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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.