adventures

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Kissing Summer Good-Bye

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I’ve missed sharing photos from a few trips recently and I hope to get around to posting those at some belated point. But for now, I prefer to pretend I’m all caught up and skip right to the simple beauty that was this Labor Day weekend.

We stayed with my parents on my dad’s sleek and superfast sailboat. We had lovely weather, we perused artsy small towns in Puget Sound, and we kissed summer goodbye.

Though every year is different, I am generally not one to mourn the changing of the seasons. The fall beckons to me with fresh starts and changing leaves and pumpkin patches. I love the crisp of an apple and the fun of Halloween, my favorite holiday.

While I will miss the warmth like an old friend, and the travel, the adventures, the visits with family and the summer produce, I have the satisfaction of knowing that I made the most out of the summer. And that is enough.

I am ready for what comes next.

Open Sesame

Montlake Bridge, Seattle

What if everything hard in life could be cracked by asking and waiting. Every challenge, every journey, every dream.

Let me in.

Let me out.

There’s something on the other side for me. Something waiting. I have plans.

Over Memorial Day weekend, we ventured beyond the rim of Lake Washington into Puget Sound upon my father’s sailboat, Phoenix. We had to cross under approximately seven bridges and go through the locks, which is like an elevator for boats, taking them out of the fresh water lake and dumping them into the salty sea.

But we can’t glide under the bridges like most of the marine vessels that pass through the Lake Washington Ship Canal because the mast on Phoenix would snap in half. De-masting a sailboat is like castrating a man or circumcising a woman. You just don’t do it.

In order to open all of those bridges, we needed to sound the horn. But the horn had gone missing somewhere in the folds of the Phoenix. We sat back and waited at the first bridge in the Montlake Cut, deciphering the messages painted onto the bulkheads lining the channel. Statements of team spirit and Husky pride. This is the edge of the University of Washington campus, where I went to college. Where I learned more about who I didn’t want to be than who I did want to be.

It struck me that so much of life is spent waiting. When we decide we want something, it doesn’t generally come to us right away. We have to work for it. We have to save the money, find the one, get the degree, land the dream job, score the contract, gestate the baby. Perhaps only love and the absence of love can transpire immediately.

As we waited for the bridge, I told Emile and Giovanna to call out “open sesame!” Which they did repeatedly. A moment later, the coastguard arrived with a horn. After that, the subsequent bridges expected us and we didn’t have to wait again.

I could see a parallel between these bridges and real life: you have to wait and work for what you want, but once you crack the code, all you need is to use this momentum to keep moving forward. Like when you have a baby. You wait 9 months to meet that baby, and when he comes out screaming, you’ve crossed the first bridge. The first of many. In show business, this is called the big break or the break-out role. But you’re not going to win that Oscar unless you keep working hard. This can even be said of buying a house. Once you’ve achieved the stability to purchase real estate, barring a financial crisis or depression or recession, you’ll always be able to own your home. If you decide to move or upgrade, the equity in your old house will help you buy another.

I know all of you have dreams. Some buried, some conspicuous. Some shallow, some deep. Some near, some far. If we had turned our boat around that day and given up, we’d have missed out on a beautiful holiday weekend.

So never give up. Tell those bridges to open. Ask and wait and ask and wait. Until they let you through.

Rainy Day Walk

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If we waited for the rain to slow, we’d miss out on a lot. And if we waited for the sun to shine, we’d miss out on even more. Staying inside only feeds the grudge against the flatness of the gray sky. I’ve found there’s no better prescription for the rainy day blues than to get out, and get wet.

Now that Giovanna is three, with crazy long legs (95th percentile for height!) and an adventurous spirit, we leave the stroller at home more and more. I let her choose our destination, or sometimes, we walk without one. We come upon hidden staircases (they’re everywhere in Seattle, just check out this blog), unwinding plants and fallen blooms. She fills my pockets with dandelions and we make wishes on dandelion ghosts. She gathers rocks and petals and lusts after tulips, which she calls rainbow flowers.

I have a deep love of taking mindful walks while observing nature, and now I have the privilege of cultivating this same love in my daughter. The simplest pleasures continue to be the most profound.

“And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.” ~Khalil Gibran

modeling for zulily

Last month, Giovanna had her first modeling job. Not that she’s a model or that I want her to be a model. This just kind of happened. But when I had to wake her from a nap to get to the shoot on time, I was upset. Sleep is like gold around here.

Then, she fell back to sleep in her carseat, which means she was more tired then usual. I had to wake her up again. By then, I was over it.

But she had fun so much fun that she tried to run back in the building after we’d left.

And then we got these photos. Watch the progression.

As you may have guessed, like so many things that cause stress, it was worth it.

i want those shoes

This is one of my top five favorite pictures of my family. The day was August 6, 2011. We were on Orcas Island at one of my best friend’s wedding, watching two people tie their lives together. Two people loving one another for all of the right reasons. Weddings like that one, and the one I attended last night in Portland, remind me why our society is so enchanted by the possibility of true love.

So what if Giovanna had her fingers in her mouth and Emile’s smile was contrived. At least she was looking at the camera and at least he was smiling. Meanwhile, James and I were glowing with love for one another and the happy little family we’ve created together. Perfectly imperfect.

Gigi likes this picture, too. Every time she looks at it, she points at those bright pink Old Navy sandals strapped to her feet and say, “I want those shoes, Mama. Where are they?”


pretty hippie dress

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August Break, day 12: posing in my current favorite dress at the farmers market in Ashland, Oregon with Giovanna who appears to have already mastered the kissy face, my husband James who was still recovering from the stomach flu, and my dear cousin Faren who was sucking in her pregnant belly quite successfully.

Although it looks like a hippie dress, it’s really not, because it was from Free People and it was pricey; a birthday gift to myself.

The prettiness of the embroidery, the fluidity of the drop waist, the lightness of the fabric, the choppy layers of the skirt, all work together to make me feel on the outside how I am on the inside: a colorful free spirit.

This is the best kind of clothing, the kind that lets us wear our true selves like a tapestry.

[August Break]

grocery carts for children

August Break, day 8: herding little people through the grocery store.

I wonder if other parents loathe these tiny carts as much as I do. They’re a great idea in theory, wonderful to spark make-believe, but the grocery store is a hazardous place, full of bottles to be broken and food to grab and legs to collide into.

But how can I say no when such a small thing makes them so happy?

 

[August Break]

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