My blog has moved! Redirecting...

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

oo-aah, wheja wheja

Noelle has started blowing kisses. What delights me is that while she refuses to learn how to say "more" or "please" in sign language, even after I doggedly rehearse it with her, she picked up blowing kisses without a single lesson. I like to think that this is a reflection of her character. Sure proof that she is sunflowers and sunshine. I know that this is just the goo-goo-gaga thought process of a wildly in-love mother.

She doesn't just blow kisses to anyone. She blows them to her Nana and Bop Bop, and to me. At night, when I lay her in the crib, she waves up at me and then slaps her palm to her open mouth and says, "oo-aahh." I think I might go bonkers with adoration. This bedtime routine is too perfect to be true.

Tonight, after her bottle was done, she just laid in my arms giggling like a bubble bath. I don't know what made her laugh. It was all I could do just to try and absorb the insane cuteness of it all. How is it possible that babies can be so scrumptious? I didn't get it before I had Noelle. I didn't realize that they are bright rain, falling from heaven.

Today we babysat for a friend. Her son is one day older than Noelle and as sweet as he is cute. I'm not just saying this to be nice; Caleb actually has a modeling agent. Liquid brown eyes, round nose, small chin, and hair like the Beatles.

Anyway, Caleb and Noelle were playing together and I was swept up in the meta-thought of how to manage two one year-olds?

I was busy scanning the room, refereeing any toy disputes, and scampering to tidy-up the clutter left in their wake. I was busy like this, trying to take care of them, but not paying attention to them, when suddenly they stopped time. It was nothing really. Just that routine one-year old sweetness that makes me believe in such a thing as a perfect moment.

I don't know if it's possible that perfect moments exist. I mean truly P-E-R-F-E-C-T snatches of time, when life is still rumbling along, the world is still dizzy, somewhere something is falling, and someone is piecing apart, but I believe I experienced that perfect moment while watching Noelle and Caleb.

This is all it was: They looked at each other. They reached for each other. Noelle said "ooo" and Caleb responded "wheja wheja." A mutual recognition of existence.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Grain of the Soul - Revision #3

Have you ever been embarrassed of who you were in the past? Not what you did, but your persona, that particular conglomeration of self, circumstance, and belief that made you who you were for a time?

I've been facing a particularly embarrassing me these last couple weeks. Since moving to the San Gabriel Valley, I'm forced to remember her alot. Every time I get on the freeway, I remember her. Every time I pass the metro station at the end of the Gold Line, I remember her. Every time I drive down Sierra Madre Street, I remember her. I remember her because I used to work in the SGV, and that was not a particularly flattering phase of my life.

We had just moved to LA and I had freshly crumpled dreams of working in the film industry. Instead, I was working as a secretary in a mega-church. An occupation that, while perfectly respectable in it's own right, felt as comfortable to me as a bra made of wool. As you can imagine, I was a little disjointed, and I feel a great sense of embarrassment when I think about how I behaved with my coworkers those two years.

They didn't know what to make of me. I was emotional, easily offended and erratic, running off to cry for hours at a time uncontrollably, and then maneuvering to try and prove myself in the most awkward ways.

In his book _Let Your Life Speak_, Parker Palmer shares a story about his own embarrassment over a younger version of himself. The summer before he started grad-school at Berkley, he was fired from his assistantship. He and a fellow research assistant spent the summer goofing off.

In the end, he still regrets behaving so badly, and at the time he was crushed over his failure. But he acknowledges a measure of grace about the course of his life. He writes that he should have either quit the job before being fired, or exercised self-control and settled into the work. But he goes on to say, "sometimes the 'shoulds' do not work because the life one is living runs crosswise to the grain of one's soul. And at that time in my life, I had no feeling of the grain of my soul and no sense of which way was crosswise" (41).

There is no better description of myself during those first few years here in Los Angeles. My supervisor at the time, my poor beleaguered supervisor, had some sense of this. I remember he pulled me into his office one afternoon and after a bit of chit chat, said to me bluntly, "Christin, you can do what you want to do."

I remember feeling that he was trying to tell me something about my life, something to set me free. But as Palmer put it, I was still so out of touch with the grain of my soul I couldn't make out his message. I was so lost I couldn't acknowledge that I didn't like working at churches and that I wasn't a very good secretary. After all, if I tried harder wouldn't that make it work?

It would take me two more years and one more mismatched job before I finally had the presence of mind to let go of everything I thought I should be, and wait tremulously for who I was going to be.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Something Extraordinary at a Coffee Shop

Friday night, Dwayne and I went on a date. The first one in a while. We wondered around the Monrovia Farmer's Market, which seemed to go on for miles compared to the one in El Segundo. Then we hit the Monrovia Coffee Company for a little gig by one of Dwayne's fellow students.

Because it was coffee shop and because it was a casual collection of people, I suppose I didn't expect the music to be anything special. I was wrong. Soren, Dwayne's friend, was the opener, and after him Andrea Hamilton played.

I'm so amazed that I got to hear this talented musician play in such an intimate setting. She wasn't fancy, or glossy. She just told her songs, cracked jokes, improvised, and the air of the evening was so entirely informal that I hardly realized I was in the midst of such amazing talent. Except that, I couldn't pull myself out of the seat.

I thought we'd only stay for an hour, but when an hour came and Dwayne nudged me to go, I couldn't leave.

"Just one more song!" I said, and we stayed for an hour more.

I love LA for this reason. It's like talent is oozing out the pores of the sidewalk. You can go to a coffee shop, listen to a gig, and walk away having experienced something extraordinary.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

I know who Noelle's voting for.

Noelle doesn't sit still very well. I'd love it if she would relax into my lap and snuggle with me every once and a while, but the best I can usually get from her is just enough time to flip quickly through the pages of one book before she's squirming to get down.

She prefers that I follow her around like a shadow while she hikes up the stairs, dismantles her toy box or pulls all the towels out of the linen closet.

Today, however, she sat still for a whopping 1 minute and 46 seconds. I was watching a youtube video on my friend's blog of Sarah Palin talking to Katie Couric. Noelle scurried over to my legs and begged to get on my lap. So I juggled her while trying to watch the youtube video of Palin, then Lieberman, and then Barak Obama.

The minute Obama started talking, Noelle was transfixed. She didn't move a muscle. Not even one tiny finger. For the entire time he was on screen she watched intently.

I know that Obama is one of the greatest orators of our time, but the fact that he can hold even a wrestles baby's attention - now that's just ridiculous.