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I’m gonna be a FIRE TRUCK

I recently identified the gremlin that says, “If I take time for me, all the other stuff won’t get done.” I’m calling BS. I just got E down for a nap. The kitchen is a mess. I have a giant bag full of farmers market goodies waiting to be put away. Toys everywhere, vacuuming needed, the bathroom really needs a clean. Big work deadlines next week. And so, I quite consciously sat down to write. I may even meditate after this. And what needs to get done will get done.

Because, really, it’s never done, right?! So what difference does it really make if I take time for me first? Me First. New slogan? Oxygen mask, etc.?

We’re having the kind of cosmically idyllic weekend I fantasized about before moving here. My sister picked E up early from school yesterday to play with his cousins at their place. Then we all sat around my big farm table with all three kiddos on the bench and had lasagna. My nieces stayed overnight because my sister and bro-in-law both had early morning stuff to do (note that D is going door to door for Hillary in Iowa as we speak, YAY!), we had a big scrumptious breakfast of blueberry pancakes and egg scramble, went to the playground, and then the girls went home while E and I went to the last farmers market of the season, meeting up with dear college friend K who was working a bake sale fundraiser for her chorale.

It’s overcast and weirdly 77 degrees today. Aside from this anomalous weather, it’s been getting pretty darn crisp in the morning and evening hours. E was sick this week so I got him a nanny and worked from the library. Stepping outside at 5pm to come home, it was cold enough to want mittens. Maybe 45 degrees. What struck me was the smell. I had forgotten the smell of the slow decomposition of leaves and it triggered memories from my childhood. Those memories get called up much more often here since this place is so much like the place I grew up. I knew we were returning “home”-ish but I didn’t anticipate all the visceral reminders. I like them. We’re home.

And now it’s already Halloween. It’s the unofficial main city holiday of San Francisco, so I’ve had my share of big and small celebrations over the years, always put my costume together the day-of, and was really distanced from the kiddo perspective. Living in apartments all this time, there was never an opportunity to hand out candy or see kids in costumes. E was too little in his first two years to do anything much so it didn’t really matter… we did some little Halloween parties. But now we’re here, where every other house is decorated with lights and cobwebs and gravestones and ghosts, just as E is coming into consciousness about what it’s all about.

He decided early that he wanted to be a fire truck. I might have prompted him. Like- I asked him what he wanted to be, and then gave him some ideas. Fire trucks are definitely his favorite thing. At the same time, I had a disincentive for him to want to be a fire truck since the costume is not exactly simple.

Ask him what he’s going to be for Halloween and he’ll lean in, bug his eyes, and say, in a quiet and intense voice, “I’m gonna be a FIRE TRUCK.” I knew I could not disappoint.

So, I found a DIY “recipe” from a Pinterest-y mom who randomly had all the perfect stuff, you know, just laying around the house to make a fire truck costume. For me, it required two trips to Michael’s to the tune of probably $50. So silly. I now have red and black spray paint (as well as gray primer), yellow and silver duct tape, black ribbon, and a glue gun. A glue gun! These things were never my forte. I’m the least crafty person I know. I think I did realize, though, that you don’t have to necessarily be talented- if you can find a “recipe,” it’s really like cooking: you just follow directions. I did veer off the recommendations and try spray painting styrofoam- and that resulted in disintegrated styrofoam! Good to know. Cardboard was better anyway.

You guys. His firetruck costume is totally amazing. It took probably 2 full evenings and several mid-day painting sessions. My work was fueled by love. I’ll unveil the magic for him perhaps Sunday night, or Monday morning. He has a Halloween parade at school (I will be there between meetings) and will trick or treat with his cousins. We will obviously take many photos with the cutie in costume but here it is without him:

We’re carving our pumpkin later this afternoon and we have cider and pumpkin pie and, yeah, I’m getting into all of this!

Last night at bedtime, the girls requested a story from my childhood. So I told them about Halloween- the homemade costumes (I don’t recall anyone buying a costume, ever), how they were inevitably covered up by coats and hats and mittens because it would be snowing sideways or cold rain or some other unwelcome weather, and how we trick or treated after dark. Memories reactivated. And relived.

Grateful to be here for all of the above. Happy Halloween!

xo

cousins

 

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living here

I decided not to play the next concert due to a conflict with a work trip, and then I decided to have the babysitter come anyway, and then I realized that I could go to a CAFE and WRITE. It’s revolutionary. I’m sitting here with a cup of tea and pumpkin pie. I sort of can’t believe it.

Even better, this outing happened to correspond with the final presidential debate and after skipping the first one out of nervousness and then slogging through the second one while bawling and yelling, I’m ready to to sit out again. More than ready. Thrilled.

Back when I was five months’ pregnant and visiting over the holidays, I met my dear friend K at this café and I believe we sat at this very table, in fact. As we crunched through snow walking back to the car, I had no clue that I’d be living here in less than two years.

People keep asking if it’s “hit me” yet, that we moved across the country, that we live here now, and that we no longer live in California. So far, not really. I’m sure it helps that this place, or at least this region, is my original home. The rhythm of life, the way the air is extra crisp in the mornings now, the changing leaves, even cruising slowly around town as if I’m a teenager again in my family’s old stationwagon with the wood siding… it all feels familiar. So instead of leaving home, it feels like we went back to an earlier home.

If anything has hit me, it’s how much my life feels the same, but easier. Fewer friends close by, and I do miss them and am starting to feel out of touch already. But it’s also nice to have fewer obligations. More mental space too. I’m working with a life coach now, refining my daily routine, digging into the enneagram and The Desire Map and contemplating bigger dreams. I have some old friends here and family cruises through often. J arrives Friday from New Orleans!

E is growing and learning. What a delightful human he is. This week, he stopped crying on drop off. He asks me to walk him into his classroom and then he keeps walking to the teacher and doesn’t look back. He comes home bursting with stories: “So, Mom!” (in the past two days, he’s been working on mastering “so.”) A friend sent me a Golden Gate Bridge key chain, and he identified it- not as San Asisco as in the past- now it’s the Golden Gate Bridge. But- he still calls an an excavator an escalator and an escalator an alligator.

Sometimes he remembers something I said once, a month ago. Like- I mentioned to someone that maybe when J comes to visit, he’ll polish my crystal chandelier as he did with the ones at his house. And now every time E points at the chandelier, he says “J is going to work on it.”

I’m going to do a DIY Halloween costume, God help me. This is not my forte!!! I better not tell you what it is in case it’s a failure and we do something else 🙂

Very excited for pumpkins and pies and Christmas lights and slippers.

I’ll be on alert for what’s hitting me when, and will let you know.

For now, I’m grateful for all the long-distance check-ins and I just love you guys.

xo

school-photo