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"

Aug 27, 2007


So we made it across the country. Alder was powered primarily by chocolate Newman-Os and the rest of us on coffee and grease. If you have choice do not drive cross country with a one year old unless you are planning to stop and see stuff. We've been here in our new place two days and are living in a sea of boxes, the kitchen and bedroom are almost done but much more to go.

Right now I'm stealing computer time from my cousin who was awesome and helped with the unpacking, but he's off today so we'll be computer-less for a few more days. Then there will be pictures.

Love to everyone and see you soon.


Aug 18, 2007

4 Days See Ya In Vermont

Just a quick note as we are finishing packing. The computer is next up. Our next week will be filled with graduation, painting, packing the truck and driving across the country on 36, 24, 6 and finally onto the interstate for I-90 across New York. See you on the other side.

Aug 17, 2007

5 Days Simplicity...returning to

If I am up at 3 am you know that life is stressful right now. Of course we are only in the middle of moving across the country to start a business in a town where we know no one. So instead of getting some much needed sleep I am sitting here on the computer (actually in front of it, I would smush it if I sat on it).

Yes there is a lot of unknowns coming up soon so I am trying to focus on the things that I actually know. This means I have spent and inordinate amount of time collecting paint chips anytime I am at or in the neighborhood of a store that sells paint. Even if our landlord doesn't let us paint we will be able to do the fabric wall thing. Either way thinking about colors has been a good stress reliever lately.

This brings me to what I look forward to the most when we move, a return to simplicity. The last few years have been chaotic between Kevin's school and having a baby we haven't had much time or mental space for it. But now that school is over we are going to go back to our old ways. I am so excited.

This world we live in is complicated, there are so many things going on that we can't simplify (have you looked at the news paper lately?). the one thing any person can control is their own life. That is why we chose simplicity. Before you get any pictures of a Japanese inspired home with no furniture and no entertainment let me explain how we do simplicity.

To us it means our Friday night date involves cooking dinner together and dancing in the kitchen to Rosemary Clooney or Sam Bush. It means creating a home where curling up on the couch with a book is the fought after and then pile on location. It means being out on the trail before seven, just because. It means reading out loud to each other in the car. It also means that we are going to get organized.

The organization thing is the tough one for us. We are fairly good at organizing, it's the staying organized that is difficult. We get complacent and things pile up, then the piles become enemies and we fight dealing with them. But we are determined to start fresh begin with new systems for getting things done, keeping things neat, going out less to eat, and most importantly spending more time together. It sounds linear, I know, but there needs to be an underlying structure that allows for the creative, spontaneous, and random to occur.

here are some resources I found on getting organized:
I think this list is about where I am, a beginner.

This site has some good ideas, doesn't seem as Zen as the title though.

I like the 90% rules Emme has here.

This is the website of the New Road Map Foundation, Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez is the book which their ideas are based, it is a good look at how to become financially independent.

And of course there is the book that I found in a used books store seven years ago: The Simple Living Guide by Janet Lours Amazon doesn't have a copy but you can find it at Abebooks used.

The saddest part of looking up all these sites was the amount of sites that were about things you should by to help you organize. I'm not talking bookshelves and file folders but lots of crap.

I suppose I should attempt to get some sleep.

Aug 16, 2007

At the Gardens

It was a day of firsts and lasts. We went to the Botanic Gardens with our Thursday friends for the last time this morning. We found an out of the way garden with only one gate and let the kids run around while we sat and talked. We biked over from their house and didn't have strollers, Alder was happy to walk everywhere. This is one of those things that I have been dreaming of since he was born to walk with him holding hands rather than pushing him or carrying him.

6 Days When Your House Looks Like This

When your house looks like this:

You really only can go do this:
Or smile like this:

Aug 14, 2007

Visual Verbalism

When I am tired or trying to stay focused on something, like when I am at a lecture or driving listening to NPR. My mind starts to see the words written out in front of my eyes. Sometimes it's like a game where I try to keep up with the speaker, trying to catch each word. Other days it just happens. Mainly I just put this in the same category as yes I am a little weird (as my cousins reminded me in their birthday card). But just chalking it up to weirdness doesn't really give it meaning, if I did that I would not ever get to understand myself. I think it is a mix of my visual learning style along with my love of words and a little bit strangeness of being me.

I tend to do it in spates and I haven't for months until I went to the Earth Expo and got stuck in an incredibly long presentation which wasn't very relevant to me. While my friend took notes and asked questions I watched as the words the lecturer said became print before my eyes. Having Alder around most of the time is enough of a mind focus that I don't need to do the word thing. But I'm guessing driving cross-country I'll have a few moments of visual verbalism.

8 Days What a wonderful birthday

My birthday was perfect. Well as perfect as a birthday in the middle of packing up a house in the middle of a heat wave can be perfect. Kevin changed every diaper yesterday and he even braved packing the kitchen. I wasn't quiet as productive as him yesterday but we spent the day packing things and talking.

We made dinner reservations for eight at Le Central. This worked well because Alder cozily slept in his stroller while we had a romantic dinner. We even split a nice bottle of wine (I love the bring the bottle home law in Colorado, you actually take rest home).

He got me this book
Cover Image

I love the stories in and the illustrations by Meilo So are gorgeous. He always tries to find gifts that will inspire me to do more art.

We are trying to get in the habit of giving each other, and Alder gifts, that have more with doing than things. The other part of my gift is a camping trip to Maine in September. We would like to get to the point where each of us gets a birthday trip as the main gift. Of course there always needs to be something to unwrap, even if it's just the map.

Aug 13, 2007

9 Days ...and I turn 34

Since our lives are getting all chaotic and sleepless with this move I am going to do that less than inspiring 34 things about me for my 34th birthday, mainly because it's what I did in the middle of last night trying to get myself back to sleep.

1. My favorite place on earth is the remains of an old broom handle mill in western MA.

2. I am afraid of pigeons ... I touched one I thought was a statue as a child and it flew at me.

3. I have lived in 16 different places in the 11 years that I have lived in Colorado.

4. As a child I would sneak and eat all the spinach before it was time for dinner.

5. When I am stressed I dress all in blue and it makes me very happy.

6. Palisade Peaches (from Palisade Colorado) are my favorite fruit.

7. I can not stand when people start sentences with 'Yeah, no....'

8. I actual like moving and setting up new homes, although someday I would like one of our own.

9. My 'best friend' (for lack of better words) and I have known each other since the first day of Kindergarten, have worked together many times, moved to Colorado together but have never lived together.

10. I love making to do lists, in fact I have a little book just for them.

11. I went tree climbing with my husband on our first date.

12. When I am away from the ocean for too long I miss it like a friend.

13. When I am away from the mountains too long I miss them like part of myself.

14. I was born at 6:36 in the morning and I am still a morning person.

15. I can change my own oil, spark plugs, distributor caps and brakes.

16. I only have a TV for watching DVDs for fourteen years.

17. I love making homemade pasta.

18. I love our Kitchen Aid mixer, I use it almost everyday.

19. I am left-handed.

20. I am moving in 9 days to Vermont.

21. The only time I ever went fishing was in college when my friend and I spent more time reading out loud to each other than catching fish, we did catch a shoe.

22. I learned how to whistle when I was 2 years old.

23. I did not really learn how to spell until I was 23, it just sort of clicked then.

24. I am addicted to the public library.

25. My husband swears that I am addicted to Public Radio.

26. My favorite number is 24.

27. I rather see live music outside at a festival any day.

28. I am an only child raised by a single father from the time I was 12.

29. I have an extended family that is as close to me as if they were my own siblings, my cousins are Uncle Dan and Aunt Amanda to Alder.

30. I have never stolen anything but I have trespassed.

31. I once had a week long romance with a guy who had a motorcycle who I showed all over the Southwest of Colorado from the back of his bike with out a helmet.

32. I love going to Estate Sales not only to find stuff but because I have seen the insides of some of the most amazing homes that way, I always bring a camera.

34. I love that my birthday is during a meteor shower.

That was incredibly self-involved but a lot of fun. Sort of my own little birthday gift to me.

Aug 11, 2007

11Days What Alder Does

Walking out into the rain (quickly followed by crawling in away from the hail)

Finding a cave just his size.

Enjoying a drink while out to dinner.

He has two new things that he is doing. He has figured out how to climb out the cat door, Bancha is now back to knocking to come in. He also has been helping with doing laundry, putting stuff in the washer, but most of all he loves closing the door.

Everytime I think that things are not changing with him he goes ahead and surprises me. Have I mentioned he says Mama on occation (yes the turns me to 'mush mush' to quote my husband)
Have a good weekend.

Aug 10, 2007

More on the Move

As our days in Denver diminish I find myself distracting myself with thoughts of colors. Specifically I am pondering wall colors for our new home. It isn't a very practical thing to think about when I've seen the place but it keeps my mind away from the larger issues that moving brings.

I've come to terms with leaving Colorado, but I think the sorrow of leaving friends will come later, probably on those days this fall when all I want is a long walk with a friend. The other issues are more practical starting a business, finding a part-time (from home?) job, money, making new friends, yet they are all their in the back of my mind.

At this point it really is better to just think about paint and curtains, did I mention the curtains? Tomorrow is the beginning of the good byes. We are going out to eat with good friends for the last time. This isn't meant to sound mopey. Just trying to contextualizing for myself.

The funny part is I look at my last entry here and I see that in some ways we are still just living here. There isn't really a transition period like with other moves. Kevin graduates and three days later we drive out of here. Period.

So many of our moves have involved weeks of in between time where we would stay with people in neither place. These were always the most difficult for us. This time we are jumping in no time to ponder and doubt our choices only time to do.

Of course this past month we have had to abandon any semblance of simple living we had going on. Between the heat, Kevin's boards and moving we've spent too much time in the car and not enough outside or in the kitchen. Hopefully we can quickly regain our balance when we land in Vermont.

Aug 9, 2007

13 Days A Day in the Life

5:15 Wake up

5:30- 6:30 Check email and do other computer stuff.

6:30-7:45 Breakfast with family.

7:45- 8:15 Actually get a shower, get dressed (interesting with most of my clothing packed)

8:15-8:50 Drive Kevin to school on the way to downtown library.

9 am- 10am Get to library an hour early so we go for a walk around the Golden Triangle. Spend a half hour in front of the library waiting talking to one woman who just to Denver and avoiding the man who was having an ongoing dialog with himself the entire time.
10 am-11am Grab a ton of books for me to look through then head to the kids room so Alder can play.

11am 11:30 Visit with Trish in the bowels of the library.

11:30-12pm Drive home.

12pm-12:45 Eat lunch. Me ham sandwich and salad. Alder saucy meat.

12:45- 1:30 Stare at wall, too hot to go outside.

1:30-2:15 Got to fabric store for felt for furniture at new house (wood floors! and more solid fabrics for Alders quilt.

2:15-5:00 Stare at wall. Pack one box of 'shoose' and outdoor gear. Draw pictures together on unmade boxes. Talk to Kevin on phone during which time Alder manages to remove his diaper and climb into fireplace- like lightening.

5pm-6pm Take Alder out front to play with hose and get clean. He also spends time walking up and down the block.
6pm Write about my day.

This has been the slowest day I have had in years, it was as if someone had added fifteen seconds to every minute for me. Oh well, it passes and I can smell something good coming up from the kitchen.

Aug 8, 2007

A Note on Beige

My dearest family has mentioned repeatedly that I have not been keeping them in photos. That Alder's first year frittered away and they haven't gotten a single print. Then horrors of horrors I didn't put a lot of Alder photos here. Why?

Well this winter was incredibly snowy and this summer incredibly hot so we have been spending a great deal of time in the house. A house of few windows and beige carpet everywhere. I can not stand to look at another photo of my son washed out on beige carpet.

I was just perusing some other blogs where there are lots of engaging pictures of kids it made me feel a bit guilty so I thought I would explain. Lucky for these complaining relatives our new home has wooden floors and plenty of windows.

14 Days What Now?

Two weeks from today we will be driving away from Denver with all of our stuff in a U-Haul truck. I've spent so much time over the last few months waiting for this that now that it is so close I am starting to get nervous. It isn't the packing and driving that are making me nervous but the starting again in a new town.

As much as I have complained about Denver this summer, have I mentioned the heat? This really has been the place that I have lived I have enjoyed the most. It was the right place at the right time in my life. I don't regret our move but I will miss all the wonderful people that have become my friends. That being said this is also the first time that I feel as though I am leaving someplace with friends who I will stay in contact with.

Kevin doesn't deal well with change, we know this and try to make moves easy for him by making sure we set up the house quickly and start exploring the natural world where we live. For me it is the being new that I have the hard time with. I know it takes a year to really start to feel comfortable living anywhere. That is a long time without a strong community of friends around. A long time to be skirting the edges of a place without really getting it. At least with this move we will be near family who we can see every few weeks (I believe my aunt has every other weekend plans to see her "grandson").

So what does that leave me doing now? Well packing. Our life has become a world of boxes, full boxes, empty ones, ones still flat, ones used as boats. So rather than thinking too hard about being new, a situation which only dissipates with time, I think of boxes.

And of course biscuits, because nothing can be too bad when your making biscuits and eating them with honey butter.This is Alder mixing his own biscuits with his great grandma Hannah's bowl and his grandma Joyce's spoon. Two wonderful people who he will never meet but their spirit infuses him, I can already see it.

Aug 7, 2007

15 Days Africa

We have been watching a few movies about Africa lately and it has brought up many issues about the world and human behavior. The sad part is that American's look at the entire continent and call it Africa. Why is it that we regard every country there as interchangeable? We would never say something was just European or Asian. I don't think people would confuse Vietnam and Kirghistan or Germany with Portugal, yet we continue to look at Africa as a monolithic culture people and government.

I first noticed this when I was taking a class on the teaching of social studies (in my last life) when many of the adult students thought it was a waste of time learning all the African countries by name and location. Why teach something to their students when the media and larger world just look at them as one. I couldn't believe that these future teachers were claiming the media as a standard for them to hold. I certainly wasn't going to bring up the underlying racism in what they were saying.

Since then I have done my best to educate myself about different countries in Africa when they come up in the news or in art. If it wasn't for the internet I would be stuck reading heavy anthropological texts because it seems that the idea of Africa as a single place is pervasive. The excuse I here is that there are so many countries with similar sounding names. Oh okay Joan... oh wait your name is Jane.

Before Alder this only served as another spot that I was frustrated with the general population of my country. Now I see it as a great place to model the importance of respect and the joy I have in learning about new places. Alder will know the difference between Zambia and Zimbabwe and not just their position on the map.

There are 54 countries in Africa can you name them?

Some Africa Links

A basic list with links

African Studies Center UPenn

Web resources, annotated

Afropop Worldwide
African music and the influence it has had around the world; there is a section to look by country, there are some non African countries listed.

Aug 6, 2007

The Bird Bag

Over the last two years I have been trying to learn how to sew. Actually it is more like getting over my fear of sewing. I know how to physically sew but for some reason it has always intimidated me. Give me knitting needles and yarn and you have a happy woman but stick me in front of a sewing machine and I get all shy. I am literally the only one of my friends (including my husband) who doesn't happily spend time with their sewing machine.

When we were setting up a room for Alder we had a couch that was perfect but ugly. A friend helped me to sew a couch cover. It was scary but not difficult. Slowly since then she has coaxed me into new projects. Finally I have done one on my own.

It started with a lino print I was doing for a swap. I loved how it came out and wanted to make something for my self with it. I had the fabric left from the couch and another random scrap (while I am a nervous sewer I love finding fabric). Thus the Bird Bag became. I like that the handles are long enough that I can wear it across not just on my shoulder.

16 Days 10 x4 is 40

Kevin and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary this week, as I mentioned before. Quiet and family was what we went for (and I had one of those umbrella drinks at dinner). But it was quickly eclipsed by Kevin's parent's 40th anniversary this weekend. They aren't much into celebrating, especially themselves. But this year they decided to do something so we all went to see Cirque du Soleil's Corteo which was here in Denver. It was amazing and everyone really enjoyed it, although I think Kevin reached a new level of awe for mixing of dance and physicalness.

Afterwards we went out to dinner at Pagliacci's an old Italian restaurant, I figured we could keep with the clown theme. It was lots of fun for dinner (Alder came only to the dinner) but also a little sad since it was the last time that we will be with all of Kevin's family before we move. We are really starting to have a lot of lasts for Denver now.

Aug 2, 2007

19 Days 4th Anniversary

We were woken up at five or so by Alder, his favorite early morning game is the bounce and head snuggle and then he's up again off to some other corner of the bed to do it again until he's ready to leave the "island". Four years ago today was our wedding, it was a beautiful misty day the garden had bloomed just for us and the rain stopped only hours before the ceremony.

Four years and two thousand miles away it is a hot dry morning and there are three of us. But what fun we still have. For those people who don't think marriage is for them that's fine but I am a lover of celebration and honoring things that are important. We were married at the bottom of the lawn at the house I spent every summer growing up. My father planted a garden that blooms each year for this day. Now that we are moving out east we plan to spend our anniversaries picnicking in that garden.

At first when thinking about what we would do this year we had fancy dinner and babysitter dreams. But those faded as we realized what we want to celebrate and that didn't fit. Now we have no plans yet- pack a few boxes? Being a family together is what we are celebrating. We can get a babysitter some other night.

Aug 1, 2007

20 Days What Weekends are Made For

This weekend was full of all the goodness summer weekends are supposed to be. It started with a wonderful heavy rainstorm that lasted all the way through dinner with friends on Friday night. Saturday morning was cool and smelled of rain. I caught and hour of time alone drinking coffee and reading on the deck of a cafe, a rare treat.

There's Kevin at the back of the boat looking at the shore

Later that morning the three of us headed down the hill to Sloan's Lake for the Dragon Boat Festival. Kevin was on his school's team "The Flying Tigers". As our neighbor who is a member of the local Toaist society 'he came in second twice'. But they did okay for a team of 18 who only practiced once. That evening we lazily watched 'Superstar' and laughed a lot.

Sunday Grandma and Aunt Karen took Alder to watch Kevin race again while I spent the day with Alder's godmama having a nice Sunday brunch and going to the Earth Works Expo. Well the expo was disappointing but getting to spend time together before the move was wonderful. We moved out here to Colorado together almost twelve years ago.