Monday, July 27, 2009

heat wave

Well it certainly seems to be easier to be-with-what-is when I like-what-is. I suppose that is self-explanatory, part of either our cultural conditioning or the human condition, depending on which camp you stand in, maybe both for some? It was hot hot hot today in Portland and I found it hard to-be with that and hard to-be with it being hard. Double whammy. Around about the time it dipped to 98ish I started watering the plants and went out front and saw that the chickadees were declaring the blueberries superb. Time to pick the berries. Now? Wow, even with the sun setting it was hot- hot like stepping-into-a-hot-garage hot- but outside. My body felt hydrated and actually willing to take it on. I knew I would want the berries and if I let them slip away I would feel sad and extra-especially irritated with the heat.

So I put some ABBA on my ipod and picked five pints of blueberries. It was a lovely mindful picking session- feeling the hot air, enjoying the berries, amazing myself once again with what can happen when I become present with what-is, no matter what that may be, no matter how irritating and annoying I have declared it, no matter if it is my preference, or in this case, not. The heat suddenly just was. I was hot. Yes. But without the pushing away, it was not nearly as intolerable as it could have been.

I am glad I gave myself the time today to adjust to this heat wave, soaking in the AC, taking time out from running around. It is going to be hotter tomorrow and the next day (104 degrees? did I read that right?) and I know if I take it easy, slow things down, I can be-with-the-heat. I can even be with the heat going away once I get used to it. Remember that? It always cools off eventually.

Heart magnets.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

sand dance

Video of Eva doing her sand dance and Samuel adding silliness.

Eva with her giant sea shell lollipop from our recent trip to the coast.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


If you are feeling a lack of abundance in your life I highly suggest heading over to the u-pick and checking out the raspberries. Nature is not reserved with her wares and showers the world with whatever is on hand- raspberries, flower petals, rain drops...Today the raspberries were so abundant that when I put my hand under the leaves, the berries literally dripped off into my hands. Ten pints of lovely red raspberries lickety split, just like that.

The morning glories are blooming! Also Eva made another petal person- this one has a third eye for her intuition. She is sitting on a sock I am knitting.

We are going out of town this weekend with friends to check out a beach in southern Washington. I already have my camera packed! Thank goodness Eva reminded me!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

don't harass the newts

Eva catching crane flies. (Interested in what crane flies eat like we were? They are much like soldier flies in that most species as adults eat nothing at all!)

Those little hands also caught four salamanders at the Audubon Society today while we hiked some trails and the kids walked around in the streams. Eva got down into the mud and muck where there were so many salamanders. We didn't know what they were at first when we started seeing movement under the water- fish? frogs? salamanders!

As we were leaving we saw many more lying in the water basking in the sun. There was also a sign reminding us to stay on the trails and not "harass the newts" which Samuel found at once hilarious and disturbing. Eva contended she was not harassing the newt- she was picking them up. She is extremely gentle and conscientious with their little bodies wriggling all around. Such funny little creatures with orange bellies and smooth skin- polished, as Eva said.

After checking it out I think the "salamanders" we saw were the Oregon rough skinned newt (or orange bellied newt). I wondered why there weren't at least herons somewhere about looking for them because they were so abundant and found they do indeed have toxins on their skin. We saw raccoon tracks in the mud as well. I wish we could have seen what they were up to!

Monday, July 20, 2009

what a wonderful world

I love this photo and the story behind it which Eva pulled me aside to tell me about today.

~basically it goes something like this- there is a herd and the dominant male is the one in the middle with the red horn on his head and around him are all the females, some of whom have babies (if you look closely at these tiny metal balls that actually came with those magnets you can buy and build things with, you will see there are a few that are smaller than the others- I am not saying you can tell this from the photo, but if you were here and you sat in front of them in their formation, you would definitely be able to see the smaller ones)- anyway, those smaller ones are the babies and some of the babies are in with all the other metal balls, next to their mothers, of course. there are two other babies under the shell and their mother stands in between the shell and the herd- something about not being ready to join the herd yet and wanting to be able to protect her babies from the herd and the dominant male? and the really great thing about these creatures is that unlike us, they have three nipples and so on very rare occasions they can have three babies- she didn't, she had two- but what i love here is that for eva, breastfeeding, nursing, nourishing our babies with our bodies, is the way of life, the default, how it is and this excites me because maybe someday, someday, little girls will grow up after being breastfed themselves and will know how grand it all is and there will be enough of us around to help and support and guide and love them through the experience of nursing their own babies themselves. in the meantime, for this herd, for these babies, there are extra nipples for all!~


How about a little coconut bliss with homemade raspberry jam to jump start some creativity this afternoon. Samuel is sick today. Eva is on the mend, although still hosting a cold virus or two. There is something about a fever and cold in the middle of the summer that seems not quite fair. It is unseasonable at best- although truth be told who am I to schedule viruses. Could this mean one less cold in December perhaps? It helps, I think, that it is inordinately hot outside- summer in Oregon, the big surprise no one mentions- can be very very hot. And dry! Imagine that. Someday I would love to have rain barrels to collect rain during the winter months to use to water my garden and flowers in the summer. I know my roses would last longer if I watered them more, for instance, but I stand stubborn on watering too much, too often- and I decide what that is, each day being different than the one before. Right now there is a lot of watering going on.

My projects of late range from the mundane to the excessively spiritual, beginning with meditation first thing in the morning. I leave you to decide which is which. We thankfully have a ton of blueberries currently and I made jam yesterday as well as some yummy watermelon-blueberry juice (with beets! of course) that I am still sipping on today. I read a great quote by Mark Twain (who, oddly, I dreamed about the other night) about watermelon-"When one has tasted it {watermelon, that is}, he knows what the angels eat." Yes- I agree wholeheartedly and argued with myself just this morning about my favorite food- watermelon or apricots? We're talking local, seasonal fruit, of course. There is nothing worse (well, that is meant as an exaggeration) than out of season watermelon tempting you into thinking it will taste as good as the jewels you find at the market or u-pick in August. Or now. I bought my first watermelon of the season (I am not counting those few I bought back in May when they started showing up at New Seasons from elsewhere) at the market last week and was so excited. I confess it was not quite there. The thrill of buying it might have been better than the tasting of it later. We ate some, I cut a bunch up for the park- if we make it this week- and juiced the rest with some blueberries and beets. The possibilities of the watermelons to come, though, were definitely present in the flavor!

More blueberry love-

Morning Blueberry Smoothie
blueberries (a pint-ish)
frozen raspberries (or any frozen-ness, to taste)
rice protein
maca powder
almond milk
agave syrup (just a touch, to taste)
Blend it up!

Blueberries from the front yard...

Albert feeling the love.

Living this life- it is a leap of faith, a jump-off-the-cliff, a walk through fire...knowing this goodness and living it. Albert knows it. The blueberries too. Dr. Seuss might say How about you?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

what's going on

Filling up with jam...

Samuel has been building his Mars Mission Lego sets again- having fun digging those out and setting them up.

Eva is making LOTS of flower people.


My friend Lisa took some great pictures of the kids the last few times we have seen her.

Samuel with her daughter Akasha (I think I took the last one and she took the first two).

Eva holding while Orion feeds Albert a celery gift- he loved it! Albert with his purple carrot.

A love this photo as a slice of life- check out the holes in the knees, nail polish (pink and blue!), happy guinea pig. A pretty good day all around for everyone- full of life and love!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

sign of the times

picking and choosing

My favorite part about the u-pick? It can feel so peaceful there- out in the country with all of those plants, listening to the birds. The last couple of times we were out at one of my favorite u-picks I was blessed to hear Cedar Waxwings and baby hawks (Sharp Shinned?). White Crowned Sparrows guarding nests- always always ever present in the berry patch. Looking around, smelling the air. Remembering the season, marveling at the rain or sun or wind or view. Satisfying some not-so-latent human expectation to gather food- not grow food- gather food. Gather berries! Gather cherries! Gather apples! Bring them home. Live on them. Fruity goodness.

The abundance. There is always- albeit always!- enough for everyone even when there doesn't seem to be enough. Even when it is picked over, picked out, crowded, loud, always enough for all. An inspiration- really- for abundance, the Earth displaying her wares. Where did that scarcity go?

I love the surrender of the u-pick- imagining the berries, what I want to pick, arriving only to find there are none of those (or there is plenty!) but there is something else. A surprise. A new twist. Something I forgot? Wow! These are Amazing! A new favorite. So glad I picked where the abundance grew. A lovely metaphor for life, surely that is my favorite part of the u-pick.

Not all u-picks are the same; not all u-pick days are what you would think. Today I brought too many expectations, unhappy children, not enough seats, too few snacks, grumpy moods, wet plants, cold feet (you see where I am going with this?). And that was OK too. Eventually. At least. Because here I sit afterward with photos, berries, gladness we went, gladness we are here, happy to connect, ready for the next time, done with the worry, the fear, the anxiety that it is all too much, too boring, too challenging, letting all that go, surrendering to the yummy goodness of the u-pick and the next time.

Starting out- ready for berries!- row after row of berries!

Marionberries; Samuel roughing it after the push-ups were gone; Eva checking out sparkles on the grass.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

slice of life

Cats, roses, berries, robots...

More to do with berries...

I made these lovely chocolate covered raspberries for friends visiting from out of town.

Eva with another batch today. Check out the berry flats next to her!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's that time of year again. Time to pick boysenberries-

I made jam tonight and froze the rest- hoping to go back Saturday morning for more! And hopefully some black caps too!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The kids were given a play tent a couple of years ago for Christmas. It has a large nylon exterior that is in the shape of a house. The frame is made of several plastic tubes that you fit together for the bottom, sides and roof. There is elastic inside each tube for easy folding and unfolding for storage- which is where the tent usually is- unless it's in the living room. Eva and I set up the tent in the living room either on the 4th of July or the next day- I think I remember saying I didn't want it to stay up for a long time- what exactly I meant by that at the time I don't know. I do know the tent is still up.

Yesterday the kids turned the tent on its side so that the roof of the tent is on the floor and the door is on the ceiling. I didn't think anything about it at the time, not really. Maybe something like, Oh they turned the tent upside down, curious. And off I went. The tent was sort of forgotten until the evening when they started arguing about it again (actually they maybe picked up the same argument they were having earlier in the day, the one about who gets to be in the tent). On the package of the tent there were several children smiling, all sitting together in blissful togetherness...When it was finally her turn to have the tent yesterday, Eva tacked a "do not disturb" and "please knock" sign up on the door and barricaded it shut.

This morning I was cleaning up the dishes and checking emails and planning to pay the bills when I hear a ruckus and they were both yelling at each other, something about some of the tubes being bent, one being broken, Eva not being able to get in the tent, the tent being for DS play only, that sort of thing. I went out into the other room and started to really pay attention to what was going on with the tent. I started remembering that all of the pillows had gone missing and saw that they were inside the tent. The tent was still on its side. Now Eva was upset because she thought Samuel was having a robot club and not inviting her robot. He was sad. She was sad. I helped Samuel drag the big chair over to the side of the tent without really asking why and I went back into the kitchen.

More yelling. More complaining. Back to the living room. I can hardly write it, the whole thing is so humorous to me. Samuel had set up the chair and put lots of pillows on the bottom of the tent and was bouncing himself up and propelling himself over the side of the tent to go in through the door in the top- or even just climbing over and landing on the giant cushion below. Eva couldn't manage it. The whole set up was too high and she couldn't get into the tent. They eventually settled on a hidden tunnel that Eva could use in lieu of the vaulting set-up but Eva was warned, once again, that the tent was set up in this way for DS play only. The last I checked, they were both sitting quietly in the tent together, one playing DS, the other one watching. And now I look around and there they both are- outside of the tent.

I asked Samuel- Why did you turn the tent on its side in the first place? It seemed like such a lot to go through when it was set up pretty well for DS play in its original form? His answer? "It's more interesting." Yes. I can definitely see that!

The tent on its side- you can see the door opening on top; Samuel fixing the side after the tube repairs- you can see where they were vaulting over the area near his head. The chair is out of the picture but would be moved in later.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Do guinea pigs ever tire of carrots?

Gratitude totally works. Picture me galumphing around (we are reading Through the Looking Glass, after all) or even shlumping, feeling tired and down. Downer. More down. What to do? It's like a commercial- Just a little gratitude to turn things around! I started with whatever came to mind- raspberries, I got to upick today, the breeze outside, it is cooling off, the 4th went well- you get the idea. A little while later I notice I am definitely feeling better- still tired- but tired is fine. Smiling and tired are just fine. Totally free!

What I have learned from this exercise is not to censure myself. Be grateful for whatever comes to mind, whatever feels good. New pants? Great! Guinea pigs? Nail polish? Trees? Water? Camera? Knitting? Whatever. I mean whatever feels good. None of this- oh that's not big enough to feel grateful for or that's silly or who cares about that? If it comes to mind and you love it and are grateful for it, go for it. Keep 'em coming. It's fun. Once you get started you will notice more and more in your life that you feel grateful for. Gratitude is like that- it keeps going and going and going...

But like anything else, don't force it. Let it flow. Let the gratitude flow.

Eva and Albert in the back munching grass and plantains and dandelions (I guess that's just Albert munching).

Saturday, July 4, 2009

a perfect fit!

She loves it! She took it off finally because it is over 90 outside, but I see she has incorporated it into her game with the tiger and bunnies! It is definitely a hit!

c'est finis

Eva's finished sweater! Hooray! It is actually more purple than blue and there is more of a yellow/ bright greenish hue to the green. It is incredibly garish and cute! Check out the gold heart and star buttons she picked out! I am thinking of some matching leg warmers for the fall- in the green of course!


...a good tale about what- about the neighborhood Fourth of July parade that has once again come and gone. About the handfuls of candy, the dog biscuit, the invitation to story time, to preschool, the undercover policeman who corrected Samuel on his waving? really?, the two fire and rescue badges, friendly faces, little girls dressed up as firecrackers giving out handmade cards! I love that. And now- arguing over candy, dividing it up, trading. Not as much candy as Samuel would like but more than he had before the parade to be sure. Rounds of Happy Fourth of July's, Happy 4th!, smiling faces, tired walkers, circling bike riders, red faces pulling wagons, red, white and blue- glitter, streamers, balloons, flap-flap-flap on bicycle tires, dragon dogs, glittered dogs, happy dogs out for a stroll... one child spraying everyone with water from a squirt gun, squeals, laughter. You can't beat it for passing directly in front of our house at 10:00 a.m. each year on the Fourth of July.

We are going to the farmers market this morning as well to pick up our CSA basket and then to buy fireworks for tonight. I had thought about the upick- I think about it every year on the 4th, all the berries getting started, a great day to pick. Words like Tayberries! Black caps! Blackberries! pop into my mind. Still, it is another hot day and we will wait until tomorrow and the next day and the next. Focus on something other than berries? I will surely try.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

some like it hot

Hot hot hot- it gets hot and dry here in the summer and while some people really love this kind of weather, it is definitely not my favorite. I have to say, though, that after living in Portland for the last six years I can at least appreciate it- more than I could have before- and that is saying a lot! This has been the first summer that I did not start off the summer dreading the hottest of the hot weather in a very long time. This is not to say that I am not already thinking of a little rain, mind you. I would never go that far. A thunderstorm perhaps? Thunderstorms are one thing that the Pacific Northwest could learn a little about from the Midwest. I will be crossing my fingers and thinking of a good thunderstorm to shake things up and cool things off- when everyone is ready, of course, which around here should be in a day or two. Another nice thing about the Pacific Northwest is that I am not the only one wishing for cooler weather, particularly not after a couple of days in the nineties.

Eva has been making a lot of little guys out of flower petals-

Flower petal gathering- the center photo is of the king and queen.

OK and check it out- the petals dried and the eyes stayed on. You can see the king still wearing his crown. I love how the eyes look on the dried petals. Now how am I going to save these for the next 30 years?

Surprise cherry picking today when we went to a farm to check out the animals. The berries were not quite ready but there were cherries! We picked over nine pounds- plenty!