Christina Rosalie

Posts from the “Musings” Category

A few things I’ve been up to lately

Posted on March 11, 2014

Giraffe - Christina Rosalie
Hello friends!
I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like to stop in here and share stories.

Here are a few things I’ve been up to lately:

:: Writing on Medium

:: Creating a new series of art pieces (this giraffe is one, in progress)

:: Planning a studio sale for the end of March (sign up if you’d like to get first dibs.)

:: Working on a few very cool client projects. I especially loved helping to launch this shop into the world.

:: Reading the Little House series out loud to Bean (and feeling very glad I’m not that kind of pioneer.)

:: Watching Sprout become an amazing artist.

:: Reading this book, and this one.

:: Listening to new music on Beats.

:: Writing every morning in a notebook (I’ve loved responding to these prompts though I haven’t had time to share much here.)

:: Doing a 20 minute vinyasa routine every morning

:: Drinking tea (instead of coffee), skipping alcohol, going to bed earlier, and taking a zillion supplements… and feeling like my adrenals are saying thank you. {Hello energy! How I’ve missed you}

:: Walking out onto the icy lake with the boys (it still feels bizarre and precarious, but I love all the wide expanses.)

:: Making big plans.

:: Really hankering for spring (and we have many inches of snow in the forecast this week!)

What you’ve been up to this March? Crazy how time is whirling by these days.

At the cusp between wonder and fact

Posted on February 17, 2014

Bean is 9 - Christina Rosalie
Tonight you made a fort before dinner: a quilt over two white kitchen stools, set up just so.

In went a metal tool box (your inheritance from my father) In also went your metal lock box: one you saved for and paid for yourself from the Barge Canal vintage shop on Pine Street where we go every so often, and you poke around, curious fingers in everything, always loving the things that come with lock and key.

Now you and your brother lie on your bellies, or sit cross legged, your heads bobbing up in the quilt. You light the room you’ve made by flashlight, and haul in 8 ball, assorted legos, and Honey Honey, your faithful alligator who has become your steady companion since we moved.


Bean Turns 9 - Christina Rosalie
Honey Honey first arrived in a green box when you were four, in the upstairs hallway of our house at the end of the long dirt road. The box was on the old sewing machine table that we’ve since given away.

It said: Hello, I’m Honey Honey, and I’m here to go on adventures with you.

Before she arrived, you talked her often. You told me who she was, and how she could grow in the bathtub. You told me how she was magical.

Then she was there.

You’ve never doubted her magic—in the sweet, fearless way that children are about their beliefs. You know, and you don’t know—and you want to stay that way, at the cusp between wonder and fact.

You’re wise enough to protect the magic that you love by not questioning too fiercely how the magic happens.
Once, you left cookie crumbs on a small plate beside your alligator, and came back moments later to find them completely gone. “Ah ha!” you said.

I thought you’d call one of us out for nibbling them up, or possibly say, “See! That proves it!” but instead you said, “She likes cookies!”

Proof was never the point. You were simply interested in her dietary preferences.

In actuality your Honey Honey might really be a crocodile. She has a crocodile smile, but, to be sure, I’ve never been an expert on either. All I know is that she fits in the palm of my hand, and that the word FLORIDA is printed on her belly along with a set of numbers you declare is her birthdate and birthplace.

Who am I to argue?


Bean Turns 9 - Christina Rosalie
Twice, she’s been eaten by the dog. Not eaten all the way—but had parts mangled. The first time it was her feet and tail. You cried and so I promised I’d bring her to the doctor, and she was gone for a week, and even more days after that you said, “Why is it taking so long? Is the doctor’s office busy?”

I said “Maybe there is a hippo in front of her in line to see the doctor. Hippos are big.” And I say something about how bandages take time to heal and you look terribly serious.

When she comes back, her feet and tail are, in fact, a different color: browner this time, than the green they were before.

You’re so glad to see her, you carry her on a string around your neck.

When we moved away from the only home you ever knew this summer, she rode with you like that, on a string around your neck, close to your heart. She was the only thing steady and for certain among the jumble of boxes and the bitter sweet confusion of grown-up conversations then.

There were tears, there was the ice cream truck, a new neighborhood, new bunk beds, and fields forever lost to you. Had we stayed to see you turn nine there, you would have claimed those fields this summer. Made them your escape, your wild home, your solace. But there it is: the edges of grown-up life and grown-up needs crowd in around you. You don’t have any control. You are probably only vaguely aware of the whys and hows. Commute time doesn’t mean much to you, nor does the word “work” which is one of the perpetual mysteries of childhood.

You and your brother talk about “daddy’s work” and “mommy’s work” but when I ask you to explain what that means you say things like: it means going to a place and being on the computer all day; and you go someplace where they pay you for something that you do. True enough. The ache of what those things mean, and the glory are both completely lost on you. For this I’m glad.

Yours work is that of growing tall. Of navigating the fine and fragile line between innocence and curiosity, between wonder and science.

What is true is wide and deep.

Fairies still inhabit the forests at the edges of the this truth, and the sky is filled with stars. “Up there,” you tell me, “in the stars, that’s where I came from before I came here.”

Yes, I nod. Yes. Nine years ago you came here from the stars and made me a mother.


DSC_0056
At bed you can’t find Honey Honey. You crawl back into your fort on your belly, looking everywhere, your urgency increasing.

Daddy and I wait. We’re ready for this part of the day to end. Ready to kiss you tonight and to find, in the quiet of lamplight, the company of our own thoughts without interruption.

Your voice betrays your worry. “Where did I put her?” you ask, shimmying out, and inadvertently shining your flashlight in my eyes, as you inquire. I crouch down and peer into your small world of quilt and semi-dark, feeling with my hands along the edges of things.

“Think back,” I say. “Where were you with her last?”

Soon enough you look on your dresser and find her just where you left her, there among your other treasures: microscope, spy binoculars, batteries, Lego ships, quarters.

Your gladness rings out, “Here she is!” You kiss her tenderly, then kiss me harder, wrapping your arms around my waist.

You come up to just under my chin now. An inconceivable fact. Almost every night as we lie on the couch, and I read out loud to you, I cannot help but marvel: you were a baby. My first baby.

“You fit just here on my chest. How is that possible?” I say out loud.

You say, “I still do.”

Then you curl yourself against me, folding your flexible limbs up small, smaller, until you are contained right there, beside my beating heart and I can wrap my arms around the all of you.

“Yes,” I say, kissing your hair. “You do. You always do.”

Weekending

Posted on January 11, 2014

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Weekending_ChristinaRosalie

I pull the shades open to find rain spattering against the window-glass, then dive back under the soft-polka dotted coverlet, homing to the warmth T radiates. For a while we lie this way, just breathing. From here only the crowns of trees are visible: a crosshatching of black and white, a tangle of rain-drenched twigs against the milky grey of the early morning sky.

Eventually, I switch on the light beside my pillow, and T unfolds from bed. I’ve been crushing on the beard he’s grown over this winter, and I can’t help but smile watching him on jeans and a sweatshirt. Soon the warm place that he left has been filled by Clover, her sweet yogi-self pressing against me, tail wagging. I tousle her velvet soft ears, and when we’ve sufficiently greeted each other she curls into a ball, and keeps my feet warm as I write.

T brings tea, and from the next room over I can hear the boys in their room chattering in the perpetual way they do, and I fill page after page in the yellow legal pad with whatever comes to mind until the half hour mark, when I put my pen down, refill my tea, and head to the yoga mat with T for a half-hour morning practice.

This has been our ritual every morning for the past week, and I love what it’s done to set my mornings right.

It’s been my goal this year to build simple routines that sustain my core. Rituals that soften the edges and simplify the moments and reduce some of the stress I find all too easily creeps in.

Another ritual is simply to let the weekend be what it is best: a time to rest. Instead of filling it in with doing, I’m practicing doing not so very much. Sitting all morning with more tea in the big white chair by the windows watching the rain while Sprout puts out fires in the play castle he’s set up across the room, and then heading to the studio after a snack to make some new art, Sprout in tow while Bean hangs out in his bed reading and organizing collections.

I would so love to hear about some of your weekend (or week day rituals!). Tell me: what makes you feel whole, and simple, and quiet, and good?

A loss for words

Posted on December 12, 2013

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On the way to work, after dropping the boys off at school, a piliated woodpecker lifts out of a tree and flies across the road above me. Its flightpath is a zig-zag. It swoops softly through the cold morning air to alight on a tree on the opposite side of the road. The light is fiery and gold with early morning. It makes the bird’s crimson head flame.

In the night it snowed a little and ice crystals decorate the fence wires and broken grasses poking up from the dusting of white across the fields. The lake is frozen at its lip, and birds gather at the jagged line between open water and frozen water.

Such things still amaze me: that water can be solid, liquid, vapor. That birds can fly with inimitable grace. That the light is golden with a new day.

Like the birds, I’m treading the line between. Between stasis and flux, between now and what will come next, between here, and wherever there is. There: the future. Tomorrow. The next day.

The boys are counting down the days until Christmas. I am counting the days. But I can’t say for what. For knowing. For certainty. The past few months have felt a lot like this. For the first time in a long while, I feel at a loss for words.

Grateful feels like this

Posted on October 1, 2013

Grateful - By Christina Rosalie

The doctor, after the surgery said, “Well, he had about a week.” He said it casually, the way you might tell someone the weather forecast in passion: relaying obvious facts that are, of themselves, barely noteworthy. He had gentle eyes and an experienced hand. One of the best doctors in the country. This news, is the news he shares every day. Ninety-percent blocked.

And now, just a handful of days later, you wouldn’t know looking at him. The microscopic incision in his wrist where they sent the catheter in is healing beautifully. He’s back to his usual shenanigans, kissing me awake before I’m really awake; making breakfast for the boys; building our commuter bikes from vintage frames up.


The past couple of days we’ve spent just being normal, and that feels tremendous. Going to work, bringing the boys to school, eating dinner by candle light, and taking walks after dinner. The weather has been unbelievable: day after day of the bluest blue contrasting the warmest vermillion, the firriest red, the sunniest gold of the maples and sassafras, hickories and gingkoes. It’s so beautiful, just being alive, that I catch myself, tears wet on my face.


Also, reading your comments in my last post I was moved to tears often, not just by your kindness, but by the stories you shared revealing your courage and wonderment and devastations. I am so honored you come here and read. Thank you.


We are heading off on a long, long-awaited trip to Jamaica. Just T and I. We were supposed to go last week, but he ended up in surgery instead. Now, I can think of no better way to recuperate than to sit on the beach with my love in the sun. I’m bringing books (yes, I still believe in lugging the real things around in my luggage) and a fresh new notebook. I can’t wait. I’m sure I’ll be posting regularly on Instagram while we’re there. If you’re inclined, follow along.

xoxo, Christina

Nearly beginning {More than Just One Paragraph 24/30}

Posted on August 17, 2013

The lower meadow vsco_0-2

There is mist when we wake up. We lie in bed, close, breathing, watching the soft world through the wooden slats of the blinds. Three days left.

I think about the ways we cannot know. The ways before and after are utterly discrete, the barrier between them absolute. It was the same, waiting for the arrival of my sons. Or waking up the day after college. Or the moment after I said “Yes.” It is always this way.

We move with measured intention or whirling chaos towards the unknown, and then we are there at the brink. We can’t know, and yet we leap. Wings made of faith, of certainty, of calculable odds, of foolishness, of hope, of daring.

I walk out into the meadow with bare feet, just to feel the dew. To pay homage to the way the grass has always been there, lush, tangled, season after season to harbor field mice and Queen Anne’s lace and milkweed and monarchs. I go, because for so long this field has claimed me, and claims me still. Not just this field really, but all fields. The wild, my home.

We’ll see where new begins; what shape beginning makes.


Beginning

The moon drops one or two feathers into the field.
The dark wheat listens.
Be still.
Now.
There they are, the moon’s young, trying
Their wings.
Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow
Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone
Wholly, into the air.
I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe
Or move.
I listen.
The wheat leans back toward its own darkness,
And I lean toward mine.

BY JAMES WRIGHT

A birds-eye view of this right now {Just One Paragraph 4/30}

Posted on July 25, 2013

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This morning I realized that July is almost over, which startled me, because really, didn’t summer just start? I’ve been experiencing this incredulity at an ever-increasing rate: at time’s passing, at the long-legged bodies of my sons, at the way my eyes have accumulated crows feet and the furrow between my brows is there for good. When did all of this happen? Time is a trickster. A torrent one minute, then a slow as honey crawl the next. Some weeks pass with laborious slowness, but days are never long enough. Other weeks pass in a blur, but hours stretch out for an eternity. The constant, it seems, is that years go in an instant. Each one short. Shorter. And here I am at the apex of another summer, feeling the way the last days of this particular month make up a strange equation of endings and beginning’s for me. Summer is waning, yes, that. But also: my father died this month eleven years ago, on the same day as my half birthday which is two days from today. And if I were calculating my rate of success based on averages, I’d say I was behind, at least on my birthday list. Half the year gone, and only 10 crossed off. (Of those, I’d never thought I’d have ridden a carousel, but that happened, quite by chance two weekends ago at the Shelburne Museum; and I can almost cross off paragliding, because I’ve found the perfect place for lessons and am now just waiting for the right convergence of wind conditions and babysitting to high-tail it there with T for a day jumping off into blue sky.) But the thing is, success isn’t about averages at all. It’s not about steady progress rates or past performance. It’s about the process, and seeing the way things map out wide and large. About setting goals and gravitating towards them, even as new projects take shape, and new goals emerge. A book. A company. Another book of personal essays in it’s inkling phase. A kindergartener. A third-grader. A rekindled sense of utter in-loveness with my guy. And I can’t help but wonder, if my father were alive today, what he might say with his birds-eye view, grinning at the life I’ve made.

 
 
I’m curious, when do you take stock of your progress from a bird’s eye view? Do you have any times throughout the year that you make it a ritual (like a half birthday) to stop looking at the small stuff, and take in the big picture instead?