Monday, April 24, 2017


Last year on my birthday I got a miniramp. During the following year I managed to sleep through the night while on vacation, watch zero episodes of The Voice, get norovirus, snowboard while pregnant, answer two clues on Jeopardy in question form and only sprain my ankle. I am also working my way into maternity clothes and trying really hard to grow the easiest garden vegetables possible.

However, last week I spent an approximate total of three and a half hours crying for unknown reasons, although almost all signs point to hormones and big life changes. Avalon does not appear to be ready to understand that hands are not for hitting and I do not appear to be ready for her to go to preschool or stop mommy-and-me swimming. There is a shift happening in our house, there is a life making her way here, we can all feel it even though no one can see her yet or know who she will be. We each are pulling her into our stories with so much blind love... and trust. She's been ours all along and we've been her's. 32 years on this earth and even a change I've yearned for every minute of those years, throws me.

In some ways, I see pregnancy like a really long line for a roller coaster. Sure, there are some entertaining things to see while you wait in nervous anticipation, like all the skulls and treasure maps and horny teenagers waiting for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, but for crying-freaks-sake-- I just want to ride the ride! What will it feel like and how will we be different when it's over? I want to know now!

As selfless as it can be viewed, in some perspectives, pregnancy makes me feel like I'm wrapped in a blanket of narcissism like one of those hotdogs swaddled in bacon at a football party. I can't stop thinking about who I am becoming. I want only love, pasteurized mango juice and for Scott to read my mind. No wonder we've both been so tired. Parenting while intoxicated with estrogen and progesterone has been difficult for my faint heart.

Five months ago a boy in my sister's grade was diagnosed with cancer. Today I talked to my mom after his funeral. We both know that Maddie's cancer story could have gone another way. Tomorrow I will think of that; of how life is a gift even though sometimes we can't see why. My sister will think of her friend Peter her whole career as a filmmaker and I will think of him tomorrow when I celebrate 32.

I will hold my new daughter in September and the days of fear and sickness and hopelessness and surfing like a keg of beer will seem like the pleasant past and I will be thankful for my life and all the others who have touched it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hospital Apple Juice

Sunday afternoon. I'm often drenched in boredom and disbelief, but lying around the house waiting for an acclaimed TV Drama to start can feel so much like succumbing to the end of the weekend instead of skipping all over it until it's through. Also, there's a toddler, so lying around the house feels more like being stuck in the doldrums only to be discovered by wild, hungry birds.

Anne Lamott says that one of the gifts of being a writer is that "it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore" so last Sunday we went to Sea Port Village despite both Scott and I having subtle stomach aches and notably low energy. We parked next to a vintage VW Beatle with a Terrorists Don't Surf bumper sticker. The energy of countless others was here, so surely it would be contagious. 

I wanted to take Avalon on the merry-go-round first. Fortunately, she was as eager as I was with a don't-mess-with-me expression and the hope for magic in her eyes as we waited in the unofficial line. We picked a brown horse that didn't go up-and-down--a good jumping off point, I thought. We waved for photos and took in the blurry sights. The carousel was nearly 150, what a good many souls had been here first. 

Ten minutes later we ran into a street performer drawing a crowd big enough to block the board walk. Maybe we should've cared, but I felt curiously contaminated and the urge to be away from others so we tried to make our way through the masses. After one glance it was also apparent that this crowd and I probably wouldn't laugh at the same movies. The performer was a clown trying to swallow a three foot long green latex ballon and he was about half way through doing it. "I can't look. I'm going to throw up!" I told Scott. He said he felt like he was going to too, which I thought was odd since, as my friend Heidi said, tandem throwing up isn't a symptom of pregnancy. Ten minutes after that, we were both taking turns in the public restrooms like true carnival goers with indulgent, but sensitive stomachs. I thought it was what I had made for lunch. As we made our way home "Thank God I have Rubber floor mats" and "What if this is part of an unseen next chapter for the baby" were my only thoughts.

We ended up in the E.R. that night. I had a 101 fever and desert-floor cracked lips that came with an all consuming fear that I had gotten listeria from the spinach I put in our pasta for lunch. And how was I supposed to tell the nurse that I was cooking with, in all likelihood, expired white wine? Skip's heartbeat was 150 though. All signs pointed to a virus that was rampantly going around. 

Scott probably won't appreciate me including this, but when the nurse asked us where we were on the pain scale I said four and he said eight. In all the panic and nausea I couldn't help gloating (quietly and to myself) that this must be because he's never had a baby. 

At around midnight, I got on an IV and felt higher than I have in years. I told Scott I almost asked the attendant if he got his clothes from the moon. "Would that have been a four or an eight on the funny scale?" I mused in the shadows of the machines. 

"A three" he said contemptuously.

When I inquired about where his ankle sprain from two Christmases ago ranked on the pain scale and he told me an eight again I had to protest. 

"There. is. no. way! A ten would be like if someone cut off your foot with a chainsaw and gave you no meds. Tripping on your pajamas and twisting your ankle could not have been an eight!" 

He says you have to change the scale depending on the injury and circumstances. I say a 10 is essentially being dead.   

Finally, the hospital apple juice arrived just before 1 a.m. To me, this is one of the only perks of being in a hospital. It's the thing I am looking forward to second-most when I have my second baby--good, small ice-cube-chilled, hospital apple juice. 

Yesterday was Wednesday and we were all back to our semi-usual lives. When Scott came home from work he and Avalon sat in the front yard and flew the drone to the sunset. I was watching from the kitchen window washing pasta dishes. Trapeze Swinger came on. It will always be one of my favorite songs even though when I saw Iron and Wine in concert some guy told me to "Shut up!" for requesting it. All the vague religious tones made me think more about Easter. I had been putting the final touches on Avalon's basket only a few hours earlier. I haven't been talking to God as much lately. I've had a nearly constant dialogue going with Him since this time my favorite climbing tree on the playground seemed to be dying when I was in second grade. But with our health, this beloved song playing and the sight of my husband and daughter playing in the yard, I felt like he was still communicating with me all the same.

+Happy Easter and passover to everyone!

p.s. Easter basket stuffings:
(one stuffed with dried bananas, one with strawberry licorice and one with dark chocolate, foil-wrapped eggs)
+A goat's milk soap bar, Annie's granola bar, a vintage tin of tamari almonds (our favorite), a Peter Rabbit Pear and Peas Packet and a new, big-girl fork and spoon.
+All signs point to me being the person who hands out tooth brushes at Halloween. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Just Above Sea Level: 1st Drone Surf Footage

When I said that Scott got a cleaned out dresser, a new tie and khakis for his birthday I might not have been telling the whole story. Being in your thirties, or any decade for that matter, doesn't mean you're too old for toys, and I'll always believe that. He also got a drone a few days later (I had to keep it a secret). You only need or want so many things once you're an adult with your own Amazon Prime account and so, our families and I decided a group gift would be best for Scott this year. It was. He was up reading the manual by flashlight at 2 a.m. the night he got his drone. Anytime we're driving by a field or a train track or a power plant he says something along the lines of "That would be cool to look at from the perspective of the drone". Avalon is not even two and yet, she knows the word drone. She requests "drone-drone peas!" when Scott gets home. And of course, I haven't been left out of the action. Scott is able to film me from the cliff of my parents' backyard while I surf. This is the first footage from that. 

+As for the drone, I knew this was the right one because our friend Craig Coker, a professional photographer and videographer, told me so. Scott had been waiting for its release for months. Craig has the same one and has filmed car commercials, stunning sunsets and the like with his. 
+here is the affiliate Amazon link to the drone, the DJI Mavic Pro. So far it's everything we wanted and more. And it's so small and sturdy! If you buy it via this link I will be forever indebted to you and also grateful beyond words.
+more to come
+select 1080p for the best quality

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Dear Sprout,

Oh my Avalon. Last night you were barfing-sick, in your bed, in ours and on both of our warm jammies. And what is wrong with me that I'm glad we had that moment? ...You and I lying in bed sideways not able to sleep, but not really wanting to either. Maybe it's because today, when we went to look at a neighborhood preschool, you seemed so ready to be there and they had to have this quote on the wall in big cursive writing that read "Let me love you a little more before you're not so little anymore" and it took every kind of inner strength I had to not sob into the school director's smock on the tour. I love you my bug and you'll always be my baby. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Visiting the Flower Fields

A week or so ago we entertained my mom's plea to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields. And, as is usually the case, I am glad we did. Why are we always so reluctant, despite their reliable success rates, to honor our mother's requests? This will come back to get me, I know it will. The Flower Fields were the perfect activity for a toddler and a "pregnant lady" wanting outdoor time and exercise in just the right amounts. They were perfect for a photographer and loving, landscape enthusiast, doting grandparents. They were perfect for local San Diegans wanting to play tourist and learn more about the area they inhabit. We took the vintage tractor out to the northern corner of the 50 acre fields of giant ranunculus and explored and took photos before we took it back. Avalon collected dirt and trash and ran up and down the hills. There was $5 ice cream and goat's milk soap and a collection of local goods traders.

I wanted to put some of the pictures here in case anyone else in the area or visiting it was looking for a fun, family friendly activity to do this spring. 4/5 stars (5 stars always being the beach).

+Open March 1st-May 14th, 2017
+Visit the website for more
+most photos by Scott