Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Reflections... An Update With Lots of Images

Here is Sophie, at Cam-Rock 3. We were sledding there. Can you see William? Can you see me? I can take hundreds of pictures and still only have a few favorites. This is one of my favorites.

We rented a car in So Cal. We drove along the coast, stopping when we pleased. Seeing the world from completely unexpected vantage points. Relishing our time together as a family. This is my limited, impromptu, and random photo album from California to Wisconsin.

Our first taste of cold weather came in San Luis Obispo, which was good, because we were packed for Winter, and we were packed in the rental van. It's like there are 6! of us. Sometimes I like blinky photographs... that moment when our smiles overcome our faces and we close our eyes. Joy unedited. Pizza Port, Morro Bay, California.

Did I mention my Mommy met me at the laundromat in Capitola? She and Bill brought me hot chai. I love Monterey Bay, including Aptos, Soquel, Capitola, Santa Cruz. Can you believe we didn't stop at Gayles, the best bakery ever? Next time. I will always return to the Central Coast. I will always love California.

The 19th floor of The Hotel Nikko, San Francisco. Maria discovers her inner Urban Woman. Video to follow, soon. It's one of those home movies that makes us roll around laughing, because we know our daughter, sister... and she busts us up.

Yes, my camera is around my neck all day long, and I constantly see shapes, colors, art, trash, faces and moments that I want to possess. Click! And sometimes it's just a cliche. Lombard Street. Coit Tower. The Bay Bridge. The Bay. For me it's a window, back to a morning, riding in a car, seeing a city, eating a freakishly delicious onion bagel with cucumbers, sprouts, and cream cheese.

China Town is so cool. I love that we walked all over the place, that we were out of place. China Town is its own. We were welcome to walk through, but we did not belong. I saw a sign for "Exotic Birds" and I could not resist. Oh man. There were quail and chickens in there. Chickens! Live ones. So I am standing there and just loving this scene in the middle of cosmopolitan San Francisco, and I get it. These are dinner birds, not pets. But the two guys are not getting me, standing there with my bemused grin, thinking of taking a picture. "I like chickens," I offer, and they stare at me, not amused. Awkward. Hilarious. Geoff said they probably thought I was from PETA.

What can I add?

Four hours and a night of sleep later, we are in the snow! Flying is weird. I think it is miraculous to be in one place and in less time than it takes to make good bread, you can be in another part of the world, in another climate, another season. How many different places could you be if you flew for 4-6 hours? Where would you go? We chose Chicago, Madison, Oshkosh. We chose more time with family. Time to embrace family and reconnect. It was a continuation of our Aloha 'Oe to Jim "Corm."

Our lives can get so complicated, so full. And we feel fortunate that we could set aside this time to share, to listen and to appreciate the people we love.

Geoff and I have our memories and connections to Wisconsin, to family and places, and it is a treat watching our children form their own bonds, make their own connections. When Maria and Jordan are together, playing, talking, we can hardly tell their voices apart. It's funny.

Grandma? Are you reading? Brave is the woman, the Great-Grandmother, who agrees to learn how to use email, to log-on and surf the web. Geoff and William salvaged computers and made a surf worthy laptop for Grandma. Now she can stay in the loop with all of us. Everyone must encourage Nancy not to panic when she gets email. Relax Grandma. You're doing great. She and I even shopped for fabric online!

Have you played "Apples to Apples?" Fun. Seriously simple and fun. It was a game on Max's Christmas list and we have been enjoying it a lot. We were stoked to see Sophie bringing over her game and we had a hilarious and rousing game of "Apples to Apples." If you can find the ridiculous in life, if you can laugh, you will find there are no losers in this game. Who played... Laura and Nancy, William, Alex, Max, Sophie, Gary, Geoff and me. I love laughing.

For us, she's Aunt Carol, but Jordan and Griffy call her Grandma. I think she is having a marvelous time being a grandmother.

I met Matt Kenseth's grandmother at Nancy's quilting class. That's a NASCAR reference and anyone that googles "NASCAR" and comes to Chickenblog is going to be disappointed. I know nothing about NASCAR. I know more about Badgers. Grandma Nancy is a Badger fan from way back. And this has been a very good year for Badgers and men's basketball. Someone named Brett Favre kept making the news too.

OKay. It's after 1 p.m. and so it's after 3 p.m. in Chicago. I thought I could post more pictures, but I am whooped and falling further and further behind. Look for Part II tomorrow. PST.


nikkipolani said...

Natalie, I love these family travel posts. Your narrative makes me feel like I'm part of your family, reliving our days together. Will you adopt me?

Mama Spark said...

My girls seriously LOVE Apples to Apples! Have you tried Set? I bet your family will love it. My oldest DD just adores that game.

Tarie said...

Ooohhh, what's "Apples to Apples"? *intrigued*

Nancy seems like such a COOL great grandmother!

... I'm jealous of Maria and Jordan playing with markers! LOL :oD

Tarie said...

P.S. The Ugly Mug sounds GREAT! Hahahaha!