Georgia's First Birthday

Georgia turned one last week. After being a calm and easy baby, she has recently morphed into a very opinionated and determined little girl. She points insistently and/or shrieks like a banshee for everything she wants, squirrels food in her cheeks and crawls fast to keep up with her brother (she loves me, but she adores him). She's very social and gave me a workout at a friend's housewarming party as she explored every nook and cranny. Sometimes, she likes to sit quietly to flip through books, squealing at the pictures. She has lengthy nodding conversations with her Daddy, both of them smiling and bobbing their heads like courting mallard ducks or polite old Japanese ladies. On walks in her stroller, she strains against the harness to engage with the world, to get closer to dogs and ducks and people and all the action. She rocks her whole body to music or twists from her waist and claps her hands. She hoards remote controls and can turn the stereo on. off. on. off. When I'm in the kitchen, she'll come pull herself up to hold onto my jeans and suck her left thumb, hanging out with me. 

One year old...such a milestone and such a fleeting moment in time. I took advantage of the occasion to schedule a photoshoot with Julie Nimmergut of The Hidden Lens. Thank you for all the great shots, Julie! 


The Bell Ringer

He calls himself the Bell Ringer.

We see him about once a week at Greenlake or in Ravenna Park, whizzing by on his festively-adorned bicycle shouting happy salutations and playing his kazoo. Today he was standing next to his bike, kazoo-ing, so we stopped to chat.

The first thing he said to Xavier was: "You know that you are a prince?" And turning to Georgia: "And you are a princess!"

I couldn't place his accent and he told me he was French-Canadian. In the first few minutes of our conversation, he said, "You know I've been visited by an alien. An angel. You know what he told me? Be nice. So that's what I do. I worry people think I'm crazy, but I just want to be happy. When the angel merged into me, you know what I said? I said 'Oh my God, oh my God.' Then he took me up to heaven and you know what I said? I said, 'I'm home.' We've all been dead before. It changed my life. I wasn't spiritual before, but now I am."

Then he pulled out a well-worn marionette and danced him about for my children. And tooted his kazoo as we waved goodbye.


Birthday Reminders

Birthday season is underway in a big way. I've had a little soiree with friends in Seattle, cards have been arriving in the mail, gifts have been opened from my kids and my husband. Dear friends showed up on my doorstep with a candle stuck in my favorite pastry from Cafe Besalu and now we are in New York for my actual birthday. Since last year's birthday was a bit of a blur as I waited for my overdue daughter to be born, this one I'm happy to lap it all up. I've been rereading old journals and I came across a few quotes to remind myself about this whole birth/day thing. Thanks for all the love sent my way this week. I'm sending it right back at you all!

I am a woman giving birth to myself.
          ~ Anonymous

The miracle is to walk on earth.
          ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

We can never be born enough. We are human beings; for whom birth is a supremely welcome mystery, the mystery of growing: the mystery which happens only and whenever we are faithful to ourselves.
          ~ e. e. cummings

Though I was reluctant to be born, I was attracted by the music. I had plans. I was entrusted with carrying voices, songs, and stories to grow and release into the world, to be of assistance and inspiration...it is this way for everyone...we each have our own individual soul story to tend.
          ~ Joy Harjo

Look: I am still alive--
in fact, in bud.
          ~ Kathleen Jamie

Unfold your own myth.
          ~ Rumi

Don’t forget love;
it will bring all the madness you need
to unfurl yourself across
the universe.
          ~ Mirabai  

Being who you are is a prayer.
          ~Grazyna Wolska

If only you will choose again, this once more, to be born.
          ~ Jane Hirshfield

I am. I am. I am. 
          ~ Sylvia Plath