Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Duck Pond

The duck pond is one of Sabine's favorite places. It's where I go in the spring and summer a lot with Zadie while Sabine is in preschool. I thought she'd think it was boring or not exciting enough since she loves fast and bright things. I hope she'll always appreciate simple adventures, too--ones that let her wade in streams, feed feathered friends, climb trees, count clouds and roll in the grass. I hope that stuff never gets old. I wish she wouldn't either. 

When I say to Sabine that I wish she would stop growing. She asks me why and tells me she has to so she can be a mommy like me. She doesn't know that growing up and older means fewer years with the people she loves. She's running toward mid-life without knowing what it is. I'm wishing that mid-life were in slow motion in an effort to have as much time with her, Zadie and Kadin as possible. And no matter how many times I tell her not to rush or not to wish she was anywhere other than in this moment, she begs for her future to come.

I hope someday she sees this photo and realizes how beautiful her beginning was. Then, and only then, will she understand why I wanted her to stay small.




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Day Dreaming

She's lost in thought and some golden leaves. I'm lost in how cool her little outfit is and wanting to know what's inside her beautiful and tiny mind.


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Right Here, Right Now

today it was just us: mama, sabine and zadie. our visitors had gone home and sabine chose to stay in  instead of going to the library or the indoor park, one of her most favorite places.

we made a pink cake with white frosting and rainbow sprinkles. sabine asked to work on writing her letters. we played chase and tag and i gave two little girlies lots of horse-y rides and hugs. sabine made a collage with striped tape, red ribbon and marker and drew a picture of me and my mama and said, "so you can look at it every time you are sad and you miss her."

it has been the best day, filled with simple tasks, giggles, no stress and a huge amount of productive cuddling, laughing and listening to my girls. for the first time in awhile, i stopped feeling like i should be doing something other than enjoying their smallness. and for the first time in awhile, nothing is missing. if i don't over think my current existence, they are more than enough and so am i. they teach me to be present and that the grass is the greenest right here, right now.

sometimes i swear my mom, who fought so hard to stay alive, is whispering sweet somethings into their little heads. and they, in turn, show me how to forget all of the shitty stuff and the silly anxieties and just soak up all of these beautiful minutes we have together--minutes that will someday become faraway memories that i pine for.




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

REMAINING ZADIE

This little girl. She loves peek-a-boo and hiding. She hates clips or rubber bands or having anything at all in her curls. She has no idea she is only twenty months old. She doesn't know that even though she can climb up things, she doesn't know how to climb back down them yet. She doesn't care that snow is too cold without mittens until it's too late. She doesn't know that sand tastes horrible because the texture feels so nice--even in her mouth. She doesn't mind being dirty or having a leaf stuck to her butt. She doesn't have any idea that the woods (and the world) are a really big place for a tiny girl.

Zadie Luz, little light of mine, you make everyone and everything a lot brighter from the minute you wake up in the morning. I'm not sure what we--your dark-hearted mom, dad and sissy--did to deserve you.

Stay golden, my love.












Friday, January 24, 2014

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Dunham Debate

I have just a few more thoughts on this Lena Dunham stuff and then I swear I'll shut up about it. Over the weekend The New York Times published this story: Debate on Photo Retouching Flares Online, With Roles Reversed. It made my blood boil again with regard to Dunham appearing on the cover of Vogue and Jezebel's move to publish unretouched photographs from the Vogue cover shoot.

I think it's crazy that we're at a cultural point, where a mainstream and well respected publication such as The New York Times holds the position that taking in a woman's waist and hips, lengthening her leg, slimming her jaw, elongating her neck and lifting her bustline, is normal or acceptable because a fashion magazine like Vogue is fantasy. Vogue is in the business of selling clothes. Real women wear the clothes, or at least the styles, that Vogue depicts. If the women on the pages of Vogue are digitally altered to look better in these clothes, then what does that mean for women who wear the clothes and do not digitally alter themselves before looking in the mirror? It means they have an unrealistic image of what they might look like in these clothes, and a result, a potentially confused or unhealthy self image.

The fact that The New York Times advocates for Vogue and popular fashion magazines and says in the aforementioned article that Dunham was only barely altered in the Vogue photographs is disturbing and untrue. She's altered enough in the images to make the viewer believe her proportions are something they're not. That, in fact, is a blatant fallacy. And it's destructive to how women are viewed and view themselves in today's world. If a media diet of women's bodies with smaller waists, longer necks and shrunken jawlines is what we see in largely advertised media, in media that's supposed to be inspirational or aspirational to women, and in media that is a large part of what the upper class and/or the taste makers consider to be or successful or influential, then how can we say that it doesn't matter that Dunham's proportions are altered when she's supposed to be some sort of spokesperson for "real" women?

It's a cheap cop out to say that it's okay because Vogue is fantastic and because Dunham appears unaltered on her HBO show Girls. It's a contradiction, too. If she wants to represent real women or be some sort of antidote to stereotypical Hollywood than she should in fact be that and appear unaltered as her real self. And if she'd rather appear in Vogue, then she shouldn't claim to be in favor of the real representation of women. Just because she appears unaltered on her show, does not counteract Vogue's alterations of women's bodies and the effects of that on viewers or readers.

Some www peeps and The New York Times are saying, good for Vogue, for putting Dunham, instead of a perfectly thin model or celebrity, on its cover. It's definitely something different for them in terms of how they identify beauty--and it's progress. But I'm pretty sure this cover is more of a one and only (disclaimer: I could be wrong and I hope that I am.). Lena Dunham might be Vogue's token "real girl." One is not nearly enough and does not mean positive or productive change. It just means token in order to save face. But even if Dunham's Vogue cover is the beginning of significant change, digitally altering women's bodies and faces will never sit well with me.

It's a sick world, friends. If you're not beautiful enough, in terms of mainstream beauty, they will make you beautiful--or else you're not getting in. In my humble and aged opinion, getting in is entirely overrated.


Friday, January 17, 2014

Girls, Girls, Girls

You guys, I feel that if I see another headline or photo that includes Lena Dunham, I'm going to shove a pencil into my eyeball. I'm not sure if I'm tired of the conversation that surrounds her or what I think is a whiny character on a vapid show: Girls. In my opinion, there's nothing to that show. Maybe I'm old and what twentysomethings are doing is just uninteresting at this point. Maybe they or their problems or worries just seem silly or light because as you get older, the world gets so much heavier.

I don't know.

I appreciate, at the very least, the conversation she's helped to stir about women and women's bodies and what's beautiful. I think it's essential that she's the star of a show and she's not Hollywood perfect. I think it's important that she shows her body and isn't self conscious about it. But I think when you see anyone that naked that often on TV, it just gets old. A little here and there might be more productive. I mean, that constant nakedness still feels like objectification since it's TV and we don't know her. She's just the girl who's always naked on TV. I know far less about her personality than I do about how her body looks.

I think plenty of un-Hollywood people find her attractive. I don't know that she has anything to prove, unless she's trying to compete in the fashion or media world. And maybe she is. After all, she's on the cover of Vogue. And you've heard about that, right? You've heard about how Jezebel offered $10,000 to anyone who might provide unretouched photos from her Vogue shoot?

Well, they got them. Click here to see all of the photos and the Jezebel article.

I had a male friend, who once told me that if I'm comparing myself to women I see in magazines, I'm crazy and deserve every ounce of grief that may cause me. At the time, I thought he just didn't understand because he was a guy. But now, I think he's completely right. The women in magazines or on TV and film are either retouched or have had plastic surgery or a ton of help in looking the way they do. It's not real or natural. We, as women, would be crazy to compare ourselves to such a ridiculous fantasy. I see a dramatic difference in the way women present themselves in Baltimore vs. Los Angeles. It's huge. But it took some serious growing up or maturity to be able to separate myself from women in Hollywood and magazines.

There are too many young women or girls who see that stuff--those retouched images, which are, in fact, lies, and compare themselves to something that's not real. For this reason, I think it sucks that Lena Dunham, someone who is supposed to be standing up for real women, agreed to be in Vogue a publication that would undoubtedly reduce her hips and waist, lift her bustline, lengthen her neck and narrow her jawline and shoulders.

In any case, whether she's on Vogue or Girls or whatever else, I think her message is conflicted. And I can't get away from it, even at my age. So here I am contributing my two sense to the sensationalized conversation.

What do you guys think?

via Vogue.com

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winter Wonder

I know almost everyone thinks that California is ideal because it's perfectly sunny practically all the time. But I love the seasons. I love that when you get sick of being too hot, it's fall; when you're tired of pumpkins and red and yellow and brown, everything turns winter white; and when you've been chilled for too long, it's springtime. I bore easily, and Baltimore seasons, so far, have kept things fantastically interesting.

Here are some scenes from our very first winter in Baltimore. We've watched our backyard fill up with snow. We've sledded down our very own street and eaten way too much snow. We've opened presents and found ridiculous ways to entertain ourselves inside after playing too long outside.

I don't get it. Why don't more people want to change it up? Doesn't the sun get old when you have it practically every day of every year?







Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunny Days and Buried Thoughts


We are sick and cold and remembering sunshine-filled days from springtime. 

And I need to fill my head with pretty thoughts and pictures because Sabine is seemingly not tired enough to take naps during the day anymore. For the past eight months or so, both girls would sleep from 1:30 to 4:00, and sometimes longer. Losing that two or three hour break, that time alone so I can have whole thoughts and not the staccato ones that read like my own Twitter feed, makes me want to shove the pencils I don't use anymore into my frenzied and tired brain.

But I love them: Sabine and Zadie. I would never choose any other job over this one. I wrote this post recently about working and wanting to work and wanting Sabine to think of me as something other than a stay-at-home mom. The truth is, a stay-at-home mom is the best thing I've ever been. I've never been happier and smarter and more challenged and more accomplished. I don't want anyone else taking care of my kids on a regular basis except for me (or their dad). I don't want to miss a step, a bump, a word, a smile, a moment. I want to be the one to encourage and comfort them during the day. (Plus, there was that time I taught preschool after college and watched the director and one of the teachers go into the bathroom and do crystal meth every day during nap time so I don't trust anyone else.). I want to be there for every single moment that I can until they go to school. I read something this morning that went like this: Your child is a newborn for a month; an infant for a year; a toddler for two years; a preschooler for two years; a child for five years; a preteen for two years; a teenager for five years; and then he/she is an adult. I will never get this time back.

And then there's also the fact that I'm entirely neurotic and overly sensitive so that me being with them instead of a caretaker is the only choice for me so I don't have a heart attack. It's part of the reason we moved to Baltimore. I'm lucky we can afford to do this here and for the moment. I know plenty of well-adjusted adults, who had a caretaker other than their mother. This includes my husband. It would just never work for me, unless I didn't have a choice. And plenty of people don't.

Part of my writing this today is my own need to understand my feelings on the matter: working vs. staying home with my children. I had a few friends verbally mention they were happy that I was planning or thinking about going back to work. I'm not until Zadie goes to preschool when she is three. She deserves as much of me as Sabine had. But I am making some money from this little blog and I will do some freelance writing/editing as soon as I can and as long as it doesn't take me away too much. I'm tired and it's hard to have so much less of me, but it's the best thing I've ever done.

I realize now that I wasn't worried what Sabine will think of me. She will just know how loved she is. And she now knows and tells everyone that her mama is a writer and an editor. My real worry was what other people think of me. I hate the perception that women who have been home with their children are not as smart or fashionable or current as their counterparts, who go to work. And I hate that my wanting to stay home makes me dumb or boring or provincial in the eyes of some other women, as well as men.

It's an old conversation that I've had with others and with myself a thousand times. I'm tired of the conversation because it's not that staying home or working is better. It's doing what works for you that's better, and not giving a f*ck what anyone else thinks. 








Thursday, December 26, 2013

Right Before Christmas

Last Friday, I was hyping the idea of Santa Claus and grocery shopping with Sabine and Zadie. We were smiling at candy canes, bows and red-and-green everything. Christmas was perfectly exciting because it hadn't happened yet. We were almost finished and standing in the parking lot at the trunk of our car, loading the groceries when I heard a soft crying and a scraping-the-pavement sound behind me. I turned around and saw an old woman sandwiched between the asphalt and the rear bumper of a mid-size car. The vehicle was reversing out of its parking spot and the woman was being pushed by the back tires as the car moved along, scraping the entire left side of her 76-year-old body along the craggy surface as if she were an empty fast-food bag.

I was motionless but screamed what felt like a hollow yelp for the driver to stop. He did. I told Sabine and Zadie not to move and ran to the woman. I held her hand and told her that I knew she was scared but that I thought she was going to be okay. I called 911. She asked me not to let go of her hand and not to leave her. I was ten feet away from my four year old and my 19 month old, who was siting in the basket. I kept telling them not to move, while smiling at the woman and trying my hardest to keep calm so she wouldn't crack. I'd just watched an episode of Grey's Anatomy and knew she should be kept as still as possible. The 911 operator asked me her name, her age, if she was pinned. I was trying to get all of the answers right while making sure my child-filled basket didn't move and that my four-year-old's feet stay planted to the same spot.

Another woman had come over and asked the old woman if she could call anyone for her. She asked her to dial her friend Emily but to please not call any of her family because she didn't want to worry them. I looked back to the bumper of my own car and saw Sabine standing there with her kid-size blanket and holding it out for me. She said it was to cover the lady so she wasn't cold.

The woman on the phone in the gold Honda parked next to me had climbed out of her car and was standing next to my children. She started to lift Zadie and said, "I'm going to put your kids in the car." I yelled at her not to touch them. I knew if they couldn't see me, they wouldn't be okay after seeing what they just saw.

An ambulance and two police cars finally arrived. They asked if I was the old woman's family member. I said, no. They told me I had to let her go. I felt guilty and relieved. I went to Sabine and Zadie and grabbed a box of kitchen trash bags I'd just bought to put in front of the grocery cart wheel. The guy driving the car with the lady underneath it, asked me what happened. I told him I heard crying and turned around and saw his car pushing her body along the pavement. He said he thought it was a big cup or trash behind his wheel. Then he asked me where her cart was. He said he thought he'd bumped something and assumed it was a shopping basket. I told him, again, that was her body. He started pacing, lit a cigarette and called his boss to tell him he would be late coming back to the office. Sabine kept asking me if the lady was going to be okay. Zadie was quiet and expressionless. A policeman requested my I.D. and asked me exactly what happened.

After I told him what I saw and after the ambulance drove away, I strapped the girls into their car seats and drove away, my hands shaking on the steering wheel.

I've always been terrified when walking through parking lots with my daughters. I hold their hands, but think it's too easy for someone not to see us as they're reversing out of a spot. I was right, except that it was that poor old woman and not one of us. I can't stop picturing her body being dragged along black asphalt by a car. Sabine woke up from her nap that afternoon and told me she dreamed about the lady. She drew a picture of her underneath a car on the back of her place mat when we went out to dinner that night. And the next morning, the first thing she asked when she woke up was if I thought the lady was okay. So I guess she can't stop thinking about her either.

I wish we could close our eyes and see black instead of that woman's rag doll-like body. I am buckets of grateful that I heard her cry and could scream loud enough to stop that car from moving another inch. And I am painfully relieved that each person in my little family--however sick, ungrateful, grumpy and cold they are--is alive, whole and unhurt on this snowy Baltimore day after Christmas.

via Observando

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Them Pretty Bones

Sabine is obsessed with The Nightmare Before Christmas and Coraline. She also loves skeletons, witches and this animated series called Ruby Gloom. Halloween has always been her favorite holiday. 

But with that edge, comes a serious sweet tooth. She covets everything that my mother loved: pink, tulle, princesses, sparkle, tons of icing and happy endings.

I love that she's brave and sugary all at the same time. She's complex, my bittersweet girl. 

And she's dying for this dress from H&M. It's so her that I have to get it.





Tuesday, December 17, 2013

When I Grow Up

Sabine asked me the other day what I want to be when I grow up. Then she said, but you already are a grown up. But what do you want to be? Well, what are you?

Her limited perception of me completely freaked me out.

People have asked lately what SHE wants to be when she grows up. Her first answer: A waitress. I encouraged her to dream a little bigger. Her latest answer: A veterinarian or a chef.

Then I explained to her that I'm a writer and an editor, but I'm taking a short break from that for the most part to take care of her and Zadie.

Being their mom is the best job I've ever had. But I'm not sure I would feel that way if I hadn't done other things before doing that. I want Sabine to be other things--just for her things--before she chooses to be a mom, if she chooses that.

And I desperately want her to know that I am other things, too.




Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Motherhood

Have you guys seen this photograph of Gisele Bundchen breastfeeding her baby while being made up? I wish I saw more pictures like this. Breastfeeding your baby is natural, practical, necessary, not sexual. So many women are still self conscious doing it; so many people are still uncomfortable seeing it. It's only amazing.



Happy Cozy

I recently discovered this amazing New York City shop called Thomas Sires. They have amazing women's clothing and accessories, home design items and paper goods, but they also have some super adorable children's stuff. I'm especially in love with the note cards, the totes and the kids' t-shirts--most of which are available in the gifts under $50 section. I'd check them out if I were you.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Birds, Bees and Trees

The best part about living in Maryland is the greenery. California has about one twentieth of the trees, grass and flowers that I see here. It's so beautiful. I traded it for the Pacific Ocean, my first best friend. And like the sea, all of this green lets me breathe and put everything into perspective. It also lets Sabine and Zadie climb, crawl, crouch, hide, disappear and imagine.

Sometimes I really miss California and the pink and orange sherbet sunsets, turquoise swimming pools, crooked palm trees, and navy blue and emerald green ocean. But I don't want to do one thing for most of my life. I know that landscape. Now I'm getting to know a new one. And there's nothing like seeing something for the very first time.








Wednesday, December 4, 2013

On the Road

We moved from Los Angeles to Baltimore County in April, 2013.


We moved AGAIN four months later to Baltimore City.


Turns out, boxes are all the toys they need.


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Water Baby

zadie's first swim. (Palm Springs. April, 2013, one week before moving to Baltimore.)







Monday, November 18, 2013

Fading

This face. She's everything.

Remember when things were so bright, beautiful and new that you didn't want to go to sleep, not even for one second? You'd fight to keep your eyes open so that you wouldn't miss a single color, moment, feeling, adventure or tiny slice of life. You were right on the edge of a first something all the time. And no matter how heavy your eyelids felt, you fought as hard as you could to keep them open. 

And then one day, you stopped fighting so hard because you'd seen a lot and things weren't as bright or new anymore. Some days, you couldn't wait to close your eyes.

Zadie is a fighter. And on this day, she lost. But I won like I win every day with her. Because I get to watch her fight to stay awake for everything that's old to me. It's new to her and is new to me again because of her. 

Lucky me.






Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Isabel Marant for H&M

This is happening TOMORROW. The collection will be available in select stores and online (www.hm.com/Isabel-Marant), beginning at noon EST. Get your strategy on by checking out the entire line and knowing what you want before you shop: http://torontolife.com/style/toronto-shopping/2013/11/11/isabel-marant-for-hm/. Because what's better than looking like a French hippie?


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