josephine is off all week (yippee?) for thanksgiving break and we made the bold move of going to the aquarium when all elementary students were out of school. luckily, not too many other people took the risk and it was a rather mellow day there. tilly might have noticed that she was surrounded by tanks of fish, otters, and seals; she was quite busy jumping and running. but we got her to appreciate a few creatures. and josephine came home committed to redouble her efforts to care for her fairly neglected beta fish. she’s working on a watercolor portrait of him as i type. and now to figure out the plan for tomorrow’s entertainment…
A week and a day ago, I was feeling so optimistic, so sure. I thought I knew who was going to win the election and I was mainly concerned with exactly where I would be when I found out that we had elected our first female president. Later in the evening on that fateful Tuesday, I was curled up in bed, crying and telling myself that I didn’t have to throw up over an election. But I wanted to. That visceral reaction has faded, thankfully, and I acknowledge the privilege I have that enables me to focus on day-to-day minutia while I let the grief fade a bit into the background. But the overwhelming emotion is still there. I find my eyes welling up and my throat closing when I let my mind linger too long on who has been elected and how scary the future looks. I feel so grateful that my girls are too young to be fully aware of what happened during the campaign and the ramifications of the election. (Josephine says that when she sees a picture of Trump she thinks it looks like he’s about to come alive and say, “I hate you” to her.) I shudder to think what we’ll have to explain to them over the next four years.
While we try to wrap our minds around what has happened and try find hope in what may come, I’ve been putting a little more energy into creating comfort. I’ve been working to make the house cozy; burning candles, keeping things bright, encouraging reading under blankets on the couch. We had a fire in the fireplace over the weekend and it was like a magnet we were all drawn to for a couple hours. We’ll do that again soon.
We’ve been trying to eat well. I made our menu for the week and realized it was all carbs and dairy — extreme comfort food. I’ve been making sure my belly is full and hoping that helps the rest of me feel less stressed. (Finding a healthy balance remains a challenge. There is still way too much Halloween candy in the house.)
I’ve been thinking about building community. We spent time with friends in the days immediately following the election and look forward to more friend time over the weekend and Thanksgiving. It’s a little thing, but I’ve been making more of an effort to smile and say hello to people I encounter in the neighborhood.
I want to follow through on feeling motivated to find avenues to volunteer my time, both with the girls and independently. Whether it’s through Josephine’s school or with local organizations, I’d like to be more engaged in the community.
I want to read more and better. I rarely read non-fiction, but this list the New York Times compiled makes me want to branch out and challenge myself to learn more. I want to be more informed on world news. For the girls, I want to make sure that the books we read at home continue to feature diversity. Related, I want to continue to insist that the amount of violence we’re all exposed to via movies, shows, and books is practically nil.
We will continue to give money to Planned Parenthood, the local NPR station, and the library, and will find a few more local organizations — ones that support refugees, maybe? — to support.
What have you been doing to keep yourself hopeful and healthy? Sending love out there…
Now that it’s November (and I’m attempting to tamp down election anxiety by updating a sadly non-updated blog), I should probably post a few photos of the girls’ birthdays. Josephine’s seventh birthday has been covered — a beautiful day in Mazama. Tilly’s second birthday was celebrated with a family trip to the zoo (Josephine fell in love with an orangutan) and huge pieces of cake…
…peach cake that was leftover from the birthday party! I convinced Josephine that a joint party would be great (Tilly expressed no opinion on the matter) and it was indeed. One party to plan, lots of friends to play with, beautiful weather, a huge cake, and two wonderful girls to celebrate.
Tilly was quite upset about being pulled from a game she had been playing when it was time for cake. But then she saw the cake and instantly switched moods (she’s two!) and started exclaiming, “My cake! It’s my cake!” It was quite gratifying.
Halloween was low-key and fun this year. We did our traditional trick-or-treating with Meera on her block. Meera dressed up as a donut from her favorite local donut shop. Josephine and I collaborated on her (and Rose’s) panda costume and Tilly resurrected Josephine’s old monkey costume. (Sadly, Tilly recently started pronouncing “monkey” correctly. I had really been hoping she’d be a “mumpey” for Halloween.)
Tilly took a death-defying tumble off Meera’s front steps as we were leaving to trick-or-treat. Watching it, I thought perhaps we were headed to the hospital. But she shook it off and toddled off down the street. Instead of “trick-or-treat,” she preferred, “I want some!” Josephine and Meera were excellent Tilly escorts, stopping her from running into random people’s houses and trying to minimize her excessive doorbell ringing. And now there’s lots of candy for me to eat after the girls go to bed.
Tilly: I’m the best sisters! I’m the best sisters!
Me: You have the best sister.
Tilly: Yep! Her name is Joey.
Me: Joey is your sister.
Tilly: And mama is our friend. I love you. I love Joey, too. She likes to play Farming Farm with me.
it sounds like a magician’s magic word: MAZAMA! it’s nearly as magical: a tiny town tucked in a little valley in the north cascade mountains of washington. and, even more magical, our friends — meera and her family — have a house there and they invited us to join them for labor day weekend. it was josephine’s 7th birthday while we were there and being on vacation with her BFF made it an extra-special celebration. ned and i celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary here, too, and got to go out to dinner. just us! no kids!
i don’t think i need to add much narrative to these photos. it was a fun-filled, beauty-saturated weekend.
i’m so behind on documenting our life on this here blog, i’ve almost forgotten about the trips i haven’t posted about. looking through the photos brought this late-august trip to minnesota back to life, though. it was a wonderful one filled with all the things we love about minnesota: family, a cute baby, a barn full of cats, reading, trying to get tilly to sit still for a picture, good food, early birthday celebrations, and love love love.
My grandad Harold died earlier this week. The week before, he was on his way home from the hospital after bringing my Grandma there for trouble that she was having swallowing. He had a massive stroke while driving home but, in his usual in-control way, managed to pull his car into a parking lot and not run into anyone. It was quickly clear that he was not going to recover. He was 91. A dozen family members (and one adorable baby) gathered in their town in Oregon to say goodbye. Although the circumstances were quite grim — the family patriarch was hours or days from dying and the matriarch was recovering from her own medical issues — there was so much laughter and smiling and telling of good stories. Nobody was oblivious to the fact that we were hanging out in the hospital or that we were about to lose Grandad, but everyone was grateful to be there and to be together. I think we gave him a really good send-off.
Josephine, at breakfast: “What if there was a bad guy online? I’m pretty sure he would pretend to be in love with someone, then send them a picture of a poopy diaper. And under it would say, ‘Yay! I want to ger married!'”