Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Delta Queen

i am in love with the california delta.
right here, snaking out of sacramento and through what is lovingly called a "thousand miles of waterways" we have the largest estuary on the pacific coast. one of a few inverted river deltas in the world. five rivers including the sacramento and san joaquin rivers converge to create a lush world of water and levees and agriculture.

this area haunts me. i have a watery soul; maybe i was a river queen in a previous life, or a huck finnish vagabond on a wooden raft sleeping on forgotten islands amid vines and brambles. when i come to the delta i feel the diversity and beauty and strangeness of california's landscape, how many different places and souls and stories are here. suddenly i feel like i am in the south and at any moment an old rusty paddlewheel steamboat will come a-rollin up the river.

in the delta, everything is old and rusty and wooden. 
there are weather-beaten bait shacks with peeling old signs. 
there are lemon trees and creeping vines growing in empty plots between aged buildings.
there are pigeons roosting in open windows, junkyards guarded by billygoats, oranges plopping to the ground.

and everywhere signs of verdant life. for better or for worse, long ago workers struggled to build levees here and create one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the world where farmers grow walnuts, pears, sugarbeets, asparagus, grapes, corn, alfalfa, rice, and tomatoes in the rich peat soil.  

but mostly what i love are the tiny historic towns and a slow way of life that hearkens to older, gentler times. 
everything surrounded by ancient live oaks, guarded by swooping herons and hawks in the treetops.

i stopped to ask directions of a handsome fisherman in rubber boots. he had a well worn face and kindly told me, "it's very easy to get turned around here." and then proceeded to give me perfect directions through the delta, but when it came to the antioch bridge, well after that i'd better stop and ask someone else. this waterland was his territory, it was clear.
the winding levee roads take you back and forth across the rivers, turning right and left, crossing bridges, flying along down levees edged by wildflower-strewn embankments, surrounded by water, toward the sun and away, until you have no idea which direction is which.

where was i headed, you might ask?
my best-friend-from-high-school, kim, who lives in discovery bay, threw a big party for her little guy's first birthday.
and guess which aunty showed up almost two hours late?! sorry blake! this is what i walked in on....

but at least i finally got to see her new home and to try one of kim's scrumptious cupcakes! she has gotten very crafty in her mothering years; everything at the party was star-themed, and she made the white-chocolate stars on top from scratch. 

oldies but goodies! no matter how much time passes and how different we are, we will always love each other and have a ball together.

i left with enough time to meander back through the delta at sunset.
(everyone thinks i'm crazy to take this route but it really doesn't take much longer and it is soooo much more scenic!)

a kayaker even went peacefully by.
the guys across the river were out on their boat-decks and saw me taking pictures and i didn't even mind.

this next beautiful old building is in the sleepy town of isleton, home of the hugest crawdad fest this side of the mississippi. (sounds a little too disgusting for me, but i still like the vibe)

 i met tammy newell, the Delta Gourmet, who runs this adorable little thrift store and makes the most gorgeous willow garden furniture. 

she also eagerly gives out samples of her handmade organic and locally inspired treats. i got to taste some jalapeno herbed spread on celery sticks and a bitter chocolate cookie edged in pistachio nuts. she also gave me a raspberry chocolate brownie for the road and a cup of her homemade organic iced tea.
bridges everywhere criss cross the delta. sometimes they are up for boats to pass through. boats of all kind travel the delta as well; i saw speedboats and houseboats and rickety little wooden rowboats, my favorite. fisherman packing up their gear, fishermen arriving in rusty trucks with fresh bait to catch the sunset nibblers. i saw fish jumping out in the water and raptors diving from telephone poles all the way down to the water's edge.

this house is for sale!
maybe i can have a lighthouse look-out after all :)

farewell to these marshy lands and labyrinthine channels, presided over by the ghosts of old steamboats, not to mention miners and chinese laborers and native tribes who all struggled for life and land and freedom. 
i feel old and ghostly myself traipsing your meandering shores.
and lit up by an ethereal pink february light.

my digs:
embroidered tunic: this shop on etsy
green dress underneath (i liked the strip of orange at the hem): gift from anne!
blue leggings: this shop on etsy
mocs: thrifted a couple years back
necklaces: from a peddler a few years ago

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Heather's Pregnancy Compendium: Part 1

welcome to everything i know so far about pregnancy...my own that is :)
i am 20 weeks right now and have been surprised by how many varied and new experiences one encounters when pregnant. 
i don't know if this is enhanced by the fact that i tried for so long and for so long desired to be pregnant, but i am constantly aware of every tiny shifting detail of this incredible experience, standing by and taking notes!
so here are some tidbits of what's gone on for me so far....

1. age: 
i am 35 years old and this is my first pregnancy ( i am a primagravida!) well let's be more specific shall we; i got pregnant while 34 and turned 35 a few weeks later. technically i think i am considered a mother of advanced maternal age although kindly, when i first met with my obgyn and nurse they reassured me that they do not put me in this category and that they see mothers much older than me all the time. even though it doesn't seem to worry anyone else, it is often on my mind. when i hear about wonderful, healthy, non complicated pregnancies and childbirths i immediately wonder, well how old was the mother? i mean, optimum fertility is at 18 years old! lord knows what nature really intended! i have heard that younger mothers have easier childbirths but really...i like to think that it all really just relates to how healthy you are and your state of mind and being during that crucial experience. 
despite being a little older than a lot of other moms, one thing i have always had going for me is plenty of energy. i have always felt younger than my years, and you're as young as you feel right?! so anyway, although age plays a small part in aspects of my pregnancy, overall it is just a fact and not a worry.

2. anxiety: 
here age might play a role! because i am a little older and i tried to get pregnant for six years.... i mean do you know how many months passed when i tried not to get my hopes up? when i saw my flow begin yet again and i tried to stay positive, to welcome it, to carry on with my womanness with greatest of care and acceptance and love.
to suddenly become pregnant after so many moons of NOT being pregnant, the attachment i felt immediately was visceral and every action now tinged with a new resolve and a mighty tenor.
so yes, i've been anxious like i mentioned in my very first pregnancy post. this was much worse during the first trimester and also, each time i have been to the doctor my worries have been assuaged.
to deal with anxieties, i try not to go online too much. it is overwhelming the amount of information you can find about every tiny detail of pregnancy and often you can't be sure of your sources. so i have tried to stick to a few books so far, and some solicited advice from trusted friends. mostly my methods for dealing with anxiety come down to two things:
1. journalling
2. breathing
i have found these both to be immensely helpful in pregnancy. when i had fears or doubts or panics early in my pregnancy i would lay down or do a yoga pose like child's pose and just breathe deep into my belly. i really felt like my breath itself was swirling around that new being and providing energy and life and love. sometimes i would think a word, and breathe it into and out of my belly, like "love" or "healthy" or "grow." it might sound cheesy but it works wonders on keeping me calm and sometimes it helps me fall asleep. and i have always been a journaller, of both mundane and more profound topics. so i grab my little blank book and i spill it all out on paper so that my spirit can breathe too.

3. beer:
you all know i love to drink. usually it's wine in the winter, beer in the summer, but a little of all of it all in between. i love seasonal ales and IPAs and sometimes a nice hemp ale. remember this farmhouse ale? sometimes i dream about that flavor. so long before i got pregnant, i used to worry about this. when my friend kim told me, "you just don't crave it" i hardly believed her. i thought, yeah right, you're just obviously not me! well i am surprised and happy to say she was actually right. i do still enjoy the smell of wine and beer, even did during the first trimester, but a switch must have turned in my brain because i never crave a sip. now i am not a super hardcore pregnant woman and if indeed a sip becomes desirable, especially as the sun shines brightly, i just might indulge.

i think that's enough for the beginning of my compendium. as you can see i'm rather long winded on these subjects!  i'll be back next monday with body and boobs, cats, clothes, and coffee.  
meanwhile i'm off to go read and enjoy feeling these tiny movements i'm feeling inside me :)
goodnight sweethearts.

all photos taken by darin except i took the one of him walking away and the one of the little wooden house. 
we were on a country walk and i was doing some etsy stuff.
my outfit was 100% thrifted except the jewelry which was gifted :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

motherly love and sunshine

that last post was making me HOT just looking at it, 
had to get another up quick!
it is at least 70 degrees here every day now, so bare legs all the way baby.

19 weeks pregnant!
this was me last friday, when all my family began to arrive for grandma's party.
i wore this to meet up with my mom and matt and amy and kids at In-n-Out for a fun sunny lunch.
it was a gorgeous day and i felt cute.
i also had a meeting with my dietician.......yeah......right after In-n-Out fries.
it went great though and she actually commended me on my healthy blood sugar levels even after i have treats.

this is one of those dresses that kinda disguises the belly, even though that wasn't my intention.  a poofy skirted, slightly high waisted dress that i probably won't be able to wear much longer, because even the high part of my waist is growing ;)

i'm using my adorable new kitty bag from missa which is the perfect size for journal and a couple books.
the sweet little grey shrug was a gift from amber, and the bracelet is an antique from my mom that came down from her grandmother.

later that night, i went to a baby shower for amy's sister (that's sister of my sister-in-law, got it?) and my sweet friend, dolly. you may remember her from her gorgeous bohemian wedding in the spring. actually, she called this a "mother's blessing" and it was all about womanhood and togetherness and the incredible ability to grow new life.

(sorry for the blurry pic but she's just so cute!)

amy is self-admittedly crazy for babies. this one is their little niece holly, born right before christmas, and amy would not put her down all night! also she is wearing a vintage blouse i gifted her, which makes me proud :)

even little bella has that motherly glow.
truly, she has such a kind and nurturing soul, is nice to all the kids at school even the underdogs; she's a peacemaker and a giver. this is a family with a very strong mothering gene.

we took turns lighting candles and sharing names and stories of our own moms.

dolly's best friend diana applied pretty freehand henna tattoos.

we each brought a bead that reminded us of some aspect of motherhood. i brought turquoise, queen of the desert and emblematic of me, my own journey. i also brought a jade scarab beetle bead, which the ancient egyptians believed symbolized good luck and rebirth.
baby love keeps right on loving...

merry gave amy a painted henna heart on her arm. i got to witness these girls have a severe laugh attack too.
there are six sisters in this family (plus many sisters-in-law) and they get delightfully goofy when they get together. i was thinking about how lucky and glad i am that each of my three brothers has partnered up with the most wonderful women that i can truly connect with from the very depths of my heart. built in friends and family for life, such rich beauty!

dolly with her besties, mackenzie and diana.
just look at that radiant belly! 

two blossoming mamas.

So tomorrow i am going to try to post the first post of my series: Heather's Pregnancy Compendium, Part 1.
i decided to do a series of posts by topic, in ABC order, starting with these: age, anxiety, beer, boobs, cats, and coffee. just a few of the things i've grappled with or had thoughts about since i've been pregnant.
any ideas for topics, let me know in the comments!

my sunshiney outfit:
dress: F21 couple years ago on clearance
grey shrug: gift from amber
cat bag: gift from missa
moonstone triangle necklace: gift from mom
peacock feather earrings: christmas gift from dad
bracelet: antique family heirloom
silver flats: thrifted a couple years back