Settling In

Well, after almost two months, I am settling in. Moving is all-consuming, as many of you know. We finally emptied the last boxes in the living room. Yesterday, we actually hung photos and paintings on the walls, including our newest acquisition, Miss Lily the Cow. She was painted by JanyRae Seda, an artist from Boise, Idaho. And we got to name her.

Miss Lily

Miss Lily

We found her over the weekend at Art in the Park in Ojai, and both of us fell in love with her on first sight. Which is rare, since Rob and I have very different tastes on almost everything, from politics to architecture, to design, decor, and food. It makes for a really interesting relationship. And one where laughter is a constant, which is one of the reasons I love him.

Now that life seems to be returning to normal (whatever that is), I can get back to posting on the blog, not to mention my client work. In another week, I'm going north to Sea Ranch for a week-long writing retreat with my AROHO sisters. I can hardly wait. I will spend the whole week working on my memoir. I know what I want to do with it, and I'm excited about revisiting it while reveling in the stunning beauty of the Northern California coastline. If you aren't familiar with Sea Ranch, check it out.

We will end our week with an appearance as a group at Four-Eyed Frog books in Gualala. We'll talk about writing, and poetry, and all things literary, and try to explain how we came to call ourselves the Flamingos. Here's the flier—if you happen to be in the neighborhood, drop by.

Meanwhile, here are some before and after moving photos, just to remind you what fun moving is!


A Wedding Wish

A little over a week ago, the daughter of my dear friends Tom and Joan Bolton was married, and they asked me to speak at the wedding. I thought I'd share with you what I said.

I was so honored and delighted to be asked to speak today. Watching Laura, in fact all of our kids, grow up has been a richly satisfying experience, even through the inevitable ups and downs of adolescence. Our families spent a lot of time together when the kids were younger, and for many years did a family camping trip to Fiqueroa Mountain every spring. I have an especially fond and vivid memory of all three – Laura, Tim, and my daughter, Kendall, who is a year younger than Tim – splashing through a nearby creek, hunting for pollywogs.

As parents, we have so many hopes for our children. That they will grow up happy and whole, that they will find meaning in their lives and have opportunities to learn and express their creativity, that they will find love. I am so happy that Laura has done all of these things.

As I was thinking about what I wanted to say today, I remembered a William Butler Yeats’ poem, called “Prayer for My Daughter.” I won’t recite the whole thing, because it is long, but I want to share a few stanzas that I thought were particularly apropos to the occasion today.

In the poem, there is a raging storm outside, and Yeats is in his infant daughter’s room, gazing at her in her crib, and listening to the rain beating against the windows. In the poem he mentions a linnet, which is a small bird in the finch family. He writes:

May she be granted beauty and yet not

Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught,

Or hers before a looking glass, for such,

Being made beautiful overmuch,

Consider beauty a sufficient end,

Lose natural kindness and maybe

The heart-revealing intimacy

That chooses right, and never find a friend.

May she become a flourishing hidden tree

That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,

And have no business but dispensing round

Their magnanimities of sound,

Nor but in merriment begin a chase,

Nor but in merriment a quarrel.

O, may she live like some green laurel

Rooted in one dear perpetual place.

My mind, because the minds that I have loved,

The sort of beauty that I have approved,

Prosper but little, has dried up of late,

Yet knows that to be choked with hate

May well be of all evil chances chief.

If there’s no hatred in a mind

Assault and battery of the wind

Can never tear the linnet from the leaf.

We all hope our children will never be torn from the foundations we build for them, and here I will betray my own feminist leanings and say, yes, we especially want to protect our daughters from the world and its vagaries. We ardently hope they will find someone to love who cherishes them beyond their own selves, and who will be partners who allow our daughters to continue to grow and create and become the women they are meant to be. I believe Laura has found that person in Rick, and I am so happy for both of them.         

Congratulations,  and may you enjoy many wonderful years together.