Christina Rosalie

Posts from the “Doing” Category

Summer is here

Posted on June 23, 2015

The longest day of the year.

Last night, driving back from the coast, the light lasted and lasted. A thin red-gold ribbon on the western horizon. After hours spent leaping from rocks and roasting dinner over an open fire, our hair smelling of woodsmoke, the golden light slanting long across the waves, the sand, the driftwood piled high in forts, we returned; but not before we ate cherries, drank wine, made s’mores, and watched families leave and teenagers arrive. Finally we went, reluctant, lingering. The light trailing us. The light, the light.

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We moved in June.

We moved to a house on a historic treelined street where bikers ride by in droves, and kids rule the sidewalks. It took all month to put our lives back together. Paint rooms. Unpack. Find the mixer and my favorite collection of short stories.



I have a fifth grader now and a first. Two boys, in full-on elementary school. Sprout still feels at the edge of little, but barely. Bean, in between in his own way. Gangly limbed and sensitive. He still comes to our bed on the weekend demanding snuggles and acts betrayed if we’ve gotten up before him.

I hold my breath. Time is flying.

We play at the park, evenings. Or walk the dog under 100-year old trees, sometimes carrying wine, other times espresso or a handful of cherries. The boys zoom out ahead on wheeled things, yelling. They spend their days with the nanny: at the pool, making lemonade stands, reading, swim lessons. Finally, both of them are becoming real swimmers. Coordinated arm movements. Coordinated breath. In ten years, Bean will be out of the house. So much else to learn by then. He’s currently on the cusp, dipping in and out of maturity, flickering between the kid he’s becoming and the younger kid he his.

For my part I’m trying to find new routines. Leaning into summer and the long, long light. Waking earlier. Writing more. Adventuring more.


What does summer look like at your house?

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Like magic

Posted on April 4, 2015

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Today I found myself standing in various rooms, having walked there from other rooms without knowing why, on auto pilot. I opened the bathroom cabinet, then shut it again, forgetting to take out the hair dryer. I opened too many browser tabs and crashed Chrome. I forgot obvious words in the middle of sentences. Basically I ran out of words. Every single word squeezed out into sentences for presentations in which every word must be the exact right word. It’s been a doozy of a week.

On Monday I gave away my cat. Bean is allergic, terribly. I stayed up with the friend I gave the cat to, drinking wine until nearly midnight. When I left the cat followed me to the door. We had her since our first apartment together, T and I. We had before 9/11. We had her from the advent of Web 2.0. Remember when email was a novelty? Remember when we had Hotmail accounts? Remember Ask Jeeves? My friend who took the cat is gorgeous and smart and loves brass figurines. Together with her husband I think they may love the cat more than we collectively did, seeing as T never really loved the cat, only grew accustomed to her. Still, to look back and remember getting her from the shelter together, baby faced, just out of college, and then to see our lives now? Time flies like magic.

On Tuesday I stayed up till nearly midnight, at a Guster show. I remember how much a friend in college adored their band, though I never listened to them much. Turns out, one of my sweetest writer friends in VT is married to the lead singer, and our families became friends. It was a kind of surreal to watch him perform. He was so exactly himself, and yet so much larger than himself, and then after the show, hugging him, he was just regular again. Like Magic.

On Wednesday I stayed up until midnight, working on a presentation for work. As a strategist, I basically start with the broadest and most complex challenges, or ambiguous data sets, and then distill them gradually. Often pages upon pages end up being a single page, so obvious that it doesn’t look like it’s anything at all. This, in fact is the mark of good strategy: to distill to the point where something is self evident. Where it’s so straightforward and intuitive, there can be no mistaking. The work to get there is often arduous, but invisible once the answer becomes evident. Strategy is all about process. Thinking about that this week, I thought of the Tibetan monks I once watched making sand mandalas. They bent over their work for an entire week with intention and focus, creating something splendid, and then sat back to let the wind blow it away. Magic.

On Thursday before I collapsed into bed the minute the kids were in bed, which is late these days because of spring vacation. My mother in law is to watch the boys for the two weeks they have off which is a boon. She makes soup and takes the boys on adventures, and her love, unconditional and abundant, is a gift. Yesterday they did tie dye. So far all I have seen as an outcome is that my ten year old’s hands are somewhat permanently dyed blue. His grin when he announced he was a Smurf was perfect.

Today I missed two coffee dates with two different sets of people because of the work. I said goodbye to one of my favorite designer friends who’s moving on to a rad new show. He is one of the zen travelers I know. I had the fortune of taking a trip with him to Chicago for a conference last year. He forever changed how I think about travel. Worry less. Just show up. That’s basically his approach. Its good for life too.

Now, looking ahead to Saturday, there will be Easter egg dying and coffee drinking and bike riding and writing.

I write every saturday, slowly but surely on my next book, or more realistically, on a single story that will be in my next book eventually. Each weekend I wrestle the piece back from a feral state. I write sentences. I delete them. I grapple with the way everything seems to come back to my mother, even though the story isn’t about my mother at all. I sit in a cafe a few blocks from my house and I write, and in between I watch people come in. One couple comes every weekend. They spend the entire time taking selfies, and photos of their coffees. She wears incredible stilettos. He wears one of those baseball caps with a flattened bill. Another is a guy who is also writing. He takes smoke breaks out in front and fiddles with his wait length dreads. So far we haven’t said hello. It seems like a matter of time.

Tomorrow, the weekend. How grateful I am every week for the interlude. It’s like code switching. Right brain left brain. On the weekend I exhale. Sometimes I fall apart. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes we fall harder in love. Whatever happens there always magically seem to be enough moments to reconstitute me for another week. Magic.

Happy weekend, friends!

The place where things happen

Posted on June 14, 2014

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All morning I work at the kitchen table. The boys have off (first day of summer vacation!) and I do not.

Eventually when they’ve settled into a project, I head out to the backyard to my little studio. I always push through the door with a certain relief; glad for the fact that though it is small, it is just mine. (Virgina Woolf had it right.) The walls, bare on purpose, ready for for whatever I want to tack up. A place to spread out and make things, which I do, though not today.

Today I bring a summer peach with me, and later espresso to keep me fueled through the afternoon. Then I sit, contorting at ridiculous angles in my chair. One knee up. Then both, perching. Then I’m spread out on the floor. I love the work I’m doing, but my body isn’t made for sitting still. No one’s is, but mine, with my spring-loaded legs feels particularly ill equipped for sitting still, and I’m hankering for the run I hope to get on the beach, Sunday morning.

Today, five minutes of attention happens as I am lying on the floor waiting for my colleague to send me edits. I simply breathe. Feel the way my shoulders are holding on to the stress of a tight deadline. Look up at the way the room is framed anew with my upside down perspective.

Outside the window, day turns to dusk, and dusk to night.

Day 8: #the5x5challenge

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.

Eventually you will make a decision (or reminders to myself)

Posted on May 31, 2013

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Eventually you will make a decision to stay indoors or to venture out, not letting the rain stop you. Pull on a rain. Rain pants for the kids. Boots. And go out into the smudged world, with its falling sky and imperfect roads torn loose with too much rain.

Eventually you will make a decision to give in to the sudden way the PMS creeps up and everything comes toward you like a thinly veiled jab, and the entire world seems to be making it personal; or you shake it off, pull on running clothes reluctantly, make a new running mix, and hit the treadmill hard. It will takes a while for the tempo to change you, but eventually it will. Your grateful pulse will remind you what it means to be alive, lungs raw with breath, feet pounding.

Eventually you will make a decision keep pushing yourself past your limits, or take care of yourself by asking for help. By drawing boundaries. By saying no even after you said yes, because in the moment that was easier and now you’re faced with letting yourself down or letting someone else down. Because the truth is other people’s disappointment isn’t your problem, even though you’ve programmed yourself very insidiously to think that it is.

Eventually you will make a decision to forget your craft, or to zero in what you love most about it, truing to it fiercely above the urgent, the insistent, the loud demands that are yelling like a bully in your ear. Eventually it will be up to you to decide to turn a blind eye on the other things, and just pick this one thing. This one thing that feels important to you. That feels like the work you love, and just do it for an hour. Imperfectly. Even if it means you’ll be up a creek later. Even if it means there will be hell to pay. Even if it means the sky will fall.

Because eventually it will. It will pour, and eventually roads will wash away. Eventually moods and hormones will catch up with you, or sleep deprivation will bring you to your knees. People will invariably be needy needy and self serving and impatient, and eventually to-do lists and deadlines and must-dos and should-dos will pile up like a angry, thumping, insistent mob inside your head.

Eventually you will make the decision: to let circumstance define you, or to define your circumstance.

And the thing is?

It’s up to you to give in, or head out.


What will you decide?

Off for some weekend adventures in NYC!

Posted on March 30, 2013

 
 
 
 
 
 
Weekend Adventure  by Christina Rosalie

Happy Saturday, friends!

We’re off on some weekend adventures, seeing family in NYC for a very brief slice of time–just today and tomorrow in fact. And even though my friend Dan asked, “Why are you driving 6 hours just to turn around and do it again?” there’s no explaining what spring fever does to a girl living at the end of a long dirt road with wanderlust in her bones this time of year. I miss the city with it’s non-stopness and hum of creative making, and I’m so excited to share a little glimpse of it with the boys. They’ve never been.

Bean wrote the Easter Bunny the dearest note yesterday– he was worried that he wouldn’t find them at the hotel in the city. The Easter Bunny confirmed he knows his way around the city, and is fond of elevators though, so I think we’ll be fine. Bean read the note carefully and asked me to read it to confirm, and then took the Easter Bunny for his word and started packing for the trip: an eclectic assortment of things including a Go Fish game, a magnetic locking spy kit, and a set of colored pencils.

The combination of practicality and pure magic that coexists in their minds right now is what I love most about their ages. They’re transportable, easily delighted, curious, sensitive, and more or less self sufficient. They are also always up for an adventure. All week long Sprout would ask, “Is it tomorrow yet?” Meaning, is it time to leave on our adventure yet?

So we’re off. I’ll likely take heaps of pictures over on Instagram, and probably post a few of my favorites here come Monday. If there are any places in the city that we absolutely shouldn’t pass up with kids–ours, and our twin almost 4 year old nephews, do leave a note.

xo,
Christina

An evening spent:

Posted on February 4, 2013

There is Peterson’s Guide To Fishes and Barry Lopez’ book, About This Life that I have not read, and also the heater ticking on beside me. A small oil-filled upright space heater. The temperature still keeps flirting with negative numbers.

The walls are cut open, drying. The floor is buckling more. Little uneven peaks and valleys; so many hours of sweat and effort to lay it all in place. It makes me bite my lip to thinks of what’s ahead; ten days living somewhere else. Some other floor put down.

Now T brings up up chai with frothed milk and sugar, and on the windowsill there is a candle, shining its light from a mason jar, and fame burns steadily and low. Ben Webster plays “That’s All” on the sax so perfectly I want to dance and laugh and cry, all at once, those tremulous notes saying more I can ever do with just these words.

The dog shows up, her yellow tail wagging temporarily at my knee, before she goes to find the softness of her bed (I am always ending up with pets like her: too outspoken, too independent, too much like me.)
Cande llight - Christina Rosalie