Monday, March 31, 2008

Approaching Changes (Eli's Wedding week)

When Ben and I were planning our wedding, I was 22, had only ever been to one wedding before (a cousin's when I was in jr. high), none of my friends was married, and I was very much feeling out who in the world I was and where my own edges were. What a different wedding it would be if we were to throw it now as adults with a grounded sense of who we are.

My brother Eli's wedding is this coming Saturday. Silas, Ben and I fly out on Thursday for a hoopla weekend. Eli (who is 27) seems to have a laser-sharp vision of what he wants: he has already emailed a schedule for the wedding week with nearly every hour accounted for for 4 days, including tunes and words to hymns that will be sung and a revised wedding week schedule! Though I will miss some of the really fun ideas (barn dance and roller skating party anyone??) it will be fun to see what they've created...

He asked me the other day if I remember the week leading up to our wedding, and as I reached into the recesses of my mind I realized no, not at all. Later that night I asked Ben the same thing and he didn't remember that week either -- we each just have a few details here and there (none of which overlap). Funny to live and hover in such an expectant state with so much emotion/anticipation/anxiety only to be unable to recall it later. I think I spend a lot of time like this -- deliberating and weighing decisions that will simply play out.

As I approach change once again, I want to remember to hold loosely, to allow for time to run its course, to watch and see... Wouldn't that be nice?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Spring Joys

Bloming bay, air that smells like sage, head-high mustard erupting over the hills

this energy

Crafting with Silas (he's gluing pom-poms on goody/Easter bags)

His first real birthday party -- Train Park

a sweet Easter morning
my parents here for the weekend -- boat ride to Catalina

Easter and Silas celebration over Plum's Dutch Baby and a Lemon Meringue waffle...

one of my favorites...

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I've been challenged recently to think about whether my spending reflects my priorities and values. So, I'm making a list of what I think is worth splurging on/investing in/paying full price for. This is what I have so far:

- skin protection and moisturizer (and what really does this mean? Chanel sells a moisturizer for
$100 an oz. and Oil of Olay sells one for $5.49 for 3 oz -- how different are they?)

- teeth (I say this but consistently become furious when the dentist tells me I have to get a filling
that will cost $150)

- shoes

- sheets (I loooooove soft sheets)

- a comfortable mattress

- organic fruits, vegetables, and dairy,
and good food in general made of natural, real ingredients

- a good babysitter

- bras

- great jeans

- wellness (doctor, acupuncturist, massage, specialists, yoga classes, therapist, holistic medicine etc.)

What else would you include here?

What I am amazed to discover is that these things are NOT what I spend money on. In fact, I more often then not skimp in these categories. So, the question becomes, where IS my money, bit by bit, going?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Family Codes

I often assume that people are like me. And most often, they really aren't. Even my very best friends. They don't keep in touch the way that I would. They don't get angry at what would enrage me. They pick fights where I wouldn't. They laugh when I don't. They parent their children differently. They spend their money when I would save it, save where I would spend it. We are different.

What I never fully appreciated is how true this is with families. I knew families were different, obviously, all you have to do is sit at someone else's dinner table. But I didn't really appreciate the power of the family code. We all have our own individual codes that wind us through life, but what's a little creepy about a family code is that it's shared by a whole group of people -- a code of conduct, of interaction, the "givens" in exchanges. What's also a bit creepy is that it's hard to decipher the elements and workings of the code even in one's OWN family. Such subtext...

Aspects of a Family Code: What is talk about, what is avoided. How direct or indirect conflicts are, anger is, general newsy communication is. What expectations are for "being connected" to one another. What expectations are for sharing information. (Expectations are a big part of the code). What hurts -- things that are done? that are undone? What is funny, to whom. Who sets the tone. What stays unspoken. What gets resolved. How do people reach resolution. Family humor. On and on.

Maybe it takes our whole lives to keep pulling apart the strings of our own family make-up.
Becoming part of another family and clashing and colliding with the hum of their code helps. Beginning one's own family, faltering, floundering and finding our own ways, helps too.

I'm reading Joyce Carol Oates' novel We Were the Mulvaneys about a family of 7. She talks a lot about the family code and the unraveling that happens when the code is broken...

I find myself wanting to make some judgment or conclusion about family codes -- that they are limiting, or redemptive, or need to be broken -- but really I think they just are. They are, for good or bad, how we've become family and learned to meet each other again and agian.

Courage... and Rejoicing!

I wrote this a couple months ago:

"I have friends who are in the midst of the adoption process. They are in the hardest part -- open-ended waiting.

To begin the process, along with filling out and completing a billion forms, having their house approved, and making endless decisions most potential parents never even consider, they had to submit a scrapbook about themselves for birth-mothers to peruse. Talk about naked vulnerability! Not only did they have to state clearly what they wanted -- your baby -- they also had to let someone else interpret (and potentially misunderstand) who they are. All the more scary today when a birth-mother can sit at a computer, google you, and paste together who you are from the scraps that pop up!

Trying to adopt= courage. To tell someone (or many people) that you want to adopt, raise, have their child and then to sit back to wait for someone to approve of you and want you back -- THAT is giving up control. Really giving it up. All games are gone, the channels of communication and requalifying are closed -- it's just you, standing on honesty, waiting.




AND what makes this REALLY beautiful is that 3 weeks ago these friends got a call that a birth mother wanted them!! And last Monday, their daughter was BORN!! They are taking her home today. Bursting joy*