Friday, July 13, 2018

Fine

Today is Day 10 of my adventure in Ohio and you better believe I’m missing my dog. I’m not exactly worried about her - I know the rest of the family is perfectly capable of keeping Gracie happy and she’s been two weeks without me before. Still, I’ve been dreaming about her most nights and just feeling a tad bit lost without my mischievous red shadow at my side. 

So it was with a bit of melancholy that I radioed  in to my fourth born tonight and asked her for a report. “How is my dog?” I asked. 

Instead of a verbal response, I received this: 


A picture is often worth a thousand words but sometimes it needs to speak only one. 

Fine. 

My dog is doing just fine without me. All the same, I can’t wait to get home and see her soon. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Learning To Swim


Today’s pool dwellers reflected a lovely diversity of languages and skin tones. But yesterday’s family of long and lanky Norwegians was nowhere in sight. 

I was swimming along toward the shallow end of the pool when suddenly, he crashed into me. He was six or seven years old, given his missing front teeth, and the youngest of four siblings. His teen brothers were handsomely built, tall and athletic with remarkably long arms and legs, highly capable swimmers.The third-born sister was not far behind them, effortlessly employing snorkel, mask, and fins as she confidently plied the waters. 

In a flurry of thrashing limbs and spluttering splashes, the youngest disentangled himself from me and settled himself back on his feet, all the while gasping for air. Recognizing the fact that he had throughly body slammed me, he cheerfully explained, “I can’t steer yet!”

I tried to hide my smile because I know for a fact that fourth-borns appreciate being taken seriously. 

“You”ll get it figured out,” I said. “You’re almost there.”

“I know,” he replied with a sunny confidence. 

I stifled another smile. 

Then with a flip of his wet blonde head and a flash of red Hawaiian flowered swim trunks, he splashed back under the water and swam off. 

And I turned and headed back out to the deep end, grinning from ear to ear. 

Condado

If you are in Columbus, Ohio, and looking for an al fresco dining experience with some cutting edge hipster Mexican food, let me recommend Condado. I promise you will enjoy the cool aesthetic, the relaxed ambiance and the ridiculously delicious food. 

But. 

If you choose to order a blackberry margarita, the “Elote” queso and chips, and two “The Mantis” tacos, I guarantee that  you will be so full of southbof the border goodness that you will nearly burst. 

So by all means, some to Columbus and try some Condado tacos. But just don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Coming Home Again


My daughter brought her air plants to Ohio but had to leave all her potted babies at home; my sister-in-law graciously provided the first specimen to her new collection. 

Thirty plus years ago, my husband and I pulled up our midwestern tent stakes and moved across the country to Seattle. In doing so, we left our extended families several thousand miles behind and consigned ourselves to a life where visiting relatives was a both a rare luxury and an arduous journey. 

So imagine how mind-blowing it has been for me to find myself here in the Buckeye State, just two hours away from my husband’s sister and her family in Cleveland, and a mere forty-five minutes from his cousin in the central Ohio cornfields. 

My rental car and I had a busy weekend zooming around the state and dropping in on these relatives, just like most normal people do alll the time. The folks are glad to hear of my daughter’s new Buckeye status and are happy to help her however they can. 

I feel much better about leaving my second-born here in a place where our kinfolk are just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Though we will continue to anchor our family in our beloved Pacific Northwesr, in a way, this new adventure for my daughter feels like we are all coming home again. 

One Year Ago Today

It was exactly one year ago today that I opened my front door and this bonnie lass bounded into my life. 

Literally. 

She sprang through the doorway and flashed from room to room, exploring every corner upstairs and down. Eventually, she caught up with me and her foster mom, Kelly, on the back patio, and she ran another careful investigation of the back yard. 

I offered her a baby carrot. Eagerly she slipped it out of my hand, bit down once, and then spit the two pieces in a graceful arc across the bricks. 

Baby doesn’t like carrots. Point taken. 

After a half hour of visiting and plenty of assurances that we would love this crazy redhead forever, Kelly made her way to the door and slipped away. 

Our new dog noticed and immediately set up mourning for this human she had known just 24 hours. In a classic diversionary tactic, I clipped a leash to her collar and set off on a walk. 

I decided to stop by our Irish Setter loving neighbors (who in fact had steered Kelly and this orphaned dog in my direction) only to discover that Kelly had had the same idea. 

Oh dear. 

So we kept our visit short and soon headed off on our first walk together. 

My new walking buddy heeled like a champ. She was bouncy and full of frisk,and I was more sure than ever that I’d found a dream companion. 

Back home, however, the whining set up again. I’d never had a dog with separation anxiety before and honestly, it broke my heart. 

For lack of a better idea, I curled up on one end of the couch, patted the other end till my girl took the hint and claimed her place. 

Then we both fell sound asleep. 

I don’t recall how long we slept; 

At least thirty minutes. 

Not longer than an hour. 

But I know for sure that when we awoke, there was no more whining. At that exact moment, one year ago today, my new dog and I were bonded, and our new life together had officially begun. 

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Arriving In Ohio

“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.” -Laozi

^ Technically, this is a journey of somewhere around twenty four hundred miles, and it started with a single truck: a moving van packed full of my second-born’s worldly belongings headed east to Ohio. 

^ And for us, a red eye flight to Columbus and an early morning sky full of pale golden light and the promise of a hot midwestern summer day. 

^ We spent the first afternoon exploring shops in the neighborhood including an on-trend cold press juice shop called Zest. Their product was delicious but overpriced; I preferred the cool cave of their rest room. 

^ Our arrival coincided with the Fourth of July; we celebrated with a bag of Red Vines, some borrowed bug soray, and our sweatshirts spread out on the grassy lawn at New Albany High School for a small town fireworks show. 

^ Morning of the second day was equally as hot and steamy as the first. Towering thunderclouds rolled through the skies, offering the cooling promise of a drenching rain but refusing to break open. Sigh. 

^ Afternoon of the second day I spent poolside, or more accurately, inside the pool. I caught this photo in a rare moment of solitude; 99% of the time, this rectangle was packed with water-crazed kids and their obliging parents. So fun to warch all the younguns put their folks through all the time-honored jumping, throwing, and catching antics that families play in pools, and after putting in my fair share of such parental workouts, so relaxing to simply float and watch. 

^ Evening of the second day: after my daughter wrapped up her first day at work, we wandered through the shopping district and enjoyed the sights and sounds. Honestly, this place is like a retail Disneyland complete with shiny trolleys, vintage architecture, and loads of cutesy cobblestone streets.  

^ Pink hydrangeas blooming just outside our hotel door. Mhmm that’s what I like. 

^ Old Glory hanging here, there, and everywhere around town. Festive and fun and so quintessentially Midwestern. 

^ Dinner on the second day: two plates of Pad Thai at Norrhstar. Beautiful, delicious, though perhaps not entirely authentically Thai. But that’s okay because this journey was not meant to lead us to Asia. We set out for the heartland country of Ohio, and that is exactly where we hare arrived. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

The Woman Full Of Dreams

Once upon a time there was a young woman - barely older than a girl - who was full of dreams. 

She dreamed of a house full of children and a garden like a storybook with a pink rose that climbed all the way up the house to the upstairs bedroom. And she dreamed that one day, the children in that bedroom would lean out the window and cut fresh roses right off the bush, without even going outdoors.


So she planted the rose bush and watered it well. 

Years passed.

Children came and grew.

The rose bush grew too.


And now, many, many years later, the rose bush does indeed reach all the way up to that second story bedroom. And the girls who live there - definitely old enough to be young women - can indeed reach out and trim fresh pink roses from that very window.


And the woman full of dreams smiles.