Dear Fireweed

 

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A  couple of weeks ago, chocolate lilies and purple lupine reined on the field of Spruce Cape Point. Now, the lupine is on its last days, the buds dying and falling off and Fireweed  stands tall and green. What is this, I wonder? With  its small pink flowers making an appearance on the top of the stalk, this plant is known for marking the beginnings of fall.

When I think of fall, I think of September. Of crispness in the air. Kids back to school. The mountainsides turned brown. The season is my favorite time of year; burrowing in for the long cold season ahead.

When I think of August, I typically think of summer. One of the best months of summer, often the warmest for Kodiak. I think of camping weather, of hiking of being outside.

So, fireweed; you are beautiful. And I will admire you. Yet I will continue to hold onto the sweet summer rhythm of kids outside, for every last possible minute until Labor Day weekend.

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Yoga

Yoga.

What I once thought yoga was:

Yoga pants. Downward dog. Structure. Rigid. Scheduled. Right vs. Wrong. Every day. 90 minutes. Power. Strength. Poses. Posture. Form. Pain. Sweat. Control.

What Yoga currently is in my life:

Quiet. calm. Breath. endurance. Stillness. Pause. Awareness. Focus. Embrace. showing up. Inhale. Exhale. Twisting. Inverting. Holding. Receiving. A moment.

My yoga practice looks like a few minutes here, a few minutes there. Maybe tree pose in the kitchen or 10 minutes of breathing in the afternoon to quiet my mind.   I’ve taken the “shoulds” out of it. No prerequisite time, apparel, schedule, routine. Its  random, unpredictable really…and I love it that way.

 

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Raining crepes

After nearly two weeks of solid rain, the sunshine finally broke through Memorial Day weekend.   In true Crab Fest form,  the rain was blowing sideways and temperatures hovered around 45 degrees for the first couple days of the annual festival. The lines were short because the weather was abysmal.

After an hour of scampering between  ride to food booth to the covered area to eat, we called it a day and returned to the car all soggy.  The windows immediately steamed up on the inside and I turned the car on and blasted some heat to get return of feeling to my hands. Nora was finishing up her Nutella crepe, her cheeks red and rain on her face.

“You know mom, crab fest is actually a little more fun in the rain! The lines are shorter and it seems like the food tastes better!”.  I think she may be onto something, as long as my hands aren’t numb from the cold, that is.

Summertime! (and summertime blues)

Today was the last day of school for Nora and Stuey. I went to their end of school awards ceremony, gave out some teary thank-you hugs to their hardworking, amazing teachers and principals.  Then the kids and I went to lunch at the Powerhouse and contemplated the end of another school year.

There are mixed feelings around here regarding summer. One child is thrilled. One child isn’t, and would rather be in perpetual school. (This said child especially appreciates the routine of school.) And me…I’m 75/25 excited for summer!

I”m looking forward to not having that morning rush to get the kids to school. The  change in routine is welcomed and the summer camps will be chances for new friends and new learning. I’m looking forward to backyard bbq’s, hiking, camping and fishing and beach bonfires.

This evening Stuey realized he didn’t have a book to read tomorrow, so at 7pm we went to the library to stock up on some new reads. I gravitated to the library FOR SALE bins where paperbacks are a $1. There were several  drawing books in there that I picked up with hopes that the kids might enjoy them this summer.

We came home and Stuey checked out the drawing books and was captivated. He pulled out his art sketchbook from school and began from page one in the book. He sat at the table drawing away while I cleaned up and organized the art, notecard, games cabinet which sits between the kitchen and living room.

A year ago my  family was in such a different spot. I wasn’t yet moved into my current house, things were in disarray with boxes, in transition, etc. Now,  the kids have bedrooms all to themselves, are acquainted with the neighborhood and it feels like a much better summer starting part.

When I look into my arts cabinet, I see projects  waiting to be done, memories waiting to be made, letters waiting to been written, music waiting to be played, time waiting to be spent having fun together.

Here we go, Summer 2018!

Land of Tiles

Tiles were everywhere in Portugal! They adorned the fronts of buildings, the insides of restaurants, bathrooms, kitchens.   I knew I had an affinity for tiles, but didn’t realize just how much until I arrived to this land of tiles.

After dropping our bags off at  the Travelers Hostel on our first day in Lisbon, Doug and I set off by foot to check out the city. I found myself so frequently stopping to admire the buildings, and the old worn tiles which adorned so many of them.  I”ve never been to a city where every corner stood a work of art. I’m sure I looked like a total tourist admiring the buildings, picking my jaw up off the ground. Eye candy to the max.

One of the few items on my very short “Must-Do” Portugal list was the National Tile Museum. It is a small museum off the beaten path in Lisbon. A short cab ride away, but so worth it.  Small but mighty.  Within the first exhibit I could tell it was worth the effort to come.

Ornate tiles, some up to 500 years old, were displayed with short description about their history. I felt no rush in going through the exhibits. Stopping and admiring for as long or little as I needed. There is nothing quite like having all the time in the world to just savor, soak it all in. Many previous museum experiences earlier in my life have been rushed, being pulled from one exhibit to another from my family. This time and quiet was bliss.

I’m done being pulled from one direction to the next. I”m done being told what is good, what I “should” look at, should appreciate or should do. I’m in a spot where slowing down, quieting down and soaking it all in is much more my style.

When art and nature speak, I’m learning to pause and listen.

 

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City of Light

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As the plane approached Lisbon Portugal, I couldn’t help the tears which swelled up in my eyes. I didn’t want to be overly emotional and didn’t understand how I could be moved by a place I’d never been to. A voice inside said, hey-this is just a trip, a vacation, to a country I’d never been to. No big deal, Zoya. Whatever.

Even though the plane had yet to land the trip already felt like a fairy tale; one with, castles and adventure and  a happy ending.

‘There are so many things that could  go wrong’ I reminded myself. Lodging that could go awry. Doug and I could get robbed. Transportation woes. Or frustrated with a new culture. Our society is so good at preparing us for doom. “Be safe” people texted me as I headed overseas. It is as though we ready ourself for the possibility of disaster.

Swallow the tears back, swallow the tears back I told myself. Too early to get excited, right?

The tears flowed and I let them. Blinking I  looked at the scenics through my tears-of-joy-lenses. I’d been looking forward to this for 4 months and was going to relish in this like a kid in a candy shop.

For years I’ve been dreaming of Portugal.  My dad first went there 50 years ago with my mom, along with a trip to Spain.  What was it about this Western European, tile covered, Port and wine infused country which brought my dad back there several times?   Setting foot on Portuguese earth might bring  a closer understanding of my dad. I could see the same views he saw.

For me, home is much more than a place, or a building. It is a sense, an energy, a peace.  Calm.

Looking out my airplane window- Doug alongside me.  Lisbon  calling my name- For once, everything felt right.   At home.

 

Leftovers

Today Nora and Stuey switched back over to Patrick’s house. I cleaned out the fridge; this has become a ritual. I feel better if I start the week on my own with a clean fridge. So I can see all that is there. Nothing lurking in the dark corners.

My biological mom had a fridge which was…well…awful. Fuzz covered much of the food and there were always mysterious containers of rotten take out food. I don’t really remember what I ate when I visited her (infrequently) throughout the year. There was a breath holding and an internal bracing that was involved with opening the fridge door.

I clean out old yogurts, milk, drinks which are near expired or expired. Clean out the produce drawers of the veggies I had intended to cook, but didn’t get to. Sometimes I feel bad, about the waste-into the trash the food goes. But then I remind myself shame is an awful thing. Better to let that s*+* go.

In the fridge I discover one inch of orange juice left  which I won’t drink in this next week. Down the drain it goes.

My relationship with cooking used to be “its complicated” but has recently shifted to “in a relationship”. My happy place is becoming one where I’m sautéing   onions and garlic and the aroma fills the air with a feeling of warmth and sustenance, or pizza dough or cinnamon rolls rising, or cookies baking, or eggs frying. My happy place is unloading dishes, music going on my small kitchen speaker. My happy place is creating, smelling, tasting, dreaming about food.

In todays  clean out I discovered a whole unopened container of vanilla coffee creamer which I’ll get to enjoy tomorrow in my coffee.  A fridge clean out win!