If you read or see something that resonates with you, 
please leave a comment! I'd love to hear from you!


a little bit of gold

"A miracle is simply a shift in perception. The more we align ourselves with the principles of love, the more empowered we become."

-Marianne Williamson, Everyday Grace

I was reading this book in the middle of one sleepless night recently, and this jumped off the page at me. Thought I'd share it.



Vaccine questions

I know this is a controversial subject, but I also know that most of the people around this space parent away from society's norm. My question that I would love, love, love feedback on is about the upcoming vaccination for the swine flu. Are you getting it? Are you going to have your children get it? If not, please tell why? My concern is that it is untested (goodness knows, even many of those vaccines that are tested aren't necessarily "safe"), but the thought of my little boy going through a flu, fever and weakness makes me unsure about what to do. I wouldn't normally vaccinate him for a flu, but all the hype around the swine flu definitely has me thinking.

Eventually we will all follow our own instincts, but I would love to hear whatever anyone has to say about it.



Seasons change

well. Thank you for your comments on my last post. I wrote a comment in that post summarizing much of what I'd read from you all. I hope you have a chance to go back and read it. I am so happy to have met so many amazing people with similar goals!

On Monday, I start school. I may have mentioned it before - I can't remember! The year I was pregnant, 2006, I completed two semesters of school for my Master's degree in Public History. But when Tristan came and I barely had time to take a shower, I knew I'd made the right decision to take a break.

I am signed up for two classes but I may need to reduce that to one. I am nervous. I am excited. But mostly I am excited. I love history. Especially personal history and place history and thing history - and these are what make up public history. My husband and I have a little joke - whenever someone asks me a question on world or ancient history I always look to him because really, I don't know much about world history! In college I focused on 19th-20th century American history...boring right? At least as compared to the history of the world? But my hubby came from Iran where schooling was learned and tested in much greater ways. I remember studying Alexander the Great in junior high, but I couldn't tell you much about what I read. My hubby knows all about that stuff though. I think he thinks it's pretty funny that I majored in history but couldn't tell you much about the Silk Road or the Roman Empire. Except from what I watched on HBO's Rome. The last show I enjoyed when my son was a little one. I don't watch TV anymore. Movies occasionally, but T.V....are you kidding?

So when will I study? I'm not getting a nanny and Tristan is not going to day care. I will study in the mornings, during his naps, and if he goes to bed early, I will study at night. Occasionally I can't sleep so I will keep a book near my bed. I've heard people can do all sorts of things with kids, even finish a degree. So I suppose I can do this. But other things will suffer - this blog for one. My crafty projects for another. I hope to post here occasionally though. I use this blog as an outlet for writing, among other things, so when I get excited about something, be sure you will hear about it here.

If for some reason this whole going back to school thing doesn't work, I think my life may change in other ways. I guess I always give myself an out, in case of failure (and not wanting to look like a failure!) But the thing that always motivates me is asking myself, "Is this the life I want to lead? --No? Then what needs to happen so that I am living the life I want to live?" This served as the impetus needed to divorce my first husband, apply for school when I started the master's program, have a child - so many life changing events began with this question.

The next time I write here may be a blast from the past...or maybe just some inspired thought from my classes or reading!


How to tread as lightly as we can...yes, how?

(this is quite a long post, but I hope you'll stay with it and give some feedback from questions at the bottom!)

Before New York -Rediscovering the Wilderness of 1609 by Peter Miller

This is the title page article that has beckoned me for several days now, from the September 2009 issue of National Geographic. I guess I'm predisposed to gravitating toward such an article because I'm a history nut, especially this sort of anthropological history, which takes an educated stab at what Manhattan looked like 400 years ago. By using a map made by the British Army dating back to the Revolutionary War, and by taking one animal, the beaver, which happened upon the banks of the Bronx River in 2007 after years of restoration, one ecologist and a huge team of people were able to weave together an ecosystem where the beaver both depended on and was depended upon for food, shelter, water, trees, and many other animals, insects and elements. The artist - well, ecologist, -who spawned this idea of finding out what Manhattan looked like before too many people came, was able to come up with a virtual look at a wild Manhattan - a lovely forest with animals and trees that once had potential to be a park on par with Yellowstone.

What stood out to me the most about this article was this thing called the Muir web. "Consider a beaver that lived at Times Square in 1609. If you grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and lifted him out of the web, you'd find lines connecting him to a slowly meandering stream, to the aspen trees he ate, and to the mud and twigs he used to build a lodge. Not only that, you'd also find lines to the bobcats, bears and wolves that depended on him as prey and to the frogs, fish, and aquatic plants that lived in the pond he helped to create. 'The beaver, it turns out, is a landscape architect, just like people...You need him to flood the forest, which kills the trees that attract the woodpeckers that knock out cavities that wood ducks use for shelter.' Lifting a beaver out of the web disrupts cores of other residents which demonstrates how important it can be to think about an ecosystem as a network."

After reading this I began to think about what it would be like if someone in my "network" were lifted up out of this particular ecosystem. Individually, I thought, we may not have too much of a physical impact. For example, if I were lifted up out of this ecosystem, the environmental impact might not make too much difference - the air conditioner would still hum, the water would still run, gas and electricity in my house would still be used. I don't drive all that much, but that would be slightly lessened...you get my drift here. The husband, wife, father, mother of a household contributes different things to the survival of that unit, be it food, money, shelter, keeping the house clean, laundry clean, whatever. Ok. That said, we all know the bigger impact of an individual loss is the emotional one, even when the fallout affects other aspects of one's life. So it's interesting for me to think the same way about an actual ecosystem, like that of Mannahatta (Lenape people's name for Manhattan meaning "island of many hills" according to NG) 400 years ago, as individual species slowly died off in favor of infrastructure, people, "progress", growth, etc...a smaller picture of what is going on worldwide today. So what here is the emotional impact of our environmental destruction? A tree, for example, may continue to grow in the worst smog, drought, or poor-soil environment, but will that tree be as strong and healthy as a similar tree in a clean-air, soil-rich, healthy environment? Of course not - though they both may continue to grow at a similar rate. The effects of the environment on that first tree may be unseen, perhaps the seeds may be altered in some way though, and that will affect the way the next tree grows from that seed. This perhaps is the psychological equivalent to a child growing up in a family that doesn't function well or doesn't love the child.

In the way that invasive, non-native species often take over a piece of land, choking out native species and all the intricate, woven lives that surround them, we too, as a people are doing this at an alarming rate, causing so many different kinds of impacts we cannot possibly foresee. So what can we do? People, for now at least, are here to stay. A non-native species is invasive, as we are. My only thought is to come up with some life guidelines for treading lightly on this earth we call home in order to have the least impact with the homes that each of us live in.

Tread lightly.
Use the earth you have wisely.
Use the conveniences you have wisely.
Love your children as though they are the very seeds you plant for survival.

These are so general and I would love to hear what each of you have to say about this. Aside from the extremes like Low-Impact Man, what thoughts can you come up with that contribute to a general life set of guidelines for creating the least impact while still living where you are (meaning, I don't think too many people are willing to live in a Manhattan apartment without using electricity like Low-Impact Man)? And also, what are you doing that is "extreme" or out of the norm for where you live - or anywhere, for that matter?


by the way, if you want to see what NYC looked like from some random street 400 years ago, visit the Mannahatta Project here.


Panic subsiding...

bridge at Japanese Gardens, Portland, Oregon

When I was 21, I looked ahead and saw a long decade and a long life, stretched out before me. I was perfectly happy to be 21 and didn't see any reason to get any older...we all know how that turned out.

About a month ago, I was swimming in a pool and I looked around at the other people, both young and old, and suddenly I felt a wave of panic...I was going to be 35 in a month. Had I done all I wanted to do on this side of 70? Certainly not, but my time had filled in as it had, and there was nothing I could do about it now. But was I satisfied? Content? Even, dare I say, happy? Yes, yes and yes. While the wave of panic, which I decided was a little glimpse of the "middle age crisis" that supposedly hits at about 40, slowly subsided, I remembered that all I have is this moment. Judging my past or worrying about my future won't change anything in that moment, and in that moment, I realized I had all I could ever dream of in my life, so yes, I was happy and I am happy.

I turn 35 today, half way to 70. I don't feel like I've lived 35 years, but when I think about my very earliest memories, they do seem very long ago. I have a wonderful, sweet, fun husband, an adorable, rascally 2 1/2 year old, a caring family, wonderful friends, creative outlets, daily inspiration, beauty all around, health and healthy choices, delicious food, a willingness to make changes and a gorgeous view when I come to sit in my little office on mornings like this, before the sun rises. Is everything perfect? Heck no, but I don't think it's supposed to be.

Or maybe it is - just perfect for me.



If any of you read my very first post back in March, you'd know that a big reason I started this blog was due to the inspiration I received after reading about Amanda Blake Soule's blog in that month's issue of Mothering Magazine. So it was interesting what occurred yesterday, as I was catching up on reading some blogs and got a chance to read a little interview between Heather at Beauty That Moves, a blog I love, and Amanda at Soulemama. Both are lovely, creative women who have wonderful blogs that I enjoy reading. I was so engrossed in the interview that I continued to read the comments posted afterward. So many wonderful comments, but one thread stood out to me. A woman had written something that seemed a little resentful of Amanda, perhaps of her life in general. Amanda took the comment in stride, and responded in a way that looked at the comment as a question. Another reader responded to the woman's comment as well, bringing up some wonderful points - if I can translate into my own words -Amanda's blog is read consistently by so many people because it is consistently thoughtful, real and good. Her output takes a tremendous effort on her part, and certainly, she did not get to where she is without hard work. Reading the two women's comments made me realized how I felt after reading the interview, that which compelled me to continue reading into the comments: inspired. And I think this is why so many of us read her blog. It is truly inspiring.

We can choose to look at other people's lives and be jealous and resentful, or we can turn that around and allow other people to be sources of inspiration. On this note, I just want to say how grateful I am for all of the friends I've made in this "sphere" of my life since March. Nicole, Michelle, Nicola, Jodi, Pennie and Kyndale, thank you for your wonderful blogs and thank you for inspiring me every day!



yellow and orange tomatoes from our garden!

Gazpacho Soup - the quick, easy, delicious way

6 tomatoes, blanched and cored, coarsely chopped
1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and chopped (you can gut the seeds if you want, but I never do)
1-4 cloves of garlic (depending how spicy you like it!), cut into quarters
1 medium red onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
a squeeze of fresh lemon (the juice from about 1/4 lemon should do it!)
1/2 jalepeno, chopped (optional. I didn't use this, the garlic made it spicy enough for me!)

In a food processor (or blender, in my case), put in tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, garlic, onion, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper (and jalepeno, if using). Blend until fairly smooth, but leave some texture! Taste. Good? Chill for an hour or so. Then eat...or forget the chilling. Just eat.

By the way, I've made this several times, and I had a better tasting soup when I used a variety of medium and cherry tomatoes than the larger, watery tomatoes. The more flavorful the tomato, the more it seems to pack a delicious taste-punch.

And just to give credit where credit is due, my step-mom gave me the basis for this recipe, telling me that what really makes it delicious is the olive oil! I think she's right!


Going Green Gradually update - washrags

climbing flowers - Kauai

My aunt is pretty good at hand work. Did I mention that before? Anything I could ever want to do, she would be the go-to-girl . Between her and my mom, pretty much everything is covered. How lucky is that? Master craftspeople at my fingertips. I'm bragging now. And she might balk at the term, but you get the idea. Even the simplest things, I ask about. Like what kind of yarn to use if I wanted to crochet my own wash rags? I am just about done with the synthetic sponges I bought in bulk last year, and am thinking I won't buy them again. I know I can purchase these on Etsy, but come on now, I can make these (I'm guessing I'm not the only one who says this to herself!) 

When I was growing up, I had a lovely woman as my babysitter, but she became more like a Grandma. She was wonderfully loving and affectionate and kind. I'd like to say I learned as much from her as I did my own mother, and certainly more than any of my grandparents, who all lived in a day's drive away in southern California. I called her Grammy. When I was little, her lap was about the most comfortable spot in the whole house. From her, I learned about living with only a washing machine, no dryer, and hanging up the laundry on a line to dry, about scheduled meals, four o'clock crackers and grapefruit juice with vodka (good for the blood), homemade candy, the song of mockingbirds, and crocheted washrags. It was the only time I saw her do any type of handwork. She would wear out her kitchen washrag and would need another one. Crocheting merely served her as a practical use. 

So, not having had the foresight to ask Grammy herself (who passed away in '92, God bless her), my aunt Sheila had the answer. 100% cotton was best, she said. Several weeks later, I asked again just to remind myself. "Just a minute," was all she said as she walked into her room, re-emerging with these two lovely washrags she crocheted for me.

Yesterday, I confessed to her that I was having a hard time using them, they were so beautiful. "I knew you would," she told me.

In the picture there is my one and only Brandywine tomato that made it. The only one that came out at all. I think our weather isn't suited for these types of tomatoes. My hubby picked it late at night and thought it had ripened completely, but it hadn't. I had dreams about that tomato...well, I'll still partially fulfill them. 

Next post will be a delicious recipe for Gazpacho soup (but this tomato pictured is not slaughter-bound. It is going between two slices of yummy bread with some basil).

Going Green Gradually update - deodorant

homemade deodorant

Yesterday I finally did it. I've been thinking about it for so long, knowing I wanted to do it. So overwhelmed with the task of...buying the right ingredients. I made my own deodorant. I am quite pleased with the results. Not too difficult either...shea butter, cocoa butter, and two that I already have on hand - baking soda and corn starch. I had Lavender essential oil but I bought Sweet Orange to add to it. I have leftovers of everything but the cocoa butter which I bought very cheaply in bulk- the exact amount I needed. I originally saw this recipe over at Angry Chicken.

3 Tbs. Shea Butter
3 Tbs. Baking Soda
2 Tbs. Corn Starch
2 Tbs. Cocoa Butter
2 Vitamin E oil gel caps - (which I did not use, but I can see this would probably emulsify it more, although I don't have a problem with just rubbing a little-it warmed up pretty quickly and easily)
lots of essential oil (I used 20 Lavender drops and 10 orange and I can barely smell it. I don't think I can smell the orange at all. Next time I will add a little more. The overwhelming smell though, for me at least, is the cocoa butter, which is heavenly in itself.)

Wore it yesterday, was perfect, didn't get oily, didn't dry out my skin, and best of all, in the middle of August? I didn't have the scent of summer. If you know what I mean. Actually, best of all, I don't have to wonder about some of the unpronounceable ingredients as in my previous deodorant. I wouldn't be surprised if this became part of my handmade Christmas gifts to friends and family (for those who I think might like it). I also realized how easy it would be to make a lip balm or a nice lotion, maybe with just a slight variation of this recipe.



A highlight day

Kalapaki Bay, Kauai, July 2009

Kauai, July 29th, 2009

Today we went on a lovely little day trip. We arrived at Kilohana Plantation for a train ride at 10 a.m. and rode around the old plantation, one of the last working sugar plantations on the island. They are currently using most of the land that still remains as part of the Plantation to grow crops to see what grows best, which they will then sell at a Farmer's Market that will be run from the Plantation. Sounds like a good use of the land to me.

In the middle of the trip we stopped to feed some wild pigs and goats and one sheep. Some of the train riders continued on their ride while a small group of us stayed with our guide, Kai, who had us spray down with bug spray (wish I'd brought my own!), grab a walking stick made from mango wood and head down a rainforest path to the valley of the island. Along the way we saw several lovely kinds of ginger. One was a honeycomb ginger that when you rubbed your hand on, made your skin smell of ginger...sweet! 

There was beautiful plantlife but Kai said 95% of the growth on the island was non-native, and he pointed out one example, a huge mango tree that was becoming strangled by a banyan tree. Despite the sadness surrounding the idea that much of what we were looking at was not Hawaii but more an idea of Hawaii, and that native plants are going extinct, it was a lovely, lovely hike. Along they way there was fruit on the ground that I'd never seen...orange in color, the shape of a papaya but smaller. I asked Kai about it and he said it was called a papaya passionfruit. He was able to pick a ripe one hanging from a tree for me. When I opened it it looked just like a passionfruit (which is like a watery, jello-y orange mass with dark seeds all in it, kind of just sitting in the middle of the cavity of its shell...it looks a little strange but it is delicious) and tasted slightly different but had the same texture.

We ended our hike where it began, where the train left us, and had a picnic lunch provided by the tour. Kai then took us across a meadow into the orchard, where we got to sample several exotic fruits: lychee, longan and fresh pineapple. We also saw many mango trees, sugar cane, some citrus (which I was surprised to see...doesn't it need to be cold sometimes in order for citrus to grow well?? And when we sampled it, it didn't have the right texture...too hard) and cashews...which you cannot eat until you boil because it is in the same family as poison oak and ivy. It is attached to a red fruit that is edible, but we didn't get a chance to sample it. We foraged for ourselves and came home with several of these, including a contraband pineapple that Hoss snuck into my backpack...we'll eat it before we leave here though! 

After this little adventure we headed to the big Farmer's Market of the week in Kapa'a. Fueled and inspired by our orchard visit, we stocked up on mango, papaya, passionfruit, limes, basil, greens, small purple onions, tomatoes, puree (like a mango), figs (!), finger bananas, apple bananas, coconut fresh from the shell (drinken with a straw straight from the shell and then chopped up for eating)and finally bread from a local bakery. All the produce is Kauai grown and very fresh. We will be eating from our room for the last few days of our trip. We go a little nuts around fresh fruits and veggies. Especially my hubby...mainly my hubby.
Any leftovers will go to our taxi driver, Bill, who has been carting us around and telling us about the island since just after we arrived. He is a New York native and moved here with his wife recently after having visited Kauai many times since their honeymoon here in the early '70's.

For me at least, today was the highlight of our trip. Tristan did great on our little hike (out of three children on the hike, he was the youngest and the only one who didn't cry!)

This was a great trip. Something about being in Hawaii, or at least Kauai, loosens your muscles and relaxes you.  The hunched shoulders I get at home disappear, as though the ocean, wind and beautiful views just massage them right out.


I posted several more pictures to my flickr account...if you want to see them.

(there were no leftovers save a few yet to ripen passionfruit! I can't believe how much produce we consumed in such a short period of time. Especially mangoes. Counteracted by lots of bread ; )


The beach blahs

tree of leaves - collage card scene -not the best repro here, but it is what it is. OOh, some blogger I read doesn't like that saying...who is it?

(sorry if this posted more than once!)

How is it possible to see ourselves as others see us?

It seems so obvious to me, when someone rubs me the wrong way that they should easily see what it is they do...that they have been rude or dismissive or unthoughtful. I want to say, "How can it be o.k. with you to be that way?" But seeing that I also occasionally make others feel the same way, and I don't see it about myself, surely others don't see these things in themselves either. How can we see ourselves more clearly, to put it bluntly, in order to be better people and be more loving to those we love? To see ourselves in the worst light and make positive changes? How can we even know sometimes, what we do? (And an important question along with this one: how do we do all of this without being too narcissistic?)

I think I need to remember what to be grateful for-

~a lovely vacation
~a son who is full of laughter and light
~a husband who is conscientious
~parents who live nearby
~a new appreciation for eating healthfully
~new fruit- it's always wonderful to try a whole food with a new taste never before sampled

A list of everything I'm grateful for never fails to give me a little lift.

ps. All of my questions are NOT rhetorical. Please share if you have wisdom or knowledge on this subject!


Another book: more on food

While industrial agriculture has made tremendous strides in coaxing macronutrients - calories - from the land, it is becoming increasingly clear that these gains in food quantity have come at a cost to its quality. This probably shouldn't surprise us: Our food system has long devoted its energies to increasing yields and selling food as cheaply as possible. It would be too much to hope those goals could be achieved without sacrificing at least some of the nuturitional quality of our food....To put this in more concrete terms, you now have to eat three apples to get the same amount of iron as you would have gotten from a single 1940 apple, and you'd have to eat several more slices of bread to get your recommended daily allowance of zinc than you would have a century ago. From In Defense of Food - An Eater's Manifesto, (pg. 118) by Michael Pollan.

I went to my local bookshop to pick up The Omnivore's Dilemma, but somehow came home with this one instead. I'm reading it. Sure glad I am. A continuance on the path to better health and a better earth. As I keep hearing, I vote each time I eat, and I surely don't want to vote for apples with less nutrition. So far in my reading, I don't think Pollan has clarified if he is referring to organic apples in either the present day or 1940, but he does talk about organic food being nutritionally superior to their commercial counterparts.

So I'm glad I have alternatives. If I can grow my own or at least buy locally...shake the hand that grew it, as Pollan talks about, I can make a dent in this quantity over quality problem. I feel like many people are in the same place I am on this, like we are all a bunch of dots that need connecting. There are some connections, but I'm talking MAINSTREAM connectedness, where eating locally and organically is normal and not the sideshow. So many people don't seem to know anything about nutrition and that sugar, for example, is not good for you.

Speaking of sugar, in Hawaii, I've learned that there are only 2 sugar plantations left in all the islands, and soon there will be only one. ONE! Very little sugar from Hawaii. It takes 3 feet of a sugar cane to make one teaspoon of our lovely morning coffee sugar....why are the sugar plantations going away? My one guess would be my least favorite ingredient. The ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is so cheap and easier to make (I'm guessing) that sugar is being replaced by it and there is less demand for it, at least in U.S. ...I'm told that Coke is made with sugar still in other countries, but not in the U.S. Sugar is too expensive! Well at one teaspoon for 3 feet of sugar cane, no wonder, but cutting costs while our health is suffering and healthcare costs are sky high, well, that sounds like just more vicious circles to me. Where and how does it end? Again, these lonely dots need connecting...

So no, sugar is not really good for us to eat, at least not too much of, but compared to HFCS, at least in my opinion, the occasional teaspoonful (or two, or three) still works for me. Although, I have to admit, I use agave to sweeten my morning coffee (smile).



Feeling guilty in paradise

It has been quite a few days since I have posted...I am out of town. I somewhat guiltily left town, on a planned vacation, without mentioning it to anyone but my family and a couple of friends. But two of my friends called me while I was here and I felt awful trying to hide it from them so I told them, as I'll tell you...Kauai. I am here in Kauai, HI with my hubby and son.

Two important people in my life were really down in the dumps last week and I couldn't bring myself to tell them where I was going. Ugh. Guilt, bad economy, more guilt. Both of my friends were adamant that I should have told them so they could share in my good news, so I think I should just count my blessings for the moment and enjoy the beauty.

We are trying to enjoy this place without spending too much so we didn't rent a car and today we went to the local farmer's market to avoid eating in too many restaurants. Wow! I took great pictures that I'll post when we return. Lots of lovely, tropical fruit and flowers. Our little fridge is overflowing with mangos and bananas and passionfruit!

Summer is a wonderful time of year. I'm thinking about putting in a very small garden for cold weather veggies...is August a time to plant? I have so much to learn. What can be planted in August in California? It's so darn hot it seems like it would burn upon contact with the ground! We've got some good compost to start a garden though. Any suggestions?


a technorati code




I went through the back gate this morning into my neighbor's yard to help pick tomatoes. He had underestimated how fast they would grow and how much they would produce...wow! I spent an hour picking cherry tomatoes while Tristan slept in. My neighbor rewarded my efforts with a full-size grocery bag completely filled with tomatoes of all different varieties. 

Needless to say, we'll be eating a lot of gazpacho.



Dove family!

Remember a few weeks back when I posted about a little dove nested on our deck's lamp? Well, she has had her babies and the little dove family has taken a short little stay-cation in our backyard.

These are the proud parents looking down into our yard, keeping a close eye on their babies!

Here is a little one  - don't worry, I used a zoom so as not to scare them, so, bad picture, but sweet dove!

Can you see the little camouflaged dove family?

I think the little dove eggs were laid late this year, but I'm no dove expert. What a sweet little saga we've been following though. I aimed my camera from up high onto their empty nest looking for shells, because I was curious to see how big they were, and what color they were, but the shells were not there!


Going Green Gradually update

lovely, but what's it called? (new garden, dedicated to women, Portland State University, July, 2009)

I have been making some changes on the going green gradually front, and I have not noted them as they've been happening, so here is an update.

First and foremost, I stopped washing my hair! I refuse to call this it's popular name, as it is rather gross ("no-poo" for those who haven't heard it before). But, here's what happened - I found myself in the not uncommon position about 5 weeks ago of having not washed my hair in 3 days. I was about to wash when I just stopped and realized it was the perfect time to start this stoppage (I'd planned on waiting until Tristan was older). My hair did it's adjustment, getting oily as a reaction to the constant stripping of natural oils over the years, and then it looked great after about 2 weeks. Then I made the silly mistake of using vinegar (apple cider vinegar) straight on my hair - remembering reading somewhere about that and being too lazy to research it again. Well, apparently, I now know, that doing that causes another oil reaction to the vinegar, so my hair got a little oily again (and very easy to comb my otherwise curly, difficult to comb hair). Then I read on the blog These Days in French Life (one major source of inspiration for me) to use a little diluted baking soda as a shampoo replacement and a little diluted vinegar as a conditioning replacement (although she doesn't describe it quite like that...) anyhow, I used the baking soda and it truly is a shampoo replacement. My hair looks better now than it ever has, and I feel much better now that I've nixed the shampoo and all its cancer-causing agents and environmental poisons. Not too mention the cost of shampoo and conditioner! This I deem a permanent change. It took me awhile, psychologically, to be willing to do this, but now that I have I'm very happy about it. Using a bristle brush every night brings the natural oils down, and if you have hair that frizzes or curls easily in the humidity, as mine does, this is your natural de-frizzing gel! (I read somewhere the recalling of Laura Ingalls Wilder of Little House on the Prairie brushing her hair 100 times every night...now I know why).

Clothes are still going on the line. My mom pointed out that my initial savings may have been because of the seasonal change. Some of it probably was, but I know we knocked off a good chunk of our gas bill because of the clothes going on the line rather than the dryer.

Our compost hole is pretty much filled up and we started a new one, hopefully using our compost in a small upcoming garden.

We have started ordering small boxes of fruits and veggies from a small farm called Capay Farms...will be delivered to our door along with some neighbors' boxes as well. 

Our tomatoes are ripening and we are eating them heartily! (little orange pieces of candy, really, that even Tristan likes! Yay!)

I continue to make my own cereal from organic ingredients bought from our local co-op. 

Am on the lookout for homemade detergent recipe (Nicola...?)

I am getting a lot of inspiration from the blogs These Days in French Life, The Well-Rounded Child, and my current book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I am excited too, as I am now so much more willing to make changes as I see that what I do is mostly out of habit, and once a new habit forms, it too becomes easy. Like the clothesline and compost.



A letter for my son

best welcoming ever - PSU July 4, 2009

Dear Tristan,
I couldn't very well keep this blog as a record of my life without including you. You are at the center of my life every day. While some days feel more successful than others, as far as being a good mom goes, I end each day feeling nothing but love and pride for you. I often feel that I could be more creative, more fun, more spontaneous - or perhaps a better planner - for you, but you are wonderful and hilarious and adorable despite my shortcomings. I am watching you grow so fast and sometimes I just want to slam on the brakes to pause and take note of the past 2 1/2 years, go through all the pictures and write about each new thing you do but not lose any time with you now. It's amazing how fast time goes...everyone always says that, but you cannot know how fast time truly passes until you have a child and he grows like wildfire before your eyes. The other thing you can never know is how deep a parent's love runs, until you have one of your own. No amount of being in love ever prepared me for the instant, all-consuming love I felt for you since the moment you were born (your daddy would say the same thing, but that's another story). It took some getting used to, but I have become a vigilant mother. To me, this means that my ear is always perked for you. Your daddy mentioned this the other day, that I'm always on watch, throughout any conversation we may have, even when you are asleep. That is what has changed in me, mostly, since you were born, that constant watching, listening, waiting for your call, with everything else taking second place.

In these past few months, as you may or may never know, I have been infused with a huge amount of creativity. That is a direct result of being you mother. I can't explain how or why, I just know it is. You have been the ultimate in creation in my life, and everything else is a myriad of combinations of my love outpouring to you. Tonight in the bathtub, I was watching as you explored your little aquatic world, changing your voice to talk for the little bathtub toys, pouring water continuously into the waterwheel, oblivious to the fact that I think that time is mainly for calming down, not revving up! But you have your own gears, your own amount of energy, and it doesn't always mesh with what I think it should be. That's how it ought to be. You are perfect even though I may put my own ideas on you. As your dad and I always say, don't change - at least, not for me.

This past July 4th, we hoped to catch the fireworks over the Willamette River in Portland, so we armed ourselves with earplugs, remembering how much the noise scared you last year. "Booma here" - booma was yours and daddy's created word for fireworks, and "here" was in your heart, and you'd pat your hand over your heart when you described how you felt about the bright lights in the sky at a mere 19 months old. We took this to mean that it scared you and made your heart beat fast - but not in a good way. This year was no different. You seem to be very sensitive to loud noises. We put in the earplugs, but you could still feel the loud booms. We left our little seat and our friends and walked quickly over to the street car stop to go back to our little home away from home. Daddy and I were able to catch the first few minutes from our obscured view behind the buildings at the stop, but you didn't want to look, inhaling sharply and audibly, distressed by the loud booms, despite the earplugs and our hands over your ears. Once we were safely on the street car though, and were able to see the fireworks as we moved through the Portland streets in our sound-proof car, you really liked looking at the fireworks - you thought they were pretty, so I'm glad you were able to enjoy them in that way. I'm so sorry it was so scary for you...scaring you is certainly not our intention. We have been drawing "boomas" with chalk on the sidewalk for the past year, and we'd thought you'd be excited to see them for real. But you were not, and next year, we won't subject you again to the noise. Maybe we'll do little sparklers at home instead. 

I love you sweet boy. I am so happy to be your mommy.


Devouring a wonderful new book

"How did supermarket vegetables lose their palatability, with so many people right there watching? The Case of the Murdered Flavor was a contract killing, as it turns out, and long-distance travel lies at the heart of the plot. The odd notion of transporting fragile produce dates back to the early twentieth century when a few entrepreneurs tried shipping lettuce and artichokes, iced down in boxcars, from California eastward over the mountains as a midwinter novelty. Some wealthy folks were charmed by the idea of serving out-of-season (and absurdly expensive) produce items to their dinner guests. It remained little more than an expensive party trick until mid-century, when most fruits and vegetables consumed in North America were still being produced on nearby farms....Then fashion and marketing got involved...In just a few decades, the out-of-season vegetable moved from novelty status to such an ordinary item, most North Americans now don't know what out-of-season means."
-from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (p.48)

My goal of going green gradually has changed my way of looking at so many different things, including my househole chores, the food I eat, the hobbies I play in, and the books I read. I finally picked up my copy of this great book by one of my favorite authors (I've read all of her fiction, but this is my first time reading her non-fiction) at the Portland, Oregon Saturday farmer's market. This is really changing my thinking, probably for good. I've long lamented to my husband about the lack of taste in certain fruits and veggies bought from conventional markets, and I'm learning why that is...and why those fruit that are picked well before they are ripe never seem to ripen well, and how 98% of the seeds for our food supply comes from just 6 companies (eesh!), and lots of other super interesting things...this book is chockful of goodness!

Many months ago, my husband and I decided we would like to have some acreage of our own. Not much, just enough. Enough to plant our own garden and as many fruit trees as possible. Enough to be able to learn from our mistakes and try out new things. My foray into composting this year is just the beginning, I hope, of a lifelong learning process. It is exciting to think about. I keep my ears open for hints and tips that will come in handy in the future. We will learn much more about companion plants, ideal crop rotation, and nature's best pesticide (no chemicals please! - I remember a college roommate keeping capfuls of beer near her little herb garden to keep the slugs away...) Maybe I can even learn about canning this year, as we have a nectarine tree that delivers the sweetest nectarines I've ever tasted...almost all at once. When we return to our home after this lovely little trip, we will check to see how much longer until the nectarines are ripe, and I will start planning a canning spree around subsequent summer vacation time.

My interest is especially perked as I read in this lovely book about heirlooms vegetable varieties (there is a lot more than just heirloom tomatoes) - you know how I am about all things history...well, imagine getting to taste history! It's so exciting to think about growing vegetables, living things, that are almost extinct (almost a Jurassic Park quality about it, only more natural) I'm so looking forward to one day growing some heirloom varieties of vegetables, so excited to see how they taste! I told my hubby we would definitely do that someday, but that we should probably get some practice first so we don't waste precious heirloom seeds on our learning curve...

I am so excited to be reading this book, so excited to be learning about the food we eat, about how it's not just important to eat organically, but maybe even just as important (if not more) to eat locally. I am learning about alternative possibilities, and picking up little hints, tips and tricks from neighbors, friends and other blogs.

It is so interesting and wonderful where life leads.


Gratitude in contrast

olive tree - muslin, cotton, felt & burlap fabric collage

At the moment, I am thinking of the people in Iran, struggling against their religious rulers for basic rights that I take for granted. My husband has a sister - a lovely, graceful woman with a great sense of humor - who lives there, and we have not heard from her for awhile. She is fine, I'm sure, but certainly she is worried and wondering what happens next. I also wonder what happens next, and have been considering everything I have to be grateful for.
-a roof over my head.
-abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables
-the abililty to get up in the morning and make choices about my life (my own thoughts may be the only obstacles there are to attaining any goals I set up for myself....how lucky I am for that)
-a son with a wonderful sense of humor
-moments of quiet, looking out on a tree filled with green, green leaves
-the rhythm of crocheting while listening to Selected Shorts on my ipod
-the time to allow my son to wander or play as he pleases

Old photographs

July/August 1922 - Grandma Wanda and Great Grandpa Walter in San Dimas Canyon

In cleaning out the garage, a long and arduous process, my father has been coming across things. He recently found a photo album that at first glance we thought was put together by his paternal grandmother, but I got ahold of this little artifact and found out that it was put together by my great aunt - my paternal grandmother's sister Crystal, who died at the young age of 33. The pages are black, like construction paper, and the words are written in white chalk or crayon. The photos are all of people she knew. She was a graduate of UCLA. Her family lived in Pomona, California (there are pictures of both houses they lived in along with addresses!) She went to bible study school one year. There was a horse named Dot that either the family had or neighbors had. She seemed to have quite a few friends. She looks a lot like my dad's sister - that was how I was able to identify her in pictures. She spent a lot of time in the outdoors. My grandma Wanda had two sisters, Nea and Crystal. Both of these girls died at the age of 33 - from causes I cannot remember right now - and when my Grandmother, the youngest, turned 33, her parents of course were worried that they would lose her too.

But they didn't. She lived on, was married, had two children and lived to be in her nineties and died in 1999. She was raised in Southern California and also went to UCLA. This is a picture of her as a young girl:
After I saw this the other day, my first thought was, "I wonder if this girl would have understood my sense of humor." I don't know why that popped up. I guess I got my sense of humor from my father, who says he got his sense of humor from his grandfather, the man in the picture at the top of this post, Wanda's father. I didn't know my grandma well, since I was a child most of her living years. Later on in life, she had dementia, and became childlike again. But what a wonderful memory this must have been for her. A day by the river with her family. What a great find this was! (thanks Dad!)

An Award!

A Watermelon Award? Aw shucks...Thank you Michelle (from Earthy Crafty Mommy)! Well, with that award comes responsibility, a joyful one at that, to list six things that make me happy. 
1. Listening to my son laugh in his sleep. I thought it would end when he became a little boy, but it has only become more prevalent.
2. Getting new fabric in the mail, having a plan for it, and executing those plans!
3. Old white cotton sheets. The worn but still crisp quality. The coolness of them against your skin in the summertime.
4. Reading books (fiction) while on vacation.
5. My hubby's delicious cooking. I'm so grateful I married a cook.
6. A completed collage-card scene.

And with this award comes the chance for me to pass it on! Six lovely bloggers I'd like to pass this on to are:
-Jodi at Joy Discovered. I've known this gal since high school and I love reading her blog, which I have on my sidebar under "friend's blogs" but it really should be under "Blogs for the Soul" because it is.
-Erin at Apples for Poppy Anne, who has created an immediate and well-deserved spark in the blogging world with her lovely photos, inspired writing and her weekly photo pool, It Begins With a Colour...
-Maya at Springtree Road, who is a history buff like myself, and strives to bring her surrounding historical environment into her child's life.
-Nicola at Which Name? who shares her family life with us so regularly and with such gusto!
-Vchelle at Operation You, another "Blog for the Soul" that I just discovered and am thoroughly enjoying reading.
-Krista at this inspired life who introduced me to the concept of non-violent communication and weaves this concept into her daily life and her posts.

I hope each of you pass on this lovely Watermelon Award, as it is a joyful way to pay it forward!



Sickness and transformations

blue hydrangea

I have been out of contact for what feels like days as I nurse my little one back to health. He's never had a fever so high, 104 degrees at its highest. He has come in and out of sickness over the past 2 1/2 days, going from feeling well, to tummy ache to feverish and lethargic and back to well again. How it pulls my motherstrings! I think he is on the mend now, for he hasn't had a fever since last night, and felt well enough to go for a short walk this morning. 

Vintage Vignettes is going through a bit of a transformation I will soon share with you. It is very exciting because I so love history and all the little stories individuals hold about their past and the past of those they've loved. I hope I can instill in others some of this passion I have for bygone years and treasures of the old days.

Will post again soon.



Sunday visitors

dove nest on balcony

My hubby told me once that a bird never returns to an old nest...I couldn't see why not...a perfectly good nest that is still in place would be a perfect place to go. But I'm not an expert at these things. You can imagine my surprise then, when I stepped out onto our balcony yesterday with my son, just after he woke from his nap, to find that the nest above the lamp that had been made several years ago by a pair of doves, was being inhabited again. I must have surprised the little dove, since we rarely go out there. 

We were a little afraid that she was alone, as a few days before, there was evidence of some dove trouble. Several little feathers were found under the tree near the balcony. My husband was worried - crises in the natural world bother him - as he likes to fix things, and he could do nothing if this pretty dove's mate was gone. He had been told doves mate for life, and if one dove dies, the other will die soon after or commits something of a suicide (I have no idea if this is true, this is what he was told.)

My husband went inside feeling a little down while my son and I remained outside to read on a blanket (June has been uncommonly wonderful to us weather-wise). As we sat there we finally saw Mr. Dove fly up to the wire nearby the balcony, and no sooner did he land than Mrs. Dove took off to some undisclosed location in my neighbor's yard or thereabout. Mr. Dove took off quickly, following her. A minute later I heard their sweet coos.

I went to tell my husband what I'd seen. He said, "Thank God! You don't know what a big weight has been lifted from my shoulders." He said that the male dove was bringing the female dove some food to eat, his duty during the long process of egg-sitting. I then told him that just before we came inside, we could hear them making their cooing noises. He said, "They're saying 'I love you. I missed you.' The female is saying, 'Thank you for the food.'"

What a sweet Sunday.


Quilt Gardens

Ever heard of a quilt garden?

This town has one. Or several.

A really neat idea.

Take a look at this article on a town in Indiana that has quilt gardens to bring the tourists in!


a morning's rouse

This morning, when my son wanted to be nursed back to sleep, he rolled over and called out, "Mommy!" I hear him on my monitor.

I come running, as always. "Yes - I'm here babydoll!" 

He rolls over sleepily to one side and says in a squeaky little voice, "Mommy, are you happy?" 

"I'm very happy," I say. ohmigosh. With a question like that from my little guy? How could I not be?

Boy am I lucky. (Thank you God)


New projects

chain-linked (for It Begins with a Colour...)

Well, I have added 3 Vintage Vignettes to my new sidebar, 2 of them with the bloggers unwittingly writing a perfect post for this little project, and one of them a photo comparison -40 years in the making - between the blogger and her son. I'm so excited about this little collection! 

Strangely enough, the "It Begins with a Colour" project at fellow blogger apples for poppy anne has her project this week that asks for contrasts between man and nature (that's an interpretation I suppose). My project is appropriately a snapshot of time passed (or past?) ...about 24 years in the making, more or less, as this little basket chain has grown and become part of the tangerine tree in our backyard. I hope the chain didn't slow it's growth...poor tree.

I also added another item to my sidebar called Precious Child Moments. I read such a wonderful, giggle-out-loud story of her little boy's determination to sell lemonade despite his lack of lemonade (so, so precious) at the Little Red Caboose blog, that I simply had to start this list. I later read an equally wonderful recount from the Angry Chicken blog of her lovely daughters creating imaginary nations. Such detail could only be told by the parents of these children, who can illustrate in their writing the personality of their children. And I suppose only parents would laugh and coddle and appreciate these moments in the way they are meant to be. I hope you enjoy this list as much as I enjoy making it. If you read something that deserves to be on this list, please let me know since I can only read so much.



A little piece of the past: Vintage Vignettes

When I started this blog, I wanted to use it partially to bring bits of history to light. The bits of history we come across every day, the captured moments we find in an item from our past...whether it belonged to us or not. I first fell in love with *history* in 4th grade, the year we learned about California history, and my class was lucky enough to take an overnight field trip to Sutter's Fort, where we dressed like pioneers, worked in the different Fort facilities, making candles, baking bread, selling and buying wares, cooking for 40 or so people, and even standing guard for one shift in the middle of the night. It definitely was the impetus for this ongoing love affair I have with all things related to history.  I'm not an expert at California or American history, but I can tell you there is a story behind every item you see in the antique shop. The small material possessions that we all have are the things that make up our lives - the permanence that will remain long after we are gone (luckily, most of our antiques are not plastic - too bad for our grandchildren...).

Right after my sophomore year of college, I decided to take a year off from school because I still had no idea what I would major in, a decision that was weighing on me and had to be decided soon, at the beginning of my junior year. One Saturday morning I was passing a yard sale where I spied an old, wooden, stand-up radio. This was a piece of furniture - and gorgeous! I somehow attained it for only $15 and the man I bought it from helped me lift it into the trunk of my car. Somehow or another I found out it was a 1929 Atwater-Kent. I found some fabric I liked and re-upholstered the hole in the wood that sat in front of the speaker. The electronic radio parts no longer worked - but no matter ( I kept them but never tried to get it fixed), I used it as a furniture piece in my bedroom, for my things - jewelry, perfume - above which a mirror was placed. Once I even put my current stereo inside and a small speaker where the old speaker had been (not that the sound quality was great through the layers of fabric). On the top of this old radio there was a ring stain - made from a glass of water? A vase of flowers? A vodka tonic? Who knows...but this stain held a story - this stain was the evidence of someone's life - the original owner of the radio perhaps.....I could picture a woman in a dress, standing near the radio. She places her glass of water - still wet on the outside - onto the radio's wood top, as she leans down to push the ottoman in front of her easy chair. She wants to get comfortable for the evening radio show. She goes back to the radio to get her glass of water and sits in her chair for her show. Later, when her show is over, she is about to turn off the lamp that sits on the radio, she sees the ring of water there. "Darn," she thinks, and starts to rub it off, but she can see the stain has already set...

Well, who knows. But this is my imagination, running wild around objects of the past as it always does. I suppose this little ring stain figured it's way into my life and helped me decide that year off to major in history. And now, as I'm about to go back to school in the fall to finish a Master's in Public History, I want to infuse it into my life in some different ways, different from visiting museums or reading books. And this is where you all come in.

So here goes...I am starting a little collection on this blog called "Vintage Vignettes" - which is something like what I've done above, but very wide open. I want to collect stories from the past, vignettes really, just scenes from lives.  This can be in the form of a photograph, a memory you have (needs to be at least 20 years old), or a story you have from a grandparent's life. This can be an item mentioned that we no longer use in every day life, even a thought you may have on how people once lived before the modern day (see Blue Yonder's Blue Blazes for example!), an oral history interview you were lucky enough to participate in, an antique or vintage item you just had to have because...? It has to be personal though. That is the only caveat. No stories about a history exhibit you saw, unless, say, some item stood out to you for some reason, and you want to write about that particular thing as it relates to your life. If you desire, please write these in your blogs (please link back to this entry so other people can participate), let me know, and I will post that entry into my sidebar under "Vintage Vignettes." If it is a photograph you want to post, please become a member of the Flicker Group Vintage Vignettes and post your photo there! Please add a title/caption and some description to give it a sense of time and/or place. This is all about telling stories, whether they be true or "tales out of school" this is the place for them. Share/tell as many as you'd like. They can be short (1-2 sentences) or long (whatever your blogsite will hold!) I will be doing this too, my goal is to make this a regular post, or at least as often as they come to me - I may choose a day for this. Sunday seems like a nice, dreamy day for vintage - but we'll see!  Please have fun with this! I can't wait to read your stories and see your photos! 

(by the way, if you do not have a blog but want to participate, please email me your story and I will post it in one of my entries, crediting you. Then I will place that day's entry under the sidebar "Vintage Vignettes." Make sure to give your story a title!)



Sometimes all the doubts and fears pile up and I find myself unable to write for long periods of time. Sometimes the thoughts are all I can deal with at once, and putting anything down is more than I want to deal with. I have occasional periods where doubts feel overwhelming and I just don't feel like doing anything. Then, the next day, I'll wake up and it will all be gone, like a bad dream, and my mood has lifted and the sun is shining beautifully again. I have become such a mom - I sometimes feel listless without my son, unable to do anything that seems productive and meaningful. I suppose some of this is all just postpartum - late and leftover from the early days of motherhood. The thoughts of him growing and not needing me give me so much sadness and knowing he will leave the nest someday fills my eyes with tears. I know I will be ready (I hope) when that day comes. But the best thing I can do now, I know, is to just live in the moment, since I cannot change what happens in the future. Yes, I know: what am I worried about? He's only 2 1/2. I know. But the changes are exponential. I spoke to my 5 1/2 year old nephew on the phone today and I remember so clearly when he was 6 months old, asleep in my arms (he lives in Alaska so I don't get to watch him grow up). 

Anyhow, this is my absence. I rarely watch T.V., but it seems to be all I can do this week. I hope to regain some vitality soon and return to write here regularly. I do enjoy it. I just need to have that wonderful morning where I rise and shine.


An empty video monitor screen and New beginnings

This morning I sit in front of this computer without looking at the video monitor of my boy sleeping. Why? I have just dropped him off for his first day at a pre-school. It is in a backyard of a woman's house, and it is Waldorf-based, so there is a lot of outdoor, unstructured play. I love it. Tristan seems to like it. But driving home after dropping him off was such a surreal experience. My boy. Preschool. Wasn't he just born? Didn't I just bring him home from the hospital in his little carrier last week? Didn't that happen? I realize he's a little young to go to preschool, but there is no "education" (as we think of it) involved, and he gets some time on his own, gets to learn that mommy comes back, gets to play with children around his age and hopefully feels comfortable enough to go back tomorrow! I am going back to school in the fall to hopefully finish my master's program in Public History. It would be an impossible task if he didn't have some place to go to while I do some studying, so we are doing a trial-run this summer to make sure Tristan is comfortable and adjusted when the real deal starts for me in the fall. I don't think I planned for him to go to any other sort of care until he was around 4, but occasionally, life plans change, as we all know. I am excited but also a little sad. I keep glancing at the video monitor because I never sit here when he is awake. Being a parent is an act of vigilance, and at the moment, with a black screen on the monitor, I have nothing to be vigilant about. 

It is a little surreal. 


Finding gratitude and grace in a lovely quote

plaque at new site honoring women at PSU, Portland, Oregon

"Across the curve of the earth, there are women getting up before dawn, in the blackness before the point of light, in the twilight before sunrise, there are women rising earlier than men and children, to break the ice, to start the stove, to put up the pup, the coffee, the rice, to iron the pants, to braid the hair, to pull the day's water up from the well, to boil water for tea, to wash the children for school, to pull the vegetables and start the walk to market, to run to catch the bus for the work that is paid. I don't know when most women sleep."  - Adrienne Rich

I took this picture while in Portland last month. It would have been great for mother's day, but I was really feeling this after reading Eren's post (from This Vintage Chica) for today. My heart goes out to her.


Inspiration, weeding the garden of your mind, gratitude

One night, when my son was just over a year old, I couldn't sleep. I got up and wrote in my diary that I wanted to become the woman I am inspired by. This is not any particular person, it's just who or what I feel inspired by at any given moment. I had watched "Iconoclasts" on the Sundance channel earlier in the evening with the pairing of Ruby Dee and Alicia Keys. I hadn't really ever seen either one of these talented women before, but I found myself thinking about them in the middle of the night, and feeling inspired by them both. "I want to be the woman whom I am inspired by," I wrote. what does this mean to me now? It's led me to be a more conscientious mother. To be more conscious of the choices I make and how they affect my life. To strive to feel good - that means taking care of myself. I'll be a much happier wife and mother if I'm eating healthy and exercising regularly (although the exercise part can be challenging to get to at times). If I'm having an abundance of creativity I feel very inspired. Creativity spawns inspiration and inspiration spawns creativity. It is a wonderful cycle to be in.

I read a short article in Body & Soul magazine from the July/August 2008 issue about a book called Plant, Seed, Pull Weed: Nurturing the Garden of Your Life by Geri Larkin. "Larkin takes readers into her vegetable and flower garden to teach them a few lessons about what our minds and spirits need to thrive. One of the most important tasks? Weeding. 'If you have a garden, you'll get weeds...If you have a mind, you'll get junky thinking.'...So how do you rid yourself of useless, unnecessary thoughts? 'We stop feeding them the fertilizer of attention. As a result, our minds calm down, and as they do, we watch our lives become lighter, happier, and surprisingly more interesting. When the weeds are gone, you'll be amazed at how quickly everything else takes over. Beauty is there, expanding by the minute.'" I snipped this article and posted it on my wall. It's currently above my desk and I look to it whenever my mind is bogged down with negative thinking. It provides the same lovely lift that a gratitude list does and it doesn't cost a cent. It also reminds me to take stock of my life and to stop doing something if it isn't working for me. I partially credit this idea of weeding the mind of junky thinking for all the creativity I've had lately. It's amazing what shows up when my mind isn't cluttered by useless thought. I'm still working on this though.

I feel that lately some of my posts have been less than optimal. I have been a very busy bee working in this little "room of my own" on a big project that I will be able to tell you about in the coming weeks. It is an exciting time for me here, but also a little bit stressful, and this little blog has been taking the backseat lately. I hope to return to it more fully soon, with fresh inspiration.

When I remember to be grateful, I am inspired. So here is my little list of gratitude:

~the feel of old, well-washed linen in my hand
~an organized desk
~a well-taken picture
~packages in the mail
~memories of our trip to Boston (what a lovely city)
~pictures of Tristan when he was a newborn, baby, toddler (it's amazing what can be forgotten. Thank goodness for pictures!)


Green and white

yogurt in a bowl

The Apples for Poppyanne blog has sent me on a green and white treasure hunt this week for her "It begins with a colour..." series. Green and white is about my favorite color combination. I didn't have trouble coming up with too many photos for this one! 

 hydrangea leaf

swinging over grass

loitering fern


green tomatoes

strawberry flower