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"

Jul 30, 2008

Brief Diversion

Long day, boxes to pack, needed a little inspiration.

Ani Difranco Interview with Mindful Mama Magazine from Mindful Mama Magazine on Vimeo.

Is there anyone more motivation than Ani?

All at once now

Translucent me

Just a little brief update before the chaos ensues. Today I am going to a "working interview" as in I am going to work for a few days and get paid then we'll discuss if we are the right fit. Tomorrow we pick up the keys for our new apartment, Friday we work on moving, Saturday is the BIG move day (that's relative since we're doing it in a Vitara) and it also happens to be our 5th anniversary. Sunday Kevin works and we...well that's a good question. Luckily we have an overlapping month in the apartments to move (it's 80 miles round trip). Now if I could only manifest a pickup truck.

About a year ago I was doing this. Moving was so exciting then. Now it hardly seems like we've started packing.

Have a good Wednesday.

Jul 28, 2008

A weekend

A sleeping Alder is giving me a moment to tell you a little about our weekend.

A Project
New Project

Dinner Out with the Girls
DInner out

Dinner out

Dinner out

Spending Time with Family, following in traditions.
Alder being measured

The measuring wall

Not photographed: a pitiful yard sale (enough for lunch and what we bought at the really cool yard sale across the street), two job interviews, and Alder spending the day with Irie and Sarah with us away. Now I really should be filling boxes.

Jul 24, 2008


Graves 2

On Sunday Alder and I went for a long walk around town. It was hot and sticky out, but then it was hot and sticky in the house as well and at least outside there was a little bit of a breeze. There isn't really too much you can do in town unless the farmer's market is going on. The playground is a little too much of a walk and part of it is on a busy road with no sidewalk. So we headed up to Old Bennington since, well it's there.

Once we were there we ended up checking out the graveyard of the church, the oldest church in the state. It's sort of a pilgrimage spot, Robert Frost is buried there. I'm not a pilgrimage sort of person, at least not to someone's grave. Sure I'd love to see Sonia Delaunay's studio or visit Ghost Ranch, but I think grave visiting is about as inspirational as standing in line at the DMV.

That being said I do love graveyards and graves. Not in a morbid fashion. I just love looking at graves and imagining lives for all the people who lay in them. In college I found the grave of a woman who had died young, 23 or 4, named Isabella some time in the early 1800's I would often go and spend time on her grave imagining her life and sharing mine with her (silently of course). I also have a fascination with those big grave stones that house lots of people and mausoleums, they always feel as though there is some great mystery attached to them.

All this being said this past trip to the graveyard was a nice break from a hot sticky and boring day.

Azubah Haynes Payne

In a line

Graves detail

Graves 1

Jul 23, 2008



It's been a few days of healing for me, taking some time to think and sleep. I am slowly coming back to myself, tired but not so hopeless. I'm trying to do more, make more and plan less. I'm not very good at this, I'm a planner by nature. I think I need some sort of project to invigorate me, something personal and crafty. Even though there is so much going on here I need some focus.

(I just sort of like this little guy from my sketchbook)

Jul 21, 2008

I am the Storm

I'm not sure if I should be posting this here, it's sort of personal.

We are broke , search the couch for change to buy milk sort of broke. I didn't think we were going to be here again. It wasn't the supposed to be this way. But then no one ever plans on going broke and certainly not when they spent a year writing a business plan and securing funding for the business- the business that your husband went to graduate school for four year to do.

Where does this leave you but borrowing money from your parents again, to pay rent. Of course, this money comes with the rights. The ones where they can start telling you what you should be doing now. The ones that mean despite being 35 and despite the many hours on our own hashing out what went wrong and what we need to change, they are entitled to go through all of this again with the biting feel of parental disappointed, akin to being fifteen.

Your decisions are judged and everything you do is doubted. Bring into this a happy 2 year old who everyone loves. Suddenly he is the subject of scrutiny, is he speaking enough, does he eat the right things, what if he's sick can we care for him? You feel watched from afar, you try to give all the right information, the truth highlighting progress; both your's and the 2 year old. But it is difficult when most days are spent just getting between morning and bedtime. It's hard to make enough progress for people when you work at the speed of life and their expectations are at the speed of imagination. It's hard to explain how life can't be put aside to make things happen, how a crying son can't be left to later. Then there are the few minutes a day you used to have yourself can. Those few moments that are all you have left, except that someone else has a claim on them. All of this adds to the stress, the feelings, and to the life you are still living.

The feelings are so complicated you are almost 35 and you have a 2 year old who you are moving again for the 2nd time since he was born. There are days you can't look at his always happy face because it makes you cry. You know that he is witnessing all those things in your house that you swore against before you had a child. It makes you want to cry knowing that every time you correct him (no hitting, no ripping books) he cries a little longer and a little louder. You are afraid that you will ruin this happy child. But you are so tired and stressed that it is hard not to be frustrated in front of him, and even with him. It hurts more when you know how you want to be with him and haven't the energy to do it.

Instead you two take long walks-where you can think while he jumps from steps and later sleeps in the stroller- and play with puppets sometimes, which is easier than other games. Other days are good you get out and see friends (and their chickens) you make your meals together and draw together. On the good days there is some order to things there are games and naps. On those days it seems like it could stay that way, but you can't do it not with all the stresses in your life. Maybe the next morning, or the next, something will set off again and life will not fit. You will be in the playground too long or too short, the very favorite wooden spoon will be missing just as the sink is filled for playing. Then you will both be grumpy, because you won't get to play and I won't get a rest, especially when Baba is gone for eleven hours for work- leaving us without a car.

To be honest there are days that are worse- ones where I wake up a storm and nothing you or Baba does will make it better. My tears will flow. I will want to hide, and I will want to be the center of attention. I will stomp my feet and yell or I will curl in a ball and cry. On these days I ruin everything for everyone, even if the fight is inside of me it spills out around me. Baba needs to pick up the pieces of debris; the frightened child, the crumpled Mama. As the storm in me drifts I start to look for the possibilities. The next day will be delicate, all of us recovering from the storm but the next will be back to normal, until our stresses begin to rise again.

Jul 19, 2008

Gift Making

We had a birthday party for a friend turning 4 today and I decided to make him a little something to inspire his creativity. So last night I put together this little drawing case for him.

Drawing Set inside
(excuse the blur..thank you blogger)

Drawing Set back

Drawing Set front

The green fabric was from a shirt that used to be my dad's. I was originally going to make one of the pencil rolls that are in Creative Family but I thought my design looked like a book so I went with it.

Jul 18, 2008


I haven't been able to get into my studio to make anything in weeks. Actually it's half in boxes and the rest is strewn everywhere. So I decided to take my creative energy and start sketching again. I haven't had a sketch book since before Alder was born. The nice thing about a sketchbook is that I can take it along. So while A is in the sandbox I can draw (I'm not exactly a playground socialite).
In Progress
Thoughts on Water

Sketch One

On the cost cutting front so far we've baked one loaf of bread and the only food purchased out was a cup of coffee and a brownie (I was working at a late night fair downtown last night)

Jul 16, 2008

Cutting Costs

Like everyone else out there we have been struggling with the rise in cost of oil. Both directly with our gas tank and indirect with food. We have decided to use the next month to cut our spending as much as possible. In fact we have challenged ourselves in a few different areas of our life to see how the changes affect our bank account. I admit that while a lot of these changes are ones that we have been wanting to make for a long time our reasons for changing them now are initiated by our personal need to spend less money.
Good Eating

We've already reduced the amount of extra driving trips from our life, this has been especially tough for me who is a wanderer by nature so I have had to get used to having my wings clipped. I am starting to discover more nearby and really appreciate the times that I do get to go for longer drives. But driving is still a big part of our life (at least for the next few weeks) since Kevin is now commuting four days a week out of town.

The changes that we are making are as follows:

1) Eating out only once a week. Other than books, which we have already cut way down on this is really our only extra expenditure.

on the way
2) Move to the town where Kevin is working, in walking distance of his job. This is a big one, right now we have an almost 500 dollar a month gas bill. It will also cut down on driving because there is a lot for Alder and I to do in this town that is either walking distance or very short drives.
Heading Back Home

3) We are moving into a much smaller apartment that is all on one floor. This is more important for the winter when we won't have as much to heat. Plus it has a fenced in yard and is a few blocks from a playground.
The Stairs

4) We are going to get back into baking all of our bread products. Another bonus of our new apartment is that it has a great kitchen. Right now we're stuck with barely any counter space.
Rosemary Quiche Bread
5) Air dry most of our laundry, this one is still going to take some persuading of Kevin but I'm determined.
On the Line

I'm going to use this blog to help me keep track of our progress. In theory the eating out ban is only for a month but we hope that we'll just get into the habit.

Any other ideas on cost cutting is welcome.

Jul 14, 2008

It's a do nothing sort of day

I feel like sitting here all day eating chocolate Newman's Os and playing on Flickr. Instead I really should be cleaning up the house and starting to pack up, maybe sew something. Alder and Kevin went up to his office to build a table. It's awfully quiet in the house right now.

Wishing everyone a peaceful day.

Jul 11, 2008

good morning


I managed to have two hours to myself this morning before anyone else was up. I used it well journaling and drinking twig tea. Now the house is alive with the chaos the two boys I live with create.

a rare pause
robin looking in the window
tea pot interrupting
words pushing through the silence
brown ink spilling from my sleepy mind
a few moments where I am part of the morning
another part of the earth
coming into focus with the rising sun

Jul 9, 2008


Why I love where I live

So I promised not to tell you all the heart aches and decision making process for what we were going to do with our life until we had a definite plan. And now we do. A few months ago we were in Brattleboro (VT) were playing at our favorite toy store when Kevin decided to go across the street to stop into the acupuncture center across the street to say hi. The acupuncturist wasn't there but he left his card. A few days later he got a call asking if he wanted a job a few days a week and he's been working there ever since, and gaining new days. So we've ordered the boxes and are starting to fill them.... god I hope this is are last move for a while. The move is a good one, that whole area seems more receptive to acupuncture and Kevin still has a small private practice that he'll keep going.

Until then we're packing up and enjoying the summer here. Luckily theres only one more month of commuting for Kevin (poor guy he hates driving and he's got an 80 mile daily commute).

By the way this is what we were doing last year.

Jul 7, 2008

A Weekend Away


We're back after a long weekend out at the cabin. Time was filled with exploring, cooking, family, friends, eating, exploring, a healthy interest in peeing in the potty, and more eating. The weather never seemed to want to stay sunny long enough to go swimming but we did make some new friends.

Alder's party was fun. The low effort recipe I decided on had me running off at 7 am on 4th of July to find panchetta over 30 miles away (hey I'm not one to skimp on a recipe), followed by covering the house with flour looking for places to dry noodles (did I mention how low effort this meal was?). But it all came together was people arrived. Alder even had a few friends to run up and down the hill and jump off of rocks.

But being back home I'm ready to start on the next project... oh wait I haven't mentioned that yet, I'll elaborate tomorrow.

Jul 2, 2008

We're Off!

As summer has gone into full swing around here with farm visits, yard sales and barbecues we are heading out of town for a week for time with family at the cabin and an early birthday party for Alder. So this is a hodge-podge of an entry.

1) Maple Pudding: [based loosly on How to Cook Everything Vanilla Pudding Recipe)
1/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (you can adjust the sugar to maple ratio to suit yourself)
3 table spoons of cornstarch
3 eggs (the fresher the better)
2 1/2 cups milk (you can use cream or half and half but I wouldn't use skim)
2 tablespoons of butter

1) mix sugar, salt and cornstarch in a pot.
2) mix eggs milk and maple in a bowl until even in color.
3) turn heat under pot to medium.
4) pour in egg mixture while whisking and continue whisking for about ten minutes, the mixture will begin to thicken.
5) once off the stove add butter and mix until butter is all incorporated.
6) put into 4 bowls or ramekins, cover (tin foil or such) and refrigerate.
7) when you are ready to eat it serve it in the bolws. If you are feeling gluttonous serve with warm syrup or cream.

2) One Local Summer Meal
Sauteed lamb, gorgonzola polenta, and steamed Spinach
[I don't have miles on this meal]

Sauteed Lamb with Garlic Scapes

Polenta with Gorgonzola

Steamed Spinach

Jul 1, 2008

American Edible

An amazing women's theater group. I miss seeing them live. Here's a bit about the food we eat.