Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Our Hair Still Smells Like Campfire

Last weekend Ed & I picked up a tradition we left in the Northwest: camping with our good friends, Alicia & Brian. The last time we camped was at Lopez Island in 2003. There was a burn ban and we had to roast our marshmellows over charcoal briquettes. On the bright side (literally), we were "forced" to find something else to stare at and spent a few hours star gazing, counting shooting stars & satellites in the sky and marveling at the milky way. It was glorious.

This year we headed to Larrabee State Park in Bellingham, a favorite spot. This year we also had children in tow. Jack, 3. Noah, 2. Balin, 3 months. Like Lopez, adjustments had to be made. Jack slept in between two very sober parents and Noah and Balin actually split his parents into two tents. But, the boys played hard together. Balin, all of a few months old, barely made a peep and the joke around the campfire was that he actually wasn't there. Jack, who stayed up with all of us until we went to bed, and Noah, whose energy and knack for getting into pretty much everything made Jack look somewhat LAZY, kept all of us acutely aware of his proximity to the campfire.

I realized about mid-way through Saturday that the most wonderful thing about the trip, other than getting to know our friends' children and having the time to just hang out, was that this was a tradition that we can keep up for years. YEARS. Because we're not moving across the country anytime soon, or ever. Can you imagine? Staying in the same place? This is a reality I'm starting to get used to.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Just Skim. This is Mostly about Pictures

Transitions have perks. When you’re living out of suitcases, leaving one life behind in anticipation of starting another, there are benefits. For one, you tend not to think about all the class planning you have yet do to because your books are packed away in a container heading somewhere through South Dakota. You also don’t have to worry about whether your outfit will work for the day because you only packed a very small amount that would fit in a suitcase already more than half full of toys and diapers. Oh, and did I mention the fact that you get to live RENT FREE in a large home with a big yard where most meals are free. My mom and dad were amazingly gracious and generous the three weeks we stayed with them, having put us up with a perfect shower head and a television in the bedroom (we go so used to it that last Saturday while Ed was watching Notre Dame, Jack walked into the bedroom where I was unpacking to tell me that we needed another T.V. so he could watch Sponge Bob. I’m beginning to consider it.). Jack loved the visit so much he tells me at least once a day that he misses Nana.

We are practically settled into our new apartment in West Seattle and it’s nice. The library is across the street and the grocery store only 50 feet further than that. Jack’s been at Alki all but two days since we’ve moved in and I’m loving his ability to form the “ch” sound when he asks, very clearly, “Can we go to the beacchh today mommy?”

All the same, I’m also having to face our new life reality – and all reality, good or otherwise, has a kind of permanence to it that contrasts with romantic transitions. Things like realizing that I’m not getting my first paycheck from my perfect job until the end of October. And, partly because of it, we won’t have any kitchen chairs for at least another month, forcing us to eat on the floor and/or couch for just a bit longer. And, planning? Ha. I just picked out books for my classes. Ed’s been good; he’s been organized and diligent. Me, I’m starting to see how the joy of transitions is just a fancy way of defining procrastination.

So, in the spirit of hanging on JUST ONE MORE MINUTE to the last three weeks in the middle of our fifth life as a married couple, here’s a handful of pictures from Ed’s drive from Boston to Seattle with his brother Steve (the first picture, driving somewhere in the middle of the country) and nephew, Elijah (the second picture, fighting car sickness in the back seat).

Monday, September 03, 2007


Yesterday we went to a family BBQ. Jack left my sight after about 2 minutes; he found my cousin's three girls, all older than him, and was happy as he could be. I didn't see him for nearly three hours. It was glorious - and now, I feel a bit better about daycare (though will talk more in a few weeks).

I had a lenghty talk with the mother of the three brilliant girls who entertained my child. Laurie mentioned that Ed & I seem so laid back, she wondered if we ever got stressed.

HA. The great secret about Ed, and probably me, is that we appear calm and laid back most of the time. But, left to our own space with one another(and, sadly, Jack) we can be two of the most up-tight, stressed-out, tense people we know. Snappy? Definitely. Heavy sighs? More than a few. Yelling over little things like not completely cleaning the ceiling fan to let off steam for not being able to figure out how we're both going to get ready in class on time? Happens on a regular basis.

Perhaps that is why one of our new favorite shows is Ace of Cakes. The premise is that there's a guy, Duff, who opened his own cake store, and he, plus a handful of artsy, yet anal, chillin friends/employees produce specialty cakes by a deadline. Charm City Cakes is established in Baltimore, and don't think I haven't thought about visiting. Just for the cakes and the people who make them.

On Thursday nights, we watch 30 minutes of carefully edited cake making. And, let me tell you, the cakes are AMAZING. Entire baseball parks, animals, planes, WHATEVER. We love the show in part because Duff reminds us of a friend, Jake, and the office manager, Mary Alice, reminds us of another dear friend, Elizabeth. Both are in Boston. Maybe that's why we are hooked.

But, then, I realized last week that another reason we like this show because everyone on it seems to handle the stress of deadline so well. Duff, the owner, this bald, bearded thirty-something with a goofy laugh, ROLLS with stress. Last week's episode showcased the creation of some yak-sheep animal for a scottish wedding. At one point Duff had his office manager pick him up a Kilt to wear and then hired someone to come play the bagpipes. All this while they were hours away from a deadline and right before all the "hair" fell off and had to be reapplied before the cake left for the wedding.

Any tension felt at Charm City Cakes is kind silence. Which, is exactly the opposite type of silence you would feel around me and Ed. Our stress silence is more like the stress you might feel if you walked in front of store owners on some beach front walk in Florida, nailing up plywood to prepare for the next day's category 4 hurricane.

So, now, our renewed goal is to be better about "rolling" with the stress which inevitably comes with life. And, our life, in particular lately with all the moving and new jobs. We are using Duff and his employees as our roll model. We'll let you know how it goes. . .