- Ted & Debbie (Photographers)
Bags packed for Miami, clothes, cameras, and computer sitting in the sun porch. An espresso made in the dark kitchen. I walk upstairs, hug and kiss my four sleeping boys and whisper a different version of “I love you and be good.” into each of their ears.
This happens every time I work our website. I spend hours in front of the computer digging deep through hard drives and boxes of Polaroids, saving jpegs to my desktop in an attempt to make sense and order of all these images. Finally, after placing them in a category called “Lifestyle” on our website, I’m done. Afterwords, my computer desktop a sea of jpegs and tiff files, I walk away from this mess feeling satisfied that a tiny bit of my world Â (our Lifestyle category) is in order.
I take this notion of ordering with me as open up my wallet and pay for an espresso. When I was younger I used to put all the dollar bills in my wallet in an orderly manner, faces going the same way, heads up in monetary order starting with George Washington and working my way up. My wallet is now a mess. There’s no order, bills not folded but shoved between credit cards, business cards and rapidly fading soy based ink receipts. The term “paperless” comes to me. I pay for the coffee with a five dollar bill. Abe Lincoln’s face staring blankly off into space- anywhere except directly into the eyes of it’s beholder.
Back home I’m spreading Blue Castello cheese onto a baguette. Lately, I’ve been making baguettes instead of round loaves of bread. The perfect circle replaced by my “grotesquely shaped” (as Sam described them in his food blog) logs. While admittedly a bit misshapen they have a crispy texture, taste great and are extremely popular with the boys.
Blue cheese has got to be one of the only things we eat with mold on it. Think about it, anything else that has acquired this fungus and decay in the refrigerator or pantry we label gross or gone bad and gets thrown out immediately.
We have these small white hand towels from Ikea that we use in the downstairs bathroom. We keep the clean ones hanging from a Shaker peg next to the sink. The dirty ones are thrown into a canvas clothes pin bag hanging next to the clean ones. It’s a system that usually ends up with an empty peg alongside an overflowing basket of dirty towels. There’s usually a stack of clean towels piled up on top of the dryer across from the sink. Lately what I’ve been doing is with every towel I use to dry my hands I replace it with three clean ones back on the peg.
Our friend Teresita brought us bundles of beautiful persimmons and apples from northern California.Â Debbie’s pressure cooker has been going non- stop, turning out delicious persimmon pudding after persimmon pudding as holiday presents. I’m keeping a steady course of a loaf of bread a day and too many espressos while visions of home made sausage and biscotti haunt (in a good way) my mind.
It’s quiet. Debbie just left to pick up kids from school. The pressure cooking is taking a breather. I’m washing a few dishes watching the soap make a winter spiral on a cast iron pan. I sometimes like to imagine myself having a more monastic way of life, sipping tea, illuminating scriptures, enjoying a bowl of rice and communicating with the creators by a silent transcendental hot line but think that might get really boring.
While Minnesotans are wondering why snow is pouring through the roof of their indoorÂ football stadium I’m sitting down to an espresso wondering what kind of surfboard to put on the roof of my car. Shortboard? Longboard? Shortboard? Longboard?
Sam and Henry have tennis matches so, with temperatures reaching the upper 70′s here in Santa Monica it’s time to dress Theo, Ollie and Simon in black neoprene and hit the beach for the 3rd straight day.
Waves are small and fun but the water is a chilly 57 degrees. Simon, who is 4 years old puts on a size 8 spring suit which fits him not like a glove but like a full wetsuit and we are good to go. Our destination is Bay St. While Simon busies himself catching sand crabs I’m able to sneak in the water and catch a few waves.
Ollie, who is all skin and bones, gets cold real fast in the water and decides to get out and bury himself in the warm sand.
The beach is crowded with people taking advantage of the unseasonably warm weather. Kids whose parents didn’t bring swimsuits are stripped down to their underwear and are running in and out of the water. They end up on the beach shivering under towels, wrapped up tightly by their moms and dads warm embraces. They got that look on their faces of living in the moment. “I want to run in the water.”, “I’m cold.”, “I’m comfortable.”
Watching Theo in the water getting the hang of surfing on my brothers old surfboard I start to think about the water and waves. The sun is just beginning its downward afternoon path. I think about how far I can walk without getting wet. Simon is making a sand angel and Ollie is still trapping sand crabs. My only regret is that I don’t have my ukulele with me to practice Christmas songs.
With promises of tacos and Santa hats intertwined with shivering jaws and blue shrivelled fingers it’s easy to get the boys to leave the beach.
We leave a trail of sand in our Volvo and Tacos por Favor. It’s bean and cheese burritos for the lads while I get an al pastor and a chorizo and cheese taco. We wash it all down with Mexican Cokes as we head back to the car.
We are parked on the 14th street overpass spanning to 10 Freeway. Like me, the kids are mesmerized by the cars heading east and west. Theo says, “It looks like Autopia at Disneyland.” Ollie is singing/ screaming some bawdy song in Japanese which the strangers in fast cars will never hear.