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3/26/13

Chocolate

Yesterday I completed a 7-day liver cleanse. Hallelujah! That was on my to-do list for a long time. My next one will be longer, but I am pretty damn proud of this one, too. 

What better way to celebrate than with chocolate, right? Yes. So, I made these chocolates, slightly adapted based on what I had on hand in my cupboards. for me, this meant peanut butter instead of almond butter (i had eaten the last of the almond butter straight from the jar for my lunch the day before) and no vanilla (it's on my grocery list).  Altogether I used  1/2 cup of coconut oil, 1/2 cup of cocoa, 1/2 cup peanut butter, and 1/4 cup of honey. That's all. It's so easy.




soooo good. 


3/24/13

bright lights


Spring here is bringing in the light, as one often hopes. though the daylight savings adjustment bothers me, i will admit that the longer days do remind me of things to come: promises of summer tempered by the gentle sweetness of spring.

morning light is as satisfying as tea with honey. let us throw open the curtains and rejoice. seriously.



even the compost is beautiful these days. 



breakfast soup with poached egg and green tea.


and so it goes with us and these days of light and sun. how are yours?




3/23/13

Winner

Follow my blog with Bloglovin


OMG! The winner of the spring cleaning giveaway is Miss Erica Dee. 



Thank you to all who entered, I heart you big time. 

I follow Erica on Instagram and she is a fierce maiden of music and beauty. So happy to send some decorative treasure her way!

(Erica, please email me with your shipping address)

3/21/13

Oroville, California - The City of Gold

So, you probably did not know that I lived, for the past year, in Oroville, CA. Have you heard of it? Not likely. It is even less likely that you have been there - it is not near any main veins of interstate roads, though it sits on the side of Highway 70 - for those of you familiar with the area, or who might have found yourself passing it, and then passing rows and rows of peach trees, almond trees, apricot trees. It is the land of orchards and bees, Highway 70. 


Recently, I've left Oroville. Though I lived up the hill away from town (about 20 minutes) and was able to live on a beautiful slice of oaky land, I never stopped hating Oroville.

There. I said it. I hated it. So much. Oroville is a sad, sad place - a perfect picture of American destruction and grief. The shadow of a bustling, mid-century community remains: the beautiful houses, the abundant fruit trees, the old downtown buildings made from brick and stone. It is as though its physical self stopped there, in the late 1960s, and then "modern" America came in, slicing the town in half with a major thruway on which was placed the essentials: McDonald's, Wal-Mart, KFC, and more. More fast food than you could imagine in so few miles. 

The old parts of town stand as skeletons. Beautiful old signs and buildings, gorgeous houses sinking into themselves. Perhaps I am being too harsh here; there are still homes and places that are sweet and quiet, still hosting the tenants from long ago. But many streets of Oroville are filled with people who are slowly dying from The American Way, addicted to food that kills (at best) and meth (at worst). Recently I drove to a part of town I hadn't been to before, and an old house had been converted, by miracle of some California Proposition, to an outpatient treatment center. The parking lot was so full - it was the busiest place I'd seen. Trucks filled the lot, and I saw mostly women going from car to building: women clutching babies, the one thing that could maybe give them the strength to seek freedom from the claws of methamphetamine. 


Suffice it to say, Oroville is a vibe-killer. 

Like I said, it seems frozen in the late 1960s. Like it was so happy then and then suddenly the life force disappeared, leaving only a shell. And do you know why? I figured out why:

Because in 1968 they finished building The Dam. 

I don't even know much actual history, but I can feel it. They blocked the river. The scientists and economists would say the equation is simple - that the dam was finished and so the work was finished. The economy was gone, and demise set in. But I know the other part, too: They blocked the fucking river. The holy vein of this land, the river that carried the (also holy) salmon run, the river that was the life force for this place, the graceful and flowing counterpart to this hot, dry land. So of course, the energy is blocked - on a massive scale, one that we can hardly even conceive. Of course the people are sick and the town cannot breathe. It all makes sense when I realize what energetic undercurrents are at play. 


Anyway, I couldn't stay there anymore. It felt terrible a lot of the time. This post isn't a rant on environmentalism - we all know the sad stories of water and salmon, of rivers and dams, of indigenous people who came before us. This is just my own story. The things I felt from living in a certain place;  how it was for to me to live somewhere with so much trauma and grief in its bones.



So yes, I moved. I will tell you that story soon. On one of my last days in Oroville, I felt really sick but had to go to town for an errand. Forcing myself out of my usual box, I went to old town (it's still cute and sort of breathing) and bought myself a latte. I then walked around the blocks and photographed some of the buildings - the ghost town memories of a town that once was. It ended up being a nice farewell ritual for me - a peaceful way to seek beauty and say goodbye to someplace for which I held such negativity. All the photos in this post are from that day, that walk with the latte. 


Oroville has a rich history that contains stories both sad and beautiful, so I want to acknowledge, also, the light that glows (though faintly) through its cracks. I loved the land on which I lived, the amazing sunsets, the symphony of frogs, and the crystals veining the ground. I like to think about the moments in history that were filled with all this hope. I like to think about times when things were made so carefully that even after 50 years of neglect, they stand regal in their craftsmanship and aesthetic. In many ways, I like the stories here. There is so much hope in its history.

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Wow! Stay tuned for a cheerier tale, my friends. This one needed to be told, for my heart, but I will certainly have pictures of pretty spring dresses and cute kid faces for you next time.  Please tell me your own tales of living in sad places, of dammed rivers and forgotten songs. Have you felt that before?

3/17/13

Spring cleaning

Guess what?! I'm feeling the Spring purge urge and I am sorting through lots of belongings and trying to let go of lots of things. In this process, I've decided to giveaway this technicolor dream poncho! I would rather send it off to someone who loves it instead of tossing it to the thrift or something. You may have seen this in my shop, but now I'm sending it to one of YOU lucky readers. All you need to do to enter is comment on this post. I will pick a winner on Friday (ish). (International friends, you are welcome to enter, but I will ask for $10 to help cover shipping. Domestic friends, shipping is free).



Also, mercury goes direct today. are you excited? does mercury retrograde affect your communications and your ease of flow? or do you feel impervious to its effects. or perhaps you benefit from the retrograde? i like hearing stories about that stuff. although it doesn't really dominate my brain space, i must admit certain things do seem to take a few more steps than normal. 

3/16/13

So true


Blue light

Finally, my camera and cord came together in the same place at the same time. They had been hiding from each other for what seems like a long time.


there is a thrift shop here where old ladies volunteer their time, and as i peruse the aisles, I eavesdrop on their conversations about husbands needing back surgery, the upside and downside of sleep medications, the amazing feats of grandchildren. 

occasionally i find some very satisfying treasures there. 


for so long i have been meaning to post about my wonderful package from Teeny. she posted about mine a long time ago. the package was filled with many delights, most of them custom-picked, intuitively, to perfection. this handmade mobile/window hanging is my most favorite of all the delights that were in that box. i love it so much. it is so special to have a beautiful handmade gift cross the ocean to come live in my house with me.




also, you guys - Barbara Kingsolver has stolen my heart entirely. No no, that's not the right way to put it. Rather, I have been reading every Barbara Kingsolver book I can get my hands on, and they are filled with stories that were already in my heart....I just hadn't heard them yet. She pulled them from the earth for me so that I could remember them. 


Are you into Kingsolver? If so, which are your favorite stories? Prodigal Summer is what first captured me, but the three books pictured here were so good. I couldn't put them down, but I didn't want them to end, either. My sense is that many of her tales resonate with mothers most strongly....but perhaps I'm wrong. What do you think?

3/13/13

Memory

There are sometimes memories that breeze through me, not always through my mind; sometimes they pass, nearly unnoticed, through my belly or my arms, through my feet or through my heart. sometimes they touch in only slightly, as though dipping a toe into my memory bank...but remaining far away. Sometimes they are like faint stars - the ones you can only see if you look slightly away. the harder i try to grasp, the further away the memory gets. what i learned, in this case, is that i must take what i am offered: i must stop and absorb what this slice of memory is giving me, even if i cannot name it or place is, or remember what it connects to. 


Sometimes these memories come uninvited, they arrive out of nowhere, at insignificant times. they linger briefly, sometimes they stay for a while. often, though, there are triggers for these memories. sense triggers can be the most powerful - particularly smells and music. certainly you know the experience to which i refer. the smell memory is often fleeting, so quick that you have to close your eyes to try and keep it with you for a moment longer; it is a memory of childhood, of motherhood, or solitude, of togetherness; and it comes back to you through - of all places - your nose. 

The music trigger, for me, is one of the most malleable triggers...meaning sometimes (not always) i can control it. sometimes it brings back a particular place and time, a moment i lived, a time that i experienced. sometimes it reminds me of a general era, sometimes it reminds me of the exact heartbreaking joy i felt when i was 19 and the sun came out and i remembered myself and i opened my window for the first time that summer. 

sometimes, though, the memory that it triggers is more lucid. a bigger, deeper memory that takes me to the place where joy and sorrow meet and become equals. it is this memory that floors me, that makes my stomach ache with longing for something i have or have not known. something from this life and others. it is sad but also happy. it is brought to me by different types of music - sometimes the silliest song will harbor some pattern or melody that unlocks it. some songs will only unlock it once, and some songs will unlock it over and over again, for years to come.



Do you know what I'm talking about? Many years ago I called it the Full-Spectrum Ache. What do you call it?

What song unlocks it for you? What song unlocks it for your children?


3/9/13

Tonight

Thank you lovely ladies for commenting on my last post. thank you also to those who read and did not comment. it is exciting to share such personal stories and have them be received so lovingly.

tonight I am resting with tea in bed, planning more heart-felt blog posts and wishing i hadn't left my book in the car, all the way outside, where it is cold. 

I found these photos and had to share. Since the doors to Frida's closet opened, she is everywhere, even more than before: a fierce force in feminine ways, in wild expression, in truth and power.



I am excited for Sunday, the certain restfulness, the morning tea, the afternoon sun. What do you plan to get done on Sunday? do you do things on sundays? or do you take the day absolutely off? For good measure, here is what we'moon has to say about the day:

Sunday, March 10: Keep the agenda low, sweet and sacred. Swim around in the psyche, retrospect and compost. Ask what needs forgiveness and release as the Moon conjuncts Neptune and Mercury in Pisces. Easy and natural adjustments can be made by to changed circumstances, but although we’re flexible, don’t push; abuse will not be forgotten.

3/2/13

Portland Family: A Retrospective

For a long time, I've been envisioning a sort of shout-out blog post, where I express my deep gratitude and love to everyone who has thus far helped me raise my child. And i don't mean that exactly how it sounds. I don't mean people who actually took care of Asher or fed him, necessarily. sometimes the help was less direct but just as important. People who helped me be me, and therefore enabled me to be a loving, happy mother. 


There was Joni, who taught me how to cook. more than that, she taught me how to feed myself and therefore feed my child - who, when i first met joni, was still nursing and didn't care much for food at all. joni taught me the art of food. how to make nutrition beautiful and joyous, how to light candles in the kitchen and how to make everything pretty so that it brought beauty and delight as well. There was Michelle, my darling babysitter, who loved me and loved my baby and made it so that i could go out with the other "kids my age" and pretend, for those precious hours, that the world was simply a wild and endless night. Kristin found us when Asher was 3 and in an instant we had a family. we nested together, ate together, laughed together, made art together. kristin in her soft fierceness helped me and asher grow up. we all lived together in an old house in portland with creaky floors and a basement filled with vintage clothes. we planted strawberries in our tiny yard and in the summers kristin and i sat out there in sundresses and smoked cigarettes while Asher played with the hose.

i am only just getting started. 



There are so many others. There was Ted, who carried Asher in his arms and heart and together they created golden light and a new language. Andrew, who told me i was strong, who helped me when i asked. Anna would drive by in her silver car filled with friends and clothes and she would strap Asher in there, too, and take him along for the ride so that I could be home, alone, for a while. there were so many others who, in their subtle ways, protected us and loved us so that we existed in a bright and glittering orb of human being. It brings me so much pleasure to reflect back to those years, to that time in Portland, and to remember all of these beings and faces. To see how they have settled into my memory - not just isolated memories, but this whole fabric of remembering who i am - they are all there. 



I have not even begun to list some of my best friends. the women who brought me tea and soup, who graciously opened their hearts and homes to me and my child and fed us as soon as we walked in the door. the women who saw everything, sometimes more than i could see, and were patient and loving, who looked on with awe and wonder, who spoke with reason and clarity, who believed in magic and in hard work. 


This has not been a solo project, my friends. for all the years I spent as a single mother, nearly every day was filled with gorgeous, laughing women. Asher spent nights and days as a toddler on the floor, watching us change in and out of dresses, pour wine in our glasses, put lipstick on and then sometimes take it off. He had his own toy basket at Sophie's - she kept it there so he would always be at home when we arrived. He slept in everyone's beds, he slept in their arms when i was away. 



Sometimes I imagine this blog post as an acceptance speech - where one day I walk up to a podium and accept an award for raising a child, and i give thanks to all of those without whom i could never have really done it. Or, i envision it as the acknowledgements in a novel: 

special thanks to sophie, for making me tea every day, and to kristin for inspiring me to have a livelihood and be creative. thank you to the boys at the coffee shop for loving us up and for fixing things that were broken and coming over when there was a major injury. thank you to catherine and rowan for being our soul mates in this particular journey this time around; thank you kellee for your endless love, thank you Anna for your eternal faith in my own being and for reminding me of the importance of self, fun, and silliness. thank you, joni, for the home and hearth and for your generosity and helping us grow. to countless others who should be named but are not yet, thank you for everything you gave me while i created this story. without you, it would not be what it is. 


as i mentioned before, this post does not encapsulate (at all) the entirety of the stellar team i have had on my side for all of this. this post doesn't include my own parents and my brother, nor does it include the california crucials that have been around for the past few years during our adventures down here. these people are just as important. they have loved me just as much. my blessings are vast and numerous like the stars. this post is just a sliver of all that is. this blog post is a stop in Portland on a trip down memory lane. 

love, me