoy and embrace any time we spend in Santa Cruz. We just need to visit more often!
* * *
We had a blip of a visit to Oakland the last few hours of our trip. Found a few cute things in Atomic Garden and Diesel bookstore to bring back to the fabulous friends who cared for our house and pets and shuttled us to the airport. Ours was the earliest of morning flights, but the timing afforded us an incredible view of the sun coming up on the Bay. I took this shot while holding and consoling a screaming Lake. He, apparently, is not one for flying. :( Or butterflies... remember? Poor guy. I hope this fear doesn't last a lifetime, but we get it. A tin can staying aloft as it hurtles itself through the sky does seem pretty improbable. But if you didn't go, you'd miss out on views like this. I hope he decides it's worth it.
Saturday, February 02, 2013
The views from our SF home base were pretty fabulous. I don't need to return for the accommodations, though the boys enjoyed their time at the Fort Mason Hostel. I had some lovely conversations, we had a room all our own looking out on the windswept cypress, the Bay, and Alcatraz, and more than the basics were covered, but next time it will be worth it to me to find something a little more private and, is comfortable the right word? Maybe.
We had a short list and tight timing for out last hours in the City. First stop: Tartine. The lemon poppyseed tea cake was photogenic, but everyone really went for my apple bread pudding.
10 years ago, Jeff and I found ourselves on a rocky hilltop overlooking the city during our brief stay in SF just after our wedding. There's a photo on Jeff's work desk of me here, and we had hoped to find this place again. We didn't know where we were the first time, and were lucky to recognize the rocky outcropping the other day when we were at Mission Dolores Park. With a map and a good guess at where we needed to be, we wiggled our way up and around to Corona Heights Park. Jeff recreated the shot and took a mental photo of me a decade on. But mainly we were paying attention to the fact that we were now a family with two young boys scrabbling around on the top of a peak in the middle of this beautiful city.
We spun through the California Academy of Sciences in an hour. Not nearly enough time to take it all in, but just long enough to traumatize Lake in the Rainforest exhibit. He is now officially terrified of butterflies. :(
I was pleased that we could go up to the roof, a rolling surface dotted with round skylights and covered in living plants. From up there we also gained a great view of the de Young and its new tower. Our time was so tight that we, sadly, weren't able to do the climb... Next time.
At noon we were at the house of artist, Lisa Neimeth. I had contacted her from home about finding some time to visit. It was so nice to be in her yard on a beautiful day while the boys played in the tree house and Lisa and I got to chat. As a working artist and mother to two kids, now 12 and 16, Lisa and I both agreed that she was, in many ways, about 10 years along from where I currently am in my life as a mama and an artist. I was grateful she let me ask questions and approach her for advice and stories of her experience. She shared many valuable things in that brief hour. I really appreciate the connection. (I have a feeling she won't be the only person I seek out for this sort of conversation.)
From Lisa's we headed south, Santa Cruz bound. The road spilled out in front of us and I felt free of the pressures of the city to make sure I'd seen and visited all I'd hoped. When we reached Bean Hollow we pulled off and went down to the beach to absorb some of that unmistakable magic that makes this part of the West Coast seem so special. I could sense a shift in Calder and Lake as they freely explored the shoreline, pushed stones through the pebble beach, piled my lap high with kelp, and generally opened up and let go of the city. It was nice to notice that they needed this, and I'm happy that they have easy access to this sort of open(ing) experience back at home.
And in just a few miles... Santa Cruz.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The streets of San Francisco put a big old bolt in the tire of our rental. We spent the morning dealing with getting it fixed. There were no other replacement cars in the city.
Fine with whatever and whenever, this unexpected circumstance gave us some time to kill downtown.
Goofy faces in the fancypants lobby of the St. Francis.
Pole dancing on the Powell/Hyde line.
Breaks on the downhill for clementines (never be without snacks) on the walk back to get the car.
And then we're on our way. Outer Sunset. Such a difference from the rest of the city. A sense of space. A different sky. A different pace. If I lived in the City...
We ate from Outerlands (ordering at 2:59 means we had take-out on the cool outdoor seating instead of a seat in the restaurant) and afterwards explored General Store. But I've gotta say, the best was a quick stop in Trouble Coffee. I didn't know it before entering, but it was exactly what I needed... a little irreverent, welcoming and complimentary of the boys, perfect Americano, place where you knew your friends would be on a Wednesday afternoon. I'm left to wonder if those freckles on the rosy-cheeked woman were tattooed or if she just felt like it was a freckle kind of day.
I was sorry the boys and I didn't appreciate Burma Superstar the way Jeff had hoped. We got an unbelievable parking spot in front of the restaurant and were seated right away. It could have been so great. Jeff was really looking forward to eating there again, but I wasn't blown away by the flavors and the boys weren't good eaters. Mmhmm, it was getting a bit tiresome eating out for all our meals.
Even so, we topped off the night with a hot fudge sundae at Ghiradelli. The sundae was lame and overpriced, the place was deserted and kind of depressing. But somehow this put a smile on everyone's face, and we went up the hill to bed feeling alright.