The whales beneath my duct-taped sneakers

I took a train, a bus, a ferry and a boat to reach the unpopulated British Columbia island I called home my eighteenth summer.

I spent that summer researching killer whales, a creature with which I’d fallen in love while taking a Marine Bio course. Most of the time I did so from the main research island, but I spent the last few weeks at an outpost atop a cliff.

acceptance

My view atop the cliff

I witnessed many wonderful things there, where I was able to occasionally spot a dorsal fin as I listened to whales squealing happily as they rubbed their bellies against pebbles nearby.

One particular moment stands out almost two decades later.

My cliff partners had hopped on a boat for an island party the night before. I insisted I wouldn’t go, despite abundant badgering. I was true to my word, too, which I celebrated by spending the night tossing and turning inside my tent, certain every rustling I heard outside was a bear or other feral creature intent on eating me. Even the scuttling of tiny mice sounded ominous alone in the deep dark of night there, but minute by eternal minute the night passed.

A fog rolled in over the Johnstone Strait while I tried to sleep. Read more…

The Pumping Pits

Let me tell you a little about two words that don’t belong together: “pumping” and “break.”

Ever wonder why it is nursing moms don’t leak all over the place when they’re not nursing their babies?

This has to do with something called “let-down.” When a baby begins nursing, her sucking motions combined with the sweet tiny, nearness of her trigger a surge of hormones in her mom. Those hormones signal to milk ducts that it’s time to drop the floodgates. Release the flood!

Luckily, a pump is just like a baby. I pick it up, cradle it while humming, and instantly feel the surge of lovey hormones that lets me know everything is exactly as it should be. Read more…

The FFF in forgetting

The cards I missed

Photo by Andrea C

I’d just picked up my wedding gown when I dropped off my car for servicing in late September 2013.

I meant to transfer the gown to my husband’s car, but couldn’t do so without first showing it to P, the mechanic who always seems to  help me when my car has troubles.

She loved my dress. She wished me a happy wedding and all the best for my baby-to-come, then only visible as the slightest belly bump.

Since we last parted ways, I’ve been wed and had a baby and celebrated my husband’s promotion to assisting directing and left my old job and started a new one. I’ve probably put at least 20,000 miles on my car, who treats me well though I let her languish in untidiness and without hubcap covers or driver side door handle.

All these big changes Read more…

One week

January 22, 2015 Comments off
Categories: Love, Music Tags: , ,

Doctor Nabisco & tainted tea

You know what I like in my food?

Food.

You know what I don’t like in my food?

Natural flavors.

In fact, I have terrible reactions to many of these so-called “natural” flavors, which are about as natural in this dimension as a giraffe making house with a mouse. Or all-Black sweeps at the Oscars.

Of course, I wasn’t thinking about any of that as my workday drew to a close. I was thinking about traffic, the contracts I’ll be working on tomorrow, the languages I’m studying while driving (“watashi-wa no entiendo” is a thing I’ve said) and how long it’ll take the fairly new carpet in my workplace to finish offgassing so I can breathe easy.

I was thinking about everything but ingredient-checking a cup of soothing chamomile tea. Read more…

Forever friends

I carried to South Korea a spiral-bound notebook with a silver dragonfly on its cover.

My friends had filled it with encouragement and recollections of shared memories meant to sustain me through lonely times.

The love behind their words has sustained me through so much more than my season in South Korea.

Last night I heard one of my sisters let herself into my house as I washed bottles.

My baby was asleep. My five-year-old was so immersed in Doc McStuffins that he barely noticed her arrival.

Amelia joined me in the kitchen. When I stepped away from the sink to make salad, she took over at the sink and started washing dishes. Read more…

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