Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Comfort of Family

Their friendship goes back over fifty years, to El Salvador, the church they attended in Los Angeles. My grandmother Eunice and my tio Bill. They share the same birthday. So wonderful to see them together, for all of us to be getting together, but bittersweet too.

It had been much too long since the last time Maria saw her uncle Kai, so it took about thirty seconds, maybe longer, for her to warm up to him. Ever since their day together she has been dictating her best friend forever-thank you and love letter that she wants me to send him. I better get on that.

When I emailed my aunt Liz about coming north, about hoping to have a visit, I never imagined we were going to have as nice a visit as this. Alex, Max and Maria swam a lot... here are Alex and Maria with my cousin Lisa in her Boomer's pool. Boomer is the adorable corgi, guardian of the swimming pool.

Should I clarify? It's not that I did not expect a nice visit... it's that Lisa really went out of her way to make it a very nice visit, and on such short notice. We could not help but linger and delight all day. Even as we were leaving Maria was inviting herself to "... come back tomorrow!"

She thinks it's her pool... just kidding...

We know whose pool it is!

I will tell you what I love... I love my family, and I love it when everyone can spend the day together and be totally at ease. No need for judgments or formality, just kindness and unconditional love. I love that my tio's voice recalls comforting and dear childhood memories. I love that we were able to be in such good company.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Lots and Lots to Share

I didn't know what to title this post. I have so much on my mind, so much to say, and some of it is lovely and sentimental and important, and some of it is pointless, and some of it is probably going to wind up on the cutting room floor, because occasionally I have the good sense to censor myself.

I am debating... should I write detailed accounts of the weekend's events, and add more about things that happened during the week, or should I be more pragmatic, expedient, and just make a list? Lists lack poetry, but elaborate, descriptive posts take time and peace of mind... obviously this is not an occasion when I have elected to censor myself... my, but I can ramble...

How about a picture?

I thought we weren't going to make it to this wedding, but I have a persistent sister and she somehow managed to nudge me just enough... Alex, Max, Maria and I went to a family wedding, and along the way we met Hans and Gretchen. We also had the pleasure of reuniting with cousins and aunts and uncles and familia, so of course I have no regrets about going. I know it sounds terrible that I had to be persuaded to go to a family wedding, but sometimes life's complications blur my senses and my priorities, and I stray.

Maria was completely enchanted by the outdoor wedding with all the floral arrangements and all the friendly faces. She is keenly aware of pageantry and loveliness, and she was happy to embrace everything and everyone. Sitting on her Aunt Gretchen's lap, she had a comfortable view of the bride and groom's wedded kiss.

It's time for me to actually learn how to use my camera, maybe take a photography class. Not too many of the pictures I took came out very well. There are some good ones... not sure I can share them... blog etiquette is a balancing act, that at times finds me faltering.

I am never really sure who I am addressing through Chickenblog. Does anyone hope for wedding facts, a guest list, a photograph of the table settings? I do know that my thoughts should have been on the happiness of the occasion, the joy of the bride and groom. Truthfully, I was anxious about finding a gorgeous dress that detracted from my amplicity (not a real word, but a gentle euphemism,) highlighted my femininity, and cost next to nothing. I was focused on keeping Maria appropriately dear and sweet and good. I was in minor anguish over getting as many of our household members to attend and be suitably attired. We don't dress-up. We rarely ever go out to any place that requires more than clean shorts. I could not believe that I have no make-up. I found a little powder. I searched far and wide and finally located a tube of lipstick. My hair... I washed it, dried it and brushed it, and it looked about the same as it always looks.

So, you know, I was nervous and reluctant and full of thoughts, and yet, in the end, it was a really nice occasion. And if I had just dropped all my baggage, it would have been a whole lot easier to just go and enjoy seeing family and friends, share in the beauty of a garden wedding, chill.

I broke my finger. As long as I am managing to make their wedding all about me, I may as well mention that as I was opening Maria's stroller, the 2 bars that meet snagged my pinky, crushing and tearing the tip of it. I totally kept my composure. I didn't even say, "!yowfttttmmckckckmmfff!*" Geoff thinks I did break it because whenever anything, like air or dust, touches it, it just hurts like a mmmfttckeerdngggrrr.

How about another picture?

Gigi and Michael's reception was just beginning to roll when we needed to slip away. No cake, no dinner, no toast. Maria woke from her nap and she was disoriented and just a wee bit irrational. I figured we made a nice entrance, shared good times, so why not make a nice, quiet exit? I hope that wasn't rude. I don't want to be rude. We were just trying to be practical.

Before she fell asleep, and subsequently awoke cranky, Maria got an Aunt Gretchen Manicure Special. Thank goodness for aunts. Aunts know how to dress pretty and accessorize. Aunts carry polish in their purses. Aunts can indulge nieces with luxuries and pampering, with a touch of make-believe sophistication. Maria gets swoony for all of the above.

What else did I want to mention?

1. My Mom sent us a delightful care package. She's determined to sparkle me out of the blues with her feminine powers of maternal love and artistry. Too flowery? Sorry. She sent jewelry to cheer me up. She sent Maria princess inspired jewels. She sent me 2 wraps, which I have been draping over my shoulders and wearing as a long distance hug. As soon as I clear a spot in the house I will take pictures and share what she made. They are so pretty.

2. Maria and I found ourselves at a favorite spot, Starry Night Hollow. I'm telling you, if you find yourself in So Cal and craving creativity, color, garden beauty, laughter, support, classes, quilty attractions... look no further. And coming soon, October 3-5th, Fall Festival! It's like June Jamboree, but with pumpkins and bobbing for apples!

3. My finger hurts.

How about another picture?

4. Next time I go shopping for a gorgeous dress, I want to bring a friend... someone kind and honest, gentle, but fashion savvy. Someone who can say, things like: "You'll melt in wool. That is not your color. Are you kidding? Let me get you another size. It's not you, it's the cut. No. No. No." And, "Gorgeous!"

5. Vote for Harv. Make a Young Boy's Dream Come True!

6. Chango is recovering. He almost died. He had a blocked something or other... I'll spare you the details. We are in recovery, and hoping he keeps making good progress toward total healing. Poor kitty.

7. This is conference week at Max's school. W00Ts for half days!

8. I'll reserve #8 for what may come, after all the weekend is not through.

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Con Dios

Gracias abuelo.

Recordando días y noches en la iglesia...
Mas crecer en la gracia, y en el conocimiento de nuestro Señor y Salvador Jesucristo.
A él sea la gloria hoy, y para siempre. Amen.
2 Pedro 3:18

Recordando su voz, y su cariño. Recordando el campo, El Valle, Ojo de Agua, y su poder...
Te adoro abuelo.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thank Goodness For Gardens, Water and Light

My mommy was going to be here today, for my brothers' and son's birthdays and for a promotion, for hugs and catching up, before she had to go back to Oregon to start a new job. Sunday night we got a call/s... it's a blur. Geoff told me she'd been in an accident, "She's okay." That's what we have to hear to save us from collapsing: She's okay. He's okay. It's okay. And considering what happened it is a miracle she is okay, though she is a long way from all better. My dad drove through the night to be with her, and my brother flew the next day. My other brother (happy birthday bro!) is going to be with her today.

Your prayers and healing thoughts would be much appreciated. For her, for me.

It's amazing how many times my mom has made the 20 hour drive, to come and see us, to help with babies, to visit and celebrate, to connect, and I always worry about those winding roads, the logging trucks, the long days... I think of how much love she has for us that she does this so regularly to see me and the kids and my brothers, their families, her mom and sister. We always wish for an opportunity to find some place where we can all be neighbors. We think it would be so wonderful to find each other in the same town or neighborhood, just around the corner, a short walk away.

It's a tremendous comfort to me that her husband is with her and caring for her. And I was glad Bill could fly up for a quick visit, to hold her hand. If she didn't have their company I would not hesitate to abandon everything and be with her. Instead I am trying to get my ducks chicks (thanks Pam!) in a row.

Fortunately we do not have to move. Garybob, the landlord, was appeased with an increase in the rent. We are still trying to make our trailer on land deal happen. It manages to get more complicated by the day. I say "I am detached," but of course that is a lie. In truth, my heart is saying Please, please, please let us make this our home. It's a mess, but we can fix it in time. Please. Please... I dunno.

So, let's see... I got the car serviced, which was a bit overdue, so that's good. Today I go to get my tooth serviced... somehow I don't think this will be as fast and easy as the oil change and tune-up. My visits with my crappy dentist of 4 years ago are haunting me again... have I ever shared the story of how he drilled through to my sinuses? He didn't say a thing and only stopped when Alex asked, "Why is my mommy bleeding so much?" Yeah, that's a good story!

There is an overwhelming amount of cannot be postponed school paper work that has to be turned in, checked-off, stamped and triple signed.

Alex's birthday is Thursday. He already knows his modest party is going to be postponed. He didn't complain at all, but I saw that look... the one that a mom always wants to turn into a smile. I can tell he's bummed.

My best friend didn't wait to be asked. She'll watch the cats, the 2 birds, the rabbit. I'll take care of the chicks. Don't ask. Seriously. I have some hard decisions to make.

I will not be driving to Chicago. For months I have been drawing up itineraries and deciding on routes, and I have also been thinking, Am I nuts?! Yes, a lot of waffling, but with strong leanings toward being with everyone in Chicago and then Wisconsin. Geoff is going and he'll be gone for a week. The children and I will be missing Geoff and a Midwest family memorial for Jim, Corm.

And in Mexico, my abuelos will have family, except for us, gathering to celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary. S e v e n t y! !Setenta años¡ Felicidades abuelos.

I hope I can get those chicks in a row, tie up loose ends and be ready to leave to Santa Rosa, then Oregon, by Friday. I think my screaming tooth might be the biggest obstacle. The children are such good travelers, so helpful and easy. We'll pack the bare minimum and be prepared to go with the flow, hopefully making things easier for my mom by cooking and cleaning and renting lots of movies, adjusting pillows, pulling slugs out of her garden!

Lola's Garden is looking so beautiful. Did you know that cosmos are drought tolerant, that they even thrive in bad soil? It's comforting, somehow, to know that good things are possible, even in less than ideal times and places.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008