Memory lane: Part I

March 31, 2009 § 1 Comment

I was born into a small family, my mom, my dad and my older sister, in Cali, Colombia. Most of my memories revolve around where I lived and for how long. I can piece together a memory based on where I was living at the time. Although, sometimes I meet people and can’t place them. Not just their name or when we met but where. So many people look alike to me and all the friends I’ve made over the years get clumped into a big box in my brain. It’s nice in some ways to one day remember somebody and connect them somehow to someone I know where I’m living now.

That first year in Cali is memorable only through the eyes of those that cared for me. Our neighbors, and life long family friends, took care of my older sister and me quite a bit. They had two little girls, too. The oldest became my older sister’s best friend and the youngest became my best friend. We would later, upon our return to Cali, manage much more fun than a couple of one and two-year-old’s could. Tere, short for Teresa, their mom, was a second mother to me. She would bathe me and feed me and put me down for naps. She is still in my life and still calls me by my babyhood nickname, pedacito de mugre. I got that nickname because I was always getting into dirt. I would get dressed up in these cute little dresses only to play in dirt minutes later. They couldn’t keep clean clothes on me, which is why my nickname seemed so befitting. My sisters also have nicknames that Tere still uses in emails. How my parents would have managed without them I don’t know.

Moving around didn’t seem to bother me much when we were growing up. I kept thinking it would be neat to see more places and know more people. I don’t know that this was exactly the way I felt as a child but it’s the way I felt for a long time. When I was one, our family moved to the United States, to California. I don’t recall why. At some point we lived in southern California and my parents enjoyed having friends and colleagues over and we enjoyed going to the beach. We might have moved to California to be with my mother’s father. My older sister called him Bapa and that just stuck. He was getting to a point where he needed care so we went to live with him in Napa.

He had these great neighbors who loved to hang out with us. Why can’t I remember their names? This couple would take care of us from time to time. The husband liked calling us by our names, backwards. He called me Aliel. He did the same for my sisters and we always thought it was the funniest thing in the world. I also remember being at Bapa’s house, playing in his chair. He’d come into the living room and say, “fee fi fo fum, I smell the blood of a Colombian” and we’d giggle and laugh and he’d tickle us. Bapa would also take us out for ice cream, back when you could get a cone at Ralphs. He’d let us goof off in the car at stoplights but then we had to sit down when the light turned green. This was when there weren’t seatbelt laws.

Bapa also had a special affinity to my little sister. I remember him taking her to the bank and to run errands. She loved him so much. She also looks like him. Especially in the eyes. She has his sweet, honest, hazel eyes. When she smiles really big her eyes are the ones that turn to little slits. I probably noticed his affection toward her more than the affection toward my older sister because my little sister was new to our family. It was exciting that I could have a baby all to myself. Of course, now, with two little babies of my own, I can see the frustration of the older child as the younger wishes they could do more but merely sleeps and nurses.

We lived in Napa until Bapa died. He had a heart attack in his sleep and never woke up. My dad tells me that before he died, he was wanting to buy all sorts of crazy things for his granddaughters. He wanted to buy us a boat and a huge television set. My dad knew he was senile but didn’t want to treat him with disrespect so they settled on a television set. This tv was the one we took back with us to Cali a couple of years later.

We were 6, 4 and 2 at the time of Bapa’s death. I’m sure my older sister remembers things much more vividly. I remember, either through a retelling or my own cloudy memory, that when we went to Bapa’s wake my little sister was picked up to see him for the last time and got upset that she couldn’t see his legs and feet. I’m pretty sure the people at the funeral home opened the rest of the casket to show her he was all in one piece. Bapa’s funeral is something I only recall viscerally. I don’t know what was said but just the thought of his casket being lowered into the earth makes my body feel weak and tears begin to flow. The memory that bookends Bapa’s death is of my older sister crying a lot.


Teeth, words and yes, mastitis, again

March 27, 2009 § 4 Comments

Baby brother is getting more teeth and the pressure on his gums is now interrupting his sleep. He still giggles a lot when he watches bilingual baby. He’s moving quicker and quicker on his tummy.

I was just looking at videos of when bilingual baby was 18 months or so and I hadn’t given her credit where due. She has really learned a lot of words, sentence structure and humor. It’s quite amazing.

And, yes, I got mastitis again. Doing too much. Spring just got me all excited, probably. Will take it slower.

Tiny baby

March 25, 2009 § 3 Comments


Now that heavy baby is done, I am trying to collect the leftover materials and see what’s salvageable and what is truly a scrap (women in the depression era would probably be critical of my definition of trashcan scrap) and remembered that I had a tiny doll head that I made with the tiny bit of wool my kit came with. I had thought back then, after receiving more wool, that I could probably just make a tiny doll for baby brother. I finally did. I had little pieces of the muslin left over, sewed them together and managed to squeeze out a little body. It almost looks like they’re overalls or a body suit. I had a tiny bit left of skin tone and made arms.

Yesterday was a very productive day. Very.

He’s starting to crawl

March 24, 2009 § 2 Comments

I’ve seen it before, with bilingual baby and her friends. The excitement is still genuine. Two nights ago, my little boy was on the floor playing when he saw something out of reach. He started with his usual turning in a circle routine only to be followed by a little shimmy that helped him move a couple of inches closer to his desired toy. I got so excited. I was excited for him and his new experience and couldn’t help but stop what bilingual baby was doing to point out what her baby brother was accomplishing. He looked up at us as if we were nuts but kept moving; hand, foot, knee, knee, foot, hand.

I studied movement and was so immersed in small motion and where it comes from that I could totally nerd out on everyone with Labanotation drawings and descriptions that could archive baby brother’s beginning moves but I will spare you and keep them to myself.

For the record, and this is due to my background and interest in movement, his moves are “whole” in a way bilingual baby’s weren’t. I can’t help but compare and enjoy their differences.

Hiatus is now over

March 23, 2009 § 4 Comments

I think it’s safe to say that my blogging hiatus is over. Last week, with its wonderful warmth, was just the initiative I needed. All that vitamin D absorbed affected just the right parts of me and did its dutiful job. I’m in full creative mode. Every time a the sun streams into our living room I find another idea brewing in me and pull out materials for its execution.

On ocassion during this last week, I have gone to wash my hands and been dumb struck by the person in the mirror, looking back at me, shell shock. So it’s also safe to say that despite my productivity I’m still adjusting to having two kids. I figure at some point I’ll arrive at the new normal (chime in, please). I recall feeling the new normal settling in around crawling/walking with bilingual baby, which was just before her first birthday. I get the sense that it takes me longer than others (or so I’m lead to believe) to adjust to new motherhood. I think that, in light of that fact, having fall babies and heading into winter to hibernate with them is perfect for me. It gives me a chance to settle in. But, hey, that’s all I know. Perhaps if I had had winter babies and had a 2 month old in March I’d be saying that I love being able to walk around with my new baby, yadda yadda.

With my sewing machine nearing permanent removal from the room upstairs, I can see many sewing moments ahead. A moment is all I get sometimes. I sew one seam and attend to baby brother; one more stitch and serve food to bilingual baby. It breaks it up a bit but at least I get some sewing in during the day. See, once bedtime sets in, I am confined to bed with both kids. Granted that’s my choice and I welcome the rest but it still limits me. I just know, now from experience, that it doesn’t last long. What’s a year? If you had a job for only a year you’d be asked why you left so soon, right? That’s my perspective.

Spring projects:

Another podeagi

Family of knitted bunnies

Knitted wool wet bag

Small sewn bags (I’ll go into the details of this project as I’m excited about the design)

there’s more but now is my time to read with bilingual baby while baby brother is napping.

Miracle coconut everything soup

March 22, 2009 § 1 Comment

It started with the warm(er) week we just had. I hardly cooked at all. This meant that all the veggies I bought would go to waste if I didn’t cook them up all together today. I had a pound of carrots, a handful of parsnips and a half a bag of potatoes. I thought I had two onions but actually only one was still good.

So, I asked google for help and found this potato, parsnip and carrot soup recipe. I started chopping, which is no easy task with two kids (but still doable so long as everyone is content). I eventually started to saute the onions and by that point had already decided to cream up the soup with coconut milk when I did some serious thinking about adding thyme and parsley. That made me search for a recipe that already had coconut milk in it. I came up with this spiced parsnip and coconut soup. I then added some, not all, of the spices (coriander, cumin seeds, cardamoms, and turmeric) and let it simmer for about 40 minutes. I blended it all up once the potatoes were soft and it turned out really nice. Very much a soup I would enjoy. We’ll see if bilingual papi does, too.

Rotating Blogroll

March 22, 2009 § Leave a comment

I got this idea from other blogs. I’m going to start a rotating blogroll. It’s not that I don’t love the blogs I’ve linked to. I just want to do something more active with my blog right now, it being Spring and all.

So, check in to see the rotating blogroll.

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