Thursday, October 29, 2009

my lil pumpkin

we carved a pumpkin last weekend, 
and little m decided to sample some raw pumpkin innards. 

she didn't like the taste so much.

she did however have a rollicking good time at the pumpkin patch!
yay for pumpkins- in little person form and gourd form.
she's pretty cute, if i do say so myself.

friends + art + blogging

i've been a very lazy blogger.

i was chastised tonight, and well, it's true. 
i thought i'd blog a lot this week because matt's mom is here this week.
grandma pam time means more studio and susannah time for me 
while little m frolics with her grandma.
alas, this week ended up being a bit crazy.
so not as much painting as i wanted.
not as much blogging.

(an old painting, that i just stumbled upon in my studio storage. 
it's big- like, oh, about the size of a bed.)

but one of the treats this week is that a friend that i have made 
(via the world of blogging & thanks to molly in utah) 
came to visit me in my studio!
it was such a treat, and as usual, we had a great time connecting.
among the many things i enjoy talking about with nicole is that 
she is a few years ahead of me in the journey of parenting a deaf child: 
her 6 year daughter is also deaf and has a cochlear implant.

since nicole is also a blogger, she ever so kindly documented her visit to my space!
we talked, looked at art- the greeting card kind and the on canvas kind, drank coffee, and enjoyed uninterrupted conversation minus our kids.
if you want a peek into her visit, go here...
(and you should read her blog anyway, because it is just great)

Monday, October 26, 2009


i am working away this morning, so a longer blog post will have to wait until later in the day...but here is a tease- a picture of my brothers and i, in the FRONT ROW at the u2 concert last week in arizona. this is around midnight, as the stadium was clearing out, but you can tell we are all aglow, with post-concert smiles. 

Friday, October 23, 2009

happy friday!

it's friday!
have a great day!

ours is looking good so far: 

a morning mommy-daughter dance party, sun shining outside, grandparents pam & tom headed into town today, about to go on a long walk to get some coffee, a visit to the pumpkin patch with grandma cornelia this afternoon, and matt's day off after he works a few hours this morning. 

(hope your day is filled with goodness)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


right now the light is beginning to fade outside;
we three are sitting in our livingroom as it slowly gets darker.

my daughter is showing off her latest dance moves for matt
(they are quite impressively diverse & include props)
as we listen to damien jurado singing "grow old with me"...
it's a
quiet & ordinary
sort of moment,
interspersed with our laughter at these funny sounds and motions that little m is inventing.

sometimes quiet and ordinary is the very best of all.

Monday, October 19, 2009


i've loved u2 since i was 11 years old.
back in the day...
the first tapes i owned were u2, 
passed along to me by a twentysomething who thought i'd like them, 
and the first tape i bought in a store was u2.

it may seem silly, since a billion people like u2,
but i don't really care.
i know they aren't cool, like the super indie or punk bands my husband likes.
but still,
i love them.
and i love them live in concert.
and i never miss a tour,
until now.

they aren't coming to northern california, 
so as of last night at 9 pm, 
i hatched a crazy plan...
i found a single ticket on craigslist in arizona.
i enlisted a friend who lives in arizona to pick it up for me today.
my brothers and i are driving to arizona
11 hours
to get in line 
first thing
to wait
and then to race in to the stadium
as soon as the gates open
to get all the way up close to the stage
with general admission tickets.
after the concert,
we'll drive home.
i feel a little crazy.
i'm so excited.
bono, larry, edge & adam: 
look for me, i'll be the one singing along to every song
(i know, along with 50,000 other people), 
happy as can be.

Friday, October 16, 2009

i hear that!

(our expert plane spotter.
little m pointing at an airplane flying by. 
when she hears an airplane she says, "up, up up, whee!")

this next week, little m's ears turn 7 months old. her cochlear implants were activated march 18th, and so she has been getting sound into her for the past seven months. seven months of amazing. my daughter is deaf, but she is learning to listen. 

i have written countless posts in my mind lately of all of the progress m has been making as she learns to listen and talk. 

for now, i'll keep it to this: it is a lot of work, learning to listen & teaching to listen. but it is a daily miracle for me to hear her say, "who, who, who" when i ask her what an owl says or "meeow" when we see a cat outside. i ask her if she wants to listen to music and she points to the ipod. when someone is headed out the door and she says, "ba-ba" (bye-bye). when we sing itsy bitsy spider and she says "tsts" for itsy bitsy, and "dow" for "down the water spout". if i ask, "where is the pumpkin?" she points right to the round orange gourd on the table.

i am truly reminded every day that watching her soak up the world of sound is a gift. i am honored to be her mom. i am humbled that in many ways i get to truly celebrate and treasure sounds for the first time as little m hears them; i no longer take the ability to hear for granted.

it is still a miracle to me that my daughter can turn to her name, or cry because of the smoke detector going off, or mimic a sound, or say dad and mom. in some ways, this journey is about me learning to listen as much at it is for my deaf daughter.

one year.

this week has been a weird one. 

it has been a week of emotional ping-pong: joy, detachment, loss, amazement, deja vu, grief.
monday, matt & my 7th wedding anniversary.
tuesday, my dad's 61st birthday.
and today, which marks one year since the whole world changed for my family. 

last october 16th is the day that my dad walked away from my mom, his four children, and the majority of the people that comprised his world. he chose not to be honest with us about living a second life. 

i do not pretend to understand the angst and buried pain my dad presumably experienced trying to wrestle with his identity, with living two opposing existences, or with lying so much for so long. i can only imagine the internal war that has been waging inside of him for years, and it grieves me to think that he had to resort to deception & betrayal to find some outlet for his battles. i do think that in the year since we confronted my dad in love, he could have chosen to own his failings and the wounds he inflicted with integrity. he hasn't.

often people ask me if i have seen or spoken to my dad lately. 

it feels weird to say no.

i don't tell people all of the reasons why i have chosen to cut off contact- meaning, i don't tell people how bad it really was when everything went down last year. maybe the fact that i haven't seen, spoke, or interacted with my dad in an entire year seems dramatic. 

most people know my dad to be this laughing & outgoing dad/husband figure who publicly raved about his wife and kids. so, to say that i want no contact with him sounds, well, kind of awful. 

it feels weird to recognize that i am estranged from him. we occupy the same geography more or less, as he lives one mile from me, and yet our lives no longer intersect. 

it feels weird to realize that i no longer really have a dad, or at least a relationship with my dad. 

it feels weird that little m only has three grandparents, even though all four- matt's parents and my parents- are living. 

it feels weird that when i caught a glimpse of my dad last saturday in a public place, that my heart fell into the pit of my stomach and i instantly turned and walked in the other direction. 

it feels weird that someone who i once respected is now toxic to me. 

it feels weird that it has been a year since i last looked into my dad's eyes. he looked back at me with such hatred and anger. i will never forget that look; it is seared into my memory. somehow, the look in my dad's eyes seemed more real and true that anything i'd experienced from my dad in a long time.

i try to live the way jesus lived. jesus taught that we are to love our enemies. jesus hung out with the despised: the liars, cheats, whores and destitute, and he loved them. i admit that i am not there yet. honestly, to love my dad like that doesn't feel safe or even possible. i feel like the times i extended grace and love to my dad he just stomped on it. i want to be able love this man in the way of jesus, but right now my heart starts racing and i walk in the other direction. 

for some reason i always remember this sermon my dad preached a few years ago, when he was still a pastor, long before any of this happened. he said that faith was hope standing on tiptoe, as if you are peeking over a fence at something in the distance. you can see it, but it isn't quite in your grasp. so for now, i have hope & faith. faith that someday my dad will no longer be my enemy. that he will find some peace. and rest. and grace. and authenticity.

hope. faith. love.

Monday, October 12, 2009

i love this picture, even though it is so blurry and out of focus. 
this is me, with my most favorite person in the world.
(little m is my second most favorite person)

i love it because at the moment this photo was taken we were sitting with good friends, 
talking & laughing about who knows what, maybe even disagreeing, but completely at ease with each other.

today, october 12th, is our anniversary. 7 years ago we made vows to each other to love each other in the good and the hard and the in-between. so many friends and family surrounded us and promised to be a part of our community as we entered into marriage. it was a pretty amazing beginning.

this photo reminds me of the moments that i most cherish with my husband, sharing this journey of life together. our story is much longer than the past 7 years that we have been married, but i can't really remember anymore what it is like not to spend my days with him. 

i can be quite a handful, and for all of my quirks, he loves me. at the end of the day i know that my heart is his completely. (also, he is quite a handful himself, and i think most days i make him a much better person, so we are a good match.)

this has been the hardest year of my life, and yet as i think back over the year, i think our marriage has grown in depth & richness & love. 

i can't wait for another year.
i can't wait for another 40 years, until we are white-haired and wrinkly and worn, sitting next to each other, laughing.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

(little m and her grandpa tom hanging out on the embarcadero 
last sunday before her aunt robyn and uncle chris' wedding)

this photo makes me so happy.
for various reasons, i didn't have a super close relationship with any of my grandparents. 
but now, my daughter gets to have blood related and adoptive grandparents 
swoop her up and love on her as she grows up.
and that makes me very, very happy.


exhibit a.

exhibit b.
obviously my daughter learns well.
she's already posing for glee's 14th season 
when the deaf girl with cochlear implants wants to join glee club 
& ends up singing all of the best duets with the hot male lead. 

Friday, October 9, 2009

happy friday!

life has been a little messy around here- 
juggling little m's school, 
her apparent nap strike, 
multiple freelance projects for papyrus, 
matt out of town this week, 
my sister-in-law's wedding,
and about 28 loads of laundry (washed but not folded).

the blog has taken the hit.
but i have some posts up my sleeves
so more very very soon
(especially as soon as i finish this deadline for papyrus!)
besos, and happy friday!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


i, queen of sharing the hard, 
need to share the good when it's time for good news...
here i am with my cute mom
(look how joyful she looks.
despite this year of hard 
she smiles a lot more than she used to)
here is my mom hanging out with little m and my surrogate mom, shelly, 
who i like to call mamabear #2, and who is little m's grandma shelly.
(you can never have too many grandma's i say) 
here is where my mom used to live when she was married to my dad.
up until last october 16th.

you may remember that working on this house 
to get it onto the lousy real estate market was our life for 2 solid months.
you may remember that it seemed like it would be a miracle to get it sold, 
but that it would mean freedom for my mom 
from the huge mortgage &
from continued financial entanglement with my dad.

after a super long escrow, 
(as in 100 days long,
as in i thought it could fall through at any time,
so i've kept my mouth shut until now)
this house finally sold.

it is such wonderful, glorious news
and the money is sitting in my mom's lawyer's office,
waiting for all of the divorce proceeding to be finalized so everything can be divided up.

divorce is not a good thing.
broken families are not a thing to be celebrated.
i wish the last year of our life had held another narrative,
but alas, this is now a part of my family's story.

but for this good news 
i am so, so grateful.

things i do not like

things i do not like, by me

1. earthquakes. no, we didn't have one, but i swear there is going to be the big one any time, and i am so not down with the earth quaking! maybe it doesn't help that i basically live smack dab on top of a freaking faultline.

2. tuesday and thursday mornings, as in, the days little m goes to school. somehow she just knows we need to hurry to get out the door, and she goes into super slow motion. my normally super active eater starts day dreaming, looking at the ceiling, playing with her food... meantime, i am looking anxiously at the clock thinking of how we will be late once again to morning music. 

3. eggs (as in sunny side up or poached or hardboiled...unless they are a vehicle for something else, like an omelette, or cookies, no eggs for me), fish & all creatures of the sea, mayo, bananas, random pressed meat products that you eat cold (like pate, etc). matt says i am high maintenance.

4. bad drivers. i think there has been an epidemic of poor driving lately around here, and i swear i am becoming a much less patient occupier of the road. 

5. dirty dishes. especially silverware. someday we will have a dishwasher, and my heart will leap for joy. for reals. (lucky for me, i should say that matt usually washes the dishes! he's good to me like that...)

things i do like:
1. today i get to work in the studio.

(the end)