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2013 September

Capturing Everyday Life on Vacation

SantoriniA funny thing happened while we were in Greece. Every couple of days, I’d upload my pictures to my laptop and scroll through them, delighting in the bright colors and majestic scenery. But I started to feel like I wasn’t capturing the things I really wanted to remember. We go on vacation for lots of reasons, but one of the primary ones is definitely to pursue the beautiful and the sublime. We want to have those mountain-top experiences and take those perfect pictures, and they’re well worth the time we spend in travel and jet lag. But I didn’t want to lose all those little things that make a place what it is, all the little things I treasure even as they fall through my hands like grains of sand. I know that once I’ve left I can never have them back, and so I set out to capture them. Santorini is shaped like a crescent moon, and the towns along the inside of the caldera are linked by a road for cars and a much older cobblestone footpath that winds its way up and down the cliffside. It’s impossible to have a bad view from this footpath, and I took so many pictures of those views. But then I realized that I didn’t have any pictures of the footpath itself.

ImerovigliSantorini is hilly and steep, and I spent all my days there climbing up and down that footpath, whether on my way to the bus stop or to the bakery for bread. I came back ready for another shower after every morning excursion. I miss it so much. This is part of the footpath I took up to the neighboring village of Imerovigli, past the monastery and up to the crumbling fortress.

ImerovigliSometimes the path would turn into steep stairs, and sometimes you’d wonder if you’d ever round the corners and see the other side.

Bread DeliveryIf I set out early enough in the morning, and I often did, motorcycles would buzz past me, making morning bread deliveries to all the hotels and restaurants along the cliffside.

BreakfastI want to remember the breakfast we were so lovingly served at our hotel every morning, and to remember the joy of slowly picking up more Greek words and being able to use them.

SanoriniI want to remember walking into this sunlit room every morning and wishing everyone, “Kalimera.” That table under the picture on the left was our regular spot.

SantoriniMost days I ate lunch at our little table under the window, the wind gently blowing the white lace curtains my way.

SantoriniI never want to forget every step of the way from our room down to the footpath. Our view of the pool on the way down.

SantoriniAnd the marble steps we took down to the footpath.

SantoriniThe sunrises we caught almost every morning, the one benefit of jet lag.

SantoriniThe majestic sunsets we watched every evening from our wide open window.

SantoriniThe special white eggplants that grow in Santorini’s rocky volcanic soil and have the sweetest flesh and the tiniest seeds.

SantoriniOur little town’s tiny and adorable square.

SantoriniThe endless stretches of blue and white, punctuated by bright bougainvillea.

SantoriniThe perfectly polished volcanic rocks I collected at Perissa Beach.

SantoriniAnd the bustling restaurant right underneath our window, sending up a symphony of clanging knives and plates and wine bottles every night. That’s what I want to remember.

Continued Misadventures of the Jet-Lagged and Apparently Allergic

SantoriniHello from Jet-Lag-Ville! I was actually amazed by how well we adjusted in Greece, and I was really excited to be up all day Wednesday and not even feeling tired. And then it all hit me like a ton of bricks in the early evening. I went to bed around 9pm, woke up at midnight, and….spent many hours on the couch watching Project Runway in the middle of the night. Thank heavens for the internet. I slept for a few minutes here and there after that, but eventually I got up and made coffee. And that’s when I noticed how itchy my mosquito bites were. I always seem to be beloved by mosquitos, but I didn’t think too much of it until Eric got up, took a look at me, and said, “Yikes.” I examined my arms and back and saw…one million little welts. Ahhhh! And then I realized they were on my face too. These were no mosquito bites, friends, they were hives! I managed to stay awake most of Thursday and went to see the doctor in the afternoon. He gave me two medicines, one which causes drowsiness and one which causes insomnia. Hahaha! I am sure you are wondering why I gave you that whole long spiel about the specifics of the jet lag, and now you know that it was for this comic payoff: jet lag + head cold + drowsiness + insomnia= it is about to get really weird in my brain! And I cannot help but cackle at the improbability of it all happening at once. But I will probably cackle a little bit louder when this is all behind me. Whether I’m sleeping or sleepwalking, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Back Home!

SantoriniThank you all so much for your sweet comments while we were in Greece, and a huge thank you to all my awesome guest writers! Eric and I made it back early Wednesday morning after many long hours in the air. But! The last leg of our journey, a red eye from New York to LA, had entire empty rows of seats, so we could lie down and sleep! That is the Christmas of flying, friends. I am still blown away by the fact that you can sit in a chair and be on the other side of the world in a number of hours you can count on your fingers, and I’m so tremendously grateful that we were able to take this trip together. It was really special, and we had a magnificent time. I have a lot of stories to tell and pictures to show you (I promise not all 900 of them). But. We are sick. What began as a feeling of dehydration has progressed from a light tingle in the back of the throat to full blast code awful. Ugh. I am so grateful that we’re sick at home instead of abroad, and I’m glad that I’ve already run all the errands that really needed to be run. So for now we’ll hole up in our little chamomile cave and hopefully emerge feeling better in a few days or so. More to come soon, but for now, oh my goodness, I have a date with my pillow that I cannot turn down. Thanks for being patient with me while I am getting caught up!

Daddy’s Little Girl

**Hello from Greece! While Eric and I are away, I’ve asked some of my favorite people on earth to write guest posts. This one is from my incredible dad. You can also find him at One Creative Scientist. I write a lot about my dad–he is one of the sweetest people I know, and his laugh is one of my favorite sounds on earth.**

I am honored that Cameron has asked me to write a guest post on her blog. I’ve been thinking over several days about what topic I would write on, but I kept coming back to this title because it would allow me to write my tribute to her and afford me a chance to say thank you for the opportunity to give my side of the story. You see, Cameron posted a little over a year ago a post called Daddy’s Girl. It blew me away. Even rereading it now moistens my eyes with tears.

One of the absolute joys of finding a wonderful woman to spend your life with is to be blessed with children. And I always say I got exactly what I wanted: a son, a daughter, and a son (in that order). I have always been a one-girl-at-a- time kind of guy, so it just seemed perfectly natural that I would have one wife and one daughter.

As I was going through my multitude of pictures looking for ones to include, I sadly found that there weren’t very many of just Cameron and me together. Then I realized that I was usually the one behind the camera. So many of these memories come from images in my mind rather than photographs. But they are very special memories of times I spent with “daddy’s little girl.”

With DollsCameron and her older brother are fairly close in age ,so as they were growing up, I had many opportunities to do similar things with them at the same time. With my oldest son, play came very easily. He was interested in cars, trains, blocks, Legos–all things I could relate to from my own childhood and things I knew how to play. With Cameron, it wasn’t so easy. She loved dolls and had quite a collection. I didn’t know how to play with dolls and still don’t. I can recall one time playing Barbie dolls with Cameron and thinking we needed to get Barbie a car so she could drive around (we eventually did get one, along with a doll house).

Dollhouse 1With Cameron’s interest in dolls, I came up with the idea of building a dollhouse together.

Dollhouse 2I must admit that although I did more of the building and painting, it was Cameron that would pick out the colors, decorations, and furniture.

New ClothesAs Cameron got older, she would save her allowance to buy herself clothes, and this provided a wonderful opportunity for us to go shopping together, just the two of us. We would head to the local department store, Goldsmith’s, where she would make a number of selections and then take them into the fitting room. I would sit outside while she changed into each outfit, and then she would come out to show me, twirling around so I could see her from all sides. I would comment on how it looked on her and how it fit. She would beam with smiles, happy to be spending time together and feeling pride in being able to pay for her own clothes. Then when we got home, she would have a fashion show for her mom. She is wearing one of the outfits she bought in the picture above.

Hoedown 1989Another activity we enjoyed together was going to the annual Girl Scout hoe down dance.

Hoedown 1991It was a date night for a little girl and her daddy: dinner and a dance.These two were particularly special as one was on my birthday and the other was the day after Cameron’s.

HoedownYears later, this was my Father’s Day present as a reminder of those special times. Little did I know at the time that these dances would lead to an even more significant dance many years later.

5K ShirtAnother special time was when Cameron and I ran in a 3-mile race for the first time. Neither of us had ever run that far, so when we got to the 2.5-mile marker, we began to doubt if we could make it without stopping and walking. But taking Cameron’s hand, I told her we could do it, and so hand in hand, we ran the last half-mile, crossing the finish line together. I still have the t-shirt from that first run as a reminder of what we achieved together that day.

Canon in DCameron also was my lone classical music fan in the family. I could always count on her to go with me to The Nutcracker at Christmas time. And she willingly listened to every version of Pachelbel’s Canon in D at the music store to find just the right version that I had grown to love in college. This has become our special song, and wherever we hear it, it is a reminder of this time and another in the future. Last fall, when my wife and I were visiting my son and daughter-in-law in New York, we came across this musician playing Canon in D in Central Park. I took a picture and sent it to Cameron, knowing it would be as special to her as it was to me.

New CarAnother special time was when Cameron was ready to buy her first car. The two of us went to the dealership together. She picked out what she wanted and then assertively brokered a great deal for herself. It was probably the hardest deal that salesman ever had from a 17-year-old.

Corvette MuseumWhen Cameron went off to college, she and I became travel companions for the trips to and from college. She was my soul mate on these 700-mile treks in following the scorched earth approach—never stopping until you get there unless you absolutely have to. On one trip we diverged from this approach to allow me just enough time to make a quick spin through the Corvette museum in Bowling Green, KY.

Walking Down the AisleBut it was on Cameron’s wedding day that I got the greatest thrill of being her daddy, getting to walk her down the aisle. The surprise of seeing her for the first time in her wedding dress. The realization that we were the last two left in the anteroom before walking down the aisle. The start up of Canon in D (I had completely forgotten she had planned that). We were both in tears.But as we made it down the aisle, I kept saying we could do this, just like that run together so many years ago. I remember how proud I was and thinking what an incredible honor it was for a father to get to walk such a lovely daughter down the aisle at her wedding.

Us DancingAnd then when it came time for me to dance with Cameron, I delighted in revealing to her that her mother and I had been secretly taking dance lessons just for this moment.

It has been a little over two years since that day, but my pride in Cameron has only grown. Thanks to her blog, I am truly amazed on a daily basis by her thoughts, her insights, her wisdom, her memories, her photos, and the life she is creating with Eric. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better husband to entrust Cameron to (and a scientist to boot!). And I know that even when I can’t be with her, Daddy’s Little Girl is being well taken care of.

Do You Have a Cameron?

*Hello from Greece! Today’s post is brought to you by my bestest Besfrinn, who is one of the greatest people on earth. You probably know her from her awesome blog, The Waiting, where she dishes out the humor, the cute baby stories, and the wisdom you’d expect to find from someone who is as generally rad as herself. I asked her to write a guest post for me (how have I not asked her to do this before?!), and I totally cried when I read it. I promise I did not force all these people to write nice things about me. But that makes them all the sweeter to read!*

BesfrinnsI have a thing that is integral to my daily life. It’s not water, although that stuff is important. It’s not a pizza either, although those aren’t too shabby (especially when they have artichokes on them. Don’t like artichokes on your pizza? What’s wrong with you, son?). It’s also not a pair of jeans that look good no matter how frumpy I feel that day. (No offense, Jeans. You know I love you. *Kisses.)

Nope, I have a Cameron. I have had one since I was fifteen. You can read about how I acquired my Cameron here. That was a happy day. Getting my Cameron canceled out having to read The Last of the Mohicans in 48 hours. God knows what would have happened if I had to read Moby Dick. Would a Cameron cancel out that misfortune? Let’s not tempt fate and just back away slowly away.

From the moment I got my Cameron, I knew I was set for life. I had tried Sarahs and Michelles and Natalies before, but they never fit me just right. They rode up a little or gave me a stomachache after too long. I was always misplacing them. That wasn’t really their fault, but when you have a Courtney and can’t remember where you put it, what’s the good of a Courtney at all? Fact: Courtneys are always getting lost in sofa cushions.

So when I got my Cameron, I was a happy camper. I would never need to use deodorant again and that my days of standing in line at the DMV in front of mouth-breathers were over. The fact that I had found my Cameron made me know that the Sun wouldn’t explode while I was still living on Earth. It would hold off a few billion years now that my Cameron had come.

Now, don’t get me wrong, life wasn’t perfect post-Cameron. Camerons aren’t miraculous, even though they are very, very close. Sometimes I had bad days, like days when I woke up to find that I had drooled all over my pillow overnight which meant that I had to do laundry that day even though I had done all the laundry just the day before. Days when I went on walks and waved at the dogs I passed but inadvertently signaled them to come running after me with their giant teeth gleaming. There were days when I went to make hummus to just be healthy for a change, and the cans that I thought were full of garbanzo beans were actually full of creamed corn. Those days were not-so-great.

But at the end of them, do you know what I had? Can you guess it? It’s not that hard.

I had a Cameron.

Cameron made me coffee while I laundered my drool-soaked linens. She reminded that the people with the grumpy dogs don’t have an invisible fence, and that I should keep my arm-flailing to a minimum. She managed to make creamed corn actually taste good. (Maybe she is miraculous.)

My Cameron made things better. She made them the best.

Do you have a Cameron? No? I highly recommend that you get one. But not mine! Your Cameron is out there too.

Maybe you’ll just have to read a cumbersome novel over the weekend to find her.

Hello from Athens!

AthensHello from beautiful Athens! And thank you all so much for your sweet comments while we’ve been away. I can’t wait to get all caught up on your posts when I get back! This will be a quick one because we are off to the Roman Agora. There is so much to say about this city and our time here (and I will say it!), but for today I’ll just leave you with a picture. One that hopefully says a thousand words. A thousand happy ones.

Boat Rides and Black Sand Beaches

SantoriniIt is actually paining me a little to write this post. Because we are leaving Santorini today. I don’t think I’ve experienced this kind of heartache about leaving a place since I wandered down Nevsky Prospect in St. Petersburg ten years ago, openly weeping at the thought of leaving Russia. I am going to miss this place so much. But! Onward and upward! Here are some of our latest adventures. On Wednesday we went on a boat ride to several of Santorini’s volcanic islands with Eric’s conference group. We took a truly harrowing bus ride down 20 or so switchbacks on the side of an enormous cliff to get to the port of Athinios. And then we saw that one of these little guys was going to be our boat. I was more than a little apprehensive.

SantoriniBut it was awesome! As is evidenced by this giddy pirate.

IMG_3411Our first stop was the (still-steaming) volcanic island of Nea Kameni. It was amazing to see all the jet black shards of rock from the volcanic explosion that formed the island as it is today. Basically, it used to be a round island, but a subterranean volcano exploded so violently thousands of years ago that it blew a giant hole right in the middle of the island and formed a few new rock islands as well. Impressive.

SantoriniWe hiked all the way to the very top! I was proud of us, especially in the heat. The views were pretty incredible from there. That’s the city of Fira behind us, adorned by a few cruise ships. It was so special to get to visit this island, since we have a direct view of it from our hotel.

SantoriniThey had these little rest stops along the way, which I thought were really cute.

SantoriniOur next stop was Palea Kameni, known for its sulphur hot springs. Eric and I hadn’t brought our suits, but I took off my shoes and socks and put my legs in the water. It felt great.

SantoriniI had been nervous about the rocking of the small boat on the waves, but I honestly ended up *loving it*! We sat right on the edge and got heartily splashed by the waves, which felt amazing, given how hot it was. Everyone else retreated from the side of the boat, while I alone could be heard scream-laughing and exclaiming, “This is awesome!” It felt like a gentle roller coaster, with bonus sprinkler. I took so many pictures of the water because it was just so gorgeous. I loved watching the swirling eddies of varying shades of blue and the waves recklessly crashing into each other, creating the prettiest splashes every time.

SantoriniWe went back to Nea Kameni and docked for a little picnic. It was too lovely for words.

SantoriniOn the way back to Athinios, I stood with my hand on the railing and looked back at this breathtaking view, pretending I was the captain of the boat, sailing for lands unknown.

SantoriniOn Thursday afternoon Eric and I headed south to the beach town of Perissa, which we’d flown over on our way to Santorini. It’s picture postcard pretty–nothing but black sand and little cabanas.

SantoriniAfter a long bus ride, we jumped right into the sea! Please don’t let me blind you with my extreme whiteness. I realize that is a danger and so am issuing proper warning.

SantoriniThe rocks were so beautiful, and it was very tempting to take them all home with me. I only decided against it because I thought it would make my suitcase too heavy.

SantoriniI wrote my word in the sand.

SantoriniAnd I wrote this too.

SantoriniWe had dinner by the sea, and I finally got tot try gigantes, which are…gigantic beans! This stew was so hearty and delicious. Eric had pastitsio and loved it too. We timed dinner just right to be able to catch the bus back to Fira. Huzzah!

SantoriniThe sun was setting as we made our way back to the hotel, and Eric and I stood at the ledge over the cliffside and wondered that we were able to see such a beautiful place together. This feels in some ways like our third honeymoon (1: Hawaii, 2: Istanbul), and we couldn’t be more grateful for the time we’ve spent here and for each other. We’re definitely leaving Santorini with heavy hearts, but we are excited for the adventures to come in Athens. Thanks so much for following along with our trip here and on Instagram!

Tantrums I’ve Known and Loved and Hated and Wanted

*Hello from Greece! Today’s post is written by one of my favorite people: Hillary! There’s a reason why I talk about her (and her awesome family) on my blog all the time, and it’s because….she and her family are just straight up magnificent! Hillary found my blog when her daughter wanted to make a corn necklace (which I just happen to have a DIY post on), and then she discovered that we live in the same town, and, happiness of all happinesses, she emailed me! It has been, hands down, one of the best things that has happened this year and even this decade. I’m always so inspired by her a in ton of different areas, and her parenting is definitely one of them. Today she is writing about one of the hard days, with grace, humor, and wisdom.*

To say I am happy to be guest-blogging for Cameron here on KTT is an understatement.  Before anything else is uttered, that must be said.  This happy spot in cyberspace has provided me with all kinds of goodness: laughter, admiration, inspiration, humility, hope, gratitude, and perspective.  I can’t believe I get to share a little something here on these hallowed pages!  Over on my fledgling blog humble pie mmm pie! I write about real life adventures with my twin daughters.  They’re four.  They like to help color maps with castles for squirrels.  You’ve heard of them? Oh good, because I am about to paint another picture of them.  And one of myself.  Not because I want to include myself, believe me, but because I’m part of the story.  Sigh.

Last week M & R started half-day kindergarten.  It was a transition for them, and it was also difficult for me to leave them with teachers I didn’t really know, in a classroom full of kids I didn’t know.  I struggled with that, knowing that their lives were now diverging more distinctly from mine.  Despite my goal that my girls grow up to be comfortably independent, I didn’t like how it felt to have them away doing I-knew-not-what.

R TantrumThis week the girls added to their schedule a half-day of preschool in the morning.  A preschool that they and I love.  One where we know the teachers and the kids and their parents, and it feels really good that way.  But adding that to our schedule meant we were suddenly up pretty early for a family of night-owls, and then R was screaming in the car when it was time to go in to class, and other parents’ eyes darted toward R, limp on the floor of the car, crying, as they ushered their smiling children onto campus.  And then soon after that it was time to take M & R from their pre-school class to their kindergarten class and we. had. to. hurry. to make it across town before the gate to kindergarten was locked, but suddenly every rail on the preschool campus HAD to be walked on, on the way to the car.  Every flower upon the way had to be explored, they had to hide themselves in every enclave in order to “SURPRISE” me. again. before we left.

But we made it!  We made it by eating the lunch (which I’d stayed up late packing the night before) in the car on the way to kindergarten.  Actually, I think they ate the watermelon and then cried because I’d packed them turkey sandwiches and string cheese.  I know.  I’m wicked.  I have no photo of this particular tantrum because I was driving and also opening and closing bento style lunch boxes (they’re adorable but not really driver-friendly) to humbly offer perfectly triangular crustless turkey sandwiches to the queens in my back seat.  People, I have become their lackey.  “Are you sure you don’t want your string cheese? I started opening the wrapper to make it easier for you.  It’s really good for you! It’s going to give you energy to play with your new friends!”  Maybe if I’d added “Your Highness” they would have eaten it.  Probably not.

It was going to be okay, though, because I knew they’d have their snack later.  The snacks I’d finished packing the night before,  fruit and a Z-bar.  They’d get some sustenance there, and they’d make it through the day.  Except they didn’t because shortly after arriving home from dropping them off, I got a call from the office.  MY FIRST CALL FROM THE OFFICE!!!!  It was a big mom moment.  It was a threshold crossed!  Anyway, it wasn’t good news, as you all knew as soon as I said, “I got a call from the office.”  M had slipped and hit her mouth on a step stool, and her lip was bleeding, and her tooth was sore.  Fast forward to the emergency visit to the dentist, because when I arrived to pick up M, she was curled up in a chair in the office holding a dinosaur book, and when she smiled at me, her front right tooth was in a slightly different position than it had been when I’d dropped her off.  Now, there’s no need to get incensed on my behalf here, though I do appreciate your concern.  A tooth in a new place is a pretty big deal.  The truth is, I see a difference with my mama-eyes, and I’m pretty sure my mom will see the difference with her grandma-eyes, but few others would notice a change.  They’d just notice that M can’t eat any hard foods for the next two-weeks, and that she’s on a first name basis with her dentist.  It was impressive that I saw no tears about this, though M did cry when I initially couldn’t get a hold of her regular dentist and suggested we try another.  She loves Dr. Natalie.

M at Dr. Natalie'sWhen we got home from the dentist, and the initial concern that my kid would lose her tooth, or that it would die, was laid to rest, and I’d helped clean the bubble gum out of R’s armpit and promised her we’d later put oil on it to keep her armpit from painfully sticking to itself (yeah, that happened), I told the girls they could watch Aladdin*, but after dinner.  And they cried.  A lot.  It had been a long day, they were ready to veg.  We were nearing tantrum-town and I was already late to their first Back-To-School night (not that I wanted to go back to the injury-inducing school right then, but whatever), so I relented.  Did you hear that???  Yes!!!  I CAVED to my children’s tears.  And they stopped crying.  I totally reinforced their response.  It’s like the top of the list of minor parenting offenses.  And I felt good about it.  I told you I’m wicked.

*Let’s talk about the fact that I let my girls watch Disney princesses even though I hate them another time.

Off I raced to the big Back-To-School Night event and arrived late enough to necessitate parking far far away and running up a steep hill to stand in the back of the classroom and realize I hadn’t eaten in a while, and I was really hungry.  And I was tired.  And overwhelmed.  And my forehead was probably shiny.  There were so many people and ideas and first impressions and please give to our annual fund… And then it was the part of the night where the teachers ask for parents to be volunteer coordinators for stuff, and I watched these super-composed, friendly-looking parents smile and volunteer for all sorts of things.  People, I stood in the back and raised my hand to coordinate for NOTHING.

Before you decide I’m a total slacker and the parent you love to hate because I just take, take, take, please know that I did volunteer to do all kinds of stuff.  Launder towels, for instance.  I will take home the towels your kid has wiped their grimy, muddy, gluey hands on, wash them and return them.    Cut shapes out of paper for class projects? I’d actually love to.  Read stories to the class? Yep, I signed up for that one.  Clean the classroom? I’ll do it twice!  Set up and clean up after class pot lucks? I sure will.  Glue broken classroom things back together?  I will select the and apply the specific super glue the occasion calls for!  I signed every volunteer sign-up sheet I could get my hands on.  A slacker, yes, I deserve that, but a total slacker, no.  That I am not.  Though somehow that did not keep me from leaving feeling like a total loser with a shiny T-zone.

Exhausted and feeling defeated, I drove home in the dark and thought about how much I wished I could cry.  I was full to the top in every way I could think of.  My body hurt, my head hurt, and I was starting to feel terrified by M’s accident that day, which echoed my fear of my girls being in a new space, even though it’s a school that we’re happy with and grateful for.  I don’t know these new families, and they don’t know me, and I hate having to talk in groups and show my school spirit and show up with a shiny T-zone.  I didn’t know how things would turn out with the girls’ pre-school or how long I should try to maintain this dot-to-dot schedule.  And I worried that all of this running around was to blame for M’s fall.  When do I say that we are spread too thin and we need to slow things down?  Because that’s exactly how I was feeling.

I wanted to go home and empty myself of it all.  If there’d been a way for me to tantrum it out, I would have been grateful to take it.  Later, in bed, I eked out a few tears as I lay next to sleeping M, my heart hurting because her smile is a little different now, though she’s ok.  I can’t protect my girls from everything, but I want to.  And not being able to…  Well, it makes me want to cry.  And in my head, it makes sense to throw myself on the floor, as my girls do daily, and sob, and kick, and flail, and take in those shivery gasps with a crinkly-sad face and bright tear-filled eyes, but my body doesn’t do it anymore, and I kind of wish it would.

The world feels big and open and unknown and a little extra scary right now.  Yesterday I saw a kid, maybe 16 years old, but then again maybe 13, on a street corner asking for water, and I had dreams about trying to get food for little boys who didn’t have any.  My life feels good and secure right now, and every day I’m grateful for my family and my close friends.  It’s hard to think of asking for more because I feel so fortunate.  But yesterday I felt like my pores were open to another world, one which is always there, one which needs attention, although I wished I could close myself off to it because it’s uncomfortable when the scary gets in.


Hello from Santorini!

SantoriniHello from Santorini! Our internet is pretty spotty here, but I just wanted to pop by and say hi and share a few pictures and impressions.

SantoriniEric asked me at breakfast this morning what I had found most surprising about our time here, and I had to think for a minute. What I ultimately ended up saying was that I have been surprised by everything, in the most unexpected way. I had seen plenty of pictures, and I knew what it was going to be like here, but I somehow still didn’t know it was going to be like this. I didn’t know what it was going to feel like to be here. And let me tell you, it feels paradisiacal.

SantoriniFor starters, the place where we’re staying is ridiculous. I drooled over the pictures on their website for months before our departure, but it’s still enough to knock my socks off. This is our view on the second story loft. From our bed. Incredible. There is so much light, and so much space, and we’ve been up every morning in time to run up to the terrace and catch the completely bewildering sunrise. It’s just staggeringly beautiful.

SantoriniI’ve been amazed by the softly curving currents of the sea, and the islands that rise out of it, like green clouds in a cerulean sky.

SantoriniI’ve been amazed by the colors here–the creamiest of whites and eggshells, the deepest royal and aquamarine and sky blues, the softest magentas of the bougainvillea that adorns almost every doorway. I have been taking so many pictures of doorways.

SantoriniI’ve been amazed by the food, which is so different here. The feta is so creamy and so lightly salty. The gigantic Santorini capers explode with the saltiness of the sea in your mouth. The yogurt is so refreshingly tart, and thick as mousse. The fresh oregano is the most fun herbal kick in the mouth I’ve ever experienced. Every meal is a treat.

SantoriniI’ve been amazed that there is not a bad view on this entire island. Everywhere I go, there is another million-dollar scene painted before my eyes.

SantoriniBasically, I’m enamored. And so excited that we have a few more days to explore here!

On Looking, Together

*Hi from Greece! When I told Eric I was planning to ask some beloved people to write guest posts for the time when we’d be away, I thought for a second and said, “Maybe you would like to write one?” And he did! And it is so beautiful. Eric says that he thinks people may be getting a *slightly* biased opinion of him from the blog because I am always singing his praises…but now you can read for yourself and see that I exaggerate nothing! I am so thankful for my sweet, compassionate, intelligent, and fun-loving husband.*

taps mic.  Is this thing on?

Hey everyone, this is Eric.  Wow, the lights are bright out here.  I just want to start by saying how much I enjoy all of your comments here on the blog.  Usually I prefer to work in the back and stay pretty quiet–this is Cameron’s show, after all—but I really appreciate all of you being here.

When I was in college, I started listening to an indie band from Brooklyn called Bishop Allen.  They never got that big break, and probably lots of other bands had more critical acclaim, but I liked their direct, joyful melodies and non-ironic lyrics.  I put this song on the first mix CD I made for Cameron, and we’ve been listening to them together ever since.


A few months after we started dating, Bishop Allen released a new album.  One of its songs, “The Ancient Commonsense of Things,” features the following lyrics:

“There are those who know to look
to all the crannies and the nooks
and when I found you did, what it meant to me”

On Looking, Together

Those lines clearly distilled a quality of Cameron’s that I have loved and wondered at since we first met: her attentiveness to beauty in all of the world.  The things Cameron notices have been many of our “third things:” and in looking together, we have grown together.

On Looking, Together

Cameron introduced me to whole new neighborhoods in Berkeley and Oakland that I had never been to.  We walked streets new to me, enjoyed restaurants I’d never noticed, and smelled flowers I had passed by.

On Looking, Together

I saw how attention and imagination could transform mundane objects in a thrift store bin into art, or at least everyday beauty; and how that creative process was uplift in itself.

On Looking, Together

At Cameron’s urging, we travelled and saw new places together, exploring with fresh eyes side by side: Napa and Sonoma, Albuquerque, Hawai’i, Aspen, Palomar, Ventura, Idyllwild, Monterey, Big Bear, San Diego, Istanbul

On Looking, Together

Patiently, we built a new life together in Pasadena.

Eaton Canyon

And now, here on the blog, Cameron continues to show me our shared experiences from new perspectives.  Reading those posts, and getting to know her yet a little better, is a highlight of my every morning.  I hope it is a tenth as meaningful for all of you as it is for me.  As the song says, there is a joyful common sense in our life together:

“And book to shelf
and foot to shoe
and likewise I belong to you”

On Looking, Together

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