Sunday, May 31, 2009

In the Company of Wise and Wonderful Women

As I drove up the highway today, Lake Michigan on my right, and the city straight in front of me, I smiled to myself and thought, " How nice to receive an invitation to a party!" I think there is still this wonder of being included that has hung over from my high school days, when I would feel so special to be invited out with the "cool girls" from time to time. Anyway, I left the party today so grateful for this fortuitous chance to meet and mingle with such talented and thoughtful women. All of them are moms. All of them write about their experiences borne out of motherhood. And yet, they are so much more than that. Just listening to the readings today, ones that made my heart ache and my mouth laugh simultaneously, I really felt that I was in the company of women with such depth and creativity. From a comparison of the first day of high school to a Seraut painting, to the description of a moon that sipped on the sun and overflowed into startlight, to the minivan as staging area for an induction into crone-hood, I am inspired by these writers to dig deeper into myself, to nurture my creative spirit as I nurture my own children.

I love parties, but I always feel a little "buzzy" when I leave, (and that has nothing to do with the mimosas!) It seems to me a little like speed dating (although I think I was married long before that became popular.) There are all these people that I want to meet, want to talk to, hear their stories, and connect with, all within a 2-3 hour span. It's amazing how you can really come to care about another person, just from reading their prose over a year, whether you have met them once, twice, or not at all. We need to have a mommy blogger camp. One week of writing and conversation, out in the wilderness somewhere. (And definitely invite Virginia along. What a fantastic massage!)

In addition to the conversation blitzes, there is also food. Yummy food. And I am not one who is afraid to eat at a party. (I once worked for a very elegant woman who refused to eat at our donor parties. She was afraid of getting spinach stuck in her teeth, I guess.) I wanted to try everything - the cheese, crackers and nuts from Pastoral, the jam from the Jane Addams Hull House, and of course, the cheesecake from Eli's. The problem is, I really couldn't focus on my food as much as my foodie husband would have liked. I heard him whispering in my conscience, "Think about the food while you are tasting it. What flavors are present?" I just know the cheese was delicious, and that I need to make an exclusive trip to Pastoral and the Hull House to try more of what they offer. That is on my summer list of to-do's. Now, back to the party-goers.

The craziest part of the day? Walking in and meeting a woman I went to high-school with, 17 some years ago. I have horrible face-memory. (Recently, Mike and I went to a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow and some other guy. I leaned over to Mike and whispered, too loudly, "Who is that guy??" I got a glare and a quiet answer, "That's Joaquin Phoenix, Liz.") Of course! It felt the same as I was introduced to Melanie, and I smiled, no idea that she already knew who I was. But as soon as Melanie started talking, the years dropped away and I recognized the girl I had spent 3 years of high school with. Now, I can't wait to get to know her as an adult. Crazy, small world!

Driving home, I realized how strange it felt to be out without my girls. They are such a part of me, and are usually with me, almost like two extra appendages. It was good to get away, to celebrate woman-hood and not just mommy-hood. But it also felt wonderful walking in the door to a chorus of "Mama! Did you miss us?"

Monday, May 18, 2009

Nourit's First Haircut

I finally decided to end the battle for barrettes and have Nourit's hair cut. Just a little bit. In the front.

Before, sitting in the barber's chair (aka, Amber's kitchen stool.)

After, with the same expression. That didn't go away with the chopped locks.

I Love Hyde Park (and Paris) in the Springtime

There is an abundance of things to do in Hyde Park once Spring arrives. This weekend seemed like the unofficial beginning of Spring here. Not only did the sun come out after the deluge we received on Friday, but all the green events seemed to take place as well. We attended the Hyde Park Plant Sale for the first time in 6 years of living here, welcomed the opening of the 61st Street Market, chatted with our gardening neighbors at our community garden party, and grabbed a cup of tea at Backstory in the middle of it all.

The thing I love most is running into friends and neighbors at these events. While milling around the market, we ran into our neighbors and one of Nourit's best little friends. We then made an impromptu trip with them to campus to attend a carnival - stuffing ourselves with free hotdogs, ice-cream, pretzels and cotton candy, before letting the children loose in the jumping castle. (Note: this is immediately after reveling in the organic-y, local goodness of Backstory and the farmer's market!) Later, we all hung out with a bunch of neighbors and friends in the backyard and grilled together - a perfect ending to a perfect weekend day.

In spite of the random shootings, I really do love 61st Street!