All Change

Today is my 46th birthday, and so it seems like a good time to explain what has been and is going on with me and mine.

We originally came to the UK in 2009 for what was meant to be three years. It has been a fantastic outcome that those initial three years have turned into almost ten, and we've loved it! But over the past year it has become apparent that there are real forces pulling us back in the direction of the States. We are very lucky in that our parents are all still in good shape, but they are definitely slowing down so there is a motivation to be closer.

More importantly however, we have two children who - despite having lived in London for the vast majority of their lives - self-identify and are identified by their peers as American. But they don't actually know what that means. 

A little less than a year ago my husband and I had one of those conversations where we suddenly realised that we had a huge opportunity to change things up in a major way. He had been at the same company for more than 15 years, and was ready for something different. I was a year into a new full-time career, and was realising exactly how portable it could be. Add in ageing parents and the girls, and we started floating the idea of taking a step back and looking for new opportunities, while exposing the kids to new experiences.

The end result of many months of conversations and soul-searching is that we are taking a gap year - somewhat belated as we both finished high school almost 30 years ago! We will be going on a whirlwind travel adventure that includes a couple of road trips across the US to really introduce the girls to their homeland, four months in Asia and Oceania, and the space to figure out what we want to do when we grow up. Normal everyday life is so busy and full of stuff that it has been impossible for us (like so many others) to carve out any spare energy to contemplate alternatives to the current status quo. We are extraordinarily lucky to be able to take this time out and figure out what comes next, and I am looking forward to seeing what new and exciting doors open up as a result!

So that's the Cliff Notes version of the story behind the Porpoise Fur hiatus. I fully expect to be back dyeing in the future, once we get ourselves settled and sorted out on the other end of this year. Without a clear idea of when that will be I don't want to put any firm timelines on the return! If you haven't already signed up to the newsletter, please do so here, and I will keep everyone posted when Porpoise Fur is back! And the 25% off sale is still on until 10 September, so please head over to the Shop to stock up.

 

Diffident Light

I've been enjoying a long-ish break from most web things and social media over the holiday period, but as it's New Year's Eve, it seems like a good time to share some words.

The past year has been a pretty awful one in a number of ways - I feel like I'm hearing more hate and vitriol seemingly everywhere I turn, there is an appalling lack everywhere of people using what I still refer to as "listening ears", and hope has been in shockingly short supply in my neck of the woods. Every morning seems to bring reports of new atrocities, or the loss of yet one more public figure, or the normalisation of yet another example of horrible things people say about those that are different. I'm hoping that with this last day of 2016 I can leave some of that behind, and start looking forward to 2017.

Every day on my way to work, I take the train to Waterloo Station and walk through the underpass below the Imax theatre roundabout towards the Southbank. This means that everyday I get the opportunity to read what has become one of my favourite poems - Eurydice by Sue Hubbard. So at the end of a year that is best left behind in our collective rearview mirrors, I share it with you, and hope that it speaks to you in whatever way you need. Happy New Year.

Eurydice by Sue Hubbard (2004)

I am not afraid as I descend,
step by step, leaving behind the salt wind
blowing up the corrugated river,

the damp city streets, their sodium glare
of rush-hour headlights pitted with pearls of rain;
for my eyes still reflect the half-remembered moon.

Already your face recedes beneath the station clock,
a damp smudge among the shadows,
mirrored in the train's wet glass,

will you forget me? Steel tracks lead you out
past cranes and crematoria,
boat yards and bike sheds, ruby shards

of roman glass and wolf-bone mummified in mud,
the rows of curtained windows like eyelids
heavy with sleep, to the city's green edge.

Now I stop my ears with wax, hold fast
the memory of the song you once whispered in my ear.
Its echoes tangle like briars in my thick hair.

You turned to look.
Second fly past like birds.
My hands grow cold. I am ice and cloud.

This path unravels.
Deep in hidden rooms filled with dust
and sour night-breath the lost city is sleeping.

Above the hurt sky is weeping,
soaked nightingales have ceased to sing.
Dusk has come early. I am drowning in blue.

I dream of a green garden
where the sun feathers my face
like your once eager kiss.

Soon, soon I will climb
from this blackened earth
into the diffident light.

Green Mountain Holiday

We've been at my in-laws in Himself's home state of Vermont for the last week, and it has been the epitome of New England summer. Instead of trying to describe it in words, I'm just going to share some photos of what it's been like.

We head north and east today to coastal Maine, and another set of adventures that involve good friends we haven't seen in a long time, family celebrations, lobster, sailing, swimming in the ocean, and proper sweet corn. I suspect another photo essay will be upcoming next week. 

A Massachusetts Yankee in King George's Court

When we moved to Texas almost 5 years ago, I came with an ample truckload of assumptions about what living in Texas was going to be like. For the most part, the stereotypical ideas about everyone wearing cowboy boots, dinner-plate sized belt buckles and diamond oil derrick stick pins have been largely debunked. (Although everyone does say "Y'all". Which is not necessarily purely Texan, but that's how I thought of it). Sure, there are more Texas flags flying then American ones, and each triathlon starts off with a full fledged prayer, but by and large, my fears have not been born out.

But every so often I see something that completely explodes any assumptions I still held about Texas to bits. Like this morning, driving into work. I found myself staring at the bumper of a very large, red, pick'em up truck (an F150 maybe? I don't pay attention to silly things like make of truck). This bumper was more or less at my eye level. And I noticed the bumpersticker affixed to said bumper, which read:

"Vote Wisely: Hitler came to power in a free election"

A somewhat telling sentiment in this day and age of GWB's reign, no?

Monkey girls

Picture-heavy post with no yarn, and lots of kid pix. Consider yourself warned.

Last year we took Devil trick or treating on Halloween with our neighbors, who also have two small girls approximately the same age as Devil and Boo. Devil and her buddy A rode in the wagon, while A's sister slept comfortably in a stroller (being all of 2 months old at the time, she was not particularly interested in, nor impressed by, Halloween). The girls were a bit underwhelmed by the whole process (why are we going for a walk in the dark?), but the highlights of the night included:

1) Devil and A absentmindedly chewing on their candy without taking the wrappers off, and the realizing that there was chocolate in there! A actually ate an entire Hershey's Kiss with the foil still on. (The foil was rescued before it could be swallowed).

2) Some wonderful soul leaving a cooler outside their front door with a sign saying "Parents Trick or Treat". It was full of beer. Budweiser, but beer nonetheless. Porpoise was quite peeved at being pregnant and therefore the only parental figure not imbibing.

This year, we did it right. There was Devil-assisted costume production,

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That sweater is the one I mentioned at the end of this post

Jack o' lantern carving (Boo was more interested in eating newspaper),

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and finally, Devil and Boo were properly outfitted to head off to daycare in their matching monkey suits.

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They had lots of fun trick-or-treating at Daddy's office.

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Big spider!

Last night we headed out with A and T (princess and leopard respectively), and raked in the loot. No more were these girls content to sit in the wagon and be wheeled around. Oh no. "Mama, let's go to that house!", "Mama, let's get more candy!", "Mama, can you open this lollypop for me pleeeeeeease!" Unfortunately, the parental treats were not in evidence, but we got supplied at A and T's house and set off to wander the neighborhood for hours. Or so it seemed...

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And at the end of the night, there were lollypops.

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