Time Lapse

In less than a month, I’ll be 26. Closer to 30 than to 20. An adult with a job, grocery lists that include things like cat litter and spanikopita, bills to pay and a family that lives farther away than I ever thought possible. There are days when I wish I could curl up in my mother’s arms again and have her rock me to sleep. And I know there are days she wishes she could do the same.

On my recent trip home, my mom and I reenacted a photo taken of us shortly after she gave birth to me. We were sitting on the front steps of our house. It’s the same house my parents live in today. I love everything about these pictures. There’s a different car in the driveway now (my mom’s Big Fat Cow), a different tint in each photo, and different hair cuts (or in my case, hair where there once was none). A wonderland of flowers now frame the house where once there were just fledgling blooms. My mom was an inexperienced mother then, nervous no doubt. Now, she is an expert, an advisor, a co-pilot, a friend — she’s even a mother to nature (as evidenced below).

On my last day home, this fawn showed up in our backyard one morning. I’m sure the squirrels and birds and skunks and raccoons that my parents have been feeding for many years spread the word throughout the neighborhood that generous people live in the yellow house.

She lay in those leaves all day long, standing up occasionally on jello legs to munch on ferns. The mama deer came back for her baby later that afternoon. My mom pulled into the driveway after dropping me off at the airport to find them both standing there and watched as they trotted off together. I guess that’s what all good mothers have in common. They take wobbly legs and teach them how to sprint.

I Heart Cleveland

Oh my stars. It’s been exciting few weeks round these parts. The computer is back, so that means I can get back to blogging. I have a lot to tell you, but I can’t cover a month in one post, so you’ll have to be patient. For now, resist the urge to react with shock and horror at the title of this post. I’m about to shoot your preconceived notions right out of the flammable water.

Before all the computer drama, I went home for a long overdue summer visit. Typically, my visits to Cleveland are limited to once a year during the Christmas season. Snow, ice, seasonal affective disorder, the kind of cold that penetrates your bones… Enticing, isn’t it?

But Cleveland in the summer is a whole different city. First, it’s a respite from Texas in the summer. Texas sucks all the joy from my favorite season with one hot breath. Second, my amazing family lives in C-town, and my parents’ backyard is like the forest in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs – animals flock here from far and wide.

I won’t be able to successfully document my trip in one post, so I’m going to do multiple posts (at least two) with photos documenting the reasons Cleveland is actually a really cool place, full of art and culture and nature. The weather may not be ideal all year round, but it’s good to know a part of my heart is still here, rediscovered on a run along my favorite jogging trail. Mistake on the lake? Maybe in some ways. But no city is perfect. And nobody is gonna talk trash ‘bout my city.

Parade the Circle

Growing up, my mom and I had an annual tradition of attending a festival called Parade the Circle. Various schools, organizations and camps around the city spend weeks putting together elaborate costumes, making papier mache vehicles and learning how to walk on stilts to create a spectacle for the senses. Everyone gathers near the Cleveland Museum of Art to sing, cheer, dance and even cartwheel down the road. Each year it gets better, and the older I get, the more impressed I am with the level of ingenuity and creativity. See for yourself, and I’ll see you back here later this week with more about my trip as well as some exciting news.


The First Tomato

There’s something amazing about tending a garden. Watching plants grow (and knowing you haven’t killed them) is kind of an incredible feeling. Despite the drought here, I’ve kept my garden growing strong, and this week I noticed the first red tomatoes on the vine. I’ve been getting about one Juliet tomato every day this week. Not quite enough for a salad, but enough to pop in my mouth right after picking. I relish these little moments in life.

Forgive the quality of this shot. I was too excited to grab my real camera.

I’m still getting the hang of the gardening process. I used to watch my mom pull weeds in her garden as a kid. Now it’s my turn to pull weeds and tie plants to stakes to keep them from blowing over. My mom’s garden was, and continues to be, one of the prettiest on our street. Here’s a photo of it my dad sent me recently. We don’t get tulips like those here in Texas.


This Mother’s Day weekend, I’ll be far away from home. But I’ll tend my garden and think of my mother and all the flowers she has made grow strong and beautiful with the careful touch of her nurturing hand.

Take Me Home

Each day we encounter obstacles. We drive with the sun blaring into our eyes. We run on broken treadmills. We decide which battles to pick and which things to let lie (because we know some things will never change). We get our heels stuck in cracks in the pavement.

But at the end of the day, it just feels good to return to a place you call home and the ones you love.

Roots

I am finally taking the plunge. After a year and a half in College Station, I am going to join a gym. I’m not sure how I’ve gone this long without one, but I guess I’ve managed. My jeans still sort of fit, after all. With this tiny step, I feel as though I’m growing some roots here.

As further evidence of my implantation, Patrick and I are looking to redecorate, since currently the only furniture we own here is from Good Will. The thought of buying a new couch is both exhilarating and terrifying. And it boggles my mind that I’ve found a boy who has an opinion about rugs. We’ve entered a nesting phase where we bond over fabric swatches and catalogs. I’ve discovered about seven different names for yellow. Like “citrine” and “lemongrass” and “chartreuse” and “grellow.” That last one, I’m pretty sure, was made up by Crate and Barrel. We’ll be going for a modern look, a look we can agree on, since his minimalist tastes don’t work with my cluttered…. well… we don’t even need go there.

These tiny steps are helping me feel more and more secure each day. While there are many Sundays I wish I could drive home for a dinner cooked by Mom, I’ve found a family here that provides comfort, guidance and even opinions about furniture. It’s never an easy process to grow into a new place, but I’m settling in and making lemongrass out of what once seemed like lemons.

And P.S. how do we feel about this couch?