adventures

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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wild like a dervish

Written for Trifecta

 

I want to be wild like a whirling dervish.

 

Wild because I dance to my own song, listen to my own beat, know my true self.

Wild like a woman who refuses to shave her legs.

Wild like a man who embraces his femininity.

 

Wild because I don’t let fear dictate my decisions.

Wild like a child who paints without judgment, loves without reservation.

Wild like anyone who follows their dreams, no matter how long the journey.

 

Wild because I have faith in the divine.

Wild like a man who jumps out of an airplane with the hopes of landing softly.

Wild like a woman who follows her heart instead of others’ expectations.

 

I am wild. I am free. I am here.

 

This is me. Jumping off a bridge in Jamaica. 

that’s britney spears

The baby took a long nap. Longer and later than usual. I took a nap, too. We woke up and the sun had set and the night was young. We were staying in Beverly Hills, at the Thompson hotel, which we chose for lack of other affordable options for our last night in LA. We’d booked the room that morning, after bidding on Priceline without luck. The location didn’t excite me, I didn’t want to shop, I wanted to be near the beach.

After the nap, we left for dinner. The lobby was compact, but fancy. The halls were long and narrow, but black and laquered. The street lacked charm, but the rooftop pool was warm and you could see the Hollywood sign. It was the size of my pinkie.

James went to request the car from the valet (because that’s how it is in LA) while I determined our destination. In the dim lobby, I noticed another mom. The kind that stands out wherever she is: long-ish bleached blonde hair, trim body, two whining boys. Her kids were pulling on her long sweater, saying, “we wanna stay, mama.” From what I could see, she ignored their pleas, and they stopped. I thought it wasn’t a bad strategy. She had an agenda. She was saying good-bye to a dark-haired woman with a suitcase who was checking out of the hotel.

Meanwhile, I was annoyed that the concierge desk was empty. I was drinking water and giving Giovanna water and using my iPhone to find a restaurant on the Yelp app. I admired my pretty dress in the mirrored wall. I buttoned my baby’s sweater. I found a sushi place around the corner. I stepped outside, where James was still waiting for the valet, and told him that we should walk instead. He agreed.

I  stood behind the curb, stuck in my own universe, watching a Mercedes G-wagon  roll up ever so smoothly. The two whining boys climbed in. I watched them buckle up, thinking that they must be in booster seats because of how high they were sitting in the car. I wondered “who are these people? Does everyone in LA have blonde hair and drive what looks like a cross between a Hummer and a Mercedes, only more expensive?”

I was watching this family scramble into their car, wondering who they were, when I saw her face.

Britney Spears.

She was sitting in the front seat, wearing plenty of black eye make-up, looking paranoid and scared. Would the paparazzi jump out from behind the corner? Would I whip out a camera and start photographing her? Was she going to escape unscathed?

I am a child of the mid-eighties. Britney was in her glory days, living the dream, during my tween years in the nineties. Once upon a time, I may have been a fan. And here she was, in the flesh. The girl who went from mouseketeer to pop princess to sex icon to raving lunatic to a mom just trying to provide a good life for her kids and know love. Here was the girl who was chewed up and spit out by the pop industry, created and destroyed by the same force. A girl people love, and a girl people love to hate.

After my eyes adjusted, and my brain accepted the image it was perceiving, I tried to look the other way. A man was climbing into the front seat of the car (later identified as her fiance) and he looked at me before closing the door. By then, James had re-joined Giovanna and I and was steering us towards the street.

“Let’s go,” he said.

“That’s Britney Spears,” I whispered.

“I know. She ran into me.”

And so it was.