Go Giants!

I, am not a baseball fan. I never have been. I grew up in a house with brothers who played soccer, a dad who dragged them to the regional rugby tournaments and a German mom who loved Borris Becker. You can see that we weren't really the typical American household. In spite of that, at one point I learned the difference between a ball and a strike and I know all about the 7th inning stretch and what it means if the bases are loaded but that pretty much covers it.

But as someone said, this is not about liking the game of baseball - its about pride for our city, our team, our stadium.

So when our friend invited my husband to watch the 1st game of the World Series aboard his boat from Covey Cove on Wednesday night, I responded with "Oh you have to go - I would even love that!"

And so, this un-baseball fan got to join the boys and I am oh so very glad that I did!

The weather cooperated, my Dramamine cooperated, last minute grandma as babysitter cooperated and well the team, they did more than cooperate.

Who knows what lies ahead in Texas - for me, it really doesn't matter. For now, I can only say "Go Giants! Well done!"


The two J's

Again, I tell you that I am a little behind. I have no idea what movies are in theaters right now, I am not sure who is dating who or who the latest Hollywood drama queen is. So, a post about Julie & Julia is so past due, but I only just watched it last night.

And it was sweet. It was sweet and a bit melancholy - as I relate so dearly with both heroines. Clever and witty and talented and loved but ever so slightly lost. Lost only because one's passion has not yet been discovered. For both Julie and Julia, food brought them to life or back to life. It brought their gift to the table shall I say, one bœuf bourguignon at a time.

It made me think about writing and blogging and creating and completing. And it made me think about how excited I get when someone comments or when someone says they really like my writing. It made me think about the word narcissism (the way Julie did in the film) and if this is the "Alex show" and who the hell wants to read about me, me, me. Makes me kind of feel like Eloise for a moment. But for now, this is about me and if it ends up a bit self-indulgent, I am okay with that.

As for the movie, well, it was nice treat for a Monday night.


Clearly the winner

This is what I get for not having a tv - I am the last to know about Emily Henderson.

But I really don't have an excuse because all HGTV shows are available online and Design Star just happens to be my all time favorite. So Emily is the recent winner of the Design Star contest and she is in pre-production for her new show. And, I can see why. Her apartment is wonderfully eclectic and livable and real. I haven't seen any of the contest episodes, but I am going to go back and let myself devour every one.

The rest of the photos on Fish Food are lovely. Go see the rest - really!


Perfectly imperfect

I have this great t-shirt from Old Navy. Across the chest it reads "I'm the perfect imperfection". Sadly it's in the box of "these clothes don't fit my had-a-baby-18 months-ago- body" so I can only think about wearing it right now.

I thought of it today as I read Lisa Quinn's book Life is too short to fold fitted sheets. I had the utter joy of hearing her speak in person this past week at a local Speak to Me event. And, she was as real in person as she seems to be in her book.

She is cleverly serious and frank, that it is time that we (women) lowered our standards, embraced imperfection and just chilled out! I agree with her and I salute her!

That is not to say that we raise heathens with no manners or ourselves become lazy in our generosity, gratitude or passion. It's just that we relax when life inevitably looks more like mac n cheese in a box than glazed duck with cranberry confit.

I was talking with two of my mom friends last week and we were talking about play and being fun. I chimed in with, "I am fun when the dishes are still in the sink, the clean laundry is piled up on the dining room table ready for folding and dinner is our favorite pizza margarita from tony's down the street."

It made me think about what impacts the nugget more: a fun mom or neatly folded jeans.

So I have been trying it out - leaving the clothes on the dining room table, getting to the dishes when I can and busting into rhyme with the empty paper towel holder before it landed in the recycling bin. Made the nugget look twice and then explode with laughter...and you know what, I couldn't help but laugh myself.



I got to see one of my favorite people on the planet last week. She makes my heart happy. And she makes me laugh. And she makes me smile. And she has been doing that since we met over some sort of cake escapade in the hallway of our freshman dorm. She's known me through the worst time of my life and was certainly there for some of the best. And I don't see her as often as I would like and I don't even talk her as much as I would like but she is in deep down in my heart, where only a handful of people reside.

I mention her because I have been thinking about the conversation we had: the one in which we both admitted to feeling like our lives were on pause - as we intentionally and with full awareness navigated raising our children as stay-at-home moms. The irony here is that our lives are certainly not on pause - they are on go, do, go, do, go, do. And she has two tiny people under the age of 3! And its living - no doubt, everyday. More accurately what is on pause are our passions and dreams and work - and I have to wonder, if for the two of us, that is such a wise thing.

It was in the car ride back home that I was struck by the thought - "Yes, of course, my blog, it's called pause and I never really knew why...but now it all makes sense...that this feeling of my life on pause is so perfect...because it is...and that's exactly where I need to be in order to figure out what the next step is for me...and maybe that next step is just being comfortable with the pause and making the best out of it...and embracing it...and not fighting it..." Let's just say that line of mental acrobatics got me all the way back home from Sacramento.

With this hazy clarity, I committed to myself to change the about blurb on this blog. Do you know how hard it was for me to type stay-at-home mom in relation to something about myself? I just realized - I hate the term stay-at-home mom. The reasons why are endless. And full-time mom, ooh I so don't like that one either. Mothers who go back to a job or a career either out of choice or necessity are certainly not half-time moms - I am pretty sure no matter what you do, you are full time.

So that is what is going on - my Women's Studies minor self and for a time opinionated Feminist self are holding on for dear life, fighting against the words that haven't changed, the roles that are differently complicated and my participation in the cliches, that I once promised myself would never be me. It was the promise of a naive 19 year old, but it was the promise that I would do it differently or not at all.

Pause is therefor my attempt to do it differently, with a more mature outlook and the reality of actually being a mom and a wife and a creative and a visionary. It will be bumpy and not perfect but it will be me, figuring out how to embrace what is and keep plugging away at what will be.


Be inspired.

image from She... by Kobi Yamada

I have been thinking a lot about being inspired lately. You know, the kind of being inspired that rips you out of bed in the morning and keeps you up at night with wild adrenaline. Yes, that kind.

Yesterday morning, I woke up well rested before the sky had fully awakened. Not just well rested, but alert and excited, almost jittery with potential. And I have no idea why. My husband was still asleep, the nugget was still asleep - the neighborhood was still asleep - it was Sunday morning for crying out loud. And do you know what I did? I sort of got my self presentable, put on my rain jacket and went outside. And then, I pruned our lemon tree. And then I got the brilliant idea to use the dried out oak tree branches laying next to the lemon tree for our entry way Halloween decoration. And then...

Well, the rest of the day just kept riding that wave. The Halloween decorating is done and I am completely happy with the results, on the first try no less. Even in our first heavy rain showers and a soggy wet Waldorf school festival, I was inspired. I even introduced myself a few times with "I write this blog about..."

And then this morning, I woke up: tired and uninspired and twitchy eyed.

What the hell?

I don't know what I did or didn't do to wake up the way that I did on Sunday morning. And I don't know what I did to wake up the way that I did today. I suppose my practice is to not get attached to either one - but to respect both as part of life. My life.

For now, I will remind myself of what in fact inspires me, so the next time I wake up tired and twitchy eyed, which could possibly be tomorrow, I have something to reference:

new uses for old things : natural curiosities : authenticity : children who build boats out of Styrofoam and string : Waldorf education's innate ability to truly capture childhood creativity and foster its development : simple abundance : making something out of nothing : real farmer’s markets : a good use of space : groups of women working together : travel : young people who are fearless : my nugget who is mimicking everything that I do

So what and who inspires you?



"I was jealous. I was jealous that he could respond, so agile and free, to his own urge. I was jealous that he could begin the day, eat a meal, leave a room, have a plan, and mind his own business. But mostly, I was jealous that he could go to the bathroom whenever he wanted."

- Karen Maezen Miller in Momma Zen, pg.55/56

I've been on edge lately. It looks like this: Pleasant with a razor sharp edge under the surface. Do you know this place? This place between sunshine and despair, joy and sudden tears. I am keenly aware of it, mostly because the recipient of my edge is my husband and at some point he let's holds up a mirror and I usually don't like what I see.

Unaware of why I was really feeling the way I was feeling, I picked up Momma Zen and read 2 more chapters. Its one of those books that sits on my nightstand waiting. Waiting got me to need its wisdom and permission. And there, in the chapter entitled No Exit was the gem I was looking for.

Unpleasant, green, festering jealousy for his {my unsuspecting husband's} assumed freedom - to eat his breakfast in peace, to shower without needing to have childcare or nap-time and to leave the house and join the rest of the adult world, for at least 8 hours.

I suppose it is the constancy and alwaysness of motherhood, and perhaps more so of stay-at-home motherhood, that is feeling constricting and soul deadening. Yes, soul deadening, I said. And now that I have said it, I can move away from the dramatic tone of that sentiment and be more proactive in finding a way to embrace my life as it is right now.

I am not always grateful for my circumstance to stay home with our son. What was intended as a year has now become it just "makes sense". With childcare costs, an entrpeneur husband whose company is very much in start up mode, a list of grown-up to-dos that need a project manager AND the desire to actually raise our child in the way that we want, there is no better place for me. And most of the time, I feel okay with it. Not great, but okay. But then the "me" voice slithers in between the cracks and I meet women who are living their passion and I enter the dark tunnel of "when is it my turn". And that, that is just not a pretty place to be because then motherhood and wifehood starts to feel like a cage that I want to get out of - because it then doesn't feel like a choice. When in all irony, everyday, every moment, every thought is my choice.

Still in No Exit, Ms. Miller writes, "Motherhood is a club you cannot quit, a job you cannot shove, a prize that is non-transferable. You're in it, and you can't get out."

Yup, that is how its been feeling. And yup, that is why I have been one unpleasant person to the one person who at the end of the day is team mate, my partner in crime.

Again I was reminded that my whole internal dialogue and my seemingly intolerable circumstances and my "woe is me" dilemna, is not as unique or special as I was hoping it would be. Nope, not alone. Nope, not special. Nope, not even unique. And knowing that, instantly and always makes me feel better. I just need to figure out a way to not forget that in the first place.

For now, I am printing this out and putting it on the refrigerator, right there on the door, to read every morning, until the assignment is no longer an assignment but simply my modus operandi:

"Today's assignment is to drop the woebegone wishes and daydreams, the ruinous comparisons to the paradise lost or aspirations unfulfilled. Tomorrow, drop them again. When you need a change, make one. When you need a break, take one. When you need help, get it. When it's time to work, work. When you need to go to the bathroom.....Free at last."

All quotes from the book Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Miller



Sometimes he makes me crazy. Sometimes he makes me laugh. And sometimes he reminds me to just stop and sit and watch the world pass by.


Lonny's out

Have you seen it the latest issue of Lonny?

I have less patience for stuff these days - and that transcends into my ability to devour fashion and home design magazines like I used to. I flipped through Lonny's Gift Guide and the required advertisements without much thought. But, then there he was: my favorite textile designer of all time with a view into his Connecticut home. And I had to swoon and get lost in the images. For the whole spread on John Robshaw, click here

I have been a fan of his textiles, his design, his inspiration, his ethos. You get the point.

To check out the whole magazine, click here


Get to work

There is a movement - intended to inspire and empower and encourage us to take action, however small or big.

And that movement started today.

Weeks ago when I read about 10/10/10 for the first time, I was enthusiastically driven to take part. I starred the blog post that mentioned it and than I methodically planned my next steps. Then last week, when I actually went to the website and saw that the action is a grassroots movement for climate change, I was at first disappointed. My assumption had been this was an effort to get people moving, get them to commit to something that inspires them, get them to ask for help, get them to engage others - get them off the couch and to work. And as I thought more, I realized that it is. And that this small and humble project of ours is a baby step towards my part in helping our planet.

You see, by trying to live a life with less waste, less packaging, less consumption, more community, more creativity and more generosity, I can only hope to make a small dent in my little part of the world.

So I in the spirit of getting to work, I introduce to you...

click on image to go directly to the site

Today, on Global Work Party day, this is my effort, my work and my commitment to changes in my own home and life.

Perhaps it will inspire you to do the same, one re:purposed project at a time.


This sort of says it all.

I am taking a pause, from blogging that is. Just until October 10th, so that I may free up some important mental space for some very important family and financial decisions that are brewing and need my attention.

And, to get some clarity and some focus, in order, like the image says to begin.

So come back on October 10th...


Born at home

our nugget, born at home

Sometimes it just takes a deadline to get things done.

First it was his first birthday. Then it was June 1st. Then it was while I was in Germany. Then I simply gave up and said by the end of 2010. But it took an outside deadline for me to actually finish writing his birth story, all 2000+ words of it and I got it done, right on time.

For me, it was important not to tell another home birth story, but to share how we arrived at that decision and the meandering path we took, one that started years and years before.

So if you are interested, the story in my words and in its entirety, is here.