Detour | Current Tempo |

Friday, May 8, 2015

Today you can read some of my very first thoughts on mothering twins over at Current Tempo in Lucinda's lovely Thoughts on Motherhood series in honor of Mother's day. Speaking of which happy mama's day and have wonderful weekend. xo

Tiger Boy | Part 2 |

Monday, May 4, 2015

The word epilepsy has been one of the only words in my brain lately. When I go to sleep it’s: epilepsy. When I wake up it’s: epilepsy. For weeks this word has been rolling around my mind as something that seemed harmless (ridiculous even) one moment and a dark body of water surrounding me the next. 

Since Luca’s seizure a few weeks back things have seemed to move entirely too slowly. I wanted doctors appointments like yesterday, waiting a day or two days seemed absurd. Who has grand mal seizures? (actually the correct term is tonic-clonic these days). Well, according to everyone everywhere a lot of people do. Everyone knows someone who had a friend who had a kid who had a seizure. It happens, it’s common. It was a fluke. This probably was too. I tried to hold that close because, like I said, it’s happened to somebody everybody knows. But still. I have had my phone in hand for weeks. And because it could be nothing it seems they don’t exactly rush it. Or maybe they do but you need tests and a neurologist. Call backs and referrals. Because it definitely could be something too. I feel like I have been on a train that goes 200 mph for 5 minutes then stops for 3 days in the middle of nowhere. 

We did finally move to step one last week and had he a sleep deprived EEG. And let me tell you staying up nearly all night is just as difficult as it sounds. That would have been a good time for me to be a 20-something mom again. But with our few measly hours of sleep we made it and they did their thing with wires and strobe lights and pins wheels. 

My Tiger held still while he was awake and fell fast asleep when he was asked to close his eyes. He looked as normal as ever. Except he looked like a robot with all those wire sticking out of his hair (and for him this was considered to be quite a positive thing). And I sat there and I watched. Like a hawk. Trying to play dumb to the tech like I didn’t google this shit for 6 hours the night before. I played aloof and watched all those lines. Pretending to scroll on my phone. Uniform lines suddenly changed to what it might look like if you took your pen in your fist and scratched the paper from top to bottom a hundred times. That doesn’t look right. The tech said he couldn’t say anything, but afterward he walked me over to pediatric neurology to make sure we were on the waiting list. We were on the waiting list . . . to the waiting list. Depends on the EEG results which waiting list we end up on. 

My grandmother was a nurse. My great-aunt was a nursing school professor. My mom went to nursing school when I was 8 years old. I helped her study. Lots of flash cards. For fun I’d grab one of her giant books and look up things in like testicular elephantiasis and smallpox. To her dismay I confiscated her anatomy and physiology book using it as my new coloring book. I call my kneecap a patella and my collar bone a clavicle. Fingers are digits, first through fifth. Things seep in when you are 8. In fact I think we should all go to college/learn a trade when we are 8. So this whole WebMD thing - I was a pioneer. I found no greater joy in life than looking up macabre illnesses and disorders.

In fact I skip right past WebMD in favor of medical journals, case studies, and research reports. And so the night before the EEG I did that. While we were there I sneaked a few strategically timed pictures that I thought I had the best chance to compare normal to abnormal readings with images of ones I had bookmarked the night before. I got home and I compared those. Soon enough I knew that while sleeping it definitely looked like there could be abnormal activity. So that sleep deprived night I went for another round of sleeplessness. If there was a time to see this for myself the time was now. I perched myself and my phone on the bed and watched this boy I have bemoaned for years as a restless sleeper sleep. It didn’t take long for me to video what I believed was "seizure activity." At that point I didn’t have any doubt what the EEG would say. But still I hoped. All those people who know somebody who has a kid . . .

Then the waiting started again. Waiting to get the results, to see the neurologist, for my doctors office to call me back. Waiting waiting waiting. My mind was like a violent game of pingpong ball. From knowing it would be normal to knowing it wouldn't. Feeling stupid for believing whatever I believed in the moment. Back and forth. 

Last Tuesday we went in for the results. The EEG was read by a neurologist who I have yet to meet. Activity during both sleep and wakefulness (wasn’t expecting that). Sharp waves, sleep spindles, diffuse slowing, spike and polyspike wave discharges. Focal and generalized epileptiform discharges. In all my research I only saw either focal or generalized. And I still don’t know what this means. Seizure activity surely.  I suppose the "cause" is still unconfirmed. Epilepsy is most likely. I won’t get into worst case scenarios. An MRI should soon confirm there aren’t any to concern myself with (we are still waiting to get that done). So if nothing else shows up it’s epilepsy. I am going with that. That’s what it is. On that I actually have no doubt. No violent games of pingpong there. Except for the one where the best case scenario sounds pretty terrible. But be grateful. Could be worse and we don't want that. 

I've learned lately that epilepsy is a vast disorder. And just absorbing that is a lot. There are some that go away. There are some that are persistent. Some that are progressive. And it is definitely not all like you see on tv. You might not even notice. Like me. And even with the latter it doesn't mean you'll be able to drive a car or go swimming or go on amusement park rides. 

Where we are right now is a frustrating place. Hello this is Luca’s mom. Hi, this is Christine, Luca’s mom. Hi, I am Luca’s mom. I have lots of questions. Questions that lead to more questions. They want to place him on medication already. I have lots of questions about that. Questions upon questions. It’s kind of like when all your blood goes to your vital organs. That’s where I am at. And I think that’s as it should be really. Part of me is embracing it hoping, you know, this is the worst part. 

And in the mean time, much to his delight, I've taken to calling him Tiger exclusively because I happened to come across a book this week that said a tiger represents determination, courage, and health. All the things I am trying to pull from the universe right now. All the things I believe my tiger encompasses. 

Photo Diary | Grain vs Noise |

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hello friends! That has to be one of my longer breaks. Life here has been busy and I've missed having time for this online world. Still doing all the things and, as of most recently, trying to figure out what's going on with my little Tiger. Add to that I've been deep in thoughts, or more so my thoughts have been like those squiggly lines that just float around in your eyes. Always there. Wondering, during my break from this space, and going to school, and dealing with my own personal journey in clearing the clutter in my life (in both literal and proverbial forms), and my business presence online and, of course, new events as they take shape, about where all of these things converge inside of myself. And where they belong outside of myself. The break, as I've mentioned, stemmed from feeling a bit conflicted in the balance of it all - where real life meets online life. Where online life meets real life. 

Honestly as much as I have wanted to think about these things, so far they've mostly come across as noise. Marketing. Sharing. Learning. Doing. Being. Which hats do I wear where? Do I wear all the hats? A couple of the hats? Does this hat go with that hat? The word "authentic" comes up a lot. The word authentic makes me want to scratch my eyes out. All of this, I know, is a theme that is not uncommon to bloggers or others who have an online presence I have found. Or anyone else for that matter. And, unfortunately this stream of consciousness here doesn't have any answers at the end. I am still thinking about it all. It's all playing out in the back of my mind. 

Over the past several weeks I've been following along on Lauren's journey in film, both through her blog, Still+Life, and through lots of email chit chat. It has made me think about film a lot too, which I have found, has really paralleled some of these more general thoughts that have been stirring around in my mind. "In digital photography grain is bad, but in film photography, we embrace our grainy shots. They add character and definition and life to our work" - Still+Life: Six Months In

When I first started photography it was the imperfect moments that captured me and that I wanted to capture. It was the beauty in these normal moments that get blown up and appreciated for all the beauty that lies within them. Simply because they are real. Moments that can easily go unnoticed, undervalued, and unappreciated. It never crossed my mind to take pictures on a white background with deliberately-randomized rose petals. Or to spend five minutes cleaning my house so I could take a few "candid" pictures of my kids (the moment is always over by the time I do anyway). Or to make my family wait for dinner so I can take it outside in the natural light to take photos of it while I toss a napkin 10 times over so it looks "natural." Not that I am against these things at all. Or that I even do most of them. Or that I won't do them. Because, for one, I like these images too, and in certain areas of my life, especially my work, it has its place. It's vital. However, the things that are truly beautiful in my life are not going to be found in a perfectly curated scene because perfectly curated scenes don't exist naturally in my world. And thus the meditation on hats and balance and convergence ensues.

These images aren't from a film camera, though, inspired by Lauren, I decided for the moment I wanted to take photos as though they were. With the same spirit I did when I first started photography in an effort to stop thinking about the grain of life as noise. Take all the hats off but one. Capture the real parts of our every day - the truly beautiful parts. 

And what real life looks like for us is a lot like this. I don't always make my bed in the morning. My children's faces are usually dirty and if you walked into my house you'd very likely find the glow of a screen illuminating those dirty faces. If you catch me in a moment of a real smile you'll see a double chin. I hate my double chin, but the truth is, the pictures where you can see it, they are also always secretly my favorites. Fisher's room will never, ever be pin-worthy. I am a sucker for buying my kids candy and that tattoo is still there because my child hadn't bathed in a week. My dining table is almost always covered in something. As is my floor. And the bathtub. And everything else that has a surface. The moments themselves are where the sharpness and the perfect light lie. Where life is. Where I have decided to be for now as these grainy thoughts continue to take shape. 

Tiger Boy

Friday, April 10, 2015

Oh, look, the world is still spinning. Flowers are blooming. Bloggers are blogging. Babies are cooing. Game of Thrones season 5 is starting! I have to admit I’ve been a little out of the loop as far as life outside of my narrow vision this week. After we got back from Seattle school started up again. I needed to hustle to get reacquainted with going to school (it’s amazing what even the smallest of breaks can do to your routine). I had my order for West Elm to complete, laundry to catch up on, pictures to edit, a complex emailing system to figure out regarding which teacher wants you to use which email address and what to say exactly in the subject line so your assignment/questions don’t get ignored, and the list went on. And just as all started to level off my world seemed to stop on Monday morning when I got a call from M+L’s school. Hi this is Debbie from the office. (ugh, my kids can’t possibly be sick again was what I was thinking). There was an incident on the playground, one of the teachers said Luca wasn’t responding to her and doesn’t seem like himself. He’s in the nurses office with . . . (and then she listed off several people including the principle). You need to come to the school right now. I won’t list the thousands of thoughts I was having during this phone call, but I can tell you I didn’t think anything sounded that bad. Though apparently my instincts were working because I called my mom (a nurse) on my way telling her, I might be calling her back with some questions and to answer her phone. 

When I got there I was greeted by a room full of very worried and shaken looking faces and a little Tiger curled in the chair in what appeared to be a semi-conscious state. I walked in and said “no he doesn’t seem himself. this isn’t normal,” trying to match the words from the secretary to what I was seeing (though from the phone call I had a more 'not listening' vision in my mind. this was not that). The student teacher, who was with him at recess, then went on to tell me what had happened. She said she saw him laying on top of the play structure (of course he just happened to be on top of the play structure), concerned she went over to him - he was rigid, his fists were clinched and his mouth was blue, she tried to get his attention but he just stared straight ahead. After about 20 seconds he coughed and seemed to ‘come to,’ but was still not very responsive. He was weak, unable to walk, so she carried him inside and they called me. 

She told me it looked like a seizure, she’s seen seizures, that’s what they often look like. The principle suggested I call our pediatrician. I picked him up and said we were going to the Emergency Department. Once in the car he started wailing about his head hurting. This was the first time I really panicked. If you have any medical knowledge of worse-case scenario medical crisis (or are a parent - parents are acutely aware of worst-case scenarios) you can imagine all the terrible thoughts running through my mind as to what could be happening there in my car. I debated calling 911 but didn’t want to wait so we drove to the ER. By the time we got there he had stopped complaining about his head and was using some words (slowly starting to feel less panic).  There were a couple hours in the ER he remained pretty out of it, his eye weren’t dilating, the IV prick didn’t stir him from sleep. But then he started to perk up. Then he started to seem perfectly fine. I asked him what happened at recess and he said “I didn’t get to go to recess today.” He has no memory of anything from that morning at all. Ask him how he is now and he says “good.”

And he is. He seems totally and completely "good." As you can see from these photos both my M+L (and their hair) are as fabulous as ever. You’d never know my little Tiger boy gave me the biggest fright of my life this week. Luca even went back to school yesterday to which he was welcomed with lots of happy and relieved faces from his kindergarten class. He might not have any memory of what happened but the other kids do. I realized this when one of his classmates came up to Luca with a picture he drew of him. It was a stick-figure Luca, with an arrow next to him indicating when he "fell" and then another stick-figure Luca with a wiggly line over his body. "Hey Luca, look I drew you a picture! This is you when you fell and this is when you were wiggling on the ground!" I am glad Luca was able to reassure them all. Caught up in my own fright I didn't even think how scary that must have been for his class!

The bigger issue at the moment is that I have come to the realization that Milo may be a bit of a hypochondriac. Monday at home while fussing over Luca, Milo is in the background saying “oooooh, my finger!” To which I say, “Milo, that (microscopic) “scrape,” if you must call it that, is three weeks old!” Then he’d say “oh my belly hurts. oh my eyes. oh my bones. ALL of my bones hurt!” He was practically feigning fainting spells in the background as Luca was convincing everyone that he’s “good!” and lamenting about missing recess. And unfortunately Milo’s diagnosis of hypochondria is all I can offer at this time. I still do not know what prompted Luca’s seizure, though, they are calling it a seizure. That part is clear. But all of the scary thoughts I had whilst driving him to the ER are not things I am (consciously) worrying about at this point. Still I am anxious to rule out, rule out, rule out. We are currently waiting an appointment with a pediatric neurologist so hopefully answers will come soon and, more importantly, hopefully life will be wonderfully, magically, and beautifully uneventful until then. We are definitely accepting any positive thoughts you'd like to put out into the universe for us. xo

Photo Diary | Up North Part 1 |

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


My, our spring break went by much too quickly! After hunkering down with spring cleaning for the better part of the break I decided we should have a little fun before the break was over and so we headed up north to Seattle for the weekend. Being a Portland native there's always been a bit of a comparison (rivalry?) between Portland and Seattle. The latter always beating out the former in one way or another. Seattle is bigger, they have Bill Gates, Amazon, the Seahawks, and Starbucks. They had Frazier, Sleepless in Seattle, and Nirvana. And being quite into the local music scene in my 1990's days of youth (i.e. the grunge era) somewhere in my teenage mind I decided that Seattle was totally overrated. And, with that, even though it's only a few hours a way and I have had both family and friends that live in the area, I could count on two hands the number of times I have gone into the city. And I can't even remember what decade it was the last time I did. So this time I did all the touristy things I balked at in my younger years: Pike Place, the gum wall, Fremont district, Capitol Hill, the Space Needle and so on. 

I have to admit the whole time I was there my mind was a ticker of comparisons between these two northwest cities (you can see a hipster-city showdown chart here). The first thing I thought on this visit is how picturesque Seattle is. Portland is beautiful but I do believe Seattle has us beat. The city from a distance (and I mean every single direction you could possibly be looking from) there is an amazing, breathtaking, I-can't-believe-this-exists view. Seattle is like Barbie and Portland is like her awkward, not-quite-fully-developed little sister Skipper. Seattle is blue and Portland is green. Seattle smells like salt water and Portland smells like the forest. Seattle feels older and grittier and more diverse (which I like). It also feels much busier, grayer, and a lot dirtier (which I don't like so much). Seattle is about the city and portland is about the neighborhoods. The one thing I will say they have in common (besides the rain people) is both cities are incredibly friendly, progressive, and proud. I did feel some pangs of jealousy while I was there, but in the end I suppose I am more stumptown than starbucks, more land than sea and I was happy to come home to all the parking spaces you could ever dream of. 

P.S. I'll be back with some of those amazing views later this week. 

Currently 06

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wouldn’t you now the rain came back just as spring arrived. But that’s been just fine with me because I have been eyeballs deep in spring cleaning and the feel of cool little droplets of rain running down my sweaty back as I take load after load of donations and garbage to the back of my car felt pretty good. I wanted/meant to post last week but one feels a little reclusive after staring down the 2 inches of dust on the top of their ceiling fan blades, finding an AOL disk tucked in a box of very miscellaneous papers, and a kitchen knife in the back of their closet (that last one is still concerning me. why? how? who?)

And I have to say all this cleaning has seriously kicked my ass and I think my left hand might actually be a little bit broken, but all in all it’s been extremely cathartic. I have organized everything. Well almost, I still have a few spots left. I pulled everything out from everywhere and those first few days were daunting as I sat dusty amongst precariously leaning towers of my shit. But as progress was made it all started to feel a bit therapeutic. 

Last night I started (and finished I might add) on my boxes of papers and journals. For years I have avoided reading my old papers, letters, poems, stories, and my never-ending streams of consciousness. Not wanting to revisit old ‘selves,’ old wounds, to dive head first into the past (because of course there’s no better time to write than those of melancholy or feeling conflicted). Worse I was afraid to find that some things might sound a little too familiar. And to be honest I found those too. I found writings I could still write today but instead of feeling ashamed I actually felt empowered in the changes I’ve been making here in real life. Like the change in and of itself of just facing these papers, reading them, accepting them. Accepting myself. Past and present. Then I tore up all the ones that I could still write (almost verbatim) today with no intentions, moving forward, of needing to write another. 

However, reading all of those writings what I realized most is that I miss writing. Even the writing I know I would have cringed at even a few months ago felt wonderful to read. I just was so happy for all the piles of paper, all the scribbles, all the attempts, all the thoughts and words. However profound or cringe-worthy I found them the most overwhelming feeling I was left with was my affection for  writing on paper. I miss the girl the who wrote on paper. The only thing I use paper and pencil for these days are lists. This must change. And spring, if I am not mistaken, is the season of change. Is it not?

Currently 05

Friday, March 13, 2015

Happy Friday (the 13th). I have to admit I do have my superstitions, like I try really hard to not step on cracks in the sidewalk, I knock on wood, and wish on falling stars. But Friday the 13th isn't one of them. So far it's in fact turning out to be a lucky day for us here with temperatures hitting the 70's. Although this relentless migraine I've been dealing with the last few days is making me wonder if I am getting too much sun? 

Planning / I am actually going to have a spring break myself for the first time in forever and not just one that is lived vicariously through my children's school schedule. I am finishing up my last project for this term and I think one of the things I've missed most about school is that feeling of looking forward to the breaks between terms. That sweet reprieve of nothingness. Even if there isn't such a thing as nothingness in my life, it sounds pretty good. I bought this book and this book and over the break I am going to dig even deeper in my closets for my annual spring cleaning ritual.  You can find me here next year, same time, same place, talking about the same thing. I am on a never-ending journey of achieving a minimalist lifestyle with a house full of boys, a dog, and a business ran out of my house.

Reading + LookingThis essay by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge. This photography series of photos that are 'too hard to keep'

Working / Last time I talked about my collaboration with West Elm I promised myself it would be the last time (for awhile at least, honestly I didn't think there'd be much more to say on it) but this week I got a re-order from them. And I have to say that getting an order from West Elm in the first place is exciting, but there is always the fear in the back of ones mind (mine) what if they don't sell? So, for me, I think getting another order from them (and so soon after the first was dropped off) is much more thrilling. So I will be busy working on that too over my upcoming "break."

Mothering / Just for a little update on my Milo he's totally fine and back to his Allday Everyday self. I realized this this week when I took him shopping and he went straight for a pair of cheetah leggings, a 'shine and sparkle' my little pony tee, and a Darth Vader toothbrush. I don't think Milo can do anything but Milo, and that's exactly as it should be. Also, thanks to everyone who pointed out how amazing his optimism is, you are right. 

Have a happy weekend! 

Images 1 | 2 | 3 | 4| 5 | 6
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

The Plumed Nest All rights reserved © Blog Milk - Powered by Blogger