Saturday, December 13, 2008


dirt bath

thank you little red hen

Thursday, December 11, 2008

'tis the season


found thrity of these vintage japanese ornaments for two ninety-nine at the goodwill today.

they will adorn some of the gifts we are sending out. not sure what i am going to do with the rest of them. (sam?)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Christmas 1999 (for cat)

dear rock,

is it really possible this was 9 yrs ago? trying to get myself in the holiday spirit, and stumbled across a stack of old pics in a box of decorations.

this one made me smile.

and miss you.


Monday, December 01, 2008

ticket to ride

one of d's main objectives when i suggested a trip to berkeley for the holiday was to make sure we took at least one of these bikes for a test drive. when our bike trailer began to fail, we thought this would be the logical next step. as a one car family - with d commuting by bike/public transit daily - we decided the initial expense would be a worthwhile investment.

we had tried checking one out down here - but no one carrying them could be found. (our neighbors picked up an xtracycle on a recent trip to seattle, and love it.) i actually thought i had my heart set on the kona. i really liked the look of it. though practically speaking i worried about where the kids would put their feet. (the xtracycle can have footrests attached, and the rack on the kona serves as a footrest as well.)

enter "rock the bike". (man, i love berkeley.)

"We're bike people. We're inventors and advocates working away in a sweet little workshop in Berkeley, California, pushing the limits of bike culture. Our dream is to help spread the spirit of the bike into the broader culture by organizing, entertaining, inspiring, educating, and inventing new ways to get the message out there. And more importantly, we help our customers spread the message in their communities."
from the Rock the Bike website

so we tried the yuba mundo. then the xtracycle. then the mundo again. i took d for a spin around the block and couldn't even tell he was on the back. sold.

inspired by this conversion - d immediately set to work dialing in our version.

and voila...

yuba mundo

three to ride and room for cargo. so good.

oh, and we learned that as of last week, the mundo is now available in the los angeles area at: orange20 and palms cycle

Sunday, November 30, 2008


bay bridge

for friends who are my family

and for family who are my friends

a wonderful thanksgiving in berkeley. oh we miss you guys already!


Thursday, November 20, 2008

sew sew

hand in the bird

oh right. i like to sew.

trying to reacquaint myself with my machine, and get some holiday goodies together.

k had been asking for a "chicken jacket" for a while. i put this together last night on a hand-me-town hoodie. it's a little wonky to me. but i am pleased she likes it. this morning she told me she was "totally happy" (yes my gals are true valley girls!). that it is chick-a-dee.

what to do next?..

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

oh yeah

Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today.
- President-Elect Barack Obama

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

s t i l l

s t i l l : body (monday)

feeling uninspired and sluggish. can't stand the fact that it is mid-november and temperatures are in the 90s. my heart goes out to all dealing with the fires. the air quality in our neighborhood keeps us inside. which is ok in the fact that it is hot out anyway. it is snowing ash.

i miss winter.

i am drinking hot tea and trying to channel holiday thoughts while the fan blows cool air across the room.

some lovely s t i l l s here.

and thank you for your lovely anniversary wishes. we had a date. something we rarely do. it was really very nice! (thanks robyn for watching the kiddies!)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

:: 9 ::

1. i am stubborn :: he often lets me get my way
2. i don't make friends easily :: they refer to him as "mr. friendly"
3. i break things :: he can fix anything
4. my multi-tasking drives the girls crazy :: he can focus on them and only them with ease
5. i am tall :: he is taller
6. i don't handle grief well :: he bears with me
7. i like men with strong hands :: he has strong hands
8. my favourite meal is breakfast :: he makes a mean "egg-in-the-hole"
9. i want to spend the rest of my days with him :: he seems to want to spend the rest of his days with me

happy anniversary honey. to 9 wonderful years. and to many many more.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

no prop h8

today d, k and i (e was off with a friend) marched with our friends and neighbors in opposition to the passing of proposition 8. we wore signs. held hands. and chanted for equal rights for all. we are blessed to live in a diverse neighborhood, where the word family is defined in many different ways. though ultimately the same: to have people who love you.

prop 8 passed by only 495,857 votes (52%) - with 10,842,073 Californians voting.

in 2000, a similar ballot initiative, proposition 22 passed with 61% of Californians in favor. it was overturned.

we have hope that this unfair action too, will soon be overturned.

equality marches continue throughout California.

Friday, November 07, 2008


wilted and dropping their petals.
but i can't seem to part with them.

happy friday.

Thursday, November 06, 2008


"I think we can't go around measuring our goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist, and who we exclude. I think we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include."- Pere Henri, in the movie Chocolat

i have a cold.



Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008




Monday, November 03, 2008


little witch

had a wonderful neighborhood halloween. complete with parade and (too much) trick-or-treating. k wore e's old witch costume from a couple of years back, and e was a sorceress with hooded cape and gown. d was frankenstein, and i was my go-to halloween standby of my youth - pippi.

saturday we all started to sniffle and slept. and slept. and slept.

(love that fall time change!)

hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Monday, October 27, 2008

once upon a school

it always warms my heart when i receive a comment that i have inspired someone to get involved in their neighborhood school. i truly believe that it is up to my generation to either save the public school system in this country - or see its demise.

lots of ideas and inspiration at a new forum put together by dave eggers: once upon a school

Sunday, October 26, 2008


"Kids today are bombarded with a pop culture that teaches redemption through buying things. School gardens, on the other hand, teach redemption through a deep appreciation for the real, the authentic, the lasting, the things that money can't buy: the things that matter most of all if we are going to lead sane, healthy and sustainable lives."
- Alice Waters

Friday, October 24, 2008

weekend to

finish putting up hallowe'en decorations
finish the young sorceress's cape
finish another grant application

enjoy some downtime with my family

hope you enjoy too


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

CA Modern

our hood

CA Modern magazine chose to profile our 'hood in their latest issue:
Neighborhood on the Rise

above illustration from the original sales brochure for our homes

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

what we've been up to

we've been busy working on greening e's school - culminating in a big workday last weekend.

what did we do? 150 volunteers

planted 80 trees

painted 6 murals:

in the garden mural
Koala Spirit

painted 2 maps on the playground:

united states
we are the world

painted 5 buildings and put in 3 new gardens:

brighter walls
bungalow mural and garden

and my favorite, installed our circle art project:

makes me happy
circle art installation
circle art {from inside yard}

we gave each of our 412 students a wooden circle to paint, painted them blue on the back, sealed them with acrylic varnish, then attached them to the (ugly-suddenly-beautiful) chain-link fence. (loosely based on this project, which unfortunately hasn't made it this far south.) funded by a Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant.

i could seriously do this for a living. so good. and come monday morning seeing the kids, teachers, birds, bugs all enjoying our labours - the biggest thank you ever.

(did i mention how great my neighbors are? the best. really. the. best. couldn't have done any of this without them.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


as i was typing the post below, i received an email from a dear friend from graduate school. her husband had sent me a quick email back in august that they had a new beautiful baby daughter. i picked up a card. a little gift. and it sat on my desk while i tried to find their address on a little slip of paper i have put somewhere. and so i emailed my friend to explain why i hadn't sent the little parcel. and today she emailed back. she had breast cancer. is fighting it. has had a mastectomy and will begin chemo soon. her beautiful new baby girl came early so that she could fight this. she also has a beautiful husband and son. they are moving back home to be near friends and family. and she hopes i am well. that our girls are well. and she loves my blog. my blog. this silly place where i worry and complain. that is mainly read by my friends and family. and a few strangers who have become friends. and a few strangers i'll likely never know.

i love you s. and my prayers are with you all. you made me stop. look. and listen. thank you.

stop. look. and listen.

i have it in my mind to allow e to cross the road by herself. she is 7. and part of me feels so ridiculous as i type this. i walked to school by myself when i was 7. i took off around the block on my rollerskates at whim. and sometimes on the instruction of my mom, to chase my brother and expel some of our energy. and now i am contemplating this for my own child. what has happened? honestly, our world isn't that different - except for all the inane media coverage that permeates our lives. is it?

there is renewed worry about "predators" in our neighborhood. emails have been sent out between well-meaning neighbors warning of potential danger. we all watch out for each other and our kids and for that i am so greatful. but i don't like to worry about these things. be aware yes. but worry. no. there are so many things i could worry about.

i have gone over with both the girls what they should do if a stranger ever approaches them while they are jumping rope on the driveway. you can say hello. but if you don't want to say hello that is fine too. call me. or your dad. the front door is always open and we are listening for you. stranger danger they have learned in school. but part of me bristles at this. what is wrong with smiling at a stranger?

ok. i am completely off from where i was going here.

things are busy. our public school is hopping with activity. i have it in my mind to secure 1/2 million dollars in private and public funds before 2009 comes. and i feel we are on our way. i am working to put a public park on the end of our street. to transform our school's asphalt playyard. a park my kids will hopefully walk to. to meet their friends. hang out. a place that i will walk to. to meet my friends. hang out. community building. placemaking. i have become obsessed. to create a place where no one worries about their kid crossing the street alone. because they won't really be alone.{and we all stay aware}

wrapping up cornmuffins for the bakesale at the school tonight

Monday, September 29, 2008

L'Shana Tova

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

this is not a political blog. but i couldn't resist. something to talk about while we are dipping apples in honey tonight. happy new year!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

words to live by

"I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult."
E.B. White

it's my birthday. 38. feeling thoughtful. but unable to put all those thoughts into words. 37 was a tough year. and while i did cross quite a few items off the list
(nos. 2,4,5,6,9,10,11,12,14,15,20,22,23,26,29,32,35,36 & 37)
there are many i want to come back to and new ones to add. i want to change the world. and have one hell of a good time.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


1. stop, look, listen

2. make the most of what you've got

3. offer people a place to sit

4. think small for big results

5. enjoy more time out in public

6. rediscover the front yard

6. tear down fences

from The Great Neighborhood Book by Jay Walljasper

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thursday, September 18, 2008



feeling really good about this working from home bit. it seems to have found a lovely rhythm of its own and is meeting my needs in ways i didn't expect. it is helping with my commitment to "grow where you are planted". a friend reminded me the other day. (thanks melissa.)

as is the change in seasons. (at least as much as you can call it that here in socal.) so glad that autumn is just around the corner...

Friday, September 12, 2008

the problem as i see it.

we are driving down a major thoroughfare in our neighborhood and stop at a red light. there is a large conspicuous billboard advertising a local "gentlemen's club" with a large conspicuous scantily clad woman on it - mouth open, eyes partially closed. my 4 year old proclaims, "look mom! it's hannah montana"

and that is the problem i have with disney. pretty much anyway.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


yes we seem to have slid somewhat painlessly back into the groove the school year brings. i credit a lot of it to the fact that e has a teacher who is also a dear friend and neighbor. i have always been very keen on the idea of a child having the continuity of teacher and classmates through their early years - but alas (gotta love them!) lausd doesn't agree. but this works as well. e's ease and comfort with mr. john have allayed her shyness and have her actively participating in class. (last year she didn't speak in class for the first four months.)

k is enjoying her pre-K year - and the morning transition with her seems to be smoothed out by the bike ride to school. nothing like 20 minutes of hearing the wind blow and watching the birds as your morning commute.

and i am back in "my shed". checking things of my list. digging around our raised beds. and daydreaming about the possibilities our (now in shambles) backyard holds. i am going to take these classes. and ask the chickens what they thing i should do. ahh yes, the chickens. (for you shanna!) they are very settled in. with free run of the backyard whenever we are home. and their comfy coop when we have to dash out. they also have a new fondness for the shed. good company. i have to say they are very good pets. albeit they do leave behind a bit of a mess. (i am not encouraging the time in the shed - and much prefer them to be fertilizing the garden!) they are very friendly and social, and have been spotted falling asleep in e's arms. yes. lots of chicken love over here.

office helpraised bed

p.s. my beloved camera's run-in with the nanaimo bar didn't go well. am looking around for ideas. any suggestions? love/hate what you are using? thanks!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

gone back

to 2nd grade

i still get back-to-school butterflies. it is my favourite time of year. always has been. its not just the new pencils and outfit and shoes. there is an energy in the air you can feel - all those little minds open and ready to play and learn. my mom has an archive of first day photos of my brother and i. there i am with my just a little too big raincoat on (it always seemed to be raining) with a grin ear to ear, and my brother looking terrified that summer is over and he has "to go back". e is a lot like me. she has had such wonderful teachers - she really loves school - and i am so very grateful for that.

the first day of second grade was a great one. a little nervous excitement at first turned to big smiles when familiar faces appeared in the same classroom. and her teacher. wow! (and i am not just saying that because he is such a good friend!)

she came home hungry and tired and spouting "oh mom, i LOVE room 17!"

looking back

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

horizontal format

early sandy morning

a few more shots from our getaway. thanks for all your kind comments to my list below. the blogging thing hasn't been coming easily for me this summer. too much other stuff drawing my attention and energy. i do feel renewed. and (almost) ready for the return to our regular routine tomorrow. it has been a wonderful summer. but i also feel my heart yearning for autumn. (spoiled by the cooler temps we had up north.) i promise myself not to take on more than i can comfortably handle this school year. to know that others are there - and eager - to take up where i have left things. to let the long days of summer and the pace and joy they bring linger through the year.

bring it on.

Monday, September 01, 2008

from the forest to the sea

fern gully

walk back from the beach

montague harbour

cottage in the woods

a few snaps from our time at the cottage...

Sunday, August 31, 2008

things i learned on summer vacation


how to chop wood with a 6 lb maul
that chickens (and children) can grow exponentially in 2 weeks
that i can grow too
how to start a really good fire
that summers should be spent unplugged
that summers should be spent in the forest
how precious marriage is and that it should never be taken for granted
that cameras should never be left in the same bag as nanaimo bars
that chocolate should never be left in the glovebox
that swimming in the ocean or a river beats out the pool anyday
that we can live without (much) plastic
that wishes and prayers do come true
that 6 hours is really the ideal time for all of us to be in the car together
that when we have to, we can manage 12 hours in the car together
that when we work at it we can produce very little trash
how amazing my mom is
that we all can agree on leonard cohen, loretta lynn, blondie, and jack johnson
that we can't all agree on victoria williams, dream syndicate, and the original music of alvin and the chipmunks
that my brother is getting married!
how hope is infectious
how together we can make change
that fresh caught wild salmon is still one of my favourite foods
that blackberries off the vine are the best snack
that my children are adventurous
that my children don't need any "stuff" to keep them occupied
that i do not like it when the temperature is above 80 F
how after a day of weeding i enevitably dream of broom
that thrift shops in b.c. are really very very good
that my almost 7 year old loves pea soup and beets
that wasps can sting more than once
that my 4 year old is not allergic to wasp stings
that my needs are simple
that home is where the heart is

Sunday, August 10, 2008

oooh. ahhh. ohhh.

over the river
happy camper

four glorious days at yosemite with dear friends. (a few more photos here.) now home for a few days to clean-up before we hit the road to the cottage.

happy (very happy) summer.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

up and away

from the pool

taking off for a while - literally and figuratively.

holding on tight to summer... hope yours is treating you right.


Monday, July 28, 2008

coop de ville

d put outdid himself once again designing and fabricating our chicken coop.

cooped up

after much research, we decided against a permanent coop, and opted for a "tractor" instead. the thought behind this being that we can move it around the yard, fertilizing as we go. we looked at what was available commercially (and were tempted by this), but felt that d could build one that answered all our criteria and was budget-minded as well. we needed a safe place for the chickens to sleep, with good ventilation (the henhouse) and a safe area for them to play and eat in during the day, with extra shade for our hot summers (the run). we also wanted to take advantage of the byproduct of all the food the chickens consume (and they do like to eat!). we settled on a variation of the many "ark" images we found. the droppings in the henhouse fall into bedding of shredded newspaper and all that can go straight into our composter, and the droppings in the run go right on our "lawn". the henhouse contains a perch for them to sleep on, as well as a nesting box, for when they are ready to lay (somewhere between 6 mos and a yr). the run will serve them when we aren't home, but the plan is, when they are a little bigger, to let them roam the yard when we are around.

we are enjoying our three girls so much. they are such fun to watch (really!) and each has their own distinct personality. little red (a rhode island red) - the curious one; chick-a-dee (a buff wyandotte) - the little sister, always trying to get someone to play with her; and annie (an aracauna, we think) - as in oakley - (or fluff, depending on who you ask) who is very brave, a great performer, but also very cautious.

curious bird

Monday, July 21, 2008

for goodness sake

on grammee's knee

my mom is staying with us for the next 6 weeks or so. then we will all pile in the van and head to the cottage. mom will have to head back to the prairie, and we will stay on for a week or two. we are so looking forward to it.

and so enjoying now. the girls days are filled with storytelling and games of make-believe. it is amazing for me to watch them all together. there is a comfort and love that belies the miles between us. so good.

it is also a strange feeling of watching what i go through in a day. right now grammee rules, and i am left in their dust. but usually my days are filled with being the storyteller... it is giving me a new sense of what matters. (and it isn't the dirty dishes.)

thank goodness.

Monday, July 14, 2008



and when we aren't playing with the chooks - we are swimming in the pool.

happy monday!