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about to hatch

12 October 09


my father has a penchant for odd eggs-this is a goose egg i cooked for him.  (and yes, that is a full-size dinner plate.)

my father has a penchant for odd eggs-this is a goose egg i cooked for him. (and yes, that is a full-size dinner plate.)

“For some reason it comforted me to think of Julia’s first as happening in her garret apartment in Paris, as she spun around in her cocoon, about to hatch as the new Julia, the Julia she was meant to become.”


-Julie & Julia, by Julie Powell


on reading and technology

19 August 09

i got an iPhone recently.  i know, i know, but here was the reason i caved:

1)i needed something that i could connect with my google calendars (i have many) wherever i was, and i didn’t want to carry around a paper version that i would have to somehow configure to match and keep up.

2)i had lost my mp3 player, and use it to listen to podcasts as well as music-and needed a replacement.

3)the only camera i have (other than my holga) is a large, very nice but very large and heavy, digital slr.  it’s a great camera, it takes good pictures.  however, i often missed great moments because i didn’t want to lug my camera everywhere, and had been talking about getting a small camera for some time.

the above three, packaged in one tiny little thing that i actually Would carry with me everywhere i went, plus notetaking and voice recording for interviews, and so many other things, all together?  it just made sense.  sure, sure, i was lured by its pretty package and all those bells and whistles.  but when i sat down and wrote the reasons for it, and wrote down what i Needed (well needed is relative i am well aware), i realized that it actually would be cheaper, even in the long run, to buy the pretty little all-in-one package than to get these items separately.


off i went, to become even more of a machead.  i had moments of pangs of guilt, picturing foster shaking his “freedom of simplicity” book at me in disgust.  but for the most part i have concluded the purchase to be a good one.

however.  today.  today, i happened to grab a book as i walked out the door to the bus, a book a friend had just returned that i read nearly every year because it’s just that good:  the fires of spring, by michener.  fiction worth rereading, that’s a real rarity for me.  waiting for the bus, my phone died.  no battery.

now, normally, on the short 12 minute bus ride to and from work i catch up on my facebook and emails, i check out what’s been fed to me on my reader, basically i surf the web.

but today i read a book.  one story line, beautifully written, transporting me to another time and place.  it was heavenly!  it was stress relief.  it was slowing down.

and i noticed: now that i also have internet on my phone, i am attached to it all the time.  i wake up and i turn on pandora.  i ride to work and surf the web.  all day at work i’m in front of a computer, internet at the ready.  my work even involves things like researching twitter for crying out loud!  i ride home, surfing again.  and i check in incessantly with email and facebook, all these little snippets, none of them carefully crafting a storyline together.  nothing fluid.  bits and pieces.  disjointed, you might say.

i suddenly realized this morning that i used to be a bookworm, and now i’m a facebookworm.

so, unlike the cell phone, the internet usage has gotten UNuseful.  it has overtaken parts of my life that i love, gotten too big for its britches, lessened the quality of my life.

this calls for slightly drastic measures.  i am starting a new habit, a new way of interacting with internet “life.”  thankfully, i have a pressing deadline for an installation for ArtPrize to help me keep in line-i don’t have Time to be dawdling online.

instead, i will measure and meter out my internet use.  i will make stuff and write and read (for inspiration for the making of stuff, of course!).  i will take photowalks and have conversations about beliefs and doubts (also fodder for the installation, of course!).  i will sit on the porch with my husband and sip wine by anti-bug candlelit in the late hours of the day.

i will still love my iPhone.  i may break up with Facebook though.  he’s kind of possessive of my time.  for now, i’ll just see if he’s okay with casual dating again.  can you really ever go back?

this is why we’re here

1 July 09

this is a neighbor, who has taken a real interest in gardening.

foraging adventures.

22 June 09

DSCF0069yesterday, on a hot sunday afternoon surrounded by the lame attempt at skyscrapers that grace my fair city, we picked berries. it turns out that downtown grand rapids, along the grand river, is a forager’s dream.

but let me back up first, since i have discovered that many folks don’t know what i mean when i say “forage.” foraging is the gathering part of “hunting and gathering,” i suppose. it’s looking for edible plants and their fruits in a place other than your garden or your grocer. it’s walking through the woods, or downtown in our case, and coming home with a meal. foraging is a way of making good use of the bounty God naturally provides for us, and it’s also a great way to get you to your locavore goal (my own goal is to have 80% of my food source come from michigan, year round). along the way, it reconnects us to the earth and reminds us why it’s so precious and worth taking care of.

so last night, a few of us from our community went downtown and picked berries: juneberries and mulberries, to be exact. we picked enough to fill two large colanders when we got home. we passed by many others that could have been picked, if not for the “danger pesticides” sign alongside the trees. while picking, we saw lots of people walk by with confused faces (and a couple that my friend said “gave us the stink eye,”) and only a few that asked us what we were picking. we offered a taste, and got varied responses. everyone said they really liked the berries,but not many seemed to want to do it themselves. we marveled at how people can have gorgeous, free, tasty food right in front of them for the taking-and opt for a packaged collection of non-food in their grocer at the edge of the city instead.

but here we were, in the middle of the city. and though we had some curious folks stop for a minute, no one seemed to be catching on. towards the end of our venture, some folks were sitting on park benches across the sidewalk from our tree. well, i should say: they were Sleeping on said park benches, but sat up curious when we came along with our baskets. they were quiet, and watching, and so finally we asked if they had every had juneberries. showed them how to pick them, which ones were ripe, and what berry bushes to avoid. hmm, interesting, they said. and sat back down on their park bench. we moved on to another tree down the way, thinking yet another disinterested response…

but then one of us looked back-to find all four of the group picking away! one woman, especially animated as she instructed the group and ate as she picked, gave us hope that we had shared the joy.

because food, you know, is about joy. food is about sustenance and connecting with the earth and celebrating and giving glory to God. we lose so much of what food could be, when we push a metal cart around a sterilized box full of non-food. and that is why i forage, in the middle of the city, on a hot summer’s day: because i want the joy back.

foraged berries headed for the freezer, to be savored on a cold michigan winter night.

foraged berries headed for the freezer, to be savored on a cold michigan winter night.

studio time.

8 June 09

DSCF0001today starts official “office hours” in the studio.  a lot of this will be working in my journal, editing text from “take the zarzuela,” and especially getting ready for a large installation for ArtPrize.  some of it, also, will surely include important ways to restore the belief in the importance of what i do.  you know, things like little naps and reading inspiration like this from Danny Gregory:

“ironically, our society tends to portray artists as dreamers.  but those who suppress their creativity are actually the ones living in a dream.  an artist is someone who sees and feels reality very intensely.  creativity doesn’t mean just making things up out of thin air.  it means seeing and feeling the world so vividly that you can put together connections and patterns that help to explain reality.  it means you see the beauty in the world rather than trying to hide from it.”

thank you, danny.


23 April 09

i need to tell you about something very exciting.

you need to check it out.

i’ve signed up to be a part of it, as an artist, 

today journal

so come late september/early october, i encourage you to come on down to downtown grand rapids to join in this amazing experience.  and you need to come and vote for me.  because it’s all about me, you know.  

well okay, it’s all about my community and this is Huge for the grand rapids michigan art community.

if you come, i’ll even let you add your own touch to my installation!  because like i said, it’s not all about me, it’s all about my community.

the monster and other things that slow me down

21 April 09

so, yeah.  i thought i was better.  now i’m not.  i was, in fact, in so much pain that i went to a med center on sunday night.  supposedly, i should feel better by now.  according to what the doctor found on the x-ray and what he prescribed me, i should have been better for a while now.

i’m not.

and i have to go back to the doctor post-haste.  i have absolutely no faith that this will help, but i can’t figure out how to heal myself on my own, either, and this isn’t just a mild headache or something so… to the doctor i go.

this is what fills my brain, as well as things like the fact that i need to get  our stove fixed already, that i need to return the space heater that already stopped working, that i should have returned my library books on time….


but what i really want to fill my head with are other things.  things like processing my trip to africa.  like new discoveries from the books i got from the library tonight.  things like where massi and i will go on our first real vacation ever, for our 5 year anniversary this summer.

and i really want to fill my journal.

but here i am, filled with other thoughts and tasks and struggles… and yes, good, real, important joys as well.

and i’m wondering… how do we redirect to what matters when what distracts us takes over?

how do we refocus?

back to the living.

5 April 09

i was really, really worn out.  a year and a half of massi constantly working on these old houses (and therefore me doing all meals and cleaning and shopping and… you get the idea) and my pulling together my book proposal and all that goes along with that, and i was just beat down tired.


and then i went to africa.


for ten whirlwind days.


on the last day, i started to feel  sick.  that lasted…oh, two weeks.  with lot of things to make me even more devoid of energy than i was before.

and that’s why i haven’t been around here much lately.

so friday, while at work, i felt Productive.  it was a very strange feeling.  and yesterday, i spring cleaned and organized for a good portion of the day.  it was a very strange feeling.

i am glad to be back to the living, and glad to be writing again, and looking forward to curling up with some time in my journal this afternoon as the snow flies (!) outside, in front of the “fireplace” we found this weekend.

day one: it’s not pretty

25 February 09

i’ve been keeping notes on my consumption today, and though i don’t know that i’ve been able to stay away from certain things completely, i am Noticing them more.  with media, i seem to have a “get in get out” mentality, rather than my usual meander, linger, and downright loiter practices.

so.  you want to know how bad it is?  i’m embarrassed but it’s just not in my nature to be demure or cagey.  no no, i’m an open book whether i want to be or not.  so.  tawdry, embarrassing… but here’s the list, from 7:17 a.m. to 5:10 p.m.:

  • morning coffee.  (i wrote “duh.  7:20 a.m.”)
  • morning cigarette.  busted. 
  • radio 1 hr a.m. 88.1
  • facebook 5 minutes (at around 11, i lasted for a long time)-to check responses to my lent link.  NOTHIN.
  • wordpress 5min. 
  • lunch-gnocci mini meal with pesto and sausage, bread, fruit, water.  oatmeal because i was still hungry.
  • gmail 5 minutes, including lent devotion.
  • iHanna, 2 minutes, in which i read this:

  • “this is the only reality there is.  if you can get it down on paper, in words, notes, or color, so much the better.” -henry miller

  • $3.24 trial size big sexy hair hairspray
  • $2.50 trial size rusk pomade
  • (i’m getting a real hairstyle in 1.4 weeks)
  • $1.39 frosty, chocolate, small
  • 88.1 fm radio for 3 hours in the afternoon
  • facebook 2min
  • iGoogle 1min
  • 20min  and sooooo worth it.
  • researching crackers online 3 min.
  • mini bagel and cream cheese, quantity of which is undisclosed
  • facebook 2 min
  • diet coke
  • google checkin 1/2 min
  • FB 1/2 min
  • wordpress-oh…15 minutes we’ll say.

honestly, i don’t think anything is that embarrassing in and of itself.  it’s the amount of times i have to return to certain media, just in case anyone had said anything to me and i was missing it.  in my defense, not checking my gmail  until after noon did result in 9 emails, 7 of which were personal not junk and 4 of which required response.  but did i need to check in to FB for a hot minute every couple hours? 

i also noticed-i do these things when i’m bored.  i’m between tasks, or i’m waiting for photos to upload, or… they’re not needs but they’re addictions, distractions, bridgers between activity….


okay, let’s be honest.  here’s what i learned today:

Facebook is my trashy magazine in the checkout line.

what i’m giving up

25 February 09

i’ve been hemming and hawing about what to give up for lent.  lent has been, for the past few years for me, an important time to rethink what i do without thinking.  

two years ago, i gave up unnecessary spending.  it was an amazing time for me to realize just how much i was paying for Wants, and not just needs.  it became apparent to me that my spending was being done without thinking.

last year, i tried to give up sharing my opinions.  those of you who know me well will remember that… um… that’s basically impossible for me to do.  i was hard on myself for a while, but i realized that making myself conscious of what flew out of my mouth, even though it still often came out, made me rethink how i shared what i thought.  i often changed the way i shared, even when i didn’t stop my opinions from being shared.  i was rethinking what i was saying.

this year, i thought about giving up unnecessary internet use.  i was going to limit my personal use to 15 minutes a day.  over the past year i have discovered online television (on a bored sick day) and facebook.  both of them are sucking up much of my free time and even some of the time i should be using for necessary things like -ahem- cleaning the bathroom.  it was a good plan, a good idea, but a niggling thought kept coming up that it just wasn’t right.

i considered going back to giving up unnecessary spending, like two years ago.  that was a very fulfilling and yes challenging forty-seven days, and i remember being sad when it ended.  certain wants that i saw coming up during these days of lent made me think i’d feel like a failure-we are traveling to see friends that we need to spend time with this weekend, i’m traveling to rwanda and burundi in a few weeks, and i haven’t gotten my hair cut (other than by my own scissors) in over two years.  some of these things seemed unavoidable.  the hair cut?  well, i just didn’t want to give that up.  i found myself already cheating when i wrote my friend, a talented hairstylist, a check so i wouldn’t technically be spending that money during lent.  but more than these things, it just seemed like a repeat of what i needed two years ago and not quite hitting on what God has to teach me now.

i thought about giving up the snack bins at work.  i hit those a little too often, without thinking, and they really aren’t necessary.  but again, this seemed trite and not really what i was supposed to be learning during lent.


so what to do?  what am i supposed to be learning?  what does God want me to be conscious of this year, while we prepare to gain more understanding of the sacrifices that He made for our lives?  how was i going to learn more how much He loves us, loves me, values me and my life?

i realized, tonight as i became hyper aware of how very down and stressed i am these days, that i have allowed a lot of unhealthy, unconscious things to sneak into my life.  i lie around and chat on facebook when what i really need is a real in-person conversation with a friend (or my journal!).  i watch online television while countless amazing books sit on my shelf half-read.  i eat Crap, from those tempting little bins, when my body is asking for Real food to keep me going, to give me energy and satisfy my body’s needs.

and i do it all without thinking, without really being conscious of it all.


this year, for lent, i am giving up unconscious consumption.

i want to be conscious of all the things, tangible and spiritual, that i consume throughout my day.  how do i eat up my time?  what kind of media and how much media do i consume?  how am i spending my money?  what am i putting into my body?  what ideas and concepts am i taking in without considering them?

i don’t want to just unconsciously take all of this in.  i want to keep record of, take note on, and consciously make decisions about my consumption.  i want to consider whether these things are wants or needs.  i want to consciously determine whether it’s healthy, whether it’s worth it, how much i want it and how it will affect me.

i’ve read about conscious consumerism, i’ve followed blogs of others who have done something such as this.  i was most intrigued by this very concept in the “bridget jones” books and movie:  bridget kept a record of what she consumed every day.  this keeping record helped her keep herself conscious of what she was taking in.

i don’t want to make this my bridget lent year, but i do want to be conscious again.  i want to make choices, eyes wide open, about what i let in and what i use up.  i have a feeling this will have a profound effect on both my understanding of myself as i am now, as well as a lasting result in what comes Out in days to come.

stay tuned.  i’ll try to give you snippets and thoughts along the way.  



it’s time to rethink what i consume without thinking.

a record of consumption years ago in spain.  (i've been thinking about this for a while, haven't i?)

a record of consumption years ago in spain. (i've been thinking about this for a while, haven't i?)

it’s almost ready

31 January 09


this weekend, massi had to go out of town for work.  i think this was a God thing, a heavenly kick in the pants to get me to focus solely on my book and nothing, i mean nothing, else. it has been a very productive weekend so far and tomorrow should get it completely done.  that is, if i can find the right presentation stuff-papers, binding, you know.  that stuff.  is there anywhere better than kinkos for this kind of thing?  i kind of find their binding and paper options deplorable.  so, before i bore you further with bookmaking details, here’s the stats:

proposal is done, other than a couple technical questions.

sample pages are done, other than one or two pages needing a tiny bit of tweaking.

presentation questions still need to be answered:

how many sample pages does one put in a proposal when it’s not full typed pages?  do you bind the book, or leave it loose?  what kind of paper should i use that will showcase the visual without being plain ol white paper?  can i also share it electronically, and if so how do i maintain the visual integrity?


so many questions, it looks like, i know.  but really, honestly, i’m soooooo close.

take the zarzuela

20 January 09

zarzuela is a traditional catalan dish, and “take the zarzuela” is a possible title for my book.

to celebrate my upcoming completion of my book proposal, i wanted to make it at home.  looking for a recipe online, i came upon this:

“Zarzuela is a Catalan fish dish which can be delicious or a disaster depending on where you eat it or who cooks it. ” 

which, given the reason i want to name my book thus, is too perfect.  “Take the Zarzuela” comes from one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books that I read while living in Catalan.  From James Michener, in Iberia:

snapshot-2009-01-20-18-10-03i must have shown my apprehension, because the waiter said an extraordinary thing:

my friend, if you trust in the goodness of God, take the zarzuela.

such advice i could not ignore, so i nodded, fearing the worst…

….and i had to agree with the waiter that

sometimes the goodness of God must be trusted.


you see, i often don’t know whether or not to trust God in something unknown.  like a zarzuela.  it could turn out really really bad and you just don’t know until you try.  but sometimes, when you try, when you take that chance and choose to trust, something amazingly beautiful can happen.  something that reminds you that despite all the crap, there are the most beautiful things here in this world for us to enjoy.  sometimes the goodness of God must be trusted.

facing the monster

19 January 09


there is a big self-aggrandizing monster staring at me right now. i’ve been letting him win, letting him tell me i can’t finish this damn thing, can’t get to the end, can’t make it work.

and so far, he’s been winning. this book proposal i’m trying to attack has got to be the worst writing i’ve done in my entire life. it’s really, really, horribly awful. right now.

the monster keeps telling me this is just how it is, that it will never get better. keeps telling me that this book i’m trying to get ready to share with the world isn’t worth the paper i want it printed on.


he’s got a lot of balls, this monster.
but i’m sitting here, at the sparrows a.k.a. stray dog, refusing to listen to his nonsense.
the Book Proposal Monster will not beat me.

best garlic in all of spain

best garlic in all of spain

a big pile of books.

11 January 09

when i was a child, my mother had a wise rule for me when we went to the library: i could only check out as many books as i could carry all by myself on the four block walk home. i worked out the best possible way to carry as many books as possible: arms stretched down low, chin jutted out to hold the pile in place. i would waddle home, my arms-length and then some selection of books in front of me, without complaining. if i complained, i couldn’t get as many books next time.

well, i think my husband is starting to heed my mothers’ wisdom. today was a very fruitful day at the library, and i came home with eight books and four cd’s. he made me carry only half, being the gentleman that he is. (note to self: bring a sturdy bag with you next time!)


i know you’re curious, so i’ve finally given in and done the “currently reading” bar along the side of my blog.  we’ll see how well i do at keeping that updated…. if anyone knows how to add an easy widget to the side of a wordpress blog to show you pictures of the books i’m reading, please edumacate me.  in the meantime, here’s a good ol’-fashioned list (in no order whatsoever other than the way they’re sitting on my table):

the revolution will not be microwaved-katz

harvest for hope, a guide to mindful eating-jane goodall

orbiting the giant hairball-mackenzie

grub, ideas for an urban organic kitchen-lappe/terry

everything i want to do is illegal, war stories from the local food front-salatin

encyclopedia of an ordinary life-rosenthal

the circle of simplicity-andrews



and music to go along with it:

felice brothers


songcatcher soundtrack

the secret museum of mankind:  music of north africa 1925-48

oh and!  in case you’re curious, these books were already in stacks around my house and being read as the mood fit:

six thinking hats-de bono

deep economy-mckibben

more-with-less cookbook

creating a life worth living-lloyd

living out loud-smith

the creative license-gregory

and to find out more about what interests me (for those tireless souls who got this far and still want MORE), check out my “book wish list” in the blogroll on the left.  as always, amazon is handy but i highly recommend utilizing your local non-chain bookstore and your library!

i’ll let you know what i think of them!  no guarantees yet, these are the ones that just caught my interest and made their way into my home.  what better way to spend a snowy, cabin-fever kind of winter, right?

oh how i love the barter system

11 January 09


i’m a bit impatient this weekend, because my own personal version of these superfabulous house slippers by jennifer at all the pretty flowers might be in their final stages at some point in the weekend.  and i’m bartering for them!  jenn was kind enough to try my kombucha, which she’s been curious about, and i have a backup trade if the ‘bucha isn’t to her family’s liking.  

um, in case you’re curious, mine are a nice dark grey wool (with possibly a circle and a button but definitely no Hearts thankyouverymuch).

why i can still eat local in the winter

10 January 09

the west michigan co-op.

look up there: ‘bucha!

2 January 09

well a while ago, i started a kombucha page, to let you know what i have available for barter.  it mysteriously disappeared and i’m trying again.  take a look up at the top of the page for ‘bucha link.

i will try to keep the page updated with what i have available, as well as what i have come up with for appealing barter ideas.  this, of course, does Not mean you can’t think of something else you’d like to trade… goods and services, not money kids.

right now i have four flavors available:  two red kombuchas (ruby slipper and pomegranate) and two regulars (pear and jasmine) and have just harvested three gallons so there’s plenty to go around!

and a happy new year

1 January 09

this past year has been full. lots of amazing things happening, lots of things in general, lots of stress. i won’t bore you by renaming them here, but i just wanted to wish you all a full year in 2009-and may yours be less stressful than my 2008 was.

we are full of hope and joy looking at 2009: two more folks have joined the Franklin Farm and our community is shaping up beautifully. it feels like it is finally becoming a true community instead of a few folks renting in the ‘hood. we have big dreams and honest expectations and i just couldn’t be more thankful if i tried.

beat down tired

15 December 08

i don’t know if it’s the cold dark weather, or the various stressful (vast and various would be more honest of a description) happenings in our lives of late, or the way christmas can just feel overhwelming to get ready for instead of exciting…

but i am so very tired.

so tired, in fact, that i haven’t been writing.  or journaling.  truth be told, i’m too tired to plug in our christmas lights.  not to mention needing to take some pictures of said lights, which in a couple spurts of energy i put up and are now decorating our home in every room in the house except bedrooms!  good grief.

so tired, in fact, that i am ordering pizza for dinner tonight.  and if you know me, you know this is Not Normal.  convenience food?  takeout food?  who is this woman i have become?   i have been feeling this tired for, oh, two weeks now.  but i feel too guilty to just rest.  i keep trying to go go go.  which just brings me back to beat down tired.

i go to websites like ali and hanna, who would normally inspire me and send me on a creative spree, and i just get overwhelmed.  oh how i love going to their websites, and getting re-inspired.  ali is doing this amazing daily journal during december and i had wanted to do it along with her.  it’s so beautiful!   and i can’t, i just can’t fathom it.  normally i’d be up for such a challenge and it would be so good for me.  but like i said, beat down tired.  Not Normal.

tonight our friend heather told me it’s okay to be tired.  i’m sure she knew that i didn’t believe her.  

the hardest part, i think about being this tired, is feeling so guilty about it.  i mean, honestly, who feels guilty about being tired?


so, all that nonsensical rambling to say…i’m sorry i haven’t been here lately.  i’m sorry you won’t be getting elaborate handmade gifts this year.  and massi, i’m sorry the kitchen’s still dirty and i’m ordering pizza for dinner.

ain’t that the truth

11 December 08

you know those cheesy forwards that people send you, telling you if you’re a true christian you’ll pass this on to everyone in your contact list?  the ones that tell you all sorts of craziness in the name of christianity?

well i got one of those today, but in the middle of all the nonsense, i found some Truth:


“Remember…..Just going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. “


11 November 08

the contractor’s men are next door right now, finishing the tear-out of everything that had water damage.  our insurance is covering everything except our deductible, of course.

we are blessed.

we are covered.

we are well taken care of.

busy life

7 November 08

i found this blog online and hanna’s got a lot going on.  i was enjoying so much of her and then i read that she does some creative project every day.

every day!

i’m going to be honest here, my thought was “oh please tell me WHO has time to be creative every day.  maybe every week…”

and that’s when i knew.  i knew that i have lost my way, that i have strayed from the person i was created to be, that i -an artist and writer- have somehow created a life that does not have space for being an artist and writer.  

what happened?

it also showed me just how much this recent funk has gotten into my thought patterns.  i’ve gotten bogged down with the negative political words all around these past days (can that be over now please?), a random weird flooding incident that we’ll find out tomorrow if our insurance will cover the repairs, along with my common them of the frustrations and letdowns of organized religion.  oh, and i work in an office and sometimes that seems a bit  odd, being an artist and writer as i may have mentioned.

but then i realized that, yes indeed, i do something creative every day.  maybe it’s not making a piece of art.  maybe i don’t get paint under my nails much any more.

but yesterday i made grape juice.  i mean, like, from scratch.  35 half-gallon jars worth (that are in tiny little ziplocs as concentrate at the moment, no i didn’t fill 35 half-gallon jars).  the day before that i got to work on stories of community development at work, and arrange those words and pictures into appealing formats.  the day before that i learned how to make a french stew, and…

and on it goes.  life is creative, whether we realize it or not.  perhaps some of my drudgery is an inability to see the forest for the trees, so to speak.  to not take notice.  to not relish in my creative moments.  to not even realize them for what they are in the moment.

and, yes, perhaps i should take out those paints more often.

this i believe

29 October 08

i believe there is beauty everywhere. 

i believe that beauty has bee covered up, layered over with the human logic of greed and judgement.  i believe that i am here on this earth to recognize beauty, reclaim the value of that which has been devalued, create beauty with wild abandon, a song of praise to the God who loves beauty in all its diversity.  i believe that recognizing, restoring, and creating beauty is the best way to fight all that is ugly in the world.


12 October 08


i’ve been away for a while.

it’s the wall’s fault.

our days in new york city

1 October 08
new york city sept 08

i thought you’d like to see a few photos.
i’m still too tired to do anything more than link you the picasa album.

it was supposed to be partly cloudy and 70’s

25 September 08

and now, now i just checked the Times weather report to discover high winds, lots of rain expected for my central park day.

erm.  not going as planned.

however, we did fly in tuesday Night to a gorgeous view of the skyline, and we did get to walk around times square last night in all its garish glory, and we will be meeting with Radical Living Community tonight.  so it’s not all bad, not even close, in fact it’s all good i just wish there wasn’t a big storm blowing in.

right when i’m about to be tourist in a town where you walk everywhere.  i’ll post pics soon.  (just keep in mind that “soon” can mean different things to different people.)

what it’s about.

18 September 08

"making beauty,and making it well, is a way to FIGHT against all the pain
evil in the world.
it's tipping the scales as much as you possibly can, 
because we know the crap will always be there 
but perhaps we can edge it out if we fill up the place with beauty." 
(from journal 38)

this is why i make these crazy little books that fill up with my life and teach me lessons.  
to make beauty and to sort out my crazy little head, spill it open and sort it out.
i'm getting ready to let some of them out into the world, 
and boy is that an overwhelming chest-tightening feeling at times.


8 September 08


i went on a walk on saturday with two very dear friends of mine and our three cameras.  we discovered all sorts of beautiful things as we slowed down enough to See for a full two hours.


you can see more of my photos at picasa from this restoring walk.

a little dirt ain’t gonna hurt ya.

28 August 08

a few months ago when i was really struggling with some …well let’s just call them “nine to five environments” that my personality isn’t used to and can’t seem to Get used to, a friend of mine gave me the best advice.  she said i needed to find the angle that made a situation look so Ridiculous that it was no longer frustrating, it was Funny.

today, it took me a few minutes but i put her advice to good use at Meijer, when encountered with one of many employees in that grocery store that just completely don’t Get that i don’t need paper or plastic, thank you, and i definitely don’t need 25 of them for three items, thank you even more.  so here it is, episode number 25 with reasons number 26 and 32, for why Checkout Manager Man at Meijer feels personally afronted with my desire to reuse a bag:



the checkout guy at the grocery store across the street Always, every time i am in his lane, has a reason why reusable bags (or just not getting a bag for one thing) are frustrating.

for example today:  i have my reusable bags.  the one i pull out has a tiny bit of dirt, and it’s clearly dirt, left from getting my veggies from my csa yesterday. 
he asks if they can be cleaned.
after trying to figure out why he’s asking, i explain oh it’s only a little dirt.
from an organic farm.
“a little dirt never hurt anyone ha ha ha”
he goes on to tell me this story about how his wife had a kidney transplant and he came home with some virus from a reusable bag (because, you know, he Saw that virus on that bag and Knew that’s where it came from instead of the bazillion other things he touched in the course of his day) and his wife was in the hospital for 2 weeks.
now, i am sorry for his wife who had to be on dialysis for 8 years three times a week, that honestly is horrid, and i’m sorry that when she finally got a transplant she then had a long hospital stay because of a virus her husband brought home.  but i have to be honest:  i felt like telling him “if your wife has just had a kidney transplant, maybe you should be more careful about Washing Your Hands before coming into contact with her or her home, rather than expecting the rest of the world to be sanitized for you.”  but i just let him ramble and said oh and hunh a lot.
i walked out steaming, not because of this one thing but because he always has something, and they seem to get more ridiculous and less founded on reality every time.
while we are having this conversation, and he is begrudgingly putting the items in my dirty, dirty, nasty bag with 1/8 t of dirt at bottom, and i’ve got all my reusable bags right in front of him  HE PUTS THE MAGAZINE IN A PLASTIC BAG, and then into my reusable bag.
and then AND THEN looks annoyed when i say i don’t need a plastic bag for my magazine next to my box of crackers, thanks though.
i know what i should do is educate him, love him, help him see the light on why we should care a bit more about our overuse of plastics.
so next time…i think i just won’t choose his lane.

omnivore’s hundred, just for fun

27 August 08

a little exercise in meat eating, via very good taste.

i’ve highlighted in red those which i’ve tried, crossed off those i have no desire to, and put in bold those i’d like to.  umm…if nothing has been done to it i really don’t know what it is and don’t have the time really to look it all up right now.

but i thought it fitting as we just had good conversations about meat, and the decisions to eat it and if so how, with friends this weekend.  we’ve opted for the no-cafo rule and the local organic preference, ourselves.  because really, i cannot live without bacon.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
Foie gras
Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder
in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin

51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
57. Dirty gin 
58. Beer above 8% ABV

59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-
Michelin-star restaurant.
Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
Soft shell crab
93. Rose 
94. Catfish
Mole poblano
96. Bagel and 
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake


pretty adventurous eater, i suppose.  there are other things i’d add to the list that everyone should try once, of course, and probably someday on a sick day i’ll get around to lying about thinking and making my own list….

um….the roadkill i can explain….though i don’t think the explanation would help you feel any better about it….