hello, valentine’s day rainbow hearts! they don’t make them like they used to. aside from the ones that don’t have any words, there are some words that i don’t remember seeing on conversation hearts back in the day. i think one of those green ones (printed off-center) was supposed to say, “on fleek,” and i don’t even know what that means. i also have no idea what “pump up” has to do with v day. lol!
red: my valentine sported his ben harper shirt from live music 2016 when i took him to his early birthday concert over the weekend to kick off live music 2017. we saw experience hendrix, which included appearances by blues legend buddy guy, keb mo, robby krieger of the doors, zakk wylde, kenny wayne shepherd, and a bunch of other awesome musicians.
orange: the next morning, he helped his daughter and i pick out fabric for wedding projects.
yellow: more trouble-making, the night of the concert. he is a theater rat, and thinks it’s cool to walk around peeking into random doors and going up random stairways in a concert hall.
yellow: the arlene schnitzer concert hall is an exquisite venue.
green: a little sunshine to kick off the weekend was a welcome treat.
blue: finding our seats pre-concert.
white: the elusive mount hood was visible as we arrived in the city of quinn’s birth for our concert. more on that topic when my baby turns 10 in 3 more days. (wahhhhhh!)
from the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
this land was made for you and me
reason #9761 i know that i have found the right man to spend my life with: he has counted exactly how many redwood trees are growing on this land.
lest anyone come to the false conclusion that this post is unpolitical, since i kicked it off with a woody guthrie folk song, i will share one more frederick douglass quote with you as we honor black history month:
“in thinking of america, i sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky — her grand old woods — her fertile fields — her beautiful rivers — her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains. but my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. when i remember that all is cursed with the infernal actions of slaveholding, robbery and wrong, — when i remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters, i am filled with unutterable loathing.”
rich came into the kitchen to put something in the sink over the weekend, and quinn was at the table watching us and when we comically both turned the opposite way and missed each other, i said to quinn, “i could have sworn someone came in here.” rich was now behind me in the kitchen as i asked quinn if he saw someone come in, and could he describe the person. quinn told me, “yes. it was a boy. i mean, a male. tall, with the beginnings of a beard….”
then rich bear hugged me from behind, and after a brief loss of composure, i continued my commentary to quinn, “hmmm, rear bear hug with arms free, that’s crashing wings, right? (that is the name of our karate self-defense technique for said bear hug attack) and quinn said, “yup!” and proceeded to giggle while i did crashing wings on rich (who was also laughing) in the kitchen.
last night quinn had a headache so he fell asleep with junior strength ibuprofin at 6:30, then woke up at 8:30 to eat dinner, draw and listen to a story, and then i turned his lights out at 10. i had been in the bath when he woke to eat, so he microwaved himself a tupperware of brown rice and ate the rest of a corn muffin that had been in his lunch. he’s getting to be pretty self-sufficient, my almost ten-year-old.
after i tucked him in the second time, i printed out his star wars valentines that i had downloaded from etsy last year for his class party today. print-our-own star wars cards were a good $5 investment, because star wars will always be relevant.
this morning i put a valentine card and reeses peanut butter hearts on rich’s chair for him to find after he got up from stoking the fire. i wrote mushy stuff in the card, which had owls and said something like “to tell you the truth i like doing nothing with you” so i ran with that theme and also pointed out that this will be our only v day as fiances, so we’d better savor it! for quinn i put a pack of pokemon cards (in which he was thrilled to find a blastoise ex) and a jar of capers on the table (the back story: in the series of unfortunate events books, the baudelaire orphans make puttanesca sauce in the bad beginning, and the recipe involves capers, which quinn has never tasted. we had discussed making the recipe from the book sometime, so it was a literary/culinary present.)
i cookie cuttered hearts out of the middle of two pieces of bread, made a tiny heart pbj for his lunch (with another corn muffin, and a juice box, at his request) and then scrambled egg and cheese in the middle of the outside pieces of the bread for his breakfast which he gobbled. the biscuits were heart blob shapes this morning too, for biscuits and gravy.
rich called up the stairs that i should look outside, and i ran out the door with my camera to photograph the sunrise, which was heart shaped. of course, my valentine would arrange such a thing for me. he also serenaded me with a fun medley of love songs.
me: heart biscuit blobs. rich: jedi atmospheric control. he always has to outdo me.
i drove quinn to school, then got back in my car, got a momentary flash of his valentines in a stack on the kitchen table, and drove home and back to school one more time for good measure. his class was all doing yoga with the lights off. so lovely to find the long frame of him folded like origami into eagle pose as i snuck his cards into his backpack.
as of sunday, the christmas tree now has only lights on it… it is still standing in the living room as of this morning, still with lights. my friend wedding boss tries to keep me on task, but today another deadline comes and goes and my save-the-date cards are closer to completion, but not yet sent.
i baked my fellas a cherry death star pie. i baked them heart-shaped pizza for dinner. i declined to carve each whole olive into a tiny death star, as requested by quinn, but i think he enjoyed his pizza in spite of it. they each gave me a valentine card (swoon).
i may be behind on life, but taking it one day at a time, my priorities set on making my guys feel loved today and every day, feels right.
my good friend, frederick douglass, was asked how it felt in his first moments of freedom from slavery. he found that words were inadequate to capture those feelings, saying, “anguish and grief, like darkness and rain, may be depicted; but gladness and joy, like the rainbow, defy the skill of pen or pencil.”
still, we have to at least try to express the whole range of our emotions. and photos help, when trying to convey the simple gladness and joy of our daily lives.
i’ve been trying to be the rainbow in my daily work, or at least, having fun whenever i can.
red: signs of spring! the peonies i planted in the fall as bare roots are already starting to come up! i am hopeful that they will be blooming in the temporal vicinity of a certain summer get together i am hosting. i cherish the memory of waking up to the sight and potent aroma of peonies on my bedside table, placed there by my mom, on the morning of my high school graduation.
orange: probably a more accurate crayola name could be found for this raw burnt sienna umber color, but i just loved the bright rusty inner bark layer of these black walnut slices rich is making for his daughter.
yellow-orange: sunset therapy, whenever i can manage it.
yellow: did i mention how pleased i am that spring is arriving? this is the time of year i start to feel human again and come out of hibernation. everything starts to feel possible again, when the daylight lasts a teensy bit longer and life starts to emerge from the earth in the form of flowers.
yellow: this lad is (visibly) enjoying his new dojo. he tested for his full adult yellow belt on saturday with great success.
green: signs of spring emerging and winter retreating. i’m excited to see what flower bulbs are to be found around our yard!
blue: more daylight, more blue sky, more gladness and joy.
purple: i was particularly glad and joyful when rich discovered a patch of my favorite color of wild violets already established under the big cedar tree in our front yard. spring is coming!
red violet: sunrise overlooking our newly expanded eastern vista. always a great color to complete a rainbow post, the color of love, the source of all gladness and joy.
when i read the text of the speech delivered by the president upon the occasion of black history month, i was so taken aback by the dimensionless name drops of token black americans, and in particular, the use of the incorrect verb tense when stating that frederick douglass “has done an amazing job,” that i was inspired to read a bit about the life and legacy of frederick douglass. i learned a lot, and have much more to say about him, but for today i wanted to share that he made conscious use of photography as a form of activism. i decided that for black history month, i will make conscious use of my black and white wednesday posts to say some things i feel compelled to say.
today i’m borrowing some photos from history (all of which i believe are in the public domain).
frederick douglass was the most photographed american of the 19th century. he used the tool of the selfie to demolish the caricature of the “happy slave” and confront racism head on with a fiercely serious look. he had something to say, and he combined his eloquent speaking with his use of photos to bring about social change. i feel like i have found a kindred in frederick douglass, though i am not nearly as eloquent and my photos are rarely of myself.
here is one of the things he had to say. “This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
you simply cannot sum up his life by saying that he “has done an amazing job.” this man was separated from his mom at an age so young he could only remember the sense of her lying down to help him fall asleep, and the sense of her being gone when he awoke. he overcame extreme adversity, was beaten and nearly broken by his master before making his escape on the underground railroad. he taught himself, sought out teachers, and taught others how to read, and became an eloquent public speaker.
he didn’t only speak up for the abolition of slavery, he was also vocal about women’s rights, free public education, abolishing capital punishment, suffrage, and several other major societal issues. he was a man of integrity who would “unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong.”
in light of an administration who acknowledged black history month without mentioning the word “slavery,” and acknowledged holocaust remembrance day without a word spared for the six million jews (not a single mention of one single jew) murdered by nazis, i am feeling compelled to unite with those who care about doing right. i will not quietly submit in order to find out the exact measure of injustice that would be imposed, i have seen how that movie ends on the small scale of my little life, and i’m starting to see a glimmer of how that played out in history, and i can’t keep quiet.
speaking of jews…
“they are committing the greatest indignity human beings can inflict on one another: telling people who have suffered excruciating pain and loss that their pain and loss were illusions.” elie wiesel spoke out against holocaust denial, and he would know, having lived through his imprisonment at the concentration camp at buchenward, bearing the tattoo of a-7713, not one of the six million who was murdered, but instead one of the roughly three million survivors of the holocaust who would have to find a way to move on with life after his release.
within days of release, elie wiesel can be seen in this photograph, on the second row from the bottom, seventh from left next to the post. the atrocities that are represented by this image must not be allowed to repeat themselves. “We cannot indefinitely avoid depressing subject matter, particularly if it is true, and in the subsequent quarter century the world has had to hear a story it would have preferred not to hear – the story of how a cultured people turned to genocide, and how the rest of the world, also composed of cultured people, remained silent in the face of genocide.”
i will not remain silent.
the slow erosion of our humanity, the creep of one new normal into the next new normal, is the way fascism takes hold of an otherwise cultured people, and turns them to committing atrocious acts, up to and including genocide. it is the everyday citizen, charged with upholding a baseless and unconstitutional ban on immigration, who finds himself detaining an elderly woman for over 33 hours and denying her the use of a wheelchair. on the average day, the airport security person does not commit inhumane acts, but last week, he handcuffed a 5 year old child and separated him from his mother for hours. i’m sure he was just following orders.
this interview reminds us of the importance of watchfulness for the signs of fascism in our society, because of this slow, imperceptible creep that can overtake humanity. “At the Holocaust Museum in Washington…there is a placard that says “Early warning signs of fascism,” and it has a list that includes powerful and continuing nationalism, disdain for human rights, identification of enemies as a unifying cause, supremacy of the military, rampant sexism, controlled mass media, obsession with national security, corporate power protected, labor power suppressed, disdain for intellectuals and the arts, obsession with crime and punishment. ” (italics mine.)
the executive order that places a ban on immigration and refugees falls under several of those headings, and the cost is in human lives. lest we diminish the gravity of the consequences of turning away refugees at our border, we must bear in mind that our nation also placed limits on immigration of jews during the holocaust, such as the 937 jewish refugees aboard the s.s. st. louis who were turned away from miami in 1939, 254 of whom ended up dying in concentration and extermination camps upon their return to germany. these were humans fleeing violence, not numbers. Wiesel also said, “We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see in every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.”
once again, photos drive the point home:
“My name is Joachim Hirsch. The US turned me away at the border in 1939. I was murdered in Auschwitz.”
i can’t keep quiet. another elie wiesel quote has stuck with me this week: “I write to understand as much as to be understood.” i’m starting to think my memory problems are inversely proportional to how much writing i’m doing, that writing helps me empty out and organize my brain, making neurons available for the daily chores. as i was washing my hands in the second bathroom i came to, walking to my office after finishing some lab work, it dawned on me that i had already washed them in the first bathroom i had passed. so it is time for me to get this jumble of thoughts out of my system, more for myself than to try and impress upon anyone else the importance of how we handle this juncture in our history.
and yet there is an urgency. i still do not wish to smuggle in any hate, or appear to attack or put on the defensive anyone who may chance to read this post. still, i find that the more history i read, the more i feel compelled to read. the more urgent my questions become when i learn that the concentration camp buchenward, in which elie wiesel was imprisoned, was liberated on april 11, 1945, by the u.s. third army. this fact collides with the one soundbyte i can recall of my poppy’s army service during world war ii, that he served under general george patton in the u.s. third army. hold up! was he still serving at that time? was he there at buchenward? are those some of the experiences that haunted his dreams? i cannot ask him, and there are fewer and fewer world war ii veterans and holocaust survivors remaining in the world today to ask. elie wiesel passed away in 2016, and my poppy, peter donnelly, passed away in 1993. this story must not die with the dwindling (estimated 100,000) holocaust survivors who are left of the (also estimated) three million who lived through the holocaust. it is up to us to not keep quiet about our history, and apply it to our present. i will save that for another post.
how does one establish a relationship that is built to last, what with all the ephemerality of the world? the passing of days into memory or forgetting, the hurts and slights that have the potential to erode at what originally connected two people, the quirks and morning breath and neglected leg stubble that could garner disproportionate attention when days seem mediocre or less than magical.
impermanence could be something to fear when it comes to relationships, if we start to think about divorce statistics, the real faces of broken families who have crossed our paths, our own experiences in such families, either as children, helpless to keep their parents together, or as parents who tried everything they could think to try and still fell short of finding a way to “make it work”.
i take heart in those second marriages i’ve observed that seem to have a higher happiness quotient than the overall married demographic. of course, this will only be my first marriage, but it will be rich’s second, and having had a child with my coparent functionally bumps that into the “might as well have been married” category. rich and i talk about how we’re aiming for the kind of longevity and dedication of johnny and june, while we’re speaking of second marriages that went well… this is of course in addition to all those fabulous first marriages that are going strong!
one saturday while i was working at farmer’s market, rich pruned some trees to allow more light to reach the apple orchard. some of what he cut back was wood i could use for the terraces i am building, so i spent time the following afternoon moving some of the branches into place. this pattern has played itself out numerous times now, but i realized on that particular afternoon that stabilizing the slope and minimizing erosion is a metaphor one could apply to relationships.
the metaphor has layers…. literal and figurative. i am building my terrace garden into six levels that span the backyard slope. first, i laid cardboard as a hindrance to the ivy and morning glory that will want to make a swift return if i don’t impede them. along with this weed barrier, each level has a set of stakes pounded into the ground along a contour, and a series of limbs and brush tucked in behind the stakes, horizontally layered to hold the soil inside and provide a wall of sorts. behind the branches, more branches, twigs, brush, and mulchy bits are piled to provide bulky organic matter and generally fill out the space. next, a layer of raked leaves helps the soil not trickle down into the twiggy abyss, but stay on the surface until roots can establish and help hold it more firmly; as the leaves break down, they will provide nutrients for the roots, while the branchy twigs should hold extra moisture as they break down more slowly. finally, some top soil, in which the rainbow flower bulbs and seeds will be tucked; the icing on the cake.
before the layers could even begin to be laid down, some stuff had to be pulled out by the roots. there are things in our pasts, for example, that we have no use for. these ivy invaders and morning glory stranglers must be hauled to the dump, with no other option to keep them from getting carried away and making a nuisance of themselves. there are thought patterns and habits we all have that simply must be eradicated before forward progress can be made. while ivy can keep a slope in one place after a fashion, and toxic relationship patterns can keep people cyclically involved, there are much healthier replacements for slope stabilization.
on the other hand, the layering of cardboard and brush brings to mind the way that some waste can be gleaned and turned into useful, strengthening stuff. the pounding of discarded limb stakes into the hillside allows the hillside to remain in place, slows erosion, and provides a substrate on which a garden can flourish. while some maladaptive habits and thought patterns have to go, there are also old hurts and pieces of scar tissue from the past that can actually be turned into something useful, something that feeds the beauty of the garden, that strengthens and stitches together new connections, rather than continuing to poison. the shining example for us is oregon country fair, an event that i believed was poisoned for me beyond redemption. instead, it has become a place of trust, love and some of my happiest memories. with the right person, letting a vulnerable hurt place be loved on can result in some amazing healing.
the idea of pounding in stakes, actually piercing the ground, in the interest of stabilizing the slope, is one i’ve been mulling over in the scope of my metaphor. i think it applies in the sense that relationships involve some hard work. it shouldn’t feel like hard work all the time, nor should the work ever feel impossible, in my opinion, but there is effort in showing up for another person daily, saying yes to them with your being, pulling your weight and doing your part in the household duties whether you feel like it or not, showing gratitude that your partner is doing the same. picking up their slack when they are sick, and acknowledging when they do the same for you. it’s a conscious, enthusiastic turning towards one another in words and actions. sometimes there are conversations that don’t go well the first time. coming back and doing the hard work to get through the process and come out on the other side with a better understanding of one another’s points of view, while it can be a piercing experience, undoubtedly leads to a strengthening of the relationship, an act that prevents erosion. while the ground is frozen, it may not be time to pound in stakes; being able to discern what matters, how much it matters, what needs to be dealt with right now, and what needs to be tabled until after a thaw, all come into play in various seasons. gentleness in handling these topics, sticking to the subject, and attributing the best intentions to one another consistent with the facts helps minimize erosion as well.
layering the branches, twigs and leaf litter into the terraces reminds me of what we do for each other to feed the relationship. consciously, we both ask ourselves what we can do to support each other, and to support our friendship. i make a point to know what flavors my sweetie will savor when i cook our meals, while he makes a point to stoke up the woodstove in the middle of these chilly nights for my cold bones. i might be content to eat rice and beans, and he might be content to let the house cool off at night, but we prioritize each other’s comfort. aside from the creature comforts are the less tangible emotional needs, to be heard, seen, recognized, accepted, supported. we had an especially nice conversation after family had all departed from christmas festivities, and covered a lot of topics, talking at length about each of our kids and other family members, sharing our observations and insights that we had been having throughout the festivities but hadn’t gotten a chance to share. both of us felt a sense of what a great friendship we have, to be able to range widely in conversation and complement each other’s insights. we also make a concerted effort to make each other laugh with great frequency, and as we all know laughter is like water for the soul’s garden.
all of what we are feeding each other, these layers of friendship and comfort, must be held in place in the right kind of container for the relationship to work. building these terraces creates a wall structure behind which the layers of organic matter are safe to settle in and nurture the soil and the plant life. the sides breathe, there is no lid to stifle growth, moisture is retained but does not stagnate, instead the walls provide a richly nourishing, secure foundation in which the growth can proceed. this container finds a balanced porosity that both prevents erosion and encourages individuality. the magical blend of components woven together to form this container, such as trust, trustworthiness, unconditional positive regard, attentiveness, hugs, and refusal to indulge negative self-image on the other’s part, provides such security that the growth flourishes and positive fruit can spill over to bless the surrounding family, friends and community.
embedded in the creation of these layers is the way we share the labor. our partnership has always pleasantly surprised me with how smoothly labor divides itself to the great good fortune of all involved. i stood around the other day watching him split and stack firewood, vaguely wondering if i should help, but content to watch the show, knowing he expected nothing of me in that department, and knowing i’d be serving him a hot dinner later that i wouldn’t expect him to lift a finger for. i would never in a zillion years have thought that serving another person would bring me such joy, but when he asks me if i want to fill his water glass, i find that yes i do genuinely want to. i think an attitude of gratitude is something we both intentionally promote in ourselves. i endeavor to notice the way he wields power tools and cuts the brush and branches without complaint, and he makes a point to comment on the progress i’ve made weaving the branches into the walls of the terraces. we don’t lavish praise with the intent to procure more work or results from each other; this appreciation is simply acknowledgement of what’s done, not a subliminal manipulation to extract more.
the seed for this post was planted a few months ago, and i’ve been tending this seedling ever since. this past weekend while we worked as a team to fell trees and clear brush, then add more layers of stability to our terraces, i was reminded once again of the metaphor, and feeling gratitude for the many years ahead of growing together on this stable foundation.
we’re in high rainbow season, and we’ve been taking our cues from the skies and being the rainbow every chance we get.
being a fairy dog mother is a way i like to be the rainbow in someone else’s cloud, or in other words, be the community on which my friends can depend. i took this while walking my ruby pup one lunch break.
spending part of inauguration weekend taking care of ruby’s kids so their parents could attend a conscious teaching conference felt like being a rainbow. fixing quesadillas, detangling my favorite curls and snuggling up to read stories, some of my favorite ways to be a rainbow.
not sure whether still having our christmas tree is being the rainbow, but it is being a rainbow itself, so we’ll not mention our procrastination tendencies.
rainbow tree water. water is life.
red: summer in a jar, strawberry jam on a biscuit makes him smile. still life of boy with 99 cent pineapples.
orange: caught him grinning as he added branches to his first bonfire at the dragon house.
yellow: sunset self care visits to the beach are right at the end of my work day this time of year.
yellow: quinn advanced from junior green belt to adult half yellow belt! we are having a great time with our new sifu and learning a lot!
green: lumberjack in his element. rich took down several small overcrowded trees this weekend, and i helped. i got to tie the rope on each time and pull them in the right direction while he wielded the chainsaw. they all landed right where we wanted them, and none of them landed on me at all. success! more light for the apples and future garden area! not to mention the venue of an upcoming get together…
green: another thing that felt like being a rainbow on friday was cleaning up a beach with quinn’s fourth grade class.
blue: juvenile eagle blessing the beach cleanup.
blue: various hubbard-y blue squashes riding the wave.
blue: selfie with dust.
purple: sunset watch.
purple: eating my greens and purples; still life with dirty dishes. dust and dirt, just part of being a rainbow!
it’s starting to sink in for me that camp boss is still refusing to write her own blog. i think i’ve heard her tell me enough times now that she wants me to include parts of her story here in my story, and since our stories do overlap quite a lot, i’m finally convinced this is a good idea. i think i will have to wait until another day to chronicle the superstar sister who is camp boss herself, but today a certain birthday party for two of her offspring needed to be documented. although she has assured me she is not only cool with, but encourages me to post photos of faces (i normally avoid posting faces of other peoples’ children, even my nieces and nephews, which is what her kids are to me) i am giving them all pseudonyms to protect the innocent. (camp boss is not actually her real name, either, in case you were wondering, although it is very much who she is.)
the birthday party was for offspring numbers 3 and 6 of sister camp boss. kitty is the third sibling, but the oldest of the dauntless trio of small blond females. kitty is always the one to sneak off with the oreos to the tent when we’re on a camping trip. this birthday girl is now 7, and she is rocking a new red violet helmet cover (which when i got finished sewing it, reminded me a bit of the pink panther) and a new stunt bike, in matching red violet, which couldn’t have been a more perfect match if we had planned it. she is full of spunk and sass and exuberance, and is the embodiment of my fashion goals, in equal parts rainbow brite and layered grunge. when you’re looking for her, she is either off watching movies on a clandestine kindle, or she is tearing down the driveway at top speed on a plasma car, probably head first or backwards. she hibernates and stores up energy and then lets it rip, full blast, holding nothing back. yet she is the person most likely to be able to walk up to any chicken and pick it up, and i remember her needing to be reprimanded about picking up each of her infant siblings before she was ready to be doing so without supervision; there’s a deep well of nurture beneath her adrenalin-seeking surface. i enjoyed watching her waltz into the kitchen after the cupcakes had been eaten, the presents opened, and throw back the 2-liter of orange soda to take herself a big swig right out of the bottle.
kitty holds a special place in my heart because her lifespan marks the duration of my friendship with her camp boss mama, in whose womb she was being knit in all her dauntless rainbow stripes when we first met. she is also responsible for koala’s nickname, due to her proclamation when he was a newborn that he was “cuter than a baby koala bear!” this birthday party was also meant to celebrate this little man, who is turning one!
the dauntless sister next younger than kitty, also known as butterfly, often sports black and sparkly outfits, or sometimes tries to argue that a slip is plenty of clothing. she also speaks her truth, like her mom, of the candor faction, and i sometimes wonder when i look at her, if i am looking at a future camp boss. “i do not like spicy meatballs,” she announces to everyone, and no one in particular. she instigates mischief and has the smile to match. her statement about baby brother koala when he came along was that he is cuter than a candy cane! her age of 5 is memorable to me because she was a newborn when i was first telling stories to my sister of a handsome guy at yoga and plotting whether i should move my yoga mat closer to his. (she heartily endorsed this, and i did move my yoga mat. and we are now 5 years old, too, just like butterfly.)
fish, dauntless age 3, always inadvertently steals the show with her strawberry blond pigtails and huge cheeky smile. i caught her licking the chocolate ice cream out of her bowl on camera, but failed to snap the next two moments, the one where she walked away, pulling a fistful of fluffy tutu across her chocolatey cheeks to clean them, and the other one where she continued around the corner and snatched the decorative sugar bowtie off the last cupcake on the tray.
it is such a joy to watch quinn light up as he sits by koala’s high chair and delights in his baby eating cuteness. quinn never does accomplish much eating in a household filled with so many surrogate cousins, even when he spends his summer days there among them, so this bonding time with his favorite baby is time well spent. we have been around for a greater proportion of this baby’s babyhood, now that we are nearby neighbors of the family camp boss. although i was across the room from the two of them during dinner, koala would steal a glance my way periodically and i elicited a few sideways squeezy baby fist waves. koala’s first birthday was the sound of grandparent hands clapping for a newly walking boy traversing the living room carpet, the smell of cupcake-smeared boy skin, the sight of wide eyes, in astonishment at the whole room singing in his direction, in wonder at the candles and balloons and new toys, in concentration on his winnie the pooh board book. he will never be able to escape being the sixth sibling, and somehow, he strikes me as a cerebral guy with a serious thought-life; as much as he likes to kick around a whiffle ball, it seemed like he might be thinking, “i’m just going to block out everything going on around me, so i can really focus on reading this book.”
second in the birth order, filly is an amazing big sister to koala, and is clearly one of his favorite people in the world. sister filly is of the amity faction, if anyone is: a little bit dreamy, a loyal friend, sister and cousin, and always with a sweet smile to share (we won’t talk about when it’s her turn to wash dishes). her hair is somehow the blondest of all the blonds and she is a graceful dancer. she strikes me as an artist, but whatever she ends up pursuing in life, i see her diving in with her whole, anomalously large heart, and lots of enthusiasm.
before the birthday shindig, oldest brother bear panda, who is quinn’s closest friend, came to hang out with us at the dragon house and the dojo for the afternoon. he seems to cherish his moments of being singled out and having some time to play without four younger sisters and baby brother around. he is a dutiful and caring big brother, don’t get me wrong, but i notice he lets down his caretaker role a little bit and enters the magical pretend mindscape of quinn with relish, like he’s on vacation. the two of them ended up playing a game of chess while i finished my karate class (quinn was feeling too tired to continue, sapped by a cold he is getting over, and was sitting out the end of class and keeping panda company). they are kindred spirits when it comes to pokemon, games of world domination, audio books, and legos, so it is equally beneficial to quinn to be joined by a peer, as it is to panda to spend a few hours as one of “only” two kids.
we took a vote by secret ballot (accomplished by show of hands) and a good time was had by all party-goers!
President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Norman Manley International Airport prior to departure from Kingston, Jamaica en route to Panama City, Panama, April 9, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
this image caught my eye and seemed like an appropriate way to bid farewell to the president. bye, potus. also, i’d like to be photographed as i leave on my honeymoon like this. #2017goals
oh, that reminds me, there’s someone else i want to make sure to say farewell to this week… yeah he’s always gonna be a fave, i don’t care what anyone says.
also, a happy birthday to dr. martin luther king, jr. this week in rainbows is high on the prominent public servants!
rainbow jars: modge podge, food coloring.
night rainbow! nyah nyah, we still have our christmas tree!
red: in this corner of the shell table… some strawberry top shells i picked up in tonga, and some teepee canyon agate picked up by rich’s mom and dad in south dakota, if memory serves.
orange (burnt sienna?): get a load of this healthy guy!
orange (salmon?): heavy on the public servants and sunrises. yup!
orange: that black sand under the shells in the upper left is from rialto beach, washington. i love that beach. my favorite beach here in oregon is the one that reminds me most of that beach.
orange: but the north jetty beach will do in a pinch, if i just got done with work and the sun is about to melt into the freezing cold water.
yellow: sun kissed surf zone
yellow: cassette tape case survivor
yellow: glowing leaf in the frosty grass
yellow: the moon startled me when i turned around from photographing sunset on wednesday.
yellow: opposite horizon from that moon.
yellow: sunrise this very morning!
green: sparkly twinkles
green: freezing rain created this beauty
green: we worked with what we had
green: the sea glass really makes the green section of the table pop
blue: hard to find many blue seashells, but blue sea glass and jay feathers i do have
blue and gold: one more sunrise, what the heck.
purple: cowries from tonga, sea urchins from here, abalone shell from all over the west coast, purple sea glass from all over the world
purple: finally feeling a little more homey! i put up some curtains, some on the window and some to hide the boxes under that sewing counter. some hemming required, luckily i can sit down at my sewing machine now! (deep sigh of contentment.)
purple: one of those after-work sunset shells
purple: sunset-illuminated gelatinous mass looking ethereal. may all your walks on the beach lead you to what you were looking for!