Love Days

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87DBD436-6092-4B18-B42C-C327F8CDBFD6Sweet Mimi at her Valentine's Day store, 6:00 a.m.

I was going to have all of my Secret Garden things ready to go this week but I'm not quite finished getting the web pages up. I forgot about Valentine's Day, and President's Day on Monday, so I will probably have everything ready by Tuesday and will post links then. There's no need to scramble — this is not a sell-out kind of thing. We will literally take every single order we can get; if you're willing to wait for us to pull everything together, we will make as many of everything as you will want. It will just take some time. Hoops and candle jars are on back-order at the manufacturer, and I'm waiting to place some orders for supplies until after I see how many orders we will get, so I that I try to hit these numbers properly. I honestly never know with new stuff like this — will we get five orders or fifty orders or five hundred? It stresses me out to try to guess. It's too risky to get things wrong. So we'll take orders starting Tuesday and I'll give you more of an accurate expected shipping time when we know how many of everything we need to make. I'm pretty sure that things will start rolling out sometime toward the end of April, and first orders will go out first. Soap takes six weeks to cure. We have about a hundred bars curing right now but, as I said, not sure what the numbers will look like, so stay tuned.

I both very much enjoy and utterly dread the excitement of doing new things. I can't explain the particular emotion. It's complicated.

We had snooooooooooow! It was lovely. So lovely. It was short. We got a few short-lived inches, and those were supposed to be followed by a major snowpocalypse last week, and instead we got literally nothing. Seattle got it all. Well, that's not true — certain neighborhoods around town got dumped on, and certain neighborhoods got absolutely nothing. Mother Nature cherry-picked her locations this time. It was okay. We really enjoyed what we had, and Andy was even home for second day we had snow. He had to work on the first day of snow, a Friday, when school was cancelled and Mimi lost a tooth and she and I walked up to the park and hung out with some old friends. Later we walked up to the cafe for breakfast. The sun was shining and there was no wind and it was just excellent. I miss walking around so much. Now that Amelia is not in a stroller I feel like we just do not do it very much anymore. I miss those walking days, as much as they hurt my foot. I miss being right up close to the seasons like that, noticing peoples' curtains and the things in their yards and the new growth, especially at this time of year. I miss having a baby in the stroller bundled in her blanket, sleeping or drinking her milk, strapped in and not needing anything, me just walking and thinking and talking quietly to her if she was awake. It's nice walking together now, too, but it's different. It's much more active than passive. Pushing a stroller is almost like taking a waking nap. You just keep rolllllling along.

But anyway, we enjoyed the snow, I thought about time, I thought about the snow days of my childhood, how my friend Monica and I spent countless freezing, white-cold weekends at Keystone Park in River Forest, walking under the viaduct with our ice skates over our shoulders, long underwear on under our jeans, a thermos of Swiss Miss hot cocoa to drink in the warming room at mid-day. Everything was white — ground, sky, breath. It was freezing. Every winter they flooded the park and made a big ice skating rink. It was not a destination; it was just our little neighborhood park and grassy ice rink. We shoveled snow off the ice and into big banks of snow around the sides. Bigger boys played hockey. We held hands and practiced going backwards. I honestly don't remember any parents ever there. I know for sure that mine never went. It was the '70s. We walked there on our own and we skated together all day. We did this year after year, Monica and I. Our other friend, Linda, was a skating girl. She took ice-skating lessons at a real skating rink, getting up at five in the morning, every morning, to skate before school. Her mom, who was one of my absolute favorite moms, took her. She skated in competitions. When I went to her ice-skating birthday party at Ridgeland Commons, I was the one who fell down and bit through my lip, getting blood all over the ice and making a scene. I drew a picture of Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, like a big, giant picture of them skating, and I worked on it for a long time. At the end of a skating day, Monica and I would walk back down Hawthorn in the blue snowlight of the winter evening with the huge bare oak trees overhead, fingertips freezing, noses running, ankles aching, perfectly spent. You'd stand at the sink and run warm water over your frozen hands for ten minutes when you got home. I haven't been cold like that in years. 

26 comments

Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner— I’ve never seen even video of them, I have no idea what they look like (no internet in the late 70’s) but my best friend was obsessed. :) Just hearing the names takes me back to like second grade.

Lisa in Seattle says: February 16, 2019 at 02:01 PM

I am one of the people who got all your snow! We are actually south of the city, and we got 10" during the first fall - cold, powdery fluff. The next fall was wetter and heavier and just compacted the first. This bounty was wasted on me, with a cold, and we spent a lot of each day frantically trying to feed all the birds that came into suburbia to find food - including elusive but gorgeous varied thrush. I am sure the kids loved the snow, which was up to a few feet in places, but they will have to make up a lot of missed school at the end of the year...

northfield girl here – park across street turned into skating rink every year – boys playing hockey, the big sister i near-worshiped getting hit in the head with an errant puck and needing stitches – hours upon hours skating – perfecting skating backwards, but unlike aforementioned sister, never quite perfecting the coveted move where you squat down and straighten one leg out in front – and yes, running warm water over my frozen, pink hands. YES. i haven't thought about that in years! thank you. *heart*

I live in the mid-west but do not have your fondness of winter and snow. We had a neighborhood ice skating rink as well--and a warming shed but never spent more than an hour there at a time. My all day outings were the pool in the summertime. We would ride our bikes there and stay all day. Those were the days!

I share your childhood memories of the safety of those days for kids, it's so sad it's not that way now. We would head out on our bikes and stay gone all day.. we didn't ask permission or tell anyone where we were going. We'd ride out into the countryside of McMinnville where I grew up, wade in Baker Creek and try to catch crawdads.. venture into Spook Woods and scare each other with stories. The good old days. I loved all the images you shared and look forward to your next projects to hit your online shop. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Nancy Clark says: February 16, 2019 at 05:24 PM

Wonderful recollection!

Thanks. I know that strange emotion!

I navigated a big neighborhood when I was in Kinder and first grade with only the warning " cross the street when you get to the barbershop." My daughter was only allowed to go to each next door neighbor's driveway. The world sure got scary in 50 years.

I just want to thank you for your photos and your blog. I love Portland so much because people I love live there, and because it's like no other city anywhere. Despite the cold and recent snow, the city is so green! and so full of life! I very much appreciate your sharing of the city, of your beautiful family, and the lovely things you make and do, so thank you!

Growing up in Michigan the winters were wonderful. Snow was deep and sledding was fun. A blanket of snow was a great equalizer, it covered everything.... so beautiful. The bare trees, kissed with snow looked like sculptures. Every year I long for those days.
Looking forward to seeing all your lovely Secret Garden items.

I enjoy your photos so much. We have mostly had rain here in the south and lots of it. I wouldn't mind a couple of snow days.

I am your age or thereabouts. But no one should be of the idea that things were so nice and safe 'back then'. It was no age of nostalgic child safety that some people are suggesting. I went swimming in the local pool and returning home alone along a busy high street was accosted by a man who said he was a family friend (I didn't believe him but out of politeness went along, even holding his hand and trotting alongside for about 20 minutes).

I ran away eventually (v v fast), but not before he tried to take me somewhere 'quiet' and told me why. This happened in broad daylight. Yes I was told about stranger danger (but he said he was a friend). Politeness and good manners can be deadly in the wrong place, but no one told me that. I seriously worried about being rude, just in case I had got it wrong and thought I might get in trouble. Had several other creepy incidents too. They were not the good old days!

Our instincts to have our children close to us, are good ones. We are not too careful now. We have need to be and always did. Parents used to be more naive that is all.

Carol Brown says: February 17, 2019 at 12:22 PM

What a delight to have found your blog and shop. I have read Ginny's blog for years and I know I will enjoy yours just as much! Carol in Texas

Your photographs are gorgeous!

Your post made me remember about some of my walks with my kids in their strollers. We've lived in different areas in Chicago. One of them River Forest, near Keystone Park. And then I read you mention Keystone Park! A different time, the same park =) My girls ask to go to that park sometimes. Last summer we spent an afternoon there. And then we waited for my husband after his work, he got off the train on that stop. We went to Giordanos in Oak Park for a deep dish. And then across the street for some ice cream and a little walk in Oak Park. It was a memorable evening.

I enjoy your photos so much.. can you tell us a bit more about the giving tree on your walk? What a cute Idea.. I might have to plant a tree and have one!

Greatly enjoyed your ice-skating memories! So glad you got some of the snow you love so much.

Ahhhhh, the 70's! We ran amok around the neighborhood and beyond, our parents were never with us. Did that really happen? And why can't I bring myslef to let my children do the same today?

I grew up in Omaha, and the Parks Dept woudl flood the small neighborhood parks that had the right topography into temporary rinks....I used to skate at Schroeder Park, It was exactly how you describe it...big boys playing hockey, no parents around. Cold, cold, cold. But sadly, they no longer do it, as it no longer gets cold enough for the ground to freeze hard and the water just drains away.

As always, your posts are restful and soothing. It is so needed in my life of late, and I thank you. I grew up in the Deep South- I dreamed often of winters like yours, reading enviously of the wonders of deep winter. And here I am, a little further north, but still reading enviously.

You are just so talented, sadly I'm in Australia so the cost is too much for me.

My 5 and 7 year olds have a name for that feeling, they call it Nervoucited. Your new collection is altogether lovely.

I enjoy your River Forest and Oak Park reminiscing. We've lived in Oak Park for 20 years now and all three of our kids take skating lessons at Ridgeland Commons. My teenagers also help teach the beginning and tot skating classes.

Your daughter is getting so TALL! What a cutie she is!

Just a note: I’d live to see more photos of Clover. I miss seeing that sweet girl❤️

You are such a good writer!

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About Alicia Paulson

About

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 aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.