May 2008


Do you volunteer for an organization? Are you involved in community service? Do you know anyone who has participated with Habitat for Humanity?

I’ve heard the name many times over the years and am often impressed with what they are up to. I haven’t however involved myself, nor have I met anyone who is directly involved. Habitat for Humanity seems like a great opportunity for new homeowners to learn and craft. Locally on the Monterey Peninsula they also have a “Restore” Store where one can go to donate and/or purchase reusable construction materials, fixtures and other household items. Go Green!

Are you a homeowner on a budget? Do you practice green living principles? Do you want to make a positive contribution to your community?

Dogfish

Some kind of relaxed and beautiful thing
kept flickering in with the tide
and looking around.
Black as a fisherman’s boot,
with a white belly.

If you asked for a picture I would have to draw a smile
under the perfectly round eyes and above the chin,
which was rough
as a thousand sharpened nails.

And you know
what a smile means,
don’t you?

*

I wanted the past to go away, I wanted
to leave it, like another country; I wanted
my life to close, and open
like a hinge, like a wing, like the part of the song
where it falls
down over the rocks: an explosion, a discovery;
I wanted
to hurry into the work of my life; I wanted to know,

whoever I was, I was

alive
for a little while.

*

It was evening, and no longer summer.
Three small fish, I don’t know what they were,
huddled in the highest ripples
as it came swimming in again, effortless, the whole body
one gesture, one black sleeve
that could fit easily around
the bodies of three small fish.

*

Also I wanted
to be able to love. And we all know
how that one goes,
don’t we?

Slowly

*

the dogfish tore open the soft basins of water.

*

You don’t want to hear the story
of my life, and anyway
I don’t want to tell it, I want to listen

to the enormous waterfalls of the sun.

And anyway it’s the same old story – – –
a few people just trying,
one way or another,
to survive.

Mostly, I want to be kind.
And nobody, of course, is kind,
or mean,
for a simple reason.

And nobody gets out of it, having to
swim through the fires to stay in
this world.

*

And look! look! look! I think those little fish
better wake up and dash themselves away
from the hopeless future that is
bulging toward them.

*

And probably,
if they don’t waste time
looking for an easier world,

they can do it.

Mary Oliver

View From Our Tent

When was the last time you went camping? I know its been awhile for me when I have a hard time remembering….

Maybe it was last July when I stayed at the cabin with Kerry and Brian on Caples Lake? Modified camping I know. I slept on a bed in a cabin, had an outhouse, a gas stove and even an outdoor refrigerator. But we WERE dirty, we bathed in icy lake water and we came home tired, sunburned and bug bitten. Before or since then? I can’t recollect…

With glorious weather this weekend, I decided to begin my birthday celebration in advance. I wanted to enjoy the amazing warm weather. I wanted to get away from my head. I wanted to travel less rather than more. And I wanted to be near the ocean. The result – a gourmet campground north of Santa Cruz with “comfort stations”, “tent platforms”, a camp store that resembled Whole Foods and a restaurant that one might find in my home town. Nice!

We had a campsite with a view of the ocean, amenities that included indoor and outdoor showers, fire places at the comfort stations with giant Adirondack chairs and hot saunas. OK – so this was a new form of camping I hadn’t tried before. I LIKE IT!!! 🙂

We introduced ourselves to our neighbors who were on their first ever camping trip. We explored Costanoa vacation land and the weekend activity itinerary. We set up our tent on the special and perfectly placed tent deck where we reveled in our “best tent site” with the ocean view. We laughed at the stinky horse stables immediately to our right. Later we raced across the street to a beach bathed by silver moonlight and then sauna -ed long after the campground was zzzz-ing away.

How do you like to get away? What do you do to nourish your soul? What inspires and energizes you?

I realize I feel gleeful having healthy adventures. I love to spend time in nature with friends. I love to feel the elements and gaze at natural wonders. I like quiet campgrounds with other respectful campers. I like to move my body, to see and do new things and meet new people. I like to step out of my daily routine and reconnect with myself. A few days away replenished my diminutive spirit. I feel clearer, more joyful and alive. I feel more enthused to create… I feel grateful.

Have you read any of these books?

1. The Ominivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

2. In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

3. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barabara Kingsolver and her family.

I’m inspired!!!

Michael Pollan considers food politics and food choices without pretense or judgment. His books make me think. They make me consider more deeply how and why I eat what I do. His tales have made my eating behaviors more conscious. I have settled into new layers of inquiry. How can I make a difference in my community, my country and also my body through what I choose to buy at the market?

Barbara Kingsolver, author extraordinaire is uber special. I love her books! And even more I love when she reads her audio books. Her voice is a delight to listen to. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is a family collaboration that makes me want to have a family and live in the country. It makes me want to feel more connected to the land, to create soulful sustenance, and to live in alignment with my values. It reminds me of how my first years were. My parents chose I similar path when we were young but then were swept away by the busyness of life and a growing family. My childhood included compost bins full of little red worms, pulling long orange carrots out of fresh dirt, sun warmed strawberries in deep shades of red, sweet snappy peas eaten from the vine. It included the yeasty scents of home-made bread and white globs of tofu, monthly trips to town to stock up on staples and car loads of seasonal fruits and vegetables from local farmer’s markets. I ate fresh, whole and nourishing foods and although I have deviated somewhat myself later on, I couldn’t imagine raising my children any other way.

Do you think about where your food comes from? Do you make conscious eating choices? Do you cultivate green space?

In addition to the books – particularly in audio form – I also suggest Kingsolver’s website www.animalvegetablemiracle.com

Are you a mother? How are you celebrated? And how do you love and honor your Mother on Mother’s Day? Do you appreciate her the rest of the year?

We’ve counted six separate deaths in the past ten days and many in our small community are in mourning. With this in mind, time shared with loved ones feels particularly precious. Family time on Mother’s Day was especially poignant this year. We were particularly aware of the fragile and tender nature of life. While it can be strong, vibrant and determined, our life force can also be so easily be extinguished at any given moment – through one’s own choice, through another’s hand or through God’s own will.

It makes me consider deeply those treasured beings whom I have the fortune to share with daily and the many others who I hold dear in my heart yet see irregularly or rarely at all. I LOVE you!!!!

Do you appreciate your friends and family? How do you show them? What can you do today to reach out and express your care and appreciation for those you love? What would you do or say today if you knew they weren’t going to be here tomorrow?

Sunday was magical. Cooper Point was blowing gale force winds with arctic temperatures but we bundled up to enjoy an afternoon of family, food and fun. Jill, Dad, me and of course Mom. Peach champagne (my current favorite celebratory drink a la Trader Joes), olive bread and cheese, and Lula’s chocolate caramels. A walk along the ridge. Dad at his best with grilled filets, parsley potatoes and salad. A new dessert recipe Cherry Almond Gratin (thanks to my favorite foodie site) served with vanilla-swiss almond Haagan-Daz ice cream. Yum!!! Russian Rummy. A slumber party with Jill but up at dawn so she could get back to Santa Cruz. 5am gratin and coffee, morning talks with Dad, and then a few more morning zzzzz’s to prepare for a long day…

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

Treasured Moments!!!

The San Diego Zoo with my super fun and inspiring friend Marianne and her brilliant and beautiful children ages 2 and 8 weeks.

When was the last time you visited the Zoo with a youngster?