Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pasedena part dos and Cali rocks! (or, more bits from the road trip)

(Ignore the post date, that is when I started this entry, today is March 16, and it's taken me this long to actually post)
Again with the no blogging! What's going on here? Well, it seems I have the sleeping sickness. Have you read Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Well I have it. I could just sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep. All the time.
I feel like I am forgetting moments and details, and part of the reason I blog is because I don't scrapbook or baby book or photo book, so if it's not here, it might not be anywhere but in the chasms and recesses of my mind and sometimes, well, let's just say, they are not so accessible. So here is a bit more before it all becomes a fog.

After the Rose Bowl parade, Magdalena, Augustus and I headed over to my friend Lena's house, also in Pasadena. I met Lena on the Greek Isle of Ios about 20 years ago (what?). We were staying in the same hostel, about $7 American a night, overlooking this insanely gorgeous bay where we could see dolphins or maybe I'm just making that up, but anyway it was idyllic and amazing and looked exactly like every postcard you have ever seen of Greek Isles. I remember telling a friend of mine that I wanted to meet some people from California on the trip so I would know somebody out there to go live with, and whom do I meet but Lena. She stared at me, asked me questions, and I was as intrigued by her as she me. Who was this fabulous woman, travelling with these three gorgeous men? Or rather, back then I would have said who was this girl travelling with these boys? They called us Thing 1 and Thing 2, and we knew we were best friends forever. So off me and my two children go to visit. The last time I saw Lena was about 18 months ago on my last jaunt to LA, we spent the day together at the beach, and I fell in love with her all over again, and with her children, and with Jamie (Lena's best friend who is also my friend from when I lived here) and her daughter Harper. On this trip we wanted more so an overnight date was arranged and glorious fun was had by all.
Lena has two daughters, Juliette and Samantha, or Juju and Sam. Here is the breakdown:

Magdalena hanging with Juju, taking it all in, totally enamored with her older, a bit more sophisticated friend and:

Augustus and Sam, with Sam as big girl in charge and Augustus totally in love with Sam and her special attention. When we were here last time, Sam held and played with Augustus all day at the beach. We were pretty amazed when as soon as he saw here, all this time later, he ran into her arms. Love at second sight, all over again.

In the morning Jamie and Harper came over for breakfast fun and a hang out. We were going to go to the park but the fog never lifted so we took over Lena's house for the day. And Lena just had to suck it up baby. Harper is gorgeous and also took to Augustus, oblivious to her cast and observing no limitations.

Of course because we are in California Lena has an orange tree and a tangerine tree simply loaded with fruit. All the low fruit had been picked, so here are Jamie and I in our tragic attempt to pull down the higher fruit with an orange picker. Not always so successful but we did get enough oranges to have fresh o.j. for almost every person at Jessie's for the next ten days.

Back to Jessie's house and her baby bump, back to our little life in LA, and on with the oranges! There are so many stories to tell, so many moments to remember and cherish! I met Jessica on her 19th birthday, about 18 years ago when I was living in Venice, CA working at a health food restaurant named A Votre Sante in Venice. She came in and baby it was the beginning of something special. We have been in more cities together than almost anybody else I know, save for my family: LA, NYC, Atlanta, Jacksonville, Boston, Key West, Oakland, San Francisco, Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Taos, Alamogordo. She is my West Coast Jessie, she is my sister in homeschooling, parenting, center-of-the-home-SAHM-mama-ing. When she heard about the trip, she said come here and live for a month! Well, almost, 12 days was what we did. We watched our children play, bond, become friends, and lived together like family. Magdalena and Saiya, Augustus and Cheyenne call each other "heart sisters" and "heart brothers".

On the first Sunday of the New Year, we accompanied Jessica, Saiya, and Cheyenne to a Brazilian dance class in Venice, near the beach. It was a special class to welcome in the new year with a special blessing, then more blessings down on the beach. We wore all white and fell in love with dancing together to live drums. Oh the blessing of dance itself! Augustus, Magdalena and I danced together in the foyer, right outside the class proper. The beating drums, the dancing, the energy was building building building, until the end of the class, where the dancers dance for the drummers, each dancer thanking the drummers with movement. There we joined the entire class in circle and danced into the middle, thanking the drummers with our joy and our dance and our children's movements and laughter.
At the beach we were blessed, again, with scented oil and water, walking down to the edge of the ocean, offering fresh flowers and rose petals to God and the universe.

The children and their after-the-blessing Goldsworthy-esque offering.

My Venice Beach mamas, Jessica and Rana
After a bit of time with our West Coast family, the children found their groove and their rhythm. Augustus and Cheyenne realized that this was how boys got to hang out together, and Cheyenne would call throughout the house, "Augustus Wolfe! Augustus Wolfe!", calling out to his buddy, his boy, his friend. They played together without once -no hyperbole - fighting over a toy or truck or turn. It was unbelievable.
Now, Magdalena and Saiya, well, they fell into a bit of a different rhythm. Is it a girl thing? Is it a first born thing? Is it a four and five year old thing? Is it a personality thing? Probably all of those things, or a bit of each, but man oh man, we had to intervene more than once, and the level of joy experienced by those two dear girls was equally matched by the level of desperate heartache over a doll or dress or spot on the bed. In their defense, it is not often that a four year old girl has to all of a sudden share everything, and I mean everything - her mom, her space, her brother, her toys, her dress up, her art supplies with two marauding interlopers. Nor is it often that a five year old girl is on a six week roadtrip, without all of her own familiar things life events family. We knew that on days when they woke up and were on from 8-ish in the am till 7-ish in the pm, with a homeschool coop date in the middle, or maybe just a swim in the backyard, or a trip to the beach, (which was every day, by the way) well we knew that a few breakdowns here and there were not only fine, but barely a blip on the radar of our time in general.

We all fell into such a blissful, tangible love and easy friendship that it was hard to imagine that we hadn't always been there, and wouldn't be there forever.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

blue sky, outside and strong girl

Really? It's been that long? February 17? Wow. I feel like I went underwater there for a bit, and have resurfaced, thank you very much.

We went to the library a week ago Friday and then down to Hemming Plaza for lunch al fresco and a bit of the old urban experience. We'll take it where we can get it here. It was one of those magically beautiful winter Florida days, blue blue sky, warm sun, cool air, perfect. The children couldn't have been more beautiful, more fun, or more darling if they'd tried.
Today my darling children took the art table out back for some al fresco painting and drawing. It was, of course, another perfect winter Florida day. I was talking to a friend of mine up in Iowa City and I said, you won't believe this but it's like 75 degrees here. I forget how warm Florida is compared to most of the rest of the country. She, however, did not. Anyhoo, we were busy doing chore type stuff, just having a home day, and Magdalena and Augustus were having the ultimate day of free play. The art table soon became a soaked by the water colors, and then it morphed into an experiment involving tensile strength, water and butcher paper, then a clean up project, all with zero input from the mama.
I was with a friend back in NM and he asked me, as he watched M. and A. run around giggling maniacally and having a ball with each other, "do they always get along like this?" to which I answered, yeah, basically. Don't get me wrong, they do fight a bit, but for the most part, they are best friends. Magdalena announced the other morning, as she hugged Augustus on the couch, that she loved him the best of all. Better, she made sure to qualify, than me, than papa, than abuela, than anybody. Yep, that was the verdict, Magdalena loves Augustus best of all. To which I say bravo.

And finally, what Magdalena has dubbed "strong girl". As in,"mama watch. I'm doing strong girl". Which is her shimming up the door jam, a la a rock climber in a chimney, until her head reaches the top. My oh my, but what a strong girl.