Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Alex and Max put themselves in charge of putting away the Christmas decorations. They dismantled the 4' artificial tree we put up in place of our dead tree. They threw away the 20 or more candy canes we had clumped on the little tree, and they rolled up the 10 yards of tinsel garland. As they packed the last of the glass ornaments, Max said "Well, I guess we are undecking the halls of folly." Too true.

So, with Christmas packed away, I suppose the new year has really begun. It is a very wet new year. As Californians do, we had become accustomed to our drought. Any amount of rain can be disorienting for Southern Californians, but the quantities that have fallen thus far have local residents very confused indeed. The hotels and shopping malls built on flood plains and across river beds are once again flooding; this is a surprise that recurs about every 6 years. It is disconcerting how many people cross flood barriers to make short their commute. Why can't they see the risk is not worth the taking?

The mudslides, however, can be less predictable. We are somewhat less enamored of the sandstone bluffs behind and above our home. Silt is accumulating at the base of the bluff, and a steady stream of sandy, buff colored mud has been flowing from the neighbor's driveway and down the long street we share. We invested in sand bags for the front of the garage, and spent yesterday morning unpacking boxes and moving belongings from the west and south sides of the garage where there was considerable flooding. Flood site number two is in the downstairs room where we have toys, books and photo albums. The carpet is saturated and smelly in the corner. I discovered a gutter that gave way and separated from the downspout, which allowed water to accumulate and seep in to the house; Geoff repaired this.

The sun is shining this morning, and the clear sky was novel enough to make the boys remark, "Isn't it strange? Look at the sky. It's blue."

William has gone back to the drawing board. He had been focusing his artistic talent on Photoshop and 3D Studio, but recently he was inspired to return to paper and pencil. He and Alex enjoyed the programming classes they took during winter break. I want to to post some of the Flash work they finished too. Talented, beautiful, bright children, everywhere I look.

Mudslide update: The neighbors above us did lose bluff, about 8 cubic yards of it! It has taken about 5 men, and a Bobcat 3 days to clear the mess. This neighbor has lived here for 27 years and they say this is the worst erosion they've seen. They have a retaining wall, which is an advantage we do not enjoy. So, we are looking for a home not too close to the ocean, away from bluffs and steep hillsides, above sea level and away from 100 year flood plains...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Chair. It is not an old chair. It is a pitiful chair, with little to speak of for color or style, and less to speak of for support. "Loath" may be too harsh a word, because the chair is too sad to actually loath. A month ago a considerate friend asked whether I had a comfortable chair in which to sit (read: Live) while nursing the baby. Specifically, she asked, "Does it recline?" and I had to laugh, because I could picture the chair in the bedroom, and I thought: No, it does not recline. Rather it declines. It declines to be particularly comfortable without many well placed pillows and strategically rolled blankets. It declines to rock without making horrendous squeaks. It declines to swivel, because of space constraints and poor engineering. And overall it is in decline. The springs are nearly sprung, and the frame is sort of spreading, the base seems to be losing its integrity too. The seat cushion can't be blamed for its poor service, since the rest of the chair is so little inclined to do its part.

This inherited chair fits in the small space beneath the window, to the left of the crib and beside the bed. During the day I move it six inches back , so I can walk to the crib, and at night I pull it toward the bed so that I can extend my legs across the bed, while I feed the baby. Poor chair. It is not a good chair, and yet it fits. And it is in this chair that I sit with my daughter, nursing her, smelling her, tracing the curve of her cheek, down to her chins. The chair is where I will be tonight when Maria wakes up, and we will sit together beneath the outdoor Christmas lights that twinkle through the window. Her eyes shimmer, she grunts and stretches, she burps and sighs, she startles and delights me with the reality of her presence. I'll shift and the chair will make an awful metallic grind, and I'll pull a pillow up to support my back, and another for my neck. I most likely won't spend a day shopping for another chair that will fit and recline, rock quietly and leave me feeling relaxed and aligned. And I don't have a great insight to share about any of this; no poetic ending to make any of this worth reading. I'm going upstairs now. Goodnight.

Maria and mom, in their chair.

Monday, January 10, 2005

It is a shame that I can't send my thoughts across the airwaves, down the stairs and in to our computer. I sit in our bedroom chair at 10 p.m., and 12:34 a.m., and 3:27 a.m. and 7:17 a.m, nursing our Papaya, and blogging. In my head, I write beautiful accounts of how the rain sounds falling on our roof, of the wind in the rubber tree and of the thunder rolling like heavy surf crossing the night sky. But all my efforts remain in my brain. There is very little time for sitting here and writing. Even now, Alex is calling me, "Mom, I think Papaya is awake right now." So it's time to finish this little bit, and get upstairs, back to the bedroom chair. I'll try again, later, to sneak away and share all my deep thoughts and other musings. I've been meaning to write about how much I love this new baby, and how much I loath that chair...