Tuesday, February 24, 2009

First hint of spring

Yesterday afternoon, Haven, Zoe and I went for a walk around the neighborhood with our neighbor Laura and her baby Everett (Haven is four weeks older than Everett). I'd been struggling with a headache earlier in the day and was craving a nice long nap (which I wasn't afforded by Mis Haven), but the walk seemed to help clear my head and perk me up. Laura was great company - it's nice to have another new mom nearby so we can talk shop. It also serves to reassure me that what I'm going through is quite normal.

As we were coming back toward home, there was a wonderful sweet scent in the air. We looked around and I spotted a citrus tree that was starting to blossom in the yard we had just passed. Oh, I love the smell of citrus trees in the springtime! Trees are starting to flower and blossom - there's a stick tree (meaning, a tree that has no leaves) near our apartment where the blossoms are just beginning to emerge. A few small round buds, a few white flowers - it will be full and beautiful soon. I love springtime in Los Angeles!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just call me Lightning

Does anyone remember those things called Rollerblades? I do. My brother had them at our 1990 Johnson Family Reunion and I remember what a novelty they were, how new, and how cool he was zipping around on those weird rollerskates that looked like iceskates but didn't require ice. That was nearly twenty years ago.

I had rollerblades in high school. I loved them because they used the same motion as cross-country skiing, a motion that makes me a feel a bit like I'm flying. I'm sure I was a sight to see when I was out rollerblading - skinny bow-legged legs anchored by big bulky black shoes with wheels, and most likely a bulky baggy sweatshirt to balance out the whole ensemble (bulk-twigs-bulk). Oh, and wrist guards. My friend Marchell insisted that I wear wrist guards, lest I fall and break my wrists. I wore them faithfully, as I'm pretty sure she told me a gory story about someone snapping their wrists.

My favorite rollerblading story is from my church youth group days and involves a slow afternoon, a large hill, and some rollerblades. Our youth group had taken a trip up north to Duluth, a small city on the shores of Lake Superior, to perform a week of Vacation Bible School for a very small church perched on the top of a lovely green hill just outside of town. Duluth, unlike the rest of the state of Minnesota, is in fact hilly and we, at the end of our stimulating puppet-laden day, were waiting to head back to our cabins for the night, loitering around the Big Red Van while a few people finished up at the church. This is when Tim had the brilliant idea to rollerblade down the large hill. Why not? There was time to kill and there were brakes on the rollerblades. Christy and Rachel decided to join in and the rest of us, well, we watched. What would be the harm in cruising down a large hill, down a street that ran perpendicular to the highway? And so they were off. We watched as they laughed and shouted to one another, speeding along the ashpalt, sparks beginning to fly from the back of their rollerblades, their brakes wearing out. Rachel, with laughter in her voice, peeled off to the ditch first. Tim continued about half way down the hill before realizing that, with upcoming traffic, his best bet would be to crash in the ditch as well. But Christy, well, she saw the cross-traffic on the highway and, admittedly, panicked a bit. She was flying down the hill, trying to determine the best way to stop and rather than seeing the soft green blanket of grass to either her left or her right, she instigated a crash-landing right there in the middle of the street, on the rather unforgiving asphalt. In the end, Christy was okay - a leg full of road rash, indeed, but no major injuries. And she had a pretty kickass story to tell, as she was the only one who made it most of the way down the hill.

For this reason, however, I prefer flat surfaces, or brakes, or skis and a bank of snow.

And tonight, I broke out the old rollerblades, the big bulky black ones that say 'Lightning' on the back, and took the dog out for a (reluctant) run around the neighborhood. It felt good to glide again (though I had a hard time convincing Zoe how exhilirating it was). I didn't have my wrist guards (sorry Marchell!) and I'm sure I was still a spectacle - big rollerblades, tiny jeans that I can't yet quite fit back into, big grey sweatshirt from college, and a dog that drags her heels. Yes! Just call me Lightning.