Thursday, December 13

The Battle of Christmas Tree

Tis a weary plight, that of the Christmas Tree (At least at my house). One of the strongest symbols of this merry holiday, trees have long been symbols of Christ and his creations and the things that tie us together as families and communities. They lend us strength, connect us with the earth as they stand in our homes, symbols of the Savior and his earthly journey commencing.

Every year I have the same issue. Christmas Trees are a wonderful tradition, just not one I've ever known quite how to pull off in our culturally mixed family. I don't know if it's like this in every family, but every year we ask ourselves just before Thanksgiving, what we're going to do for a Christmas tree. Some years we've bought plants that look like Christmas Trees to hang small trinkets from, or bows. Others, we've painted green pine boughs on our front picture window, and last year we bought a small live yew, thinking we could plant it in a large pot and keep it on the patio for next year or plant it somewhere. Every year something happens to our tree and what seems like a really great idea turns sour. If it was a plant, it would die. If it was a cut tree, it would die. The yew I blogged about last year and had high hopes for just wasn't very pretty, and a few weeks after Christmas it died in it's pot as well. Being a very visually oriented person as well as one that really loves plants, I just don't know how to enjoy that dead stump of formerly living green that comes with a cut tree that has always died as well. Every year we've learned something from our experiences (or tried) and no two years have we tried the same thing.

 This year I thought I had finished the seemingly eternal Christmas Tree struggle but I gave in to what most people probably think of as standard. It wasn't what my husband wanted. He's been telling me for years that we should just buy a fake tree after Christmas and then we'd never have to worry about it again. They don't have many pine trees. But I figure even a Christmas Tree Farm is cleaner and more sustainable than an ugly plastic replica. So we did the easiest thing and I vowed to try harder to keep it alive. We went to a tree lot and bought a tree on a stand that was small enough to fit in our simple house. It cost about $30 including the tree stand. We came home, poured some water in the stand and voila! We had a tree. The kids were excited to finally have a sign of Christmas in our house, twinkly stars and lights. We decorated it together letting them decide where to put things. They even posed for one of a dozen posed photos in their combined lifetime. Christmas seemed to have arrived with warm welcome to our home.

Then Something happened. It didn't happen all of the sudden. I didn't notice it all at once. I had poured water under the tree once on the first day. I would check it periodically to see if it needed more water.  A few days went by and the funny thing was, it never did. And that thing that happened, but not all of the sudden, finally came. I felt the branches and they were totally dead. Dry. Bone Brittle. And I knew that I had failed yet again at a Christmas tree. That was the day before Yesterday.

Yesterday went by with a dead ugly stump full of lights and needles like an elephant in my living room. And this morning I took all the lights off, rolled up the garland of thumb-size stars, and took the tree out in the back garden, stand and all. It looks very pretty there, in the middle of the grass. Maybe the kids can decorate it when we go play outside. And here I was, in the middle of the Holiday season, without a Christmas tree. And there was no way I was paying another $30 for a tree.

Epic Fail.

So I did some soul searching. In other terms, I looked on Pinterest and Google and became increasingly frustrated with myself.

What I wanted was the symbol.  I belong to a group of cultural norms that say what a person is suppose to do or have or be. It owns me. That's why for as long as I've had my own home, I couldn't see past the idea of an actual tree. But even in symbol, there is a difference to me between a real beautiful product of growth and weathering and a reproduction. I needed something real, natural, and beautiful, but it was frustrating to look at myself, seeing the limits I've had learned from a set of cultural norms that mean nothing to me. Tassels and fluffy branches are meaningless. I know that I am more creative than picking the easiest way to a short solution, pretty for a short time.

The ideal would be to find a tree that could go back into the landscape and continue growing. Something that needed very little help in getting established. But another $30 seriously is NOT in my budget. I decided that I wanted something simple. And so I looked around to see what I had that I could stand in my living room and hang simple little creations from. What I found were a bunch of old branches that I've saved from many a bright hot bonfire. I've used them through a few summers of Tomato supports and dog barriers, and after a few autumn rains have washed them clean of debris I think they make a most simple, ecological and beautiful Christmas symbol.





I admit that at first glance it looks like we're going to have a very large bonfire in our living room.



 
But the simplicity, and openness allows for a LOT more play than with a cut tree on a wobbly stand.



















As much as we loved playing out the traditional Christmas Tree decorating scene, it was funner making the stars to go on this one. For the first time in my life I want things to be simple. There are only about 10 stars on the whole tree and I won't miss the other random ornaments much. It seems that of all the things I collect, I'm not very talented at collecting Christmas ornaments.

However  I did enjoy making the stars. Alot.



Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 11

My Favorite Memories of You: The First to Reach Out.

It's gonna be a doozy, I can tell you that right now. But I can't not write this, right now. I can't let another minute go by with nothing being said, nothing being done, just waiting and hoping and praying that an earthquake will strike and one person, of the millions it would affect, would wake up and smell her own waisted self. I can only say that because I am like an injured dog, who cries out and limps off, but keeps on limping even after it's healed. But the reality is this: Charity was embodied by this person. I care so much about what happens to her that I haven't been able to say a single word in over two years. But tonight, as I became enraged, driving through the snow, listening to a story about how she has abandoned her first born, I wanted to cry out to her for the first time. And say "Look! Don't you see this!?!" I wanted to write her emails with only subjects, poignant and true, so that she couldn't avoid reading my words. The first would read "Your Daughter is SO Amazing. And You. Just. Lost."

But as I drove and the snow filled the street inch by inch, my husband became increasingly regretful that he had even told me the story. I remembered the last thing I had told her daughter. I told her I wondered how her Mom would take it if I were to write her letters, or e-mails, telling her just exactly why it hurts so bad. Because my life is full of the most amazing memories of the most amazing person. And I will never be able to forget her. So as softly as the snow fell I stopped yelling in anger, the catchy hurtful phrases that all of us humans are capable of. I started to tell Ariel "And the first line would read"; each time a memory of my best friend and most true confidant: "When you picked us up from the greyhound station", "Asking you for new mothering advice", "Watching you walking my babies to sleep". And so, even though there is a very dark part of me that just wants to tell her how hurt I feel and how much she is missing out on, I know that the truest parts of me want her back. So slowly, even though this is so very public, it's the only place I know she can't erase. It's also the only thing I have since I just got a mailer daemon from her e-mail. She'll never get it. But even so I hope to tell a story about how I got here, missing my sister so very much, because I Love her. 

First Subject line:

My favorite memories of you: The first to reach out.

Ensuing e-mail or letter which will never be read:

When I think of you I think of good things. My very favorite memory, the one that has endured strongest in the last couple years, was of you at the cemetery. There we were, a family confused, tired and drawn to our limits with preparations, sleeping in strange beds or no beds, hurting, wishing we could understand. And there was another group of people just feet away from us. The line was clear. We stood facing each other as the dedication of the grave was made. And then afterward we opened our eyes and looked at them. And they at us. I remember the sensation of bewilderment. The idea lingering that there were so many missing pieces to his life, and they were held by those others. I think, looking back that we really just wanted to feel close to Mark. But how to break the barrier between the hurt and knowing that these were the people he spent his last weeks and months with. They were even those who helped him into so many dark places. But You. You took it from inside of yourself to reach out. You walked across the grassy plot and began extending yourself. You introduced yourself, you gave hugs, you comforted. And it snapped us all back into place and suddenly we were aware that they were hurting just as much as we. I don't know if anyone else remembers it that way, But You did that.

Saturday, November 3

West Valley? A Community?


Okay, so remember when I said that I've been dreaming about more space? Physical space, Emotional space, Social space, Community space? Well, that little dream I've been dreaming about the container house and the small farm, just got a little farther away. But it's alright. The good thing about dreams, as far as I'm concerned, is that if the current one seems to bomb and sink, then there's always one more waiting to hoist you up so you don't fall too low. This describes my situation right now. We've pretty much decided to deal with the cards we've been dealt for a while and we're not letting anything keep us down. I expect that over the next few months I will dwell much here, on what we are going to do to follow our dreams and make new ones with our small house, yard and family and big dog. The reality is that it has been a hard thing for me to accept. But amazing things are going to happen in our small realm. I can feel it.

One such thing will likely expand every single one of the space points mentioned at the top. If we can make it happen. You might know that for the last couple months I've been working, on a volunteer basis, with Wasatch Community Gardens, as an Outreach intern. To put it in the simplest terms possible: WCG (In addition to all of it's other community garden related functions) facilitates the County's Urban Farming Initiative for new community gardens to form all over Salt Lake County. They've set aside a few sites on public parks land that they've said they'll fund Community Gardens on for those who want them, one park at a time. A couple weeks into my intern project there I found out that one of these potential sites is the park that sits a block away from me. And so, separately from my internship, I am putting together an application for Salt Lake County to choose our neighborhood for next year's Community Garden. Applications are due on December 1st. So I am busily trying to get the word out about it and gather names of other interested persons.

To put it lightly, the benefits of community gardening are limitless. We'd all like to live in places we can call havens or at least that feel like them. Right now I can't claim that. All I can claim is what resides within the address on my mailbox, though not even the mailbox itself. Right now it's a safe haven for a few things: drug dealers, truant adolescents, young graffiti artists and pit bulls. I don't feel my children are safe when they play in my neighborhood. I can't say when I look out my window that I know my neighbors. I know more and like more than I did two years ago and there have even been times when I felt like a few members rallied in my favor. But I don't have a strong sense of community here. And I would imagine that most people who live here feel the same way. I know a few people that go to my church, a few people that live on my block, and I recognize a few faces when I go to the park with my kids, but for the most part no body knows anybody else. And I figure it isn't this way because anyone wants it to be. It's just that we don't have things that tie us together. We don't have enough reasons to share space, talk to each other and watch out for each other. So that's the most important reason I want to start a community garden here.

I'm hoping that I can find people who want the same thing as me. People who like gardening, or people who live here and just want to find a stronger and safer community. It also wouldn't hurt to have more fresh healthy food around.

This image was taken from the Rose Park Community Garden Blog which you can see by following this link. If you've lived in Salt Lake for long you've probably heard what Rose Park use to be like. Much like what I described above. But in recent years it has turned into a community that feels clean and friendly and vibrant. If you live in West Valley, consider this: this picture could be us in a year. People who right now don't know each other. People who live in the same place and want the same thing, but have no way to do it together. In a year we could have a place to meet and something to show for who we are. A community I would be proud to be part of, because the people who live there decided that it was worth taking a hand in and taking back.

A community is not built by one person alone. I need 4 people to organize the garden with me. Right now our future garden is a piece of grass. In order for it to become a garden we need to show that we can make it happen. After it is approved we'll need to design it, build it and find other people to support it. But before that can happen I need 4 more people who want to give from 40 to 60 hours of their time during this year to organize and mobilize the garden. But unless there are 4 people who, like me, want something more, it will stay just a big piece of grass.  Do you live in West Valley and have a long term stake in your neighborhood? Do you want to be a part of something that will make this a safer place to live? Contact me directly at billythehigbee@yahoo.com. I am putting an application together for the West Valley, Hillsdale Park on 3200 W and 3300 So. Our application needs to be completed and given to Wasatch Community Gardens and Salt Lake County by December 1, 2012.

Or, if you live in Salt Lake County and are interested in Gardening or Community Building in and around one of the other parks please contact giles@wasatchgardens.org.

Wasatch Community Gardens is an amazing resource for anyone who wants to learn more about growing their own food or build communities.  They provide gardening classes, seeds, heirloom plants, leadership training and much more for people in the community. For more information on them and the Parks for Produce Program go to the Parks for produce page at Wasatch Community Gardens.

Deep Fried Last Harvest

Fall seems so be winding slowly into winter. We've had our first freezes and the garden plants have all been pulled out and prepped for composting (thrown in a big pile).

Something else is happening that happens every year. At least I seem to see a pattern forming in my blog posts. I once again feel the irrepresseable need to share a recipe about a lesser known fall vegetable. This year we had Eggplants coming out our ears and with such abundance I tried giving them away. However I quickly realized that a lot of people don't know quite what to do with an eggplant. I think I may have just discovered my second most favorite way to eat it. I adore Eggplant. From it's deep hues of purple to its soft-butter texture when cooked right. My very most favorite is simple: cubed, steamed, with butter and Sea Salt. But coming in at close second is today's creation: Eggplant Tempura.

I started out with a bundle of tiny remnants of my vegetable forest. As I pulled out each cold-withered plant and threw it onto the compost pile, my four-year-old called out with delight as she discovered baby fruits on the plants I threw, most still clinging to flowers, making tiny white nipple on the ends of the eggplants. The tomatoes were just sad, as unripe tomatoes are just sad that way. My first thought was fried green tomatoes, but there were tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and even a few tiny green butternut babies. And so you have a recipe:


Ingredients

  • Coconut Oil for frying.  Heat to 325 degrees F.
  • Garden Vegetables: especially tiny baby eggplants, green tomatoes, and sweet peppers. If the vegetables are thicker than 1 inch, cut into finger size pieces.
  • Batter
          1 egg
          3/4 c Whole Wheat Flour
          1/4 c. Corn Starch
          1 tsp baking powder
          1 tsp. salt
          garlic
          paprika
          1/2 c water, add more to get to a
          runny but sticky consistency

Mix with blender or food processor and pour into a deep, narrow bowl. Batter vegetables and fry. We used fondue sticks since it was only my husband and myself. Remember that whole wheat doesn't brown the same way as white flour and takes longer to brown. With this and the lower heat of the coconut oil I found it's not a bad thing that the tomatoes really needed longer to cook. Pull out of the oil when slightly golden colored. The great thing about Coconut Oil is that it's not only a very healthy fat but it doesn't taste like some oils do when they permeate a food, oily and stale. It leaves a pleasantly crispy texture without the greasiness that comes commonly with fried food.  I served ours with a honey mustard sauce made with my home made mayonnaise, dijon mustard, and honey.



Monday, October 15

Dream It and It Will Come


I have an obsession lately that I can't seem to break away from.

For the last few months we've been thinking very hard about what our next step is as far as a home. Where we're at now is 1000 sq. feet, two bedrooms, and an unpleasant neighborhood situation. If we didn't have so many things we liked to do with our hands it would be much easier to simplify life and stay here. Grow our family small-house style. But when it comes down to it, we really want more space. physical space, emotional space, social space, community space. Ok, so when I say space, I'm really talking about freedom.

I've always said that I wanted to live in a place where I could walk around naked in my back yard. Now I am a bit more realistic about the fact that I don't need a valley, just a few acres. And from a few acres away people can still see me if I am naked in my back yard. I am a nudist, but a very private one. The point is, I want space for my kids to stretch their legs and their brains and hearts. Where they can love butterflies and digging holes and sticks.

But this is not the recent obsession of which my husband tires. He's more of a 'when the time comes' kind of dreamer. I'm more of a 'build it and it will happen' kind of dreamer. But I'm not too proud to face it. We're lucky to be in the house we're in. The only thing that has changed in the last six years as far as our finances are concerned is that now we have kids. We didn't have kids so it's was easier to qualify for a loan. But the funny thing is, now we're more stable in about a hundred and one ways, all of which involve one 3 year old and one 4 year old and we're still wondering if anyone will actually give us a mortgage on our second home.  I think of all the people who are in a similar situation to us who are still renting and I know that I'm lucky to be where I am. I also wish that I would have known what I wanted 6 years ago.

So remember when you were a kid and you and your siblings had a lego set and you'd spend hours building and stealing each others pieces so you could put one more window on your house or so you could finish the castle tower, subsequently saving the princess. That's pretty much where this all started. This is what I've been doing to night:


Imagine little tiny people living in it, or imagine it on a larger scale with each block being made of corrugated steel container and each ice cube or transparent tub being a sun room or skylights. Right now, this is what I imagine when I imagine the future. Broccoli topped roof and all. The end result will be home of about 1600 square feet.

I'm just trying to figure out how to make it happen.




















Obviously making a lego style, ISBU house isn't a new idea. In fact I'm pretty sure that as soon as shipping containers started littering ports and rail yards around the world, people started living in them. But only in the last 20 or 25 years has the idea been taken seriously in places where it wasn't of dire need. To say the least it's an idea that hasn't caught on very fast in Utah, though I am pretty sure that most people who still rent here would agree that to have an affordeable space of one's own instead of paying a fortune to someone else to live in theirs is appealing. I'm not talking about forcing everyone live in boxcars like "The Boxcar Children" but an actual home that has all the whistles and bells and creature comforts. And though the idea isn't catching into fruition very fast, there are projects in Utah that use this very idea, though it's next to impossible to find actual information about them on the web. Here are a couple of them:



This is a digital rendering of The Sarah House, a project for Utah's under-served that is currently being built through Crossroads Urban Center.  Here is the most updated image I could find of it's actual progress.You can check their progress on the Sarah House Utah facebook page.



There's also the City Center Lofts, a seven story container apartment building that was built in the hear of Down Town Salt lake City and for which I can't seem to find an actual photograph. However it was scheduled to be completed in 2009.



Of the most useful resource I've found (Today) is this article from R One studio (Follow the link) The author makes some really great points. And I feel like I know what my next step is in building the dream. Find out how much an architect costs. Though, if you look at the two images he shares, I definitely prefer the one he clearly dislikes. Much more interesting. 

This concludes this session of my this redneck yerba mate dream...To be continued.

Monday, October 1

Whole Wheat-Coconut-Blueberry-Oat Bran Muffins: ei. "Cupcakes"


I don't know if it's laziness or just my inner eye coming into focus (or a secret desire to torture my family). But lately I've pretty much stopped looking at recipes completely. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Usually when it doesn't turn out, even though I've thought through all chemical relationships (baking powder, soda, sugar, egg reactions etc.), I can attribute the  flop to one simple thing: I forgot the salt. But today I am somewhat unreasonably proud of myself in my creation. My daughter begged me for cupcakes for breakfast (which may or may not mean pancakes). She pretty much begs for cupcakes every day at some point even though in her lifetime I don't believe I've actually made cupcakes. She knows pretty much every episode of My Little Pony by heart though and they eat a lot of cupcakes in Ponyville. If I lived in Ponyville, I might eat a lot of cupcakes too. But in Ada's case I'm pretty sure she would just lick off the frosting and ask for another.

I've been trying for quite some time to make a good bran muffin for the Hubster. Being Argentine, he hasn't ever experienced the glory that is possible in this full textured food. I feel it my responsibility to share it with him. But thus far he has rejected all of my buttery moist concoctions for lack of sweetness. I have this nasty habit of cutting the sugar in half. I just think that most recipes have too much. But I conceded in this case, for desire that my daughter eat something other than corn and tortillas with cheese today. I feel that the fullness of fibers will make up for it.  And I'm satisfied that tonight's yerba mate exchange will be a satisfying experience for all parties. Lately (okay, pretty much my whole life) I've been on a coconut kick. Don't try to substitute the unsweetened coconut with the larger sugary flakes, it won't work. Make sure that the coconut oil is at room temperature.



With no further delay:

Whole Wheat Coconut Blueberry Oat Bran Muffins
ei. "Cupcakes"

3 Whole Eggs well beaten
1 C Coconut Oil
2 C Sugar
1 & 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2 C dry coconut flakes (unsweetened)
3 C Whole Wheat Flour
2 tbs Baking Powder
1 & 1/2 C Oat Bran

2 & 1/2 C Milk
2 C Blueberries (frozen or fresh)



Preheat  oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
Beat eggs well and then add, one at a time, mixing between, sugar, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and coconut flakes.
Then separately combine  flour, baking powder and oat bran. Mix together thoroughly with wet mixture. Pour in most of milk and mix thoroughly. The batter should be thick and goopy, not liquid like a cake batter. Add rest of milk in if needed. mix blueberries in with a large spoon to avoid breaking them apart.

Spoon into lined muffin tins to rim.
Bake for 8-12 minutes. Makes approximately 3 dozen muffins

Muffins are done when toothpick comes out clean and muffins are golden around edges. Pull out of tins and allow to cool before dolloping with:

Honey Greek-Yogurt Cream-Cheese "Frosting"

1 C. Greek Yogurt (cold)
1 C. Cream Cheese (room temperature)
Honey to taste

With a hand mixer beat all three ingredients until smoother than cottage cheese.
*NOTE* Wait until you are ready to eat the muffins to frost them. Since the topping is not a simple mixture of fat and sugar, it will dry out. Store covered in fridge until ready to use. Until then, cover muffins with cloth to prevent them from drying as well.



And for the record, My daughter loves them. She still licks the "frosting" off the top but then continues to eat the rest of the muffin without the cool creamy topping.



Tip: If you don't make cupcakes very often and don't carry the necessary supplies , you can line tins with squares of parchment paper, just push the middle down and run your finger around the bottom. Hold in place and fill with small spoon or small ladle.

EXITO!

Wednesday, September 19

Taking a small moment to share an equally small idea with Great impact and implications. My children are 4 and 3. They are people who learn serious stuff on a daily basis and work really really hard at it. We are dedicated to learning in any environment we can access. We don't do school. And even though they aren't of school age yet, when the time comes, we won't do school unless that's what they want. You can call us Homeschoolers, but we are learning how to be Unschoolers. And this is Our Educational Curriculum:






Thank You Mr. Rodgers for expressing my own thoughts so clearly. I will be your neighbor!

Monday, July 16

Abundance

I find myself writing a lot about tragedy. I promise, it's not because I feel I lead a tragic life. But I believe that all humans experience them on a constant basis and that brings us closer together.

Today though, I lost just a little morsel of faith in the human race.

I look out at my garden and admit that I understand my flowers and green foliage more than I do most of my friends. In fact, I might even like them better. There are small plants and large plants that I remember the way I felt all through their lifespan, short or long. I remember how the soft pubescent leaves changed between my fingers, soft to rough, green to grey.  When I walk out among them, feeling the dirt under my shoes or bare calloused feet, I know what the plants were tendered into. I know the basic chemical and physical properties of where they grow and I know mostly what I need to do to help them.

Often I take a new seedling under my thumb and I don't yet know what it needs. It turns brown on the edges and I know that I've neglected it, with water usually. But almost always, it comes back and I learn better what it needs. I usually get second chances if I'm patient.

People though are different. Many times we don't get second chances and more often the idea of a person is discarded even before we let it take root in our mind. I, for example, am looking out the window at a man walking up my street. He's intoxicated, can't keep his hands off his crotch, talks on his cell phone as he walks with overly grand hand gestures. And I immediately assume that he is a druggy coming to the house next door looking for a fix or just a place to stay. The first thing that comes to my mind is how much I'd like to move. I want my kids to be able to play and not safely assume what I'm pretty sure is true. He might be a great guy other than the few details that make me disregard him, but I'll never know.

I came home today after three days of camping. We went to a lake south of here. The fish were many, but not caught by us. And when I got home I found probably the most offensive thing I can imagine. A friend, of the human sort, was waiting for me to inform me of a mishap, an accident. Someone had come into my garden and destroyed it. They rummaged through my seedlings like they were rummaging through a thrift shop full of junk. Some things were familiar and some they assumed should be discarded. They ripped out my seedlings from their fertile, carefully tended soil and along with them, a few weeds. It was strawberries, California poppies, clary sage, and an entire section of lettuce, beets, Swiss chard, all finally coming to the end of their great circle of life, with seeds carefully tucked into sheaths at the tops of haggard stalks. Sure, they left a blue oat grass, a sage, most of the nine foot sunflowers, but they ripped out the two-year-old lavender I had nursed so carefully, the helianthemum, the garlic stalks that were just getting ready to be harvested. And they left me, feeling violated. Yelling to myself and whoever was present "What Right did they have?"

I talked to my neighbor and my other neighbor and figured out that whoever they were, they thought they were doing a good deed. They had mistaken my garden for that of the woman who lives alone next door. They came to help her when she wasn't home, by direction of a friend of a fried.Without asking what they should do or where, without considering who shared the property line and who might live on the other side of it, they moved things and cleaned things, trimmed edges and scattered mulch. And though I can see that they were well intentioned and good natured, I can't help but feel violated and judged. Like whatever I had was obviously not on par with what they thought a yard should look like. They replaced my greens that had gone to seed and were nearly ready to harvest with a flat plane of brown mulch and a dozen or so fake silk flowers in all of the hues of the fake rainbow.

We ripped out the flowers almost instantly and after I had ranted and yelled and let the entire neighborhood know how I felt I went inside and hit my head, which was really just a perfect excuse to curl up in a ball and hate the world. 

But something in me didn't let me let it simmer too long. I couldn't handle the helplessness of feeling like I was violated with out even knowing it.

I went outside to the other part of my yard. The part that was safely enclosed by a fence but that might have shown whoever it was that I might know a little bit more about what was planted than they did.

I walked out to my grass that was sown earlier this year but now covers a small part of the yard in a thick layer of green softness. I turned toward my vegetable garden to find that the basil plants that were going to seed last week, that I had pinched a few bug-eaten leaves off of a few days previous, were flourishing and healthy. What had been a bed of dirt with smallish plants, leaves mostly eaten, had transformed in three days into a lush canopy of green, purple trumpet flowers marking the way for the pollination of hundreds of pingtung eggplants. The butternut squash vines were overtaking the pathway that led through the garden and when I walked over to the tomatoes I lifted up a branch and found the very first bright red ripe jewel hanging there, waiting for me and me alone to pluck it.

Suddenly I felt such abundance, such blessed life flowing through me from my finger tips, where I had plucked the red fruit, clear to my toes. And it felt better. I pinched off five of the basil plants down to the second branch and went inside and made a pesto.

Later on, as I shared a meal with my family, talking about the events of the day, I was reminded that though there were a few people that I might have ripped an arm and a leg off of if they had been present, I also had a few good friends and neighbors. I remembered that when the dozen or so strangers were rummaging through my life like it was a dumpster, two neighbors had approached them and told them that they should probably leave it all alone. When I mostly just felt like I needed to move and now, I remembered that there were at least two people who knew me and my life well enough that they knew that I had worked really hard on every inch of the what to someone else was just messy. So even though I live a hermits life in the suburbs and only come out to water the grass or pinch some herbs, I do have a community. There are people who are connected to my life and know me and care

So I guess I'll give it another chance. The human race, I mean. Though I will hunt down whoever is responsible and hold them accountable, I still feel loved and blessed with great abundance.

Tuesday, July 10

I am

Scrubbing up what finally came out
the right end, at the wrong time
for the second time this morning.
Not mine.

Hoping that this time two's the charm.

Thinking of you. And who
you were and what you meant
and if anyone really knew.

Thinking of Mississippi
and making sure I still
know how to spell it. It.

Wondering if you were there
or if it was all in my sweet
sentimental, ever over sensitive little head.

Wednesday, June 6

Books are Burning

Where did you first learn that you could eat dandelions? Did you ever contemplate life without a sun? Did being in love with an extraterrestrial being ever seem like a very distinct possibility, just for a moment, or maybe you realized that you were never really in Love at all?


Fuschia
Today is a mourning day.  I took Ada to summer camp and for the second day in a row she refused to go. On my way home I made myself feel better by buying some flowers. That's how bad I felt. It was a conscious decision to make myself feel better by replacing something I thoughtfully assumed would be meaningful and fun for her by giving myself an outlet for creative juices to flow. In time she'll see how sustaining it is to create life from dirt, but also, she'll thank me for not forcing her by figuring that out all by herself. I'm no saint. I do mourn the money I spent on the summer camp and the possible growth she could have had. But it would be a far greater tragedy if I were to force her into something and rob her of the pleasure of discovering it herself.

But I mourn also today because a Great has moved on from this realm. I mourn for that time I could have listened to him lecture my first year in college, but didn't see the flyer until the next day. I mourn because I fear that my daughter might never discover his words.
Gaura


He made me believe that I could make nonsense believable. He taught me at thirteen when everyone was going on about God and the Big Bang, that there was much more out there than any of it.  He made me feel more alive, knowing that I could make worlds in my own head and bring them out onto paper for others to read and share. If any of this is not pure nonsense, you might know that today I mourn the passing of Ray Bradbury.

For Mr. Bradbury: Please know that you opened my eyes. You translated this world into a language I could understand and made understandable worlds that might never have been. I'll do my very best to make sure the next generation and the next and the next, is able to see the world through your eyes.

These flowers are for you.


If you read this post in silence, it's not too late. Click on the banner to the right and listen to a song shamelessly dedicated to Mr. Bradbury.

Friday, April 13

Gardening Desert Warrior Redneck


I woke up early this morning thinking about things I want to grow and things currently growing.



Dreaming of my dream kitchen, I did some research and made some lists.


I drank mate with my family and ate a perfectly, slightly burnt, loaf of whole wheat smitten kitchen zucchini bread; which is just as good as it looks (and yes, it's awesome with only whole wheat and only olive oil)

 
Then I made myself a gardening journal out of an old notebook and some vinyl I had lying around.



Then I took myself outside just long enough to plant my peas before the much needed downpour began. I could feel it when I woke up, because it was there when I went to sleep, and it was the first thing I looked for when I opened the curtains this morning. I could feel it because rain and me, we're just that way.
 
Some days it's like there's someone behind me cranking the cogs. I just feel more. I want more. I do more. And inspiration comes more easily. Unfortunately not all days are like that. Most days I stay in my pajamas too long, or leave the kids in theirs, I may not bake, in fact I may not even wash the dishes.

But today I did stuff. Okay, I did not yet actually do the dishes. But that isn't as important as all of the things I did. It's probably the rain. It's definitely the rain.


I read on a billboard this morning: In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.



But today I totally disagree. In spring, and in fall, and any other time of year when the earths living flow falls from the sky (in the desert) you should smell like it. You should walk under it wearing holey shoes fit for a gardening desert warrior, meant to keep the dirt out of her toenails. You should feel it's cold squishiness between your toes and look for "bichis" with your two-year-old.


Because then next time you won't forget that you own galoshes.  And there might not be a next time, because lets face it, you live in a desert, and it's having a drought.

I'm so glad I finally planted my peas!

Wednesday, April 4

Redneck Yogurt

I'm having a foodie moment. A long one. As in...I still can't believe how good dinner was last night. And this morning, even better.

I haven't bought yogurt in a while. I haven't eaten yogurt in a while. Usually I stock up on it when I find what I like. One that I love is Greek Gods Yogurt. So smooth, so creamy, so perfect in it's sweetness. I had a source for a while where I could get it for $1.00 per 24 oz. tub. But that was short lived. It's usually about $4 per container.  Sad story.

But the other day I had a moment to myself. And another sad story, usually the only moments I have to myself lately are spent grocery shopping. So there I was, at Harmons. No kids. No list. Only a budget. And, having made yogurt in the past, finding myself on the yogurt isle, I felt inspired to try it again.

I bought one gallon of run of the mill, whole milk, one container of my favorite yogurt containing 5 pro-biotic organisms, one pint of cream and then, one half gallon of the very tastiest milk sold in the grocery store in this part of the world: Organic Valley, whole (which has absolutely nothing to do with this post, I just though everyone should know, It's the best, no contest...).

The next morning I woke up, sterilized some jars, probably not as important. Then I poured the gallon of milk and the pint of cream into a stock pot. (not nonstick, little black flakes of chemicals, not so yummy.)  While it was warming on the stove I pulled out the Greek yogurt, washed my camping cooler, and stirred the milk. When the milk/cream mixture was warm, actually just barely hot to the touch I turned off the heat and took pint or so out. I put two healthy dollops of the yogurt into what I had removed and mixed it in. When it was mixed in I poured it into the rest, mixed it all and poured the mixture into my sterilized quart jars with lids (you'll need 5 or 6).  At this point I still had hot water from sterilizing and I added more water until it was cool enough to touch.

I put the jars into the clean cooler, poured the warmish/hottish water over them, closed the lid, rolled the cooler out of the way and forgot about them until this morning (That's one day). Ideally I don't think you should leave it this long. I've heard that the longer you leave it the more acidic it is. Eight hours should be long enough, but comparatively mine was not acidic. But it probably stopped fermenting a few hours ago when the temperature dropped below 90 degrees (Fahrenheit). Also, remember this is a solution of pro-biotics. That means, beneficial organisms are occupying the area and anything else isn't likely to be there. However that's not a guarantee. If you do want to leave it this long and make sure you have a thick, densely inhabited (by pro-biotics) yogurt, pour more hot water in the cooler after a few hours to give them an optimum environment.

This morning for breakfast I mixed it with some frozen berries and agave syrup. And honestly, it's the best yogurt I've ever made.

That is my Redneck way of making yogurt but there are plenty of other methods:

  • Gas stove with pilot light on overnight (easiest if you happen to have a gas stove).
  • In a large pressure cooker filled half way with water and covered in a blanket (this way you can  simply turn the heat on for two minutes to keep optimum growing conditions).
  • In a yogurt maker (for the fancy shmancy)
  • In a slow cooker (I have yet to try this but it seems like it wouldn't make very much).
  • I also theorize that yogurt could be made with little or no electricity at all in the sun in a dark covered container. I'll try it and then I'll tell you about it.



See that separation on top? It's what makes this so good. The Cream.

It should also be noted that from Greek Yogurt does not come Greek Yogurt. But it's not as complicated as you might like to think to make. Just line a strainer with cheese cloth and pour a quart or so in. Let it drain for four hours or so. Most commercially made Greek yogurt still uses pectin  to thicken it. But it's still creamier and thicker than regular yogurt. Also, it doesn't matter if your yogurt is sweetened or not. The sugar doesn't appear to affect the way the yogurt is fermented and since you are using a comparatively small amount it isn't likely to affect the way your yogurt tastes either. The yogurt I used was some variety of honey strawberry but my yogurt did not turn out tasting of either.
Have you made your own yogurt? How did you do it? What's your favorite way to use yogurt?

Friday, March 30

Special Treats

"Eating Greens is a Special Treat. It makes loong ears and great big feet. (but it sure is awful stuff to eat)" -Thumper

For the record I don't believe that last part, or I wouldn't be writing.  And I'm happy to relate that my four year old Bambi enthusiast doesn't either.


Today I watered the dirt that might turn into grass, for the fifth year in a row. And when I went out to turn the water off, I found (not for the first time) a salad. And it occurs to me (not for the first time) that there is a good reason why that expensive box of leaves is called "Spring Greens". It's because it shoots up in the spring without any care or watering, using the moisture from the melted snow to grow up tender and sweet from where it was abandoned last fall. I didn't know how far I was going to let it go, I thought about it a lot. Probably too much.  But today I plucked a few of those young and tender shoots and called it dinner.

This message has been brought to you with a free tip from my dirt patch to yours:

If your lettuce gets bitter, it isn't because it's too mature. It's because it's too hot. Lettuce doesn't actually need a lot of sun. Try covering it with a shade cloth for the hot summer months or just grow it in the spring and fall. It'll be sweeter and it might actually be a special treat. Also, don't believe everything you read on a seed packet. We may not have had our last frost but it isn't too early to plant your lettuce. It can actually take a light frost and recover just fine. Some of the tastiest greens I've eaten were harvested from under a light blanket of snow ;)




Monday, March 19

Kid Stuff: Anything but School.

It's about time I posted something about home school. I really should say, about unschool. But I'm a little chicken. It's kind of like a swear word to a lot of people and I don't know enough to be confident in it anyway. I'm not exactly a tried and true believer. After all, I have a two year old and a 4 year old who don't speak much yet. It isn't exactly like we sit and talk about what they want... Unschooling is basically allowing and facilitating your child to pursue whatever it is they want to do. Not a controlled and constantly surveillanced atmosphere, but one in which they choose how they spend their time and there is no pressure that they are suppose to be or do something specific with learning. But I still limit their TV watching and I think it would definitely be a problem if I let Ada do what she wanted all the time. Maybe I just need some more deschooling. Either way, with my children's specific needs I do feel that unschooling is really the closest form of assisted learning that I identify with. If for one thing only, it's because I want them to learn how to learn. I am not a Teacher. I am a Mother. I could teach and teach and get frustrated for weeks at a time, which I have done, and see nothing learned. 

I'm pretty sure that if I took Ada to a Doctor he would tell me how behind she is in a million ways and prescribe to have some testing done to see where she is at. But what it comes down to is this: I really don't care how my children compare to other children on a scale of normality vs. the child. What is important to me: I see Ada picking up on new things every day. I see her learn new words and play new games with her dolls, pretend new scenarios. I see how she tries to interact with other kids. It's a reality that not many people understand and I have to remind myself of on a regular basis that kids learning two languages at once have a different learning process than those that don't. And whatever that entails, it is worth the wait.

So what we ARE doing is looking for lots of bugs in the back yard. On the kids play house they have a little basket of Ivy that they love to water, and we're starting a raised garden bed together. We've been giving all of the earth worms we've found a new home in their little bed. I also have Ada signed up for a summer camp at a Wasatch Community Gardens and she'll start soccer in a few weeks.

Definitely what I am most concerned about is helping Ada have more interaction with other kids. Not because I am concerned about this in general, but because SHE is. She is such a little socialite. She doesn't know how to make friends or initiate play, she mostly just does what she wants and expects all the kids to follow her, but she WANTS to. So I think Soccer will be awesome for her. And meanwhile we play as much as we can with our awesome cousins and a few good friends.

The other thing Ada is doing is experimenting with music. Our house is an ongoing concert, just not one anyone would want to go to. Accept me, because singing out of tune with my two blossoming rock stars is my kind of thing. For Ada's Birthday we bought her a Ukelele. She doesn't know how to play yet, and neither do I. But I play some guitar and I know I'll be able to teach myself tuning and chords and then teach her as well. I just have to get on it!

We also read together, or I read to them, or they just look at books. But that's just part of life. And that is the whole point. Learning is a natural part of enjoying life. the most important thing that we can do on a daily basis is just LIVE...

They live. I live. They see me live, love, write, read, be. And the natural human part will pick up on all the rest.

It's a Love Thing

Writing about life takes courage. For me it's a rite of passage. Something I have to do before I can move on to the next phase. I may move forward but there will always be a wall until I find the courage to write about it. And it isn't courage alone, some things have to be dealt with, consciously or not.  You can write about it as many times as you want until one conclusion is met or another reinvented of the same series of events. You learn something new about yourself every time, it can get you through the experience, break it down into terms you can wrap your brain around.  But I can not begin to put all the pieces together until I put some connecting piece down in honest words. Some events are so impacting that though I may not think about it regularly or ever, it is always in my subconscious effecting the way I perceive other things. Later it will turn up and I'll remember all of the details, all of the moments as if no time has passed. I look at them with new eyes and a fresh perspective.

For a long time I was stuck in a rut because my writing revolved around one particular person. A long lost love that shared my need for words. I was unable to move forward with something infinitely more important simply because I couldn't write it all out. I hadn't figured out how. Recently though, I've found the courage to push forward through that blockage. I've started a new project and thus a new blog. One that will only deal with this all engulfing subject. The subject of my life with my husband.



Today marks the ninth year of our togetherness. The day when we were married in an urban court room by a reluctant judge.

A few weeks ago something happened to me. I suddenly decided that it all had to be written down and those new eyes looking through the window of my memory were able to start recalling the details and put it all on pages. I've given those pages to him. But little by little, as I work out the details, I'll post them to their new home on my other blog.

It has been a refreshing experience to reconsider our beginnings and the journey we started together. He hasn't known what all my giggles have been about from behind my screen as I've remembered giddy details; but I hope he's felt an out pour of love as it has been renewed from my place in it all.

Without further delay and rambling I give you Amor a la Pampeña

Tuesday, March 6

Quinoa Salad


It seems like everyone is talking about Quinoa these days. Maybe it's a new health craze. Maybe it's a fad. Or maybe it just makes a lot of sense. I don't feel so bad to be a little behind though, my spell check doesn't even know how to spell it.

Not too long ago I didn't know what Quinoa was, accept for being a seed that I had seen in the bulk section of Winco's. I thought it was just a glorified bird seed, price-wise.  But then I started seeing it everywhere and hearing about it and so... I tried it. So easy to make. If you need dinner in a flash. It's perfect. It's a whole grain that cooks in the same amount of time as white rice.... And it's a whole protein.... And it is sooo good for you.... And the history of it is really neat....And my family would NOT even Touch it.

I had to force feed it to them a few times before they accepted that it was in fact an edible substance. The first time I tried it I made too much. It wouldn't have been too much had my family been feeling as adventurous as I was hungry for rejection. The next morning I tried it in my Greek yogurt. Totally Awesome.  I recommend it. But no one in my family has yet to try this either. But one day eventually I made something with it that was really good. Even my daughter thought so. But then I went without making it for a spell. Not a good idea. I made it again, and again...a total bomb. Anyway, long story short. I finally found a way that I really, really, really like it. I can't say that my husband and kids are totally converted yet, but they did eat this and completely separately I did get lots of compliments on it. And this is it.

Quinoa Salad

I first made this on a whim when friends Edgardo and Liz and their two munchkins stopped by and food was in the works.  I had a bunch of Quinoa from the night before in my fridge(big surprise). And a bunch of other random things, which in my fridge usually translates into salad. Salad it was. Two different salads. But at the end of the meal, after cooking and serving and cleaning and finally eating after everyone else had already eaten, I guess I just got lazy. This is a redneck blog, I don't feel ashamed about saying that. I combined the two salads on my plate and serendipity happened.The results were much better than their two parent salads. And this is the list of ingredients:

Some leftover cold Quinoa (a couple cups)
Two or three hand fulls of Baby Spinach
Two medium to large Avocado (cut in little pieces)
an 8 oz. container of fresh Blueberries
Two small Tangerines (cut in slices, deseeded, and separated into sections)
One small garlic clove
Sea salt
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon

Rub your favorite salad bowl with garlic, Toss all ingredients together, enjoy with a fork and some artisan bread, with a perfect crumb for wiping up the dressing remnants. (Hmmm... My favorite part of any good salad.)



Tuesday, February 28

Easiest Post Ever.

You know those list people? The ones who write lists about what they're going to do and then share them. Well I'm sitting at my computer and I don't have my notebook handy, so today's the day that I become a list person.

I put the kids in bed, sit down for a minute and suddenly it's 9:30 and I'm totally pooped. There were so many things I was suppose to do today. And now that I have no more energy to do any of them I can remember all of them.  And here's the list:

Finish putting the green house together
Start your seeds before you're so late for the party that there's not even any more cake.
Make invitations for Ada's Birthday Gala with Ada
Fold laundry (obvious)
Post Picture on Ada's Birthday Gala Event Page
Fix the small but growing pile of clothes that have rips or need new buttons etc.
Wash my walls so that I can paint over the kidly's drawings.
Take the ginormous load of stuff in the back of my car to the DI
Clean my house so it's spic and span and I don't have to worry about it so much come Saturday
Deliver Birthday Gala Invitations with Ada
Move the shelves over into the closet and organize the shoes
Make souvenirs for Ada's Birthday Gala
Look up recipe for super awesome Barefoot Contessa's pastries for Ada's Birthday Gala
Clean the car
Take pictures of the car
Make a KSL and Craigslist Ad for the car
Look for a new dresser on KSL
Get ahold of Ron and ask him some refinancing questions.
Continue Secret Special Something for someone who may or may not read this...and may or may not be my husband. 

Yeah, I could go on, but I won't because just thinking about it is making me more tired. And being , well, ME there's no way I'm going to get that much done. Who am I kidding I have two small children who are obsessed with doing everything with me and destroying everything else at the same time. But now you have somewhat more proof that I am not a Super Hero Woman and do not llive a glamorous Hollywood Lifestyle. But I'm me and I'm, well, Happy.

Tuesday, February 21

Sprouting: The Most Fantacstically Exciting and Terribly Boring Post Ever.

 
No big story today. I just did something that I've been wanting to do for a while. I grew my own sprouts. I bet you a bunch of money that you could grow sprouts with what you have in your kitchen right now, without buying a single thing. (ok, so I'm not really as reckless as that. But really, I bet you could.) The biggest problem for me was keeping clean counter space all week long amidst canning beans...


I can't say that I use sprouts all the time, or even a lot. I can't even say I remember the last time I bought sprouts. Neither can I say I thought the cost of buying them was justifiable even when I did, I'm sure I got them on a super duper sale day at Market Square. It's even less justifiable when I consider what I know now. Now that I know how easy it is to grow sprouts, I'm going to be eating them more and I'll never buy them again.

Actually though, they probably were worth the cost. I'm smart. I looked on wikipedia, and googled it (links provided below). And if you just want to pay for good quality food, that's alright, pay away. I had heard before, but know better now that they are really good for you. They are a cancer fighting, anti oxidant rich, power-packed, super-food. If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Sprouting seeds simply takes the nutrient rich heart of the seed (the endosperm) and transfers it into something edible and delicious, all the while adding to the endosperm's super power by making a baby plant that is eaten whole. If you want more information on their health benefits (cause I'm really not a health fanatic missionary) look here.

My favorite way to use sprouts has always been in a sandwich. I'm a sandwich person. Though off my head I can think of other ways:  wraps, spring rolls, salads, stir fries.  But I'm excited to find new ways, scrumptious ways, to adopt into my kitchen. This is a more extensive list of ways you can use them.

You can sprout pretty much any seed. However some seeds are deemed inedible or unsafe for human consumption. Tomatoes, peppers, oats (at least raw). But most edible plants with edible raw leaves or seeds have edible sprouts. One of the biggest problems with Sprouts though is actually in the ease of their growth. If they aren't well taken care of or exposed to contaminants, they harbor lots of bugs that are dangerous to eat (not actual insects, but bacteria). If you've ever been paranoid about buying spinach or tomatoes with the constant Salmonella breakouts in the last few years you should know that Sprouts have been just as big of a problem. All the more reason to grow them yourself.

Which brings me to the very reason I decided to try sprouting them myself. I recently found a most excellent resource. His name is Mike Leiberman and he is one smart guy. You may have seen him or read about him in an number of places. He has all sorts of creative ways to simplify the art of growing your own food and to do it in amazingly small spaces. He makes me feel like my 1/4 acre is a farm. And I like that because it's what I imagine it to be anyway. Here is his post on growing sprouts. I followed it in a very basic sort of way.

The gist is you take some beans or seeds or grains (I used lentils) and soak them in water overnight in a jar with some nylon or cheesecloth tied on the top (tied with string, a rubber band, a bottle ring etc.) then in the morning dump the water out. Rinse with clean water and drain. Then let it all sit there on your counter top for a few days. Rinse them in the same way a couple times a day until they sprout. Then you eat them. That's it.

The only thing you have to do to make sure they are safe is not leave them around raw meat, cover them like instructed, and rinse them twice a day. I actually didn't cover mine. They did awesome, but probably wouldn't have if it were summertime.

And there you have it. An extraordinary leap for one kitchen makes a terrifyingly long post for someone who, well, doesn't want to grow sprouts...Lol.

Saturday, February 18

Ladies Night

That moment when you've just had a totally epiphany of an experience and you just know that you need to sit down and write about it because it's all going to leave you soon and you need to capture it before it does. This is that moment. But even as I sit ready to write, a lot of the theories and ah ha! moments that I want to remember have already left; others I won't be able to sort through in the fog.

Tonight I know that I am part of a group of extraordinary women. I don't know what links us. Is it genetics? Is it a deviant gene that says that we are strong willed and independant? Or is in a gradual cultural shift that we are all a part of because we were born in a certain decade, in the same region. I don't know. We have some common genetics to be sure, some of us. But mostly, it's just great the way we feed off of each others honest energy and the desire to connect. Because we do. Some of us more strongly than others. And some of us because we have more...practice. Either way, I just Love them. And tonight I feel like I'm extremely lucky to have them and be a part of them. In a way, it's sad that we had to wait till we're all grown adult women to come to know each other. But then maybe if we had known each other before we wouldn't be getting to know each other now.

Anyway, that's nothing of what I thought I needed to say. There was something else about how I feel energized that there are other honest women and I actually know them. Something about how I feel validated in my thoughts and conclusions and even in my rambling in a focused conversation.So even though these are just a bunch of words and I havn't really said anything. It's good enough for tonight. 

Monday, February 6

A very Good Song

Music Monday Meme? Why Not? If you came here for a super good song then you've come to the right place. But I can't claim the rights of appreciation for this song. Actually my friend Joel posted it on my facebook page yesterday when I expressed the need to get a really GOOD song in my head. I needed it in a really BAD way. I had never heard of the song until yesterday. But now it will be engraved upon the walls of my mind for a very long time. Not necessarily because of the song . . .







There you have it. A Good Song, In a very BAD way.....
Laugh Folks. Joel, also happened to be one of my High School English Teachers...
I won't be offended if you didn't take the time to listen to the WHOLE SONG, like I did before I got the joke.

This is apparently, a *blog hop*. I've never participated before. Or at least I don't know how if I have. Lol. 
Go here to see what other people ARE actually listening to. 

Wednesday, February 1

Mustalgic Musings

If you don't like the tunes, you may turn off the player at the right

We all have things that we deem too sacred to share. Things that are such an intimate a part of our core, or at least what we believe to be our core, that we would feel naked if it were to be flaunted in front of our eyes. Is it that we don't believe that anyone else would 'get it'. Is it that we believe these things set us apart, they make us feel different, special?

Maybe I'm imagining it. Maybe I'm over analyzing my adolescence. Have we all grown out of it? Don't try to tell me that it wasn't real when we were 15, cause I won't believe you.

I'm feeling particularly mustalgic tonight and last night. And so, I've decided to share what I can find on You tube of my 'too sacred things'. In my case, they are mostly music. Of course, I could always spout off to you the melodramatic stanzas scratched on napkins and concert tickets, but that would be not only crossing comfortable boundaries, but ridiculous.  


Though I don't discard  the neurotic possibilities of my 14 year old self, I also know that many of them come from a part of my life when I was particularly alone. That is not to say I was lonely or throw a melodramatic hint of disgruntleness into the calculation, It was actually one of the happiest times in my life. I figured out alot about myself and these tunes were part of an awakening, my very first identity crisis.

Of course, while I'm going on and on and on about these balads, these hearts strings pulled directly from my aching pulsing self, I can't not mention that none of these bands came to me of my own talant to identify ingenius chords and rifts. My family played a part that can not be adequately described. Melanie placed by some miracle The Wild Colonials and The Red House Painters in my path. David got me and the rest of my family hooked on The Connels, Andrew exacerbated my need for a weekly dose of Crowded House. I'll never forget the day my closeted new age Mother brought home a single of The Sundays version of Wild Horses. And of course, Mark sealed my emotional response to Here comes the Sun, by leaving me to my rainy day walking self while he planted trees in Mississippi(For the record, this is the very least of musical memories Mark left me with).

Last week at a conference, someone was talking about trends in a business that I consider important. He made reference to the Romans and how they accomplished a lot of amazing things, and yet their civilization gives us more ruins to study than direct links to valuable wisdom or knowledge. Then he asked what will separate us from them? It is that we will share what we've learned with the next generation. Okay, I know, didn't I just say something totally profound? (As she walks away, her back dripping with sarcasm) But I think it's true that it does little good to sit around thinking we are the only special ones. This music doesn't really say anything about me. It does however speak volumes about the culture and people it came out of, people that I identify with and bring parts of me outside of my small sphere.And I must say that though music can be tool of self expression and meditation, it is most thoroughly appreciated in large masses, where thousands of people are enjoying the energy all at the same time. So at the risk of ending my short blog habit, that's how I'm going to imagine you all, reading this all the way down to the end of grueling sentimental post, all swaying together with the rhythm and hum of gigantic amplifyers, feeling the energy of these songs flowing out into the blogwaves, and maybe even doing a little gig in your kitchen like I am in mine.

And if you have read this far, I'll let you in on the most sacred secret loves of my life, which is not found on You Tube. If you like The Wild Colonials track 'Heaven and Hell' you must listen to the full album 'Fruits of Life'.

And what about you, what do you deem 'too sacred to share'?

Tuesday, January 31

This, That, and the Other

I wake up. The day feels like a normal day. I start to get ready, get the kids dressed, prepare my primary lesson, get breakfast, and then without any warning the day takes an unexpected turn. And even though I think it's going alright, nothing I think is going to happen happens.

That was yesterday.

Maybe it was boredom. Maybe it was wanderlust. Maybe I'm just tired of living next to a cocaine selling operation.Whatever it was, it tasted an awe-full lot like freedom. This is what it looked like.






This is sort of what it will look like in two years or so:



But with something like this...right in the middle.

Made with a few of these.

  

But until then, I guess I'll just enjoy a little bit of This. 



And a little of That...












And even though some might consider the events of the day useless, even a total disaster, somehow it turned into the most extraordinary day I can remember in a very very long time.