Let the seasons be

February 24, 2010 § Leave a comment

I like living in the North East because there are seasons. Four of them. I grew up just above the equator where the sun rose and set at 6pm every day. Every day. No longer days, no colder days. Well, we do have a dry season and a wet season. Colombia’s diversity is mostly based on the level of humidity and the depth of the cold, which doesn’t compare to the cold I’ve chosen to live in.

I studied the seasons when I was growing up in Colombia. Granted our classrooms where open on one side. I could always look outside and daydream to a green lush lawn (not all schools are like this). The seasons were a bit of a mystery. How in the world could a region turn so hot and then turn so cold? I didn’t worry too much about it, with my thin sweaters and thinner t-shirts.

When we moved to Oregon in 1992, and I found myself in a French class, I started to see how confusing I was to people. I look like a typical American. I don’t have an accent in either language but I will be mistaken for an American before I will be thought of as Colombian, any day.

So, I’m in this French class, and the teacher asks me, in front of everyone else, about the seasons. I knew the words in French. I just didn’t know when they happened. She asked me what season it was during the long vacation. Um, Spring? She thought I was messing with her. Then she asked me what month we go swimming. January? (I could swim all year long back home.) She had me stay after class and gave me such a berating. I explained that I really could tell her the seasons, which we proved, and that I really did know the months of the year, which we also proved, but I didn’t know personally when the seasons happened. Eventually, she believed me.

So, now that we’re in Vermont I get when the seasons happen. First hand. It still hadn’t totally seeped in when I lived in California. I like the way it is. It snows all winter and we get to play in cold deep snow. Not so this year.

This year we’ve had so little snow. My sweetie assures me we could still get snow in April. True. Today it’s snowing the way it was supposed to at the beginning of January. I believe in global warming. I see it’s effects. Aside from that, I just want the seasons to stay the way they are.

I never thought I’d want something to stay the same so much until this winter. It’s not like me. I’m more into creating new things, new ways, much to the discomfort of others. (Not on purpose. I’m just wired like that.)

Here’s to a white winter/spring.


the tao of cleaning

February 22, 2010 § 1 Comment

I love to clean. One thing.

So, if you come over and you see me beaming despite the fact that there are still breakfast (plus dinner) crumbs on the floor and the toys aren’t secured in their ideal spot just imagine that somewhere in my chaos there is a clean spot that wasn’t so clean an hour ago.

Take the upstairs bathroom. I can clean the toilet or the tub or the sink but I rarely can get to all three in one go. Or one day. And I don’t try to if I’m not feeling it.

Or if I have just finished a pile of repairs that have lingering… or a pile of sewing… or a pile of unfolded laundry (my beam is double when I fold laundry, triple or even quadruple if I fold and put it away.) Baby brother loved to take whatever I’m trying to put away (diapers, clothes, sewing) and run away with it (very funny) and throw it, often, down the stairs. Then he runs back laughing hysterically, picks up more of what I’m trying to put away and takes off with it. He loves playing this game.

Speaking of the running boy. Every day he wakes up heavier than the day before. Yesterday he didn’t take a nap! This is the first time he hasn’t taken a nap during the day as a toddler. I went out yesterday to meet with a fellow ORE member (my time bank) to talk sewing and sewing machines and from what bilingual papi tells me everyone was fine. Baby brother did go on an eating cruise. I don’t know when his cruise will be docking but till then I gotta be on top of the food so he makes off with the heartiest snacks I can figure. Wish me luck.

Hell week

February 19, 2010 § 7 Comments

Good morning everyone.

If I believed in hell, this is what it would look like:

I take bilingual baby in to check up on her teeth. I knew she had cavities. This is a second opinion already and they’re telling me that they want to sedate her (knock her out entirely) to fix 8 or more cavities. She may need a root canal, too.

I go to one of my favorite, most kid-friendly cafe in town, only to be told by one of the owners that, no, this is not a playground, but a restaurant, and our kids can’t run around before their very expensive food comes. My blood is boiling in my veins in all the wrong ways and I can’t defend myself. It’s my life story. I ask for everything “to go”. The cook comes with foil to wrap our food but leaves it on plates just in case it works out, as she says. I still leave a note for the other owner who did the verbal hand slap. It says: You didn’t have to be so rude. Let’s talk when your kid is older, Ben. (It was Ben, the guy who reads books at story time. He has a newborn, so when I got into my right mind, I figured he’s probably sleep deprived and I revise, in my mind’s eye the note to: You could’ve been nicer about it.

I’m getting ready to take a shower. The kids slept in to 8am. I’m feeling positive about the week from hell ending today. I gather my clothes and hear the bathroom door close. Good thing there’s no lock, I think. I get to the door and see that baby brother has opened the bottom drawer closest to the door and is standing in it, making it impossible for me to open the door. He doesn’t get it. He has to get out of the drawer, close it and he can be with mama. He doesn’t get it. Thirty minutes later, the firefighters get him out by carefully sliding their fingers inside the small crack between the door and the drawer, and sliding the drawer out. It was 9am when he got out. One hour after they both woke up. The firefighters suggested I get those child locks for that drawer. They were pretty proud of me staying so cool. I didn’t have any doubt that we’d get him out. I actually thought, had he not started crying, he would have been able to get out on his own. He just started to freak.

My first 911 call due to child adventures.

The day isn’t over… yet.

Time Out

February 17, 2010 § 2 Comments

I don’t do time outs with my kids. The kids I gave birth to don’t want them and I don’t want them. However, I do feel like I do my own version of a time out. It’s something I’m calling privacy. This is the way we go:

Bilingual baby is having a hard time dealing with X.

I watch.

I suggest that she trade for another toy. (Repeat)

When that doesn’t work and her anxiety has escalated and (especially when) there’s been harm done to another kid, she and I get some privacy.

This privacy is what I call a time out, but it’s really just privacy to talk with her.

We talk on the stairs where neither of us are interrupted; where we can practice working through the emotions that overcame her. I also get to work on loving her beyond her actions.

She doesn’t have to stay if she doesn’t want to (though I’ve had to be quite convincing a couple of times) and I won’t withhold my love toward her. I do my best to keep from evicting my parental look of disapproval. I feel like she’d only think that I don’t love her. I don’t believe she can separate what she’s done with who she is.

One of the perks of walking over to the stairs to get some privacy is that I get that time to calm myself down. Even though it’s only a couple of seconds it really can help me clear my head so that I can really listen.

This is another step I’m taking to ensure that bilingual baby and I are building blocks of understanding and unity for those days in the future when we’ll need some stability to keep our relationship afloat. I want her to know that I’m on her side. I’m always rooting for her.

Dear Self,

February 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Please stop perusing fabric websites, drooling over the purchases you could make. You have a lot on your sewing to do list already. I know you have a lot of creative juices these days as you watch patterns dance in your head, seeing bolts of fabric unraveling onto your bed. It’s a beautiful dance. Don’t let go of it.

But until you’ve finished your to-sew pile, spend more of your free time sewing instead of dreaming of sewing.



14 years

February 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

My childhood friend, Zorana, was born February 10th, 1978. Had she survived the car crash that took her life, she’d be 32 today. It’s been 14 years since the day she passed into the next world.

The day it happened is very clear. I don’t have clear memories but this one shakes with clarity. I was at my friend’s house studying for finals- I was in my second year of University. Nobody knew where to reach me. I wasn’t home. My roommate didn’t know where I was studying and it was before cellphones.

Eventually, I got the call. My friend was at work so I naturally drove there and told her all about it. She let me stay at her house while I wasn’t feeling up to being alone. My boyfriend at the time, now a close friend, came over and took care of me. I had to take an incomplete with my last final. I just couldn’t concentrate.

I went up for her funeral. She was living in Seattle at the time, performing with a dance troupe. The funeral was hard. My sisters were there. They sobbed. I held. Zorana’s sister knows me and knew what I needed. She invited me to go thru Zorana’s stuff and organize it. In going thru tons of papers, business cards, etc, we found a piece of paper that detailed how to convert a pair of jeans into a backpack. Made us both laugh.

I can’t say I don’t cry every once in a while. Still. The overall feeling of loss comes and goes. It came when I gave birth to bilingual baby. And then again when I gave birth to baby brother. She’d never meet them, I thought. But then I realized she would. Sometime.

The thought of another life, beyond this one, where our bodies are of no use, is very comforting. I strongly believe that once we die from this world we are in essence born into the next, and continue this process endlessly. So, I’m bound to reunite with Zorana when my time comes.

California Recap, Part II

February 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

One big piece of the California puzzle is my sister’s upcoming wedding. She’s getting married on June 26th, 2010. One of the things on my to do list was to spend time with Leslie talking wedding stuff. Not because I’m a great wedding planner- just ask Terre, but because I’m one of the bridesmaids. A dear friend of Leslie’s is going to be her maid of honor- so that Leslie didn’t have to chose between her two sisters. I don’t think Gayle or I would have cared but we’re happy this way.

One of the things that seemed to keep Leslie and her fiance from planning their wedding was the cost. They have a ton of friends and they want to invite most of them. That means a lot of food, a lot of cake and a lot of chairs, to say the least.

It goes without saying that in this economy pulling off a big wedding is a creative task. My younger sister married into a Mexican family. For weddings, they give tasks to a bunch of different people. Each are the madrina or padrino and they pay for and arrange a part of the wedding. Everyone seems to have a real job. And they pay for it.

So, that’s kind of what Leslie is doing. It’s not part of either bride or groom’s culture so it’s harder to actually ask for people to pay for things, but I think they’re getting more comfortable with the process. Plus, many of us want to pay for a lot of things.

Besides having people either offer their services or the services of friends who owe them a favor, or people are simply giving them a check to help with all the little details.

They’ll have a paypal account- most likely- so that people can help them out financially.

It’s a new day for weddings.

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