- My favorite!! (and such memories!!) @ Dewar's Candy Shop http://t.co/NnldsKV9 #
- Huge scoops! @ Dewar's Candy Shop http://t.co/EPKf1arS #
- Cozy cabin toes @ Camp curry, yosemite http://t.co/BkOfQMrS #
- Hiking. #happyhappyhappy @ Bridal veil falls, yosemite http://t.co/aLNkMY4U #
- The Yosemite sky at night, viewed while lying down in the middle of the forest: "my God, it's full of stars" #ilovemearoadtrip #
- Wow, really excited about the HDR app for my iPhone #ilovemearoadtrip http://t.co/oI483ubg #
- An early morning diner breakfast @ The Train Depot http://t.co/ypFNOVV5 #
- 3 Remys, 2 Belgians–150 miles behind us & the wide open road up ahead #ilovemearoadtrip http://t.co/2lSa7tQL #
- The Belgians are at it again (in the kitchen, making magic) :) http://t.co/2eDHQq3x #
- Oops, got distracted during dinner & didn't finish tweeting. Here's the main course http://t.co/ZU73fC5H #
- 3rd course: small fish pot (yumyumyum) http://t.co/BRQz6XY2 #
- White asparagus a la flamande (2nd course) http://t.co/F3ddJTDI #
- The Belgians are cooking Xmas Eve dinner. 1st course: endive soup (yum!) http://t.co/ItbQ5eIY #
- Only in California: In-n-Out on Christmas Eve http://t.co/dzlGd898 #
- Christmas Eve in Cali: the whole crew ready for a morning of harbor paddling & http://t.co/Ja6Wk1XS http://t.co/8yAfYAIx #
A friend* recently noticed (from a Facebook post) that I’d eaten dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse. She seemed more than a little shocked given my formerly-hippie ways (back in the day when I eschewed meat, wore all organic-cotton clothing, and grew my own veggies in my expansive compost-fertilized garden). It’s a huge change from the now-me, who has only a handful of potted herbs, who often buys clothes because of expediency/necessity for events rather than for their sustainability, who spends most of her outdoor-time with a paddle in hand instead of a shovel, and who has a long-ish daily commute from Irvine to Orange.
I don’t think that I’m any less authentic or intentioned than in the days when I had the luxury of time to follow environmentalist ideals and could spend a day biking to and wandering around the local grower’s market or in search of clothing in second-hand stores. It was a season of my life that I enjoyed, much, but is now behind me.
I wouldn’t say that I’ve evolved past those ways of doing things–not at all. Instead, my choices are pragmatic ones. In order to have the time with my family that I relish, I have to make choices in other parts of my life to keep things simple. And, these days I’m shopping at Whole Foods instead of the Farmer’s Market, and catching up with friends via Facebook instead of over the garden fence (oh, that’s probably the hardest part I’d say).
*The friend who made that observation will understand why there’s a photo of Eggs Benedict from my recent Montreal trip accompanying this post–it’s one of my favorite breakfasts when I travel. ;-)
- Belgians at Big Corona beach http://t.co/eVYqp15k #
- Christmas this year: 3 Remys, 3 kitties, 2 Belgians, and a whole lot of sunny weather. What could be more fun? :) #
- Unsurprised that no one in the local French's Bakery actually speaks french & that they have more cupcakes than loaves…& no macarons? :( #
- Empanadas & chimichurri-yum! http://t.co/y8R8tlZN #
- Many gifts have been winging their way to my house this past week. But I'm thinking the very best holiday surprise arrives tonite! :) #
- MT @foundhistory: "Ten Skills for the Future of Work" via @gigaom: Humanities ed provides most & DH provides them all. http://t.co/ex6vAeoe #
Today is a day for a poem. You know that kind of day…when morning comes while you’re standing stocking-footed in the garden and eating greek yogurt with toasted almonds and a sprinkle of nutmeg and realizing that the rosebushes in your backyard are covered with new buds (again). And you can’t help but think that sometimes such beauty hurts just as much as it heals…
From Mary Oliver’s “Am I Not Among the Early Risers”
Here is an amazement–once I was twenty years old and in
every motion of my body there was a delicious ease,
and in every motion of the green earth there was
a hint of paradise,
and now I am [forty] years old, and it is the same.[..]
I bow down.
Have I not loved as though the beloved could vanish any moment,
or become preoccupied, or whisper a name other than mine
in the stretched curvatures of lust, or over the dinner table
Have I ever taken good fortune for granted?
Have I not, every spring, befriended the swarm that pours forth?
Have I not summoned the honey-man to come, to hurry,
to bring with him the white and comfortable hive?
And, while I waited, have I not leaned close, to see everything?
Have I not been stung as I watched their milling and gleaming,
and stung hard?
Have I not been ready at the iron door,
not knowing to what country it opens–to death or to more life?
Have I ever said that that the day was too hot or too cold
or the night too long and as black as oil anyway,
or the morning, washed blue and emptied entirely
of the second-rate, less than happiness
as I stepped down from the porch and set out along
the green paths of the world?
- Just delivered: gorgeous holiday wreath full of lavender & herbs. #wow http://t.co/Vrv5orhX #
- RIP George Whitman http://t.co/FTTHcBFe #pariswillalwaysbeShakespeare amp;Co #
- Just got some parts of my leg super-glued back together & a fix for my heel height issue. It's all 'eau de glue' in my office now #fembot #
- RT @nowviskie: That's right, boys & girls! It's time to play Digital Humanities Dream Karaoke! http://t.co/iAi6aR3F #
- LARB is paying $100/review in an attempt to remedy the 'tragic' trend if free online writing. #
- LARB invites student interns & emergent writers, with a special commitment to writers publishing their first pieces. #
- Speaking abt the LA Review of Books & praising the book culture of LA (although only 15% of readership is in Cali) #
- Fighting NY literary parochialism, LARB is trying to introduce readers to new literature w/o reifying the same books as other publications #
- Standing room only at the Hammer tonite: http://t.co/pGMi3CxI #
- Sometimes it seems so unfair, the way that some people have a corner on the awesome: http://t.co/C1uITIL9 & http://t.co/eeBO4Rkn #
- A bit of altered book poetry is a great way to start the morning: http://t.co/qbMjYdrh #
- That pulled-pork waffle (from @Bruxie) at lunch…amazing. My mouth is still happy-dancing. #
- Kind of exciting to have a #ChapmanU class project that I was involved with, written up in the Berliner Morgenpost http://t.co/ldNEab5V #
- Bonus points for working at #ChapmanU today: there's a symphony concert happening in the theater underneath my office. #lifeofahistorian #
- Twitter University: http://t.co/ELheeM2u #socool #
- In praise of 'wobbly bits': http://t.co/z6i0r6Tv #
Last winter our family was completely upended. John left me just before Thanksgiving. Then, much of the month of December I was in residence as a research Fellow at the Huntington Library, which meant I lived in Pasadena. This was a mixed blessing: it allowed me space to grieve the loss of my marriage and it gave John time to find an apartment and remove his things from our (or rather, my) home. But it was also hard to be on my own in a new-to-me-city. After having been a wife and a mother for nearly 20 years, it was quite bizarre to be alone in the evenings after the Library closed.
The children joined me in Pasadena for the week of Christmas. I knew it would be strange for them to be in a new home away from everything familiar for that week, but it also seemed somewhat apropos because nothing was routine about the rhythms of our lives anymore. Because of my Fellowship obligations (and the crazy-crunch of dissertation-writing in December), right up until Christmas Eve I continued working in the research library for seven hours a day while the kiddos wandered the gardens of the Huntington. In the evening we’d meet in the gift shop, just as the facility was closing down, hanging out there for a few minutes together reading books or giggling over tchotchkes. Then we’d head over to my favorite cafe for dinner.
Christmas morning was humble. My biggest presents for the kids (furniture for their room at their Dad’s new place) would arrive after the new year, so they just had few stocking-stuffers to open. And there were a few gifts from my Mom and siblings. While I’d steeled myself for the realization that there wouldn’t be any packages with my name on them that year, it was still a harsh reality to face on Christmas morning. Which is why I felt both surprised and puzzled when the kids passed a square white box in my direction.
I opened it to find this sparkly turquoise ball nestled in tissue paper.
I bawled so hard as I opened the package, I think I scared the kiddos. But they wrapped their arms around me and held on until I was done.
At some point I must’ve shown the kids the turquoise-blue ornament in the Huntington gift shop that was my favorite. It wasn’t particularly fancy, but was blue like the ocean that I missed so much during my Pasadena month. I’d gone to the gift store to buy it for myself on the last evening before Christmas. My disappointment at not finding it in the basket next to the cash register where I’d seen it everyday all month long, seemed par for the course. It was such a silly thing to buy anyway–an ornament–when there were so many other pressing needs in my life.
I hung the blue orb in the over-the-sink window of my last home and now it sits permanently on the mantle of my new one (much to the delight of the kitties who like to bat at it and watch it roll). The ornament reminds me of that time in my life when I felt the most alone: I’d walked away from my religious community (and, to some extent my family-of-origin) and then my spouse walked away from me. Though many friends offered to ‘be there’ whenever I needed them, it just wasn’t the same as having one special person who wrapped something ‘just for me’ to open in the morning. And it wasn’t really about the lack of a package–it was about facing a future of mornings when no one would even know whether I was awake, and the loss of that someone for me to cling to through the long dark nights. That the kids understood that even in the midst of their own grief over the changes in our family, meant so much.
This Christmas we put up all the familiar decorations from years’ past, but everything feels different, a bit off-kilter from the very deliberate holiday preparations of prior seasons. I’m so busy with work that there won’t be Christmas cards and goodies. Gifts for extended family won’t be handmade. It’s doubtful that we’ll host our annual gingerbread decorating party (but oh, remember just how fabulous those were sometimes?…). And while it’s possible that we’ll still have our annual Astro-Veggie Tree decorating extravaganza…I just don’t know how much retro-goofy creativity is left in me these days…
But this may well be the last year with both kids living at home, so I feel like making the most of whatever familiarity remains, even knowing that it’s not the traditions that matter at all. They’re just the vehicle for sharing our love with each other…one ornament at a time.
- Mitt's latest campaign strategy: http://t.co/aYmVHTWc #
- The first present under my tree came all the way from Australia (wow, I do love getting packages in the mail from far-off places!). :) #
- "Voting for a Mormon" (or not), from the Chronicle of Higher Ed: http://t.co/AwAbP4UK #
- Perhaps the most gorgeous sunset I've seen from a plane window, over the Great Lakes http://t.co/2FBzsjxx #
- A little cheese & wine, to get this evening started… http://t.co/UskGpKMA #
- Dans le metro, a Montreal #bringit2011 http://t.co/QPax858I #
- City streets, all dressed for the holidays @ Le St-Martin Hôtel Particuler http://t.co/pCG9x7Vm #
- I do so enjoy days that begin with a view like this: #bringit2011 http://t.co/bgOfeYEu #
- Pulling together the plans for my next (and last?) foreign-travel adventure of 2011. #shehasapassportandsheknowshowtouseit #bringit2011 #
- A little Iron & Wine to get me through this Friday afternoon: http://t.co/JyFI4AZ3 #weekendweekendweekend #
- New York’s Literary Cubs: http://t.co/on8Z6mzg (sounds kinda #alt ac to me!) #
If you just happened to reach into your shoulder bag to grab your cellphone this weekend while traveling in a foreign country, and found it missing…then your heart started racing more than a little bit as you retraced your afternoon and realized that it was probably still in that coffeeshop where you’d stopped for awhile to warm up from walking the cold streets. Especially when you realized that you had no idea what the name of the shop was or where it was located.
Then you turned to your partner in more than a bit of a panic. And watched in awe as he coolly called your missing phone with his, spoke with the barista (in French, of course), and made arrangements to retrieve the lost phone. Then the two of you hailed a cab and arrived at the coffeeshop just as it closed.
So if this is you, you were hardly surprised that the lost phone drama brought you right back to that street where you’d spotted that charming winebar earlier in the day. And that that winebar turned out to be the perfect place to while away the rest of your last night in Montreal–perhaps better than any of the other options that you were considering for the evening. There you tried your first-ever beef carpaccio (with chimichurri sauce, yum!), lingered long over small plates and shared so many sweet memories–including the one of the meandering getting-lost-a-little-bit walk through a drizzly cold city afterwards.
- Good read: "How Doctors Die" (pretty similar to my views after having gone through cancer treatment myself) http://t.co/Rn01qFsL #
- Rental agency guys tell me I need a 'muscle car' while mine gets repaired. I think maybe that's because I'm carrying my #outrigger paddles. #
- Vasia-kitty makes purry-sweet mantle decor #awwwwww http://t.co/5kQnRj4Q #
- This list brings back sweet memories of walking-walking-walking until finding the perfect bistro in Montmarte: http://t.co/CpjD4nJu #
- Just got a random browser popup ad with "Cheap flights from Orange to Papeete." #somethingtellsmethosewon #039;tbecheap #butIwishtheywere #
- Kids are assembling a travel-themed treetopper, (places we've traveled this yr & schools they're applying to) http://t.co/UWYYKRUM #
- I put my pop-up map of Paris on our family Xmas tree #happymemories http://t.co/0pdjDDdw #
- Can't decide whether it was the leftover pumpkin pie or homemade rolls w/butter that tasted better this morning #anothertastetestplease :) #