One Year

comments: 127

SilhouetteThis is a silhouette of me, at 20 months old, made by my mother — very coincidentally — on September 30, 1970, thirty-six years ago today. My mom, who was then ten years younger than I am now, wrote the date on the back of the board and her handwriting is exactly the same as it is now. I'm not even sure how she made this — did she actually trace my shadow? It is life-size. When I look at the profile, I think, "That's me. I was like that. I was there." Of course, the only memory I have from that apartment is a little china duck on a shelf, and the sun coming through the window above my crib. I don't have pictures of either the shelf or the room; I should ask my mom if either really existed, or if it's just what I think there was. It seems like a real memory, but who can say.

What I really want to ask her is if there was anything about me then that signified a future me, me at 37. Would she even remember? It was so long ago. My father always pointed to two wrinkles that appeared at my inner elbow every time I bent my right arm, and the one uncomplicated wrinkle made by my left. He said I had all three at birth, this funny asymmetry. I blushed whenever he would mention it, and would immediately straighten all appendages in embarrassment, but still, it was amazing: Someone knew something about me that I didn't know! This small, strange thing, almost nothing! Almost everything I thought about myself seemed invisible to others. What other surprises might I yield, things unknown to even me? Was my portrait so readily available, and I was the one who couldn't see?

It's my blogiversary today. The Typepad spell-checker doesn't know how to spell that. Might it, this time next year? Probably. I do and don't look forward to that. I like thinking that we blog writers and readers are a secret society. Will blogs be special when "blogiversary" doesn't get red-lighted, when blogs are as common as microwave ovens? When we got our first one, in the '80s, our parents told us to press start and then stand far back from the oven door, halfway across the room. There was no telling what would come out of the things. It turns out they're sort of taken for granted, slightly maligned these days, but they still bake a potato in four minutes. I always think about how excited we were with that first one, and feel a little twinge of melancholy over our sweet naivete, those glossy and surprising new things that we quickly take for granted though they are no less enchanted for being familiar, really. Even now, I press the "start" button on my 'wave and feel a little flutter in my chest, as if I should run.

I've changed. All my life I've felt a little separate, a little bit apart, with my alien blood and my prissy ways, riding my imaginary horse down the middle of the sidewalk; but I'd stomp my feet in frustration when I wasn't understood. If someone would say, as they sometimes did, "I had no idea you felt that way," I'd fly into fit of hysterics, more radical than ever seemed warranted or expected, blotchy with tears and accusations. "Nobody listens to me!" I'd shriek, alone, into my pillow, then smooth it — I'd embroidered it, after all; no point ruining the stupid thing. I'd always planned to leave, take my pillowcase and find my places, was sure that I could, though it always has taken me a long time to get to them, as it takes us sloths. Sometimes I'll walk through the living room now, and I'll see Andy in his brown chair, hunched over the laptop. He'll smile, laugh, scan the screen, smile again. "What are you reading?" I say. And he says, "The blog." He reads every post and every comment. Each comment is a wave — Hi, friend! — a wink, a hug, a giggle, a shrug, a squawk, a total miss, a tiny kiss, a hand held out, steadying an elbow. Insert sob here. Look at all the listeners, he says. Blotchy, I look up from the pillow/keyboard and see you, right there, yours hands cupped toward me around your ears. How you got here is a mystery to me, but don't leave.

Often he goes back to read the posts again, weeks, months later. It's all a love letter to him, and our life, the one we got to have, after all. I've never told him that, but he knows. He gets it. He's heard me, seen me, all along.


Happy Blogiversary! I love your thoughtful writings, your pretty pictures, inspiration, generosity. Have a lovely day.
Hi Andy!

You are a lovely writer (Hi Andy!) and informative too - who knew Typepad had a spell checker?! Happy Blogiversary and many more.

Hi Guys,
So, I guess this is my lurkiversary - I've been reading your blog from the beginning and I've loved every bit of it. I have a husband and a dog and a crazy, unsettled (blogless) life so I especially enjoy reading about someone who is living the stable life I hope to have someday. Thank you for the posts about love, marriage, crafting, self-employment, hope, dreams...Thank you for the gorgeous photos of your studio, your shop, your projects, your treasures, your Audrey and your Andy. Thank you for sharing it all.

Sweet post...
Happy one year..!
Hey, Andy!

I have found that my most used words are often highlighted as spelled incorrectly by spellcheck. My favorite being the "unmedicated" birth of my son. They always want to separate "homeschool" although any homeschooler will tell you that the words just flow together naturally. Even "thrifted" doesn't make the cut on being a word yet it is in my vocabulary every day. We also had a microwave although we nervously called it a radar range and had to stand back too. We used to buy milk from the dairy with the cream at the top and 30 odd years later I still will shake up the homogenized milk to distribute the cream evenly although it doesn't need it. It's funny what memories we have as children that our children will not even comprehend. My mother tells me about using her first touch button phone at the 1962 world expo in Seattle. Blogs will be something my children will have always known about. What will be new to them I wonder. Happy Anniversary.

Bah, I'm such a girl. Totally tearing up over here! Happy blogiversary Alicia!

Happy blogiversary! I am so glad you are here/there writing. I love your blog.

Happy Blogiversary!

I thought I would delurk and say hello. My Blogiversary was just 2 days ago! I really love reading you blog. Thank you so much for sharing you are an inspiration.

Also, Audrey is a doll.

I am sure there is a lot more in you Alicia.. I am sure we will read lots of beautiful life analysis from you.. how awkward it is.. to find someone whe is too much like you.. and telling about life.. from the same poiny of you but using other words.. living another life.. I wish you another very happy blog year.. and many happy events and years to share with Andy and your family

Only one year? Seems like always...
Very special wishes to you, and many happy returns of the day.

One of the reasons I love reading your blog is because we have some common memories. Only a few, sprinkled here and there, but just enough to say, "Isn't it amazing how we are all alike and yet, not?" I guess that doesn't really make sense, but for me it ties into that secret club feeling.

My parents have a tablecloth with silhouettes of my siblings on it. Because I am the youngest by several years, mine is not included. And that first microwave - standing away from it. Ours came from Sears-Roebuck. And being a sloth, and a homebody.
*contented sigh*
Thanks, Alicia.
Hi, Andy.

Happy Blogiversary, dear heart. I am so glad to have found you in cyberspace, and connect with one from my home *planet* (wayward, misunderstood place that it is).

Thank you for sharing your voice, and your lovely pictures. Yours is definitely a shining star in the blog universe!

That was so beautiful. I had to copy and paste the last bit to my boyfriend.

You, my friend, are a sweet gift. I love everything I learn about you. And I love Andy for loving you so nicely. {well hello andy}

your filing this under 'all i want is a normal life' seems sweet, because everytime you write a beautiful post like this all i want is a life less ordinary.

i think you mentioned once that you lived a somewhat unexamined life... i disagree. i imagine when you write these missives to the world that you are at your computer, with a cup of tea and a smile, remembering just how andy looked at you (sideways sometimes) when you wondered aloud 'how was it, that that thing you said, went?'. sharing with us - people who you don't know, but who now know you - has been so incredibly generous. thank you for the examaninations you make of your life every day. here's to at least another year of the same.

Yes, we're all here! (Ok, I'm wiping my eyes because that made me cry.) I know bloggers sometimes feel like distant friends, but we're not really! I think we all feel we're a real part of your life, and we hope you want to be part of ours as well! Oftentimes, I just want to pack up and go to Portland so I can visit you. (You really did a number on me; I'm still crying.) :)

P.S. I thought I was the only one who still felt that flutter in my chest. Sometimes it's so strong, I actually have to walk away from the microwave. How strange is that?

P.S.S. I think your birthday is just a couple of months before my hubby's (if I didn't get the math wrong, which I very well could have). His is March 21, 1969.

I shouldn't think any of us will be leaving any time soon angel.

P.S.S.S. Hi, Andy! You are a good hubby.

Just another huge fan de-lurking to wish you happy blogiversary and many happy returns! Treat yourself today!

Happy blog birthday, Alicia! I just started reading pretty recently and I just love your writing and your pretty pretty pictures. Thank you for sharing it all :)


Happy birthday!
Love this post, love the it all.

Welcome to the world of writers, where we find our tribe, our audience. I tried to live without a "microphone" when my first child arrived, but I couldn't. You have the gift, keep using it.

And I totally love the silhouette. My mom has one of me from kingergarten. I really need to do them of my daughters.

Happy Blogiversary darling Alicia! Thank you for sharing yourself with us, thank you Andy for sharing Alicia with us, and thank you for all the beauty you continue to spread with your vision and sweetness! xo

Oh Alicia this post is a beautiful as you are (which is very very very beautiful). Have a wonderful day lovely girl and may you have a wonderful new bloggy year!


happy blogiversary! it is a secret society.... and you are incredible! thank you for sharing all that you do!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at