Birthday Month

Our birthday month has come to an end. I loved how it felt like it lingered and didn't race by. On my birthday I woke up to a beautiful morning, clear blue sky, sunshine and needed my sweater. The day couldn't be more perfect or more of a gift because Texas Spring can easily be summer anywhere else.

August and I joined my Grandparents for brunch and then we strolled downtown Del Rio. We had ice cream at The Emporium and then spent the afternoon at my Grandmother's house and picked flowers. We had dinner with my Mom and then celebrated with an ice cream cake! A fragrant flower bouquet from my Grandmother's house and having my Mother and August sing Happy Birthday to me made my birthday. I began to miss my day when I woke up the next morning.

A few days later we were back in the city and setting up for August's birthday. I had started working on the paper chains in March. There were {about} 3600 individual chains and a box of 5000 staples used.

I enjoyed laboring 36 hours before her day, this time in a different way. I strung up the homemade paper chains and our traditional birthday banner used since her first birthday. I pinned up streamers and balloons I had filled with confetti. After we sang The Birthday Song and she blew out the candles, confetti balloons were popped. We love confetti!

I had in mind a circus themed cake when I spotted the perfect, plastic decorations at a downtown shop in Del Rio. Everything came together and I was thrilled to see August so happy with her decorations and cake at her little party.

One of her gifts was a circus set that we can't stop playing with.

Road Trip

I wanted to visit my hometown during our birthday month so August and I embarked on a mini, five hour road trip together. It was the best road trip I have ever taken. She was an enthusiastic companion and during the whole drive pointed out things I would have missed. There was a tremendous cloud that hung to the left of us as we drove through the small towns miles and miles apart. It was a massive, pink cloud with straight lines and right angles. A rectangle with a foamy top. It appeared an hour before sunset while we were on Highway 90.

"Take a picture, Mommy, take a picture, take a picture of the big cloud!", she kept squealing. I couldn't stop because I wanted to beat the deer. There was no place to stop, it was a two lane highway with no real shoulder. I wanted to stop and just watch it with her until the sun left the day. Instead I told her to take a picture with her eyes, put it in her head and when she closed her eyes, she'd see it again. She tried it out and said she was able to see it. A week later and she brought it up again, how she could still see it when she closed her eyes. It was one of the few things in life I didn't want to photograph because I didn't think I could capture it properly. I like that we can both see it if we close our eyes.

We sang while we drove, taking turns, mostly show tunes. We listened to August's favorite CD's over and over: Taylor Swift's 1989 and the OST to Frozen. I have all sorts of stamina. By the end of the trip both had been deconstructed and took on profound meaning for me.

We celebrated entering new towns and spotted large birds of prey. Once we entered Del Rio it was dark and August said,"Mommy, I'm scared of the sky." I looked up and saw only millions of bright stars. Only in Del Rio have I seen them that close and bright. Then August said,"The sky is so dark it scares me. It scares the stars too." The sky did appear heavy and to weigh down. I still think it is the mot beautiful sky I have ever seen.

I told her, this is where I was born.  It's been four years since I had seen the sights along Highway 90 in the spring or since I spent my birthday at my mother's house. I was giddy and excited to be back. August and my mother danced to cumbias way past her bedtime and I felt a calmness like no other.

We spent the week doing all those things I love doing in my town, seeing those places that have appeared in my dreams over and over for decades. While I didn't think I needed to get out of the city, I couldn't help but feel recharged driving down that highway. The place always fuels my creativity and inspires all sorts of dreamy thoughts.

There is pull towards Del Rio, it's always been there. The town seemed to stop calling me for awhile, but once there I felt it and wanted to stay despite it being extremely impractical. Leaving town I thought of all the drives I took with my Granpo in the same direction. I still felt those old desires to become a goat herder and photograph all the little homes in San Felipe...the fig trees, the quiet main street, old mansions, my Granmo's clothesline.

As I  passed the entrances to ranches all along the highway and saw those fallen, old structures fall some more, I realized, I've been watching them die for years and years. There is a curious sadness all along that highway but it was overshadowed this time by a little girl singing happily in her carseat. With all the recent rain, Highway 90 has never looked greener.

Happy Easter

All this week August is still wishing everyone a Happy Easter. Easter morning was a cloudy, chilly, misty mess. For a few weeks now she has been hiding plastic Easter eggs for us to find or wants us to hide them for her. She's been into bunnies and asking me to sing her Easter songs. I make them up on the spot.

{A tisket, a tasket, a yellow Easter basket...}

Her favorite toy has been a basket of plastic Easter eggs left over from the previous two Easters. She was pretty satisfied with her "Easters" as she calls it. The Easter Bunny fulfilled all her wishes for books and toys. She received the rather large and heavy Treasury of Beatrix Potter. He also brought her twin bunny dolls, a rubber ducky, Frozen themed Band-Aids and these magical eggs that she exclaimed were "...the most beautiful eggs I have ever seen my whole life!" As it turns out they are chalk eggs.

We made cascarones and didn't get to crack them all on Easter so every day, when she least expects it, I crack a cascarone over her head and delight in hearing her squeal, "Happy Easter!"

Once again, the perfection of plans and ideas met with imperfect realities. Since the weather was unpredictable, there were no solid plans made for picnics or cookouts, there was a laziness and grumpiness about, nothing really fell into place, then the day moved too quickly when it did come together. Despite all the half empties, created was a memorable day with the sweetness that is August. There was a reunion of all toy bunnies in the house, that included some of my old "Easters Bunnies". They all had tea with Papi. August was excited to test out her new ducky in the tub. She also tried her first Peep, a very sugary, purple bunny. After a few dainty, nibbles on the ears, she was done. I was relieved. The day ended with us reading about Peter Rabbit and Nutkin Squirrel. It hasn't been a week yet and I miss Easters 2015 already. That's what August does to me. Wait, we're still celebrating, that's what August does to us.

{Among her Easters}

Corner View: Hunger

I made the {slight, sort of} mistake of showing August the movie Cabaret. As a result I have this toddler running around singing "Mmmmoneymoneymoney...mmmmmoneymoneymoney" or "Deedletedee two ladies..." She would tries to dance around her little chair and knows too many words to all the songs. I introduced her to Godspell and Annie to undo Cabaret but it will take time before she forgets all that Fosse, Liza and those lyrics.

In the song Money there is a part where there is a knock on the door and it's Hunger. The way Joel Grey says "Hunnnnngehhhr" has always disturbed me. I have been hungry with little to choose from but have never met Hunger. Not the way it is stressed by the actor in that musical with so much desperation. Oh sure, I have been in situations where the pantry is getting weak, down to some rice, beans, canned tuna, and the fridge weak with a few eggs, condiments and three day old left over chicken soup without a paycheck for another five days... But that isn't Hunger.

Those who have known Hunger will tell you about it at some point because it is never forgotten. It scars. A friend of mine told me that after what she went through in WWII, food is everything. A friend of hers who had been in a concentration camp kept a large bag of rice in a safe place because of her experience. My own grandparents always tell me never to spend money on anything except food, food is worth it, nothing else is.

So many are at this moment with Hunger, meeting Hunger, being killed by Hunger...and it's disturbing. No one in this world should be hungry, there really is food for all. When I see all the food served at restaurants and left behind untouched... Just this last weekend the table of two left enough food to feed a table of three. Wars keep people in the arms of Hunger, governments, dictators, politicians, voters, a road or bridge not built, people keep other people hungry. It's a despicable crime.

And that is really what has crossed my mind for years while watching that scene in Cabaret.

Corner View: In Bloom

I have never been a fan of pulling over on the side of a highway to get photographed among the Texas bluebonnets. Rattlesnakes are also in bloom this time of year and it seems to me a ditch or a field is a great place to find one. Fire ants are also in bloom and not something I want to find sitting in a field of bluebonnets. This past weekend I felt the pull to walk the path around Laguna Gloria. While there I found a little patch of blue and asked August to sit among the flowers. She decided to stand and sniff them instead. I asked her to sit with me for a photo but she ran off seeking out a playground. I decided to ask Jacob to photograph me. I felt a little silly but I found a spot that fit. A photo among the Texas bluebonnets...makes me chuckle.