Monday, June 04, 2007


An internetty friend over at China Calling suggested we post a Google Earth image of where we live. Cool idea! I love Google Earth and we've had some fun playing around with it in the past. So I thought, hey, I'll post satellite images of our Irish home, our Portland home, our property on the eastern flank of the Cascades, and the City in China where Thor lives.

The interesting thing was know how when you type your location into Google Earth and the image "flies" from one place to the next? Well, as I flew over vast stretches of land and giant oceans to get to each place I started feeling knots in my stomach. Anxiety. Almost a cold sweat. I started to feel, well, a little spread out. I felt an overwhelming need to pack up shop, go grab Thor, return to our nest and never leave. Ever. I suddenly needed all of these things that I love to be very very close to me.

And then I looked at the scale of things. Look at our Ireland home at 7,500 ft (obviously not a lot of demand for high res satellite imagery to, say, count sheep). We are one of the little brown dots near the top of the screen. Let's just say it'd take a while to walk down to the store to pick up a loaf o' brown bread. Yet, look at our Portland home at 3,500 ft. Ack! Houses upon houses upon streets upon freeways upon Plaid Pantrys. Then compare this to where Thor lives in China, viewed from 35,000 ft. Even at this elevation it's poor resolution because, well, because it's China. Gazing at that image I can almost hear the noises, the shouting, I can almost smell the warm, dank, choking air. At our cabin you can hear the wind touching the leaves. It's amazing to me how different these places are.

I suppose, though, that when you bring it back down to a human-scale, it's all about home. Floyd and I have "homes" in several places (does that sound pretentious or what?) and we've been traveling so much over the last couple of years that we joke about the concept of home. Where is home? We've taken to saying, "Home is where the Jezebel is" (Jezebel being our cat). Now that we've added Thor to the mix, I'm thinking that home is wherever she is. So here are some pictures of our "homes" on a more human scale. Thor's home? Well we don't really know what it looks like, but this image is certainly closer to the truth than any of those other doorways.

So it looks like I won't really feel at home until we've got Thor and Jezebel taking naps under the same roof (sigh....).

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Barcelona - Girona

We went to Spain with Floyd's folks several weeks ago and we had a wonderful time. I want to post about the trip because going through the photos and writing about our experiences, the process of blogging essentially, is a great way of remembering all of these places that we've been traveling to. It's sort of like a weird public scrapbook. So, until I get it together enough to make a real, flippin' through the pages kind of scrapbook of our travels (i.e., never), this is important. But the Spain trip was BT (Before Thor) and, obviously, a lot has happened since then and I'm having a hard time remembering what the hell we did. My head is full of other stuff. So, this time we're doing away with the whole "Top Five Fave" thing (did I just hear somebody mutter "praise the heavens"?) and we're just going to look at some pictures.

You may notice a bit of a theme...

First, we had to light a candle for the restoration of our home in the Chapel of the Holy Mother of Happiness at the cathedral La Seu. The candle we lit is the one on the second level, to the right. I know...of all the things to light a candle for. We are selfish indeed.

In the courtyard at La Seu.

Gaudi's House and Museum at Parc Guell.

I go cuckoo for beautiful tiles and Gaudi's home had some that I just wanted to snatch. It didn't help that we were planning the tile for the restoration back home. Hmm....Now if that guard would just look the other way....

Coveting this chair that I believe Gaudi designed. No, I did not sit in it. This is a chair that you don't need to sit in to appreciate.

More Parc Guell. Refined yet organic.

The Hall of Columns at Parc Guell. And, if I'm cuckoo for gorgeous tiles, then I'm flippin' whacko for mosaics.

Sagrada Familia...under construction. I loved the light in here.

Gaudi designed the columns to resemble tree trunks and limbs. It was like a forest cathedral. And see that scaffolding? Yea. Almost as impressive as the structure itself.

Sagrada Familia exterior. There's a lot going on here. Fantastical.

El pulpo at La Boqueria

...and his cousin on my plate.

Girona riverfront.

The Banys Arab (Arab Baths) in Girona, designed by Moorish craftsmen around the 13th century.

This is along the walls of the old city (Girona). I liked how the limbs framed the window, which was also framed by the ivy, which then framed the greenery beyond. Kinda dorky...I know.

Girona street.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

I hope she plays the drums.

This may be hard for some of you to believe...but I think there are some people out there who don’t think of me as a Mom.

I know, I know. I can hear you all saying,


“Say it isn’t so!”

“Get outta town...and take your tent!”

I know it sounds preposterous (I say calmly as I wipe my hands on my floral-print apron), but I’m sure that’s what some are thinking. And I don’t blame them.

If we just step back to, like, the dawn of time. I was a Type-A workaholic and my participation in my few outside interests was basically dictated by how I felt after going out on the piss with my peeps on weekend nights. I rocked at my job, I dated drummers and I got tattoos.

And then I met I didn’t date drummers anymore.

As I’m writing this I’m finding myself wanting to make the argument of WHY people might find it hard to see me as a mother and HOW I’ve evolved and WHY I will be an amazing mother. But I think those topics are superfluous to what’s really eating me right now. I think I’m most interested in people’s expectations of what a mother SHOULD look like, SHOULD act like, and how a mother SHOULD behave.

Now, in all fairness, it’s 7am on Saturday AM and I’m not prone to having great, deep thoughts at this hour (nor at any hour for that matter) I’m just throwing this stuff out there, because I need to process.

I think that many people of my generation might view their own mothers as non-traditional. I think the 60’s may have been the first time that women had run shrieking from the June Cleaver model of motherhood en masse. My Mom was one of those women. While she was a very young mother in the late 60s I think she was relatively conservative, but still quite non-traditional. She focused on her career, she dated (no drummers that I know of) and I don’t think I ever saw her bake. Our family time was ordering pizza on Friday nights and watching Barney Miller (or Sunday night’s Dance Fever with Deney Terrio). Not very traditional, but good. And I wonder what sorts of opinions she had to face regarding her parenting methods and I think about what opinions ALL mothers (and mothers-to-be) have to deal with.

It seems that one of the really cool things about being a Mom now is that we have, comparatively, many different role models for motherhood in the media. Being a great mom is really “in” right now. There are loads of images and stories about non-traditional mothers raising their conspicuous families in pretty non-traditional ways. It’s awesome really. Yet, while it may not be surprising to see a woman with pink hair, a sleeve of tats on one arm and a baby in the other in my neighborhood (back in Portland), I wonder what sorts of opinions get flung her way when she travels outside of our ‘hood, to the Safeway store in the suburbs. Opinions o-plenty to be sure, because, despite the recent media, she doesn’t look like what most people think of as “motherly”.

I look in the mirror every day now and I think, “do I look like a mother?” Seriously. And not just, “do I look like a mother?” but “do I look like a GOOD mother?” Ugh. I embrace the lady with the pink hair and the tattoos as a perfectly appropriate vision of motherhood. So where are these thoughts coming from? Deep within my psyche I suppose. They’re there. They’re inside all of us that have been raised in the western world. We all have this image of Mom, Mum, Mummy, Ma, Mother, whatever, and she probably doesn’t have a septum piercing. Whether we believe in this image of motherhood or not doesn’t really matter. It’s primal and we are affected by it.

It’s been just over two weeks now that I’ve been thinking of myself as a mom and, fortunately, I feel pretty darn comfortable in that role. I think it’s because motherhood is coming to me later in life. This means, to me, that I’ve had a lot of time to indulge myself and now I’m ready to honor and indulge somebody else. It does not mean, however, that I am ready to give up who I am. I think there are still many messages out there that conspire to encourage women to believe that we aren’t truly “good” until we’ve completely given up our own personal interests and sacrificed ourselves on the altar of the Baby God. I realize that how we define ourselves essentially changes when we have children, but I don’t think that needs to entail turning our backs on pieces of ourselves that may not serve to uphold our maternal image. While it may satisfy the grandparents or the neighbors, I don’t think it serves the mother or the father (or the husband) or the child very well. Just like we deserve the “whole” woman, so do the people we love.

So, essentially, if this jammin’-Mammy wants to put on her biker jacket, sport her tats, and go see an “X” concert, you can bet your britches it’s gonna happen (after the essential attachment and transition period of course)…and, come to think of it, Thor’s gonna get a drum kit for her birthday.

Like mother, like daughter...and proud of it.

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