Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Moon Song Sisterhood, Part 1

Many apologies for not getting this post up sooner my lovely friends. Last week, as I began to write it, one of the themes that kept coming to mind was the beauty and positivity that can be brought into one’s life through these crazy internets. On the flip side they can also be a mind-numbing techno time-suck (let’s not kid ;), but at the heart, it’s all really about connections, and as for my own interweb wanderings, I feel so incredibly lucky to have made some very special ones along the way. Though I should probably also say, that I don’t really believe that luck had too much to do with it ;)

This post was in essence written to celebrate the wonder of such dear connections, however, over these past days, the heartbreak and horror, the destruction and devastation, of all that has and continues to unfold in Japan has been overwhelming, and I must admit, it has left me with the urge to “retreat” just a bit from all the “connectedness” and really cherish the comfort that I’m fortunate to be existing in right now here in my cozy and, as yet, safe little home with my loved ones.

I feel terrible for the people of Japan who are directly involved, I feel terrible for our planet, and on my Yahoo homepage when I saw this major headline: “Radiation soars at Japan nuclear plant, Area residents are told to stay inside during the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl, Threat heads up the coast” immediately followed by this “major” headline: "‘Bachelor’ winner gets cold feet, Emily says she’s not quite ready to wed Brad, even after accepting his proposal,” well, I just felt a little sick inside and terrible for humanity as a whole.

With my portal to inspiration and kindred souls currently overwhelmed by confused and often conflicting messages of doom and fear, the timing of this post started to feel a bit off. Though while I know all of our hearts are breaking for the people of Japan right now, I also feel like sending out a story of love and light and positive connection can’t be a bad thing during such times as these, and I know that there are at least a few lovely souls out there to whom these pics will bring smiles to their faces and hopefully brighten their days like they do mine, so without further ado…

Our story begins in Sacramento, CA at Crimson & Clover, the most magical vintage shop in all the land… seriously, where else would this story begin? ;)

(left to right: Milla, Nicole, Me, Amber, Heather)

Brought together ultimately by a mutual deep-seated love of vintage clothing, it makes perfect sense that this would be the chosen spot for myself and these gorgeous and wondrous ladies to finally find ourselves all together in three-dimensional reality for the very first time!

Pretty Proprietress

Nicole, the all-around sweet spirit and stylish-beyond-words proprietress (her co-proprietress, Kara, we unfortunately didn't get to meet this time). Milla, Amber, Heather, and myself giddily descended upon Nicole at work in her shop after initially meeting up, daughters and husbands in tow, for lunch at the restaurant next door.

With Clover and Mycie (Amber's daughter), happily swinging at the park across the street with their papas, we girls were free to browse, chat, take lots of pictures, and pretty much just bliss-out on each other for awhile.

Pretty Aquarian birthday packages from Nicole, our fellow water bearer :)

Gunne Love

Ah, the gift of Gunne! Milla basking in the glory, as the rest of us ooh-ed and ahh-ed in the background.

Heather flashing her bright and ever-present smile, as we all wandered around the lovely shop in a giddy daze, perusing racks of dresses and admiring Nicole’s amazing handmade accessories, juggling cameras and arm-loads of vintage loveliness to try on… many of which turned out to be destined for new homes ;)

Heather and Amber looking quite excited about their purchases, as we all were!

Once the little girls had done all the swinging they were going to do, and the papas had already played the cookies from the coffee shop card, it was time to move on to the next phase of our adventure. We bid Nicole a fond farewell, with hopes firmly planted for her and her family to meet up with us in Nevada City the next day.

Now, if you wouldn't mind joining me on a wee philosophical tangent…

Following Heather’s wonderful post, both Milla and Amber recently published beautifully written accounts of our weekend as well, each expanding on sentiments shared by all-involved, as we’ve had a chance to reflect on our time together.

One topic that came up in conversation among us that weekend, had to do with the dynamics of getting to know someone through blogging, and/or other such modes of online communication, where people come together based on common interests. We all agreed that when approached with honesty and pure intention, there can be the potential for forming even deeper connections/bonds/friendships than those you might make through “real life” channels.

This writing-based means of self-expression, where you are often “carefully externalizing your internal life into words,” as Milla so elegantly put it, can lend itself to deeper interactions than you might initially have with a new person in your life.

For an introvert like myself, externalizing can be something quite difficult to accomplish during the course of everyday social interactions to begin with. As someone who feels more comfortable expressing herself through writing than speaking, I feel like it’s allowed me to make so many wonderful connections that I never would have otherwise. It really has become an avenue for getting to know people that I’m endlessly thankful to have discovered.

What’s also interesting is that, not only do you externalize the “inner you” through the act of writing, but at the same time, through the act of reading the blogs/comments/emails of those you are connecting with, you effectively internalize the “inner them.”

There’s something powerful about taking in information through reading the written word, and over time, getting to know the essence of someone in this way makes them sort of feel like a part of you, part of your own internal landscape. It makes me think of the way reading a good book can seem to infiltrate your soul in a way that watching the movie never quite can. I know that’s a complete oversimplification, but perhaps there’s still some truth to it.

This all leads to some thrilling first moments of being in the warm presence of women whose form had previously taken shape for you in this way. It is a bit like "stepping through the looking glass." Your internal reality becoming your external reality, as girls who existed as composites of words and images in your mind and heart, become vividly real right before your eyes. Eyes that lock in deep recognition, while smiles beam, and heartfelt hugs commence. It’s an experience both surreal and hyper-real all at the same time.

It’s all very fleeting though, because before you know it, you’re looking at these sweet souls in the flesh as if that’s just how you’ve always seen them, and it’s all a bit mind-bending in the best of ways!

But let’s get back to our adventure, shall we?

Speaking of the magical act of reading, our first destination upon arrival in Heather’s hometown of Placerville was also where she works… The Bookery!

This used bookstore is nothing short of AMAZING and my girls, being the bevy of beautiful bookworms that they are were all completely in their element in it’s labyrinth of shelves quite literally overflowing with the written word.

Sacred Space
Milla, kneeling at the alter in her place of worship ;)

Amber, unable to contain her excitement over the True Stories of the Sea section :D

Following the excitement of The Bookery, we got Mexican take-out and headed up the hill to Heather’s house where her husband Darin was waiting to warmly greet us all. The ten of us (myself, Lucas, and Clover, Amber, Graham, and Mycie, Milla and Charlie, Heather and Darin) went straight to settling in for a good ol’ fashioned sleepover!

A little beer, a little food, and the next thing we knew, Heather’s bedroom floor was barely visible as the gift giving extravaganza (dubbed “New Christmas” by our menfolk) commenced in full force!

Clover and Mycie went straight to work on Clover’s new fairy sticker book. A gift from Amber and Mycie, but not before each putting on one of many (and I do mean MANY) new vintage dresses. Seriously, between Amber’s hand-me-downs from Mycie, and Milla and Heather going completely above and beyond hunting down adorable vintage dresses for the girls, I think Clover’s collection now puts my own to shame!

Sister Circle

While we were all the recipients of many thoughtful gifts from one another, this brooch that Amber saw in Milla’s Etsy favorites and decided to surprise her with, was really quite special.

The circle of four women so perfectly captured the spirit of our gathering and our feelings of sisterhood toward one another. It even turned out to be a foreshadowing, as later that evening we would find ourselves out in the cool night air, hands joined in just such a circle, the four of us together beneath a bright full moon.

New Christmas, the aftermath :D

Looking adorable in new dresses from Auntie Milla, Mycie and Clover had some good times jumping and posing on Heather’s bed. They are both so good at posing, not sure where they get that ;)

By the end of New Christmas, these girls were BEST BUDS, running around together and squealing with laughter like they’d known each other all their lives. Isn’t it amazing how kids do that, form friendships so quickly and easily, like “Hey she likes to wear old dresses and jump on beds too, I’m gonna have some fun with her!” They’re just all-in, from the get-go. It’s inspiring really.

In a way, I think online communities sort of give us back some of that child-like boldness in making connections. I would probably never walk up to a stranger on the street whose style I was drawn to and say: “Hey, I think you’re awesome, wanna be my friend?” But that’s basically how it goes down in the land of blog… you tell a cute Finnish girl that you think she looks adorable in her red dress, and fast forward three years later…

That connection has grown, and expanded, and now includes others…

yes, their dresses also happen to be cute, but at this point that is so completely beside the point…

and if your lucky, one day you all find yourselves and your loved ones face-to-face in a gypsy caravan of a living room sharing beers and smiles and stories and laughter…

and you adore these girls in person more than you ever thought you could…

(their loved ones are pretty great too ;)

There’s a magical midnight walk under a full moon, homemade raspberry wine shared straight from the bottle, howling, circling, singing, laughing, confiding, bonding…

and you’re ALL-IN, from the get-go ♥

The after-glow... scenes from the next morning, bathed in golden light.

Heather’s sweet kitty Cream Puff was not the only cute and furry creature roaming the house that morning.

Aaaaaaaaand, still posing :D

Milla working on the mountain of yummy pancakes that she contributed to the insanely delicious group effort breakfast we all enjoyed. It also included potatoes and bacon by Graham, fried eggs (from our chickens!) by Charlie, and endless amounts of coffee which Lucas took the lead on.

Patterns and Pancakes

The girls, devouring pancake after pancake, under Heather and Darin’s amazing adjustable embroidered patch calendar, the likes of which I’ve never seen anything like, so cool.

More lovely bits of home décor.

Amber’s collection of Tarot cards provided for the most adorable scene of the morning…

Tarot for tots! The girls were enthralled as Heather, in her cute flannel nightie(!), went through the cards one-by-one with them. They played a game where they assigned identities to the characters on the cards based on which of all of us they looked like most.

It’s hard to say who was having more fun with this, the girls or Auntie Heather ;)

More to come in part 2 of our journey... next stop Nevada City!

Also, if you haven't already, Milla's and Amber's glorious and complete posts, both WONDERFUL reads, can be found here and here... and the love fest continues ♥


bonfire of my vanity said...

i've enjoyed reading everyone's account of this meeting so much, and this one especially...i love your thoughts on making blog friends.
i hope i get to meet up with you in may when i come down. i'm still not 100% sure on my dates, but i will let you know. take care!

Andrea said...

We all needed some moon song sisterhood pics & post in our lives today :) I know I did! The photos of the wee ones are always the best. Aren't they so lovely in their little frocks? The images with the lovely morning sunshine filtering in are so cool!!! Also, I always give a le sigh when I see pics of the bookery. So neat you got to go there and live amongst the books for a while!

Keep the positive, sisterly posts coming!!!

moonshinejunkyard said...

oh missa!!!!

i just got back from a hard day of thrifting (ha!) and had the immense joy of seeing that your post had appeared on my sidebar, WOOO HOOOO!!! actually today was the first day that i had that good old blissful feeling again after a lot of days of feeling worried, down and, like you said, a little retreated from the world, quiet but so lucky to be safe and warm. today was fresh and good again, driving in my car listening to 90s pop songs and finding some AMAZING dresses, singing real loud, sweet exchanges with strangers, you know. AND THEN. then to come home to this INCREDIBLE reminder of the joys we felt together, all of us in this wild and frolicsome weekend of just shone such light on the world with this lovely and thoughtful and happy post! thank you so much for doing so, your words are so elegantly chosen and ring so very true; and i really appreciate every nuance of what you are saying here. as an english major, i've thought often about the importance and value of the written word as a very specific and powerful medium. blogs are different than literature in a way, but just a little. i actually really like your book/movie analogy, it's true! and your post so beautifully shows how joyful it is when what has grown in your heart and imagination turns into reality.

i soooo love the giddy, giggly, wide-eyed wonder of these photos! you have captured every detail perfectly and thank you for making my house seem a lot more romantic than it seems to me most of the time. i miss you all here between my walls, and how blessed we are all to know each other and to be safe and loved. i hope your heavy heart feels lighter as days go on and that you and your family bask in the bliss of being together. much love to you!

Rebecca said...

Just wanted to say I love your blog and think you are amazing. I can relate 100% to being able to express myself better through writing than through speaking. I am a woman of few (spoken) words, but I can certainly write page after page of my thoughts! At any rate, I am always apprehensive to meet someone in person after having only corresponded with them in writing... I worry that my "real life" personality will be a huge let-down. But, as far as I can tell, people like both me's just the same -- or maybe they don't even notice a difference! Thanks for the good readin'.

Milla said...

Sigh. As always you're so spot in describing the sense of ennui that seems to have descended on the world in the last week. Sometimes I feel lucky to live somewhere where you can just crawl under a rock and hide out.

Your post of course is the perfect antidote, my sweet.
Everyone's post and pictures are these gorgeous, different pieces of the same whole that they form, and yours comes just the time we need it.

The pictures from the Bookery are the most wonderful (you take a bunch of nerds to the bookstore). The four of us in a variety of constellations, I love the picture of Heather, Amber and I where I'm looking at you taking the picture. The little girls, that morning picture of Clover in her hat makes me miss her so much! The two of them with Heather, Mycie's little hand pointing, the light streaming out the window.

Thank you for this post. Makes me believe in the world a little more.

Love you. Big kiss and a hug for Clover. (you can give Lucas a manly pat on the back...)

Alexa said...

Such a lovely, positive post. As a shy lady who has found a corner of the web to express myself, too, I love how it can help us develop strong ties with like-minded ladies.

And you all are making me want to alter that too-big gunne dress I have in my closet ;)

Marie @ Lemondrop Vintage said...

Looks like such a wonderful time. I went to a blogger conference recently and enjoyed it so much, you look like you managed the same camaraderie and celebration of the good parts of being a blogger.
Marie @ Lemondrop ViNtAge
Otis and James accessory giveaway

Victoria / Justice Pirate said...

woah so much description and beauty!! I just wanted to say that truly I love how all your friends are modest!!! I feel like sometimes when I read blogs that doesn't happen where ALL the friends are modest and such. very cool. The bookery seems like a place to spend too many hours in!

Andrea said...

I definitely agree with the sentiments of this post, Missa! During tough times it's good to hold on to the things that mean a lot in life :)

Amber said...

Perfect Missa. You are pure magic. It's like how Milla said you just have a knack (a gift?) for thrifting, you have that same sweet muse whispering on your shoulder when you take photos. These are so amazing and lovely. I can't believe the morning yellow sunlight shots, killing-me-gorgeous.
And yes, your paragraphs on how it all felt and how it's all evolved and how it all just seemed so natural and true are incredibly insightful and say it so beautifully. Thank you so much. I am all a'twitter waiting for the next post. And the next gathering.

tinka said...

It's not my habit to follow different blogs, and even less so to make comments to "strangers'", so to say, posts. Yet I'm doing right this right now, after finding your online nest - gods know how - not long ago. I haven't read it much nor regularly (no, I'm not much of an online person), but some of your stories or feelings made my head nodding here at this side of the screen. Actually, I was very close to silently smuggle away this time too (I find your story somehow intimate, or personal at least), but I've changed my mind; I've read it after all, and your (and your friends') writing made me (re)think about connections and powers of this world. Which aren't self-evident. And it IS about connections, it is indeed, although we don't see and experience all of them all the time. Isn't it so much more comforting (and supporting, and approving) when you find out we are not the only ones on this sad and painful, yet oh so beautiful world? Isn't it so much more powerful when you know there are more little communities of friends "making life" (I don't write "living" on purpose, it's like "making love" or "making music") in the middle of darkness? I believe each person's strength to change something lies at returning to his/her "old seed" and at caring the plant that (can) grow from it and at being responsible for the growth, and I believe in sharing that "ancient" quietness and magic with others. Just think how our closest neighbors - waters, hills and forests - do it ... I and some of my close friends try to live like this. To be aware of this. That's why I decided to drop my voice down here; because I felt so good when I read there was another circle of friends somewhere on the other side of the ocean who met for a couple of days and just "shared their seeds", if I continue with the metaphor, who just live(d) and appreciate(d) the sacred (i.e. true, pure, gigantic and powerful) connection. And be sure, we aren't the only ones. Although we don't know each other and we'll (most probably) never do, we are here simultaneously and mutually (even though invisibly).
It's not healing only. It's changing, and it's creating as well.
To plant a daffodil's bulb, to bake a yummy pancake, to sing an old song, and to give the flower, the food, the song to someone - this will make the good things and deeds go on within ourselves, our communities and, last but not least, in the landscape where we live. In our world.
Stay beautiful, all of you, big and small, and "make life". ;-)
With good thoughts,
tinka (from Slovenia).

anne said...

i have totally enjoyed reading about this magical weekend from everyone's point of view! it's so cool that you all got to gather together in such a special way!

i love the morning shots of the cat and kiddies. such pretty lighting.

Tera said...

This story has a timeless quality to it. Even with the use of blogging. People had pen pals in the past. I met a wonderful friend blogging and she visited last year. When I blog I picture the people I like and who like me in a room. However, when I write the process is much slower than conversation, what comes out is what I want to say but more expressive and more honest than I could do in just casual conversation. When you take care to put down words I always feel something more magical can happen. The world is so fragile, life is so fragile, planet earth is so fragile it's time people really take care with their actions and intentions and cultivate words, friendships, love, understanding, empathy and all those intangibles that are so important and why we are here. It feels like it's urgent now.

Teeny said...

Hellooooo shy lady, i bet it is all the sweeter to know you in real life...what unshy peeps don't know, is that if a shy person chooses them to talk to - the unshy person is really really lucky and must be considered something very very special. I'm glad you had such a splendiferous time with the other ladies, your photos show how much light and warmth you women manifested just by being together.

Simple Summit said...

I've been reading your blog for a little while now and I can only add to all the other comments by saying how wonderful your posts are. You have a gift for blogging and I really enjoy reading them :)

Online friends are among the best that are out there! I should know, I met my husband online! LOL Seriously though, it seems that through writing one is able to go deeper into the conversation and be able to express feelings on a different level than in face-to-face interactions. I also find it easier to be able to think about what to write/answer when I can think about it for a little bit. My husband jokes around sometimes saying something to the effect of "think about it for a week, then tell me how you feel" he knows I form my thoughts over a period of time, weighing my options etc. Anyways, I'm rambling - sorry :)
To have made online friends the way you girls have is awesome. You have found each other and that is something very special to hang on to! I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts as they are very uplifting.

Thank you!

sally said...

so fun to see this visit played out across the blogs! feeling connected to people feels so important right now on so many levels, as does enjoying what we have all around us. loved reading this post. <3

flaming hag folkwear said...

aww, so much loveliness in one post. but i really think that clover and mycie are the stars in this one. too precious!

i completely understand your not making it to the vintage expo. the weather was mad this weekend! i hope you all had a warm and happy one.



Olá Missa, estive vendo teu blog, me vi dentro dele... como é sublime, simplesmente adorei... adorei... Que familia linda, que lugar lindo. Tua filha nem se fala, maravilhosa. Ah e ainda tem as galinhas, amo galinhas, tenho várias em casa e tenho galo também, adoro ver os pintinhos, precisa deixar um galo pra nascer filhinho, a Clover vai amar...
Desculpe escrever em portugues, mas prometo que vou tentar postar em Ingles.
Marinalva - Brasil

Ms. Habit said...

Wow, Missa - there is so much raw, unbridled energy bursting through these shots of all you beautiful women in one place at one time, wearing beautiful dresses, sitting in sun-lit living rooms filled with books, cats, bright-eyed little girls and vintage shop treasures. It all reads like a dream. It is also inspiring to see how close your group has become through strictly internet hang outs. Sometimes I think it is a cold, superficial place to put my time into, but the way you write about being more open, more vulenrable in writing rather than "meeting" is a really great point. I hadn't thought of it that way but it certainly makes sense and now I can see how exactly that happens and how friendships take flight based on maybe more honest foundations.

Glad you all had such a glorious time together. Can you imagine how awkward that would have been had it been the exact opposite? Everybody bored out of their mind, struggling for nice things to post about the experience?! hahha, Happy it was not the case.

Kristen said...

Amazing post.

I really like your blog, and someone passed this award on to me, and I thought I'd pass it on to you.

If you want to find out more, here's the link:

Cel said...

Just got to read this. I'm so glad you all had such a wonderful time. The girls were adorable :D