i find myself having less and less time to sit and just write. for this blog. or for myself. emails sit in my inbox unresponded to, which drives the OCD vein in me crazy. also, ‘unresponded’ isn’t a word but i can’t think of the word to use that is the right word for this? is there even a word?
so in lieu of lots of words, here are a few snapshots that sum up some of the highlights from the past few days. it’s all good stuff – since i haven’t taken a photo of our broken garden sprinkler, the huge load of laundry that i’m ignoring, and phoenix in his car seat. let me pause for a minute and talk about this last situation because it’s a situation that is giving me some anxiety and i’ve scoured the depths of the internet for answers to no avail (i have, however, learned how to take stains out of microfiber – so the internet redeemed itself once again). the problem is phoenix HATES being in the car. hates in all caps doesn’t give the word the weight it deserves. underline it and circle it in neon highlighter. and then etch it into your arm with a dull blade. yeah, that is how serious his loathing is. as soon as we put him in his car seat he becomes the valedictorian of screaming. if you happened to roll up next to our car at a stop light you might actually think he’s being tortured. he scrunches his eyes tightly, balls his hands into little fists of rage and just yells with full face screamy screams. the only trick we’ve found is dev sitting in the backseat playing songs on his ukulele. this distracts him for trips less than 5 minutes (it also distracts the people in cars passing us). but if the trip is too long, or he is too hot, or the air just happens to be touching him from the wrong direction, then little phix lets out the most heart-wrenching, ear hurting screams that i’ve ever heard. needless to say, if we need to drive anywhere with him there had better be a really.good.reason.
lovely ash is helping us take care of phix while i’m at the office and you know what’s more fun than taking photos of my boy? taking photos of my boy with his fashionista nanny. she has totally inspired me to ditch my maternity leggings.
dev had his first father’s day!
so we recreated a photo of devon’s dad and him when he was a baby. it’s crazy that 30 years have passed between these two photos.
our drooly little boy found his toes. these have usurped his hands in terms of the focus of his intense fascination.
phoenix is now big enough for his high chair and he seems to like sitting at the ‘big kids’ table.
yesterday we woke up to the exciting news that Super Soul Sunday won an emmy! this is really exciting for SoulPancake and we are pumped about our future with the network. :)
my lovely friend kat recently sent me this link to a fantastic ad by coke – a collection of sweet moments caught on security cameras. and before you launch into a mental diatribe about the perils of corporate america (i get it – i wish it wasn’t a coke ad either), i still think the idea itself is fantastic. taking something that people usually associate with negativity and showing the positive side.
1. a whole site dedicated to tiny houses.
2. this man’s entire purpose is to bring happiness to others. (found via ashtastic)
3. beautiful light installations by bruce munro. these will be inspiration for our next SoulPancake street stunt for sure.
in other news, phix has scored the next best thing to a mamani – our sweet friend ashley has moved back to LA for the summer and is going to be helping us with soulpancake work and looking after phix each day.
she’s an absolute natural with him, and he’s so happy with her.
if you’ve been keeping up with the adventures of our little household, you know that my mum has been staying with us since about three weeks before phix was born. so, for as long as we’ve had a baby, we’ve had a ‘mamani’ in our house.
two hours ago she left to go back home to australia. and i have been a weepy mess ever since. if she was here, she would tell me to stop crying because she’d worry that it would affect my milk supply and that phix would sense my sadness and he’d have a difficult night’s sleep. because this is who my mama is. she is always thinking of others.
while she’s been here i’ve had the chance to observe her closely. after all, i’m learning to be a mama, so it’s like i’ve gotten to ‘job shadow’ someone who is pretty well-versed in this role. and to this day, i am still in awe of the way she interacts with the world, the relationships she fosters with friends with strangers alike, and her uncanny ability to see the beauty in every.little.thing. (i always tease her about how she smuggles rocks, shells, and plants from country to country. only my mama would see an entire universe in a pebble.)
my mum constantly strives to make other people’s lives a bit brighter. within days of her moving in she had planted flowers in our backyard, along with a little herb garden and tomato plants. she took pancakes over to our lonely neighbor, fixed all of dev’s favorite shirts that had worn thin and made a hammock for phoenix in our backyard. each morning, she would come into our bedroom and whisk phix away on a long walk so he could see “the doggies” just so dev and i could catch up on sleep for another two hours each morning. she made us every meal and quietly took note of all our likes and dislikes (extra brussels sprouts for me, none for dev), did all the dishes in our dishwasher-less house, took care of all the laundry and not one time did she make us feel like ANY of this was a burden. in fact, just the opposite, she makes it so clear that her happiness comes from taking care of those around her. chances are, that if you stepped inside our home in the past three months my mother will have called you darling, and tried to feed you.
here’s just the tiniest example of how my mum operates. every tuesday evening an elderly man walks up and down our street and goes through all the recycling bins looking for bottles. he wears gloves, but obviously it’s a dirty task. i imagine he is collecting these to take them to a recycling station and get the 5c returns on each one. after watching him do this one week, mamani decided she would separate out our bottles from the rest of our recycling so he didn’t have to forage through our bin (she sees such dignity and nobility in every.single.person). not only did she put all the bottles in a separate clean bag, but she waited for the man the following week, went outside to greet him and handed him the bag of bottles she’d collected. as you can imagine, his entire face lit up and he was so thankful. and so, this became their weekly routine…and of course, something that we need to continue.
mamani wove herself effortlessly into the fabric of our everyday-lives. as dev said tonight, “phoenix has never known this world without his mamani” and i’m so, so grateful that we all had this time together.
there are moments when i’m really scared about being a good mama, but i know i have been given the best example first hand.
i love you mum.
bleary eyed describes me well today. not teary. but a bit blurred. and a bit weary. so altogether bleary.
i want something to blame. like a babyyoutubechanneloprah. but it’s not due to any one thing. there are just a whole bunch of things that all need to happen right now. or yesterday. and i’m finding it difficult to figure out a way to do.it.all. or do even half of it.
i think i’ve mentioned that dev and i took a 10 week ‘bradley method’ labor/baby class to prepare for phoenix’s birth. yesterday we had a class reunion with the parents in our class and their little ones. getting all the babies to all stop fussing and sit (up) on the couch was a little harder than it anticipated. i was laughing so much all my photos turned out blurry. but they are still pretty damn cute.
hey babies, grow some necks. thanks.
i went to my first estate sale. it was fascinating and poignant and a great reminder of what is important. and what is not.
a 79 year old man up the street passed away in december and so his brother was selling all of his possessions. in part, it felt just like a typical yard sale - a lifetime of memories crammed into boxes labelled ‘dishes’ and ‘books’, splayed out on the front lawn. but because it was an actual estate sale, we were encouraged to walk through the house and go through drawers, shelves and cupboards to find things we might want to buy. dev found an atari console with games, controllers etc. and i picked up two polaroid land cameras, an original pan am tote bag, some bright blue serving spoons, and a mid-century gray enamel dining table with four chairs that need reupholstering.
i had such a sense of out-of-body-ness as i walked around the house. firstly, it feels intrusive. like i was spying on the intimate details of someone’s life. the brand of mouthwash they used, and how they had a whole box of unopened green tea. and for some reason that made me sad. the thought that they’d purchased it to drink, obviously, but never got around to it. but i also felt like i was being faced with my own mortality. i thought about all of my stuff. and how one day it would all belong to someone else. perhaps someone like me, looking through drawers and deciding what they liked and what they didn’t, and getting excited about a collection of analog cameras, and pissed off that you can no longer by film for them. and it got me thinking about the things we save for special occasions, and how each day is actually one of those occasions, because hey! you’re alive. what better day to pull out the earl grey creme tea that emily bought for me from chicago and use my prettiest mug.
we expend so many energies and resources accruing mere ‘stuff’. this experience was a good reminder that what i really want to keep and create are the moments that make for the best memories.
speaking of moments, one minute phoenix was a baby, and suddenly he became a little boy with deep blue eyes that i fall into on a daily basis.
i love the magic that is iphone-meets-instagram [you can find me with the username 'cozyhunter'], but i desperately want to go back to this magical patch of earth armed with one of my film cameras. IMAGINE the possibilities!
list of things i can’t wait to do with phoenix hugh. (in no particular order).
appreciate a great cup of coffee together.
swim in the ocean.
read his first story.
sleep in the fort he crafts out of furniture.
visit australia so he can meet his grandfather and uncle.
this weekend we have our baby class reunion, which means that all the parents-to-be have now given birth to their bundles of joy and we’re getting together for what i can only imagine as a circular conversation that begins and ends with: ‘how much is she/he sleeping? eating? pooping? napping?’ i’m so excited to see phix interact with little ones his age.
how to stress me out in five words: mamani leaves in five sleeps.
we have a fantastic sofa in our office that reminds me of mad men.
for a couple of years i lived in maine. it’s possibly the prettiest state to live in during the summer months – patches of lush green earth sweeping into romantic rocky coast lines. however, during the fall, but it starts getting pretty cold, and i remember winters there as a long dark passage where no matter how many layers i wore, i still found myself cold. in the morning, i had to account 15 extra minutes just to start my car, and de-ice the windows. i wore snowboots inside and my toes and fingertips were perpetually numb. and that lasts until, oh about may. it was there that i realized i have S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) which means that if i don’t get to frolic in regular bouts of sunshine my mood becomes pretty somber/apathetic. my doctor actually recommended i start taking anti-depressants, or go to a tanning bed. errr – what?!
in california i get all the sun one could want. seriously out of 365 days there are probably a grand total of 30 days when it is either raining or a bit too cold to want to spend much time outdoors. but there are still some weeks where i feel the familiar tug of sadness cascade down and lace my shoulders. and since it’s not sunshine deprivation, i think it might be the effects of N.A.D. yep, nature affective disorder that i need to consider. this article talks about how not spending enough time outdoors can take it’s toll on our physical, mental and emotional health. i’m a believer.
which leads me to this – a tree house restaurant in thailand that i need to frequent one day.
i have always had a bit of uneasiness when it comes to celebrating my birthday. interestingly, it’s not the getting old part that trips me up – i think it’s all the attention that makes me a bit nervous. it wasn’t really part of my family’s tradition to make a big deal out of birthdays (which is why one time i faked it just to get presents), and so i guess it always feels a bit ‘much’. i think it also has to do with expectations. trying not to have them. trying to live up to them. i felt the same way on mother’s day this year. i mean, i get it. it’s lovely to be celebrated as a mama. and i’m ALL for celebrating other mothers. i would by lying if i said i don’t love waking up to treats and thoughtful gestures…but honestly, i also met that day with a bit of anxiety. a feeling that i don’t want me/my role amplified. a sense that marking the day means i have to live up to something that i’m still messily figuring out how to do.
and don’t even get me started on valentines day ;)
in lieu of making big birthday plans this year i told dev i wanted to keep it simple. all i wanted was to go and get massages with my mama, and have family nature-time. and that’s what we did. and it was perfect. low key and serene. in the evening sweet dev threw together a little soirée in our backyard with a handful of close friends. and it all felt easy. fluid and manageable. and as the messages came in throughout the day via text and facebook, email and calls, i felt loved, and overall – grateful.
grateful for this amazing year i’ve had. grateful for my mother & father. grateful for my health. grateful for my incredible friends. grateful that day-by-day, i am figuring out how to metaphorically juggle a job i love while literally juggling a little boy i adore more than i ever knew was possible.
the sentimental part of me loves this idea of a memory bank. a little ceramic vessel that you can fill with things like concert ticket stubs and notes.
my mum made me paperweights – pretty smooth round pebbles encased in crochet. yes, my mum is magical.
such a simple and effective DIY idea:
presenting the camera of my dreams:
i think i need a ‘tinker house‘:
clever creative cat, jason hull, turns vintage cameras into night lights:
so we found a babbling brook and gazed up at big blue expansive skies. yes, right here in los angeles!
here’s to birthday adventures.
actually, scratch that. here’s to everyday adventures. here’s to packing up your car, partner-in-crime, and coffee, to find a tranquil place. a place where your soul feels lighter, and the air is cleaner. a spot that reminds you who you really are. i want to seek out more of these places and make them part of our family’s routine.
i’m think i might be a reformed extrovert. i adore people and i’ll always be fascinated by how we all ‘work’. why we do the things we do. how we approach the world and each other. the subtleties of human interactions are never lost on me. in fact, i consume them hungrily. i love sitting in airports and coffee shops and libraries and places where you can be a nobody amidst so many somebodies, and just watching. observing. taking.it.all.in.
but my thirst to be part of large crowds and big events has dissipated. i have grown to appreciate and enjoy my own company, and even crave it. i always believed more was in fact, merrier, but now find myself preferring intimate gatherings, one-on-one conversations, focused dialogue. the superficial chit chat i used to excel at engaging in, over music too loud, with people half-listening, is now tedious to me, and i’m exhausted just thinking about that scene. is this what happens when you get old?
this is perhaps why all i want for my birthday tomorrow is a trip to the angeles forest - i want to sit by the most cliché babbling brook that LA can provide, with my baby boy on my lap, my sweet husband by my side, and mamani enjoying the shade of a big tree, while we all drink iced chai.
i adore this tiny little ceramic dish that my dear friend leili made for phoenix. doesn’t it look like a treasure you’d find in the ocean?
i know i’m totally biased, but holymoly our baby is cute:
even when mamani dresses him in super awkward outfits like this:
hi baby boy! you are three months old today, and by my calculations this means you’ve been on this side of your womb world for a grand total of 90 days. i think that deserves celebrating. i could eat crème brûlée and in turn, you’d (sort of) be eating crème brûlée in a few hours. but alas, your dad and mamani are currently dieting which means there are NO treats in this house. mini-tangent: in an act of rebellion, i bought a container of coconut macaroons last night. and then came home and ate them all for dinner. you know, like a responsible adult. but my foray into the world of decadence back-lashed when you woke up at 3am on some kind of evil sugar high and refused to go back to sleep. in conclusion, no amount of macaroons taste as good as 3am sleep feels.
everyone told me that things would get easier once you hit the three month mark, and i’m happy to report that all those people were not the disillusioned giant liar-pants that i had suspected them to be. over the past couple of weeks a certain transformation did happen and you started sleeping better and busting out that juicy grin of yours more, and suddenly this whole parenting thing felt less like a mysterious, terrifying abyss that i was falling into and more like hey, i might be able to climb this mountain after all. and whoa, the view from up here is actually pretty awesome. even though my legs are tired and i need a snack.
so that’s progress!
i think it also took me these past 12 weeks to really internalize that i am not alone on some island for clumsy, weepy, woefully under-prepared parents. there are hundreds of us, thousands perhaps. all trying to figure it out day by day. i guess it’s just not really talked about as we stand bleary-eyed in line to get our decaf espresso because we are all so busy pretending that we have our crap together, and we don’t want to seem ungrateful or weak, and let’s face it, the general public doesn’t need to know the intimate details of the vomit-fest 2012 when our crap definitely wasn’t together. but over these past weeks i’ve gotten so many kind messages and emails that all echo the same sentiment of: i *get* what you’re going through. i’ve been there/i’m still there. and it’s OK. you will be OK.
so here i am phixy, on the other side of 12 weeks, madly in love with you and charmed by your every facial expression. i love watching you as you greedily explore your new world and absorb the tiniest details – the patterns the light makes on the walls, the texture of your blanket, the way the sun filters through the tree branches overhead as we take our afternoon walks. in turn, i see the world through your beautiful eyes and it becomes new to me too. i’ve experienced a lot in my three decades of life, but over three short months, you have been the one to teach me how to live in the moment and to fully appreciate the magic of right ‘now’.
i have a feeling this post might be a bit complainy, so to offset all of that, watch this adorable video of an elderly couple figuring out how to use their webcam. even though i’m anxious to always keep up with technology, i’m already struggling. siri refuses to complete any task i give her – i was proud of teaching her that devon is my husband but then it took me 30 minutes to convince her that ‘devon gundry SP’ and ‘dev’ are, in fact, the same person. and now every time i ask her to call my husband she condescendingly asks “which husband?” ugh. really siri? i don’t need your sass.
i really wanted to write phoenix a letter to mark his 12th week, but then like so many of my intentions recently, life got in the way. this life. this life where i sleep for two hour intervals throughout the night and phix wakes at 6am wanting to be entertained. i’m poor entertainment value at 6am. or let’s be honest, anytime before 10am. so he gets disgruntled with me and complains. his dad then takes over, and that keeps him happy for a few precious minutes while i close my eyes and pretend to sleep while pushing aside pointless jealousy of the pre-baby me that used to wake whenever i damn well pleased.
i always feel five steps behind these days. i used to pride myself on my multi-tasking skills. my ability to juggle numerous projects without breaking my stride. i had a voracious love for constant momentum and expansion and learning how to do something. and then figuring out how to do it even better. i’ve had my fair share of all-nighters and jumping into the deep end of a project and having to learn how to swim.
but this whole becoming a mother, literally overnight, has humbled me. left me disheveled and confused, wearing the same t-shirt for three days with the longest hair i’ve had in my life tumbled into a nest
on top of my head. when phix does finally nap i find myself doing a myriad of small tasks. wiping down countertops and sweeping the floor (again). i think i’m drawn to these tasks because they are finite. the counter is dirty and i clean it. and it’s done. i’ve accomplished SOMETHING. whereas with my work tasks, things like helping to build a production company and generate ideas for a full-blown tv series and be on my A-game when we meet with some of the most creative minds in the industry, feel so immense and all-consuming. they need my focus and attention, and can’t just be knocked out in between nursing and a diaper change.
and sometimes i feel like i’m doing a half-decent job. my baby is a plump 14 pounds now. his blue eyes twinkle and he charms strangers with his smiles. he is observant and attentive and there are *some* nights when he goes to sleep without too much fuss at 8pm and i feel like handing our team (mamani, dev and myself) gold medals for our fantastic effort.
but then i read about five-star moms that take their babies on daily adventures, picnics in the park, music classes and yoga, and i feel like a failure because we haven’t left our neighborhood in days. it doesn’t help that phix currently hates being in his car seat and cries from point a to point b. driving in LA can be stressful enough without a little human in the back seat screaming at you.
and here’s what our baby monitor looks like 90% of the time that phix is supposed to be napping:
things that i have loved lately:
1. rebecca woolf saying it better than i can.
2. a beautifully photographed blackberry goat cheese tart recipe.
3. this brilliant article about why no one should ever say they are ‘ready’ to have a baby.
in lieu of a letter here’s a quick list of phix’s major milestones:
1. he got cuter. i don’t really know how this happens. i mean, surely there is a cap on cuteness right? but he keeps exceeding it. one day it felt like i fell asleep with a squishy baby and then awoke to a bright eyed little boy. his smiles are so charming that they make me blush. i’m not kidding. i think it’s due to the fact that he bestows them very discerningly. he doesn’t just waltz around with a big grin on his face. in fact, most of the time he has a very serious i’m-studying-you (and you need a shower) look on his face. so when he does smiles at you, you feel like the most important person in the room.
2. he discovered his hands. and they have fast become his most favorite past-time. he is constantly cramming as many fingers as he can into his mouth and making loud slurping noises as if he is relishing every last morsel and needs us to be fully aware of just how.delicious.he.is.
3. he gave a girl a hickey. ok, so that sounds much worse than it is. our dear friend came to visit for the weekend and she helped put phix to sleep by rocking him in her arms. since she obviously couldn’t nurse him, resourceful phix took this opportunity to clamp his little mouth onto her bicep and fell asleep sucking on her arm – resulting in a pretty intense hickey. or four. i don’t really blame him though. this is what you get if you show up to my house with your limbs all nice and tanned from your sojourn in hawaii.
4. the indie singer songwriter channel on pandora has to be playing (loudly) for phix to fall asleep. do you know HOW MANY TIMES I’VE LISTENED TO JEFF BUCKLEY’S HALLELUJAH? too many times. that’s how many.
5. phix still loves water. and most mornings, we take showers together. is that controversial these days? i don’t care. there is nothing much more awesome than holding his chubby little body as we both bask in the streaming hot water. it’s safe to say that there is nothing in the world that smells better to me than my freshly showered baby with his long damp eyelashes.
appropriately, this quote found its way to me today:
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” ― Eckhart Tolle
one of the most amazing things about phoenix entering our lives has been watching devon grow and expand to embrace the role of papa-hood. if you know dev, then you know that he doesn’t really know how to do anything half-way. if i suggest we watch a half hour show before bed, dev wants to watch the entire season. i agree to buying one bag of chocolate nutty clusters from trader joes, and dev leaves the store armed with 7 different assorted treats. when he sets his mind on something he gives it his all, and his approach to being a dad is no different. he is 1000% involved, attentive, present and willing to do whatever it takes to be the best dad he can be. this is awesome on so many levels, which makes up for the times when it’s just plain annoying – like when he would pester me every.single.day of my pregnancy to make sure i was drinking enough water (out of glass bottles only!) and eating enough protein (i’ve never eaten more eggs than i have over the past year).
i’m not surprised by dev’s level of devotion to little phix, but i am somewhat taken back by just how fiercely overprotective he is of his little one. if you so much as *think* about coughing near phix, it is likely dev will kick you out of our home faster than you can say tuberculosis.
phix’s relationship to his dad is also heart-expanding. he definitely ‘knows’ his papa, and there are certain occasions when the only thing that will soothe his fussiness is dev holding him tightly while they sit in a a barely lit room listening to music together. sometimes i spy on them in this state with phix resting his head gently on his papa’s shoulder, and devon’s entire hand supporting his little back as he whisper-shouts “don’t worry phoenix. don’t worry. i love you. i am your best friend” over and over again.
and when i watch them during their ‘music time’ i feel such a surge of love for both of them that i fear my heart will break open. they are so achingly sweet and so evidently besotted with each other.
from the moment i met dev it was obvious to me that he was going to be a wonderful dad one day. and i was right. he is joyful, patient, generous, kind and loving. i once read this piece of advice about choosing a partner and it said “find a man who you would be happy for your future sons to grow up to be like”. i can say, without hesitation, that i would be so happy for phix to turn out just like his papa.
happy birthday my love!
so last night was, in two words, a nightmare. my mum and i contracted some kind of food poisoning bug and spent the entire night throwing up. taking turns in our one bathroom while dev kept an eye on phix while feeling pretty seedy himself. it was one of those nights that you wake up from utterly defeated. i’m trying to keep up my milk supply for phix so i’m now sipping ice water and craving one of those cheap red popsicles that we’d get as kids. i don’t even know what flavor they are. the ‘red’ flavor i guess.
and even though it would have made for an AMAZING blog post, i’m just SO grateful that the bug decided to wait till the evening to attack us from the inside out. imagine if it had decided to make its grand entrance during our meeting with O and her team. somehow, i think me in my hot pink dress throwing up in the wastebasket nonstop would have been just a little distracting/disturbing.
two of my most beloveds are going to be visiting us in LA this weekend and i’m super excited. i’ve been blessed with some phenomenal friends and spending time with them is a refueling like no other. #grateful
i don’t know if you saw this time magazine cover doing the rounds yesterday – there was a lot of heated debate about it. i read some articles about the controversy with some interest – after all i’m a breastfeeding mama and i’m curious about this subject. and then this morning i found this blog post that beautifully summed up my thoughts about the whole issue.
the folks at Artspace recently contacted me and asked if would spread the word about a Pinterest contest they’re hosting. it’s easy to enter – just complete these 5 easy steps & one grand prize winner will receive a $1,000 Artspace eGift card. awesomesauce.
(1) Follow Artspace on Pinterest.
(2) Create a Board and call it “Art I love”
(3) Go to Artspace.com and find at least five works of art that you love and pin them to your board. Include #artspacefaves in the description of each pin.
(4) Write one sentence in the board description that explains how art inspires you.
(5) Re-pin the Artful Pinterest Contest official pin to complete your entry.
Full terms and conditions here. HAPPY PINNING!
this. enough said:
1. our little trip to tennessee was lovely. dev got to be there for his younger brother’s graduation, and i got to squeeze some of my favorite people in the world. i will always have a soft spot in my heart for tennessee – it is the place where my heart was broken, mended, and given a second chance. the second we stepped off the plane we were greeted with the smell of BBQ wafting through the terminal and a band playing live country music. welcome to nashville YA’LL. phix was a total gem on the plane both there and back. as we approached our seats i could tell our seat neighbors were torn between thinking ‘oh no, screamy baby alert’ (!) and ‘well, at least he’s a cute one’. but he was SUCH a good baby. he slept the entire time, except for thirty minutes where he woke up to bat his eyelashes, smile at his grandma’s and cause the flight attendant’s ovaries to explode.
2. i have always loved the idea of taking children’s art and turning it into another sort of tangible form – like paintings, or photos. so when ashley sent me this link to a studio that creates toys modeled precisely from kid’s drawings, i was instantly a fan.
3. if you watch the soulpancake shorts on the oprah winfrey network, you already know that i’m a sucker for street stunts that leave you smiling. this is a good one :)
4. today we had an in-person meeting with oprah(!) about the future of soulpancake. and i can sum it up by saying that the future of soulpancake is so very bright and beautiful! the whole 1.5 hr meeting i tried really hard to be composed and coherent. but inside i was a messy jumble of nerves and excitement because well, it’s OPRAH. and i am sitting directly across from her and she is speaking to me and holding eye contact. it’s days like today when all the hard-work, and sacrifices, and striving for excellence, and all-nighters, and literal tears, all finally pay off. because there we are having a conversation with the queen of television about what a full length SoulPancake show could look like. and she is telling our team that what we do, is exactly why she created her network – to give people another way to explore the facets of our human, yet spiritual, experience in life. #whoa #whoa #whoa
5. meanwhile, i’m insanely smitten with a certain baby bear:
i must be doing a half decent job expressing my interests/loves/inspirations on my blog because i often get emails from readers with suggestions of other things i might like and 99% of the time they are correct. this link, sent to me by lea (hi lea!), is one of them.
check out these awesome installations in nature by cornelia konrad:
(this would be a very cool wedding ‘threshold’ of sorts)
TWO SMALL THINGS THAT IRK ME:
people that ‘sulk’ when they pose for a photo. you don’t look mysterious, or aloof, or hot. #youjustlookangry.
being required to send a fax.
HOW TO WOO ME:
1. suggest we go for a walk.
2. take me to where wide open expansive skies are.
3. laugh. a lot.
4. dispose of trash. even if it isn’t yours.
5. have a positive attitude. smart people can learn anything. but i don’t think a good attitude can be ‘taught’.
6. harness the power of great storytelling.
7. relish in the simple things. like fresh guacamole.
valentino fialdini has also wooed me with the ‘rooms’ that he created out of legos.
i love my books a bit too much to carve them up, but i have to admit, i really like these creations by thomas allen.
if’ you’ve ever lost a camera, you know how devastating it can be. that’s why this site is such a good idea. you can upload photos you’ve found on a stray camera in hopes that the owner of the camera (or someone who knows that person) sees them.
any mention of a polaroid camera usually makes my heart happy, however this story is exceptional. william miller buys a polaroid SX-70 and to his dismay it doesn’t work right BUT it creates amazing abstract art instead:
see more here.
also, a few readers of my blog have asked if i have an instagram account and i do! you can find me under the username: cozyhunter. be warned however, 9 out of 10 photos lately are of a certain chubby cheeked baby.
it is the 27th of april, which means that today you are TWO MONTHS OLD!
i usually refrain from using exclamation points but this statement deserves all caps and an exclamation point and perhaps even a flashmob. so i’ll get on that. oh you know, right after i’ve changed out of my uniform of maternity leggings and a t-shirt covered in spit-up stains that has morphed into a wide scoop neck because i just pull it down to feed you. not exactly satorialist approved.
it’s safe to say that you are the cutest two month old baby i have ever laid eyes on. i don’t want to place too much emphasis on your physical attributes every time i write you letters, because it’s temporary and we live in a world that places way too much importance on looks, but baby boy, you’re a stunner. dark flicky hair, indigo blue eyes, cheeks for days, and a certain smirk that some might say you’ve inherited from your mama.
last week i made you pose for your thank you email. (sidenote: i had planned to get beautiful letterpress cards printed, but that plan has gone on a hike along with the plan to attend yoga classes, and the plan to catch up on work emails. in fact, i imagine all these plans are now lounging about enjoying a picnic in the sun and laughing at my naivety.)
anyway, you were such an expert poser that it was hard to pick just one photo, so i went with this triptych approach:
and in response to your thank you email, you now have a stock pile of responses to read from friends and family that already love you so much. no pressure or anything, but your inbox awaits.
all your eating has paid off and you are now TWICE the weight you were when you were born, which means you are 12.5 pounds of cute. this makes you even more squeezable, however the multitasking i used to be able to do when i could nurse you with one arm while iphoning/tea drinking/eyebrow plucking with the other, is no longer possible. so basically i’m forced to focus on you and the cacaphony of sounds you make as you nurse – which are all pretty hilarious actually. there is one particular ‘snorting’ sound that makes your grandma laugh. i imagine it’s the same sound that those pigs that dig for elusive truffles make. and i mean that in the nicest possible way.
and while we’re on the subject of nursing – you now recognize when i have you in the horizontal-you-are-about-to-be-fed position and you get very eager to get started (this is why i just pull my tops down. you have ZERO patience for zippers and buttons and modest disrobing). as soon as you realize what’s about to happen your eyes get wild and you start shaking your head from side to side before lunging at me and clamping on. (this is probably far too detailed for 99% of the readers of this blog, but there you go. i’m also sure our mailman wishes he wasn’t privvy to all the nuances of breastfeeding either but our house just happens to have a lot of windows. sorry!) anyway, your papa calls this move of yours ‘the piranha’ because it really is quite a frenzied attack. we’ve tried to capture it on video, but since we’re not exactly national geographic camera ops, we can’t ever get it. you’re too fast and there’s only so much space between you and i, and once your papa’s giant orb of hair starts encroaching and you add an iPhone to the mix, i hit my limit.
watching your relationship with your papa is probably the most heart expanding thing i’ve ever experienced. he absolutely adores you. the moment he steps through the front door he starts yelling MY BOY, MY JOY! MY BOY, MY JOY! like a siren until he locates you in the house. when he does find you, his skin can’t contain his excitement and even if you are sleeping you will sense his energy in the room, and you’ll wake up. which just excites your papa even more. within moments he has you propped against the couch cushions while he plays you made-up songs on his guitar. and you watch him mesmerized as if you are his number one groupie. and my heart can barely handle the sweetness that surrounds a papa and his son.
last week mamani and i packed up your newborn outfits. i fingered the tiny sleeves and collars and couldn’t believe you were once so small. everything you’ve worn for the past two months fits into a small plastic package that once contained the fitted sheet for our bed (mamani’s resourcefulness means that no packet/container/box is ever thrown away as there is always another way it can be used). the package is now stored in our wardrobe awaiting baby number two or someone else’s newborn, or perhaps a day when i need a good cry because i miss my once-baby.
i aspire to be honest and vulnerable with you in these letters little phix. perhaps for no other reason than to one day remind you that i’m human, and flawed and fragile at times. i’m doing the best that i can but sometimes my best feels nowhere near enough. yesterday, for example you spent the entire day annoyed with the world. nothing soothed your nerves – not baths, or cuddles, or walks outside. we even gave you colic calm drops to no avail. even though you were bleary eyed with fatigue you refused to sleep with every ounce of fight in your body. so when your papa came home you grumbled in his arms as well and so he turned to me and asked why you were crying. his innocent question sliced through the remaining threads of sanity i was holding on to and i fell apart. i went into the bathroom, held my head in my hands and i cried.
i cried because you were uncomfortable and i couldn’t fix you. i cried because i miss my job and i cried because that makes me feel guilty. i cried because it doesn’t seem fair that the baby next door sleeps through the night. i cried because the shower needs to be cleaned. i cried because i haven’t had a decent cup of coffee in a year. and i cried because i realized that there are barely any photographs of the three of us as a family. but most of all, i cried because i was more tired than i have ever experienced in.my.entire.life.
when i finally resurfaced i had just enough strength to crawl into bed and that’s where i stayed while your papa and grandma entertained you and hugged and kissed your blues away. i pulled the covers over my head and tried to fall asleep, which you’d think would be easy when you’re so exhausted that even your eyelashes ache, but no. so instead, i checked my emails and saw a video someone had sent me of a baby having his first bath. and it was so beautiful, so serene and sweet, and i burst into tears all over again. tears of remorse that your first bath was not this experience, tears because the person bathing the baby was SO present and careful and attentive, and i felt like i’d been none of those things that day. tears because you will never be that tiny again, and i only get a certain amount of time with you and i don’t want to fail you in my small window of opportunity.
so that was yesterday. last night you slept for a stretch of six (count ‘em) hours(!) and today is a new day. you’re figuring out how to be a baby and i’m figuring out how to be a mama and ahead of us lies another million chances to get it right.
i can’t remember who it was that first mentioned the term ‘hidden agendas’ to me, but it basically refers to people who present one thing, when they actually feel/believe/want something else. it’s a little different to being hypocritical or superficial however, because at the core of it there lies a seedy longing to bring the other person down or to ‘take’ something from them (the ‘agenda’ part). i’m not sure if hidden agendas are a by-product of envy, or anger, or just deep insecurity. but regardless they are insidious and a barrier when it comes to establishing a healthy relationship. like most human interactions, i feel this as a sort of energy. and these days i find myself attuned to this kind of dishonesty more than ever before. i think my sensitivity has something to do with becoming a parent. suddenly i’ve been forced to place a huge amount of value and trust in my intuition, and as i have given myself license to do so, my intuition emits a pretty clear signal over the landscape of my heart/head.
i would say that i’ve spent many of my former days ‘people pleasing’. conflict makes me anxious and i prefer to know that everyone i interact with is happy. and not just happy in general, but moreover, happy with me. knowing that i’ve caused pain/hurt etc. bothers me. the kind of bothering that keeps me up at night. the kind of bothering that i can’t shake off with reasoning or hearing that “it’s their problem. not yours”. and i think it’s important to own that i myself have often operated from an approach that isn’t 100% honest just for the sake of “keeping the peace” and not making waves, and that oh-so-human desire to be liked. and the sad part is that my people pleasing approach didn’t really discriminate, so i smiled and hugged and tried to find common ground with people who i *knew* did not have my best interests at heart.
but then a shift happened. not overnight. but gradually. i started releasing the need to make sure i made everyone happy and as i did so, i started showing up to my relationships from a much more honest place. and yes, i still slip up. but i’m getting more conscious of the times i’m operating behind a facade and i’m actively trying to do better. i’m realizing that i can still love in abundance, and yet i don’t need to cultivate friendships with e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. especially not the people in my life who carry an arsenal of hidden agendas. the hard part for me has always been creating boundaries and sticking to them. but as dev and i create our family culture i find we have no time for energies that dissipate us or leech from our joy, creativity, and general excitement-at-being-alive.
so there’s that.
i want to also mention how thankful i am to have this little patch of cyberspace where i can share the things i’m dealing with. almost every other day, i receive an email from a reader of this little blog and though i don’t have the time to personally respond to every note, the messages do not go unread. i’m so touched to have a circle of friends (and also many strangers) who support and follow my journey – the good, the bad, and the screamy.
+ lost pet flyers. especially lost pet flyers in children’s handwriting.
+ bookstores closing.
+ fake flowers. fake plants. fake anythings.
+ the wetness of tear remnants on my baby’s eyelashes.
+ what was left unsaid.
+ weak hugs.
+ scant tea options.
+ dull company staff rooms where microwave dinners abound.
+ barren refrigerators.
+ deflated balloons.
+ airport goodbyes.
+ fluorescent lights.
+ empty playgrounds.
i’ve always loved lists. and now that my time in front of a screen is somewhat limited i think i will be writing more of them. one of the BEST list writers i know is Quddus. here and here are two of his. and here are a two others i liked:
RANDOM THINGS I FIND EMINENTLY INTERESTING AND READ ABOUT THEM ALL THE TIME ON WIKIPEDIA FOR NO REASON AT ALL, A LIST:
- chess grandmasters
- the Justices of the High Court of Australia
- spiders (freaking creepy)
- Bertrand Russel
- child geniuses, people who get perfect 1600s on the SATs, that kinda thing
THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T THINK WHEN YOU WERE 10 YOU’D EVER THINK EVER, A LIST:
(1) these shoes are uncomfortable as all hell but i look sexy as all hell in them (and taller too)
(2) leave me alone, i wanna stay in bed a bit longer
(3) grass stains are the most annoying to get out. (actually, cherries too)
(4) i like well made beds. they make sleep so… formal. like an invitation.
(5) i’m lonely. consequently, i think i’ll stream internet videos of other people having sex and hopefully just fall asleep quicker
(6) dude, i’ll call you back, i’m just watching the news
(7) sushi beats pizza.
(8) i have nobody i can talk to about this. this is my problem.
(9) maybe i should just get it terminated. it’s nothing, then life will go on. again. ish.
it’s not safe (because it can blind other drivers) but i still think this is an awesome helmet:
(thanks courtney craig for knowing me oh so well).
this toothpick holder is super kitschy but also kind of fantastic.
i feel like there is an invisible string tied directly between phix’s bottom lip and my heart, so when his lip quivers in sadness all i want to do is find a way to make it better. the responsibility of ‘making it all better’ weighs on me. sometimes it feels like a warm coat on a cold day. heavy and reassuring and ever-present. and other times i’m suffocated by the sheer bulk of it. i want to cast it aside and revel in a summer haze where i am only responsible for myself. like every other aspect of parenthood i am caught between wanting and un-wanting. i know that’s not a real word, but i don’t always have the real words these days.
i find myself thinking that i can’t wait until he’s older. and then the next moment i’m folding up his newborn outfits with tears in my eyes because he is growing far too quickly. even when he’s sleeping i’m divided. i’m so glad he’s finally asleep. i have my arms free. i can catch up on work. i can make our bed. but then i stare at his serene little face and i miss him so desperately that i want him to wake up just so i can hug him.
whoever thinks babies are boring has not met our phoenix hugh. he is passionate. attentive. wide-eyed and observant. he relishes warm water trickling on his back and he likes his feet to be held while he naps. when he graces you with his smile it feels like double-rainbows just exploded all over the room. his cries are loud. he knows what he wants. while his papa plays the guitar he listens and watches him with an intense gaze of concentration – dev’s captive audience of one. he mimics mamani’s facial expressions and his fussiness is appeased when she takes him outside to ‘see the birds’. he eats every meal as if it is his last. voraciously gulping faster than his little body can take it in and when he’s done and his head is too heavy for him to hold up, we laugh at his milk-drunk stupor.
we hosted an open house for the launch of our official soulpancake office last weekend. we served up custom made pancakes on the skillet and invited a lot of folks who are friends of SP. rainn gave a little welcome speech and a bunch of thank yous to people who have been a huge help in getting SP to where it is today.
it was a really fantastic event and we are all so excited to finally have a place to work out of that isn’t a car/coffeeshop/our bed. you can see some photos from the brunch here. as you’ll see we have most of the furniture installed and we are now putting the finishing touches on the decor and personalizing the space a bit more. i think it’s pretty awesome that all the art elements you see in the photos we created ourselves. i really love this piece that one of our web designers and dev built out of hot pink and white string at 4am the night before the event:
we also gave out copies of soulpancake’s 2012 reel and my mum sewed ‘cases’ for the dvds out of an old dictionary i had:
i’m now getting to the juncture where i need to figure out how i plan to divide my time between mamahood and my role with soulpancake. it has come as somewhat of a surprise to me that i really miss my work. in my absence, dev and shabs have forged on with all the demands of our rapidly-growing company, and although it has been wonderful having this time to focus on phix, there are some pretty insane opportunities on the horizon for soulpancake and i can’t imagine not being involved in them. i read most of the work emails that flurry into my inbox and try to sit in on conference calls, but it’s not quite the same. i guess it boils down to the fact that i want one foot in each world, and i’m not sure if that’s realistic.
future album art?
i’m sure you’ve seen this video doing the social media rounds. it was posted on my facebook wall by the lovely calla and not only is the story super heartwarming, but i also really appreciate the filmmaker’s visual style. there is SUCH an art to good storytelling in film…and i am instantly won over when cinematographers compose their shots carefully in order to make each scene look like a beautiful photograph.
watching this little film, i see a ‘caine’ in all of us who are diligently doing our ‘work’ (whatever that looks like), striving for excellence and offering our creations to the world with wide-eyed optimism. i love that this young child persevered and followed through with his passion project even without any customers, and how much care and thought he put into his inventions. i am inspired by his unbridled imagination and his dedication. and i was also struck by the beautiful simplicity of the message at its core. basically one person decided to unabashedly validate another person. and i think that’s why our hearts are touched. it is truly as simple as that.
and i find it a bit sad that it takes videos like this for us to be reminded of what is actually important…but i’m not sure that championing and upholding another person’s worth isn’t always top of our ‘to do’ lists. i feel like we are conditioned to place emphasis on ourselves and told to ‘stand out from the crowd’ by championing and upholding what we do and what we’ve accomplished. and while i think having a healthy sense of self worth is absolutely essential, i think that the pendulum has swung a little too far in that direction when we forget to applaud and lift up and serve those around us.
on a daily basis i watch as my mother selflessly takes care of every.single.household task so that i can focus entirely on phoenix, and there is no better example to me of how to give tirelessly without a single trace of self. she serves the people around her so joyfully, so innocently, so readily, without need for reward or praise or even acknowledgement. she is, for sure, one of my living heroes.
in the past few months i’ve found myself magnetized even more strongly towards projects and people who have that outward orientation, who walk the talk with their desire to better the world in both big and small ways. i want to be part of a culture that is supportive and engenders growth and since i believe we create our realities, i have found myself aligning with people that offer themselves without calculating give and take. and perhaps because i’m now a mama with even less time to dispense, i have started to gently release from my life, people who are wholly self-involved and have ulterior motives or false facades. instead i ask to be met with honesty, with heart, and without agenda. the people-pleaser in me is going to take a backseat, and my boundaries are going to be more resolved so that my energies can instead go into doing my part to validate all the ‘caine’s’ i encounter on a daily basis.
lately both you and i have been wearing some pretty awkward-looking ensembles. it seems that overnight you grew out of all of your newborn outfits, however you are not yet filling out your 0-3 month old threads either. and i’m sort of in the same boat. i’ve shed most of my pregnancy weight but i’m not back to my pre-you body. so we both live in this limbo land between sizes, and while you look adorable no matter what you’re wearing, i look like i need a stern talking to, because leggings are NOT pants, and furthermore, maternity leggings are NOT really leggings meant for non-pregnant people.
and since we’re on the topic of clothes, it was only a matter of time before you rocked a yellow headband. i’m surprised it wasn’t already programmed in your DNA to come out of the womb with one, but here you are with your proud papa styling not one, but TWO different yellow headbands that you received as gifts. #andsoitbegins
you are definitely an active little creature and one of your superhuman skills is your ability to escape out of even the most sophisticated swaddle. i wasn’t really familiar with swaddles/swaddling before you came along, but one of the first pieces of advice you get as a new parent is to wrap your baby up tightly – like a burrito. supposedly this reminds you of how you felt in the womb, and that is supposed to be comforting. the nurses at the hospital were masters in the art of swaddling and dev and i would watch in awe as they wrapped up your tiny body in a matter of seconds, even tucking in the extraneous fabric like you were a neat parcel ready for the mailing. so we followed suit, watched instructional videos and took swaddling seriously. however, what we didn’t anticipate were your incredible de-swaddling skills. to this day, no matter how tightly you’re wrapped, and how architecturally sound the swaddle is, you will figure out a way to escape from it. you insist that your arms be up by your head in a superman pose, and so within minutes, they are back up and waving around. which would be all well and good if they didn’t do such a splendid job at keeping.you.awake. and let me tell you phix, along with eating, and music time with papa, being awake seems to be your most favorite thing in the world.
after a few weeks of your houdini antics, i decided to go to the internet for help. (sidenote: the internet is simultaneously a new parents best friend and worst enemy. there are the wonderful aspects like when i read through a thread where other mama’s discuss an aspect of parenting that i’m being tested with, and i am so relieved to know i am not alone. and then there are the terrible aspects, when i look up some innocuous information, like whether babies can drink water, and next thing you know i’ve headed down a dark spiral of scary that almost always ends in “your baby might die”. i forgive the internet for its pitfalls however due to the legion of addictive apps on my iPhone (currently topping the charts is ‘draw something’) which help me stay awake while feeding you at 1 in the morning. and 3. and 5. and did i mention that you really like being awake?)
where was i? oh yes, the perils and pros of the interwebs informed me about a swaddle that uses velcro as a fastener. a few moments later i had ordered one and was excitedly anticipating the night that i would place you inside this cozy (let’s be honest here) straightjacket, and have you unable to wrangle your body out of it. but the internet was WRONG. you quickly figured out just the right technique of shuffling and wriggling and within minutes, you have unleashed your arms which you then wave about as if to say “take that stupid swaddle. i see your velcro. and i raise you two arms. and a WIDE AWAKE BABY!”
the other night your papa and i decided to go on a date to celebrate our 2 year wedding anniversary. it was the first time i’ve left you for a substantial period of time, but we armed your mamani with a bottle of breast-milk and while you slept we slipped out of the house. my initial emotion was exhilaration. i was free! it was just like the old days! but as soon as we started pulling out of our driveway i turned to your father and said quietly “i miss phoenix” and he gently applied the breaks and replied “yeah…me too”. we decided to forge ahead with our date but we spent the entire time talking about you. how adorable you are. how much you’ve grown. how excited we are for our future as a family. we stared at your pictures on our phones. we looked anxiously at the clock and wondered if you’d woken up. and when we finally couldn’t take it anymore we raced back to you. and when we saw you it felt like every special occasion all rolled into one. we snuggled with you on our bed and traced the outlines of your face and decided that being with you > everything else.
yesterday i went into our room just as you were waking from your nap. when your eyes found mine you looked up at me excitedly as if you’d been waiting for me your entire life. i want you to know that every time i see you i feel exactly the same way.
hello. yes, i’m still here. and although i would really like to blog more often my hands are a little preoccupied with a certain cuddly baby boy who smells better than oprah. and i know this because 1. i got to smell (and hug) oprah a few months ago, and 2. she smells amazing, but 3. baby phoenix scent still wins.
even when i do get a moment of time to myself there is so much i need to do. i mean, these persian/armenian eyebrows are not going to pluck themselves, and so my blog sits forlorn and unattended. which reminds me, HOW DO SINGLE PARENTS DO IT? they are my heroes. seriously. the whole ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ is not just a nice idea, it’s oh so very true. i need a village worth of people just to take turns swaying and shushing my child to sleep. which brings me to another point – the only people i can tolerate ‘hanging out’ with right now are those that do not treat our baby like some new piece of living room furniture, but rather, roll up their sleeves and ask how they can help. couch-sitters who want to discuss their failed work romances need not apply.
we are throwing a party for soulpancake. a pancake party. obviously. we are celebrating our lovely new office AND some hugely exciting prospects on the horizon. i can’t yet discuss the details, but chances are high that there will be a lot more soulpancakey goodness on a tv screen near you. i am excited. you know, as excited as you can be when you’re also entirely exhausted.
a few people have asked how we decided on the name phoenix hugh. well, besides how awesome it is that phoenix means a sacred, mythical fire bird, i think the other ‘deciding’ factor was this passage from the baha’i writings that dev and i fell in love with:
O Son of Spirit! Burst thy cage asunder, and even as the phoenix of love soar into the firmament of holiness. Renounce thyself and, filled with the spirit of mercy, abide in the realm of celestial sanctity.
his middle name, hugh, was devon’s grandfather’s name, and also dev’s middle name. and we felt it was a nice balance to phoenix.
when we first starting considering the name ‘phoenix’ i used to write it with my finger in the steam on the shower door. i would try various handwriting styles and consider how hard it would be to teach him how to spell it. for about two seconds i even considered ‘finix’. but that seemed a little too out there, even for a woman named golriz.
i think about all the times i traced phoenix’s name as i hold him in the shower. ‘tub time’ together is part our new routine. my mum brings him to me after i’ve gotten the water temperature just right and as the warm water trickles over his back he closes his eyes blissfully and relaxes his little body into my arms. and now i have a whole new definition for contentment.
dev’s favorite new saying in relation to phoenix is: ‘my boy, my joy!’ which is he prone to yell out excitedly whenever he sees his child. even at 3 am. even if we have guests sleeping in the next room. even if i’m desperately trying to put phoenix back to sleep with soothing hushed tones. you really need to hear it in person to get the full effect, but there is something about this phrase that is, in equal parts, endearing and annoying. luckily, the friends who have stayed with us the past few weeks and been been startled awake with dev’s middle-of-the-night MY BOY! MY JOY! anthem all see the humor in it. or they pretend to. and that’s what friends are for. :)
on a daily basis i fall into these beautiful eyes.