Some of the beauty blooming in my sister’s backyard currently. Good thing there’s not a market for stolen trees (wait, is there?). ♦
Funny, I don’t like the name Aunt nor Auntie, but being one has been life’s biggest highlight in recent years. Cutiepiemuffinhead. Hey, Beau-fo. Funny Bunny. Snugglepuff. CUDDLE PUFF. I don’t know how these silly word pairings occur, but they do. Little Bobby-Do, floofy bum-bum, bit of sugar candy love! Nonsensical fluff that must try-try-try to capture a love words could never express, love that wants to leap outta me for her. Just throwing out words till the love is apparent and covers everything in smiles and warmth and future. So much love that fear dareth try to rise up and steal it away. An open heart shared fully risks the deepest wound. Good. That’s what gives it value. I love having another person around to pour love into.
I’m reminded of Bean when we were little and slept in our parents’ bed with our mom (our dad slept on the floor downstairs in the rec room for a variety of reasons). We each had a bedroom, but preferred to be piled in with the mom. Bean’s sweet baby hair was soft and dark and smelled so sweet. Edie’s little coconut head (as my dad calls it) is perfectly reminiscent of Bean’s and I’m reliving it in a sense, a delicious déjà vu.
She’s my best little buddy, laughter and squeals upon my arrival often times, and always, always continuous smiles, her bright eyes following me until she’s sure I’m sticking around for a while. Maybe she senses the sheer love and delight I have for her and she responds to it, reciprocal mirrors. Thrills me to have someone be so happy I’m around. The soul is healed by being with children said Fyodor Dostoevsky.
Wonderstruck, we’d just finished dancing cheek to cheek back in September-Octoberish. Just before she became an active smiler like Auntie. Aside: those teeth are the product of braces. “How can that be?” I asked my dentist last year. Without diligent efforts to maintain their new position via a retainer, they more often than not move back to their former position. Clearly, I no longer have the retainer, but I do have the mold taken of my mouth pre-orthodontics, and they’re an eerie match now. Wish the doc had applied a permanent brace to the back of my top teeth like he did the bottom. I very much like them in person, but frozen in photos, they sometimes taunt me.
Foam. For those first few months, there were constant inquiries by Bean and my Dad about why I hadn’t been pooped on by the baby yet. They’d been pooped on (albeit through a diaper), and had a go at cleaning up the resulting mess. I kept hearing talk of foam, and how when you heard the foam, you knew there’d been a deposit, and best get up and begin a withdrawal. Foam, not a sound I’d ever encountered in many hours of babysitting and nannying in years past. Figured my sister had simply pegged the act with the wrong descriptor despite knowing that it’s one of the excrement types listed on those fascinating poop-a-day type calendars found in the likes of Spencer’s stores. I was holding Edie on the couch, when she did a subtle little shimmy-shake, and with a jaunty little nod of her tiny head, FOAM rang out as though a microphone were in the room. I’d been foamed! Verb of the day! The poo had happened! This made my dad and sister unusually joyous, as I was a marked woman, and delight they did. And wipe, did I.
A portion of the lovely capitol up in Victoria, BC. Shan and I missed that particular tour.
Heading down to Olympia on Sunday with Shannon for a tour of the capitol as it’s been a while. That is, if the inevitable attendance of anarchists at tomorrow’s Women’s March manage to leave it intact. But not before I get in a few weekend workouts. I’ve given myself sixish months to get back in better shape.
I gained tons of weight in my earlyish twenties when I got tired of being ogled and manhandled on the daily bus commute and pushily asked for dates after repeatedly stating I was engaged. I found peace in the safety brought by an outer cushion of fat, and because a thing can begin for one reason, and continue for another, the fat stayed from bad food habits and squelched metabolism. My sister’s been so good to keep a catalog of horrendous photos she’s captured of me over the years. I’m so ashamed of them (and this is no place for shame) that it makes me laugh. Up and down, down and up in the numbers, lots of up. The problem’s always the ease and proximity of people found in eating out and about (where calories live)- not having to face the never-ending cycle of meal prep alone at home, despite loving to cook.
Life has passed along for so long now with just a good baseline, no motivation to be more, but I need to play my part if I ever want a melody on top. ♦
Made this horrendous fella this week while watching more than my fair share of zombies. I call him Pretty Ugly due to his preference for pearls and sparkle. If you cover the left half of his face, he’s in a fairly neutral mood, but cover the right, and receive a dose of extra stink. Similar to my face below.
This is a test run of tomorrow’s costume for work festivities. Why Friday and not Monday, I wonder? Coraline, I am, the title character in a Neil Gaiman book (and animated film). I dig the blue wig, but vanity keeps me from enjoying the under drawn lips. Not noticeable here though thanks to the mouth twitchery. Spirit gummed a button to my eyelid area, it’s not going anywhere.
I heard Neil Gaiman speak last year up at the University of Washington. The cadence of his voice seems designed for reading books aloud. Recently finished his audiobook The Ocean At the End of the Lane. It was written for his wife, Amanda Palmer. He wove charming stories of how they met and their life together now, or then, painting a picture for the audience of the love and support and creativity they share. It was all very touching and inspiring at first, until I started to get the inkling that they may be one of those couples that needs an audience in order to have any chemistry.
He also spoke of his idols, of those famous folk out in the world that he’s tried his best not to run into at celebrity events because he was afraid of being disappointed in who they were in real life compared to in his mind. Top on his avoidance list? David Bowie. He went on to say that it was in fact, rather hard not to meet the man, due to being such good friend’s with David’s son, Duncan. I’m glad I got to hear Neil share his Bowie stories last year as opposed to this.
It was fun returning to walk the gorgeous campus grounds after all these years since attending there as a student.
It was fun returning to walk the gorgeous campus grounds after all these years since attending there as a student. Bean talked on about the times I’d take her to lectures with me and the impression that had on her tweenish years. Full-time student, full-time job, and helping my dad to raise my sister in place of my mom meant she got to meet curious professors enquiring of their young “new” student and be left to her own devices in the gorgeous Suzzallo Library while I took the occasional exam.
As we made our way through the dark along the lit paths, Bean questioned Shane about what the surroundings reminded him of to which he answered the Scream movies. This was the answer we were looking for. Further down the path, a pack of fraternity guys piled out of a nearby building cackling loudly as a large rat scurried in the opposite direction through the bushes along the wall. Coincidence? ♦
Two nights ago I had to complete the ornery task of moving all the balcony furniture inside to the Blue room due to a floor coating being applied by the apartment complex at some point in the next two weeks. None too thrilled to have furniture in a heap where it doesn’t belong (insert Joe Pesci curmudgeoning here). Fine were it a one-off event- maintenance, upkeep, and all that, BUT. This is the fourthish notice in recent weeks, and I just get everything back in place in time for a new notice for yet another task they wanna complete on the balconies. Yay! A game I don’t wanna play. I called and left them an earful about transparent scheduling, proper heads up, an overall plan of disclosure, due notice, operating in a one fell swoop kinda deal versus a nickel and diming tactic, etc. I’m sure it was as lovely to listen to as it is to read.
This time though, every single itty bitty thing had to be removed from the balcony floor making it the straw that broke the camel’s back, the piece that tumbled the mighty Jenga tower. In so doing, I managed to unearth a small hive nested away in one of my fabric drapings (I’m Bohemian chic like that.) I heard the tearing of what must’ve been the exterior hive layers, as I saw pieces strewn about on the ground and some still attached to the fabric. The comb stayed firmly adhered to the cloth, exposed and abandoned. This must surely explain the myriad of dead bees I’ve encountered in my home since last summer. Random placement too, not along the oft typical window sill. Groggily making my way to the ever royal commode in the morning only to be greeted with a lone dead bee at its base. Step lightly. They’ve been here, they’ve been there, making me wonder, hey, you got a message for me, God? Bees- why they gotta be dead? Not only struggling out in the world, listed as endangered, but right here in my own home? Coincidentally, a friend sent me a letter recently with the verse “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” -Proverbs 16:24.
Went to the EMP Museum last week with Bean and sweet Edie (Bobby-Do!), where I finally got to see the Captain Kirk, I mean, Star Trek exhibit. All sorts of wonderful and varied exhibitions there currently! On the way, I encountered giant nannas dangling from a tree. Seemed profound in the moment.
I LOVE Lucy.
Of all the props, set pieces, and costumes experienced at the Star Trek exhibit, this portion was what set me over into welled tears (crying again, woman, sheesh). The worn bits on the sleeve and pants here made the costume so very real (doesn’t quite show in the photo as much as in person). The same can be said for Mork’s suit which was on display within the museum as well. There are pilled bits of fabric and faded coloring on the costume and it endures me to it every time I see it. Last viewing of it was at the Cinerama theatre last year.
Walked through the video game exhibit a bit wistfully as well, as I loved them so much growing up. I’m sure my thumbs are still programmed to conquer Super Mario Bros. 1, 2, and 3 complete with turtle-stair-flagpole infinite life 1-ups galore.
Pinball meets Pollock, you say? I’m paying attention. There are so many wonderful things to do, that I don’t bother with game apps due to their consuming nature. Exception(al)! Gotta check out this Inks app momentarily.
Edie had fallen asleep in her stroller so we took the opportunity to head to the horror exhibit, pulling the cover closed over her head for extra visual protection in case she chose to wake up without any warning. Bean took the elevator down, encouraging me to walk the spiraling stairs so that I could view the mosaic of black and white photos featuring screaming people. Joy! Not particularly frightening, though slightly oppressive as the steps wound down and the number of pictures grew in expanse creeping up the wall to the ceiling above, enveloping people on the stairs. Surprisingly, disappointingly (?), the exhibit set up wasn’t particularly scary, or so I thought. I joined Bean in the elevator on the way back up, and as the door swept closed, I jumped. “Really?” she said, as I looked away from the large black and white face of a screaming man plastered to the inside of the door.
I found out why my Uncle was called “Lefty.” He played baseball for the Tacoma Ice Cream Company where he received the name “Lefty” as a pitcher. Then, in a turn of irony, he ended up losing sight in his left eye due to a gun misfiring at the age of 22. I remember his eyes always being obscured by the glasses he wore, and he’d peer over them at you when he was searching for eye contact.
I was all set to tell about Bean’s birthday doing when I realized that this particular birthday doing above managed to evade the cake crappery I encounter when placing orders over the years as shared previously. This cake was made/molded/sculpted by a lovely friend who counts decorating among her skills and talents. It was for my Mom’s birthday because she adores Eeyore. She removed his tail as a keepsake and presumably for safekeeping as he’s been known to lose it over the years.
As for Bean’s birthday, she grew up absolutely obsessed with The Secret Garden– the book most especially, followed closely by the Broadway musical. In that Broadway musical was Mandy Patinkin in the role of key character, Archibald Craven. So when Mandy came to town this past June so soon after Bean’s birthday, we were there, front row and center. For weeks before, we tried to convince our Dad that he wanted to go, to which he always gave a lackluster response. Then one day, he discovered that Patinkin had been in Evita, for which our Dad knows the songs, but hadn’t known the singers. “Why didn’t ya say so?” he asked us. Why didn’t we?
That night, Mandy was marvelous. His passion for singing was clear and contagious and much to my delight, he dispersed many a story between each new song. Tchaikovsky and Other Russians was among the songs covered, a fun piece listing the full-bodied names of mostly Russian composers at an ever increasing speed. One of Mandy’s albums, Mamaloshen, features many popular tunes all sung in Yiddish (always love an ish), and from this he shared a rendition of Take Me Out to the Ball Game. Nem Mikh mit tsu der Bol Geym! He and his accompanying pianist were touching, illuminating, amusing, and moving, easily eliciting a standing ovation from all. And just when we thought it was all over, he concluded the night with a nod to his past role containing an iconic line of retribution by taking on the physical stance of a man armed and dangerous, about to duel. I had a compulsive desire to reach out and boop his shoe. I remain so glad I didn’t. ♦
My devotion to the tomato continues.
When I saw this little plastic guy featured in multiple flicks from across the pond last year, I had to have one myself (meant to hold ketchup). Here it sits alongside some glass grapes that remind me of the ginormous green glass ones that resided on the coffee table at the home of my grandparents growing up. Bean now has those very grapes in her home, and I like the memories that dance in my head each time I see them. ♦
It was the afternoon of Button’s baby shower, and over two dozen attendees decided to alight upon my front door at the same time. Were they all sitting out in their vehicles, only to see one person head in and then- stampede! I believe so, more or less. I only wish I’d had everyone pause for a quick pic as I opened the door- all huddled on the porch flowing down the stairs and spilling onto the landing below. Quite the sight!
Had a small hiccup to start- nothing big, just a standard power outage. Or two, *cough*, three. Yeah, two new coffee urns, I’m lookin’ at YOU. I had most every light and appliance on in the place (my usual, when entertaining), and had just hit “start” on the coffee and hot water before opening the door to guests. When one aunt immediately ran for the bathroom and a (not Bean) pregnant lady nabbed the other, their combined light switching caused all the power to promptly cut out.
Thank goodness Bean went to town on the switch box to correct the problem, but not before it continued to trip as no one, i.e., me, had addressed the urn snafu just yet. I’d quickly returned to the kitchen where I was practically up to my elbows in meat, having roasted and shredded a near ton of pork to marinate for mini sliders aplenty and had grossly underestimated the time to build them all despite having a nifty assembly line process in place. Drat to you, NOT pre-sliced rolls. Next time I’ll read the package better, AND not fail to test any new coffee urns and the like. All of course, after I’ve grown two more arms and can transcend the need for sleep. Used to be really good at that last one, but I currently try for midnight (heavy on the ish) to 7 a.m. (more ish).
There was much, much more where this came from
In keeping with the wedding theme, style and colors
So some twenty minute hullabaloo passed by in completing the buffet prep while people got to mingling about with beverages in hand. Got the whole thing back on track and great fun was had! The group games were especially hilarious, one pitting three teams of people against each other in a relay to diaper a dolly blindfolded. At one point, my Dad was neck and neck with my Mom (my parents have made amends and we spend our holidays together in recent years with no animosity, because God is good) and good-natured jokes flew out about ex-spouses this and older folks that and they gave as good as they got, but both still caused their teams to lose big time! (This portion of the tale brought to you by team 1, the winners.)
Because Cadbury tastes like chocolate and Hershey’s doesn’t so sayeth our Brits
Chew on this
Would anyone like a peanut?
It being a coed shindig, a few wussy men chose to stay home, while the majority attended with their counterparts, totally missing out because they were hung up on the term “shower” rather than viewing it as a party, as it was.
a few of many more details
And at parties, there’s cake, of which I’d ordered two- a chocolate one and a good one – white with double lemon filling. I have a thing with cakes for some reason- it doesn’t matter if I order it early or late, in person or on the phone, at a chez fou bakery or a grocery- THEY GET IT WRONG. Always. For years. It’s both comical and disappointing at the same time. This cake ordering task is usually passed to someone else because of this now fact, not just common cowinky. So I shoulda known. There was a big ol’ mix up at the bakery with one of the cakes, but they managed a work around that was actually better than the original order and >>> FREE <<< on top of it because of the mistake. I KNOW to look under the hood and the pizza box aaand the cake box when picking up an order, but I believed the manager when she said she’d checked the replacement cake in the back before bringing it out.
I got home around 11 p.m. and was set to add all sorts of candy buttons I’d bought to customize it. I open the box and the lavender accosts my eyes. One, I’m happy it’s a cake! Coulda been a pie. Perhaps a cream puff. But that’s not the color we’d discussed, they’re now closed and there’s no time nor other person to drive back the next day to fix this no matter how I reason it out. I decide to scrape all the buttercream off, recolor it, refrost, button it up and call it a night. So I did. Thought I’d get around to a follow up photo the next day when the full spread was out, but as shared, time and power had other things in mind.
Naturally, in the journey from there to here, this brings me to Africa. Met for dinner with a friend several weeks back and she shared a story about their eldest preteen daughter discovering ways she can help the parts of the world in need, by volunteering in her immediate community as well as outside of it. This discovery led her family to decide on a trip to Africa for two weeks at the end of Mayish to help put a roof on a church and to work with the youth there on the coast of Kenya where ISIS attempts to recruit from the younger population.
Later that night, I received a text from her following up on this, that and the other that had been discussed over dinner. She ends the message with an “Oh, BTW” kinda thing, stating that I’m welcome to join them on the trip if I’d like. I stopped reading- I’m immediately ponderous, joyous, conflicted, and torn. I reread the message and see that I hadn’t even finished it- she had written on to say that she’d found a ticket online and she’d pay half for me. Because of course she would, that’s how she is. But I know that I won’t go, so I write back how very much I’d like, no, absolutely love to go, and the reason for not.
That precious perfectly perfect reason was born this last Saturday night, May 28th, around 10 p.m. just shy of her mommy’s birthday- my Bean, of course- on Sunday, May 29th.
These two people in a photo from many years ago now, are the proud and exhausted parents of Edie. Edith Quinn, that is, intended to be called Edie, the newest “It” girl in town. Edith, a harsh unforgiving name, to my ears at least, is balanced so nicely by the succinct “Quinn.” Named for a number of characters in recent films and such, including Despicable Me, Downton Abbey and Crimson Peak. Now I must rewatch Grey Gardens again. Bean and Shane shared a short list of name possibilities months ago and intended for the name to be announced at her birth, but …
We were out late ordering breakfast at an ungodly hour after a trek to Grapeview, WA for my Dad’s brother’s 50th wedding anniversary. Tired, Bean calls Button by her actual name in mentioning the crib construction to Shane. He gives her a look and I pretend I didn’t hear anything, trying to determine if this is her way of telling me early. She says the name again and Shane’s face tells me this wasn’t intended. It takes her a moment to clue in, but when she does, she admonishes her brain on baby repeatedly, not believing she’s slipped. We kept right on calling her Button though, and still do!
Bean’s birth experience, the overview:
1 Hours go by, contractions occur, dilation proceeds and Bean barely talks, breathing, breathing, breathing, tense and rigid focusing on the ceiling.
2 Reaches magical dilation number and receives epidural. Continually wonders aloud how women manage a birth without an epidural having had a taste of the pain.
3 Births her daughter and then proceeds to brag like a warrior queen about how well she did. And she did! Did it quite fast when it came time to push and that epidural didn’t seem to be doing much considering the noises she made (though I’m sure it staved off a whole heap’s worth of more pain). Her incentive was to keep their birthdays separate.
In new daddyhood, Shane only left the hospital room to grab the occasional cuppa tea. He remains in awe of the female body to power through all it does in producing a most lovely munchkin. A lightweight when it comes to blood or maybe just grisly situations- he left the movie theatre and puked when we saw the arm cutting scene in 127 Hours– he relayed the story of cutting the umbilical cord and watching the entire birthing process rather than just standing up near Bean’s side as planned originally.
A birthing room favorite- just in case anyone’s clueless about why everyone’s there, the sound of the baby’s heartbeat is broadcast prominently from a monitoring machine, chugging away in a white noise of underwater warbliness.
Felt it flood in and expand filling with a sense of warmth, culminating in incredulous wonder.
I’ve been concerned as of late wondering when love would take up residence in my heart for the new little life on the way. I was surprised to find that it had not, having expected that it’d be that “just built-in love” with family that I’ve always known. When not built in, I always feel care build whether gradually or quickly, and boom!- one day I wake up and I love another person. It’s just there, and took only my recognizing it for it to be so. As I held Edie this past weekend though, I actually felt love grow. In the moment! Felt it flood in and expand filling with a sense of warmth, culminating in incredulous wonder.
Button has gobs of dark hair much like Bean did as a baby, and is in fact, much cuter than any old button. I like to give voice to her little baby movements- a twitch here, a small flail there- like the folks from Mystery Science Theater 3000 with a running commentary, but making Bean laugh is a no-no at present as she’s on the mend and laughing hurts. Hurts! So not fair, how can I control myself … I’ve had some wonderments, like why the heck don’t see-thru diapers exist? It’s been a number of years since I’ve had diaper duty, and a helpful little plastic window placed just so as to ascertain whether a deposit’s been made seems doable. (If a diaper is the lone wardrobe selection for some munchkins, please purchase the windowless kind.)
Lastly, in arriving here from there, a reminder of Grandpa found its way to the hospital room in the form of a rubber pillow meant for spacing the legs. The staff call it a Minion, but no sir, that, is a peanut. ♦
She’s not yellow like a Simpson, just super glowy lighting