"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Terri Jean in Collage

My Aunt is in a coma.

She is improving and I hear that she is slowly, slowly coming around. Making hopeful little steps towards waking. I am thinking about her, sending her a lot of love and long-distance encouragement and connectivity and feeling nostalgic. I made this collage about her five years ago, during a random online obsession with collaging those who have been influential in my life. She was a wonderful aunt to a little girl with wide eyes. She fed me amazing, exciting things, lived the vibrant expression of an artist in front of me and was the carefree, silly kind of warmth that I still copy in crowded rooms.

Aunt Terri Jean

Tonight I am thinking of her and rooting for her and telling the world how much she means to me! Come on out, Aunt Terri! We love you so!
Your loving niece,

Simple Wish

Just a few cookies. That's all I asked out of today.

Simple wishes can be the most likely to come true.

Sending you peace friends and silent moments if not nights. May you have a simple wish come true in your house.

Still hanging on....

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Survival

It's the craziest time of the year again! The boys and I are wrapping presents together and heaping them up together in big piles by family so that we don't accidentally give the wrong thing to the wrong grandpa or grandma.

I have disappeared on my friends. I keep canceling more and more things and not calling and not emailing because Christmas makes me feel likeI am underwater. I have been strategizing about that though, less insanity and more festive peace is goal one. I have lots of good ideas. More on that tomorrow.

Today we got a replacement for our suddenly flat tire instead of visiting friends, did a lot of laundry, snuggled with the very-clingy-at-the-moment baby and swept up a great many pine needles.

Tomorrow we hope to bake cookies. A very sane and limited number and variety of cookies. My goal is one tin full and a bunch of happily messy little boys. I think we can do it! Rah! Rah!

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Change In The Wind

I just had a strawberry, coconut smoothie for dinner tonight. I was out trying out a new yoga studio since my old class time doesn't work for me anymore.

I am in a flex zone in my life. Came home from California and suddenly I feel like I moved! Change is in the wind.

Friends are drifting in and out of my life, I am switching yoga studios, Ru is switching karate teachers, there's an exciting new job for A, we are trying out participating with an additional homeschool group and even trying out a new branch of our library. Handily, I am not freaking out. I feel good. Change has a way of being a tidal wave sometimes so some tumult could come before all the cards are done flipping. Trying to cultivate an attitude of accepting peace. The only thing to do is rest faithfully in the changes and watch the kaleidoscope spin.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Secret Jet Lag Survival Tips

Spent the day researching jet lag survival for our impending return to the other coast this weekend. Four kids and a busy schedule? This mama does not fool around. Pulling out the stops on kicking jet lag's butt. All the stops.

Must. Stay. Awake.

Here's what I've got:

1. Light Therapy. Dose yourself with blazing sunlight in your new time zone when you should be awake, the brighter the better. Give yourself darkness at sleeping times...pull the drapes and the blinds, turn off electronics etc. The perfect excuse for a candlelight dinner?

2. Melatonin Foods. Eat raspberries, cherries, almonds or goji nuts an hour before bedtime in your new zone because they contain melatonin. Thought this video on the topic was super interesting.

3. Caffeine Fasting. Cut out the caffeine and drink water. (eek!) I know how tempting it to jack yourself on coffee to get through but it just screws with your body rhythms more (plus caffeine dehydrates).

4. Mealtime Adjustment. Eat in your target zone's schedule. Have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the times you will in your destination, starting the new schedule a few days in advance is key. Tomorrow, breakfast will be bright and early at our house! (Wish I had started today....but hey!)

5. Body Temperature. Adjust your temperature. Not only light but also temperature cues our body to sleep and wake. We have a cultural imagining that we "cozy down" to sleep at night and get all warm but in truth body temperature cools at night and warms during the day. Strip off layers and take warm or cool showers to cue yourself to be awake or to doze. Maybe a glass of lavender ice water before bed and then a big warm mug of mint tea before breakfast?

Bam. I'm off. Stay well, Friends. One more day and then we're airborne.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

He Had A Great Smile

I met a tortoise today. His name is Edward.

He adores chard and kale, has the most beautiful skin (never knew tortoise skin was so beautiful), expands his shell from the dark seam lines, likes sunbathing, has a great smile and twinkly black eyes, doesn't worry about getting food on his face when he is eating a fantastic meal and loves a good ball game. What a guy! It was amazing taking a stroll with him and his keeper, I kinda fell in love.

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Beet Still-Life

I bought these beets this week after Dee begged for them. They are his most favorite vegetable. He wanted to branch out and try a different color so he went for the stripes. Aren't they stunning?!?

They look like a carnival sideshow on a cutting board! Completely amazing.

We were surprised to see them cook up a pale, faded yellow. I tossed them with knobs of butter and snips of fresh thyme and we confirmed that they taste like regular old beets although maybe not quite as sweet? Hard to tell though. Any difference is subtle.

Am gearing up mentally for heading home, back to New England and cold weather and the Thanksgiving meal dream-up sessions. I am really missing our fireplace and am thinking fondly of the winter foods that are waiting on the menus in my mind. Beets make that list for sure. I will be trolling this Pinterest board for ideas. If you ever found a beet attractive, check it out...you'll have beety cooking plans coming out your ears!

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Our Sandy Fortunes

The boys and I had a big beach explore today. I heard a rumor that Ocean Beach in San Francisco (basically the "city beach) sometimes had sand dollars at low tide and I thought we'd go try hunting for them.

If you like beach combing, nature, marine animals, natural beauty, treasure collecting or outdoor ephemera....go here.

There were sand dollars as far as the eye could see! We ended up having to have a long counsel session about which shells to leave and which to take home because we found dozens of whole ones. Parking is free, surfing show complimentary and the soft expanse of beach a wonderful mind clearer.

Now, I just have to figure out how to pack sand dollars for the trip home.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Inspiration From The Street

I am heading off to bed, high on inspiration! I spent the day free-wheeling around SanFran with the boys...art class on the cheap. We had a public art day and it was fabulous!!!! I saw an Andy Goldsworthy piece (several more to get to in town if I am motivated enough), visited the incredible 16th Avenue mosaic stairs and then walked up and down the Balmy Alley murals with my boys. Incredible. I also painted three little pieces that I am really happy with, something I haven't done in a long time.

Today felt very good. So much beauty and creative energy in the world. Must be part of it and appreciate it!

One of the big lessons I am taking away from today is that I can go to a city with my kids. NYC is calling. Time to go attack my wistful Pinterest board of New York sights as soon as I get home.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Myth Of No-Season

Recently, I heard a Californian lady lamenting a recent usage of the age old line, all of us trot out to avoid her state: "Oh man, I don't think I could ever live here. I'd miss the seasons."

I'm not saying the seasons are exactly the same as New England....and I would still miss snow at Christmas but I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by all the little autumnal bits around me.

I am sure it drives Californians insane to hear me say it but I honestly didn't know if there would be pumpkins to pick and carve (duh!!! Pumpkins like hot weather like the other vine crops.), cider to drink (turns out apples grow beautifully in California) or anything festively fallish to see.

I have to set minds at ease and stories straight and tell you that there is real autumn in California. There are trees turning bright gold and lipstick red (several species of maple and many others) and lots of streets where an aisle of sycamore has dropped crackling piles of brown leaves to kick through. Yes, there are also fresh strawberries at the farm stand down the road and I won't pretend that my mind isn't a little bewildered by this time-warpy effect but...autumn is unmistakably here too.

Every morning when I get up and hustle into my robe I wish I had brought some pajamas that had long sleeves. A goes out running and invariably reports back at breakfast that the morning chill is in the 30's and the 40's. The other night walking with the cousin children along the trick-or-treating route we were all shivering along, breathing steamy clouds into the air, talking fondly about the hot cider at home when I noticed it was fall here too. I didn't go away and miss anything seasonally.

So, this is just me....setting the record straight, letting you know....there are seasons in California after all.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

The Crab Night Boogie

A little retro boogie on the radio tonight as we head up the peninsula to check out 99 Ranch, a Chinese grocery wonderland. San Francisco is an Asian culture paradise, so amazing little groceries like this are peppered around us. This my first foray.

The boys and I are playing a new game we invented: Guess That Instrument. Reeds are the hardest ones for them to pinpoint, clarinet bleeds into sax and even oboe can be tricky to single out in the reedy tangle.

We are having steamed crabs and Chinese lacquered duck for dinner, melted butter, California lemons and on the side steamed asparagus. Might have to dig some boogie woogie up on Pandora to listen to while we crack crab.

Speaking of which....I don't think we have cracking implements. Oops.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Morning Moment

Breakfast California.

Loving eating all the things that are raised here. So beautiful!!!

This morning we had an avocado, a few local boiled eggs, and a cactus fruit....all from the farmer's market. Add coffee and bliss out.

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

Beach Combing The Knots Out

The boys and I left the city today and drove a short distance to Half Moon Bay to beach comb together in the sun. So fun to sift through so many different species here on the other coast.

My dream is to find a glass, Japanese fishing float or a real message in a bottle. But in lieu of those jackpot finds I always am willing to settle for a shiny bit of mother-of-pearl, frosted beach glass or rocks with holes worn through for a necklace chain.

Here's the one I was wearing today (don't mind the pajamas....am blogging from bed) made from a California rock from our last visit here a couple of years ago.

I used to be a crazy stuff-hound at the beach, hauling home pockets and buckets of treasures. But recently I've leaned much more towards "catch and release" beach combing. This fitting, given the message I've recently been downloading from the firmament about having less. I am only keeping the truly special finds, usually culling the chosen favorites further at home. And most of what I find is photographed for the sake of capturing the art of the piece and then left in the sand to drift off on a new adventure.

We have fun later, looking through the photos and using them to key out creatures and plants in field guides, no broken bits to dump out of our pockets, no heap of muted finds...disappointedly dulled by the dry indoor air and artificial lights.

I am inspired by this Etsy seller's beautiful photo collages of her beach combing finds. I haven't tried any light box arranged collection photos. Maybe they'd be fun, arranged in a series of thick frames down the upstairs hall or something.

I have plans to look up a good beach in the area that is supposedly great for sea glass and I was really hoping to see a starfish today in the tide pools, so that leaves us two things to look forward to in the next sandy foray. This weekend we are headed up to see the redwoods and I am hoping to stop at one more beach then too! Never enough "wave therapy,"as my priest calls beach-time.

The urchin shell below was my favorite find today. Urchin shells make me squee out loud! This one goes in my "Save" box

I think the best find today though was the wild sea lions, napping in the sun on the jetty. Ru, my most ardent animal lover was absolutely entranced and sat devotedly still watching for a long while. Thank you, Mr. Sea Lion for being so gracious to my little boy, I wish you many fat fishes in return.

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