June 11, 2013

Fits and Starts

Somewhere, there's a band called that, right?

I love finding a new blog to read and digging into its archives to see where the writer comes from, how she got to where she is now, a regular-enough poster that I could happen upon her page. But my favorite part is seeing her posting schedule in the early days, the many times she tried to get things going and failed. It gives me hope! It's a tricky thing to tell the story of one's own life, and I love how the fits and starts of the early going -- even for some of the best bloggers out there -- are preserved digitally in the blog's history.

October 17, 2012

Pink Suede and Studs

Loafers are all the rage these days, and I always thought they were a trend that wouldn't work for me. Too mannish, too apt to make medium-sized feet look bigger, especially when paired with skinnier jeans.

Then I found these little beauties a couple of Nordstrom sales back, and all that changed. What makes these better than their brethren* is the cut, which is more feminine because it covers less of the foot. I'm terrible at talking about this stuff but basically, it hews more ballet slipper than oxford. And just take a look at that color!

*Though this particular shoe is girlier, I'm thinking the style itself is manly. So brethren it is.

October 16, 2012

Turn Some Restless Nights to Restless Years

Lately I've been really feeling these two songs.

'Ruin,' by Cat Power

'Fire's Highway,' by Japandroids

I think what they've got in common is a driving feeling, a sense of pushing forward, pushing ahead, pushing through.

And that Japandroids guy? He's trying HARD. He's giving it everything he's got. He's selling it, making it happen. Convincing us all.

In my imagination I know every word. I belt along with my eyes squeezed shut, chest thrust forward and arms back with the effort.

October 1, 2012


Tonight, as I ran across College Creek, I saw six mallards in the water, three hens and three drakes.

I immediately thought, "triple date!" which brought to mind the book I'm reading right now, Love is a Canoe by Ben Schrank. I had just read a passage in which a couple called Emily and Eli have dinner with another couple, which then sent me back to a conversation I had with a good friend recently.

We were talking about how nice it would be to have reasonably casual dinner parties, but then commiserating over how hard it is to draw a crowd these days. Everyone we know, it seems, has kids, which is absolutely wonderful -- I love all my nephews and all my friends' kids, dearly and devotedly. And we both hope to have kids soon. But it's hard to attend casual get togethers as your family grows. We could only really come up with our little foursome, plus another friend who's single and doesn't have kids, and five just doesn't feel like enough. For some reason, six feels like the magic number.

Though it needn't be perfectly-paired hetero couples like those mallards(as I imagined them, anyway), of course.

[photo, of Russian mallards, by Sergey Yeliseev ]

September 30, 2012

Give and Be Taken

This weekend we dipped a toe in the waters of our new normal, and found them reasonably welcoming. Instead of our usual Friday night -- dinner out -- we stayed in, and made the night special with a Ben-invented cocktail (a watermelon mint margarita, with a tiny watermelon and mint from our garden). Dinner came almost entirely from our own endeavors -- fish I caught on vacation, potatoes and parsley from the garden. And I did something stupid. As I was cutting the potatoes, I noticed one smelled moldy, but couldn't see any mold, so I figured I was being oversensitive (moi?) and threw it in with the rest. Then, when I ate it, I thought it tasted moldy, but still didn't want to spit it out, figuring it wouldn't hurt me. WRONG. Horrible stomach cramps woke me up in the middle of the night, and didn't really get better till Saturday evening. My sister recommended a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to kill the bugs wreaking havoc on my gut. Ben brought me what was probably double or triple that and I shot it, to spare my teeth the acid. Big mistake! Tears streamed down my face as I laughed at the shock and fought hard to keep it down.
That afternoon I met my sweet friend Susan's beautiful 5-week-old twin girls, and capped the night at our friend's party barn, savoring the fall chill and some Red Stag sipped from a flask. We camped in our tent that night in the coziest camping bed ever assembled. Beautyrest air mattress topped with down comforter, then sheets, then blanket, then another down comforter, so we had down beneath and over us. Incredibly cozy. Today, I picked some beautiful rainbow chard from our garden. It'll go into tonight's casserole, a warm and comforting shrimp and rice favorite to coax us into the next week.

September 28, 2012

Take Hold of My Hand

This week, my husband lost his job.

In the near term, we are ok. He will receive some severance. His former company is extending his health benefits for six months. It could certainly be worse and, indeed, is for so many Americans.

What's funny is how differently we're handling it. He, thank goodness, is responding with energy and optimism, a door opening more than a door slamming shut. He swears it's not going to change how we live. And a part of me believes him. A part of me knows how resourceful he is, how smart and talented and likeable, how he's handled things like this in the past and come out on top. All of that is true. But no matter how unboundless my faith in him is, I, at heart, am a worrier. The one who hides cash away for rainy days, the one who mans and grows the savings accounts, the one who's always taking on extra work just in case. On some irrational level, I believe that preparing for the worst can keep it from happening. Clearly, that's not true.

So as he pours himself into reaching out for the good things ahead, bucking me up along the way, I pour myself into lists and numbers. Money in and money out. Average expenses. Monthly bills. Expendable luxuries. The weird part is that as soon as I heard the news, I felt, with a whoosh, "we are poor now." I looked down at my pretty, on-trend shoes and brand new necklace that jingles when I walk and I was embarrassed. I feel like we don't get to have things like that now, that I must immediately clear the nice things from my closet and wear only the modest, the matronly and the aged.

Of course, we can't let this suck the joy from our lives. Indeed, we will have far darker days than this one ahead. This is only the beginning.

September 22, 2012

Just Like Heaven

I love a lazy Saturday, every once in a while. Most of the time it's go-go-go around here, but today, the babies slowed us down. Just before 8am, we walked through my parents' front door and joined them on the floor. First, I put my face close to Miles', who was on his back. We cooed our good mornings, all smiles. Then, to Oscar, who by then had rolled over to greet me. He grasped my nose, the apples of my cheeks, and as we cuddled Miles rolled toward us to join us. My face, surrounded by my sweet nephews' faces, all chubby cheeks and big eyes and warm soft skin.
Winston had similarly ambitious plans for the afternoon.