Saturday, May 31, 2008

Baby Report

Last day with Ali and the babies. Max is sleeping in his chair, Thomas is watching Antiques Roadshow and hiccuping. I love the size these kids are, just a little bundle perfect for picking up. They cry, but not usually for long, or very loud. I think the hardest part about it for Allison is that the cries are intermittent, but persistent throughout the night, not a lot of long sleeping stretches. Watching a movie at night is a workout on the remote, cry, pause, binky in, play, cry, pause etc. Nothing too difficult, just constant.

It's true they are cheeriest in the morning. They give you little smiles, or just chill out in their chairs next to each other, looking around. One of the funniest things to me is the little hyperventilating snuffering they do just before they cry, snort snort, SOB!!! Then mom to the rescue, she picks up the little bundle and the face goes calm again. Any kind of motion soothes them as well, totally happy (usually asleep) in the moving stroller, or on the subway. Ali does a good job of getting them out to see the world.

In some ways, there just isn't a lot to them right now, and really that's kind of sweet. They're in that time when things are simple, and they'll start getting a lot more complicated pretty soon here. But for now, they're happy with a cuddle, a little milk, a clean diaper. Being with them here these few days has made things seem pretty simple to me, too. We ran around on the subway yesterday and the limited access for strollers/wheelchairs was eye opening. After we got home, Allison took the boys upstairs and I went to go pick up a pair of pants I had taken to the tailor. Walking to the little shops in her neighborhood, I felt so unencumbered, lucky to be easily mobile and on my own. Not that I wasn't looking forward to getting home and snuggling a baby, but I was happy not to have that big stroller, or a wheelchair to navigate, or just a tiredness in my bones, the one I know Ali must be feeling about now.

But that's just me. I know it's different for Ali, and this is just one of the many reasons that these boys are lucky to have them as their mom. She soldiered through the stroller nightmare with good humor, okay, she did call someone a name under her breath when they absconded with the elevator out of pure laziness, but that was about it. At every set of stairs, someone came forward to help us, and she accepted the help from all manner of people with grace and thankfulness. Next week she'll have a nanny come for the first time, to get acquainted with everything on her last week off. I think she's having to talk herself into the idea that going off on her own a little bit would be nice. "Maybe I'll get a pedicure..." she says a little wistfully, but she doesn't sound that excited about it.

Still, while she's at work, there will be the chocolate place with the good macarons, good lattes, a little shopping at H&M, the florist in the Rockefeller concourse where she can buy flowers for the apartment, and a digital frame on her desk where she can look at photos of the boys all day. It won't be the same, but she'll find good things in that time too. Especially once she finds a way to nap at her desk, undetected. Cause I'm pretty sure the only thing missing from her life right now is sleep.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Okay, the Truth

Sometimes it's like this.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oh Yeah, They're Cute

This pretty much sums it up. Most of the time. I did get one of them howling a little bit ago, but now they are both down for a nap and order is restored.

People keep asking me how Allison is doing, sometimes in sort-of hushed tones. You can imagine. I don't think many of us think that having newborn twins is really going to be a cakewalk for anyone. But the brutal truth is that she makes it look easy. I'm not kidding. She's happy. When they cry, she doesn't get frustrated. She laughs, cause they're so cute. Even when they cry.

Kinda sickening, huh? Also, pretty great.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Take Your Time

I can't explain the Olafur Eliasson show for you. I wish I could. I tried to explain it to a few folks, based on Pam's description from the SF installment, and I'm afraid I butchered it. I can tell you what I liked about it, though. And I'm sure you'll bear with me until my camera batteries get charged up and I can treat you to a lot of baby photos, right?

What I like about the Take Your Time exhibit is the same thing I like about the Rothko paintings, the way, for me, they are both about seeing, and about being immersed in a piece of art, how when you stand in front of a Rothko long enough, it's like you are standing IN the painting, as in a landscape. Take Your Time was made up of a series of rooms, all of which were, to put it very simply, lit in different ways. The one pictured above was so beautiful, strips of colored light moving around the room, much more vibrant than the photo above indicates. I loved that everyone was taking photos, and the whole exhibit was like that, people taking pictures, putting themselves into the art, wanting to make something of their own to take away. The entire exhibit felt like a catalyst, and that's a gorgeous thing for a piece of art to be.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My Stubborn Heart

I don't think of myself as much of a Death Cab for Cutie fan. I put one album on my ipod, and slowly, song after song, I've deleted most of it to make way for new music I wanted more. There's this one song though, Brothers On A Hotel Bed, that has been tenacious. It's been like a metronome on my walks to work, my ipod loves to play it, and it's one of those songs that sort of lilts along like the light rain that I so often get on those walks.

Everything was changing Friday, when that song came on, and I knew it would stay with me as one of those memory triggers that brings back a time with heart-stopping suddenness. Seattle Center was being transformed into the scene of Folklife, with all the food vendors, hemp bracelets, big dumpsters labeled "Landfill bound trash only". It was drizzly and that seemed appropriate for my last walk to what is now my Old Job. So many of my walks were in the rain, feet wet all day, hair transformed into a mess of tweaks and odd half-curls. I loved those walks, I know you know that. I'm going to miss them, like a nice friend who moves away, like Regan, or Kristin, leaving you feeling just a little less yourself.

The new job is good, though. Much better than good, in fact. There are a lot of things I don't write about here, and work has mostly been one of them. I expect it will continue to be. Suffice it to say that the new job is one I have already begun to fall in love with, in that deeply promising way, the way of something you want to stick with, sink into, give yourself over to. The only compromise is the walks, and we'll get through that. The classics on CD for the drive, maybe? Something.

I realize that the melancholy is nakedly apparent in this post, but last week, it wasn't that way. I had a happy week, little celebrations, out for drinks, some good weather, everything wrapping up fairly neatly. The sadness about leaving so much behind, the co-workers I liked so much, and the little routines, like the new coffee shop, my little walk accessories, ipod, umbrellas, gloves, the happy orange scarf Pam brought me from Istanbul, that snuck up on me. It wasn't until last night, late, that it all came out.

It was funny, really, how this one happened. A friend and I were horsing around, and when he grabbed me, I got a blow on the head. Not a big one, just a little knock. But all at once, I was crying. Just weeping in his arms, head buried in his shoulder, make-up smearing little sobs. I guess I needed that. Hey, talk to me, he said, and when I wouldn't at first, Why do you try to be so tough all the time? I can be a pretty big whimp, really, but this time he was right, so we talked a little, about that, and other sad things, and I felt better and did not go into a coma.


The good news is, I'm off to NYC now, swanky hotel and crazy Icelandic exhibit at MoMA first, and then, the boys. I can't wait to meet them.

But that's a whole other kind of crying. One I'm sure you'll be hearing about soon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I have to say, I am disappointed*

When I heard that Angelina was pregnant with twins I though 'woohoo! Do it up girl!'

I thought she would style it out. And I was wrong.

She has gone the muumuu route.

I am so disappointed. Even I said no to the muumuu.

* I almost always misspell disappointed. Ugh!

Two Walks, One Post

Even when the weather is bad, my walk to work is good. The rhododendrons just clusters of color, japanese maples dripping in the steady rain, a robin sitting on top of a light pole. In the coffee shop where I am still a stranger, there was a girl crying. That silent kind of crying, just wiping tears from beneath her eyes, pressing her lips together, little tremor in the chin. The woman with her was saying "You know you're his favorite." and something about the whole scene made you think it was going to be okay.

Or maybe that's just what I wanted to think. It is my tendency to steer my thoughts that way, to pay more attention to the Irish Setter puppy biting the leash as his owner ran through rain, the dog's every step a wag. The guy who is living out of his car was the only one parked on that little street I walk through this morning, and what I thought of was how when I saw him the other day, he was talking to a cop who was giving him advice on where he could park without getting into trouble. At Seattle Center, they were unloading pallets of chairs, setting up tents andbuilding particle board boxes to protect the smaller trees from the crowds for Folklife. On the corner near the statue of Chief Sealth there was a girl in a trench coat all speckled with gutter water, so thoroughly that from across the street it looked like the coat was leopard print. There is always something to see.

At Dillon Beach this weekend, we walked in silence for a long time. A lot of fun had been had, summer dresses worn, fruity cocktails consumed, spiced cauliflower with capers nibbled, everything you would expect. We had talked about everything under the sun, and some things that aren't. I don't know what Tami and Pam were thinking about. Taylor and Fenton were thinking about birds, and surf, and the next dog up ahead. I was thinking about writing, and silence and photos, and about how my life without Pam would have included a lot less beach walks.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Just a few shots from the weekend. Back later with actual words!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekend Sunshine

From last weekend's trip to the Skagit Valley. Hope you all get to enjoy some summer sun this weekend!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Little Help From My Friends

Photo not picked for Hugo House profile

I'll admit, I'm having a hard time asking people for money this week. Between Myanmar and the earthquake in China, it feels a bit like the world is in need in more ways than we can imagine, though I know that the truth is that this week is no different than any other in that respect.

I am going to ask for money anyway, for Write-O-Rama, the Hugo House fundraiser that is taking place now. There are a lot of reasons I still feel good about asking, some of which you can view if you go here and view my profile on their Write-O-Rama laureates page. But I want to also tell you why I'm still asking this week, even with the earthquake, even with Myanmar.

There's something that Gloria Steinem says a lot - "Do what you can uniquely do." It's a phrase that has stuck with me over the years, and has informed a lot of my decisions about where to spend my energy. I think my love for Hugo House makes it one of those places where I am doing something that I can uniquely do, and so I will stick to it as the work I do to make the world better, whatever else is going on.

The other thing is - I don't want to live in a world where art is a luxury. Here in Seattle, we live with the threat of earthquake, and I don't find it difficult to imagine us suffering loss in that particular way. If we did, writing would not be one of those things "put in perspective" i.e. made less important, for me by that kind of event. The writing would be only more important, I think. I know I would turn to it, and it would be there.

So, I'd love it if some of my readers here would consider making a pledge to me for Write-O-Rama. Little pledges are fine, I'd like to raise at least $200 this time around, and we can do that in a flash, can't we?

If you'd like to pledge, go HERE.

Thank you!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Pretty Much What You'd Expect

Mom's always been a big solitaire player. I think it goes with that philosophy she has - "Only boring people are ever bored." There's something old-fashioned and appealing about it when there are actual cards involved, but she's willing to play on a computer too - back in the days before the internet, I remember her calling me and telling me she stayed up too late playing solitaire on her PC.

It's easy to keep her up too late, actually. I went up to LaConnor to see her for Mother's Day and brought a bunch of DVDs and some flowering tea for her, and that was enough to deprive her of sleep this time. Yeah, I brought laundry too. 36 and still not over that. Here's what I tell myself though, and what I'll tell you if you laugh at me for it - she likes it. That's right, makes her feel like a real mom. Plus she's proud of the addition on her house, with all the light and the pale wood, and the big bathtub, and that's where the washer and dryer live.

The way I know I'm grown up? She doesn't monitor my use of the washer and dryer, even though they are new fancy machines, treasured by her. She goes downstairs to make us a big bowl of buttered popcorn for dinner and I head up with my load of darks (that hasn't changed) and get things going. After the popcorn we eat ice cream. That's dinner. You know I love that.

Anyway, keeping her up late... We watched To The Lighthouse first, which was Seriously. Boring. Even before I knitted up all my yarn and had to sit there with my hands in my lap, doing nothing. Of course, I also brought the third and, tragically, final season of Veronica Mars, and that was the method I used to keep mom up well past midnight. "It's the lines!" she said "They have such great lines!"

Keeping people up past midnight was my mission this weekend, I kept Susan up past midnight on Friday, though that involved making sure the first drink was supremely tasty, then following up with 20-somethings from Issaquah who turned her on to Red Bull and vodka. But that's a whole other story. And it goes on the secret blog.

Anyway, that's what up with the Original Mom this Mother's Day. She's the same as always - just as happy to watch the CW as she is to watch Masterpiece Theater, generous with the butter, and a little too in love with the world to go to bed on time.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Because the camera is RIP...

I am not currently able to document the scrumptiousness of the boys... but my friend Donna can! Check out her flickr site for super cute photos of the screaming sucking nightweasels... oh! Is that one of them crying now?


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Guest Blogger Susan Tells You How It Was. Kind-Of.

It always starts with a call. Or, more specifically a text message. "Portland"?

Who can resist? A crazy room at the Ace with old dictionary pages as wallpaper, old school glass bottles of Coke in the make-shift mini-bar, and water-up-to-my-chin bathtub.

MUCH car dancing, shopping, Stumptown coffee consuming, Powells wandering, eyelash fluttering and pastry eating.

And after 10pm? Those who know us well would know where to find us. Heather might be dancing her butt off at a club. And me, I couldn't let that awesome tub go to waste, could I? But I am neither confirming or denying these rumors. Those who know us can figure it out on their own.

Anyone who knows us knows it's been like that since the 6th grade.

It's how we roll.

- S.R, 05.07.08

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Two Months of Well Babies!

Max and Thomas comforting each other at the doctor's office

Well I'm a little late in observing it, but the boys are two months old now.

We had their well-baby check up and both of them are doing great! Thomas weighs 10lbs 15 oz and is in the 28th percentile and Max weighs 10lbs 2oz and is in the 18th percentile. They both have excellent social smiles and great eye contact.

Go boys!

It seems like every day I notice some new funny thing about them, or they do some new little trick. Thomas grabbed his own feet and laughed! Max touched his peepee while I was changing his diaper!

Earth shattering stuff, really...

I have a month until I go back to work and it is just unfathomable that I won't have this time with them. We've started interviewing caregivers and it just breaks my heart a bit. Every charming smile, every giggle, every quizzical look and milestone that someone else will get from them every day, while I am off designing logos with leaves and classy gold foils.

I guess it goes without saying that, despite the fact that I can't envision ever having eight consecutive hours of sleep again... I heart them more each day.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

RIP, Beloved Camera

The last thing our camera did was take this video of Max

Our camera has died. I think that last post must have been too much for it.

I Drink Tea At Three

There are times when it's hard to get dressed, and times when it's not. One of the times when it's not hard to get dressed is right after you've seen the Stones movie, Shine A Light. This is especially true if you have a record player in your bedroom, and a copy of, among other things, Tattoo You. If you happen to also have a copy of Exile On Main Street, then you will probably find several dozen things in your closet that you want to wear, but why the hell would you want to leave the house?

Chris Letcher bought me my first copy of Exile On Main Street. It was a birthday present, and I remember he handed it over to me very ceremoniously, in the kitchen, twitching the way he did, playing with the piercing in his tongue and adjusting his belt. He was working at that record store in Santa Fe then, the one that I was always a little bit scared to go into, Candyman. Must have been, what, my 22nd birthday? I think that's right. When I lived with three men named Chris, the year we saw Jon Spencer Blues Explosion somewhere in Santa Fe, and a lot of other stuff happened that I can't talk about on a blog my father reads. Later that school year Kurt Cobain killed himself and we talked a lot about Frances Bean. Letch was in love with someone who couldn't make up her mind about whether she loved him back and Jesse was so young that it was impossible to really imagine him having sex. That would all change later.

Towards the end of our time there, Sean moved in and he and I spent the evening parts of the summer driving around in his station wagon, trying to get lost on purpose. I spent most of the earlier parts of the day up at the college, working on donor databases or at the college art gallery, hanging out with the painter who had a show that it seemed to take us weeks to hang. Big black and silver canvases, something to do with a zen version of purgatory. I thought they were beautiful and wanted one, the one with the big shape that looked like it might be the dream of a tree. Hard to tell. He told me he thought I would be a strong yogi, but he was wrong.

The Stones song that reminds me of moving to New York at the end of that summer is Monkey Man. They played that at Green Door, along with Iggy Pop and other things I've probably talked about here. I wore my vinyl pants from Daryl K and you and I danced on stage, Allison, and there was that guy we called Baby Elvis, and when Halloween came around things got too crowded and we had to push the NYU boys dressed up as fishermen off us, off the stage and go downstairs and drink with Johnny and Coco instead. Coco looked me in the eyes one night and said "You have a problem with commitment, don't you?" and he was right.

The first time I moved to New York, it was Let It Bleed, every song, on the jukebox where I bartended, reminding me nightly how perfect an album it was. That was when Ron Walker used to tell me I had a Roman profile, and chide me for wearing colors too drab for how bright I was inside. At my day job, I was writing long letters to the Chris I moved to Santa Fe with, and he wrote back using just as many words, written with fountain pen and sealed up and mailed in the envelopes that the strings from his bass came in. I loved him, and he loved me back.

Hang on, I gotta go turn the record over.


My point is just this, about the Stones. There is more of this, there are more of these stories. Like Candice freshman year, wearing my riding boots with her black mini-skirt and blonde bob, dancing to Sympathy for the Devil in the cafeteria, all the lights out except for the few that were covered in colored gels, shining down from the balcony. Or a whole van of us singing Beast of Burden while we drove through Utah, just before the skinny dipping incident. Later there was the guy in Portland, on stage at Berbati's Pan, right Kristin? I swear he wore a cape. Tattoo You started as far back as 5th grade, with that kid named Joel who wore glasses and said that his favorite color was purple. We stood on chairs in the music portable and then jumped off of them when the first notes of Start Me Up came on. It's hard to believe this might be true, but I swear Joel wore black jeans and converse. I might be imagining that, but surely he must have later, in any case.

It goes on. Every time you think you're done, there's one more story. Like how Keith in the movie tonight reminded me of this, let's say, boyfriend I used to have, who would take the lit cigarette he had crammed under the strings on the neck of his guitar and flick it at the head of his drummer any time he would get going too fast. He liked a nice slow tempo, and was the same guy who smoked in the shower most mornings. Keith wasn't flicking his cigarettes at anyone in Shine a Light, but you have to admit the way he spit one across the stage so that it exploded in a shower of ash - that was spectacular in its way. Especially in Imax.

Tonight in the middle of the movie, Jessica, who has the youngest skin you or I have ever seen on anyone over the age of six, leaned over to me and said "I just love the way they've aged. I wanna age like that. There's so much character in the lines of their faces." I had been thinking something like that, something about how much I love the fact that Mick still runs down the stage like he has got someone to chase, somewhere to be, or how he makes his body like this human tambourine, shaking every last part of himself. I was thinking, also, Mick Jagger does not (sorry dad) give a Fuck. In the most passionate, self-fulfilling, unapologetic way, he just does not give a fuck how old he is. At the end of the movie, Jessica said "That was yummy." Yes. The way things that leave you both hungry for more and happy for what you've already had always are.

And that's the story of how Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and my personal favorite, Charlie Watts, cured me. Whatever was ailing me, it's cured. Cause it's been good here so far, and I'm nowhere near close to done yet.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Someone New is Making My Latte

This guy, or someone like him

When I asked her if there was anything else we needed to talk about/plan for our weekend away this weekend, Susan had three questions for me:

What's our theme?
What's our goal?
What are you wearing?
What would you like to do Sat. night?

I'm kinda into these questions. Not that I have answers for them, I'm just into them. Susan's made the road trip CD, I've got the dried mango and pumpkin seeds. We're ready. I do have a few goals, among them: photos of strangers, at least three divine meals, a trip to Powell's and lattes from Stumptown. Anyone want to add anything to that?

Once again, we're going here, the place where I go when I want to get away and feel at home all at the same time. Scratch Goal Number 2 off my list of things for my 37th year.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

This post is only an excuse for me to post pictures of the babies

All wiped out after the photo shoot. Breast feeding takes a lot of energy, yo!

Well, we had our photo shoot for Baby Talk Magazine - look for topless photos of me breast feeding this August! I think that the photos were considerably more discrete than that description indicates... but you get the idea.

Aside from all these photo shoots, you may wonder what a person can do all day with eight-week old twins. And the answer is...

Not a whole lot.

But I try to make the most of the limited things that we can do. For instance, we walk up to Fort Tryon Park quite a lot, where they have both a 'Heather Garden' and 'Allison's Walk'. Of course I think of you!

It's me! With the boys! Walking my walk!

In the interest of developing the twin's future literacy, we are currently reading The Hungry Caterpillar. Every day. Sometimes twice. It is the only book, so far, that I could get them to focus on, and they actually seem to enjoy it.

I have also introduced them to a couple of little toys, which will hopefully be their little buddies. Max got the dragon who makes a silly growling noise and Thomas got a bird who tweets. They don't pay much attention to their buddies yet, but I figure with enough of me waving them in front of their faces, they'll eventually notice them.

Tweet!Tweet! Yes, I am a bad Mummy and Thomas scratched his face.


But, really, most of the day is spent pooping (the boys are very vocal poopers), passing gas (ditto), snoozing and eating. And growing. They seem to be doing a lot of growing.

Thomas is probably napping and pooping at the same time, he's talented like that

Oh, and I kiss them. A lot. All over their faces. Because I am their mom and I can. And, more importantly, they can't tell me to stop yet.

Honestly, could you resist kissing that Max's face?
One word. Yum.
He has breath that smells like peaches.