Thursday, July 31, 2008

how you know your neighbor needs some time with the buddha.

this handsome devil hangs out in our yard.

the cats climb on him and lounge in his hands.

the boybarians play baseball and he has a front row seat.

he has an old plum tree overhead, and afternoon son.

he seems happy.

and every once in awhile when one of the boybarians is having a hard time with listening or being kind or being overly sensitive or controlling their anger or whatever else will plague a boy and turn him into a quivering lump of emotions i will tell them to go sit in front of the buddha and just be silent. to just sit and look at the buddha and find some calm.

SO this fine sunny morning the lord of the ring and i were enjoying a few moments on the front porch when we heard a squirrel start his squirrel song in a tree not far away but not on our part of the property.

now, if you haven't heard a squirrel singing a squirrel song it's a repetitive and high pitched chirping and it's annoying. i think they do it for mating purposes? since i'm not a squirrel expert i don't really know why they do it i just know they do it and i just think it's part of living in the world. even if it can be an annoying part. especially if you're trying to sleep.

but, you put a pillow over your head or get up for the morning and call it good. or if you're sitting on the porch enjoying the morning you say

"oh pipe down!"

"get a room!"

and other corny phrases.

which is what the lord of the ring and i were doing. and the squirrel ignored us and continued his song and we continued our chat.



and the song was silenced.

yep, the neighbor shot the squirrel.

maybe he was tired and trying to sleep? maybe he had a migraine? maybe he just doesn't have a sense of humor and can't joke about the annoyance or just ignore it?

whatever it is, he's an ass.

and CLEARLY could use some time with the buddha.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008


i've always had a problem with the notion of sin. especially original sin.

what a loaded word! it made me bristle and in fact gave me the creeps when i heard it.

because i've always thought that what many consider "sin" is just basic human behavior. not always the "correct" of human behaviors, but a natural part of the growth and development of the self.

plus, sin is damn fun.

the notion of sin especially bothered me in the hail mary. a prayer that i can appreciate, a prayer that could i love, except for the "pray for us sinners" part. i could never fully attach to the hail mary because i never considered myself a "sinner." it just felt wrong.

and yet i love mary and everything that she is, which made not loving the hail mary even harder.

because i am not a sinner and i don't want someone to pray for me as such. not even mary. not even at the hour of my death.

oh, sure, i am far from perfect and have done movie of the week worthy crap in my day. BUT, that doesn't make me a sinner. it just makes me human.

anyhow, recently in a new earth by eckhart tolle, i read the definition, actually the translation of, sin. literally translated from ancient greek, sin basically means to miss the mark, to miss the point. living unskillfully and blindly, causing suffering as a result.

of course as with so many things in the larger culture of the organized christian church and its attendant dogma, sin has been co-opted and convoluted to suit the needs of those who deem themselves in charge. the translation has been replaced by definition to suit the culture of the christian church and its teachings.

but i love the literal translation, and it totally captures the bumbling circus that is individual human existence for much of our waking hours.

i have missed the mark so. many. times. i have suffered, and i have caused suffering.

we try not to, and sometimes we fail in the trying. and missing the mark never gets easier, and suffering whether experienced or caused never gets less painful, BUT knowing that they are a natural part of the human condition lessens the sting and speeds the moving on to the next level. and each time i end up with renewed faith that tomorrow is a new day. another chance. the knowledge that i'm not the only asshole on the ship.

well, if that's sin then i'm getting pretty good at navigating it so sign me up!

and hail mary, pray for this sinner now and at the hour of my death.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008


so i got this little guy in the mail today! a little white chocolate mouse nestled in a box of EXQUISITE l.a. burdick handmade chocolates! a totally unexpected and totally appreciated belated birthday gift. yay! me!

i am not a big fan of sweets at all. in fact you will rarely see me eating desert or a treat or anything like that. even the stuff i make. and while i can appreciate chocolate, i'm not all crazy for it like a lot of women seem to be.

BUT, handmade chocolates i make an exception for. as someone who LOVES to cook and bake and especially to eat, i really can appreciate the time and effort and care that goes into creating chocolates of this caliber.

plus, instead of just being a hit of sweet, there are so many subtleties and layers and textures going on in high quality chocolates that make them that much more enjoyable.

for instance, the one i just chose to eat is a bon bon called the trinidad. "a baton of dark ganache with honey, carribean spices, and chopped hazelnuts"

hershey's it ain't.

i like the complexity of good chocolate. i like the idea of it. i like all the tastes wrapped up in a single piece. and i like that you can be eating chocolate and still not have that as the main focus. that it's just part of the whole.

anyhow, i am a lucky girl!

and, at this point, i am letting the boybarians each choose a piece. at. this. point. i say because i haven't decided exactly which pieces i am truly willing to part with.

in other sweet news, today wingman was regaling his brother and cousin with tales of his dreams last night. the first one i didn't quite get, but the second one went something like this

"mama was gone in las vegas. and when she was gone the color in the house was just normal. but when she came back the color turned all peachy orange"

now that's sweet.


Monday, July 28, 2008

bless the assholes because they need it more than anyone else.

some jackass took the note obama put in a crack in the wailing wall in jerusalem and published it.

i get the whole thing about being in the limelight and the hazards of such, how paparazzi works, the world's voracious appetite for titillation with their news.

but this is beyond the pale. this is such a violation of incomprehensible measures.

this offends me on so many levels.

i didn't read the article because i couldn't bear to be privy to his private thoughts/prayers. i cannot imagine. and it doesn't even matter what he wrote. god.

i have a wall in my yard. i gathered rocks from all around the property and built my own little wall. and when i don't know what else to do i go and sit in front of my wall and have my thoughts. occasionally i write my thoughts, prayers, etc. on a slip of paper and stick it in a crack.

i cannot tell you the peace and pleasure this brings me in the midst of really feeling like i need it.

i cannot tell you how awful it would be to have someone violate that by removing and reading what i've written.

i cannot imagine for one moment thinking it wouldn't be the most awful thing to take another person's private thoughts from where he cast them and putting it in your pocket for removal later when you publish it for the world to see.

i cannot imagine being that person. shame on him, and yet i'll still say a prayer for him because someone like that really. really. needs. it.

in other news, this is our last week of "vacation" before school starts. i may or may not have jury duty every day and it's supposed to rain all week. soooo, i'll let you know how that all pans out.

happy monday!


Thursday, July 24, 2008

the rookie.

so i went to a yoga class today.

can i tell you i haven't been to a yoga class since i took pre-natal yoga with the duke? and before that it had been years and it was only once or twice till i figured out yoga. was. not. for. me.

in my early twenties as a wanna be rrriot grrrl yoga was just not my thing. give me kick boxing or weight lifting or bicycling or dancing on a speaker at a club. yoga was too. darned. slow. and everybody in the big city across the pond where i lived was too darned. oovey. groovey. and soft spoken and all zen.


then when i was pregnant with the duke it was great. it got me out of the house and moving and feeling like i was doing a great service to my growing baby. then the instructor took a different class and a new instructor took ours. on the first day she had us all stand in a circle and use a yoga pose or dance move or any kind of movement to "express how we were feeling right then"

good. god.

i am sure i don't have to tell you how incredibly awful this was for someone of my temperament and curmudgeoness (yes, even at that tender young age. if you start young you can hone it to a perfection before you get too old to really enjoy it) to be put through this exercise. and i was a former dancer! 5 years of modern dance (don't laugh) and 2 years of ballet!

so she gets to me and my arms are crossed.

"so i guess, you're um, feeling.. closed?"

sure. yeah. "closed." if that's what you have to tell yourself yogagirl.

i suppose there was a better way to express exactly what i was feeling, but i am, if nothing else, a lady.

needless to say, but of course i will anyway, i never went back.

through the years i've done some yoga tapes at home (remember video tapes?) and some pilates at home, with the ball and bands and weights even (thanks to last year's foray into physical therapy) and found that here and there i really enjoyed it.

so recently i decided that while gardening and walking and what not was doing my body good, i needed to get out and really stretch my body, do something more consistent, and maybe perhaps gain a little peace and a smaller ass.

i wanted to do pilates, but there's only one place close to me and ALL their classes start at like 11. since school is starting back i needed something earlier, before the school day started.

so i found a yoga class at the local community center 10 minutes from my house that starts at 8:10a.m.

and you know, because it's me, of course nothing can ever just be normal. or regular.

no, it's me and 8 old people. oh, sure, most of them are in better shape than i am, but still, they're seriously old. a couple of old men the rest women who had been obviously taking the class a long while together.

the duke asked me when i got home and explained the class to him

"did they call you rookie?"

and then he walked away snickering.

whatever. laugh now mr. bones. i used to be your size. just wait.

anyhow, and the best part is, the teacher. good lord i've never seen a person less like a yoga teacher and more like a truck stop waitress. a dilapidated truck stop that has seen better days and the waitress, better men. and i can't be sure, but i think she had a smoker's gravel to her voice.

no matter. it turned out to be a fine class. it worked me more than i thought, and i felt really good about my ability and my endurance. of course it helps that i was the only person in the class not present for the unveiling of the wheel. but, i'm not complaining. i could seriously kick some yoga ass in this class!

so, i'll go back. it doesn't matter about the make-up of the class or the weird teacher, it provided what i need for right now. it's close to my house, it's just the right time, it's 32 bucks a month for twice weekly sessions (score!), and it's just the right speed for easing back into making my body do what it craves, but doesn't necessarily want to do.

and honestly, though i'm making fun of my classmates, you really never know who will become a new friend.

and who knows, maybe i'll love it become all zen.

every day is a new day, people. a chance to start over, to make a new friend, to find something you love to do.

even if you're a rookie.

especially if you're a rookie.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


the thing about lavender is you just can't work around it without feeling good.

it's so pretty, and it smells so good even when you barely brush against it, and it attracts bees. and with the decline of the bee population in the last few years, anywhere i see a great gathering of bees gives me hope and makes me happy.

i knew the lord of the ring was really the man for me when we were in my favorite store in my favorite seaside town and not only did he love the store too, but he picked up a big book about provence and pointed to the huge field of lavender on the cover and said

"that's what i'd like my yard to look like some day"

the thing about lavender is that you don't have to give it a lot of attention, or attention really at all, and it will still bloom. year after year.

but the more attention you give it, the more it will reward you. you can see your care being given back in spades. and as a gardener who knows very little about gardening that's a really big deal.

it's a bit like mothering, seeing your work in action in a positive way.

so i cut some lavender today. the beginning of harvesting as much as i can from my dozen or more bushes. there's so much and i've invited a few people to come and cut some too.

i'll dry some and use them to make the sheets smell good and the drawers and a closet or two. i'll cut my favorite two bushes and put the bunches in my vintage maple syrup collection buckets. i'll give some away.

and yet there will still be too much. i won't be able to use it all. no matter what, my little patch always gives a big bounty.

lavender is a generous plant that asks so little and gives so much.

and we could all use a little more of that in our lives.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

be here now. because fall is still 61 days away.

i found these miniature fire king casseroles at a sale a few days ago.

how cute are they? i know, right?

and the best part, besides their size and their fabulous shiny orange glaze, is that they were only 1$ apiece! score!

the thing is, now i'm ready to be done with summer! because all i see when i look at these little casseroles are meals based on perfect for fall dishes.

individual servings of homemade macaroni and cheese with a crunchy buttery breadcrumb topping.

or individual lasagnas with a heavy meat sauce and melty mozzarella toppings.

or, and this is where i really get excited, french onion soup. individual bowls filled to the brim with soup made of a rich broth and slow caramelized sweet onions, and topped with a thick slice of hearty bread and blanketed in cheese.

and it doesn't help i spent all day yesterday on curriculum tweaking and lesson planning.

so now when the weather outside still suggests beach days and balmy evenings i'm thinking of bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils, the promise of brand spankin' new textbooks, and soups and stews and casseroles that involve first the stove and then the oven and apparently a lot of cheese.

what would ram dass have to say about that?


Monday, July 21, 2008

because i'm cool like that.

i turned twentyseventeen yesterday.

i baked myself a red velvet cake with pink frosting and ballerinas.

just because i can.

and the duke said

"did you know, mama, that you were born the same year led zeppelin had their world tour? that's so cool!"


anyhow, enjoy this virtual slice of cake and be sure that i'll keep you more than posted on the coming travails of my life as a twentyseventeen year old.

i think this is going to be a very. good. year.


Thursday, July 17, 2008



apparently i'm taking a break while i work on a project here in real life.

i'll be back monday.

enjoy your weekend!


Thursday, July 10, 2008


ye gads it's the middle of the summer already!

so far the summer of 2008 has yielded;

house drink ~ mojito (for the big guys)
house meal ~ humongous, beautiful salad chock full with crunchy colorful veggies, topped with grilled chicken and sesame ginger dressing (the boybarians are about to put themselves up for adoption if we serve this again- but we love it!)
favorite snack ~ otter pop (for the shortys)
theme song ~ gone hollywood by supertramp (the boybarians)

we start back to school the first of august (just with latin and math) so i feel that waning days of summer push to get all our fun in!

though even with school, we'll have plenty of time in august for fun, and in fact have our annual island camping coming up!

i'm trying to be a better summer parent this year. planning things in advance. finding new things to do. keeping us occupied. keeping us in the free or low cost budget range.

to that end;

i always forget about the free movies. once a week in most towns across the country they offer an early free movie at your local theater. you have to get there early and still pay gobs of money for snacks, and the movies are fairly old, BUT it's a new experience and something to do. an anchor for the day.

also, we are trying to take advantage of more free outdoor concerts. there are a couple of cool venues in our area that offer such things, and we're finally taking advantage of them. a little picnic, a little music, front row to the sunset, sounds pretty good, huh?

we've been going on the bike trail a fair bit, and eating/cooking outside every night. that's summer in a nutshell right there.

there's an amazing boutique ice cream shop in a town not far away that we've never tried. i'm imagining the ice cream isn't cheap, but the shop is very close to a park and on a cool walking/browsing street. so that's on the docket.

also, we haven't had a beach trip yet. an umbrella, buckets, shovels, a cooler filled with drinks, and some snacks and there's a great day right there.

there's putt putt golfing that isn't free, but pretty low cost and fun. and there's always an opportunity to win a free game at the end.

there's also bowling, which is oddly TOTALLY EXPENSIVE, but if you get a group together it's do-able and quite fun. plus, they bring you pitchers of beer if you ask them to. score.

the drive-in movie is a summer favorite. if you bring your own food and drink it's not too bad money wise and more than worth it for a great summer experience. there is quite a nice little drive-in that's a bit of a hike from us, but totally untouched from back in the day, and pretty family friendly.

and if all else fails, or you're done with the summer fun, the heat, the going from here to there, the tour de france is on t.v nearly every day for weeks at a time.

and some days that's all the boybarians need. the drapes in the back room closed against the heat and the glare, an otter pop, and the tour de france complete with the honeyed tones of phil ligget's commentary.

happy summer!


Tuesday, July 01, 2008


here it is tuesday already and i've promised you so much and delivered so little!

now you know how my kids feel!



okay, mostly kidding.

anyhow, i managed a wine blog this afternoon mainly because i chose to drink wine in the cool of the shade rather than actually doing what i am *supposed* to be doing.

though not the champagne i've been promising for a month, because that would be too organized and show follow through and forethought, i think you will enjoy it anyway.