Frida Kahlo and Friends

August 27th, 2011

Living at the bottom of the earth makes even my old neighbor—Mexico—feel like an exotic land far beyond golden horizons.

So what do we do? We drive ourselves over to Mexican Specialities on Saturday morning for taquitos.

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July 28th, 2011

I was warned I would feel out of place once back in the States on holiday, but I didn’t. To start, my grandpa’s truck is the same as I remember it.

Same goes for the view from my grandparents’ driveway. I could have taken this photo decades ago.

But the cafe that doubles everything you order—without telling you—is new. If I had known, the “One Egg” breakfast would have sufficed.

Too soon, we leave the heat of Northern Indiana and drive through the afternoon to the other set of grandparents, waiting for us at the cottage on Lake Michigan. This place is, in many ways, my purest instance of home. It has been there my entire life, and is nearly unchanged.

And the book? Printed 1967 and still good for a laugh.

My nail polish and tan, on the other hand. Fleeting.

Another year is marked, by our photos and toasts and shared melancholy over the knowledge that although our surroundings change little, we change immensely. We grow wise, and eat a second helping of birthday cake.

We stay up too late playing cards, and swapping music.

Then say goodbyes, and pack once again, this time to be welcomed by a muro of heat in California. Sangria helps.

We ride the giant slide at the Orange County fair, and beat the couple next to us to the finish line. I surmise they’re on a first date: she is wearing four-inch heels. At the fair.

The market animals seem energetic, peaking and mooing under the tent lighting. The rabbits are my favorites, but the chickens are persistent.

Even though I have no claim of shared genetics, I spend an afternoon with my “little sister” and dear friend. Spontaneously, we drive out of town to try our hand at antiquing, and then seek out air conditioning and tea.

On the morning of our flight home, we walk 3rd Street in Santa Monica to take in another bit of the California coastline to last another year.

And somehow, watching the sun start to set over a beach, a parking lot, and hundreds of cars seems fitting in farewell—the kind that is shared knowledge and familiarity, sunshine and steel.

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The Christchurch Earthquake

February 24th, 2011

My friend Jenny recently put to words the shock and sadness all of us are feeling after the earthquake in Christchurch.

As an emergency room nurse, I know Jenny would be on the front lines if she could be. Please check out her post here and consider donating to the Red Cross if you’d like to help with the response.

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The Year Of The New

January 23rd, 2011

The prospect of starting a bright, shiny new year never really left me impressed. The idea of buying a gold sequence dress to wear at a roof-top count-down party with a step-and-repeat wall and paparazzi always sounded fun, but never really came to fruition. And my resolutions always seemed to kick in mid-year after a new hair cut failed to satisfy my need for life change.

That’s why it caught me off guard when I felt something this year. Maybe it was standing on the dark beach in humid weather—trying to see fireworks—that struck me as familiar and celebratory. I guess being one of the first to see the new year tumbling through the world was part of it, too.

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An Award!

December 14th, 2010

What better to be greeted with after months of procrastinating?

Bianca of The Migrating Swans was kind enough to

1) read Eby
2) comment on Eby
3) grant Eby with an award

And there are rules: list 5 little-known facts about myself, then pass on the award to 5 others.

You’re really lucky because I’m pretty sure my 5 little-known facts are as good as what you read about me in the tabloids:

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And Other Excuses

December 6th, 2010

Blogging? I’ve been procrastinating.

Which actually means I’ve been pretty darn productive in other areas of life…

Showered almost every day.

Designed things.

Crossed a mountainy expanse in a 10-seater airplane.

Threw dinner parties and regular dinners.

Ironed sheets.

Acted as an interior design consultant.

Got my hair cut.

Fixed the shower head.

Decorated for Christmas.

Celebrated four birthdays.

Hiked a mountain.

Made four batches of homemade Bullseye (peppermint) bark.

Read more than ten books (some of them were written for children).

Panned for gold.

Hosted three sets of house guests.

Watched wild dolphins and penguins in the Tasman Sea.

Waved at my neighbors when they caught me snooping on their house remodel.

Washed my good-butt jeans.

Sat in the Christchurch airport.

Did battle with a couch repairman.

Packed lunches for Keith.

Kicked off my Pilates lessons.

Drank tea with an Indian antique dealer in the middle of his shop.

Made a brie, cranberry and ciabatta sandwich.

Recited the Thanksgiving story for a Kiwi.

Planted plants.

Dug through a recycling bin.

Toured Hobbiton.

Held a bottle for a lamb.

Sent cards home.

Hunted flies.

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108 Pieces of China

September 22nd, 2010

Several pieces of china can be seen in one of our home videos, arranged perfectly on my grandmother’s table, surrounded by family celebrating my dad’s 30-something birthday. I’m the preschooler sporting pajamas and hair wet from an after-dinner bath; without a thought about the china, or someday, an empty house on the other side of the world becoming my home.

A few weeks ago, I realized I should post a report-card for August. Or something.

I didn’t forget, I just decided to be complacent.

Life was kind of like a glass half-full of yuck. I think I had the whooping cough. I had a bad dream about finding a greeting card in my mailbox with all of the pretty words crossed out and nasty ones written in their place. Life was blah.

And then my furniture arrived, last Wednesday.

All I could manage was,


(said very softly and two octaves lower than usual, punctuated with a cough)

On moving day, I chose to wear my bright-white running shoes with jeans, which always makes me feel like 1) I’ve completely given up, or 2) I’m gearing up for a long day at Disneyland. After all, I was expecting Disneyland, including fireworks. This is what I’ve been waiting for. Hoping for. Dreaming about.

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I’m Expecting Souvenirs

August 30th, 2010

I’m sorry to keep dwelling on our empty house; it’s just that I thought I’d have my furniture by now. Instead, it has been delayed again. The transport company believes the ship will arrive in port by September 9, with delivery of the container to our home around September 12.

That’s 4 months from the day we sealed the doors of our container.

That’s 1/3 of a year living with 2 camping chairs, 2 folding tables, and one queen mattress.

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August 18th, 2010

I need to tell you something.

It’s not that I’ve been trying to hide anything. But some of you have no idea.

You know that image of me in your head? The one of me standing on a hill, overlooking the waters of the Pacific, perhaps wearing a wool fisherman’s sweater and fabulous boots?

Well, you also need to add in a few people standing there with me. One is obviously my husband, Keith, holding our pet lamb.

Nice touch with the lamb. I’m liking your mental images.

But you should also add in three more people behind us, probably working to refold a map and trying to figure out where they can get cell reception. They’re my family–parents and younger sister–and they have just moved to Auckland, as of last week.

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July Report Card

August 5th, 2010

I’d like to start sharing the things which go unseen, most likely while I’m puttering at home alone, wearing something comfy.

The mind just works better, and achieves more, when powered by elastic waistbands.

So, here it is, my self-assesment of last month. You’ll notice I haven’t included grades. That’s because in real life, you don’t get grades.


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