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"

May 31, 2007

Dolores LaChapelle

The following is my next article to be published at Travels in Paradise.

The first winter I was in Colorado I took an avalanche course at Hesperus Ski Hill, a one lift hill where cows grazed in the summer. It was not the full course that they gave up at the Silverton Avalanche School but it was a solid start for someone who liked to cross country ski in the backcountry. Among our instructors was a married couple who were full of stories of the old days of backcountry skiing. As the years have past the memory faded. Until the other day when I was reading a magazine and there was an obituary for Dolores LaChapelle. In thinking about what I know about her life I believe the couple was her and her husband.

LaChapelle is among a group of environmental writers who shared a philosophy known as Deep Ecology. As Alan Drengson of the Foundation of Deep Ecology explains Deep Ecology is "the long-range deep approach involves redesigning our whole systems based on values and methods that truly preserve the ecological and cultural diversity of natural systems."

Dolores focused on the sacred connection between people and the natural world. She explored this through ritual, backcountry skiing and the sacred connection between the earth and women. Her writings were hefty and academic and her ideas we spiritual in nature. She felt that "If we are to truly connect with the land, we need to change our perceptions and our approach more than our location." LaChapelle lived out her philosophies in Silverton Colorado where she divided her time between writing and directing the Way of the Mountain Leaning Center. In her spare time, Dolores also skied the back country.

As a mother I find myself looking for spiritual connections more often. LaChapelle's belief that ritual as a form of connection to the earth and ones community has infiltrated our life. She saw the connection between our lives and the planet we live on in a feminine way. How was I to know who the funny old woman with her tales of teaching members of the Army Corps of Engineers how to detonate avalanches in the seventies had so much more to teach.

As a family we are creating our own rituals, we hike in the canyon with the apple trees every spring when they are in bloom to welcome their sweetness. As my son is drifting off to sleep I sing him songs of the mountains and seas. When choosing our wedding date we decided to coincide it with Lammas which is the celebration of the first wheat harvest in the Celtic tradition. To recognize both our marriage and Lammas the spot where we were married has a garden that blooms around that time.

It is my understanding of the importance of these rituals that we seek out that is the gift that the words of Dolores LaChapelle gave me.

One of her articles is here

For more information on Deep Ecology you can find it here

May 30, 2007

The View From New York

The View From New York
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots
This is the view I'll be looking at tomorrow night. For now I am sitting in the chaos of packing a family of three. If the picture isn't obvious we are heading to New York. I have my 15th high school reunion this weekend and then we are off to explore Vermont towns as future homes.

The trip is going to be exciting but right now I am too caught up in the realities of packing for thirteen days and the idea of sitting on the plane for three hours with a squirming child.

That's not completely true. I am especially looking forward to Friday when Alder and I have the day to ourselves in New York (Kevin isn't showing up until Sunday). With no friends or family scheduled wee can go on an adventure of some sort. I think it might involve the ocean.

As for the reunion I have no idea what to expect. It is a random group of people from my class who are coming, none who I have seen since a college. We were a small graduating class and all got along pretty well. Now we have kids and jobs it should be interesting.

I should get back to packing....

May 29, 2007

Why We Have a Family Bed

So awhile ago we bought a crib. We thought it might be good for all of us if Alder had his own place to sleep sometimes. The first week he actually spent part of every night in it. Then for a while it was a napping place where he wouldn't fall out. But then he figured out how to carefully get off the bed so the crib has been used exactly six times in three months.

When Alder was born we were unsure about a family bed. We like the idea but were unsure of how it would work in reality. It was rocky at first, Kevin was afraid of rolling on him, but it seemed impractical to get up to breast feed him throughout the night. So he stayed in our bed and after the first week discovered mornings.

Mornings in our house have always been early, but now they are wondrous. Those moments when we are all awake and being with each other in the warmth of the bed are our happiest. To wake up to Alder running his fingers through my hair or burrowing against my side it pure joy. He usually spends the first half hour or so going back and forth between us with cuddles and smiles.

We spend this time talking about our plans for the day, our dreams and much more. Before he was born the mornings were always about bounding out of bed and getting dressed. Sure we would slow down for breakfast together but there was always a period of rushing before hand. Time in which our moods could change, stresses be remembered. Alder has taught to slow down and move at a natural rhythm, I have many more calm days now that we have our morning routine.

Of course we are often asked how long we are planning on sleeping with him. I can't really answer that yet. Right now it works for us, someday he may want his own space but we are never going to force him out of our bed. Any of the reasons that we had tried the crib have evaporated, sleeping as a family is one of the greatest pleasures in life.

[note: I use the term family bed rather than co-sleeping because I feel that co-sleeping sounds like some medical or educational term rather than something that creates cozy connections]

Hints of Summer

Drive Way Potlcuk 1
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots

More Proof That He is Not a Baby

Driveway Potluck 4
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots

It must have been funny

Driveway Potluck 5
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots

May 25, 2007

Project Day

Originally uploaded by Ink Spots
Looks of productivity going on today. In the morning I worked on another book cover embroidery, edited four articles, wrote one review and started one article.

In the afternoon Alder and I went over to Trish's house for Chinese food and working on another project (it is secret until it's done). I am not a sewer, yet, so working over at Trish's is better. She has a whole sewing room set up. I love the space with it's bright walls and natural light.

Alder was a really good side kick today. I try not to have too many days where he only tags along but I had been putting off a lot of this stuff and it needed to get done. By the end of the day he was weepy and tired.

Luckily papa was getting home at the same time as we were so we had a family cuddle until he drifted off to sleep. Right now he's asleep in the bed in is overalls. A worn out boy.

May 23, 2007

Volvo crane

Volvo crane
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots.
There are somethings in this world that I can't even begin to understand. Turning a Volvo into a crane is one of them.

May 22, 2007

My First Business Meeting

No I am not going to bore you with what it was about. I'm just surprised how good it felt to be out in the world doing something "legitimate" where the topic of conversation never once landed on children. Where I could ask questions without being looked at as a mom asking them.

Before Alder was born a lot of my work revolved around educational philosophy and logistics, now I am usually focused on what we can do for the day that interests both of us. I have left the cerebral world for the tangible one and I really like the change. Even in my writing my focus is on life and the world around us not theory. But some days I miss the debate, the research, the synthesis of ideas.

Today I got to stretch some of those muscles for a little while.

Traffic on a hot spring day; SPC

Traffic on a hot spring day
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots.
The temperature is reaching into the 80s. It's taking three turns of the light to go one block. I still have my sweater on and can feel the sweat on my back. Why didn't I bike?

May 20, 2007

Poem Snack 3

I say Live, Live because of the sun,
The dream, the excitable gift.
- Anne Sexton


Amy and Trish 2005
Originally uploaded by Ink Spots.
I was sitting working on another sewn cover for a book thinking about how exciting and satisfying it is to work on projects like this and to finish them (not always my strong suit). But over the past few years I have been inspired by these two women to focus on my projects. It isn't anything they have said to me just the example that they have set for me. But they aren't just tireless artists they are amazing women who I love spending time with. They have become some of the people who I have connected closest with in Denver. I will miss them a lot when we go. But they are the sort of friends that don't disappear because of distance.

note: a year ago trish stopped smoking but the picture is one of my favorites so I had to use it.

May 19, 2007

On the occation of a sunny day for yard saling

Some people go to the spa, others go off to some fancy mall, all in search of a little indulgence. Today I got to indulge myself in yard and estate sales. It was a bright sunny morning and Kevin needed study time so I loaded Alder up in the car and headed over to some of the ritzier neighborhoods of Denver.

Our first stop was a small sale where we picked up a CD. Then back into the car and the next sale on I walked away with 4 books. Then we came across a sign for an estate sale (these are always thicker).
The day was worth it just to be able to go into this house. It had been built in the '60's and still had all the original modern styling. Including the turquoise, walnut and brass kitchen. There was even an atrium with a fountain (dry). While I spent most of my time looking at the house I did find a few pieces of clothing for me.

Next we came to another estate sale but this one was run by one of those companies that over charges for everything. Again we enjoyed the architecture but no buying went on there.

At this point I thought we were heading home but we passed by a school having a rummage sale and I couldn't pass it by (this was the point of the day after all). This was the only stop on the trip that I wished that I was alone. There was so much stuff in giant piles that I could only look at a little while holding Alder. Here we scored another book some clothes for both of us and some baked sale goods.

Now we were going home, except there was this one sign that just struck me as one I should follow. There wasn't much at the sale but a ton of CDs, I walked out with 8 including a few I had been looking for. At that point I was out of energy and cash so we headed home.

LIST of scored stuff

Sarah McLachlan Surfacing

Jonatha Brooke 10 cent Wings

O Brother Where Art Thou? sound track

Afro Celt Sound System Vol 3

Greg Brown One More Goodnight Kiss

The Story The Angel in the House

This American Life Lies Sissies and Fiascoes

Nomad Nomad

Laura Love Octoroon


TC Boyle The Tortilla Curtain

Benjamin Kunkel Indecision

Haven Kimmel A Girl Named Zippy

Allegra Goodman The Family Merkowitz

Myla Goldberg Bee Season


1960's Wool Jacket with fake fleece lining.

Silk Turtleneck

Linen Shirt



Cow Overalls

Garden Overalls

So I like to indulge in a little consumerism every once in a while. When it's used I don't mind.

May 18, 2007

Gardening begins

Denver is funny it wavers between cold and hot but rarely has much weather in the 50- 75 range. This week has been an exception to this. So I got the call this morning from my friends that I share a plot with in an urban garden that this afternoon they were going to head over to start weeding.

Jenna and Nils at work

So I know it's been raining a bunch lately but I wasn't ready for the forest of weeds that had taken root. These were the sort of weeds that had decided that they were staying for a while. So there were were shovel, polanski and rake bruting the weeds out. Along the way we found two rows of lettuce that had reseeded itself and a few squash plants.

Nils with Alder

The garden was natural habitat for Alder he was a content and curious babe among the dirt and plants. To keep him out of the way of the tools we would stick him in a far corner of the plot among the weeds (which were up to my chest in some spots) and he would find his way back. The way he was talking to himself you could tell he was on an adventure.

May 17, 2007

Pictures for Pat

Because you asked. Looking at these make me realize just how much I hate beige carpet. In fact, it's carpet in general that I dislike. I suppose gray is as good as any other color when you live in a cave like our place.

May 16, 2007

A bit of craftiness

One of the things that I promised myself when we decided to move was that I would use up as much of my craft and art supplies before we moved as I could. For weeks now I have been wanting to start but I didn't have a clear idea of what I was going to do with it all. Then the other day I was inspired to start an etsy shop. I thought that if I had a place to sell what I made I might be more productive.

It's worked! I already put up one item.

Then yesterday I opened the sewing cabinet and saw just how much fabric I've acquired. Pretty amusing for someone who doesn't really know how to operate a sewing machine. But I was sparked with an idea. I am embroidering pictures onto the fabric to use instead of paper for book covers. The journals aren't done yet but these are the covers I've made so far.

Click on the image to see them completely.

I think maybe this needs a border.

She's from a song I sing to Alder about the woman who dances with the moon.

What else could I do with cow print fabric.

A free hand flower.

I did all of these today. What fun, it's a lot easier to put down and pick up embroidery that knitting. A perfect crafty project to do while spending time with Alder.

I realize now that scanning these fabrics isn't the best way to show them.

The End of the Day; Self portrait challenge

I am beginning to feel more comfortable photographing myself. This was just a quick shot at the end of a day. It was one of those evenings when the air is pregnant with rain but nothing comes of it. It reminds me of a date where the kiss just never seems to happen. Later that night when the air cooled and we were all in bed I made sure to kiss my husband to make up for the rain.
Posted by Picasa

May 14, 2007

Please, please use these words correctly

Have you ever noticed how there are some words in the English language that are constantly misused? It seems that everyone I know has been infected with the mixing up of trite, contrite, and contrive. So I am going to set the record strait, with the help of Mr. Webster and the brothers Merriam.


Pronunciation: 'kän-"trIt, k&n-'
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English contrit, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin contritus, from Latin, past participle of conterere to grind, bruise, from com- + terere to rub -- more at THROW
: feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming contrite criminal> contrite apology> <contrite sighs>
- con·trite·ly adverb
- con·trite·ness noun

Pronunciation: k&n-'trIv
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): con·trived; con·triv·ing
Etymology: Middle English controven, contreven, from Anglo-French controver, contrever, from Medieval Latin contropare to compare, from Latin com- + Vulgar Latin *tropare to compose, find -- more at
transitive verb
1 a : DEVISE, PLAN <contrive ways of handling the situation> b : to form or create in an artistic or ingenious manner <contrived household utensils from stone>
2 : to bring about by stratagem or with difficulty : MANAGE contrived to win their support>
intransitive verb : to make schemes
- con·triv·er noun

Pronunciation: 'trIt
Function: adjective
Inflected Form(s): trit·er; trit·est
Etymology: Latin tritus, from past participle of terere to rub, wear away -- more at THROW
: hackneyed or boring from much use : not fresh or original
- trite·ly adverb
- trite·ness noun
synonyms TRITE, HACKNEYED, STEREOTYPED, THREADBARE mean lacking the freshness that evokes attention or interest. TRITE applies to a once effective phrase or idea spoiled from long familiarity <"you win some, you lose some" is a trite expression>. HACKNEYED stresses being worn out by overuse so as to become dull and meaningless hackneyed>. STEREOTYPED implies falling invariably into the same pattern or form stereotyped and out-of-date>. THREADBARE applies to what has been used until its possibilities of interest have been totally exhausted threadbare plot>.


A too much in the brain list.

1) Kevin took a part time job raft guiding in Salida so we will be going down there for three or four days a week through August. A good thing.
a) We get out of the Denver heat.
b) Extra income is always good.
c) Kevin loves to guide.
d) Alder gets to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa before we move.

2) We decided that we would move forward our move until September. A good thing.
a) Roads are less crowded.
b) Kevin can have a few more weeks to study for national boards.
c) More time to get everything done after my business trip.
d) Cooler weather for driving (in theory).

3) Alder now turns around before going down stairs. A very very good thing.

4) My back has now been hurting for over a month. A bad thing.
a) I can hardly lift Alder by the afternoon.
b) No hiking without Kevin to carry babe.
c) I don't fall asleep well.
d) I'm cranky because I haven't slept well.
e) Kevin says I'm moving like a 90 year old.

5) I am going to start Yoga. A good thing.
a) My back will feel better.
b) My mind will slow down.
c) My hamstrings will stretch out.
d) I can go back to being a 33 year old.

6) I am starting to sell the older baby stuff we don't need on Craigslist. A good thing.
a) Less junk in the house.
b) A little cash in hand.

7) We are leaving in less than 3 weeks for our visit out east. A mixed thing.
a) There is a lot to get done before then.
b) I can't wait to see everyone.

8) We have to start a five month calendar so we don't forget anything. A mixed thing.
a) The summer is usually for last minute get togethers.
b) We might actually get everything done by September.

May 12, 2007

The irony in my day and what it has to do with Israel (long)

This morning I felt awash in irony. As I set of to Synagogue I listened on NPR to a report about the conflict in Israel and Palestine(link to the story). Even though I am coming into my Jewishness I can't find a place in my heart for Zionism or the current attitudes that prevail in Israel. The report was discussing how the Israelis were creating more check points rather than lessening the number, as they had said they would.

I can imagine the fear that people living in that country must have being surrounded by hostile neighbors. But continuing to keep an apartheid state where Palestinians can not travel between their lands is part of the problem. God given right or not the Israelis should have taken into account the response the rest of the region would have had in 1948.

Jews have never been colonizers (although we have been colonized often). It took the help of the British Empire (albeit their tail end) to help create and "mandate" Israel. However the times of governmental colonization were coming to an end. Where ever our ancestors were from the fact is we were primarily Europeans and Americans commandeering land in the middle east. Land that the Muslims also felt was theirs.

I don't mean to give a basic history lesson but it seems that often when this discussion comes up not everyone knows that Israel in it's current form has only been there since 1948. I find a lot of Christians that I talk to think that the battle on this land has been going on for centuries. It has but those were the Crusades not the Arab Israeli conflict.

Anyway back to the irony. After fuming for a few blocks about the conflict I resigned myself to acknowledging that there was little I could do about it. Before going to temple I stopped for some coffee and was reading The Yiddish Policeman's Union Michael Chabon's new book. In Chabon's book he imagines that Israel fails and the post war Jews end up in a temporary district in the panhandle of Alaska. In his book the Jews are about to loose their home (once again).

His story, in light of the news that I had been listening to, seems almost hopeful. That their might have been another answer (although this one is not successful either). Sigh... what can I do.

So I go to the Synagogue (which happens to be in a Methodist church) for the dedication of the new ark for keeping the Torah in. We sing a lot of songs all that seem to have to do with peace. We say the weekly prayers, which highlight peace again. While I know that there are many members of the congregation who agree with me about Israel (to varying amounts) the irony of the service strikes me.

How can we be talking of peace as something we hold so close to our hearts when we still remain in such a contentious position in Israel. I know that there is a lot I do not understand, both politically and historically, still I can't help but feeling the discordance of the entire situation in Israel.

May 11, 2007

Just a Day in the Sun

Since we got the bike trailer Alder and I have barely gotten in the car. It is so nice to be able to get around town faster than walking but with out driving. Today was a little much, we were meeting Kate (godmother) to go for a bike ride and to the Botanic Gardens plant sale across town. This meant that we rode eight miles before we started.

The day was good. Playground time with a second adult to chase him around. Discovering how to climb ladders (doesn't he know he is supposed to walk first?). Picnic in the shade. Godmama Kate carrying Alder as we walked through the gardens. Of course that part gave me serious garden envy. Meeting up with Papa for Brazilian Limonade (one of the earths greatest inventions).

Alder is really good in the trailer but we were in and out of it for eight hours. Even a mellow kid like him has his limit. Luckily we caught up with Kevin near school and got a ride home.

It's hard for me to remember that I have to shorten my rides now that I have him with me. It used to be that if I had a free day I would just head out. If it got too much I would jump on the bus. But with a trailer the bus isn't an option.

So we're finally home and both exhausted and well sunned (one of us is so thoroughly dirty that he was sticking to himself). I can only hope that it doesn't get as hot this summer as usual (reason number three that we are leaving Denver: average summer daily temp in in the mid 90s!)

Unfortunately I forgot to put the card back in my camera so no pictures.

May 9, 2007

A brief grrr

Blogger and/or Picasa have lost my photos for the challenge twice, if they don't keep this time I may have to scream.

way down on evans

I have a love of wandering areas of town that aren't really for walking. So I was excited when I discovered that the place where I was having the windshield replaced was in just such an area. For the two hours that I had to kill Alder and I walked (I pushed he sat) past all sorts of industrial stuff, stopped into a thrift store, and climbed a very long hill.

Technically I was having issues with getting any street into the picture since I didn't have anyone who could take a picture far enough away. If anyone has suggestions I'd love it. These two are the best of the lot.

Click the photos to enlarge them.

May 8, 2007

More Articles Published

Another article published! Actually two there was one last week as well. Soon I'll be doing gear reviews as well.

Way Down on Evans; Self Portrait Challenge

Hit this link to see the post, this entry got messed up. LINK

May 6, 2007

Multi-person bikes

I was just reading Blue-Skies-Farm blog and found this great post about multi seat bicycling. It reminded me why we have a bike trailer and only one car. Most of our families don't like the fact that only have one car, and they don't believe us when we tell them that there are many days that it doesn't get driven.

I can understand Kevin's family who is from a semi-rural area but my family is from New York city where they use their cars about once a week. We have most stuff we need in walking distance from our house and most of our friends live right along the route of the bus that stops two blocks from here.

While we can take the bus, it is expensive ($3 round trip) which is more than parking at the main library. But now that we have the bike trailer I feel that Alder and I have a lot more freedom to go exploring. In fact we're off in about an hour down to the river trail.

Poem Snack 2

Work by Mary Oliver

How beautiful
this morning
was Pasture Pond.

It had lain in the dark, all night,
catching rain

on its broad back.
All day I work
with linen of words

and pins of punctuation
all day I hang out
over a desk

grinding my teeth
Then I sleep

Then I come out of the house,
even before the sun is up,

and walk back through the pinewoods
to Pasture Pond.

May 5, 2007

Making Paneer

Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the cheese when it was solid. This is my first cheese making endeavor. It was really very easy, all you need is a half gallon of whole milk and two limes.

First you heat the milk on medium in a heavy bottom kettle, stir it occasionally to keep the bottom from burning.

When it's boiling lower the heat and add the juice of one of the limes.

Then stir constantly until the curds form. If this doesn't happen after five minutes add some more lime (I ended up adding another half of a lime).

When the curds are fairly large turn off the heat and let it stand for about ten minutes.

Then pour it into four layers of cheese cloth in a colander. Let it drip for a while.

Then gather up the corners of the cloth and tie them up so that the knot is just above the curds (I found that tying on the diagonal was the best way to keep it together).

Then hang it on the neck of the sink faucet for a half hour.

When the half hour passes twist the cloth tighter around the cheese to squeeze out the remaining liquid.

Hang it again for another half hour.

After than form it on a plate in a rectangle and put it into the fridge for a few hours.

After that you can cut it up and sautéed it for things like Saag Paneer or use it as a spread like cream cheese.

I suppose you could add some salt or herbs at the beginning if you want to give it a little more flavor for a spread.

While making cheese you might want to keep a good eye on your kids or pets, if you don't you'll never know where you'll find them.

Visit From Grandpa

My Dad left yesterday after a four day visit. He is becoming more and more a grandpa each time he sees Alder. It's interesting to watch him see his grandson and how he is amazed by the changes in him since January. I guess I've gotten used to Alder's constant changes and new skills but to my Dad they were all new and thrilling. We didn't do a lot but had fun, ate good food, and talked. It was really lucky that he was around Thursday afternoon, I suddenly got one of those brain rattling headaches (damn sugary dessert) and all I wanted to do was sleep a little. Kevin was in school but my dad just took Alder and played for a few hours. It was magic to get to sleep off the headache. I was well enough afterwards to make a big curry dinner, his favorite.

Here are some pictures, click on them to see them larger.

Grandpa and Alder at the playground.

Alder loves the feeling of sand through his fingers.

Half of this playground is large boulders arranged to look like water animals, the rocks are only carved in occasional areas to accent the natural shapes.

After the playground a yummy lunch at Devils' Food.

May 3, 2007

A Poem Snack

My Dad is visiting for the week so life is busy. I needed a moment to my self and a poem so I thought I would share it.

The Wild by Wendell Berry

In the empty lot- a place
not natural, but wild- among
the trash of human absence,

A few wood birds
fly and sing
in the new foliage
-warblers and tanagers, birds
wild as leaves; in a million
each one would be rare,

new to the eyes. A man
couldn't make a habit
of such color,

such flight and singing.
But they are the habit of this
wasted place. In them

the ground is wise. They are
its remembrance of what is.

After writing the poem down I now wonder if I agree with it. I am a great believer in those small wild places near by (see HERE). I don't think of them as "trash of human absence" so what then is it about this poem that attracts me? I think its the color and wildness of the birds. Even they seem to disagree with the poet.

May 1, 2007

Pause; Self Portrait Challenge

This assignment intimidated me a lot. I wasn't sure when or how to take my own picture out on the street and I was a little self conscious doing it as well. I am usually the one behind the camera not in front of it (this is one reason I joined SPC). This first week I opted to use an picture from last year as a warm up. Obviously I did not take the picture myself but I had been complaining that there were hardly any pictures of me with my son so she took a lot while she was here.

We had gone for a walk to get away from the chaos of the weekend. It was only a pause since we had to go back to my house to set up for Alder's naming ceremony. Everything that weekend went smoothly (even barbecuing the turkey) but it was a lot of relatives and hosting. I think the moment I sat on the bench was the only quiet I got.

Click the picture to enlarge it.