Saturday, March 24, 2007

Hoppy Spring

When I found out earlier this week that I'd snagged the "hosting Easter for the extended family" duties this year, I hightailed it over to Target to get these adorable plates & napkins before they sold out. In fact, now that I reflect on it, I think the chance to buy & display these cuties was maybe the chief motivating factor in volunteering to host. Yes, I could've bought them "just because" when I first saw them a while back, but I get weird & cheap sometimes. Especially when my Target basket is already filling up fast with those necessary packs of diapers and wipes and toilet paper, etc.

Anyway. I LOVE these bright colors, and the over-the-top cute graphics of all the fuzzy little animals. I couldn't resist, at the dollar bins at the front of the store, the cute little erasers either. So now Lily's preschool class will get treated with erasers at her Easter party in a couple weeks (and whatever else I can manage to scrape together to put into the treat bags....I'm thinking....pencils?)

On the receipt, I noticed that these were listed as "Fiona tablewear," so when doing the web search to grab these images, I continued my search and discovered that all this eye-popping loveliness was designed by English graphic artist Fiona Hewitt. I've seen her work before at boutiques that sell her line of "Miso Pretty" bath products with the pretty Asian graphics. This is why I love to go shopping at Target: because amid the toothpaste, diapers and snack foods, there's always the fun of discovering some cool, modern or just plain purty designs to fluff the nest with. There are a lot more items in this collection not featured on the Target web little 3-D place card figurines, candles, wooden nesting eggs and big tin buckets. I'm thinking one of the buckets, filled with a cluster of silk blue hydrangeas & yellow daffodils, will be a great centerpiece for the Easter buffet table. Eventually I'll get around to actually planning what my dear family will actually eat at this Easter shindig, but for now...I've got my plates.

Happy Spring to you....


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Queen of My Heart

My baby turned 5 on Saturday. Five years old? How did that happen?

It's a cliche that time flies quicker when you have children, but it's a cliche for a good reason. Five years old means that she has officially left the land of babyhood and toddlerhood and even preschooler-hood for good. In five months she'll be starting kindergarten and beginning her long odyssey of public school life. No wonder my heart is filled with such dread. I quake with my dark imaginings of what peer pressure and standardized testing pressure and fit-in-the-box pressure will do this brilliant, funny, fearless, imaginative, confident beauty.

But I guess I'll save that post and more of those musing for later in the year. For now...I present to you my girl, my wonder, my first born, my only daughter. "Mommy, you're the queen of my heart," she told me frequently this past year.

I once had the thought that Lily was born in Technicolor. How I love to look at old movies and musicals from the '50s, if only to admire the lipstick reds and intense, vibrant hues of the costumes and sets. "Why can't real life be in Technicolor?" I've thought more than once. At yet when I look at this girl, its seems that she is indeed made of all those larger and truer-than-life colors. She seems to pop against the background of our everyday lives.
How I love to rest my eyes upon this child, and marvel that she is my own. Happy Birthday, sweet Lily. I know that you spent a lot of time when you were four telling us about how you're tired of being a human, and that you're ready right now to turn into a mermaid OR a pixie, but you should know that we're quite pleased with the form you've taken in this life's incarnation -- magical little girl -- and hope you stay this way for a good while longer.

Your Mommy


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

...Followed by a Weird, Long Week

Funny now to think about my last post and the good, long day I had with the kids. That day will be 2 weeks ago tomorrow, and what an eon ago it feels like, now. The day after, I got one of those calls we all dread. When your mother calls before 7am in tears, you know to brace yourself, even in that half-second before she begins to speak. And so that's how I came to find out that my dear grandpa had passed away earlier that Friday morning. He was 88 and died at home, after a bad week, which was really more like another episode in a long, bad year of slow decline and increasing frailty and complications. "He was so tired," we all said, which was true, but that still stopped short of offering much in the way of comfort.

And so my good, long day was followed by a weird, long week that involved a few drives out to L.A. county and the home my grandparents shared for over forty years, for the better part of their nearly seventy years of married life. It also involved having to have the "death" conversation with Lily, who has never had to deal with anything like that before -- not even with a more simple lifeform, like a goldfish or hamster. (She had far fewer questions than I anticipated, even after the open-casket funeral.) It also involved me, getting up in front of all those I hold my dear, every single member of my immediate and not-so immediate family, and giving my grandfather's eulogy last Thursday morning at the memorial chapel in Rose Hills. My family kept calling it a "family memory" to make me feel a little less stressed about the duty I'd been charged with, but whatever you want to call it -- it was stressful. I was convinced I'd either have a panic attack or faint clear away, but I did neither . People said they liked it, that it was good. I hope so. All I know is that it was immensely draining and took a lot more brain power than I typically use these days to write. At least I've got this blog, so the writing gears up in my noggin hadn't completely rusted over from disuse.

In my eulogy/family tribute, I used Yosemite as something of a metaphor for what my grandfather was to me, and to my family -- an ever-present, seemingly permanent feature on the landscape of our lives. I said it better then, and I don't want to rehash it here, but you get the gist.

I'm glad my children got to know him, and even more glad that he got to know my children, whom he adored. I could say that life has returned to normal around here, but that's not entirely true, either. Perhaps for Myk and the children, but for me, there is still that loss. It surprises me daily, a missing tooth that stuns my tongue and jolts my routine, even for that second. Outwardly, life keeps trucking on, as it always does, and especially with two small children in the house. No time to reflect, no time to even mourn, somehow, it feels. Miss Thing is turning 5 on Saturday, so there's a party to plan and gifts and cake to buy, for a different and better kind of celebration of a life this coming weekend.

The picture above is of Yosemite's famous Half Dome, covered in April snow. It was taken the last time I visited Yosemite, during spring break from grad school, in 2001. What a long time ago that feels, yet it's barely a half a blink in the long, enduring lifespan of Yosemite valley. I can't wait to go back and introduce my children to this beautiful place, someday.