I dug through my hard drive today and came across a folder full of Paris honeymoon photos that I passed over in the initial edit. The city was such a whirlwind at the time. All the photos were moments captured were shot from the hip like rapid-fire, crooked lines and all, ignoring the camera as best I could. Years later, these images takes me right back to those cobblestone streets... these photos make me feel old(er) yet lucky to have had the memory. It's time to plan another trip!
My passing thru St. Helena and the open hours of this store finally aligned last month. The window display marked with a mysterious "M" always caught my eye but it was always closed, which probably only fanned the flames of my wanting heart. This time I walked up to the door and pulled the handle, and instead of resisting against me as usual, it opened easily, and so too did my heart crack wide open.
I took the photo above as I was leaving. I remember feeling complete and utter awe of what I'd just seen and taking a photo was all I could do. Complete and utter amazement, wonder, and incredulity. The curator of this store had taste that was out of this world. Each piece of furniture, jewelry, light, or object make a statement. Either it was a bold statement made with delicate materials, or it was simply bold and unassuming. Nothing was purely beautiful without also being a little large, slightly weird, kind of funny, which gave it a kind of honesty. Every object was novel. I couldn't get over how I felt, like I just witnessed something. Have you ever felt that? The kind of open ended clarity that opens your eyes to a great, glorious possibility? I knew that I had seen a light. I knew that I'd met my desire. And now I have to do something about it.
I came across this photo in my phone and decided to post it. Then I decided to write a caption. Then I decided what I was going to write. Then I looked up the store online to see if "M" was short for something. I discovered that I'd heard about this showroom before; that it belongs to a local interior designer named Erin Martin that I'd researched in the past because she was the designer who staged a home that I'd been in and found so perfect that my husband and I decided to get married there. I had no idea of this connection to Erin Martin all those times I'd driven past the showroom, drawn to it, finally pulled in and impressed upon. It may not be the strongest connection, but I know enough to trust that it only takes a millisecond to make another.
So I'm here putting a feeler out there in the universe, a grand gesture in its own right, and may it help me find my way. And a feeler to Erin Martin, if she would ever entertain a conversation with me about her work, I am ready to listen.
Birth. Birth day. Birthdays. I always wondered what it feels for a mother to celebrate her child's birthday. I think I'll always look back at that day as "the day that everything changed". One moment I had a baby in my belly and the next, a baby in my arms! Whenever I look back at belly photos I find myself saying "You were in there, and now you're out here!" and it's a trip down memory lane.
I'm writing my birth story because I have the worst memory and I want to remember it in full. I'm sharing my birth story because even before I was pregnant I loved reading other women's birth stories. I found them to be some of the most raw, honest and unapologetic pieces of writing on the internet these days. Reading them shaped my expectations for my own labor and delivery, and they also affirmed that while women have been giving birth since the beginning of mankind, no two births are the same. Learning about the mysteries and magic of pregnancy and childbirth, I started to feel proud to be a woman.
As I add yet another birth to the ether-net, I want to write down certain aspects of my birth story that I feel were a) unique to my experience, b) things I wish more mamas elaborated on or at least mentioned in the birth stories I read.
Here we go....Read More
Hanging on the wall at my parents is a funny family photo from a 90's mall studio; I'm sitting in front in a pink frilly dress and bowl-cut bangs, posing with my elbow on my mom's knee. She's seated next to me, straight-backed like a proper lady, looking tall with her permed bangs, and my dad and older sister are standing behind us. My older sister is wearing a dress with a big ribbon and glasses, and in my dad's arm is a very small, teary-eyed toddler who has clearly had better days. Everyone is smiling but my little sister. I don't think we took a formal family photo after that—no printed proof of it anyway.
I've been thinking about tradition lately. Like the tradition of family photos; we very well could have been one of those families that gets dressed up every year to schleps the whole gang to a strip mall to pose for the camera. While I'm glad we didn't suffer through that each year, I can see how it could be kind of cool to hang the portraits in order on the stairwell wall and see how our family stayed the same over time. We all get taller and our hairstyles change but our eyes and our smiles (or not-smiles) will always be the familiar vein. Yeah, I can see the value in starting that tradition.
How does a good tradition begin? Is it like a fine wine, maturing over time? What will a tradition look like 3, 10, 20 years from now? Was it a spontaneous decision, an organic repetition that subconsciously became the norm? Was it something so full of deep meaning that it would be missed if it ceased to exist? And what was the impetus? Why did it begin, and when?
Normally, I don't invest this much time thinking about the past or too far in the future. When I try to plan far in advance, the intangible inevitably becomes blurry and faint and eventually I lose sight of the original purpose, and if I can't connect to what I'm doing, things start to lose their value. But my son is the definition of "tangible" to me. He is a force-of-nature, with me in my present moment and my future. So even though I don't spend a lot of time thinking about my future, I think about his.
I love honoring "firsts". I keep a calendar/diary of our kiddo's firsts to recognize that everything he does is uniquely brand new to him, to me, to this earth. And that's cause to celebrate in my book. That "first" only happens once and it may mean nothing, but it may be one of those firsts may be the start of something incredible for him. Every long-lived tradition was once a "first". Something new that happened once, and then it occurred again. Then again. And down the line we'll look back and want to remember where it all began. We're planting the seeds now and then we wait and see.
Photos by Marita Madeloni at Piedmont Park in Oakland, CA
Things have been busy over here! Last time I wrote it was summer and now it's autumn. I do love this season, though. It's the best season for the senses—you've got the brisk air in your lungs and softer textures on your skin, the piercing afternoon light juxtaposed with the aroma of steaming hot drinks, and pops of color are having their last hurrah—you can't go wrong!
I'm enjoying a new role at work but it comes with constant juggling and prioritizing. I'm learning a lot and finally my professional career path is steering a little closer to my personal interests and some day they'll be one and the same, a topic of discussion between J and I lately.
And that brings me to our kid (everything brings me back to that kid). Our son just turned 8 months recently, and I find myself having to stop and look him over for a few minutes. I examine him head to toe to remind myself that he's growing right before my eyes. I can't believe he came into my world only this year! So recently that I can vividly remember what my life used to be like, and while I miss some aspects of the past, I've never been more excited for what's to come. Heck, I'm totally going to be one of those moms that has pre-bought birthday presents stashed in the closet until he's of the appropriate age, starting with a wooden toy bear and a huge ship kite. Some people invest in the stock market; I like to invest in his smiles.
Side projects are also picking up. Speaking of kids, I've been asked to style another kids apparel photo shoot, this time with a fall theme. I've got less than a month to construct a set, acquire and craft all the props and plan the shot list as best as possible. I'm also working on designing a top shelf beverage label and a destination wedding invitation for some very good friends.
Yes, the holiday season is always busy, as I'm sure you all agree, but it feels like a particularly bountiful one this year. I've got lots to be thankful for, and I'm looking forward to getting in the festive spirit with la familia: upholding the old traditions and sprouting the new!
Portland has moved to my Top 5 Cities in the US.
Marine Layer, San Francisco
Will Leather Goods, Oregon
Blue Star Donuts
I wasn't sure what Jason would like so I got two donuts on a spectrum: the Blueberry Bourbon with Basil one was the employee's favorite and the Sugar and Spice Cake donut was recommended as the least sweet donut. Jimney Crickets, the Sugar and Spice one is worth writing home, your boss, AND the President about. It's a perfect combination of texture, depth and aftertaste -- aftertaste being something I don't know many chefs consider. I'm laying here in bed still thinking about it. I've decided to get another half dozen before we fly home.
Boys' Fort / Solabee Flowers
I got to spend a whole day doing something that I love in a new city that I love with someone that I love. Just me and my kid, who by the way turns 5 months tomorrow! He learned how to shake his toys and how to turn 45 degrees while on his tummy -- which might be the first sign of crawling! No more laying him on the bed unsupervised, I guess. Growing boy...