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There’s a Lighthouse

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We tumbled into the Snarfler and rode, on a very wet day (6/29), to the coast. Because it’s a 45 minute drive. If you’ve lived landlocked, you understand: Go to the beach because you can.

sweetly attending the crazy lady in character

Elizabeth at 58 out of 111 stairs

this is where we sing "Candle on the Water"

vertigo inducing setting

Smurfs!

Dedicated to those lost at sea

Make a Joyful Noise

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There are 3 friends in the other room, I can hear their laughter through two closed doors. I can feel their joy and their love, too. This Summer marks their 13th, 17th and 15th Years of Existence, they’re working diligently to make it count, together. With lots of talking, which inevitably results in bouts of raucous laughter.  In my mind, I can see their faces, contorted in ecstatic spasm as they gasp for breath.

Last night, this show was mostly on-the-road and about-town; tonight’s is joyfully at home. This is far more amazing than anyone warned me :)

Hey, what happened to my kid?

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Last week (in my head) or 1999 (in reality)

Last week (in reality!)

Death Day, 10 years on

It’s been a long and sudden 10 years since Mitch’s Death. Luckily, we quickly adopted a tradition of celebration and memory to mark each year’s passing. We’ve done Disneyland and Gigglebee’s and Chuck E. Cheese and movies and laughter… This year Hayden and I marked the day, first, with sushi

California Rollin’

Where Hayden reenacted his first hickey experience

cup suck love

and I snapped his picture, over and over

too squinty
too much hand
…almost!

until I finally caught him smiling ♥

A Smile Worth Waiting For

We later celebrated with Mitch Soup and lots of stories for our good friends ♥
We are both really looking forward to Disneyland, soon!

 

Holy Day Traditions

The time is upon us, as it always happens, to begin the rituals that bring us joy in the darkness.

Our cycle of memorial begins each year with Thanksgiving. It was 10 years ago we celebrated Mitch’s last Thanksgiving with his mother visiting from Cali. Loud laughter, that’s what I really remember because that’s what people heard when we were around. Joy overflowed and washed away our thoughts of possible futures, keeping us firmly in our Very Happy Right Now.

Daddy’s SO funny!

As was the Way of Mitch ♥ This holiday has since been one filled with a deep desire to celebrate and an equally deep desire to hide from any and all thought of it.
This year we’re celebrating with a few of those who understand my conundrum, with those who perhaps find themselves in one quite similar to my own. A place where laughter and tears shall flow as freely as the hugs and conversations. I want to start the Signing of the Tablecloth tradition; I want to light a candle for those we can no longer see with our eyes, only feel with our hearts; I want to leave a place at the table, ready for that unexpected Thanksgiving Guest to feel most welcome. And then I shall go home and cry and nap.
Then, I find it’s worthy to pick myself up for a drive through the Pepsi Christmas Light Display!! My most favorite kitschy Christmas thing to do in Corvallis. I shall go often and gleefully!
On Friday, there is the Downtown Holiday Parade. For which I shall dress warmly, bring a thermos and a blankey and take a gazillion pictures. Elvis just might show up again!
Mitch died on the First Sunday of Advent and you shall find me at the Catholic Mass that day; possibly giggling through my tears. We joked that Mitch waited for the church to be decorated with all it’s holyday finery before holding his funeral in the otherwise unadorned sanctuary.

Rise and Shine
Hannah Singing for Daddy

I may consider raising our tree on this day, though we’ve traditionally waited until Mitch’s actual Death Day, December 3.
Disneyland is calling ♥ I love, love, love to celebrate Mitch at Disneyland. It was one big trip he wanted to take with the kids, to share a bit of his joyful childhood with them. Instead, it’s the refuge we seek in mourning him, in remembering him.
Often.

What to do after 2 funerals for Daddy...

(we shall heed this call soon enough, we’ve many things worthy of a Disneyland celebration in our lives ♥)

Hannah + Funeral Cake
Hayden + Funeral Cake

This year, as the 10th Anniversary of Mitch’s Death, I’m looking for something Mitch-in-Oregon to inspire new heartfelt tradition. Whatever else, I hope the day includes some skee-ball & beer, laughter & children, and the ever important: Cake.
And adorning of the tree! I love adorning the tree! Our Angel Eeyore shall be placed in honor of Mitch, atop the tree. (Purchased on the above photographed trip to Disneyland) And the new ornaments I want to get to celebrate our 10 most Amazing years Since and Because of Mitch ♥

This season also marks the beginning of a New Moon circle of Women. I am eternally grateful to begin this ritual in step with the potential overwhelm of holyday rituals.

All the while, in the in between moments, I shall be creating the gifts we are exchanging this year.

For me, the real beginning of what is commonly called The Christmas Season is our Solstice Spiral tradition. On December 21, the longest dark of the year, I welcome you to join with me in Renewing Your Light & Ringing the Bells to Welcome Back the Sun ♥
I love to deliver little gifts on this night, thinking historically how these wee bits of joy would bring lightness to those who felt the dip in spirits that accompanies the dark time of the wheel. This is why I give gifts at all, actually.

I do the full-on Christmas decorating, a big ol’ tree, lots of lights, cheesy santas everywhere you look! I love all that is joyful and happy about ANY holiday, especially one that covers such a large part of the American Calendar. ANY excuse for people to look upon one another with an extra bit of kindness and compassion (me included!) is a good and wonderful thing in My World ♥
Pajamas have now become a Christmas Eve gift tradition. So we all look cute with our stockings the next day. Santa’s gifts are under the tree on Christmas Morn & the stockings have a stash of chocolate buried inside. Most Christmas Days are low-key, hang-out affairs. I’m thinking a ginomous feast is in order this year and shall be taking steps to see it happen. I love how life works that way ♥

I keep the trees and decorations up & the music playing as long as the people in my life will let me! Most often, I make it until January 6, the Day of Epiphany (those who want to keep Christ in Christmas? Gift exchange in the name of Jesus comes from the traditional gifts presented by the Magi, in January, FYI) the official ending of the Christmas Season in Diana’s World ♥

love the lights!

I’ve a few weeks respite then, before we reach the 12.5 years of life for Hayden and 14.5 years of parenting for me and 5 years without Hannah benchmarks, this February ♥ I’ll have the perfect Joyful Mournful Celebratory rituals ready for then, too. It’s what I do.

 

When Eli Lives Here

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We’ll do this a lot

The Sunnyside Up Experience

The Beach. It’s what we do.

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Lost Creek Beach, specifically. Hayden and Eli took the Rabbit Hole. Neither look very happy about it.

Out the Rabbit Hole

I don’t think he believed me when I warned him how cold it is. Even out of the wind in Underland.

Take a Jedi to the Beach

Even Hayden was tempted into the beautiful sunlight by the view

AAAAaaaaAAAAAaaaaahhhhhHHHHH the SUN!

…the view Eli had to capture for himself.

Eli takes a picture

I’s so happy to have my E-i ♥

One Happy Mama!

And then he got caught, and it reminded me of that one time when he pretended to be stuck and he called for help. I was delayed by looking for my camera. He reposed for that picture, so he reposed for this one, too!

Stuck in Underland

Meanwhile, Hayden showed off his Underland prowess by running ahead

Follow me!

Back on the beach, I collected all kinds of cool stuff & took their pictures. Here’s one of the many situations I came up with.

my little dude is showing his collection of stuff to his crab friend

While Hayden made sand sculpture & Eli watched us (the beach does that to people… inspires quiet watching…)

Hayden’s Sand Mound

No trek to the beach is complete without a stop at the South Beach Fish Co & a kiss with their fish!

Fish Kisser

Let’s go again, SOON!

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