Sunday, November 29, 2009

Samuel 9 1/2

zen-y pigs

Albert and Terrence munching on a purple carrot.

outside gorgeousness

We have had the most gorgeous weekend and I am happy to have spent at least some of it outside and a lot of it simply appreciating the gorgeousness of it all. Yesterday the kids and I went to the farmers market for the first time in a long while. It had cleared out quite a bit and wasn't as crowded as it had been. I had gotten a little burned out over the summer and part of the early fall because I had to pick up my second CSA basket from the market every Saturday and when that ended in October I went a little in the other direction and simply didn't go to the market for a few weeks. I love my CSA that is delivered and I think I will probably just stick with that one in the future. It's easy to not go to the market on the weeks when it is rainy and I know the kids aren't up for trudging through the wind and rain for extra greens, even if they are for guinea pigs. This Saturday, however, was warmish and sunny-ish and I had a wreath on my mind. We ended up with a wreath (ironically- if you believe in irony- it was from the same farm that my CSA was from) for us, some carrots for Albert and Terrence, and some kale to split between the piggies and me.

Today I spent some time out in the yard raking up some leaves.

There is nothing quite like finding a treasure trove of mushrooms underneath all those leaves. If I rake very very gently, they can stay until they are ready to leave.

Some of the mushrooms we uncovered today. And these were from a couple of weeks ago!

Eva took this one and the one of the white mushrooms above. Up and Down.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

seize the day

Albert capitalizing on his situation. No nutella but he got quite a few crackers. (And yes, that's a cat's tail in the background.)
Here's the feast picture I promised from Thanksgiving-

The main table...You can see Gilbert has his own blue table to the left. The food was not yet served in this picture.

A close up of some of the players and entertainers.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I have this awesome picture to post from yesterday. Eva and Samuel set up a Thanksgiving feast for the Lego guys and the Little guys. There was a table made from the wooden blocks with smaller wooden blocks pulled up for chairs. The Lego guys sat on the blocks. Several of the more important Little guys sat there as well. The Beauties (as in Beauty of the Wonders and Family) sat nearby at their own table. Some of the other Little guys did some entertaining. Samuel said there was food and wine of course and that their feast lasted much longer than ours did. They sat feasting and celebrating long after we had said goodnight and gone to sleep. In fact, they are still there now, recuperating, no doubt, readying for the next celebration to grace them.

And where was this magnificent feast? Under the table, of course. Yep. All the way through Thanksgiving dinner, their merriment floated up from under the table and out from beneath the table cloth. If I hadn't known it was there, I would have mistaken it for spider songs and whispers.

But my camera batteries were co opted for the wii remote and I am waiting for another pair to be charged. Until tomorrow for the photos.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This year's stuffing-
sprouted grain bread
apples (Oregon)
shallots (CSA)
garlic (my garden)
celery (CSA)
thyme (my garden)
giblet broth

Also this year I am making pomegranate sorbet which is based on the pomegranate granita recipe from Chez Panisse Fruit. We love it! I am making extra because it is gone before I know it every time!

Juice of one pomegranate
1/4 cup sugar with 1/2 cup water, simmered until dissolved. Mix. Put in ice cream maker until done. You can make it into a granita by putting it into a bowl and putting it in the freezer and taking it out to break up the pieces every once in a while. Either way it is delish!

And the thankfuls? Last night I asked the kids to think of something they were thankful for. Samuel said, "I'm thankful for you guys. For making this such a great life." That about sums it up I thought.

And off the top of my head, here's what I am thankful for today- yarn and eva singing and guinea pigs, good food, plenty, now, love, friends, trees, rain, heat, pomegranates, satsumas, love, walks in the woods, upicking, berries, pie, chocolate, friends, love, joy, meditating, writing, feeling, being, alive, dreams, kale, pea shoots, reaching, growing...there's always more. The more I find to appreciate, the more there is. Cliche as it sounds these days, it is indeed true. Love and there is love. Trust and there is trust. Appreciate and there will be something to appreciate. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

dog thoughts

I was watching my dog sitting outside on the steps this morning. I love how he goes outside and sits on the steps in the morning and just watches life around him for a while. He watches the yard and looks around at the birds. Listens when he hears another dog bark. Relaxes again. I sometimes get the feeling he is taking a deep breath, looking around him and thinking, "This is good. This is just as it should be." Then he takes another deep breath and spends some more time just enjoying life, being in his space, basking in it. When he is done, he comes inside and is just as happy to see me as he was a half hour ago when we both first woke up. There's none of this "Hurry up and let me in I have stuff to do" with him whisking past me to get down to chewing his bone more quickly so that- what? So that he can get the bone chewed and be done with it, onto another bone? He is so much about the flow and process of the moment. Even when he is thinking ahead, it usually has to do with enjoying the moment again, anticipating something wonderful about to happen, like me taking the turkey out of the oven.

What I don't imagine him doing when he goes outside each morning is going out, taking a look around, acknowledging the beauty for a second and then moving onto thoughts like this, "I really need to get out here and rake those leaves. I really need to go check on the garden and see if the cats have got in there again. I really need to stop sitting around enjoying myself like this and go inside and start doing something..." But really, it's not the thoughts, it's the thinking we have to act on the thoughts- and now.

Fall really gets me thinking about the things that we busy ourselves with. It's the leaves, I think, that do it for me. All of that moving about of the leaves that goes on. My neighbor can be so vigilant about the leaves that at any given moment I can look at her yard and not see a single- not a single!- leaf out there. Then one will fall. Then another. Then she is out there in the rain with her raincoat on, raking up the leaves. Last year she came into our yard in the rain to rake up some of our leaves. She reminds me each time she sees me of the leaf pickup that happens every other week here in the fall. I know I would be frustrated with me if I were my neighbor. I am not what you would call vigilant about the leaves.

I don't mind doing some leaf raking. I enjoy the exercise and I like to get outside. It is the attention to minutiae leaf raking that gets to me, the toothbrush cleaning under the sink kind of cleaning, that we have all somehow signed this social contract that says, "And each leaf that falls from a tree limb shall be whisked away most immediately and permanently and forever shall the grass remain leaf-free. And we shall scorn you and blow leaves back onto thine own yard if thou doest not rake thine own leaves properly and respectfully."

I felt happy for my neighbor when I saw she had finally gotten herself a leaf blower this year. It seemed like just the thing for her and I could see her shy smile, her gentle pleasure at having this bit of glory strapped to her back. At last! And then I saw her blow the leaves from her yard over onto mine where they so clearly belong. Yep. That's what I thought too. And then I had to chuckle as the wind started blowing some of those same leaves back over onto her yard again. I was spellbound. Would she blow them back over again? Would that keep her busy for the next couple of weeks until the last remnants of leaves were finally banished from our vision until next spring when we will all rejoice at seeing the light green buds appear, happy to have our trees covered in leaves again. We will allow ourselves for just that moment to love the leaves as they are and then just like that we will remember that in the fall we are going to have to rake them all up again. And again. And again. Or not. Either way, it turns out, really is just fine. At least that is what my dog says.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

mitten stains

i thought of this really lovely story today while i was knitting mittens for eva. the mittens are white with a black snowflake on the back of each hand. i was dubious about the whiteness but she insisted. whenever she wants white things- white shirts, white dresses, white mittens, i do my best to make peace with stains, because they do happen, sometimes. stains happen and while i have a killer stain remover, i still feel dread about the stains. the forever-ness of stains. so today i was knitting the second mitten and she was walking around the kitchen eating pomegranate seeds and i was feeling protective about the white yarn and then i thought about the mittens being finished and eva eating pomegranate seeds while wearing the mittens and how the mittens would be stained pink in some places and how difficult it would be to get the pomegranate juice out and how i could think about that in terms of sadness, as in, i would be so sad because the mittens would be ruined or i could think about it in terms of happiness, as in, the stains would be a reminder of this time when she was 6 1/2, flitting around the kitchen, smiling and twirling and singing about pomegranates and this being her first pomegranate in a whole year and how happy the world can be. and i liked that story so much better than the story about the mittens being ruined and i thought about how sweet everything could be and i almost wished it would happen, that the mittens would be stained with a memory in this way, something to remind me, to let me hold onto this moment of my life, of my daughter's life, forever.


Hmmmm. Going round and round and trying to figure out how to just write about this silly little article I read yesterday about the road to a happier life. There were five main points made in the article. How about a little outline to get it all out there-

1. Gratitude. Sum it all up in one word, gratitude is all about remembering what we have. Short but oh so sweet.

2. Choosing to be satisfied. Making a decision and allowing yourself to be OK with that decision rather than choosing to second guess yourself or compare yourself to others. Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for unhappiness most of the time, that is for certain. It's about making a decision to buy a certain car, going for it, and then enjoying that car rather than looking around at "better" cars for the next ten years and wishing you had one of those. Or how about just never getting around to buying one at all because none of them will ever be good enough? The grass is always greener syndrome.

3. Savor the moment. I took this to mean, be in the moment, be present. The author meant a little of that but also meant basically take time to smell the roses. Sit back and relax and while you are at it, notice that you are relaxing, enjoy it. Don't let that chocolate bar pass you by without noticing that you are in fact eating it.

4. Spread out the joy. Easy peasy. Don't *buy* every single thing at the same time and leave nothing for a rainy day.

5. Focus on your circle. Meaning, remember to spend time with loved ones. Short but sweet. Too many people spend time chasing money and things and forget to connect with others when they can.

There were two books mentioned in the article that looked interesting. The Paradox of Choice is about having more and more choices and being less and less satisfied, which seems to be a meme I have been seeing more and more of lately. The second book of interest to me was the Progress Paradox. This one is also about how we seem to be making more and "progress" but people seem to be unhappier than ever. Not sure what I think about this. I sometimes wonder if happiness is so subjective it is impossible to gauge it in others and to write a book about the seeming lack of happiness observed in others is- well- subjective as well. Still, both look like interesting commentaries on modern life.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I just saw this and I guess I am a little slow on the uptake this month, what with my filled up hard drive issues and all. How about blogging most days from now until the end of November. I don't really think I particularly need extra inspiration to blog daily. I don't always blog daily, but I do blog fairly often enough for me to feel regular about it. Still, I liked the week-of-Albert-pictures and I like the inspiration behind NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) for sure. Incidentally, the inspiration for NaBloPoMo comes from NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, which I am also partaking in this month and which has proven to be an amazing experience so far. I don't doubt it will continue to be so.

Now, though, the sound of my children's laughter has reached that fevered peak that only night time rough housing seems to bring and they are coming to me one after the other, over and over again, with bumped heads and sore toes. It must be that time again. Time for bed.

Samuel is literally spinning around like a top tonight because at long last the game he has been waiting and waiting for, New Super Mario Bros. for the wii is coming out tomorrow. He told me this morning that I shouldn't plan on doing very much for a few days because our days from now on will be spent mostly with this game and the wii. I laughed. This is a marked difference from his requests over the past week when he woke up every morning asking me to plan something extraordinarily fun so that the days would go by as quickly as possible. Apparently we are now approaching a time when we will want the days to s-l-o-w-d-o-w-n so that we can savor them to their fullest.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I love beets. I love knitting. I love that Eva just showed me how she likes to pound her little fists into pillows when she is upset with Samuel. I love that she tells me she is upset with Samuel. I love guinea pigs. I love fall. I that I picked mesclun and a teeny bit of kale from my garden today. I love my produce basket. I love the change in vegetables from season to season. I love chocolate. I love Eva's toe puppet show. I love that we are finally getting seriously close to Samuel's New Super Mario Bros. wii game coming out on Sunday. I love writing. I love feeling. I love being. I love tea. I love my ipod. I love digital cameras. I love hats. I love my hat on my head keeping me warm right now. I love preventing migraines. I love sleep. I love dreams. I love the little pictures of ghosts and skeletons the kids made this year and hung up for Halloween. I love spiders. I love the compost pile. I love boysenberries with sugar in the middle of the winter. I love remembering that perfect upick day last summer when I stumbled upon the perfect rows of yellow raspberries with a few reds mixed in and the kids were for once content to hang out for just long enough for me to pick as much as I wanted. I love that.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Lovely little zen story. There are more here if you are interested.


Once upon a time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically.

“Maybe,” the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed.

“Maybe,” replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

“Maybe,” answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

“Maybe,” said the farmer.

I got to thinking about this particular story last night when Eva used up my shampoo in her bath. All of the shampoo. A whole bottle. Here's my version of the above story-

Eva was taking a bath. She asked me, "Momma, can I use some of that shampoo up there in my bath?" And I said yes. I left the room and came back. She said, "Momma, I love the way this shampoo feels on my legs. I used the whole bottle. Do you have anymore?"

I said, "No, there is no more shampoo. Did you really use the whole bottle?" She said yes. I thought. "Oh no! She used the whole bottle. That is horrible. That cost $10 for that bottle of shampoo. That is horrible. Now I have no more shampoo. What will I do now?"

I left the room and I thought, "Wait a second. I hated that shampoo. It made my hair feel dull and flat. This is great. All of that shampoo is gone and I didn't have to trudge through using up that whole bottle. This is great. I couldn't wait until I had finished up that bottle of shampoo. This is great!"

The next morning I got up and wanted to take a shower and wash my hair. I realized that I didn't have anymore shampoo. Eva had used up all of it in her bath. I thought to myself, "Oh no this is awful. I wanted to wash my hair and I have no shampoo. I have to make a special trip to the store to get some. This is awful. I don't feel like it. I wish she hadn't used up all of the shampoo."

And of course you know how the story goes. Once we ended up at the store to buy shampoo, the brand I had been wanting to try out last time was on sale and there was a fragrance-free variety that I hadn't seen before that turned out to be just the thing. I was so happy that Eva had used up all of the shampoo in her bath the night before...

I am really looking forward to trying out my new shampoo. I bet I am going to love it!

Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

what's dependent on what?

Stymied. Thwarted. Undone. My blogging came to a crashing halt when my hard drive filled up and I was no longer able to upload new photos and movies from my camera nor change the size of the ones I had recently uploaded. Just upload them from the camera, you say? If my tolerance for frustration were higher, I might go ahead and do that, but it isn't, so I don't.

I kept waiting for the hard drive issue to be fixed. Put the blog on hold. Everything I wanted to blog about had to do with a recent photo- the beauty of fall outside, the kids' Halloween costumes, our new guinea pig Terrence. All wonderful things to write about and I really wanted that writing to be accompanied by photos. Time on blogs waits for no one, however, and as I sit here waiting for my photos to be usable, time ticks away and now it is over a week since Halloween and two since we brought Terrence home from the humane society.

So I will start from there. We brought our new guinea pig Terrence home from the humane society hmmm a week before Halloween. He is black and orange colored, a silky guinea pig, so very very soft and much smaller than Albert. I am still wondering if he is full grown or if he is younger than the humane society thought. Albert and Terrence are doing really well together and are now sharing one cage together. We ordered a bigger, fancier cage for them which should be here next week. Dare I wish that my hard drive will have expanded by then as well so that I can include photos of their new space? I'll wish it but no breath holding. Blogging, as you can plainly see, can go on just as well with or without photos. {Mostly.}

Halloween came and went. This year Samuel was a ninja and Eva was a bunny. They were fabulous costumes, some of our best ever, and the kids had a lot of fun in them, collected a huge amount of candy, and spent the next week or so eating it up. Last night marked the end of Halloween for Samuel, at least, as he ate the last piece of candy that he liked from his bag and gave away what was left of the dregs- those last pieces that linger around but that you have no intention of eating. I have found that I actually like Almond Joy candy bars through this process. You have no idea how many Almond Joys were left over this year!

The kids have been enjoying their clay class and Eva is going to continue ice skating lessons after her current ones end in a few weeks. We went and saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was put on by the Oregon Children's Theatre and we all really enjoyed that. It was a play, not a musical, and very similar to the book. Next weekend we are going to see another telling of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this time a musical, put on by one of the local homeschool resource centers. A friend of ours is going to be an Oompa Loompa and we are very much looking forward to seeing it.

OK. Just a business as usual post but my mind feels lighter and my heart freer. I am looking forward to posting some photos of the past couple of weeks when the time is right.