Saturday, May 17, 2003

Children are growing up and graduating and making plans, and I'm still picturing them as small, young, and collecting Beanie Babies or wearing Mary Janes. We received two letters in the mail this week that prove that though I am not aging, or really even maturing for that matter, our cousins are most decidedly heading out in to the world.

First we opened a letter from Ashley, she was our sweet little flower girl not so long ago, and it seems she has enrolled in a program that will send her to Albania. She is working with her church to go to the home of missionaries, and once there she will be teaching English and helping the missionary family with home repairs and other projects. Zounds! She is yet another child that proves home schooling can be very effective.

From Tennessee we opened a graduation announcement from our cousin Jess. Enclosed is a beautiful picture of her, and she looks very little like the girl I remember doing water balloon tosses on Grandma's front lawn. Last Summer family met in Salt Lake City to see her compete in a national volley ball tournament; her team was competing for the second year, and they took home silver medals. Her success in school and especially volley ball means a choice of top schools and scholarships for college.

Even when I am a close up witness, children's growth and development can still seem so accelerated. Max and Nicholas rattle off complete sentences, though they are the "babies" around here. Now the actual babies are the ones from the two Gabe cousins, in Wisconsin and Colorado. My own first born towers over me, my Alex cutie reminds me daily about the count down to his 9th birthday, and the things Max thinks to say are a constant reminder that he is on the fast track.

Meanwhile I am as young and hip as ever. I still listen to the cool music; B-52's, Talking Heads, Oingo Boingo, and I can kick butt at "Star Wars" Trivial Pursuit, my roller skates are in great shape, and I am even considering learning to play "Discs of Tron." Totally with it. Totally.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Those Beautiful/Painful Red Shoes

There are some things we hear and repeat, and come to believe, like "early to bed, early to rise etc..." and "beauty hurts..." and that shoes can be "broken in." But what I have learned is that shoes seldom ever get broken in; it is my feet that get broken in, and blistered, and tender and squooshed and abused. These days I indulge my feet with shoes that comfort and sustain. My boots do nicely, so do my garden clogs and even the little black mules, that I wear on dressy occasions, are comfortable.

Admittedly, those sexy, red strappy little things we wore for the wedding were hot. Boots would have clashed, fuzzy slippers would have been offensive, purple clogs were a tad too practical. But thank God we agreed to a 3rd quarter, end of the formalities back up shoe for dancing and mingling! We all agreed that we would be far more able to enjoy the reception in something as snazzy, but far less tilted, and it was Melisa that ran the successful mission of mercy to Payless Shoes.

Relief, and style. It was too late to
save my feet from blisters,
but I was still grateful for the switch!

And why should the bride suffer? Fortunately, Alison had her plan worked out from the beginning. By the time dancing and partying was in full swing we rushed to the dance floor with her white, sequined thongs. With a little assistance she was ready to go!

"Beauty hurts?" Forget about it!

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Where is my editor? Sometimes saying it "all" can be very revealing; too much so. I think writing can be hazardous as much for what is said as for what is left out. And after what I wrote yesterday I am feeling a little naked, apologetic, and like I've got some 'xplaining to do. Maybe saying more would only be like shoving my foot deeper in to my mouth...

My sad and sentimental emotions will be "bearable," but I think I do have a lot to sort out on the subject. I am not with my Mom and brothers too often, and being all together in such special circumstances was very touching; I didn't realize how much I miss our times together. And just to be clear, I must add that the new relationships and memories that are being forged in my own personal family are as dear and meaningful to me as the ones from my youth. I hope to maintain a balance between honoring the present as well keeping a connection with my past.

I am home. My home is where my children are, where my husband comes to play and rest, where our pictures hang on the walls, where we open our door to family and friends. My home is wherever we are safe together, whether we are traveling or planting seeds. And still my emotions can get the best of me, and I feel a certain aching...extrano mi familia, la gente familiar de mi juventud, y deseo regresar o mantener halgo del pasado y pasarlo al futuro.

Soy muy platicona...I could go on and on, but I think I may be just avoiding the dirty clothes that are beginning to crawl out across the hall from the laundry room. And Geoff keeps calling me with things to add to my new list of really important things to do...

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

We Are Home

And the chicas, grandparents, cats and rabbits are well. And the flowers are still blooming and everything is pretty much the same, except that now I have

a new sister and my brother is a husband, and my heart is quite a bit fuller.

We may be in our house, but emotions have me pondering, and I wonder whether this really is our home. I feel homesick for what used to be...for the dinners with my mother and brothers, for the days together and the laughter, and just knowing someone who knows me, and has known me for a very long time, is only a short ride away. I don't want the connection I share with my family to fade or slip away, because of the miles we spend apart. And this wedding is a powerful reminder that new ties are being made and there is new hope of family and babies and growth and I do not want to be a stranger to these events. I cannot be certain that the sad and sentimental way I feel is bearable.

Once again the burden of blessings has me confused and torn; torn between many choices and opportunities, and longing for a way to have it all. We are drawn to Hawaii, the ocean view and scent of guavas, the gentle pace. We have made a beautiful home here, where we have family and many friends, and the familiarity of a region we have enjoyed for many years. And when I think of my brother and his new wife,

and my Mom living way up north, I feel compelled to find a place on the Central Coast, so that I can maintain the connections to those people that I treasure. It's no use to think of flights and rode trips, because it's just not the same. What longing and sorrow for immigrants and pioneers; leaving their past far behind, setting forth in to the unknown.

My sentimental mood owes everything to a beautiful wedding. The ceremony was thoroughly moving and meaningful.

I watched my brother's eyes brim with tears at the sight of his bride as she came toward him holding her father's hand.

Father Patrick talked about children and love and friendship, and his words were true, sincere and affirming.

The joy was palpable.

The reception was every bit the party and celebration that happy and loving families could hope for.

We danced and

ate well, we toasted love that is born of pure trust and grows to embrace the best of life.

We made new friends

and rediscovered the happiness

and blessings of a marriage of families.

Congratulations to Bill and Alison...may all your plans and dreams be as
successful and lovely as your wedding day!

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Wedding Shower

Blogging live from the Alison and Bill wedding weekend! My husband casually informs he has brought all necessary tools, so I can write all about it. Naturally I want to document everything, but we have been too busy having a whole lotta fun, and I should be preparing for even more activity ahead. This is the actual wedding day, so there is much to do. And so far there has been a dinner out, the rehearsal, golfing for the guys and Amy the "down to Earth" drinking cart driver, a shower, and a visit to the Mystery Spot for William, Alex, Max and cousins Jared and James, Grandpa Smiley, Tio Elias, and dads Spencer and Geoff (wish I had pictures of this!)

And last night was an absolutely amazing rehearsal dinner in the home of Alison's aunt and uncle, Annette and Richard. Amazing and beautiful and generous are a small sample of adjectives that begin to describe the gathering. My brother has found himself a wonderful family, and last night we were made to feel as welcome as family. Their home and cooking, and the presentation and the half dozen aunts, uncles and cousins working away in the kitchen and at the grill were a sight to behold. Dinner was delicious...salmon, pasta, grilled beef, and tasty morsels with artichokes and cheese, a salad with almonds and cranberries, and more and more, and everything so beautifully served. I won't talk about how delicious dessert was. It would be cruel to describe the rich chocolate, the creamy and cool coffee ice cream... Laughter, love and celebration. Life is good.

I have taken many's what I do. This computer and software is a whole new ball of wax for me, so pictures will be forthcoming, except for this one image I was able to somehow "magic" in to the right format. This was taken at the wedding shower Mom and I cohosted in our hotel suite. It was fun getting to know some of Alison's friends and family and hearing a little about how we all met, and know the bride and groom. Let me introduce some of us:

Back row: Elisa is seated, then Junie, Tia Blanca, my sister Cristina, behind her is Sarah, in front of her is my Aunt Elizabeth, then Aunt Becky and cousins Julie, Deborah and Becky, Laura is holding baby McKenna, then Paola is on the end.
On the sofa: Grandma Tita, Alison the bride and her Mom Terry, my Mommy Delia, my sister in law Gretchen.
Front row: The bridesmaids! Maid of honor Melisa, me, Jill and Alison's sister Tracy.