Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Halloween Grinch

This is the kind of wholesome Halloween stuff I was raised to love: teddy bear costumes and trick or treating. 

Here’s an exhaustive list of what I like about Halloween: candy, dressing up in fun costumes, and watching Chris carve a pumpkin. All that gory, frightening nonsense? Pass.

Let’s start with scary movies.

People always want to watch scary movies around Halloween, and I feel like the lone crazy person who doesn’t want to watch [fill in the horrible blank]. I cannot watch the PREVIEWS for scary movies. I get creeped out looking at the posters. I don’t have to explain this to little kids. For a long time, my friends and I were trick-or-treating in peace. But scary movies got cool in high school, especially around Halloween, and so fifteen years ago this month I watched the scariest movie I ever saw… The Sixth Sense. I knew the entire plot from the very beginning of the movie, I was in a giant cuddle ball with like fourteen of my most supportive friends, but I still have nightmares loosely based on that terrifying kitchen cupboard scene. No more scary movies for me. 

Then there’s haunted houses.

In college I went with an otherwise reasonable group of friends to a haunted house that ended in a corn maze. As we left the house (where the very worst nightmares are sent to prison), my roommate and I got separated from the rest of our group, and a dude with a chainsaw chased us into the cornfield. We took a wrong turn, faced a dead end, and as we screamed and clung to each other I was so distraught that I genuinely, sincerely believed I had to choose between escaping this madman or actual death. It’s a funny story now, but I cannot emphasize this part enough: one us literally went home with pee-soaked pants that night, and I’d rather not say who. So that was the last haunted house I ever went to. 

I do not understand all the “fun” Halloween things. I’m really happy to stay home and pass out fun-size Snickers bars to cute, tiny Iron Men. I realize that admitting to all this makes me the equivalent of a Halloween Grinch, so my apologies to Jack Skellington for having a Tell-Tale Heart that is two sizes too small.

b perry

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Date Night Discussions

A favorite picture of us joking around at our wedding - by Matt McDaniel
There’s an episode of New Girl where Nick’s surly girlfriend is all, “What do you want me to do? Go to brunch? Are we supposed to, like, read articles and then talk about them together? Okay?! I’m never going to be that kind of girl!”

I am exactly that kind of girl. Is that not cool? I genuinely believe that eating brunch together on a Saturday morning while Chris and I talk about this week’s obituary from the Economist is the absolute coolest thing in the world. A significant percentage of our emails are discussing some article or blog post we read that day.

And if that’s not cool, then getting-to-know you questions are probably way, way less cool. I take to those silly questions like a duck to water. It’s not like we do it every day, but sometimes when we’re lying in the hammock or walking Jack through the neighborhood, I’ll ask Chris about the first CD he ever bought, or the first movie he remembers seeing in theaters. He is so thoughtful in his answers that the questions don’t feel contrived. It's the sweetest.

So. A small sampling of what we've been talking about over the last week.

  1. If you could have ten acres to run some kind of family farm, what would you grow?
  2. If you had to be trapped inside one giant food and the only way to escape was to eat your way out, which food would you choose? (Stolen from Cup of Jo)
  3. If you or I were president, what would our secret service code names be? (Stolen from the GOP debates)
  4. Would you rather be crazily wealthy but live in relative obscurity, or struggle financially but be known for good throughout time? 
  5. This article about the actual data we have about pornography
  6. Making these brownies, which we did, but first we had to read the article and talk about it extensively.
  7. A million awesome airplane things from this 747 book. Chris read it first, and now I want to.
  8. And all the legends in The Once and Future King.

And maybe it's just because we're so close to October, but I'd want to have an apple orchard with a tiny pumpkin patch out front. And I wouldn't need to grow the orchard for money because I'd also MOST DEFINITELY be living in secret, fabulous wealth.

b perry

p.s. I like to post my favorite articles over on twitter, if you want to be friends there too :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The First Book I Couldn't Put Down

Chris bought me the first Harry Potter as a present when I got induced, and that's what I read while we waited for Jack to arrive. And this is the best picture I have that actually includes me and the book. This is the best one, you guys. Labor.

I read The Indian in the Cupboard when I was in the second or third grade, and (racially insensitive title aside) it was the first book to give me that thrill where you just have to know what happens next. I was reading in my room, and my mom called me to dinner right after Little Bear shot Boone with an arrow. I remember being so swept into the story that couldn’t bear the thought of leaving it behind for a minute. It was exhilarating.

At that age, I hadn't felt that page-turner feeling before, but I still loved reading. The summer before, I remember sneaking into the kitchen to have one little spoonful of brown sugar during the “sugaring off” in Little House in the Big Woods. I don’t know what maple sugar tastes like, but the way she describes it melting on her tongue is so vivid and delicious. I figured having a little brown sugar would make me part of the party too. A few years later I probably read Ella Enchanted a dozen times in a row. And, of course, there was every single page in all of Harry Potter.

Those first few books are so significant to me, but I own almost none of them. Do you own any of yours, or they all in your parents’ basement like mine? Anyway, I want our kids to have a small library of their parents’ childhood favorites so we can all read them together. The To Buy list right now includes:

  • Peter Pan
  • So much Roald Dahl
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light in the Attic
  • A few of the Garfield comic books
  • Every single Calvin and Hobbs comic
  • The Wayside School series
  • The Little House series
  • The Anne of Green Gables series
  • The Boxcar Children series
  • The Lord of the Rings series

b perry

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Returning to Our Privileged Places

I don’t have one of those incredible lists of “750 Autumn Activities,” but I do have a small collection of September/October stuff I like to do every year. This Fall there’s a few new items, and the best one so far was returning to the place where Chris and I met.

A few months ago I read about Mircea Eliade’s “privileged places” and I had to track down his whole book, “The Sacred and Profane.” He describes the privileged places of our lives as
...qualitatively different from all others -- a man’s birthplace, or the scenes of his first love, or certain places in the first foreign city he visited in his youth. Even for the most frankly nonreligious man, all these places still retain an exceptional, a unique quality; they are the “holy places” of his private universe, as if it were in such spots that he had received the revelation of a reality other than that which he participates through his ordinary life.
Do you have holy places like that? There are places I consider important personal historical sites, but I don’t have many that feel sacred. There is my home in Idaho, 27 Palace Court in London, and the magnolia-lined street in Virginia where I saw fireflies for the first time. And then, of course, our friend’s beautiful home in Palo Alto where Chris and I first met. Even though we live fifteen minutes away from this Perry Family landmark, we hadn’t been back in the last four years.

There’s just something wonderful about returning to those places, and it feels like the best kind of time travel. I could see my younger self walking up the street, nervous and excited and oblivious. Literally the only interaction Chris and I had with each other was about Chris’ job at Bump, and how my dad was adorably obsessed with their app. Barely anything. But to us, it’s enough to imbue this whole neighborhood with romance, to make it sacred.

b perry

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Magic Behind Labor Day Weekend

Chris knows about all the cool hikes (he did a write up about some of his favorite Bay Area hikes here!), and exploring new territory with him and Jack is my favorite way to spend the weekends together. This weekend we hiked The Purisima Trail, which I loved because even though it’s about twenty minutes from our house, I feel like I’m in the middle of some ancient forest. The best part was when Jack spent a few minutes talking to a crow. He would chirp out, and the crow would call back, and our hearts exploded.

Every Spring we say that this will be THE summer: weekly picnics, international travel, pool parties, and demolition derbies. But August ends, and no it wasn’t; it never is. The air starts to get crisp around the edges, the light gets long, and we’ve only gone to the farmer’s market twice. But the first weekend in September is a blessed long weekend dedicated to banishing a few of the summer ghosts that haunt you. Squeeze in one last trip to the lake, or see an outdoor movie, or – for the Perry family – hike through a redwood forest.

And after a few hours in the forest we drove home and put Jack to bed. The sun set with it all our beautiful summer intentions, and it was okay that summer is over. We can pull out our sweaters. Fires will warm our living room. The leaves will turn gold and fall from the trees with the autumnal gravity of things left unsaid.

b perry

p.s. if you want to follow along with our weekend hikes, Chris and I usually post them on Instagram under #perrysinthewild. It is a hashtag that I one hundred percent stole from a girl in my college ward, but you know, “great hashtaggers steal” or something.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

First Birthdays

For Jack's birthday we tried to pack in every single thing that he loves. He had two whole eggs for breakfast. We took him to his favorite slides. We held his hand as he walked in circles around the house for hours. We went on an evening walk. Most importantly, we let him eat at least three sticks from the trees in our yard.

I wrote this whole emotion-laden post about our first year together. It was nostalgic and cheesy and you’re welcome for transferring that to a journal. Here’s what’s left: celebrating this birthday feels rare and beautiful because for the last year, our life stories were the same silly, wonderful story.

And it’s a story I’ll love to tell until my dying day because, without caveat or condition, it’s been the best year of my life.

b perry

see below for the cake smash

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

One Perfect Day in Yosemite (with kids)

We went to Yosemite this month with my BFF Whitney and her family. What was conceived as an entire week camping with friends eventually became just a day trip for us, but that narrative is part of a much larger theme for 2015, which is, “make travel plans, and then cancel them a few months later.” I’m glad we didn’t cancel this trip because it was a day I’ll remember forever and (I hope) the beginning of a freaking sweet family tradition.

The itinerary was pretty light, but it was great for three kids under four.
4:00 a.m. Leave home
7:30 Arrive, eat breakfast donuts, explore Yosemite Village
9:00 Walk to Lower Yosemite Falls
11:30 Eat lunch at Ahwahee Hotel
1:00 Hike to Mirror Lake and play in the water
3:30 Drive to Tunnel View
4:30 Set up campsite, roast s'mores, take pictures
6:00 Drive home
(The Royals camped there for a couple more days)

On the way home, I held this polaroid in my hands and thought about how perfect the little picture was. I love the way Jack stares at these little Royal faces, their matching t shirts, how we can see Chris standing to the side, the trees, the mountains. I felt stupid for setting up the shot in such terrible lighting, but after a while I reminded myself what I love the most about polaroids: this picture is the only one like it in the world, and it’s mine.

I feel the same way about our itinerary. Sure, we could have made some logistical changes I guess, but at the end of the day, this whirlwind adventure was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for us. That was the only day like that we’ll ever have, and that’s what made it so perfect.

b perry