We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

Mar 30, 2007

A Day in Our Life 1

I have been thinking about how many of my dear friends and family are out there doing things, big things compared to my daily Alder thing, you know getting PhDs and Masters, teaching, saving the world. I miss being part of a larger community of articulate adults some days. Lots of days Alder is asleep and I'm just not sure what has happened to my day. I am not dismissing what I am doing as less important, but when I've just given Alder his twenty-fifth belly raspberry for the day I feel a little lonely for the world of ideas. I know that this picture of my life isn't complete, I'm copy editing and starting Sun and Moon, as well as writing when I get a chance, but this is what days feel like pretty often.

7 am wake up, as Kevin yells that he's leaving to catch the bus.

7 am-8am doze on and off as Alder plays on the floor in the bed room.

8am-9am brush teeth with Alder trying to climb my leg, spend the rest of the time with Alder playing only on the bed (he loves being bounced down on the piled blankets.

9am- 9:30 am feed both of us while doing a load of laundry and listening to NPR.

9:30am-11:30 am put Alder down for a nap, it's a little early but he's rubbing his eyes. Oops, I fell asleep with him for the entire nap.

11:30am-12:30pm Try to dress both of us even though most of the clothing is waiting to be folded in baskets. Then remember that it's cold out and do the whole thing again while listening to NPR.

12:30pm-12:52pm Realize that we only have one bus ticket so prepare to walk downtown as event of the day, then see that Kevin has left us tickets. Repack the backpack and go to bus stop.

12:52pm-1:30pm Ride bus across town, look out window, make faces at other riders.

1:30pm-2:15pm walk to St. Marks, visit with Gio for a little bit, enjoy our drinks (me:latte Alder: soy milk)

2:15 head over to Twist and Shout, while talking to grandpa on the cell.

2:30pm Ask staff about the Haimowitz CD that was recorded in the Plainfield church, I know they don't have it but I was bored so it was something to do, they can't help me because they can't figure out what I am talking about.

3:00pm Go to Tattered Cover, I get to drool over books (metaphorically) and copy down titles I'll take out of the library, Alder gets to drool over books (literally) while he pulls them out in the children's section. I clean up in his wake.

3:40pm Head over to Papa's school, stopping in A Bend gallery to look at Bruce's new works and what ever else they have up.

3:50pm Get to the school before Kevin is done with his last clinic patient. That's okay Dr Goa, Jay, Molly, Corey and others that I don't know their names are there to monopolize Alder's time.

4:15pm Leave with Kevin, godmother Kate calls to talk (she's been teaching skiing to Dell executives and band kids all day)

4:30pm Can't make it home before dinner so we stop at Bocaza (yum!)

5:05pm Watch as we miss bus, next one is in a half hour.

5:05pm-5:35pm Burr! We're cold!

5:35pm - 6:24pm Bus ride home.

6:30pm- 7:30pm Papa watches Alder as I get a little down time on the computer.

7:30pm - 8pm Put Alder to bed.

8pm um that's now.

I think I will do this occasionally just to remember what a day is like with a babe when he gets older.

Mar 29, 2007

The State of the World; Pharmaceutical Companies

Lately I have been wondering about the state of our country. I don't mean the environmental crisis or international politics but more the ability of many of it's inhabitants to completely ignore those and other issues. As a public radio listener I live in a fairly well informed bubble. I am aware that most people, at least in USA, get their news from the TV evening reports who spend more time on local eye catching tragedy than global issues. I think the problem goes beyond the lack of real news, it has more to do with people in this country having more concern for their own status than the greater good.

I over heard a disturbing conversation the other evening. [I won't say where I was] But there were two guys, both drinking discussing the benefits of certain house remodels. Then the conversation shifted to where one was bragging about his girlfriend's job. (this is a general retelling)
"She gets 70,000 a year just wine and dine the doctors," he says. "Like going out for meals with seventy dollar bottles of wine and stuff. I mean this money is just to use to persuade them."
"What else?" the other guy is impressed. "Well you see she doesn't work for one of the big companies like Merck or anything so I guess it isn't a lot but it's seventy thousand dollars to spend plus they pay her like 300,000 for doing the job."

I stopped listening after that. I'm not sure what part of that information is more disturbing, that a sales person for drugs makes 300,000 dollars or that she has 70,000 dollars to spend on persuading doctors to use the drugs. I guess I thought that was illegal. But either this guy was being stupid and telling his friend something that was or or it isn't. Even if it isn't I'm upset that drugs are subject to being sold to the doctors that way. When I go to the doctor I would like to assume that her diagnosis and treatment for me is decided because of what is best for my situation not because she was wined and dined by a sales person to promote their pills.

Not only is the idea of medicinal sales disturbing but the fact that this guy thought it was very cool that his girlfriend had 70,000 dollars to spend on things like dinner and skiing to get the doctors. In fact he must have mentioned the 70,000 number four or five times during the conversation. What ever happened to the medical profession focusing on the well being of humanity (the other guy was still in his scrubs so I assume he worked in some sort of medical field).

I am not ignoring the fact that there are doctors, nurses, and other practitioners who spend their lives helping people who truly need it. But they seem to be more and more in the minority. But things get more confusing when you add to the equation that doctors are not all making as much as they used to, not since the advent of managed health. I thought that HMOs made lists of what medicines that they would pay for. So what is the goal of the sales people with the doctors? Yes they have a population who is no longer the pinnacle of earning in this country offering them "things" but these doctors also have less control.

What about the ethics? These sales people don't have any commitment to the patients but the doctors do, how can they be doing the best for their patients if they are being bought to suggest one pill over another? Can they really be looking for the best treatment for their patients or their pockets?

I found this group called No Free Lunch who are a group of doctors who:

We are
health care providers who believe that pharmaceutical promotion should not guide clinical practice. Our mission is to encourage health care providers to practice medicine on the basis of scientific evidence rather than on the basis of pharmaceutical promotion. We discourage the acceptance of all gifts from industry by health care providers, trainees, and students. Our goal is improved patient care.

We aim to achieve our goal by informing health care providers as well as the general public about pharmaceutical industry efforts to promote their products and influence prescribing; provide evidence that promotion does in fact influence health care provider behavior, often in ways that run counter to good patient care; and provide products that can replace pharmaceutical company paraphernalia and spread our message.

We believe that there is ample evidence in the literature--contrary to the beliefs of most heath care providers--that drug companies, by means of samples, gifts, and food, exert significant influence on provider behavior.
There is also ample evidence in the literature that promotional materials and presentations are often biased and non-informative. We believe that health care professionals, precisely because they are professionals, should not allow themselves to be bought by the pharmaceutical industry: It is time to Just say no to drug reps and their pens, pads, calendars, coffee mugs, and of course, lunch.

We hope to serve as a source of information, inspiration, and assistance for those who are trying to rid their practices, institutions, and colleagues of promotional influence. We provide a forum for the exchange of ideas as well a way to connect and work together with others who are concerned about this issue.

It seems that I should give more doctors credit for working for their patients and against the pharmaceutical companies methods. This is reassuring to me, especially as we embark on our business plans in the world of complimentary and alternative medicine.

Still the fact that people involved in such important things such as medicine and drug creation should be focusing their efforts on helping all the people of the world. Not just through affordable medicine but through health education. Imagine how much could be done just with one years marketing budget.
"Drug companies spent another $27.7 billion on promotion, including $15.9 billion on free drug samples and $7.3 billion on sales-rep contacts (free lunches and pens), $4 billion on direct-to-consumer advertising and $500,000 on journal advertising..." Newsweek.

Mar 27, 2007

Fish Stew for the Landlocked or the Hungry

So here I am land locked in Colorado less than two hundred miles from the center of the continent and what did I make for dinner last night? Fish Stew. It was out of necessity, I have to eat things that are soft, we had the makings in the freezer, and I had never done it so it had to be done. As per usual I had an idea in my mind of what I wanted to taste but I also was not going to go out to get anything else to make this. So I perused the cook books for general ideas and set about making it.

First off I will say right now the fact that I used frozen clams is only because they were in the freezer. My dear husband bought them over a year ago for god knows what and they have sat there ever since. I do not endorse frozen shellfish (except shrimp) at all, shell fish should still be live when you cook it, please do not try to supplement any canned fish products it will not work.

What you need for Fish Stew (makes enough for two hungry people or four less hungry people):
This is best made in a cast iron kettle or any heavy stew pot.
1 pound boneless white fish (I had trout laying around)
1 dozen little neck clams or half dozen little necks and half dozen mussels
1 dozen or more shrimp
1 white onion, finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic, rough cut
8oz peeled whole tomatoes
4 cups water
1 cup white wine
ground pepper
olive oil

What you do:

1) Steam the clams ( and mussels) over the water and wine for about 3 minutes. Reserve the liquid and remove the shellfish.

2) Heat oil in kettle add onions saute until soft. Add tomatoes chopping them up a little and garlic. Cook for the amount of time it takes to shell the steamed fish and cut up the fish into 1 inch chunks. Add the reserved liquid and the recently chopped and shelled fish. Through in some Thyme, Dill, and ground pepper.

3) Let simmer for 1 hour.

4) Peel the shrimp and add them to the stew about 5 minutes before you plan on serving it.

This meal goes really well with either crusty bread or brown rice. Enjoy!!

My helpful assistant

Mar 25, 2007

Thoughts on Religion 1

Yesterday at temple the discussion topic (during our service we always have a discussion) was rituals and their purpose. The focus was on religion but not completely. The conversation got me thinking about what it means to be religious and what religion means to my life and to my families. In other words do I consider myself religious. To begin with it is hard for me to quantify what being religious actually means.

If it means observing the rituals of Judaism I got to temple once or twice a month and recognize the holidays. I don't think that makes me religious. Sure it is more than most Jews in the United States do but I do not follow many of the daily or weekly rituals.

If being religious means understanding your faith I know I am not religious. But then I am late in coming to my Judaism. I continually find myself not knowing basic facts about our story. The last time I read the Torah/bible was in ninth grade when we did bible as literature, that was almost twenty years ago so my memory is vague. As for the weekly sections of the Torah, listening to a paragraph every two weeks of a story that is read daily leads to a lot of holes in it.

But if being religious means searching for a connection with some sort of higher power, be it a anthropomorphic God or a less tangible one, I guess I am religious.

As a child I was taught to look at religion as a cultural construct created by the people to give them a connection beyond that of their government (primarily feudal). My parents saw religion, and Judaism specifically, as a way to connect ourselves to our past. But they did not go beyond that. To them the Orthodox families on the corner we archaic and controlling, people to be looked at with distrust, rather than people whose lives were closer to the spiritual side of religion. I still get quite when I see orthodox families around, they make me feel as though I am being a bad Jew, it is a remnant of my childhood, I am sure they could explain somethings to me that I never understood.

Now, while I can not claim any real understanding of my religion, I understand the need to be closer to the spirit, the 'god'. I am sure if I had been forced to attend temple every week as an obligation, as some families I knew growing up were, I would not be this accepting to looking for a connection with god. I might be better at the ritual elements of being a Jew but they might be hollow. I look at my husband and see someone who was brought up in the Lutheran church, he was even confirmed but it was all motions he was going through as a family obligation not a personal religious one (surprisingly he enjoys joining me at temple and says he likes the Reform Judaism ideas).

As many young people I searched out a connection with a spiritual center. I had gone to a Quaker school for many years and the silent meeting gave me "something" but it was an internal center. Even since graduating I have been to Quaker Meeting at various points to re-find this center. While this center is fulfilling it is not spiritual connection. So after high school I looked in the regular channels of the East and the natural world. But I always walked away unconvinced that I could really believe in the religious aspects. None of it fit.

After we had been married for a few years and there was talk of children I began to think more about religion. I knew that our child had to be brought up Jewish, because if they were not then by default they would be Christan, it's just what our country is like. I actually had a nightmare that my one of my sister-in-laws tried to surreptitiously baptise our child. I started looking at Jewish websites, the same way people look at pornography, I hid it from Kevin. I felt that I needed to have a stronger footing in Judaism before I announced to anyone that we would be a Jewish family.

A funny thing happened during my covert investigation into Jewishness, I got it. I mean it made sense on a level that had nothing to do with logic, it just fit. maybe it is hereditary or genetic but the ideas I was reading about made sense to me. It was like being told something that I had once known and forgotten. What I like best was that 'they' did not seem to expect me to change who I was as a person. In fact what I read more sounded like an extension of who I already was.

The next step was to find a Temple, or at least a Rabbi to talk to. Growing up rabbis we dour old me in dark suits who presided over funeral and high holidays. These men (and they were all men) were unapproachable serious people, they were no different than bankers to me. Then I happened upon Temple Micah, the Rabbi is young and engaging. Willing to talk outside of the service about anything. I came to try it on and pretty quickly knew it fit.

In all my searching for a spiritual connection I found one that fits with my philosophical beliefs (see the quote at the top of the blog) as well as my need for community. Of course I still don't really understand a lot about Judaism but I am learning. Some days it feels as if parts of it are genetic, it all just comes together.

Having a child brings in another facet to my religious belief and practice. While I want Alder to have the experience of being part of Judaism I do not want to force it on him. I want him to see that it is part of my life because it enriches it not because it is a social responsibility. Rarely do I want to force him to be involve in something that does not ring true to him so I have to make it part of our lives in a way that it integral to everything else not opposed to it. Ah more questions for me to answer as I unwind this mystery that is religion.

Photo Catch Up

I have been slacking in posting, in general but especially pictures so this is a bit of a catch up of the last few weeks. Most of them are of our time with our Thursday friends.

We like our Thursday friends!

Hanging at the playground

Playing on Monroe Street

Anna Louiza and I decided that these two are going to be a lot of trouble when they get older

There is just so much to see in the world

As usual there are more photos to see if you click on one of these. Enjoy!

Mar 24, 2007

Week in Review

I've been a bad blogger this week. So much has taken my time that sitting down at the computer to write something for pleasure has been impossible.

Wednesday was my meeting with the SCORE volunteer. This meant that I spent Monday and Tuesday writing our business plan (Kevin spent both days with Alder until he had class). When I did have time with Alder we took two walks to the library (we discovered it's closed on Mondays).

Monday after noon Alder and I went swimming with a friend. He's starting to understand more of the idea of what to do in the water. We even pushed him back and forth between us and he was holding his head out of the water and trying to move himself.

By Tuesday night I was so tired of staring at the computer that I opted to stare at the TV screen instead and watch some "Monarch of the Glen" DVDs from the library. It's guilty pleasure that I have been spreading out over the last few years, trying not to get ahead of what's been put out on DVD. It isn't great art or film but it's a cozy sort of story.

Wednesday morning I headed to my meeting with the SCORE volunteer. I was nervous when I first walked in because he seemed ancient and said what every time I spoke. But soon we were having a productive conversation. He never even looked at the business plan. I left with lots of research to do during our June trip back east.

That afternoon we spent sometime talking with Rabbi Mo and going to the Tattered Cover.
Tattered Cover has to be my favorite bookstore. Their new location is an old theater that they've only somewhat changed so that you come upon small groupings of seats among the isles. The architecture was not changed at all only carpeted and bookshelves put in.
We found a great book for my niece Rebbecca on the history of art.

Thursday things got crazy. In the morning we only managed a walk to the grocery store before we started the napping process. It took an hour and a half just to get Alder to sleep and when he was it was light sleep. While he napped I managed to pack us for spending a night in at Kevin's parent's house in Colorado Springs, since I was having oral surgery 7am Friday down there.

The plan was to spend the afternoon with friends pick Kevin up from school and head down there. Except the car didn't start. @$%#$#@!!!! Luckily our Thursday friends offered us their car for the night. So Alder and I piled all our stuff and stroller on the bus and headed over.

Of course being one of "those" days every crazy person between our house and City Park talked to us. I ended getting off early just to get away fro them, I hate when I give off the talk to me vibe on the bus.

After a brief Thursday visit we met up with Kevin had a Thai dinner and headed to the Springs.

I am sure that the house in the Black Forest at some point was a comfortable place. Kevin grew up there and doesn't have any macabre or gothic bone in his body. But since I have known him they have been slowly working towards selling the place. At this point there is a mattress on the floor in one bedroom, a folding table in the dinning room and a barn full of crap. It's creepy especially at night.

Alder had the starting of a cold that night which meant that he slept badly and thus we slept badly. But it was short anyway, we were up by six to get to the dentist where they pumped me full of drugs and did unthinkable things to my mouth.

I only vaguely remember the drive home or getting into bed. I slept it off for four hours and then I tried to deal with some baking and cooking, even though my mouth is all swollen up. I am supposed to bring the kiddish to temple this morning (challah, and a few other snacks) all of this by bus. So I was trying to come up with something that I could make while lying down every few minutes, needless to say I'm going to buy stuff.

Ah bed, that is supposed to be where I could recover from the unspeakable things they did to my mouth. But as Alder is on a sleep strike with a cold he was up every twenty minutes or so. He has been crying since four AM, luckily Kevin is giving me a break to do this and get ready to go (I have to leave two hours early because of Saturday bus schedules).

So I am sitting here tired as hell, barely able to move my mouth but somehow I am not actually in a bad mood.

I'll post pictures next time.

Mar 18, 2007

All Sorts of Media

I want to start this post by admitting that I am a public radio junky. I not only know the schedule of my local station but also two from towns that I no longer live in but regularly listen to on line. I can even hum along to the theme songs to most of the show. My husband tolerates my obsession, only turning it off he finds it too repetitive or depressing. I have found since Alder's birth that NPR has kept me company especially when he was younger and didn't do as much as he does now.

We are lucky enough to live in a city with two wonderful stations. One is all talk the other is an amazing jazz station KUVO. So if Kevin is around we often listen to that instead, I get my news fix every thirty minutes and we get to hear great jazz old and new (this is no smooth jazz station). However on the weekends we are dedicated listeners to two shows "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" and "This American Life". Many Sundays have been stalled because of these shows.

This weekend This American Life was about television and it's affects on people. This got me thinking about our relationship with television and how we are going to approach it with Alder.

Currently our television resides in an unused fireplace in our living room. It is the perfect spot for it. Most of the time the curtain is pulled on it and it is out of sight. When we want to watch a video or DVD we pull the curtain. We do not have cable and in a brick fire place there is now reception. This is fine with us.

Both Kevin and I grew up as TV kids. For me it was company in my empty apartment waiting for my dad to get home from work. I usually thought what I was watching was dumb but I would keep it on (yes I watched awful things like Saved By the Bell and Magnum PI).

When I went off to college I chose not to have one there and it was a good choice. Without it I turned music and the radio on more and was able to do more. Even back then when I would go home I would usually have one or two TV days and then I would turn it off. I still felt the same draw of it that I did as a child.

More recently I find that every time we go to my in-laws I am sucked into a night of television watching which usually ends with me going to bed ridiculously late and in tears. I am not crying because of the show that I was watching but because I continued to watch. The TV felt like it was draining me of will and purpose.

I am sure there are many people who can turn on the TV for one show and happily ignore it for the rest of the night but I can not. It's the same way that if I am reading a good book I have to stay up to finish it. It isn't a healthy practice so rather than having the temptation here we choose not to have it at all.

Okay that isn't completely true. Occasionally we will borrow the DVD of a show that we like. But that isn't as bad for my mind because we are actively choosing to watch it and there isn't the temptation for me to continue to watch after it's done (although there was the Buffy incident when I discovered that a friend had all seven seasons... lets just say that month was a blur).

Now we have Alder and eventually the TV issue will arrive. I am hoping that he will be willing to be happy with DVDs for a long time. In general we are hoping to create a non TV culture for him. This will be easier homeschooling. But if the day comes when he asks to have a TV in the house I am not sure what we'll do.

The average adult in the United States watched 29 hours of TV a week. If the average work week is 40 hours and people sleep say 6 hours a night, plus 1 hour for commuting hmm that's 122 hours of their lives spent not being with family and friends. If you figure a week is 158 hours long and I haven't even included going to the bathroom, showering, cleaning the house or errands I don't see how anyone ever spends time with each other.

I guess this is all a good argument for homeschooling, having a family business and no TV.

It's Just Denim and Thread... and a Few Gromets

I am sitting here wearing a new pair of jeans. I must not have bought any new ones in years because when I went looking I was shocked to see that most jeans now cost close to a hundred dollars or more. I guess you could date me by the fact that the last time I got jeans the ones at the Gap were all $36, now somehow the same pair were $78. Needless to say I was not going to spend that much money on a pair of pants that will be peed on, drooled on and spilt on.

Luckily I was at a mall (I know that sentence gives me bad feeling to even write) so I could look at a few other stores. Even the Levis store started their jeans at $80 working their way up to $175! I did not even bother at most of the other stores where I saw women in heels and stylish clothes looking through racks while their forearms were laden with various bags.

I did end up at the Macy's where I at first was horrified by $215 dollar jeans, these things were strategically "distressed" to look worn. I don't need someone else to wear out my jeans for me. In fact I plan on wearing the pair I got until they are shreds. Finally in one corner of the store I found a few brands that had some less expensive pairs. I walked out of there having spent just over $50. Hopefully the cheap jeans won't be $150 by the next time I need a new pair.

Zombie land

There hasn't been a lot of energy around the house these past few days to do things like blog or anything. It all started a few days ago when Alder started to get well cranky. Cranky with this kid means half the time he's all smiles but the other half he's crying. The thing is these halves are sort of interspersed so he'll be playing and laughing and move two inches and start to cry. I know something is wrong but I can not figure out what it is.

Last night he slept okay from eight until eleven and then he was up until three crying a lot. He finally fell asleep after I danced and sung with him in my arms for about fifteen minutes. But today has been really tough for him a lot of tears and being held. Of course this means not only is something upsetting him but he is also exhausted.

Kevin and I are walking zombies today. Neither of us could take a nap because when ever anyone lay down he would start to cry. He's sleeping now hopefully it will be a long sleep both for him and us.

Mar 14, 2007

Family and the Tao

I have that warm content feeling right now that comes from spending the day with my family. The day has sort of slipped by for me but it's been a good one. I like Wednesdays a lot, Kevin is home and the pressure for him to study is less than other days. We've eaten two meals together, and he's cooking dinner right now. We took Alder to the playground where he swung, and slid, and played in the sand. And ate remarkably little of his environment. Kevin was going to take him out for one of his studying walks but the poor boy feel asleep within a block. I guess all this stair climbing and crawling really take it out of him.

Thinking back on the day it hasn't just been family time. I've gotten a lot of our business plan written including creating a comparison chart of some of our potential new homes (in terms of business).

I guess this is just one of those days that happens. I just let things occur as needed there was no rushing or arguing. I hate the saying going with the flow but it's somewhat apt right now, too bad it had to be co-opted from the Taoists. I wish I could remember to follow their philosophies more often. Things really do get done more easily if you aren't pushing too hard on the current of life. Yet another thing that Alder is helping me to see and experience.

Yum I hear sizzling in the kitchen I wonder what Kevin's making?

On Nature and Our Move

While walking back from the pool the other day we walked by a school yard, one we pass by on most of our walks. It was one of the first outside days and one of the young teachers had taken advantage of this to bring her class outside for some project. It was obviously a special deal since all of the kids were having a hard time doing their work. What I though was telling was that most of the children chose to position themselves along the fence looking out at the rest of the world.

It made me think more about how I want to bring up Alder to love being outside but never to have to ration it. I imagine some of these kids haven't been outside, except at recess since autumn. I had this great image of a six or seven year old Alder reading a book sitting on a porch. Since it has been so snowy this year there has been less outside days in Denver (something that there are usually plenty) the children were all ghostly and probably won't regain their color until May.

Even then many of these kids will have maybe a week or two off before going to summer camps where most of their time is spent in the same class rooms. It is no wonder that children today do not feel a connection to the natural world. How can they when their only interactions with it are canned and curriculum driven?

As a child I was lucky my family would spend most weekends leaving the city and going to a cabin in the "country" most days I would wake up before my parents and head outside. It wasn't just our yard or property that I wandered on. I would go for miles and mile of regrown pastures. There was a river with the ruins of old mills, streams, a series of cliffs and plenty of imagined worlds. I would come home in time for lunch scratched up and hungry. No sooner was the meal done than I would be back out the door, unless we had something planned.

These weekends and summers of wandering helped me to survive another week in school. Sundays were always difficult, I still can't stand to hear Marion McPartland's Piano Jazz show because it was always the background to the start of our trip home. During those long drives home I would transform from the happy strong wandering soul to my week day self. But there was never any point in complaining, none of us wanted to go back to the city but grownup responsibilities made us return.

Now that I have my own son I am in the position to help cultivate his love of the outdoors. This becomes an interesting question when I think about where we are moving. There are many things that I want for myself and family that a city can provide, including less car time. But the distance from nature is not something want, nor could either I or Kevin handle.

There are obviously other constraints: feasibility for an acupuncture practice, proximity to my family, cost of living. When you add this to our love of hiking and being on the river our options begin to narrow. So we are down to five particular places and one more general region.

Hudson NY

Saratoga Springs NY
Brattleboro VT
Bennington VT
Pittsfield MA
and the general Hudson River Valley in NY

Of these places Pittsfield is the least attractive, but it is also the most affordable. Saratoga and Brattleboro are the most interesting but Saratoga is pricy. In the end we will end up weeding out the ones that aren't feasible and then going with what seems like a place that we will feel the most comfortable, and that will not be anything quantifiable.

What a process.

Mar 12, 2007


In the last week Alder has done a lot of changing. Not only is he crawling at full speed and climbing stairs, he is standing up holding onto anything that can reach. Suddenly our house seems very small. Luckily his development waited for the weather to improve. So in an effort to get out of the house as much as possible and to give him lots of things to do, which actually means new places to do the same things, we went to the pool.

One of the rec centers near our house has a zero entry pool. It is a perfect place to take a crawler who likes water. At first just sat in the water while he crawled all over me, but it gets cold quickly for like Alder like creatures so we went over to where it was deeper and I held him as we went back and forth across the pool. One direction he would stand on one of my legs as I walked us. Then on the way back he would "float" on his back and kick. He loved going under the beam of sunshine and would twist to see it every time.

I tried to get him to blow bubbles but when I showed him how he just thought it was the funniest thing. What was I thinking? Alder has never gone for the imitation game. Anyway I might not have gotten the bubbles but he did hold his breath every time I dunked his head. Not bad for his second time in the pool at eight months (well eight months tomorrow).

Then we came back here and he played in the rocks that are our yard while I weeded. He went to sleep a tired happy baby.

A Hike in the Hills

Yesterday we went hiking over in the foothills south of Boulder. I thought I'd tell the story in pictures.

At the beginning of the hike there were all of these small trees with all this new growth. I can't remember from last year what they are. The only plant I distinctly remember were the short apple trees that grew in the gully and made early mornings smell so good when they were in bloom, I doubt these are the.

Here is Kevin and Alder at the beginning of the hike. The Matron the rock formation behind them is where we hiked to.

You can't tell by looking at Kevin but it was really warm.

Alder as usual trying to taste his way through the day.

Alder doing his first boulder problem, we did not set this shot up.

Of course Kevin couldn't help moving him through all the moves.

What a perfect way to spend a Sunday.

Mar 9, 2007

First Hints of Spring

I love when spring feels like it is really settling in, especially after winters as snowy as ours has been. But March and April are those tricky months so I know that the snow is not done and that there will be the day that I go out dressed for sixty when it starts to snow. Alder and I can get out and wander. The last few days have been in the sixties so we have been taking advantage of the weather (except yesterday when I was randomly sick and spent my time sleeping or going to the acupuncturist).

Wednesday we spent an hour or two in the front yard. Alder has figured out that only hard things are good to put in his mouth. This means we're just eating rocks and sticks, the pointy things are quickly disappeared. Alder is truly a summer boy he loved the chance to be naked in the sun.
Alder his new crawling skills.

He wouldn't be my son if he didn't know a tasty rock when he saw one.
Now lets explore the rocks.
Today we walked down to the river, I think I was getting ahead of myself since it is still running high and cold with spring run off. Instead we visited the REI and used part of our dividend on a rain jacket for him (baby's first piece of gear) and to play in their play ground. Afterwards we walked along the river for a bit and then over to a quiet square where Alder could crawl around while I ate. On the way home we stopped by a friends house where Alder spent some time chasing his bottle around the slanted patio.
At the REI playground.
Alder gets up close with the art.

Here's a mini video of Alder VIDEO

And this is for Sam who couldn't be here for the walk... we love you Sam!!!!!!

Now were home and tired. Alder is a sticky dirty tired kid who does not want to go to sleep and I am in a tired, sore (7 mile walk), ready for tired boys to be sleeping, sort of mood.

End note: Alder ate a bowl of beans and a bowl of yogurt this morning, it worked we to keep him happy all day. When Kevin came home he just fed him a ramekin full of yogurt and apple sauce. This kid loves to eat real food.

Mar 7, 2007

Just a Note on This Day

I haven' written much about our business here or the process we are going through to start it. That's mainly because so much of it is in a theoretical stage right now. Kevin is studying for his NCCAOM exams (Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine boards) as well as continuing with his classes and working in the student clinic three days a week. Since he is still in school most of the planning is left to me which is fine except that we still don't know what state we are moving to or what town. We have narrowed it to Southern Vermont, Albany New York, Saratoga Springs New York, and Pittsfield Massachusetts but the diversity of the regions makes it difficult for many specifics.

Currently I am writing our first business plan. I made an appointment next week with a SCORE volunteer to discuss particulars about small practices and moving to new communities. My experience with CITY (Creative Independent Teaching for Youth) is useful but not all of it translates into the world of privately owned health care businesses. This is why we're trying to find advisers to talk with.

The difficult thing lately has been for us to separate ourselves from our parents. Because of many of the choices we've made in the last years they have occasionally helped us out here and there. Now that we are about to try to start our own business and move some place new they all are having some difficulty with understanding this. Kevin's parents still aren't sure what to make of acupuncture as a whole and really are disappointed that we are moving so far away. My parents have no faith that we will be able to do any of this, including figuring out how to rent a house. My father, especially, has taken to trying to instruct my in some archaic basics that are no longer reality because of the Internet.

Part of me thinks that their problems with what we are doing have two pieces. First they have little confidence in our abilities in running a business. Second in both families we are still seen as young and needing guidance, although we are in our thirties. It seems lately that anytime we are talking with them about things (like Alder or life or business) they feel that we should instructed in how things are really done. Since they all have had children (except Pat) and all have started their own businesses (except Mary) they feel that know more than us. I know that they do have more experience, I only wish that they would not spend so much time telling us how we have to do things and wait until we ask for their advice.

We aspire towards simple living not one that is caught up in the material trappings that most families have. We want to be successful at our business not to have a second car or a maid but so that we can feel comfortable having savings and occasionally have a nice dinner or travel somewhere. In their minds we should be aspiring to make lots of money and have lots of things. Somewhere in there there is the correlation that simple living is either lazy or an excuse not to work hard. That working hard is the hallmark of a good life.

When I have mentioned to my father that our happiness is one of our main goals in life. He looked at me confused, then said "I've never really considered my own happiness as important as others is it the same?" What a sad thought. Of course helping others is a big part of creating a full life but personal happiness is deeper (read not external). Along these same lines when we have mentioned that we are 'thinking' of homeschooling (we haven't said are or unschooling yet) his wondered why we would want to waist our time. Adding that if we wanted to do a little teaching we could always teach Alder on the weekends. Again we are coming up against philosophical differences.

All of this makes me sad and frustrated because I want to share my happiness and excitement with our families but they are not interested in hearing it because they have too much of their own agenda in their heads about our lives.

Mar 5, 2007

How Alder Does Being Him

The little boy is back to his usual magic. Today he figured out how to stand himself up while holding on to things (like a chair or a Mama), how to crawl without the belly flop in the middle, and how to climb up stairs. Where does it all come from?

The funny thing about all of his new things that he's doing is that he has been really needing to be in Mama or Papa's lap or arms a lot since we got back from our trip. This is unusual for Alder who is usually straining to get free and roam around. I admit I'm liking the extra cozies. Last night he fell asleep in my arms while I watched a movie. For the first hour or so he just contented himself at looking at the jade plant and other things in the room but after a bit of squirming he fell off to sleep. Then today he kept crawling to where ever Kevin or I were and reaching out his arms.

Once I got the bread started I gave up the idea of getting anything else done and just hung out on the floor with him. He spent a lot of time climbing Mt Mama trying to hold on tight when the earthquakes would come. He laughed every time I would make 'earthquake' noises and shake.

I forget sometimes to play with him. That sound awful, but often we do things like explore what's on the floor or go for walks but rarely do we just play. I used to try playing with him but he usually is more interested in finding what ever book or grownup object we've left within his reach. I guess as he is getting older there is more place in his mind for interacting.

Being with him just enjoying ourselves felt completely in balance. Alder has always been like a deep breath to me. There was one point in the pregnancy that I could feel his spirit swirling a golden glittery glow up and down my spine. Now when I see him looking at me, just watching I can feel the same glittery goodness. I don't usually go for the spiritual side of things but Alder seems filled with it and it is infectious.

The way he looks at the world around him is so full of awe and a need to understand it, not in a scientific way but to taste it, crawl over it, and run his hands over it way. I understand this need to feel somethings wholeness. I guess maybe the spirit I see him looking for is one that I've looked for too. Except I'm not going to bring him up in a world of scientific laws and anthropological theories like I was. There needs to be a balance between the two. Or at least that is the world I want to introduce him to.

A Sad Morning in Blogging

I just took a look at my blog a few minutes ago and was very excited, there was a comment. So I opened it up only to find an insulting and misinformed comment, left by an anonymous reader. At first I added my own reply to the comment but then I realized that it would only be in anger. Instead I deleted both comments and am posting this instead.

This blog is a look at our experiences as a family I create it for family, friends and others who find any of it interesting. It is a gift from me and for me. If you have nothing better to than wander the blog-sphere and disagree uninformed then I feel sorry for you. There is so many more fun and happy things that you could be doing with your time.

For the time being I am tempted to delete an anonymous comments.

Mar 4, 2007

Day 5: What Falls into Your Lap

While Kevin went off to work on cars with his dad on Saturday Alder and I spent a good chunk of the day at Bongo Billy's Cafe.
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Where he spent his time crawling around making all sorts of friends while I wrote. It was the first time that I realized that I can write with him there. I have been writing very little lately because I spend most of my time with Alder. Until now I have always looked at writing as something that I needed to be in an isolated environment to do. But I seemed to be writing fine while he was happily babbling to himself and others.

I think I might have been using him as an excuse not to try harder to write more often. But really the brief interruptions of collecting him from places he should not be only allowed my brain to fine tune the next thing I was thinking of putting on the paper. There will be times that he needs more attention and then the writing won't be as easy but I've just opened up a whole lot more time to write in.

So while we were there at Bongo Billy's I noticed a program for a poetry festival. That was going on this weekend right there. Not only at the cafe but at places all over town. Including a reading at the Steam Plant Theater that night. The Sparrows Poetry Festival is a spoken poetry festival that was started in Salida seven years before to break up winter's isolation. I don't know much about it but I liked the poets that we ended up seeing that night.

Going to the theater for a poetry reading was a perfect end to the vacation. Kevin loves poetry and I could tell that he was enjoying himself when he got his special smile on his face that seems to say I know the secret that makes the world go. It was good to be able to include some of his favorite art form in a week of visual arts.

We both agreed that Rhonda Cleaver- McCormick's poems were the ones that we connected to the most. She spoke about family and the spirit of people living on in her. She also had the most engaging style of reading of the poets.

On the opposite side of the poets was Don McIver who was the only real slam poet of the evening. I don't think Kevin had ever actually heard any slam other than on Public Radio. Anyway we both liked his rhythm and style. One of his poems Cool really got me laughing, it was both sides of the seventh grade student teacher divide.

I'm not going to list all the other poets but I will say that they were all good writers and performers. I'm glad that I found that program on the table at the cafe.

Day 4

The drive back to Salida the next day was uneventful. We saw a few interesting murals but only got pictures of one.
From Spring Break ...

We ate a an awful Mexican restaurant in Alamosa, all of our food swam in what they called chili except that the only difference between the red and the green was that the green was pink. Neither had any actually chilies or substance and it just soaked our food until it was mush. the most frightening part of the meal were my rellenos which had been wrapped in something like white bread before being fried. The building had been so promising, oh well just more proof that there is no good reason to stop in Alamosa for anything except gas.

The drive up the San Luis Valley was beautiful.
From Spring Break ...
The mix of clouds and blue sky made for depth and the winter browns put the mountains on a separate plane.
From Spring Break ...
From Spring Break ...
We were all happy to be done driving when we got back to the house.

Cafe Pasqual

When ever I travel I try to have at least one amazing meal. I had been hearing about Cafe Pasqual for over ten years but it did not seem to fit in our trip plans. But after a day of Museums Mary was tired and offered to watch Alder so we could go have dinner.

It was very cold. No it was very very cold and windy. But we decided that we should walk a little before eating. That only made the restaurant seem warmer and more friendly when we entered. Cafe Pasqual is small with art on the walls as well as Mexican streamers crossing the ceiling, but it doesn't fell crowded. There is a certain air of a restaurant that people are regulars at. I know that it is known all over the world for it's food but we showed up in the same stuff we had been wearing all day and fit right in.

Getting there at 6pm was lucky, since we did not have a reservation. But even if we had been later there is a community table that fills the center of the room where we could have shared a meal with others. Instead we had a table for two.

I caught myself looking down where a stroller would be only to remember that Alder was with his grandma. It felt like such a treat to be sitting there just the two of us enjoying a meal that did not involve breaking small pieces of food up for Alder.

Kevin ordered the chicken mole enchiladas which were sweet, spicy and dark. I had a bowl of slow cooked pork in orange and (I am forgetting the name it is a seed from the Yucatan that has an earthy taste). It was one of those meals that I will remember for a long time the food was amazing, coming in from the frigid air made the restaurant seem even more wonderful, and it was the first dinner date Kevin and I have had since Alder was born.

It was too cold for wine besides the food for all it's amazing flavor was not fancy. Instead we had Mexican hot chocolate and lemonade. I would have done better to have the hot chocolate too which was filled with spice and flavor.

But the dinner did not end there. Since we had not had wine we decided to get dessert. We couldn't decide so we got the chef's plate which had a small piece each of: Tangerine Flan, Chocolate Pecan Pie, Triple Mousse Cake, homemade Coffee ice cream and pieces of chocolate bark that was all over the plate. All of it was great, I'm not a tangerine fan but Kevin happily devoured the flan. But the chocolate pecan pie, eaten with bites of the ice cream, enamored me the most. I am an avowed pecan pie hater, I don't like the gelatinous sweet filling and find that the crusts are usually dry. But this was on a different planet, imagine replacing the guck of the evil version with a not too sweet chocolate. I do try to remember all parts of desserts that I like so I can try to imitate them at home but I admit that I don't even remember the crust only that it was perfect. So by the time we were done eating we were in a state of food-gasm.

I only regret that we did not get to try a breakfast there (yet.)

Day 3: Museums

From Spring Break ...
Santa Fe must be a great town to bike around when it is warm enough. As it was the weather had turned cold and windy after lunch but we decided to walk up the hill to the museums. Some of the museums in Santa Fe are in a complex called Museum Hill, this also includes two research facilities.

While Mary went to the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art we went over to what we thought was going to be an anthropological museum. That building ended up being a research center. I wished I had had something to research. The idea of sitting along the windows deep in reading some text thrilled me. Unfortunately Alder is not quite into long library stints unless there are a lot of board books to chew on.

So we went to the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. It was interesting but the whole thing was low lit and it made both Alder and I squirmy after the first hour. Luckily we found a great children's exploration room filled with lots of foam blocks made to look like adobe. While Alder enjoyed himself climbing through piles I imagined being there with an older Alder, wondering what his interests would be at four, seven even sixteen. Kevin was enthralled by the exhibits that covered history and daily life.

On an amusing side note the bags of flour they used for the exhibit were from the mill in Cortez where we used to get our flour. I still have one of the Blue Bird bags waiting to find a use for it.

mexican musicians, Girard exhibitionOur next museum was the International Museum of Folk Art. This was the best part of the trip to me. The permanent collection of work was a little overwhelming. There were hundreds and thousands of pieces from all over the world especially many miniature figures of religious ceremonies and village events. A great deal of this collection was Mexican and the bright colors were a welcome contrast from the low light of the first museum.

The exhibit that I really connected with was called Variations. It grouped items not by country but by what they were. This meant that you could look at twenty different masks from all over the world and see the continuity of the human experience. The exhibit got me thinking about the artists in this country who use the vocabulary of these other cultures to make their art. Rather than acknowledging that there could be an American culture they go outside to find a cultural form to use. I understand the draw of this, the Mexican colors or Japanese starkness are both intoxicating. But these artists not only take the methods but the experiences as well.skeleton musician

These artists may be having fun playing in these forms but I do not think that they are really making art from the soul or heart. Yes the folk process involves taking elements from others but they should be taken and incorporated into the artists own experience. It should be form that is "borrowed" not experience.

The exhibit itself only fueled my want to work on my print making. I am trying to use images that I am finding in an old family photo album as a starting point to make art that is about me and what I have experienced in life. Who knows where it will all go.

Mar 3, 2007

Day 3: Spriting and Tea

Of the things I miss most from before Alder long urban walks by myself is the top of the list. They used to be a daily occurrence, now I still can take them but I have Alder with me which means that I don't cover quite the same distance nor have the same luxury of letting my mind wander as freely as it did.

The first morning that we were in Santa Fe I took off by myself for a walk. I wanted to see what the city looked like away from the downtown. I walked for over an hour in residential neighborhoods. I had hoped to find a local coffee shop to sit in but the direction I chose was purely homes. The weather started out the perfect day for walking, the sky was white but the unseen sun was bright. My mind wandered further than my walk emptying itself of kinks and dust. I call this spriting, it is sort of the opposite of seated meditation since you are constantly moving and letting your mind think about what ever it comes across. When you have come to the end of your spriting your mind is as empty as meditation but the process has none of the forcing that meditation has in it.

My wandering lead me to The Tea House that was located on Canyon rd near the galleries. It welcomed me as the weather began to turn nasty. This is one of those places where you can lose an hour or six, drinking tea (from a six page menu) and getting comfortable at a table or in comfortable chairs and couches. The tea house actually has five or six rooms. I found myself at in a cozy leather chair in a room with a kiva fire place.

I was not willing to move from the Tea House so I told everyone else to meet me there. I knew Kevin would like it, in fact he says it was his favorite part of the trip.
From Spring Break ...

Day 2

We got up early and all piled in to Mary's (Kevin's mom) car. She happily camped herself in back with Alder giving us the keys. It was so sunny that we had to stop in Villa Grove and get a pair of sunglasses. It was one of those cafe/motel/general stores that had a little bit of everything but not a lot of anything. My choices of glasses we for the most part hideous with Dramamine green lenses or mirrored glass. 2/3s of the rack was empty. I found a serviceable pair that at least kept the sun out of my eyes.

The drive from Salida to Santa Fe on 285 is fairly desolate. Other than Alamosa towns were few and tiny. Once we crossed into New Mexico they virtually disappeared until we reached Ojo Caliente, a small town with a big hot spring and inn. We stopped for lunch, Mary had forgotten a bathing suit. The stop served to give Kevin and I an idea for a more romantic trip some time soon.

Once we got to Santa Fe and checked into the hotel we found that the small pool was heated. Even though it was only about 50 out we took Alder swimming. It was one of those moments when the reality of being a parent fills me. Something about being in the water with my son and husband that made it all feel so real. I no longer feel like we are faking this parenting thing. Yes some of our methods and beliefs are unconventional but we don't doubt what we are doing.

Later that afternoon we walked downtown and wandered the shops for a little while and then had dinner in a Spanish restaurant. The food was really good but the Hot Chocolate was amazing. Unfortunately my intestines were not as happy as the rest of me and I ended my night with them hurting. Since we were in a motel room I indulged in watching some Law and Order (one of the few shows I miss not having a TV).

Day 1

We drove to Salida to Kevin's parent's house. Kevin and I managed to have a business meeting of sorts while I drove. We talked about everything from goals to marketing. It is hard to think about what niche his practice will have when we do not know where we are moving yet or how many acupuncturists are already in the town but we've talked about some ideas that might make the practice unique enough while also really engaging what ever community we are in.

Sex Roles

We got back from our trip this afternoon and I've been busy since doing grocerie shopping and cooking. Writing that sentence is an uncomfortable one to write. If you didn't know Kevin and I you might think that it was some sex role thing but it isn't. It is Saturday which means that the stores will be really crowded and Kevin hates crowds so I offered to do the shopping while he and Alder stayed home (they did do laundry and put clothes away. As for the cooking I love to cook and Kevin did not feel like cooking so I did. Also I wanted to start my split pea soup. Kevin already has congee started for tomorrow.