Shoe Sorrow 

Just discovered some sad news. Regarding my high heeled shoe collection. All my most beloved footwear: my gorgeous wedding heels, my grandmother’s heels from the 1950s and 60s, and my black and brown leather investment heels from my 20s. None of them fit. It’s like trying on Cinderella’s shoes. My feet are officially bigger now. Pregnancy , yoga, breastfeeding, barefoot maternity leave, ligament laxity, yoga toes, pregnancy. Happy feet. Big wide feet. Noooooooooo. Breathe. Deep breath. It’s okay to give myself some time and space to grieve. I’m dragging my feet but ultimately working towards accepting the truth. I went to yoga tonight and the lesson was “surrender”. Time to let go. 

Petitions Protests and Pins

Lake has shown early signs of being left leaning.

It has been six days since the election results came in. Six days of protests and six days of constant helicopters overhead in Seattle. I’m concerned for the stability of the economy and the safety of all our freedom as Trump names Reince Priebus his chief of staff and Stephen Bannon senior White House policy adviser. It seems he is choosing to let the Republicans play out their desired agenda while downplaying it’s importance to the people via the press and taking influence in the media from an ultra right wing perspective. For example the comment he made on the 60 minutes interview that aired yesterday about abortion. It struck me as cavelier when he said that women seeking abortive measures when Roe vs. Wade is overthrown (but relax, it won’t happen right away) will just need to travel to another state [where States Rights will presumably choose to protect it in some states]. It reminded me of the “No bread? Let them eat cake” comment that may have gotten Marie-Antoinette (wife of King Louis XVI) in hot water in 1789 France. I was moved to sign the petition calling on the Electoral College to consider casting their votes the way the popular vote did, for Hillary Clinton. 

I suppose I’ll also be seen as a delicate, out of touch, liberal elitist. I complain of the headache and phychological weariness the sound of constant helicopters overhead. Right away on Wednesday I found a safety pin and pinned it on Lake’s and my gear, the Baby Björn, as a sign of solidarity that we are a safe place for anyone feeling marginalized or experiencing violence. Then, immediately a slew of arguments came out against it. All the way from: that it is merely a meaningless token to assuage your privileged white guilt and if you want to send a meaningful message to use the pin to attach a large sign reading black lives matter, to: it’s too dangerous to wear the safety pin unless you’re willing to take an attack on another persons behalf. At any rate, we are still sporting the safety pin. I feel safe on Lake’s behalf, but there is a good point being made who is really going to notice it as I walk around my north Seattle neighborhoods?

So my safety pin should invoke in me a sense of fear and futility. Meanwhile I still have a headache from the helicopters. 

Yesterday on 60 minutes, Trump said of his volatile, and perhaps violence inspiring campaign personality

Well, sometimes you need a certain rhetoric to get people motivated. 

And then to both his supporters and his detractors regarding racial violence and protesters:

Stop it. I would say, stop it. Just don’t do it. I’m going to bring this country together. 

Peace Park with origami cranes for peace.
I can’t stop reading articles since the election results came in Tuesday hard and fast. I’m trying to understand and get oriented and stay informed. I want to hope for the best. 

I made a pilgrimage to nearby Peace Park. I’m trying to do face yoga to relax my face and mind and to let go of the tension. Lake remains a sweetheart with an easy smile. But how long of worried anxious mummy and ominous overhead rumbling before he begins to suffer too? He’s so innocent and good natured!

Triathlete Daddy and Superbaby

US Citizen

While the ultra-right celebrates, and the urban areas cry out in protest, the world holds its breath. Out of the shock, a spirit of collaboration painfully emerges.

Disheartened, but otherwise a ray of pure light

Tuesday Hillary Clinton won the popular vote (so far and counting) but conceded the election, Wednesday #notourpresident ignited, and today Donald J. Trump is cordially welcomed into the White House as our 45th president-elect. The nation is reeling from the quick succession of events. Many of us were deeply offended by Trump’s cavalier and disrespectful nature while on the campaign trail and did not see him as a legitimate executive branch head, the ultimate ambassador for the United States. He did not seem to represent our strong values of integrity, respect and inclusiveness that we hold dear to our origins as a nation of political and religious refugees. On the one hand, with this outcome that was predicted by political science models, we are humbly reminded of the pendulous nature of national executive branch which has a long history of swinging back and forth between periods of democratic progress and republican recovery. On the other hand, we are confronted with the seemingly antiquated system of the electoral college. The concept and practicality of the electoral college recalls the days of horse drawn carriages, where the maximum size of a county was determined by the furthest corner that could be reached within a one day’s horse ride to the county seat. More weight is afforded each state itself than the population as a whole, de-emphasizing the prevailing sentiments in the urban density of the coasts and favoring the less populated middle states. The results emphasize how we have let down our rural poor adrift in middle America. What makes America truly great is it’s free basic education, higher education opportunities, innovative health care, environmental beauty, richness of the resources and continuous influx of talented immigrants. It reminds me of our responsibility to respect, preserve and further, not shortsightedly diminish, demolish and regress.

Aggrieved citizen, an island of Blue in a sea of Red.

We, the VanLaanens, the Seattle, the West Coast, the urban USA, the educated middle class have misgivings, even as all signs of making nice and a smooth transition of power is underway. As charming as Donald Trump is, and as FDR-heralding-New Deal as his victory speech sounded, I feel cautious about how optimistic I can be about Trump’s presidency. I’m skeptical regarding whether he knows how to have the best interest of the environment in mind. Or our country’s social welfare over advancement of his own interest and the financial interests of his friends, other known-quantities-of-dubious-morality financial interests. I’m concerned that the older white under-educated American voter has been misguided into thinking Trump will provide them with a better way of life, when we will in all likelihood head into recession. I’m saddened we will not see the disillusioned and disenfranchised Trump supporters benefiting from Hillary Clinton’s presidential commitment to expanding access to free or affordable daycare, schools, healthcare and to becoming a world-leader in clean energy jobs. I had hoped environmental protection rather than degradation would be our way towards a better future, not by maintaining ignorance and accessing further fossil fuels via foreign wars and domestic plunder strategies. This election has illuminated our nation’s vulnerabilities, and is a call to action to turn the tide on poverty and ignorance in our own country.

Passport application process

Nonetheless, Mr. Trump is a skilled and charismatic individual. He speaks to his audience and he follows his goal with relentless energy. This he will bring to his presidency, and we will all benefit. As he was campaigning he had identified a very specific target, and I was not his audience . Now, we are all his audience and I think we will find that he is extremely cognizant of that and will comport himself accordingly. Furthermore, our country is fundamentally made up of our people and we are all ambassadors of the USA. Lake will soon be a US passport holder, and no, it’s not so we can emigrate, it’s so we can travel in a spirit of exploration, appreciation and cultural exchange!

Bright and Beautiful 

Autumnal wonderland of Greenlake Park, Seattle

Lately I’ve been reading All Things Bright and Beautiful by James Herriot. It’s a wholesome diversion from election anxiety. And what a gem! It’s the sequel to beloved All Things Great and Small, which I’m familiar with but hadn’t yet discovered. James Herriot is a country veterinarian for small and large animals and gets himself in and out of the best scrapes.  He has a charming way of recounting his patient adventures and coupled with his outlook on life, he cultivates a strong practice of gratitude. His style recalls another one of my all time favorite books Sailing Alone Around the World by Captain Joshua Slocum. They can both nonchalantly sum up some pretty extreme adventures and call it all in a day’s work!

Us, we had a pretty relaxing day walking around town, all things considered. We spent time in Gasworks Park, Fremont, Wallingford and Greenlake. We Lindsed around Greenlake in remarkable 21C weather. Autumn gorgeousness! All of the dangers are in my mind, nothing real like being crushed by bulls (Herriot) or whales (Slocum).

“You won’t believe it’s vegan” broccoli salad at Flying Apron in Fremont
Stretching out for a rest break after lunch, midway through our seven hour adventure
Tuesday, Bright and Beautiful, at Gasworks Park in Seattle

I love you Lake! You are such a joyful spirit. Thanks for keeping me grounded today.

Mon Cher

A perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you, mon cher! We enjoyed the balmy weather today for walking-errands wearing our matching French stripes. Now on the eve of this historic election, I turn to what soothes my soul of anxiety: family and phõ. 

Lake embodies such joie de vivre!
Lake’s personality is magnetic: Mr. Cat is powerless to resist an opportunity for co-napping!

Lake fell asleep so early with Daylight Savings that we had to switch to eat-in rather than eat-out phõ… we decided it tasted even better at home!
Mr. Silky says to wake him up when there’s good news. #imwithpurr

Bainbridge Birthday 

Lake loves a ferry ride! He’s a true Washingtonian. He’s a regular frequenter of the Washington State ferry system by now. Yesterday we look the bus then the light rail downtown to the ferry terminal. It was raining a deluge as we left our building so at the last minute, inspired by Lake’s rain suit, I ran back inside for my snow pants. I was so glad I did. I ended up being so cozy in the wind and the rain, we were able to go up on deck. Here we are reveling in the Seattle skyline from the Bainbridge Island ferry. 

The metro guy said he took us for Europeans. I couldn’t stop smiling. I think it was the snow pants.

We traveled out to Bainbridge Island for the weekend prompted by our nephew Benny’s third birthday. Auntie Kendra and her two boys are visiting from Ketchikan, enjoying the amenities of the lower 48. They come down at least once a year to stay for a few weeks with Grandma Julie and Grandpa Greg at their Bainbridge Island forest estate.

We had a lot of good times. Michael got to spend some cherished sister time. The grandparents, auntie, and cousins all got a good dose of charming Baby Lake. Benny was well fêted and we had a perfect three year old family birthday dinner of “soup and bread”, his favorite. 

Where’s Benny? Can you see? He’s three!

Family fun:

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​All the merriment really wore Lake out! So during nap time Michael and I took the opportunity for some beach and forest time around the Rolling Bay Area while Grandma watched over her little flock of sheep. And then all too soon the weekend draws to a close and we are back at home tucked into cozy beds there. Meanwhile some of us are now a whole year older. Congratulations Benjamin, thanks for including us. Congratulations to father as well who turned 71 today! Quite a slick accomplishment to fit into the span of a weekend! Steady on!

Lake sleeping peacefully without regard for daylight savings.

Zebras

This morning we were having a good time playing on the bed. I said

Today we are going to the zoo, Lake!

And he said 

B… b…. b….

in the sweetest way, like a baby bird peeping. And gave me a look that said it all (the zoo?!).


Then, (btw I’m so happy right now! I looooove you mummy),and looked like pure joy, but it sounded like this

[maybe a cat fight]


At the zoo today the stand out animals were definitely the zebras. Not only do they really stand out, and their coloring pops against the bright green of the grass, but they were also hilarious. One zebra took to herding the three or four resident ducks around the pond. 

It was fun to laugh about it with our neighbor Laura. A zebra kind of day. 

FOMO

For all you who have been reluctantly enjoying or avoiding my blog altogether for fear of missing out (FOMO), here’s one for you. I’d heard of cat diarrhea, and what a mess it could be, but I’d never experienced it personally until today. Mr. Cat was the perpetrator and Lake’s and my olfactories were the victims. Blech! I was the lucky one to get to clean it up!

Yes, this innocent one (shown here looking particularly innocent with friend Miranda)

So we did the only thing to do, we went outside into the rain to get some fresh air! Then when we returned from our walking errands a little damp, Lake did his happy dance. Thumper, Grandma Julie named it. 

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Okay cat diarrhea makes it a bit of a stretch (FOMOs can be glad it wasn’t them for once), but when you have the Thumper happy dance?!? It really does become A Perfect Day… I’m glad I spent it with you!

Lake Living

The lake was particularly quiet today. A fine example of a very fall day. Some more rain and even a sunbreak. Grandpa says now is the season the lake is returned to the waterfowl. The jet skiers, water skiers, wake boarders and recreational motor boaters are all staying in town on the weekends these days. There remain just a few lingering late season hard core retirees getting ready to winterize their cabins and prepare their water systems for freezing temperatures. 

Lake on the other hand, is still in the springtime of his development, rapidly growing and changing every day. Just this week he learned to really laugh and giggle. Today he couldn’t stop smiling!


And who could blame him? With all this great fresh air and plentiful grandparent time! And Nana walks! 

At the end of the sun break this late afternoon, which bled into dusk and last light, we nabbed a little hike up into the nearby McKinsey Conservancy. 


It’s a beautiful ridge walk around and above our end of the lake. We looped around and made it back to the beacon of a beachfront campfire Grandpa had built to welcome us home. We made it in without cougar sightings, only a few groups of deer and some coyotes’ scat. We settled down next to the fire and took our front row seats to the amphitheater of a lone bat swooping and watched as night fell as coyotes across the lake created our soundtrack. 

On Tinys

I recently read a treatment of the Tiny House movement by fellow blogger Mama Zed’s Homestead. It’s true, I’ve been a devotee of small for many years. There are a ton of advantages to the smaller homes… up to a point! I am currently in the process of refining my personal ethos on this. I’m thinking that for us, that point is on a continuum relative to the number of household members. 

I have been very happy for nine years in my one bedroom 550 ft2 urban condo… high ceilings, a view, lots of character, efficient to clean. Upon getting married even my husband and I are happy living here together for more than a year. Now, however, we have our five month old sleeping in his custom loft crib in the walk-in hall closet and there is no room for relatives to stay over.  For us, this has become our breakaway point. Throw in an au pair and some visiting friends or relatives and our new Tiny is 550 ft2 per family member. And a fenced backyard for the felines!

The new Tiny allows for room at the Inn: 2,650 ft2 of domestic bliss!
 

We will miss our great neighbors though! Nine years of living across the hall… we have sure been through a lot together.

Laura brings over soy ice cream sundae for afternoon tea

We visited our soon-to-be new home today to take some measurements and to spend some more time getting acquainted. It feels good to be there. Mary Durkan, our real estate agent, met us there; she is so awesome! She recounted her recent adventure coming back from Palm Springs with a humorous anecdote. It’s especially relevant given that today is Dia de los Muertos. She was bringing her mother’s ashes back home with her on the airplane and since the flight wasn’t very full, her mother got her own seat. Mary magnanimously gave her mother the window seat. Her mother always coveted that one, but couldn’t enjoy it on account of her bladder and requiring the aisle seat. What a gem you are Mary. And thank you for finding us our house!

Incidentally, we’ve been getting some record rains and the basement is happily still bone dry! Bye for now happy house! See you soon… keys in two weeks!