Saturday, March 31, 2007

funky morning

Lately I have felt like a 9 month pregnant 75 year old in the mornings. My joints are stiff, my face is puffy, my back feels like a 200 pound man is leaning across it. This does not make for a cheery start to the day.

This was one of those mornings. After doing a little yoga that helped moderately, reading the paper, half-heartedly eating peanut butter on english muffin, and then brooding in my bed while Silas napped, Ben made me get out of the house. We walked up the street -- he got his haircut and I bought what may be my last pile of fabrics for my quilt. (I finished sewing together all the patterned squares, now will add borders and sew the backing, then somehow figure out the business of batting). Despite the insistent sun, the blooms opening along bush and branch, the soft breeze off the unseen ocean, I kept caving into gloom and throwing my arms on top of my head -- some impulse for balance or protection -- and walked that way until I was ready to face the sky again.

When we got back, neighbors were scattered around the complex sanding down a front door, washing upstairs windows with a long brush, tending to potted plants. Most of these people are casual, friendly neighbors with whom I do nothing more than exchange smiley hellos. But as we wandered toward our house, I in the privacy of my own gloom, Silas crabbing and Ben wondering what had become of his family, Ben started offering up "Bronwen is pissed today" to anyone who asked how we were.

Someone laughed. Someone just glanced at me and kept working. Someone said, "really?" at which point I had to smile and say, uh yeah, big funk or something equally as articulate. And Ben, who had no interest in relenting, kept calling a spade a spade as he left me at the door and headed to the car to get a burrito (and escape from me). And despite myself, the more he pulled my big rope of gloom out into the middle of the complex, the more my broodiness began to dissipate a little.

It is a couple hours and half a burrito later later and the day is still shadowy all around the edges, but I am finding my way back to gratitude, or at least trying. That seems to be the only way i know to try to relocate my feet and find something to stand on.

They just walked in the door -- apparently, while Ben was fixing a sprinkler head, Silas crawled straight for the pool and tried to get in feet first (at least he knows how to properly enter large bodies of water...) -- Ben nabbed him more than his pajamaed right foot was in...

Friday, March 30, 2007


Now that Silas is 1 and completely grown up, the two of us tend to coexist much of the time. Today I was sitting on the floor next to him reading while he played with my cell phone. Then, quietly, he crawled out of the room. I waited a few minutes to finish my chapter and then got up to find him. He had crawled into my closet and was happily playing with the wheels of a suitcase. So I plopped down on a pile of dirty laundry and kept reading while he crawled around nearby playing with bottles of lotion and dirty clothes (ahh, the really great toys). And before long, he had once again crawled out of the room. Is he already insisting on having his own space? When I found him, he was back in his room reading a board book. I ran downstairs to get an english muffin and found him lying on the floor on top of a little flannel blanket he pulled out thunking his legs against the floor again and again laughing. We sat up there together for a while eating buttery toast. A bite for me, a bite for him.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

the day

Today I went "marketing." In many parts of the country there is no name for this; it is just how people get errands done, but here in Orange County it is an anomaly to walk anywhere other than to your car. (I am distracted becuase Erik and Ben are recounting obscene scenes from Jackass 2 -- what Jackasses -- the guys, not Erik and Ben). People literally drive their cars across the parking lot to go from Starbucks to the grocery store.

After a stop in the post office, I figured I had time to run into Kmart (a store less than a mile from my house that I rarely ever remember to use) to buy a few things even though it was bordering Silas' lunch time. "Water, meat sticks, dirt, and wipes. Water, meat sticks, dirt, wipes;" I made my way to the store chanting my mantra. About 15 minutes later, I put meat sticks in Silas' hand and wheeled out of the store with two huge bags of potting soil and a box of diapers balanced on the handle bars of the stroller Potting soil, it turns out, is quite heavy, so the entire time I was walking I had to pull up on the handlebar so that there was enough pressure on the front tire. Finally, sweating and with sore arms, I pulled up to 260. As I paused to punch in the gate code , the entire stroller tipped backwards in slow motion -- the diapers and two bags of soil toppling onto the sidewalk, Silas' eyebrows raised to his hairline as he lay on his back strapped into the stroller, and the woman sitting in the car by the curb looked like she had eaten a bird. --sigh-- I gave her a weak smile, righted the stroller with my son in it blinking at me, and lumbered around gathering my scattered, bulky possessions.

That was the beginning of the day. We didn't do much else. I'm not sure how a single hour can make such a difference, but I just haven't been myself since Day Light Savings. It has tripped some invisible circuit in my body so that all I want to do is eat Cheetos and other savory delights and sleep. Despite the blossoms erupting around me, of which there are many, I seem to be gearing up for hibernation. So, the errand running was a real feat.

And now, at 8:45 PM, I think I will go fall into bed, only slightly depressed by my 80-year-old impulse to sleep before 9. Adieu.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Babies are funny (thank goodness)

A couple of months ago I started to worry that I don't laugh very much. There are people with loud, springy, ready laughs who laugh real laughs at everything. That isn't me. Often when I think something is funny, I have nothing more than a smile for it or a small ha ha. But even those seemed few and far between, and where was my deep, whole body-shaking, tears-in-my
-eyes laugh? Was it gone?? Just as I was about to despair in my in my lack of humor and ease, and in the fact that I was only half-engaged with life, I started to notice them. Who knew that laughs could be so easy to miss. They sidle in here and there, are quick and quiet or sandwiched in the ridiculous or mundane (thank goodness for that). There is lots of both the ridiculous and mundane these days, which makes me so glad for my found laugh. Silas brings this out a lot (and so do Ben and Amy).

Silas holds up the phone now, or the remote control or a cracker...

One day when my mom was here, Silas was crabby and whiny, so at a loss for what to do, we put him in a giant bag and carried him around between us. He couldn't have been happier.

Amy took this one.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Brown Ale Quilting

I am sitting here working on my quilt -- quilt, a project of 10 years, the least product-oriented project of my life, refreshing! -- sipping New Castle Brown Ale, which I really bought to cook Corned Beef and cabbage in tomorrow (Ben's parents are coming over) and which I surprisingly like.

Carrie Miller inspired this quilt when I was in college. I collected fabrics here and there -- Oklahoma, Eli's old clothes, Mari's shirt and the khaki cut-off shorts we used to wear, Costa Mesa -- for about 3 years. Then I cut squares for the next year or two (that sounds like a lot of squares -- what you should know is that they are 6x6). Then gladly looked at the squares for a while and just recently started sewing them together. Recently being two years ago. I don't sew them often. I MAY be halfway through and then will come the whole actual quilting part, which I will also make up as I go along.

Because this has been such an unfolding process, there's a lot sewn into these squares, which makes it all worthwhile (i have had 2 sips of ale and i am wasted -ha, clearly not irish, i'll stick with the corned beef). Our move to Cali. 227 Walnut St. Our new house. Silas' birth -- he was born in the middle of a row so I stitched his name into a seam. And I tend to work on it when Ben travels (or during one of his trips away a year), which includes working through being with myself, with loneliness, with the questions that arise in my own space.

So even though the columns do not begin to line up -- it is ridiculous -- I like it more and more as I go. And it looks like me. I'll post a picture in a few years when I finish.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

a few

1. the office is on in 6 minutes

2. i accidentally froze orange slices in the freezer -- good.

3. i am starting to hate money. don't really want to be an embittered-about-money type person, but...

4. i find out about the stegner fellowship in the next two weeks

5. i am freaking almost 30.

6. my brother max turns out to be a genius writer

strawberry picking

Last weekend, Kaia Joye visited before her CA road trip senior spring break. Saturday, she, Silas, Ben and I went to Tanaka Farms to wagon ride and pick strawberries. As we bumped along in a wagon-full of young families, chewing on giant stalks of celery, sugar-sweet carrots, cauliflower, cilantro (it turns out fresh, organic cilantro just-picked, though still v. fragrant, is mild and almost lettuce-like), I realized there is something deeply grounding about having family stuck to your side on a farm wagon. Even while growing into a family of our own, there is nothing like having root-family with us to pick pumpkins, visit a farm, go to the circus; it is all worlds at once -- childhood, today, and what we picture ahead. It creates a gradual turning. Warm. Reassuring.

And then there are so many days when the three of us go it alone, together, -- our own family -- and end up at the smallest zoo, at the ocean, or driving south through Salinas -- the yellow hills and tumbled rock -- on our way home.