The Write Sentiment

After Wee Willa came into the world, the three of us received oodles of mail.  Nearly everyday a new postal surprise made it’s way into the mail box.  More than the silly goodies that we got, more than the lot of new clothes for Willa to don, and more than the excitement of opening the mail box, I found delight in the stacks of outgoing mail I could then send!  Thank you cards, a lost art, shine a bright light of love in my heart.

I realize that thank you’s are left in the dust because the art was lost in the wash–perhaps no one writes thank you notes because of the multitude of multimedia notes!  I am grateful for my mother, she was enthused herself about thank you notes and the wonders of writing a card to a friend.  My mother was very prompt with her manners.  For my high school graduation she made it easy for me: she provided me with a list of friends and family (with their address and the gift they sent) and all the different thank you cards I could imagine.    As a result, every family and friend got a personalized note, within days of their gift!

It’s never too late!  A thank you letter is as exciting in the mail box promptly days following an event/gift/kindness as it is many months.

It’s simple!  Thank you’s come in all shapes and forms.  Sometimes I even tear a cool paper bag and write on the back/blank side to send in a colorful envelope.  Remember, it’s the content that counts.  Creativity in supplies illustrates your ability to think outside the card.

It’s personal.  Notes can be very personal, hand-written, crinkled, coffee-stained, perfumed, wax-sealed.  And in a few sentences, you can simply articulate why you are grateful.  Expand past the hallmark aisle and get personal.

It’s vintage.  Snail mail is lackluster in today’s technological society.  Electronic mail takes way to the Postal Service.  I think, secretly, everyone yearns for that vintage touch in their life.  Handwritten notes come from the days of yore.  Nothing is more antique than a thank you note in your mail box.

So, the next time you attend a dinner party, or go rock climbing out at a friend’s ranch, try writing a thank you note–signed, sealed, delivered–and won’t you be surprised at how good it feels!  Or will you?  What is the favorite note you’ve received?  Do you regularly write letters?  What are your tricks to writing letters?

What Sex Education Forgot

Ironically, just before Willa came to be, Cody and I thought it would be so cool to practice and master fertility awareness (as a method of birth control), by reading this book our friends Marisa and Jimmy let us borrow.  We cast it aside as the intensity of our job increased, and were in and out of town during training.  Our time together–bits of rapture and fleeting emotion filled with monumental connection–was passionate, to say the least.  Now that we are getting into a routine again, the book is once again on my bedside table, and my reading is more frequent!

I have found myself, since grade school, drawn to the very cool art of knowing my very unique body better than anyone else.  I vaguely remember sex education in 5th grade–a room filled with girls, Diane made a joke that we should just wear diapers instead of pads because everyone knows when a girl is on her “rag.”  I left with a sense of curiosity and feeling confused, still.  A friend’s older sister told her that she couldn’t wear tampons until she had sex.  Diane’s joke still sometimes lingers in the bathroom closet (she must have had a tormenting older brother).  Most of the girls I know start out very confused about their bodies and cycles and little is done to correct this misinformation.

I was one of my first friends to get my menstruation (age 11, at an amusement park, with my first crush).  Still, I felt fine about bleeding each month.  There weren’t many things that happened as rare as once a month.  The moon became full once a month.  We played Matt Ball (our favorite gym game) once a month.  I am glad I was among the first in my friend circle to lead the way with my period.  I was confident and collected.  I even wore tampons and helped some of my friends feel confident to wear theirs, too.

Looking back, I realize how much was missing from my sex education class in that lonely classroom filled self-curious girls.  In seventh or eighth grade my best friend and I re-wrote the words to the song Brass Monkey to say “we charged that funky monkey” as a cue to one another that we had “discharged” that day.  I know, I know, middle school girls are silly, and we were among the silliest, but no one taught us the meaning of our cervical fluids and how to read our body’s very deliberate signals.  Little did we know, but Mel and I were very in tune to our body’s ovulation calendar!  And how cool that we were sharing that information with each other (howbeit silly!).

Cody has really taken to measuring my temperature each morning (“I want to be a part of your kicking butt” he said “plus, it’s my responsibility, too”), I know, ladies, I know.  I have a renaissance man!  I’m in charge of charting my cervical fluid.  I quite like taking notice of what my body is doing.  I like even more the notion of knowing my body and knowing when I am fertile and knowing when I am infertile.  Therefore, I have a contraception that does not include a condom (wearing a raincoat while taking a shower), or taking hormonal charges each day!

In the name of education and experience, and the simple art of knowing my own body, I’m becoming more and more aware of my fertility.  Let’s chart our womanhood together!  What is your method of birth control or pregnancy achievment?  How do you feel during the time of menstruation (or guys: how do you feel during the ladies in your life’s menstruation)? Is there anything you wish you knew about your body but haven’t taken the time to learn?  What is your favorite part about your body and your cycle?

The Bus Dream

When I met Cody I told him about my school bus fantasy; and how several years ago I dreamed of running away in a school bus and driving across the lands, selling fried egg sandwiches (this may not be too far off, Cody loves my friend egg sandwiches!). He thought I was abstract and a little (a lot?) far out. I think he liked my radical streaks, to tell you the truth. But we curbed the bus idea for a while.

That is, until early last year with our growing daughter tottering about. Cody and I wanted to put roots down, but still weren’t sure where. He did some orchard work for a man named Leaf, who has a school bus that he still semi lives in! Cody said “I can see us doing this!” And to my complete dreamy desires, we found the perfect school bus on craigslist, only an hour away that very day!

We drove to Peteluma, CA, not far from Santa Cruz to check out the bus.  We loved it right away.  He checked out just perfect in the mechanic inspection.  We attempted to haggle, but the bus was so reasonably priced, we surrendered.  Then, Al gave us some gas money and a written agreement that he would return the bus if we weren’t happy after 30 days.

One Year Two Months

Willa and Kimchi

The baby business booms and looms over my head.  The newest and brightest toy now attaches to the handle of the overpriced plastic baby box carrier?  No, thank you.  Formula ads linger in every pediatrician office, leading me to believe that the formula companies are supplementing our doctors with monetary bait to recommend their fake food for our babies.  No, thank you.  I guess I’m not being coy; blatant and blunt in a time where subliminal messages are almost hypnosis, preying on the teetering self confidence of new mothers.  How dare you!  And better yet,  how dare we?  No plastic bottle can ever replace the magic milk that pours from my breasts made special for my baby, changing everyday in every way.  Let’s stand proud of our old fashioned ways, not shutter behind sterile, phobic doors.

Willa’s growth this week leaves me stunned.  She signs every few minutes “help” this or “more” that, “hurt” this, and “bird” and “cat” and  “dog” and “frog” and “music” and many others.  It’s been amazing to watch my daughter learn to screw on a cap while her Grammie says that she’s going to be an Engineer, or see her measure Gramps’ feet with the measuring tape.  She’s a real human playing with real human devices.  Who needs plastic toys?

A friend recently offered his discount at a wonderful store, in case we want to buy a baby carrier or new toys.  I politely declined, noting that we use the catch-all baby sling that I made by stitching two pieces of fabric together modeled after the moby wrap, and we have an old hand-me-down Ergo, which we LOVE.  Willa’s toys include the spoon or the stick nearest us.  He seemed both taken aback and inspired.  I hope we are inspiring a new model of parenting.  It is nearly free and just as fun!

Photo credit: Lindsey Royal Anderson

Dream Catcher

A few days ago, a friend inquired how I found myself to be in Alaska two years ago.  I laugh and smile because I love (love, LOVE) this story.  The pull began years ago.  Most specifically, in San Francisco, just after I found my darling and favorite apartment in the city, yet, just as my near-dream-job stopped working out so perfectly, the city I’d come to know and love in eight short months had finally decided to stop kicking me in the shins!  Life was golden!  But, still something was missing.  I found myself a zombie walking the beautiful streets.  That is, until late January came to find me sleeping in my darling apartment, dreaming of backpacking with at risk youth once again.

In the dream, Lefty

and Nana (one of my dearest friend’s grandmother),

both of whom passed away in 2009, came to show me something.  Lefty plays in the snow.  Nana whispers “get back to your mission”.

Upon waking, there was an immediate drive to search for a company that works with at-risk youth, in the wilderness, preferably up north.  Within minutes, I emailed Alaska Crossings with my resume and experience, had a phone interview the following day, and accepted the job offer the day after that.  One week later, found myself on a plane north to the future.

This grit that leads me to get out and catch my dreams (sometimes so spontaneous, to a fault) fills my heart to the brim with helium.  What do you do to follow your goals and dreams?  What is your latest fancy?  Have you a (reoccurring) dream that might be speaking volumes to your current life situation?