Saturday, September 28, 2013

El Perro Dice, "Guau, Guau!"

My husband is pretty amazing when trying to recall the Spanish he learned in grade school. My favorite of the gems he unearthed for our honeymoon in Spain was, "El perro dice, 'Guau, guau!'" which translates as "The dog says, 'Woof, woof!'" 

That was way better than when Evan mimicked a fake french accent while at dinner with FRENCH people at a FRENCH refugio in FRANCE. I was driven under the table with embarrassment while Evan delighted in my distress.  

Happily, I fell in love with him all over again while driving back to Barcelona in our toy car (a rental we scored for $172) with my head in his lap as he sang along to the country song "Love Without End, Amen", tears rolling down his cheeks as he listened to the lyrics. 

Other highlights? 

The quality of the time we shared in Spain was unlike any other we had experienced together during our relationship. To have a month of time without obligations or responsibilities meant that each day could unfold according to its own logic. It was a revelation. 

We lived in a little stone cottage in the tiny village of Santa María de Buil, around halfway along the southwestern slope of the Pyrenees. We rented it for $650 from a lovely English couple-- both mountaineers, the wife is a dance choreographer and the husband works as a graphic designer, but was writing a book on baking bread. The house was a cross between a wooden ship and a mountain hut, chock full of bulk organic flours and earl grey teas that we were given free reign to enjoy. 

We picked rosemary from outside the front door, baked fresh bread and dipped it in olive oil. Walked through medieval towns perched on scenic hilltops. We looked at the stars through the window over our bed at night. We read. We drank wine from local vineyards.

We also went canyoneering and learned that the wet canyons of Spain require a different approach than those of the arid Southwest. 

Serendipitously, we ended up dropping Barranco Aigueta de Barbaruens with a guide and his clients-- a step up from our adventures with a Spanish language canyoneering book we'd bought in Barcelona upon arrival. Evan and the guide geeked out together about rope systems and, because of the guide's knowledge of the canyon, we took a much more fun and aggressive approach to the waterfalls and waterslides than we would have on our own.

We went on a two day jaunt through the Pyrenees as well, beginning in Parque Nacional Ordesa y Monte Perdido. Hiking hut to hut is a game changer when you've been earning your dollars hoofing it with everything on your back for so long. Nutella crepes at Refuge Bayssellance amidst stunning alpine scenery? Yes, and yes again.

We were lucky enough to see dear ones who are not usually so near on either end of our time in Aragon. Hovey and Abby rolled out the red carpet and we soaked up the cosmopolitan riches of Barcelona as well as their fabulous company-- ferris wheel rides overlooking the water, booze and a 360 degree view on the Hotel Raval's rooftop terrace, dinner at La Perla de Oro.

Una luna de miel inolvidable. Gracias, España.  

Sunday, September 1, 2013

We Got Married. For Real.

(click on the pic for more photos et all)


I didn't grow up expecting to get married, so I think there was a part of me that arrived at the moment having never truly pictured myself there. 


It's safe to say I have never felt such sustained and unadulterated joy before in my life.


I was surprised to loose all sense of the larger event and to only be able to focus on what was immediately in front of me. An overwhelming amount of stimuli meant letting go of an awareness of what was happening around me in order to be fully present with the person or people I was with. 


I treasure the unexpected gift of my Nanna's strong presence and loving support throughout this transition in my life. Ironically (since my grandmother passed away a handful of years ago), I have never felt closer to her than I did during the months leading up to our wedding. 


It was humbling to have our friends and relations rally together on our behalf-- showing up for, setting up, and taking down our entire wedding. We didn't even realize the scope of their efforts until after the whole thing was a wrap. Thousands of light bulbs later, we owe the Freeds our firstborn child. 


I had no idea Rose's blessing was waiting for me in the wings. I am so grateful that she caught, held and cleansed me as I embarked on this new adventure.


I would never have anticipated the myriad ways the universe communicated to us that something noteworthy was afoot. 


For that and so many other things, I feel truly blessed. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Middle Aged And Excessively Boasting

"[Student who shall not be named] is TOTALLY heartthrob material when it comes to middle aged women. Right, Anna?" So asks one of my seventeen year old students on this last field course.

Right as rain on both counts. 

Turns out a good human is an attractive human to women in their middle years. Turns out I am one of those women. Despite the enduring acne, thirty six makes it kind of official-- I am no longer on the side lines of middle age, but a player on the field.

Not a problem. Just realizing I need to adjust my self image to keep up with the times. 

As per usual, my birthday was spent in the mountains. This time it fell amidst thunder, lightning and hail-- simply the best when you're warm and dry in a tent with hot drink in hand. 

Coming out of the mountains, I was greeted by messages from my expanding family... 

This is the family I was born into. Since my parents have been divorced for awhile now, it means a lot to me to see these four together like this. I am not sure why they're all orange in these shots, but they are. And I still love them so much.  

This photo was waiting for me as well:

I got to see this man FOUR times in the field. Say what?! I know. FOUR TIMES! It was a birthday miracle. And at home? A clean house filled with hidden notes (all of which I think I found in the first hour). Evan knows me well. The thought of sharing the rest of my life with this guy leaves me overwhelmed with gratitude, joy, you name it-- if it's good, it's true. 
But wait, there's more! The text and voice messages. If I knew how to post them I would, just so you could hear Pearle and Livia singing if nothing else.

My heart runneth over. 

So, thirty six? Well worth the grey hairs so far.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

One, Two, Three...

Counting things on BuzzFeed equals awesome when work is slow. 

Because can we ever really pay too much attention to fashion wins of the '70s or Bob Ross (may he rest in peace)? 

Rhetorical question. 

It was Chaz and Craig's first invite to a big Hollywood party.

Fabio and his ladyfriend, Star, fancy themselves Disco Ninjas. Everyone else on that yacht is dead.

The belted sweater might have ended up becoming a fashion craze, but it all began with this man, Jacques Stromboli, a man so sexy sexy that his clothes were known to spontaneously fall off. And so he was forced to belt his sweaters as extra protection.

1. Set lofty goals.

4. You can achieve anything you set out to do.

7. We learn from everything we do. There are no mistakes.

Real question: What is up with Bob Ross' hair and is it magic? 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mapping Connection

NPR recently had a piece on mapping regions of interconnection. Pretty cool, huh?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Urban Animals


The Belgian artist, Roa, populates urban spaces with hares, rats, boars, and birds... 

...wild inside and out.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Innocence And Experience In Art

These sisters are twelve and seven years old respectively. Respectfully, "Hot damn." Their harmony hits the ear just right: 

Older, but maybe not wiser, and equally stunning. This is what infidelity looks like before the main character in Take This Waltz leaves her happy marriage and then regrets that decision:

In a drugged up haze of antihistamines, I've been watching a lot of movies lately. My favorite? A french film called Rust and Bone. It continually took me to the edge of my comfort zone and then offered redemption. Desire from a different angle:

It's the weekend and I'm counting days until Evan's brief return home on Monday. Snow melt is dripping off the eaves, wind is snatching at the screen door, my feet are cool inside wool socks, and Life After Life arrived yesterday via interlibrary loan. I'm on page eighteen. Arguably the best line so far? "Lottie was a reserved woman. Some might have said narcoleptic." Promising.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Prehistoric Awesomeness

Wandering the canyons of Southern Utah last month, I kept on thinking about what life had been like for humans in that area before the modern era. 

We visited pictographs that were at least 2,000 years old and caves that had seen consistant human habitation for 8,000 years. Crazy numbers.

What captured my imagination most of all was the idea of a world with so few humans and one where humans shared the very landscape I was exploring with animals like cave bears and lions, woolly mammoth, giant sloths, camels and aurochs.

A world where on average hunters and gatherers needed to work an estimated two hours a day to make ends meet. A world in which humans could draw on thousands of years of history to show them how to live life tailored to their context. A world very different from our own.

Needless to say, I went back and read Clan of the Cave Bear and Valley of the Horses until 2am last night. Racy bits aside, Jean Auel presents such a detailed portrait of how life might have been when the human family tree divided that it felt effortless to time travel. Even without a DeLorean.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Good Life

So there we were, lying in bed around noon on a Saturday counting our lucky stars, when Yost sends me an email from across the house that introduces me to Thug Kitchen and Glamping. And thus my mind and any chance I had of walking upright before nightfall were both blown in one fell swoop. 

Passing the favor forward, here are reasons 13,874,981,265,978 and 389,649,187 why I love Yost...

13,874,981,265,978) Thug Kitchen

389,649,187) Glamping

I say, "Thank you."

Lindsay says, "You're welcome." 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Them There Eyes

Animal Eyes by Suren Manvelyan

Thursday, April 4, 2013

When Love Comes To Town

Marina Abramović e Ulay at MoMA in 2010

When the artist Marina Abramovic preformed a piece in which she sat in a chair and looked into the eyes of the person who sat down across the table from her, she didn't realize that Ulay was in attendance. The two had shared a passionate love affair in the 1970s. When the relationship faded, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, and meet in the middle for a last hug, never seeing each other again. The video captures the moment they met, for the first time since parting, some forty years later.

When Love Arrives by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye

I knew exactly what love looked like in seventh grade.
Even though I hadn’t met love yet, if love had wandered into my homeroom, I would’ve recognized love at first glance. Love wore a hemp necklace. Love had a tight french braid. Love played acoustic guitar and knew all my favorite Beatles songs. Love wasn’t afraid to ride the bus with me. When I didn't find love, I knew I must be searching the wrong classrooms, must be checking the wrong hallways because love was there. I was sure of it. It was a matter of finding love.
But when love finally showed up, love had a bowl cut. Love wore the same clothes every day for a week. Love hated the bus. Love didn’t know anything about The Beatles. Every time I tried to kiss love, our teeth got in the way. Love became the reason I lied to my parents. Love had terrible rhythm on the dance floor, but made sure we never missed a slow song. 
And love grew. Stretched like a trampoline. Love changed. Love disappeared. Slowly, like baby teeth, I lost parts of myself I thought I needed. Love vanished like an amateur magician. Everyone could see the trapdoor but me. There were places I planned on going, but my plans didn’t matter. Love was a flat tire. 

Love stayed away for years before finally reappearing. And then I barely recognized love. Love smelt different now. Love had darker eyes, a broader back. Love came with freckles I didn’t recognize. New birthmarks, a softer voice. Now there were new sleeping patterns, new favorite books. There were songs that reminded love of someone else. Songs love didn’t like to listen to. So did I.
But we found a park bench that fit us perfectly. We found jokes that make us laugh. And now, love makes me fresh homemade chocolate chip cookies. But love will probably finish most of them for a midnight snack. Love looks great in lingerie, but still likes to wear a retainer. Love is a terrible driver, but a great navigator. Love is messier now, not as simple. Love uses the word “boobs” in front of my parents. Love chews too loud. Love leaves the cap off the toothpaste. Love uses smiley faces in text messages. 
But love also cries. And love will tell you you are beautiful and mean it, over and over again. When you first wake up, “You are beautiful.” When you’ve just been crying, “You are beautiful.” When you don’t want to hear it, “You are beautiful.” When you don’t believe it, “You are beautiful.” When nobody else will tell you, “You are beautiful.” Love still thinks you are beautiful. But love is not perfect and will sometimes forget to tell you when you need to hear it most.
Love is not who you were expecting. Love is not who you predicted. Maybe love is in New York City, already asleep while you are in California or Australia, wide awake. Maybe love is always in the wrong time zone. Maybe love is not ready for you. Maybe you are not ready for love. Maybe love just isn’t the marrying type. Maybe the next time you see love is twenty years after the divorce-- love is older now, but as beautiful as you remembered. Maybe love is only there for a month. Maybe love is there for every firework, every birthday party, every hospital visit. Maybe love stays. Maybe love can’t. Maybe love shouldn’t.
Love arrives exactly when love is supposed to. And love leaves exactly when love must. When love arrives, say, “Welcome. Make yourself comfortable.” When love leaves, ask love to leave the door open. Turn off the music. Listen to the quiet. Whisper, “Thank you for stopping by.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Crack Spider's Bitch


Saturday, February 16, 2013






Friday, February 15, 2013

Gifts For Newbies

I've reached the age where my friends are popping out babies. This is awesome. So many soft new creatures to hold and love. 
In terms of gifts to new parents, I like this series of letterpressed IOUs

But the catch is they only work for nearby babies. Ah, the problems of the modern age! 

Here's where some 5th and 6th graders from Delaware come into play. Mac was born on Thanksgiving Day and his dad's art class surprised him with a book of advice.
Wisdom on parenting from grade schoolers? Every new mom and dad needs that. Hence the most genius idea of all time...

A series of coffee table books with advice from kids on topics like getting married, raising children, healthy living-- the sky's the limit!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Tug Of War

Are you more of a...

or a...

on Valentine's Day?