- Discussing with two of my aunts my bosom size and how lucky I was to be well endowed. I was TEN.
- Inviting my boyfriend (if you can even call him that) in the 7th grade and his mother over for tea. So embarrassing. I don’t even think I spoke more than 20 words to him the whole time we went steady, let alone stare lovingly into his eyes. Sorry, Bas.
- Treating me like a princess for a day. I think I was 7 or 8 years old. Even though I was the only child living at home by that time, my mom still made a big deal out of it.
- Insisting that I take private Portuguese lessons over Christmas break even though we had just moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and my language teacher had decided not to give me a grade as I was so new.
- Not insisting that I continue to take ballet or guitar lessons. Thank you, mom.
- Buying me a paperback copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care two months after Christian was born. Perhaps it was her way of telling me I wasn’t doing it right. But, at least, she did not judge.
- Walking through the snow and ice in Pittsburgh during the winter of 1979 to catch the bus out to Northway Elementary School. It was miserable, but we did it every school day for several months. We had just moved back to the States after 5 years in Western Australia. And, my new classmates were weird.
- Walking everywhere. All of the time. Mom loved to walk fast.
- Making and eating pie. Mom used to bake them when I was little, lemon meringue in particular. But, in later years, she was always on the hunt for a competent, made-from-scratch piece of pie.
Writing of these few memories reminds me how my mom taught me to be open minded, to embrace different cultures and experiences, and to love and be loyal to my family. I only hope I can provide my son with half of the memories mom left me.
Here’s another new favorite thing.
I used to get really annoyed when I couldn’t get that perfect shot. Now, when we visit popular spots, I take photos of other people taking photos.
Some may consider this photo voyeurism. Maybe it is. I do have one rule: No derogatory comments about people I don’t know.
It’s fun. Enjoy the view from Twin Peaks!
5:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. Today. I dragged myself out of bed and took the girls for a long overdue early morning walk.
Yes, getting up at the crack of dawn is one of my favorite things. But today was hard. After weeks of Christmas, flu, New Years, sinusitis, and the boys’ birthdays, it was time.
And, it was all for naught. After five days on Pacific Standard Time (another favorite thing, by the way) and one red eye flight, I will face this hurdle all too soon again.
I like these boots.
I purchased them at Murdoch’s in Helena, Montana. Another one of my favorite places. Did you know that people really live and work on ranches there?
I was quickly educated by my cohorts in Helena that I had to get the right kind of jeans for my boots: Boot cut jeans. Jeans for people who wear boots. I had never owned boots so I had never owned such jeans. But, I now like them, too.
The only other pair of boots I have owned were from Spain. My parents treated me to them when we visited. I was eight or nine. I thought it would be neat to have a pair of real cowboy-style boots. I never wore them.
But, I wear my boots now. They make me feel more confident, taller.
When I am walking in them, I think of Montana.
Not too long ago, as I was admiring these boots and wondered where in the idyllic American west or Mexico or somewhere in the Americas they had been hand-crafted and sewn. China. Made in China??
I still like them.
I like waking up early.
Now, I’m not talking about the get-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night-to-pee-and-not-going-back-to-sleep kind of waking up.
I mean, waking just before dawn. When things are still, as if nothing has happened yet.
It’s not a matter of self-discipline or an attempt to be better than anyone else. Rather, the introvert in me likes the alone time while the sun rises. I need it, to compose my thoughts and my day.
No wonder early morning software release deployments don’t annoy me. I say, “Let’s get up, brew some joe, and get this thing live!”
Late night? I zone out. I want to lose myself in a mind-numbing television sitcom or non-critical read and, of course, sleep. I never pulled an All-Nighter in college. Recalling my first career, hotel management, I sometimes had to cover the front desk during the dreaded night audit shift. 11:00 pm to 7:00 am. Yuck. I fought to stay awake past midnight, let alone balance the previous day’s books.
Our dogs also like the early morning. We walk our neighborhood before dawn. In their canine way, they ensure all is in-check, that everything smells the same, they take inventory of all squirrels, and ensure no new cats have moved in overnight.
Me? I relish the quiet, the sometimes fog (and foghorns), the end of dark, and the burgeoning light.
Ok, so I voted. So there.
Now, my thoughts. And, only mine.
Voters around the country issued a mandate yesterday for personal freedom. And, in Colorado and Washington, residents ultimately sent a message to the drug cartels.
Don’t judge–I have voted for both Republicans and Democrats. As recent as yesterday.
Now, time to move on. Time to focus, time to debate, time to make progress.
Think I posted the wrong photo? I did not. It’s of the cross that sits atop Mount Davidson. To me, it symbolizes perfectly the separation of church and state, that the two may co-exist peacefully. If you are in San Francisco, it’s worth the hike. And, the view on a clear day is divine.
My parents are serial walkers. They don’t just take simple strolls around the block. They take WALKS. LONG WALKS. I appreciate that they do this and that they made me take LONG WALKS with them.
Yesterday morning, I received the following in an email from my dad. It made me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too.
Julia and I attempt to take a fairly long walk almost everyday. Most of the time we just walk around the neighborhood. Sometimes, we drive to O’Hara and walk around the beautiful little park and sometimes we go to North Park and sometimes go to Hartwood Acres. We often go the Highland Park water reservoir and do the one mile walk around the lake. We use to walk the two miles from the apartment there and back which makes the total walk 5 miles long. Now, we don’t do that since we are older. We drive and park on the hill behind the lake. This day we had our walk around the lake and were walking up the lane to the car. We approached a new black Chevy and a beautiful young smiling girl, maybe 25 years old, was sitting in the driver’s seat. As we got closer she said, “When I grow up I want to be exactly like you two!” I said, “My goodness, you want to be old and ugly?” She said, “No, I want to be old and beautiful!” So, what could I say? I said, “Thank you. You are already half way there. You are very beautiful and, I think, being old is a long way in the future for you.” Julia and I got into our car and drove away feeling much better about ourselves and a lot better about all people in general.
I can not forget that encounter at the lake and it confirms what Tom Hanks said in the movie, Forrest Gump: “My momma always said, Life was like a box of chocolates. You, never know what your gonna get.” I say most of the time the candy is good and sometimes, judging from some of the great people Julia and I have met just by chance, the candy is delicious.
No, not those funnels. Rather the type that invaded our house last Tuesday. Hard, plastic, evil funnels attached to cute, cuddly puppies. Better known as Elizabethan collars, they are really torture devices for both master and pet; they bruise legs, mark up walls, and have turned both the dogs and monkeys into intolerant, impatient, crabby, crazy creatures. When in her kennel, Jasmine now barks incessantly, her high pitched, “I need attention and now” bark. Unless, she is tired or asleep. Sweet, lovable, “all I want to be is a good dog” Kona has converted into an instigator. The problem? They are prohibited from the rough and tumble play that only canine siblings can appreciate.
People suggested alternatives. They mean well, but anything less would be toast and rendered useless as we attempted to stop a frustrated dog from ripping open a suture. Consider that within the first twenty-four hours, we had reinforced the evil funnels with generous amounts of duct tape.
So we walk to manage the chaos. Walking is both good mental and physical exercise. My parents walk for hours at a time. They have walked all over the world for more than fifty years. I have meant to ask what their most interesting walk has been. Christian tugs the girls along on separate jaunts around our neighborhood each morning. Our evening routine once again involves a walk. We reconnect, which is important. It makes us better parents. Even time away from the pups includes walking; our tour of national parks and monuments this summer will involve hiking.
Kona and Jasmine are now genetic cul-de-sacs. Ken says one day they will thank us for this. But not anytime in the immediate future.