Archive for June, 2010

what a difference a year makes
June 30, 2010

Pablo & I on the Mt. Finlayson trail on SJI - photo by EM Lewis

It’s June 30th.

The day almost went completely by without me realizing the significance. Bob just reminded me.

One year ago today we finished clearing out our house in Silver Lake, closed the door, drove away, handed over the keys, drove towards Chicago with nothing but a blank slate and received the e-mail that would lead us to this house on an island…

That was one year ago today. Twelve months. Just one year!

I just re-read the post that I wrote that morning and I can remember all of it so clearly.

The exhaustion. The feeling of just being ‘done.’ The despair. The OVERWHELM. I was so over it all.

I remember feeling hot, sweaty and smelly. I remember the ache of my feet hurting. (That’s not hard given that my feet ache now for a completely different reason.) The pure exhaustion.

I wrote that I never wanted to have stuff ever again. I took pictures of our stuff out on the curb. I remember feeling like it would never end. Like we’d never be done and the house would never be empty.

But eventually it was. Empty. And the stuff… gone. And we had nothing in front of us but possibility.

On that day one year ago I never would have predicted that in just one year I’d be about ready to have a baby and living in a 1910 farmhouse on San Juan Island.

Isn’t it amazing how much can happen in one year?!

I truly feel blessed.

Reading my post from June 30, 2009 on “Love in the Time of Foreclosure,” what moves me the most is the thought of our friends. How much they helped us… were there for us every step of the way. And how much we’re supported by everyone around us now. Both friends from far away and new friends here on the island. Your support and generosity means everything to us. Thank you!

Last year we said goodbye to a house/ This year we say hello to a baby

Another thing that occurred to me while reading that post…

I wrote about my meltdown on our last night in the house- June 29, 2009. There was a moment where I just sat on the kitchen floor and cried to Bob, “I can’t do it. I can’t. I just can’t!”

As soon as I read that I thought about child birth.

I thought about my impending labor and how there is likely to be a very similar moment.

Me crying to Bob that I can’t do it. I can’t. I just can’t. I’ll likely be exhausted and beyond pain and just done. And I’ll cry to Bob. And he’ll be there to remind me that I can. And then I will. Somehow. But instead of the end result being a blank slate, it will be a baby boy. A new addition to our family.

A year ago today our lives changed forever.

And they are about to REALLY change forever all over again. Just 12 months later.

How do I feel about all of that? Humbled. Grateful. Inspired by life.

Thanks for reminding me, Bob. I guess it’s a good thing that the day almost went by without me remembering. But I’m glad to have the opportunity to acknowledge how far we have come. It’s good to be grateful.

If you’d like to read the post I wrote one year ago today, here it is:

“The Last Night (I Can’t Wait To Have Nothing!)” – Love in the Time of Foreclosure

And if you know anyone who is in the process of losing their house or facing challenging times…. please share this post with them. I believe it helps tremendously to see how much can change in just one year.

Thank you!

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Paddling and pregnant at 35 weeks
June 22, 2010

I wasn’t sure I could do it

I thought I might get stuck

I wasn’t sure I’d make it out without forceps or a forklift

I thought I might go into labor and give a whole new meaning to “water birth”

But I really wanted to try

For the last nine months Mom has been bragging about the fact that she was water skiing on the day she was due with me. Water skiing. On her due date.

I had to try or risk not having my own story to brag about to my son.

I imagined how it would sound. How I would say it.

Something like…

“I was kayaking in killer whale populated waters when I was 34-weeks pregnant with you.”

And I would say it like it was no big deal. No big whoop. I’m just awesome. That’s all. Or incredibly stupid. Either way.

So I did it.

Last week my dear friend Ellen came to visit and we went for a 3-hour kayak tour.

If you ask me, she’s the one that took the bigger risk sharing a kayak with a pregnant lady.

I did ask our guide if we could return to land if I were to go into labor. And I wondered how I would be able to tell if my water broke. Our guide said that I could just have a water birth. Hahaha. Ha.

As he told us what to do in the event of capsizing, I worried about how I would climb back into the kayak from the water.

As he informed us that the preliminary effects of hypothermia set in after only eight minutes of being in the waters of the Haro Strait, I wondered how smart of an idea this really was.

But what did I discover?

It truly wasn’t that big of a deal.

I mean, I fit in the kayak just fine.

Yeah, so it looks like the kayak was “built around me” as my friend Brian kindly pointed out when he saw this picture.

But still. I fit.

And yes, my life jacket was pushed up to my ears and rubbing against my chin like sandpaper. But I was able to zip it with no problem.

And thanks to my large belly, that kayak was not going tip. I had us centered just fine. There would be no tipping.

And sure, I might have needed a little extra help getting up off the dock…

But I got myself out of the kayak…

Nice and easy.

The Tour

I sat in the front of the kayak and was responsible for setting our pace. Ellen was in the back and had the job of steering with the foot pedals while paddling. Takes coordination and I was happy that she was willing to take that on.

The paddling was harder than I thought it would be considering we were heading into the wind and against the current for the first half of the tour. Also considering that I was limited in my mobility. But once we got into a rhythm, it was so much easier. I concentrated on timing my breathing with my paddling. I thoroughly enjoyed the sound my paddle made as it went into the water.

It was so peaceful out there. It felt amazing to be on the water. I didn’t realize it until later, but the baby didn’t move the entire time. He was asleep. Which isn’t that surprising. I’ve always slept best in a boat.

Did we see whales?

No. No whales. But we did see bald eagles, harbor seals, starfish and jelly fish. Actually, I held a jelly fish. The kind that doesn’t sting. The kind that looks like a breast implant. I also ate sea kelp. Our guide said it was full of protein and demonstrated how to eat it. I thought protein is good for pregnant ladies, so I had a bite. Salty.

My arms were completely spent by the time we got back to the docks. And I was entirely relaxed. As though I had just been rocked like a baby for hours.

I’ve clearly missed being in a boat. On the water. And I’m so glad that we went. I’m so glad that I can tell our son that he went kayaking before he was even born. That he took to the water immediately. Like his mom. And his grandma. And his grandpa. And his great-grandpa. And his great-great-grandpa who was a shipbuilder in Scotland. Or was that his great-great-great-grandpa? The point is that this love of the water comes at him from all sides. It’s in his blood. Now we just need to work on getting him out there more often.

Oh… and no. This does not mean I will be having a water birth

And, Mom… you win. I can say with the utmost certainty that there is no way I will be water skiing on my due date. You’re one tough (and/or perhaps crazy?) mama!

Thank you to Crystal Seas Kayaking for an awesome day out on the water. Johannes, you were right. I did just fine. I made it in AND out of the kayak and didn’t go into labor. Success! Our guides- Adam and Jordan- were so much fun and extremely helpful. Adam deserves a raise for pulling a 35-week pregnant lady up off that narrow dock.


the house built too close to the water
June 18, 2010

Sunday it hits me. Hormones.

Tears.

The feeling of “I can’t do this anymore” coupled with “But I don’t want to complain because I know things could be so much worse.”

I’m missing Bob. Missing our together time. Feeling alone.

Feeling like it’s always going to be this way and I can’t handle it… and then feeling guilty about having those feelings.

I’m supposed to be strong.

I’m supposed to be resilient.

I’m not supposed to complain.

Talking to Bob would help. He’s been so busy and I haven’t had any time to even connect with him over the phone. At least. So he calls me from Midway Airport. He has about two hours before his flight from Chicago back to San Francisco. Uninterrupted talking time. Good.

That’s when it bubbles up. Everything. And I go from zero to sobbing.

A few days before I had updated my Facebook status to say that I was crying at everything like a proper pregnant woman.

I cried when the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup. Not just cried. Sobbed.

I cried watching So You Think You Can Dance as though I personally knew each contestant.

I cried when Pablo wouldn’t stop barking…

My friend Steffi said that in Germany they have a saying about this crying all the time thing… something like “Your house is built close to the water.” Steffi, is that right? What is it in German?

So, yes, my house was built very close to the water… too close. If not in the water. On stilts. Fragile, termite-ridden stilts.

Bob just listens. As best he can. Because at times he can’t understand my blubbering. He sweetly says, “I’m sorry, honey… but I couldn’t understand that last thing you said.” Sometimes I would repeat myself. Slower. Less blubber. Other times I would just charge onward in my rant. I was on a roll.

I never get to see you

I’m all alone

Nobody knows what it’s like

I have this baby growing every day and I’m uncomfortable and just want to be taken care of… but that’s never going to happen again

I can’t keep doing this

I miss you too much

I miss my family

I miss our friends

I miss being a part of something

My writing career is over

How will I write again with a baby

There’s no time to make anything of myself

How will I be able to contribute to our family financially

I’m just so sad

I’m all alone. I’m all alone. I’m all alone!

You get the drift.

I blubber. The more I blubber, the more dramatic I get. The more it spirals out of control and just turns into sobs.

And Bob just listens. Nothing to fix. Only to hear and get. I get it out. I calm down. Then we talk.

Saying most of it out loud has me realize how ridiculous it is. How there’s always another way of looking at things. And how with Bob’s love and partnership, I will never be alone.

Physically alone is different. Physically alone can be challenging. Especially on an island. But that is just my challenge. As a guest told me at work the other day when I was checking them in, “We all have our problems.”

Feeling guilty about my reaction to our circumstances doesn’t help either. That sob/blubber fest is just something I needed to go through. Like I said,

Get. It. Out.

And it feels good. So much better. Bob helps so much by just listening. By not telling me NOT to feel that way. By not offering a solution. By just listening. And attempting to understand. Things are put into perspective.

And the next morning I am able to return the favor. I awake clear headed and have the opportunity to listen to Bob as he gets some things off his chest.

We work that way. Thankfully.

“That’s partnership,” says Bob.

Just two days later, my friend Ellen arrives at the island for a visit and I am no longer physically alone. Her visit came at the absolute perfect moment.

She’s gone now. And Bob comes home tomorrow for 29 hours.

We’ve been apart for two weeks.

I cannot wait to see him.

I cannot wait to show him my belly so he can see how much our baby has grown

I cannot wait to kiss him and hug him

I cannot wait for him to talk to my belly

to read to the baby

to massage my feet (ahhhhh)

We have our birth class on Orcas Island tomorrow and then Aunt Deb will be here for a visit. Yay!

Just when I can’t handle being in the house alone for another minute, people show up to remind me I’m never really alone.

And it helps move my house away from the water.

(Steffi, my lovely German friend, you will have to tell me if I’m butchering that phrase. I apologize if I am.)

lawnmower woman
June 9, 2010

Remember that movie Lawnmower Man? It came out in ’92, I think. I was a junior in high school and going to the movies on a date.

A first date.

With a boy I had been crushing on for that whole year.

I was uncomfortably nervous to be on this date to begin with. It only got worse when we arrived at the theater to the news that Lawnmower Man had sold out. What movie would we see? It took us long enough to agree on Lawnmower Man.

“Two for Basic Instinct,” says my date without hesitation.

I’m speechless. Terrified. And trying not to pee myself.

I’d heard enough about Basic Instinct to know that this was going to be two of the most awkward hours of my life.

Good times.

I eventually did see Lawnmower Man. Years later. Not on a date.

And today I mowed the lawn.

Confession 1:

2010 marks the first time I’ve ever mowed the lawn in my life.

Growing up, other people always mowed the lawn.

My brother. Our neighbor. My dad. My stepdad. My grandpa. Not me. I had other chores and never had any interest in lawn care.

When Bob and I landscaped our property in L.A., we purposely chose no-mow (yes, it exists) grass for the side yard. We literally never had to mow it. If we were going to have grass in L.A., we wanted a drought-resistant variety that didn’t require a lot of watering and never had to be mowed.

Now we live in the land of the fastest growing grass in the universe. Seriously. I’ve done the research. There is no place in the universe where the grass grows faster.

Okay, I made that up.

But this grass tests positive for steroids. It grows fast, tall and mean every single day. The more it flexes its muscles, the less I recognize it.

Needless to say, it needs to be mowed every week. Without fail. As long as it remains on the juice… otherwise known as rain.

Bob mows it when he’s home on weekends… but only if it’s not raining. If it rains on the weekend then I mow it during the week after work whenever the sun is shining.

Confession 2:

I actually like it.

I do. It’s satisfying. Instant gratification.

Once I start, I don’t want to stop until every blade of grass is cut down to size by the power of the push mower. I like looking at the fruits of my labor. A freshly mowed lawn. Ahhhhhhh…. so satisfying.

I get to be outside, I get exercise and Pablo loves to chase the mower around. It’s good for the whole family.

The problem? I’m getting bigger every day.

Today I worked a full shift at work (lots of time on my feet) and then came home and mowed the lawn.

It’s definitely gratifying, as I said. But man, my feet hurt.

Is it dangerous for a 33-week pregnant lady to mow the lawn, you ask?

Well, I’m certainly not the first pregnant woman to do it. (I did research that.)

As always, I will listen to my body and take it easy. Especially as I get bigger and closer to the big day.

Question 1: Does anyone  have any tips for edging?

Question 2: Any pregnant ladies out there mow the lawn? Would you?

P.S. The above picture was snapped by Bob several weeks ago. I’m MUCH bigger now. This baby is growin’… much like the grass. But without the mean part. With exception of a few painful jabs to my intestines. Or kidney. Or who knows what it is that he’s kicking in there that causes such pain.

Bounty Hunter – my new job title?
June 4, 2010

Police found Colton Harris-Moore's photograph on a stolen digital camera AP Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1946950,00.html#ixzz0pvkvzeky

So have you heard about the kid who has been stealing planes and boats in the San Juans? The one who has been on a two-year burglary spree?

His name is Colton Harris-Moore but he’s perhaps better known nationally by the nickname given to him by the press:

The Barefoot Bandit

Here’s the deal with this kid.

He’s 19-years-old. In 2008 he escaped from a group home and began living in the woods and stealing from homes on his home island- Camano Island- and the San Juans.

He is 6′ 5″

He’s stolen planes (apparently taught himself to fly by reading flight manuals… but doesn’t know how to land because he always crash lands the planes)

He’s flown over restricted air space during the Vancouver Winter Olympics

He’s stolen boats

He has robbed an Orcas Island family-owned natural food market twice and caused several thousands of dollars of damage.

A drawing of bare feet was left as a "calling card" after the burglary of the Homegrown Market on Orcas Island. (AP Photo from Komonews.com story)

After the most recent break-in he drew a chalk outline of bare feet on the floor and wrote “C Ya!”

The owner of the market set up camp in the market and slept there on the floor with his dog thinking that Colton might return and he wasn’t going to let him get away with it again.

Most recently he burglarized a home on the southern tip of San Juan Island (THIS island) and stole a boat that the authorities found on Lopez Island. Here is a story on that from The Seattle Times.

The fans

This 6′ 5″ brat has a huge following. Huge.

He has legions of fans that are so dedicated they’ve made t-shirts, written songs about him and yes, started a Facebook fan page and fan club.

They see him as a Robin Hood figure. Which is ridiculous. Because although he had a difficult childhood, he does not steal only from the rich and he’s certainly not giving to the poor. Unless you count him. Alone.

His fans see him as a survivalist who is “sticking it to the man.”

Well, if the man happens to be an independent business owner of a small market on a tiny island. Then, sure.

You can see by my tone that I am not one of his fans. But I believe that his fans are the reason he hasn’t been caught yet. They won’t turn him in. No way. Not unless the reward is big enough. And it’s not. $5,500 to turn in a cult hero is not enough. I’m sure he has people helping him. He’s 6’5″. That’s pretty dang tall. And yes, there are plenty of places to hide in the islands. These islands are rural and forested. But, he’s 6’5″.

Am I focusing too much on his height?

Bring in the bounty hunters

The residents on Camano Island are so fed up with his antics and the fact that he hasn’t been caught that they have taken matters into their own hands. They called in the help of some bounty hunters.

I first learned about this guy back in October when we first landed on the island and our friend Chris (who brought our stuff up from L.A.) was here. One of us came across a story about him and then we just kept going back and forth researching. Chris found his Facebook fan page.

We couldn’t believe how many fans he had. And we were sure that there would be a bidding war over the film rights to his life. Which only further annoys me. But, I do have to admit. There’s a great movie waiting to made in all of this.

The reward

Bob and I have since joked about catching him for the reward. I believe the reward is now up to $5,500 thanks to a $2,500 contribution from Bounty Hunter Rocha. And someone is offering $50,000 for him to surrender. That, I don’t get. Where would that money go? Why is there so much for his surrender as opposed to his capture? Can someone explain this to me?

Anyway, the other day my friend Jennifer posted something on Facebook that she had just talked to someone who had seen Colton out at Wescott Bay. That’s just a 10-minute drive from our house. And apparently the Sherrif lives out there. Could it really have been him?

Jennifer joked about becoming a bounty hunter and I offered my services as her pregnant bounty hunter assistant. She said only if I had a mullet and a wife beater.

It just so happens, Jenn, that Bob has a mullet wig and I have a maternity wife beater. So should we do this?

As much as I would love to traipse around in a mullet wig and maternity wife-beater tee…

And as much as the $5,500 would help us right now, I’m not going to be carving out any time to look for this kid.

But someone catch him already! I’m getting tired of looking at his smug face. Which was recently caught on security cameras at the Lopez Island Marina. Here is that story.

And Colton, if you’re reading this, we lock our doors and have NOTHING of value to steal.

By the way, my friend Jennifer has a really great blog that is also about island life and her life specifically- as a mother to three daughters. It’s called Baby by the Sea. Check it out. She’s an awesome person and has been really helpful to me with maternity clothes, baby stuff, loads of helpful information and friendship.

Links

If you’re fascinated by this story and want to research more, here are some links for you:

Catch the Barefoot Bandit – The Colton Harris Moore ANTI-FAN site dedicated to catching him. (By the way, they are organizing a community meeting on Orcas Island. So if you live on Orcas and are interested in attending, contact them at: CatchTheBarefootBandit@gmail.com)

America’s Most Wanted Teenage Bandit – Time Magazine Article

Washington’s Most Wanted

Teenage Bandit May Have Struck Again – Seattle Times Story

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