Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Escape from Hades

What to do when temperatures reach past the triple digit mark and rocket past 110? Get the Hell out of Dodge.

We spent Saturday in Dana Point at our new favorite spot aptly called Baby Beach. Super sheltered and waveless, lots of grass and shade, ice cream and clean sand and blissfully cool ocean. It was the right place to be. Another plus ... I only saw about 4 moms with "Banging post-baby beach body", the rest looked human like me.

Of course, now it is Tuesday in our sweltering valleys and we skip from cooled car to library to school to home and avoid direct contact with the Sun. They say it is going to cool down but I am not sure I believe them.

Some of my favorite moments here ::

Baby beach :: Dana Point :: September 2010

*** Drip castles that were built and then smashed. At one point Mason declared them Cow Poop Castles.

*** Helicopter swinging the boys in and out of the sea then watching them lurch around in the shallow water.

*** Ice cream cones bigger than them. Watching Owen almost finish his without help.

*** Meeting my parents and enjoying fried chicken and Doritoes on the grass.

It is rare that I wish we lived closer to the sea but this week is the exception. Ugh.

And something almost as ridiculous as the temperatures...

I had to take a picture, it was just so weird. And they stayed there for hours. Without skin protection (Shudder).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Another season passes by, I am left wondering when it happened. The Summer that was is now gone and I realize I should change my header from iris to fallen leaf ...
top of golden hills

I came home from work today early, no patients to be had, a slump of epic proportions hitting at just the wrong time. It was cloudy all day, the marine layer pressing into the Foothills, letting in just enough light to dispel gloom and give the hint of false Fall.

I played with the boys, read library books, juggled work and calls and then I felt antsy-itchy-had to get out of the house-ness. I felt like we all needed to come up for some air.

And so we did. Less than 5 minutes from our home, the Foothills sit. Always constant in their demeanor. Always gorgeous in their light. Always mine. I know them like my own hands, each curve and bend and dip, each pressing hill and rolling descent.
equinox hike

We used to walk there all the time, every week at least. Pushing the well-equipped stroller through dust and dirt or mud and bumps.
equinox hike

But it has been awhile. Too long. Long enough that the boys were apprehensive in the early dusk light that falls under the old oaks, asking repeatedly about bears. Little did they know that it is actually the mountain lion one should watch for up here. I didn't mention that. We did talk about oak trees and poison oak ... I tried to impress upon them the utter difference in the two but probably just saddled them with more apprehension.

It felt so good, so freeing to me. To be in that spot, push their combined weight up the hills, sweat, breathe, look up. We laughed about horse poop and they demanded that I be careful even when running down the hill; they really did not want the horse poop on their stroller.

And then I realized it was the Equinox. So fitting to come back to my backyard home now that Summer is passing. The unbearable heating will not totally ease for some time, the Santa Anas will sweep in this weekend to super heat and spark wildfires .. but we are almost there. Almost back to those easy cool meandering hikes in our place.

I know they will know these curves too. Already they are telling me "remember last year ('last year' is their term for anything in the past) when we were here". I plan on them remembering it more. Me too.

boys who hike

Monday, September 20, 2010

Stitch Stitch Stitch

Lately, I feel a bit like the only things I can accomplish are those of the simplest nature. Twisty complicated patterns have not called me for some time and I find myself most comfortable when the making I am making is centered around simple, clean, simple, small .... simple.

There is something about rounds of st-st that soothe the hand and mind without requiring conscious thought, conscious tracking or action. Those seem to be beyond me of late and so I keep turning to the simplest of knit stitches, stockinette in the round. In the last two weeks I have knit no less than three st-st hats for the upcoming cold weather. The first is soft and blue and was meant for a small head but grew and grew. So I then made sure to make the next two smaller and tighter and perfectly simply clean.
knit hats
And another is almost done, black and (okay, okay, i will stop with the s word) warm.

I think this is when the making of things pulls me through. Things have been rough in a new way; ends not meeting, trying to find time and space to not just survive but thrive and enjoy and worry less and think less and create more and clean ... oh, yes, that is being put on the priority list. The effort it all takes sometimes seems insurmountable. But then I take the time to let the st-st move through my fingers and I take the time to grab the camera for a few shots of recently finished knits worn by very reluctant models and I look at that ... the culmination of the making.

knit hat
knit hat

And I feel better. I think I need to listen to the knits though and keep it very simple.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Just Say NO.

Last week my Mom found a great library book for the boys titled NO DAVID! It is about a little boy that hears a litany of NOS! from his Mama for his every action and the boys love it to bits. They insist that we read through the scenes page after page while they inform us of every wrong David is doing, all the things he does that gets him into big trouble.

They tell me David should not come over because he does some pretty 'bad' stuff. They do not get the irony of telling David to "Stop that this instant!' on the page where he is picking his nose... while they are picking their own noses.

Every single thing that David does is an action that the boys have somehow incorporated into our daily lives... climbing for cookies (or in Owen's case, the giant bag of M&Ms my Dad poorly stashes in their room), tracking in mud after a session in the backyard, running naked down the sidewalk (this one really gets the to the boys because though they are down with the naked, they know it does not happen in the front yard. God forbid...)

I take a perverse satisfaction while reading it in the sheer amount of NOs I am allowed to say without feeling guilty. Because there are a lot of NOs involved in the raising of twin boys that are three. Like, double the usual. And that is okay.

What I really love is that the author of the book re-wrote this book as an adult. The first edition was made by him when he was a little boy and had the same basic premise. He heard NO a lot. But I love that what stuck with him when he viewed the little booklet from his youth was not just the NOs but the love that his Mama had for him in the end.


mud men

mud men

You should find it. It is a great book. And believe me, if you have boys you will get it. And if you want them, well, don't say you haven't been warned. They really are little heathens.

And, totally unrelated, but I love this shot of my Mama. She is the coolest. Also, she finds really great library books.
my mom

Love you, Mama.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ah, Youth

You know, sometimes you see pictures of yourself and you see those limbs that used to bend and flex so loosely, the same limbs you see on your own children now and you wonder that your own body could have ever been that free, that open.
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And then you wake up every morning feeling like you have a slight hangover and your feet hit the earth and you cry out a little in pain as you hobble to the bathroom, gently stretching out the low back that twinges as you bend.
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You keep going to those gym classes, the ones with the pulsing beat music as your light weights change from 3.5# to 5# then 7.5# and you feel stronger and powerful. But still a little thick.
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You decide that the number doesn't really matter, the 5 that will follow the 3...feel silly and indulgent. Then you look at those pictures again, on the same cul-de-sac that your children now play. And know that their loose supple limbs rest in the very same room your tiny ones once did. And sometimes you still rest there too but those limbs now cramp or go to sleep when they are flung over your head in sleep.
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You wonder
about the way photos capture the wonder of youth... the easy way the knees locked without pain, the swing swung without fear of jumping and the thud of the feet.
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And you joke
with your parents over coffee that someday, not too far from this moment, your children may be driving their Omi and Opa around because they cannot. Or maybe even driving me.
family 017


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

When in Doubt... Read.

Life has just been firing too rapidly at us to make blogging about it feasible. And due to Life I have not made anything except canned goods and dinners, have not breathed deeply for a few weeks, have yet to establish an equilibrium in this day to day of mine. Tim and I were joking that I am going through my mid 30 crisis ... only half joking.

In response, all I want to do is read. Granted, reading happens late night after the boys are down and eats away at the time I usually spend making things with my hands, but right now I feel better making images with my brain .... or rather, letting others stream those images to me via their words, their stories, their making. I thought I might share some of the better ones that I have devoured of late.

I was a voracious reader growing up, early to the library, especially in Summer time when the leisurely hours stretched out with stacks and stacks of books to read. I love the library with a passion that cannot be properly stated. The first thing I did when I moved to New York was get my library card. Tim and I even got temporary library cards in foreign lands, most of which had to be surrendered when we left the small towns/places. I will be linking all these titles to my Los Angeles public library catalog, not Amazon. Because with the rediscovery of reading in my life, I have also rediscovered the joy of the Library. So, with that said, the first book is, uh, not in our public library, so that will just get linked to, ah, Canada's.

The book that broke the odd seal I had erected around my reading appetite was, of all things, a book not technically written for me. It is aimed at those of the age of pirating and possibility and is called The Dread Crew :: Pirates of the Backwoods. It is a slim novel, only 189 pages, but oh what those pages hold. I am almost ashamed to admit that I had to read the first chapter three times to grasp the depth and cadence of the language but once I found the flow, once I latched ahold of the story I did not stop until the last page.

You just have to meet them, these pirates created by Kate. They are wonderful in a warty, land dwelling, stenchy kind of way. And I wait for the day when I can read chapter books to the boys, wait eager for the day they will meet these delightfully dreadful folks. As I also wait for the day that Kate gives us Book II of what I hope will be a long and successful series. Do not hesitate to find this book no matter your age, and especially if you are one of those that always roots for the fringe/edge-living/misfit/moderately freakish folk. The books bursts with those characters and you end up loving every single one.

After that book, well, I discovered that despite a brain made mushy by years of twin raising and blog reading, I could still read. Books. And then there was no stopping. Oddly enough the next three books came to me via friends, were read pre-NYC trip and have a lot to do with Brooklyn.

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn
was first and I think it is just magic. That is all to say about that. Pure magic. Read it.

Then I read The Law of Dreams, a book set in Ireland during the Blight. Told through the eyes of a boy/man and haunting, so vivid and stark and raw and terrible. And still despite the terrible, it was beautiful in many ways. I loved the quality of the words despite the roughness of the reality that Fergus, the main character, lives. I highly recommend it but be prepared for measures of sadness and strife.

The last book in this vein was a book titled Brooklyn that I happened upon on the library shelf. A lovely tale of a young Irish girl who immigrates to Brooklyn after WWII to work and live and love and grow. The story is done well, the story of the girl told in almost a delicate fashion and I enjoyed it. I am always highly impressed when an author delivers emotion so thoroughly via their words. A great read.

Then I plunged head first in to the Sookie Stackhouse series. What can I say? I am a sucker for smut sometimes. And vampires (I once read the Ann Rice books repeatedly on a weekly basis). Soooo...it is like my favorite candy Abba Zabba; too chewy, sometimes too sweet and it sticks to your teeth and makes them ache, but the peanut butter in the center (read: the sex(iness) is so good. I have read Book 1 through 8 and need to order the last one. They are consistent and entertaining and really, if a book takes one sitting to read, I figure what is the harm in that?

Right now I am approaching the end of The Foutainhead. By end, I mean the last 200 hundred pages. I read this book about 10 years ago but in the last month I kept finding the thick paperback being tossed about in our closet. So I finally grabbed it, opened it up again and begin to read. I am not sure why this book is gripping me so tightly right now... and I also realize how different my interpretation of the story is nearly a decade later. It means almost too much, the story of Howard Roarke and his unyielding integrity and will and vision. It is odd to me that a story published in 1943 can be so vividly relevant to what I see reflected in our world today and though the book does not really give an answer to the question I have been asking lately, it brings comfort through the really teeny tiny printed words on those 700 pages. Oh my god, the print is so small. I don't think I strained to read it 10 years ago. And I wonder what it will mean to me when I read it again 10 years from now.

Anyways. There they are. I collected a few books from the garage that were floating around that I might try next. Or I might make a quilt. Or fold some laundry. Or not.

Until then, my friends. Read on.