Wednesday, December 29, 2010

be very thoughtful, and then let go.

The Baumgart family Xmas tree
so, remember last week, when i didn't want to go to drum class?  and then it turned out, class was awesome.  Seems every week (even without me practicing...shhhh, don't tell my teacher) i get better and better.   i mean, not to toot my own horn, or beat my own drum as the case may be...(seriously, sometimes i think i have a blog to simply let my cheesy, ridiculous side shine) but, i have been getting better at this.  the only time i pulled my drum out from under the cowboy hat that it displays in my pink kitchen, was on christmas eve.  we had a hell of a party...i made a shit-ton (a phrase that has taken up space in my inner monologue for weeks, why?) of tamales and a lot of margaritas and palomas.  Everyone that came, at least 30+ people brought lots of other yummy things to eat and drink as well.  and a good time seemed to be had by all, especially when gathered around the foosball table cheering yours truly on.  yes, i take that shit seriously.  and Rosette, i ruled that table, you never stood a chance.  i am the competitive wench my mother-in-law calls me, i guess.  yet, somehow, it doesn't feel great to be called that by your mother-in-law when you are simply racing your kids in the swimming pool.  so what i if i am nearly 30 years older than them.  anyway.  i got out my drum, and while listening to the Grateful Dead, eyes closed, head making figure 8's in the air...i played it.  i actually played the drum i paid $25 to rent for the month.  and it rocked.  maybe not my playing, but that moment of remembering the "old" days, and jamming out like the hippy that i am.  it was all worth it.

so tonight....i had my last (maybe) drum class.  i really, really did not  want to go.  i actually thought of pretending i forget to give my husband (a previous drummer) one of his Christmas presents and say i was giving him my last drum class.  cause i am so giving like that.  but i bucked up and went, cause i have been slack, yet again, and felt i needed to be loyal to the commitment i made to you faithful readers.  if you are even out there at all anymore.  i went.

and i kicked ass.  so, i went late, cause i am usually the first one there and it is super awkward for me.  just me and the teacher, shaking the little egg shaped shakers and i hate it.  i hate it.  then we get to the clapping and the fancy foot work.  and finally other show up, but still i hated that part too, cause it used to make me feel like i was falling over and like i was a complete idiot for not being able to clap and step. let's stress the word "used".  i used to hate that part.  but now i got it, i can totally get that together, hand, foot, hand shit...and it love it.  so, i get there late...and there are all new people.  i am the only old student...and when the shit hits the fan, i totally kept it all together!  i carried the beat.  the other students were looking to me to see what to do!  can you believe it?

i wanted to go on and on to the newbies that were obviously having a hell of a time just clapping, that it was me only a few short weeks ago that was almost falling over trying to get the basics.  and now look at me!  clapping, footwork, and singing...all different rhythms, each part of me, and keeping it together.  unbelievable!

i said in class tonight, and the teacher's like you have to concentrate to intensely, and then be able to let go and let your body keep doing the things you thought so hard about and trust that you will keep doing it.  be very thoughtful, and then let go.  um.....kinda like life? right?

tonight i contemplated continuing drumming, even after night of dreading going.  the bembe got to me.  the afro-cuban beat that calls god to be with them, that was originally used to call from one village to another in Africa (so, maybe i could be wrong but this is what i remember from class).  it got to me.  i felt like i was one and yet part of another whole.  i highly recommend drumming.  i highly recommend trying new things.  everything is connected.

and just wait...not only does next month, the last month of our twelve month journey involve meditation, yoga and probably a bit of the cleanse found on vegan month.  but there is another exciting announcement.  new things on the horizon for Good Luck with That!


Bembe Overview

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

back to class tonight

we didn't have class last week.  but we are back on tonight.  and i am not looking forward to it.  Only because i feel so tired today.  we have had lots of parties to attend this season.   lots of late nights with the neighbors.  cookies to bake.  (and let's just say i am glad baking sugar cookies was not on the list of passions, cause i flipping HATE making those)  full moon winter solstice eclipses to watch.  wow.  and i have a big christmas eve party coming up in a couple days, that i am just starting to get ready for.  i think i spent 2 hours on the computer today looking for a good tamale recipe and a punch made with tequila to serve with them.  not so productive.  especially considering i didn't really find either.

so, i feel tired.

and i have a lot to drum class sorta feels like in the way today.  and i haven't practiced.  seems the drum i rented has turned into a kitchen side table for stacking my bag of leftover cookie ingredients.  i should probably at least get it out and slap out a few rhythms before class tonight.  maybe.

and maybe tonight's class will ignite that special drumming spark that i know lies hidden within.

and as for looking forward to next month, meditating.  i got some CD's for learning to meditate by Pema Chodron.  and i am going to also include a 30 day bikram yoga challenge, which is like a 90 minute moving meditation.  there i said it.  now it's out there and i have to follow through.  i figure, after the holidays and the extra 10 pounds and liver damage, a kick start to the new year that will cleanse and get me back in touch with my body would be a good thing.  and also because this is the one things that i feel like i truly loved during this year long adventure.  i want to finish off with a testament to finding a passion.

now really, when January starts i will totally need good luck. :)


Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I think for this month I will join in with the rest of you to read about Melissa's drumming class!  I love reading about it and think it is great.  I will have to take a pass on this month.  I have had no luck finding something in Geneva but that is ok as I am loving my scrapbook so I will continue to work on that!


Monday, December 6, 2010

drumming class was..

i went to drumming class last Wednesday night.  it appeared on the website that i had two choices...7pm or 8pm.  I decided at the last minute to go to the 7pm since neither Jamie nor i went to yoga at 5.  But I nearly missed class because when i finally found the Seattle Drum School down in Georgetown, i thought to  myself...great there it is, now I'll just swing around back and park there.  ha!  by swinging around back, i landed myself right on the on ramp to I-5!  and i chose I-5, i had to drive like 5 miles south before i could turn around and wind my way back to Georgetown.  and I was already running late.  aren't those moments great, when you feel all that tension and anger rising and you get to tell yourself...hey, it's just drum class.  it's just life, shit happens...let it go.  and there's this point where it feel uncomfortable to not be angry, where i feel like if i stay angry then that show how much i wanted to be there on time.  that i feel bad about being late.  as if feeling bad is a free ticket out of "hey, you suck, cause my drum class is real important and you must not think so cause you are late" jail.  well...anyway, these are the things i think about. (which need i say it?  yes, yoga has totally helped those transitional moments from anger to peace quicker and less messy.  which can, i emphasize possibly but not always, come in handy being a mom of three)  ...but back to drum class.

turns out after i let go of my anger and frustration, i made it to class and they were starting late.  so i missed nothing.  and this place that was all hard core and perfection made true through a drum school in my mind, was instead totally laid back.  i had to hunt someone down to pay at the end!  everything was cool.

it was me and three other people, guys...but one was a kid.  and our teacher.  Arturo Rodriguez.  he was great, very patient (needed with me) and clear.  we started by using shakers and keeping a simple beat with two in our hands.  then we added feet rhythms and then voice.  wow.  after that we clapped a beat...and followed suit like with the shakers.  adding more and more rhythms on top.  wow again.  i totally sucked at this part.  i could barely keep the clapping straight.  we did this "together" (hand and one foot), "hand", "foot", "hand."  thing...and we did it over and over and over.  and seriously i almost fell over at one point.  let alone adding singing to it!  i was feeling a little defeated at this point.  not like i wanted to quit, but just that i knew i had a lot of work to do.

then we got to use the drums.  which turned out to be a lot easier.  and it felt great.  we did two different styles of rhythms.  one Puerto Rican and one Cuban...i forget the names now.  maybe the Cuban one was Bembe...yea, that was it.  we learned the beats and the call and then got to take turns improvising within the rhythm that the other were keeping.  it was fun, i was shaking...either from nerves or from my legs getting tired from holding the drum so tight.  or maybe it was from the spirit of the drums...totally, maybe it wasn't about the hallucinogenics in my hippy days :)  it was pure drumming energy.

i am looking forward to heading back this week...and anyone can start at any my offer still stand, anyone wanna join me?

xoxo melissa

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Drumming month...

dum ditty dum ditty dum dum dum
(sorry, I just couldn't help myself)

i am a little nervous for my class tonight.  it is an ensemble class so my fear is that i am going to come in and mess up and get everyone off beat.  but they say it is a class for total beginner as i should be ok.  from what i remember about drumming, it is a beautiful balance between being aware enough to stay on the beat, and yet being free enough to flow and feel that amazing thing that happens when you become one with everything because you get lost in the rhythm.  how hippy of me, huh?

But i do remember being at drum circles, seriously though...back in my hippy days.  outside of grateful dead concerts.  well, actually phish or further festival...the thing that happened after jerry died.  from what i could tell it was not quite the same as back in the old days.  but it did offer me a place to get lost in the magic of a drum circle.  maybe it was the pot or maybe it was the mushrooms, but whatever it was it was amazing.  i thought it was simply the drumming, the tribal nature of it all.  and being that this time i will be unaccompanied by any hallucinogenics...i guess i'll be able to tell if it was simply the drumming.

so, i'll let you all know.

in other uneventful news...i still hate my job ( i am a glorified retail worker with a title that is supposed to make it all seem better).  we had a meeting today to go over the "numbers" with the owner.  and basically it seems like i should work harder so he makes more money.  oh, and so other people can get raises...seeing as i was told i will never get another as long as i work there.  and i am not a selfish person, but that just leaves no incentive.  i feel like he would rather see me leave so he can hire someone for much less.  and that's what i told him today at the meeting.  and man, did i want to give my two weeks notice via phone message after i left.  i mean, i do have a passion for what i do...but somehow his energy sucks it all away.  is that my cop out?  is he my scapegoat for my own laziness?  or should i just take the leap and get the hell out...opening up more space for new opportunities to come.  more doula work.  working towards my upcoming birth assistant career.  or maybe something even better than i could even dream.  i am so tired of just making everything make sense and feel ok being at a job i hate or where i feel under appreciated.  well, i just needed to vent.  ad hoping that maybe drumming is an avenue in which to disperse some of this kind of energy.  so you all don't have to listen to me complain ;)  but then again, it is your read or not to read.  :)

here's to tonight!

Monday, November 29, 2010

virtual scrapbook is published!

here is the link so you all can check it out.
just remember it is very, very preliminary....
The 5 Baumgart's Website

I had to add in this picture.  I captured this moment at Discovery Park the other day.  really, they were playing, but i love thinking he was caught in the act of shaking her and trying to throw her off the log.  my twisted sense of humor.  

hopefully this website/scrapbook will turn into a fun way for me and the kids to keep our memories and share them too.  and hopefully people will get my sense of humor and not turn us into child protective services :)  it will be a scrapbook without all the paper and mess that doesn't go along with my simplifying life month i had a while back.  August i think it was.

i am getting back to yoga....yet again.  still my one true passion i have discovered through this search.  and man, when i don't go for a couple can be rough.  especially when said weeks have been surrounding the thanksgiving holiday and there has been lots of merry making and eating.  lots of eating.  god, i love food.  remember that post so many months ago...where i love food more than any other human?  yeah, i am still working on that one.

and as for next is already working out smoothly.  i am going to a drumming class....latin hand drumming...on, yes, it starts on Wednesday....December 1st!  it'll be every week and an hour and is open to total beginners.  any takers on going with me?  it's at the Seattle Drum School in Georgetown.  maybe i'll play a little drum thing at my christmas eve party this year.  and hopefully it will be better than when i attempted Mary had a Little Lamb on the accordion one year.  wow.  glad that was not captured on video.

well...i am sure i have a ton more witty, insightful things to say.  i know i did.  i was thinking about them when i woke up in bed the other night.  but now all i can think about is getting dinner started for tomorrow.  Jamie invited some friends over for dinner and i wasn't thinking and went to yoga tonight instead of the grocery store.  and after i work tomorrow and pick up the kids from school, I'll have exactly 2 hours to cook everything, get cleaned up and pretend it was nothing.  oh this, i just whipped it up.  Roasted chicken, kale salad, sausage stuffing, corn and mushrooms.  it was no sweat.  smile.  drink.  smile some more.

but glad i went to yoga.  i never rested in savasana so much in a class ever.  guess i need it.

well...11:20...time to get started cooking.  it's how i roll.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


i was wishing i had my camera yesterday, and that i could have got a shot of a flying leaf through the air.  but they were moving fast.  we don't get much extreme weather here in the pacific north west, and not that it was extreme, more exciting.  the kids on the playground after school were running around trying to catch yellow leaves as they swiftly darted through the gray sky.  it was quite beautiful, both in colors and sight and in my heart.  so simple, so innocent...what i thought having kids would be like before i had them.  no yelling and fighting, no video games, no hitting and whining.  just kids having fun, in nature.  i tried to recreate that dream i had about children, the one i woke up from oh around when lily was 19months old and i had levi.  maybe it happened before then during pregnancy when she was one and i watched three other kids in my home.  regardless, i tried to piece that dream back together by sending my kids to a waldorf school.  keep them sheltered and innocent a little longer.  let them be kids and play instead of stuffing mathematics and reading in every free space, and then some, as early as kindergarten.  5 years old. but all i ended up with was more chaos at home...i couldn't keep up with the joneses of waldorf perfection, nor could my wallet.  stress.  but it wasn't all bad and i am grateful for our time there, i just don't think it is all it's cracked up to be (well, what i had it cracked up to be, as i can only speak for myself).  it's not all chasing leaves.  they do their best, but look, even public school kids chase leaves...and that warmed my heart, and especially more so since all the kids on the playground weren't of one race or SES.  (socioeconomic my new favorite terms to throw around.)
it's those little moments, the little ones that maybe only take up five minutes of my life, but fill my soul more than the rest of the hours i spend alive that day.  you gotta keep an eye out for them.  even in the midst of chaos or despair...there is a silver lining.  sometimes not apparent until later, when you see its glittery hint as you are walking away from a storm, when you look back thinking...what the fuck was that?  and you get it.  you have a moment where life makes sense, where you know you are right where you need to be.  i am trying to keep my eyes open, and to trust that the silver lining is there.  every day.  even today. even at my job.  that i hate.  but oh how i wish i were looking back at my job for the hint of glitter.  looking back from the forward distance of not working at a place i have stayed past my intended due date of leaving.  well, anyway...
as i walk around with my camera these days, i am looking for moments.  capturing things that i find that take me out of the everyday.  things that remind me that life has surprises and heart warming images in the midst of a storm.  which is why i really really wished i hadn't left my camera yesterday.  eh, i doubt i could have actually caught a leaf in mid flight anyway.  but i will remember it today.
have a good one...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

nothing happened yesterday unless you count...

me scoring a free ticket to see my new favorite band!  (thanks Jamie!!!!)  We got tickets to see the sold out show of Fistful of Mercy.  it is a trio with Ben Harper (LOVE Ben!), Joseph Arthur (now i also LOVE Joe) and Dhani Harrison (son of Beatle George Harrison).  it was amazing and i have not stopped listening to the album all day. (literally.  i think people at work and my kids at home have had enough)  talk about passion and creativity....these three guys wrote and recorded their debut album "As I Call You Down" in only three days.  wrote and recorded.  it is inspiring.  here is a link to a video of them at KEXP here in Seattle.  also, they started their tour here....made seattle feel special to me.

so...yea, that was real good.

and back to scrapbooking month, i have been snapping shots everywhere....mostly just of random stuff i see.  whether it is artistic or dumb or fun for people to look at doesn't quite matter when you are doing something to stir up the creativity within. at least that is what i have found.  the more i wonder if what i am photographing is cool, the less i feel that deep sense of awe in the world...the mystery.  it comes from the same place within us that creates life, from the womb, from the source.  it's like life is totally coming full circle in so many ways for me lately.
in some ways the circle is about the birthing career thing i mentioned before in a prior post.  since i mentioned the womb i thought of it.  i am starting a career as a birth assistant.  i am getting all my training and certifications in order in the coming months.  and then coming soon, probably before i realize the time has gone by, i will be on call and attending births!  i will be assisting the midwife...getting her the things she needs, being a second pair of hands when needed.  i can't believe it is happening.  and yet i can.  i have been transforming more than i ever have this past year and it is paying off so to speak.  i always come back to wanting to be a midwife and now as i embark on this new chapter, i can look back and see that i have always been on this path...even times that i doubted, times that i denied it, times that i shrank away from my  dreams.  all those times, i were part of my path.  every step paves the way for the next, even when we walk through dark times...we are perhaps nurturing the depths, so that we have a stronger foundation.  that is how i feel these days, like i am starting to stand on a stronger foundation.
just seems like lots of situations have happened lately where i find myself knowing i am in the right place at the right time.  it is quite satisfying and scary.  i used to equate that feeling of satisfaction or comfort or like everything is lining up with the thought that it must mean i was going to die.  i know, crazy.  but somehow i always saw the headlines...."sweet girl dies just as everything was going right."  i bet that is some crazy past life shit right there.  but the scary part is way the fear is more like i am about to jump off the high dive and i am shaking, but i also sorta know it will be exhilarating and fun.  not saying i am ready for a bungee jump, but a high dive...yes.  (aside....i am a bit fearful of heights and get vertigo, a random yet apt example i happened upon with the high dive.  cause i absolutely loved the high dive as a kid.)
well, my thoughts are jumping i am off for a break and more Fistful of Mercy, exploring Joseph Arthur's music.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Step 1...

I got started today with the first stage of my Geneva/Europe scrapbook for my girls.  I know Melissa wrote "crapbooking" as being funny but to be honest I picked this month but kinda initially felt the same way.  Since I have been here I really feel that it is important to make something for my kids to help them remember their experiences here...kinda how sometimes when you have seen a picture so many times you feel like you can remember it but really you just are remembering the that.  I wanted something to give to them that would have all the memories that will help are family talk and think about our trip here when we have long gone....something special to them from me.  I have always known from the beginning that I did not want to do a book with a ton of fancy boarders etc but just something that was interesting to look at I guess a bit creative as I would not consider myself to be crafty at all.  Since we arrived in Geneva I have been collecting all the "crap" we have, menus, napkins of fun places we ate at, receipts, bus tickets etc.  Ok so really this stuff drives me crazy...I hate it....all the papers ugh so I initially hid them all in a cabinet...that is not going to get me anywhere.   Today I decided that my first step was to organize them all into the places they come from and create some kind of system to put new things in.  Once I get this done I will start making "pages" for each topic.  I think I mentioned before that I have been reading other blogs and one that I love is from a mom in San Diego and she is the most organized person I have ever "met"...she gives great ideas and sometimes I dream about being that organized but I am going to give this a go.  Joyce gave me a scrapbook with plastic page protectors so I took that all the crap and off I went to a friends house (by love not having a car) and spent the afternoon organizing.  Here is what I came up with..

Here is my Marineland stuff...kinda like Sea World but oh so different:) that we went to in Biot France.  We had a great day with the girls and this packet contains all of our tickets etc.  I am not sure I will use everything but at least it is all together.  The next one is all of my stuff from our trip to Villefranche.  I have to say it was awesome to look at all the stuff and it did remind me of the fun we had. I have decided not to add photos to this book.  Both my girls have baby albums and really I think as Melissa is should be kept digital and I would bet that by the time my girls are grown photo albums will be a thing of the way past.  So there you go my first step at scrapbooking.  So far I love it...mostly because I am making it for Madeline and Hazel.  They will never remember all of this crazy adventure we are on so if I can give them a piece of what they don't remember this was so worth it.  I know if I handed them a bag of this stuff they would never appreciate it or be worried I would be upset if one day they wanted to throw it out so maybe if I just make one simple book they will have it to treasure...I may be kidding myself but I hope so.  Next step is to make the fist page!  I am going to do that next week.  Happy Crapbooking!  So far I LOVE it~

Monday, November 8, 2010

learning iphoto

i am learning a lot about the new iphoto software, and loving it.  the facial recognition thing is wild.  so, i have taken lots of photos and after i learn how to really use iphoto to my best ability, hopefully this week!  i will start making a family website on iweb.  then the kids can have their own page too, to post their Levi's photos of the ravens game on tv.  funny what they use a camera for.
here are a few of my photos i have taken this week:
Post Halloween in our raised bed garden

just the mess of shoes from our "shoe box"
Seward Park

Sunny in Seattle


Friday, November 5, 2010

taking photos

today on our walk to school, i took some shots of...well, our walk to school.  :)  it was so quiet and peaceful (i had dropped the kids already and it was my walk if you couldn't already tell) and although i had wished i would have remembered my camera the past two days when the sun was vibrant and shining, this is what it was and i dug deep to find gratitude for these quiet overcast moments.  the leaves were still so colorful, and the houses i pass were still beautiful...and maybe even cozier with the cloudiness that surrounded them.
i will be taking the bus through the city today and i plan on taking some more pictures, and to step out of my comfort zone and not worry about looking like a tourist and snap as many shots as i like.  that will be hard for me.  but hey i do hot yoga, i can do anything!
Speaking of bikram yoga....i was scrolling through the email i got from the sweatbox last night.  that is the studio where i practice.  anyway.  i was reading through it because last month was the 30 day challenge and my friend Stephanie did it.  yea stephanie!!!  amazing.  and so i was excited to see her name and then i kept reading and i saw my name!  i felt semi famous for a minute in my own way.  i hate to admit that, but i did.  here is what the owner Laura wrote....

Melissa Baumgart, SweatBox student, searches for joy and finds it all over the place, including at The SweatBox:

so, there is my excitement.  had to share.  and looking forward to sharing more with this "scrapbooking" month.  the kids want to get in on it and i think maybe after i figure it out...we could have a little family website where they can share their photography and thoughts.  that would be fun.

ok, off to a midwifery conference.  oooh, yes, i have exciting new on the birth career front.  I'll share more later.

and PS....if you found this blog through the Sweatbox link....go back to April's posts to fread about our journey with finding bikram yoga.  i think it just may be one of the whole reasons i did this blog.  it is my passion....and i am still searching for more...who says you can only have one!


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Where to start?

I am actually excited about this month because we have done so many amazing things that I want to put something together for my girls.  I am a bit overwhelmed on where to start as I have collected so much stuff over the past few months.  So my plan is to work this month on a system that is easy to continue and add to as we live here in Geneva and this way my girls will have a memory book to look back on when we return to the states.  I have some friends coming for lunch tomorrow who are big into this kinda thing so they are going to help me!  Keep you posted...


Monday, November 1, 2010

ok, new month!

let the scrapbooking begin!

my plan for the month....take a bunch of pictures and make a digital scrapbook.

sooooooo....let's see how it goes everyone.  wish me luck to stay on task this month.  i really don't want to let another month go by without fulfilling my bloggin duties.


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ugh is right

man...this month did not turn out the way i thought it would.

my vision:  i would go salsa dancing every friday with jamie and then start lessons this week.  we were going to be getting sooo good by now.

my reality:  i went to salsa dancing once, on october first.  it was great, but like a lot of married couples, we go through times of trouble.  and wouldn't you know it?  this time it happens to be during salsa month.  kinda makes it hard to go salsa dancing when going to couples counseling is a bigger priority.

sooooo....another month goes by without fulfilling my blogging duties.  both times it happened (writing and salsa)  i have to say i was shocked.  both things i totally thought had the potential to be my passion.  just goes to show that you never know how life is going to show up.  you never know how you may show up to life.  it's all just so random.  stay open.  cause someday it might turn out good.

but anyway...i still have been going to yoga.  still been loving it.  i have not been going 6 days a week like when i started...but i have been going.  at the Sweatbox where i practice, a lot of people are doing a thirty day challenge.  it is inspiring.  and although i have not joined them this has planted the seed of hope that i too can do the challenge.  and you know what.  at least i tried salsa, that is sometimes enough.

but then again next month is scrapbooking.
what is the sound of disdain worse than Ugh?
can i use the F word on here? ;)


Thursday, October 14, 2010


So it is mid October and I have yet to Salsa or Zumba.  I was so excited to take the first class a few weeks ago but got frustrated because I found out that I needed to take 3 buses to get there and the timing was just not going to work. I know it is really no excuse but this is my biggest frustration since moving here...everything takes double as long..I guess mostly because of the language but just finding my way around.  I am not real sure of all the street names, neighborhoods etc and I think once I get frustrated I just loose interest.  I don't know...maybe I will try for next week.  A girlfriend invited me to her gym to take a class but that I not till November but I think I will do that since I can get there by bus....I think.  Don't get me wrong as I really like not having a car...just complaining about it I guess.  We are leaving on the 23rd for a week in the South of France...I am so excited both for vacation and to have Ian with us for the week...he has been working lots so to have him home will be great.  So as for Salsa....I just don't know.  My baby turned 4 this month and we had a wonderful party in the park. I was so nervous that nobody would come or just culturally it would not go well but it was perfect.  I can not believe she celebrated her 4th birthday here in Switzerland...crazy right!  Here are some pictures...I will keep you posted about the salsa thing!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

salsa time.

so...on Friday we went salsa dancing.  it was really fun there at the century ballroom...i just love the old building and ornate details around the dance floor.  first we went to dinner at the tin table, it was soooo good.  we had oxtail ravioli for an appetizer and then we shared roasted veggies.  i ordered the steak frites with blue cheese not vegan or coming off my cleanse in a gentle way!  Jamie had the pork tenderloin.  it was all delicious.  here is a link to their website, the Tin Table.

then the dancing.  i was nervous.  the lady that taught us split the room into two...the leads and the followers.  there were lots more followers, lots of ladies.  we learned the basic steps...back step one two, bring that foot back to center three hold four.  then front step five six bring that foot back to center seven hold eight.  over and over and over again.  then we learned how to put a couple spins in there.  next she had us get in a big circle....leads on the outside and the followers rotated around the room trying the dance with different leads.  a little uncomfortable at first and with some of the guys, but overall, not too bad.

after a half and hour of practice....the music started and so did the real dancing.  some people had been doing this for years and then some, like me and jamie, were there for the first time.  overall jamie and i did pretty good.  we mastered the basic steps, I think.  and we got one of the spins down.  the other three moves we learned never quite sunk in for us...but we have all month.  the plan is to go once a week, and start lessons toward the end of the month when the session starts.  and jamie really loved the dancing.  so, i think he had a good birthday night out!

i came off the cleanse with a bang....of bread and cheese and everything else!   i even topped my dancing night off with a slice of pizza.  i called it dessert...and boy was it goooood.  from Big Mario's on Pike.  it was perfect.  crispy crust, thin...light sauce with the right amount of cheese, not too much but just enough.  folded in half and held with a paper plate, it made my night.  oh, that cripsy crust.  mmmmm  and then my belly hurt real bad.  real bad.  i went to bed regretting my pizza choice physically, but certainly not emotionally.  i think i want some tonight.

well...i have been in a funk, so haven't been blogging the past few days.  i guess maybe you all don't mind hearing me complain, but i feel like i tend to not want to blog in that state....but that's life, it's not all fucking roses people.  i know, big shocker.

til next time...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Moving on...

Good Morning,
Been a while since I have sat down to do this.  To be honest at certain points I find this blogging thing difficult and that most of the time I have nothing really interesting to chat about. The stuff  I would want to write about is really not something I would like everyone to read so I just choose to censor myself and I guess because of that the posts seem superficial and I guess maybe I will just stick to the topic and hope for the best. I do continue writing my journal from writing month and that has been great for me.   I do however much enjoy reading other peoples blogs.  I love reading Melissa's posts and during this have been turned onto many other blogs..mostly moms just about kid life.  I have read some great ideas on parenting etc so maybe reading blogs is more of my passion.  Although I am not writing more I have been following along.  Vegan month was good and over :)!  I think I like the reduction of certain things in my diet but not sure I would eliminate all together.   I am very good at restricting my diet so it feeds into some of that for me.  I am working everyday on moderation and maintenance so I do better with less of something instead of none of something. I also had some uncomfortable experiences eating out with friends or being invited over to peoples homes.  I don't like to be that person who picks apart their food or has to order special and let me tell you here makes that more difficult. 
So Salsa...I think the idea of getting Ian to come home from work at a reasonable time to make a Salsa lesson may actually be harder than learning salsa.  He just works so much and the time he is home he likes to hang and be with the family so I just think adding that to his plate is not going to work.   So I have decided to try a Zumba class.  I really enjoy working out and other than walking miles per day (no car and sunny days = long long walks) I have not really had any official workouts.  So from what I understand Zumba is a Latin dance aerobic workout that I heard was super fun.  From what I could understand from the French website it is Monday at 5:30.  I emailed them so hopefully I can attend.  I think it sounds fun....wonder if it will all be in French? Oh this should be interesting. baby will be 4 next week and we are having a party in the park for her (or my house if it rains).  A few Expedia friends and friends from school will join us.  I can not believe she is 4....that is crazy.  They are really happy here and so am I.  I think I have been bitten by the baby bug...I just need that bug to bite Ian.  We will see.....Here is an updated Geneva picture!


Friday, October 1, 2010

good bye september, hello october!

just a quick good bye to vegan month, to my cleanse, and to september.

it was good, but now bring on the food.  and meat! :)

and welcome October....Salsa month!  today is Jamie's birthday.  happy birthday!!!  and we are going out to celebrate.  we are having dinner at the Tin Table, a restaurant adjacent to the Century Ballroom.  then at 9pm, we are going to get a little salsa lesson and by 9:30 be out on the dance floor!  i am so nervous.  it is so hard for me not to lead, and i am hoping that within that...some of our marriage issues can be worked out on the dance floor so to speak.  i am going to do my best.  and let go.  and i am also nervous about everyone else there knowing what they are doing and me getting in their way, all sloppy and falling over jamie's feet.  time to tap into my bulldog determination....I can do this.  i did the single ladies, right?

I'll let you know how it goes....and how the food is too.  man, i am excited to eat.  i have been looking over the menu all week!

enjoy your is gorgeous here in Seattle.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

day 6 of cleanse and i feel great!

I just got back form yoga, 3 days this week so far, loving that.  i have been taking it easy in class though, as my strength just hasn't been the same since cleansing.  but i feel so great afterwards today.  i started the day with some frustration, mostly with myself, and my attempt to learn every day how to be in the world.  i am trying these days to learn to balance taking care of myself, and still help others.  to keep the community vibe going on.  anyway, that came up as a conflict for me this morning and i don't think i handled it the best way...but being gentle and compassionate with myself...i can make amends and learn from my behavior.  as i walked into yoga i was still not settled and had a heck of a time with the breathing exercise.  it seemed like the teacher was never going to stop.  but i settled in, with the sweat and the quiet of my mind, and the slow breathing.  and walked out a new person.  really, that's how transformative it can be sometimes.

this morning before yoga, and before the upset, i had such a treat.  i made a smoothie with some apple cider we got from our farm box this morning and frozen blueberries (did you know you can get them in bulk at Madison Market?) and the green powder.  mmmmm.  it's like everything has extra flavor these days.  and for a person that loves food more than anyone! ;)

i am brewing up some detox tea, can't remember if i mentioned i have been drinking that everyday as well. it has things like dandelion, artichoke, burdock, nettles, calendula, fennel and more.  getting some liver support.

here is a link to a website that gives some reasons why other people choose to be vegan.  not everyone does it for a blog! huh.

when i was vegan before...i did it for health reasons, environmental reasons and for the animals.  i remember thanksgiving one year at my mom's house in Ohio.  i saw the neck of the turkey and it really hit me in a new way, like i never realized i was actually eating an animal.  i think we are so removed from where our food comes from in most of America, that it was a shock to me, and i was in college!  so that was when i went vegetarian, and then switched to vegan down the road.  i was pregnant, nursed a baby through a pregnancy and nursed two babies all while being mostly vegan and some vegetarian.  but keep in mind, there are healthy ways to eat in any diet we choose.  just as there are unhealthy ways to eat in any diet.  even a vegan diet can be unhealthy if someone doesn't educate themselves.  i don't know that i stand behind every reason for veganism anymore, but i do feel great in my body eating this way.  maybe it's my type A blood type.  who knows.  i do know it can be quite controversial and get some people's blood rising.  there are some hard core vegans.  and there are some hard core not vegans too.  have you read Nourishing Traditions?  by sally fallon.  meat lover.

ok, i have been all over the place today and it's just past noon.

ps...i posted a link to another blog i like.  it is by Laura Culberg...she is one of my yoga teachers and one of  the owners of the sweatbox where i practice.  you'll find the link down on the right hand side of our blog.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

my "story"

today in my doula class the teacher was talking about how we bring our "stories" into the birth room, or carry them around through life.  at lunch i started thinking about food, imagine that!  and i was thinking about how much i love food.  and then i remembered a friend of mine telling me how her husband told her one day, during a fight about the lack of sex in their life, that he had the largest sexual appetite of any man. seriously?  i think he actually believed this.  so, why i thought of that i don't know, but somehow it came from the meshed ideas of his "story" and my appetite for food.  and i realized, i have my own story, quite like my friend's husband...I love food more than anyone else walking this earth.  absurd.  i know.  but i think that is how a lot of our stories sound once we say them out loud, and yet we can live our lives as if they are true.  for me, I will eat more and more food because, i mean, why wouldn't i?  i need to.  it is so damn good, everything about it is sooooo good.   i love food more than anyone.  more than you.  so move over and give me that baguette.  :)

and this has been my life, realization after realization, and not much movement after that.  or at least so slow that i get impatient and feel like i am not growing.  maybe i am being too hard on myself (um, virgo?) or maybe i get lazy and don't want to do the work.  i think through this cleanse, and without the crutch of food, i am having space to notice things...and to really sit with them longer than i have in the past.  i would be onto the next meal...feeling really good.  or having a glass of wine...feeling really good.  and avoiding the place or emotions that i had just cultivated.  i think meditation month is going to be so good for me.  and i mean, i am reading all these Pema books...which have a lot of life wisdom in them, but they are grounded in having a meditation practice.  that comes up in january.

so, here we are on day 5.  almost 6pm.  not feeling too bad, although the morning, i have to say, is not the high point of my day.  i felt shaky and foggy.  and last night, i had an awful time going to sleep, all these scary images flashing in the darkness of my closed eyelids.  clenching my jaw.  tossing and turning.  i have not had restful sleep the past couple of nights.  but as i sit here and type, i feel pretty good.  i had a great day, being in an inspiring class.  it was easier to be on the cleanse whining kids, no husband to fight with.  ps. i do love you, jamie and kids :)  just sitting there listening...and i noticed that too, more listening, clearly listening instead of always in my own thoughts.  that clarity i mentioned yesterday was with me again today.  of course it goes right out the window when my kids start flipping out.  but hey, i am human.

i went to a potluck last night at the kids school.  i even cooked chili for it.  and i didn't give into temptation.  i guess when i put my mind to something i can follow through.  i need to remember that one. since my go to emotion these days seems to be overwhelm.  i can get through.  i can set my intention on how to handle something and no matter how hard i think it might be...when i actually follow through on my plan, it's never as hard as i had anticipated.


Monday, September 27, 2010

day 4 of cleanse

it's going great.  i have moments of desperation where i think i just have to have some food.  something.  and then i have some green drink or a couple almonds  or i sit with that feeling.  cause sometimes it isn't that i am hungry, it's that i am desperate to not feel whatever it is a feeling...frustrated, empty, angry, overwhelmed.  and sometimes it is because it is just an automatic to go to food.  just like when i made coffee this morning, i made a whole pot, out of habit.  i often go to food, out of habit.  maybe one day i can be less extreme, like not always on a cleanse and still learn from this and bring that awareness to my day and to my relationship with food.  it's almost easier to be on the cleanse because i don't have to deal with my food relationship, it just the flip side of the coin.  i spend most days not dealing with my relationship to food, but just stuffing it in my mouth whenever i want.  to a certain degree.

so i am still going on the same.  a piece of fruit and a half a day, around that.  and one small portion of beans and veggies, plain.  and a few almonds.  i added avocado today and yesterday to get some good fats.  and then lots of tea, greens powder, earth broth and intestinal drawing formula once or twice a day.  when i wake up i don't have the same amount of energy i am used to.  and i feel a little spacey at times.  but overall, i feel really good.  i feel clear.  emotionally, i feel clear.  as the day goes on my energy level is good.  and by bed time i am so happy that i made it another day.

only three more to go....then salsa friday night!


Saturday, September 25, 2010

i love food

mostly, i am missing food.

i was reading some Pema yesterday and there was a line something like this....'there is a grain of truth to that'...and i was all like, mmmmm grains.  so, yea, i am missing food.

this is day two of the cleanse.  and i have to keep reminding myself why i am doing this.  i am re-setting my body/mind connection for one.  when we eat junk foods, the more we eat them, the more we crave them...and i have such a hard time with that.  i want more bread, more fries, more potato chips, more wine. everyday seems a good reason to celebrate with food and libations.  and it is.  (and it comes to mind that don't have to celebrate it with overeating and drinking.)    and then i can feel my body and my mind starting to drift into a downward spiral.  so, that is one reason.  two is i want to see what it is like to do a cleanse.  i want to see what my body feels like to be free of the everyday toxins or possible food intolerances i live with.  i often am congested or have allergies and this is a great way to see if any foods are affecting that.  and i sure there is a reason three, but my mind is foggy and forgetful today :)

yesterday i did the green drink in the morning with a cup of coffee.  i am not ready for that no coffee headache, so i am having one cup a day.  which is quite a bit less for me.  then i drank lots of water all day.  i had a banana after yoga and half a pear later in the afternoon.  i also had about 1/2c of black beans and kale.  i had some of the Earth broth in the evening and detox tea.  and i finished off the night with some project runway and intestinal drawing formula!

today....more of the same.  half a pear and 4 almonds.  green drink.  detox tea.  lots of peppermint tea.  drawing formula and broth.  and it's not even 3pm.  i'll probably do more green drink and broth and drawing formula later too.  my jaw is tight and tense.  i feel a bit more irritable than usual and like i want to go be alone.  reading pema is helping a lot.  and i feel so much better in my body just after two days of yoga and cleanse.'s the website for the products i am using.  easier than typing all the ingredients out.  Healthforce Nutritionals.

i am off to finish completing an application i am turning in tomorrow.  it is for a job as a birth assistant for a birth center in kirkland...they do birth center births and home births.  i am more than excited.  but i don't want to get my hopes up too much, it's just that it would be perfect for me right now.  i would be on call, but with boundaries, like for certain days or shifts.  and the time commitment for each birth is less than a doula's.  and it would really help me on my path to eventually become a midwife.  so, if i could have a couple doula clients and do this birth assisting, i could quit my "day job" and do something so very fulfilling to me and serving the world in such a positive way.  but that is a little off topic, jsut exciting so i wanted to share.

and ps...if it weren't for this blog, i mist be more tempted to go straight to my kitchen and get some popcorn going and pop open a bottle of sparkling wine!  you all help me be accountable.  thank you!


Friday, September 24, 2010

back to yoga. starting cleanse.

maybe it's the full moon in Aries.  but my ass is getting kicked into gear.  i can actually barely type this cause yoga class was so awesome that i am not really down from it yet.  it is harder after being gone for two months.  i can't believe i only took two class since july 14th.  and then started back up yesterday.  i am kinda feeling like doing the 30 day challenge, but we'll see.  so, it is harder, but i also feel more gentle with myself, like this is a lifetime practice and i don't have to do all the poses every class, exactly right.  just do 100% of my ability that day, and i will receive 100% of the benefit.  man my hands are shaky.  good thing for spell check. :)

and i started the cleanse this morning.  since i never take herbs or supplements, unless i have a cold, i choose to make it very simple.  (and i know...bad, bad herbalist!)  i bought healthforce nutritionals' vitamineral green powder.  it has everything green in it, I'll get the bottle next time and let you know some of the hundred things it contains.  and i am going to do the earth powder by the same company...and use it like a broth.  again, i'll elaborate on ingredients next time.  i also have their intestinal drawing powder, for gut support, since i have been feeling a little less than stellar in that area.  which i am so not used to.  the first few days i am going to eat food, and then maybe spend a couple days just green juice and other liquids.  i am also doing a detox tea everyday for liver support.  but i am cutting out dairy, soy, wheat, meat, eggs, sugar and salt.  any other allergens i am leaving out?  doing this for a week.  well, we'll see.  that is my intention.  to finish up vegan month all cleaned out and ready to add foods back in one at a time and see how they affect my system.

also reading pema again...this time "The places that scare you" Pema Chrodron.  awesome!

anyone else up for the challenge?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

I need to Blog!

I need to blog, I need to blog, I need to blog....all day yesterday and today I have been saying this to myself but just have not sat down to do it so here I am.  The problem is I can not think of anything to say...well anything interesting that is.  I feel bad for you wonderful people who read this because I feel like it must be all blah blah blah to you..if I don't even think it is that interesting to read my posts.  So here I go...I will just put it out there...what is going on and well if you fall asleep reading it I apologize! 
Vegan month is going fine...not great but fine.  I have been pretty successful with some minor oops along the way but considering I don't understand the language I feel like I have done pretty well.  There are parts of it I will continue in the months to come.  I like not eating so much dairy and the meat I don't miss much at all.  I do miss eggs and well since I am not trying to save the world with this Vegan thing I will add somethings back into my diet.  Overall, I am pretty proud of myself.  I definitely feel better about my body eliminating dairy...seem to just feel better overall....I don't know it may be my imagination but I do feel better...I am down 6 pounds from the I am on vacation and I will eat whatever I want diet and I am feeling more like myself so we will see.
Geneva overall is going great! I like it here and everyday it feels more and more like home. Kids having playdates, school, friends, just regular life!  I like that!
More to bore you with later!

new photo!

thanks for the great photo, Mom!  you are such a good photographer.  maybe that could be one of our months, next time! 
i just love the carrots here....and i believe she took the picture at a farmer's market in Geneva.

and enjoy everybody....may the fresh vibrant carrots inspire more veggie eating!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

i may not stop being vegan

maybe it's my type A blood type.  maybe it's my hippie at heart nature.  maybe it's my black and white extremist thinking patterns (can you say three planets in virgo?)....i don't know what it is, but i like being vegan.  i just may stick with it.  or maybe mostly, but get that burger from a locally raised grass fed cow at a restaurant up the street once in a blue moon.

today's food log goes as such:

breakfast - coffee with coconut creamer, then coffee with soy creamer and a bite of apple
lunch - crepes stuffed with quinoa and served with salsa and a jalepeno aioli, served with a noodle and seitan salad.
(lunch was from Sage, a vegan place up the street from my work.  turns out it is owned by the same people that own the place jamie and i went, Plum)   *both places were delicious!
dinner - we got our farm box today so i am using veggies from there to make a curry dish.  potatoes, carrots, apples, and chickpeas with spinach over quinoa.  luckily, i already had chickpeas cooked and leftover from this weekend.

and some prosecco that my neighbor gave me on my birthday....yum!

i don't usually get seitan because it is mostly made of wheat and i think it can likely upset someone's belly.  then again, i used to eat it a lot.  also, i feel like it is only there to create a meat like substance.  whereas tempeh is fermented and was around before fancy vegan meat substitutes were.

i am starting back to yoga tomorrow.  i know, i'll believe it too...when i read it on the blog.  tomorrow is so far away.  and tomorrow has come again and again when it comes to promises made to oneself.  i just know that i'll feel better using my body again.  i feel thick in the middle, and i am.  i feel lazy.  i feel sad.  and even though there may be reasons in my life to induce a sad feels like it spreads to every part of my day more easily when i don't feel strong and capable in my body.  at the very least, i am willing to see if yoga will help me manage my emotions, feel them and let them go.  then feel them again if they come every hour.  and let them go....again.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

that soup was SO not vegan!

today I went to a little cafe for lunch during my doula class i am taking.  They had black bean soup on the chalkboard so I asked if it was vegan.  The lady at the counter didn't know so she went to ask someone else.  i see her talking with a guy and by the looks of their faces, my gut instinct was telling me that he had no idea either...but then he made a look to her and said something that could have been...."it probably is vegan."  so she comes back and says, "it is vegan."  this coming from the same lady that when i asked if any of the pastry case was vegan, she pointed out a gluten free brownie.  dude, you work in a food establishment, this isn't pharmaceuticals...can't you know what dietary restrictions belong to which group of  crazies that have to ask these questions.  anyway.  i don't listen to my gut and i get the soup.  i get back to the class and when i take it out to eat lunch, and i am excited...cause i love food, and i love soup and i was very pleased that i had the foresight to get my soup at the morning break so when lunch came i didn't have to go anywhere.  (ps.  i would have been way more excited to have brought my own totally vegan food from home but my kids have been hellish in the morning before school this week and i just didn't have time since i had to tend to my screaming 5 yr old on the sidewalk.)  so, i take out the soup and i dig in.  hmmm. this takes cheesy.  another bite.  yes, it looks like black bean soup...and it tastes fucking cheesy.  vegan my ass, lady.  sorry, language.  but i was pissed.  what if i was truly vegan.  man if i was one of those hard core vegans with the tattoos and piercings and wearing all black, i probably would have been marching right over to that cafe again and giving her a piece of my mind.  but i am just a sweet little mama, taking a doula class for christ sake...doulas are very gentle (which is probably why i don't feel like this is my "tribe" as the teacher said.)  cause i wanted to go over there.  ok, this is really getting too long and if you are still reading, well, more power to you, and now i will get to something else.  but first,  for closure....i walked down to this super coffee shop  (Voxx on eastlake, they serve stumptown and it is this magical place where i am a normal, charming & talkative customer that gets great service)  and got a vegan peanut bar from flying apron bakery, a berry juice things with spirulina, a lemonade iced tea (nod to erin) and an apple.  that was my lunch, but i never ate the apple.  and it was good.  and vegan.

the weekend at san juan island, where i cooked for a bunch of great ladies went great.  and it was nearly all vegan, save the buckwheat pancakes with buttermilk.  the menu went like this:
Friday Night- veggie soup, salad, caprese appetizers with wine and cheese (ok so the cheese wasn't vegan, but my sweet friend Lis brought that, plus these ladies ren't really obliged to eat vegan cause i am doing some stupid blog)
Saturday Breakfast- tofu scramble (which was oddly loved), egg strata (by Lis), potatoes and apple turnovers
Saturday Dinner- Cannelini beans with sage, ratatouille, kale with roasted fennel, green rice with herbs and spinach, and for dessert...panforte and salted lavender ice cream (again Lis)
Sunday Breakfast - buckwheat pancakes with warm applesauce and maple syrup.
...and Lis made fresh bread all weekend too.  it was splendid.

i got introduced to the sidecar.  a yummy drink.   thank you Kate!

i want to give a hint to the rest of vegan month.  there may be a cleanse or fast coming up.  taking vegan month to a new level.  we'll see, i was just inspired today, so i'll let it settle in and see if it happens.  anyone wanna try it with me??????


Friday, September 17, 2010

Just an update!

First I want to say that I am so happy that Melissa is back.  I was kinda worried but Bob and Becky gave the best birthday present ever! So I am sending them a huge thank you!  I loved reading Melissa talk about Becky and the things she has done since we started this.  That is so cool and I also have had many people say they have tried things or maybe just thought about things differently.  I love yay for Becky and anyone else out there is maybe doing pieces of this with us.
I need to back up to my learning a language month...holy shit I thought I was doing so well with my French and then I went to back to school night..hmmmm.  They did serve wine so that was interesting but maybe if I drank the whole bottle I would have been able to understand what is going on.  I think most of the parents do speak some English but when they all get in a room together they use French as for most it is their first language so that would make sense but REALLY hard to follow.  I think I got most of it but the brain power that it takes to follow that kinda of conversation is intense.  You should have seen Ian's face...he looked so cute trying to nod like he understood what was going you babe!  They would translate some things but most well just in really was an interesting experience to say the least.  It makes me realize how hard Madeline and Hazel must work to spend 8hours in that kind of environment.  No wonder they are so tired when they get home.  Madeline has started some French tutoring that is provided by the school.  I would compare it to ESL in the states and that seems to boost her confidence.  The best thing is that from all the parents who have kids that came into the school with French zero (none, nada) they are pretty much fluent after the first year.  That is a crazy gift I am giving my girls.  Now for me....French month will continue I think for the next two years.  I am also starting French tutoring on Tuesday mornings...gotta keep up with my girls and mostly be able to help them with their homework.
Now on to Vegan month...I am continuing on and enjoying it.  I have been doing pretty well...I wish Melissa was here to do it because her food sounds yummy..well not sure about the nutritional yeast thing but I would try it.  I am SO doing margarine....and yes will cover my ears at the critics.  She just sounds like she is eating so many yummy things but I just feel like I am not eating much.  I would love french fries..yum but at 10chfs if you could even find them no thanks...I did make some myself and they were pretty good.  The bread continues to be yummy and I have enjoyed dinners that we have made here at the house.  So overall I am pretty proud of myself and definitely something I will think to continue..well not all of it but bits and pieces that I feel work well in my diet. to find something to eat for breakfast.  My kids come home for lunch on Fridays...I love it!  They only do it once a week but I look forward to having them...would never really do that in the states!  We are busy trying to organize a vacation for August so we will see!
enjoy your day!  Oh and Happy Birthday to my Gram!  I LOVE YOU!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

have computer, will blog

here i am again!  after a long time missing the blogging.  i have been loving vegan month and probably would have had the inspiration to blog everyday, but since my hard drive crashed and died on my laptop...well, not having a computer makes it hard to blog.  there's work, but i am not allowed to really just sit there and use the computer (I work at an herb shop and the computer is out on the floor where the customers are...and where the store owner randomly pops in.  and he already doesn't want me to be there, so i don't need to be doing personal blogging to give the guy another reason to fire me.  although firing me would be nice.  ok, totally different topic)  there's the library, but for real, i can't even seem to get myself to drive by the place to return overdue books.  it's like there is a opposite magnetic force pushing me away, just so the library can make money off my late books.  and there's the neighbors, but it seems so personal to sit there and blog right in someone else's living room...i mean, what if someone walked in and read it?  haha.  no, it just never happened.  but hey, no need to live in the past.  here we are...back together.  and partially because of the blog.  how cool is that?  it was my birthday when the computer crashed and as i heard it, my dad and his wife, becky, were chatting about maybe getting me a totally awesome gift...a computer.  and becky know, melissa really needs a computer because i love reading the blog.  she got on the phone with me to say....Melissa, i am eating a tomato today that i grew because of the blog, and my house has never been to organized and free of clutter after your "purging month."  i just have to say that i am so honored.  when you give good, you get good.  when you put positive energy out there, it truly does come back if you are open to receive it.  gratitude.

and now onto being vegan.  i really love it.  once i was at a restaurant and the meat and dairy items on the menu looked sooo soo good, and i wanted them sooo bad...that was my hardest moment.  besides that, i haven't missed it.  i can remember what i last talked about being vegan.  highlights of late have been: a great flashback dinner to the old vegan days.  the best part being mac and cheese made with nutritional yeast.  now i think i remember mentioning it in my last quick post.  but it was that good, to me.  i forgot how much i love nutritional yeast.  i have been putting it on popcorn too.  and i don't miss butter at all.  it was my biggest worry.  but i went for the Earth Balance.  it's margarine.  i was strongly against margarine.  especially after reading michael pollen's books, margarine stood out as one of those "food-like substances" that is ruining our bodies and the earth.  see, strongly.  but i gave into temptation, and i love it.  it's like my hand are over my ears and i am singing la la la la la with my eyes closed, but loving every bite.  i think i like it better than butter.  weird and unexpected.

the other unexpected thing would have to be the amount of food i am consuming.  jesus people.  i mean, there are fat vegans, and i just might become one of them.  just because you don't eat meat and cheese doesn't mean you eat healthy.  there's bread...lovely crusty baguettes (with earth balance of course....right, Erin? :)  i am blaming you for that one!), there are french fries...which may be a vegan's only option when at a restaurant.  there's wine...which since vacation has been a standby...melissa! vacation is over!  there's popcorn.  and since i haven't been going to yoga.  ugh.  i just need to get back to yoga.  as much as i loved loved loved vacation, it really threw me off my game, physically and spiritually speaking.  next week, i get back on track.  and with the food...i feel like a shark that got a whiff of blood in the ocean and can't stop eating the carcasses of a whole seal family, and it's extended family.  maybe even close friends and co-workers.  it's ridiculous.  i just bring this up because i envisioned vegan month to be a guide back to healthy eating.  and well, now that i purged all my baggage here, i do have a couple weeks left to change that.

today i leave to San Juan Island to cook for several women all weekend.  i created a vegan menu, mostly, if not all.  so i am exited to see how that goes.  i'll tell you all about it when i return.  and guess what, it's healthy stuff...not just a bunch of fried things and white bread.  with earth balance. :)

oh, and Plum was very good, and very sweet of my husband to take me out for a nice vegan dinner for my birthday.  his plan was to also take me to a vintage boot store beforehand, but i had to change the date of the date, and the boot store was closed.  but i still totally want to check that out! anyway, the restaurant was a little dark, but i heard from the server that they are getting new lighting soon.  i liked our sever...great sense of humor.  she says about the lighting, yea, it's a great place if you want to sit in the dark and not see what you're eating.  i ordered a margarita, called something like the Fiery Desert...a jalapeno margarita.  it was too sweet, and not spicy.  so i ordered wine instead and she didn't charge me for the margarita.  nice.  then we got three appetizers.  and can i just say, it was great to look over the whole menu and know i could order anything...not having to pick apart the ingredients to see if it is dairy or meat hidden in there.  we had a stuffed portabello mushroom with chard and tempeh and a cream like sauce....yum!  and their version of the mac and nutritional yeast cheese....yum again! and an avocado roll.  it was too fishy, i guess the nori.  jamie loved it, but i couldn't eat it.  then we shared a cajun tempeh burger with yam fries.  sooooo good.  very messy, but good.  they brought out the wrong sandwich at first, so she packed that up for us to take home for lunch the nest day.  awesome.  so, jamie and i both had a free lunch, and it was very tasty.

ok...i gotta get these kids to school and get myself ready for the weekend trip, i am not even packed.  i have 40 minutes to shower, pack, make sure i have all the ingredients for my meals, and get the kids to school (so like me).  then i am off to work and leaving directly when i get off.

have a great weekend!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

miss you!

still without a computer.  so here i am at work, not supposed to be on the computer, but i had to post a quick hello. 
i should be getting a computer soon...maybe even this evening!  i am so thankful, so very thankful.

Vegan month is going great so far.  the kids have not kept up with it, but jamie is...well, not out the house, so that doesn't count.  i guess he isn't keeping up with it either.  but i am loving it.  the macaroni and cheese made with nutritional yeast.  holy shit.  i LOVE it. 

tonight a late birthday dinner out to Plum, a local vegan restaurant. i'll let you all know how it is.
missing the blog, but be back soon.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

I did it!

One week down and I did it!  I am pretty proud of myself because it is harder than I though for a variety of reasons.  I guess the first being it can be challenging just to find foods in the store that I can eat, reading the packages etc, the other being to find foods that I actually like.  I think it may be a texture thing but some of the grains etc just taste mushy to me or just to soft.  I don't know if it is the way they are cooked or what but yuck.  It is kinda the same reason that I don't like stuffing or bread pudding..just that soggy bread taste.  Dinners have been the best..I feel like overall I have liked my dinners and that I am pretty satisfied after.  It does feel nice to have given up most sweets and I do like the dried fruits and nuts I have been snacking on.  I also found a nice soy milk for my coffee that I like. I think my hardest part is breakfast and lunch.  I am just having trouble coming up with things that sound good to me...and if nothing sounds good to me I just choose to not eat so at dinner I am pretty hungry.  Eating out is also pretty funny...there are really no choices...well except pizza without cheese, bread, or well bread :).  I will keep working on it but with one week down it feels pretty good to be successful at it.  This week I am only going to cook 2-3 nights and the others in the house are going to pick up a night.  So here is what I am thinking..
Corn and black bean salad (tofu) with pork chops (not for me :))
Tandoori Veggies (chicken) with rice
Calzones with sauce and veggies (cheese and meat)

Melissa has been without a computer and we miss her on here...hurry and get one ;)!  I am sure she is doing great as she is definitely a pro at this!  I wish she was here to help guide me a bit on this.

One week down at the girls school and it went well!  I feel ready for the week ahead and like we are really settling in.  I have moved so far out of my comfort zone and really put myself out there to introduce myself to people, set up play dates, being out and about.  That kinda stuff is pretty hard for me as I really do like to be by myself but I need to do it so I will continue to push forward.  I was asked to be on the school committee and room parent for Hazel's class...not bad for the first week.  I am thrilled about it!  Funny..but in my wildest imagination did I ever think I would get an email from one of my kids teachers that looked like this...
C'est avec plaisir que nous souhaiterions que vous soyez notre parent de classe!
Je vous envoie ci-joint le cahier de charge et nous pourrons en parler la semaine prochaine.
Oh French is getting better but always a good idea to Google translate so that I don't miss anything!  Ian and Joyce are traveling next weekend and I am looking forward to having the house to myself.

I am truly blessed for the opportunity to live here, experience this, and spend so much time with my kids.  No, it is not perfect but I am incredibly grateful for each and everything that has been provided for us.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

been there

i forgot to tell you all that i used to be vegan years ago (or maybe i did mention it in passing), for a few years.  we were vegan and vegetarian, off and on.  it seemed like everytime i got pregnant i would switch my eating habits.  so, just wanted to remember to mention that.  this vegan thing does come pretty easily to me.  and yet, at the same time, it is hard to jsut switch your diet, to take things out taht you have become accustomed to eating.  we get so attached to our food.  and it often takes some great health crisis to change people's eating habits for the better, at least that is what i have seen working with people in becoming invested in their health and well being. 
so, anyway, today we are walking down to the farmer's market.  my friend, Erin, is in town and she loves checking out the farmer's markets.  last night after she got here we had a great vegan dinner.  we stopped at the co-op and got some extra fixings to go with some of the pinto beans i had made earlier in the week.  i always make a bunch of beans when i cook them.  i mean, if you are going to soak them and cook them forever, you might as well get a few meals out of it.  so, we had burritos.  i roasted a poblano pepper, peeled it and sliced it up.  we also had guacomole, lettuce from my farm box, fresh salsa, crisp geren peppers...all in a nice little wrap.  it was soooo good.  and we also had french 75's to drink.  YUM.  you shake cracked ice with a little sugar (1/2tsp) and fresh squeezed lemon juice (1oz) and gin (2oz), i like Plymouth gin.  after you shake it all up, you strain it into a glass with more cracked ice and top it off with brut champagne.  holy cow, they were so good.  and vegan!
the kids have been doing great at vegan week.  although lily was quite upset, um, ok rageful, about the chard and squash in our tofu scramble we had this morning.  whatever, they're vegetables, get used to it kid, you need them to live.  and levi, i loved this...he was at his friend's house the other night and when he came home he was telling us about the dinner they had and how the chicken apple sausages looked so good and that he really wanted one but didn't eat it.  i was like, what? they wouldn't give you a sausage?  and looked at me like i was crazy.  Mom.  sausages aren't vegan.  i was so proud of him for sticking to his choice, even out in the world, even in the face of a delicious chicken sausage.  but then last night he went with his friend Cole again and they went to a hotdog place in town and he looked at me and, can't i jsut take tongiht off from being vegan? :)  i said it was up to him.
ok, so after the farmer's market...we need to head to the mac store.  my computer died last night.  jsut out of nowhere, white screen, and nothing will change.  jsut a white screen, a clicking noise and a flashing file folder with a question mark on it.  hmmm.  this mercury in retrograde thing is really serious this time.  wtf.  we are really wroking to save money for this europe trip and it seems like everything is popping up that we have to spend money, car, etc. 
OMG!  i almsot forgot.  i had the yard sale yesterday.  and i made $180.00!  not bad for a day's work.  well, actually a month's work.  hey, wait a minute, now my 180 doesn't sound like so much!
i hope this computer thing doesn't cramp my blog style...luckily Erin has her laptop so i could blog this morning.

and happy anniversary Jamie. xoxo

Here We Go!

Good Morning!  We are back from Chamonix and we had a great time!  Here is a picture of how beautiful it is! We stayed in a great little apartment looking at the Mont Blanc mountain and it was great!
I write this as I have my first cup of coffee with no cream :) and so far so good.  Today is my first vegan day ever and I am building up my motivation everyday.  As Melissa reminded me it is a challenge and sometimes that can be fun!  That is the piece of advice I am using so thanks Melissa!  I am going to shop tomorrow so here is my weekly menu.  I am going to try a few new recipes but mostly stick to thinks that I make often and that my kids will eat.  I would like to try other new recipes..the site Melissa posted is great but I need to spend some time at the grocery store Monday looking to see what I can and can't get and then I will have a better idea of what to make.  Here is the menu!
Monday-Vegetable with Quinoa saute with orange
Tuesday-Indian (have not totally figured this out but we are having company for dinner so I will use a mixture of veggies and chicken.  I may use parts of Melissa's recipe but we do have a somewhat bigger ethnic section of the grocery so I will will not be eating with us tonight so a good night to try something new!)
Wednesday- Chicken Man!  No not vegan or for me!  Geneva has these carts set up all over the city on different days of the week with roasted chicken.  Ian and I have a work function so the girls will have this and I will eat leftovers/salad etc.
Thursday- Stir fry with peanut sauce
Friday- Mexican and black bean casserole
Saturday- Rice and chickpea stuffed cabbage
Sunday-Middle Eastern veggie and couscous

Kinda looks ok?  We will see!  So my girls start school tomorrow...I am so nervous.  I think I would be nervous for them anyway but it is just all so new and they both have a 100% FRENCH day tomorrow so no English at all from 8-4.  That just seems exhausting.  Off to clean the house and pack backpacks!  What to eat for breakfast?
Happy Vegan Day!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

how it all vegan...

(I couldn't resist, there are so many cookbook that use that kind of humor in their title....dumb)

so yesterday was day one of vegan living for the Baumgarts.  yep, you heard me right, the whole gang is joining in.  i asked them all if they wanted to be a part of it, and not just at home when i cook, but out in the world...and they said they wanted to try it for at least a week.  i think jamie, my husband, is going to be vegan all month with me.  i hope the kids choose to as well, after this first week.

when asked how the first day went, here are their answers:
Lily-"it didn't feel any different."
Levi-"it didn't feel any different."
Tallulah-"I don't like being vegan."
Jamie-"i thought it was great, soy creamer is kinda beat though.  Indian food was killer, didn't even know it was vegan."

yesterday started with no coffee...and it wasn't too bad.  i didn't have any soy milk and boo for black coffee, i just don't feel it.  i found the recipes i wanted to cook by looking through some food magazines and searching online.  Tastespotting is a great website that compiles recipes from millions of blogs.  i go on and search, for example, pinto beans...since i had soaked some the night before and knew i wanted to used them in my dinner.  i also searched vegan and got some good ideas, but i have to say, when i did the vegan search...most of the stuff is something i feel i can totally just do on my own.  it was fun to find a recipe in Bon Appetit for the curry, because it was not in a vegan category, just a "hey, this is flipping delicious" category.  so i picked my dishes to make and got a list together and off to the co-op i walked, i know, so green.

the shopping trip was refreshing, and not just because of the triple soy latte i ordered.  there were so many areas i didn't even have to look at...meat, cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt (cause let's face it, soy yogurt sucks.)  i don't know why, because when i tried to explain to jamie last night he didn't get it, but as i turned the cart past the yogurt...i felt a sense of lightness and ease.  maybe it wasn't the yogurt, i don't know.  i doubt yogurt could have been the source of unease in my life before vegan month.  and now back to the "walk to the co-op" was hard to limit my shopping, and i had to carry 4 super heavy bags (yes, you guessed it, i brought my own canvas bags) home.  luckily i live less than 10 blocks from the market, and it wasn't as bad as i thought it was going to be.

I got home around noon and was a mad cooking machine until 3pm when i had to go to work.  where were my kids all this time you may be wondering?  playing with the of the many things i love about apartment living.  oh and maybe watching their new favorite cartoon, Avatar-the last airbender...not to be confused with the blue people avatar.  anyway.

I made these two recipes:

Tbikha Kale with Pinto beans and Roasted Red peppers 
( from 64 sq. ft. kitchen blog)
*this blog also lists recipes in French...just for you, Dina!

Recipe: Serves 4
- Two bunches of Tuscan Kale (or curly kale)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can pinto beans, drained
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 5 green onions, chopped
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (or whole depending on your taste)
- 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp cumin, freshly ground
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 red pepper, roasted, peeled and finely diced
- The juice of 1/2 lemon

Wash the kale and remove the stems. Chop roughly and set aside.

Pour the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, cover and cook until translucent but not browned, stirring frequently. Add garlic, jalapeno pepper, cumin, paprika and herbs and cook for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the chopped kale, cover and cook until wilted and the leaves turn bright green. Season with salt and pepper. Add the beans, drained, and the roasted red pepper. Stir, cover and let cook for another 10 minutes for the flavors to infuse.

Serve in a plate drizzled with some good olive oil, the lemon juice and sprinkle with chopped coriander and green onion.

B'ssahatkoum (To your health!)

and this one from Bon Appetit magazine

Summer Vegetable Ragout with Exotic Curry Sauce
This vegetarian entrée would also be delicious served with lamb or shrimp.
4 servings
Recipe by Quinn Hatfield, Hatfield's, Los Angeles, California
September 2010

Curry Sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small carrot, peeled, chopped
1 stalk lemongrass, coarsely chopped and pounded with meat mallet to flatten slightly
1 1-inch piece unpeeled fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1 small Granny Smith apple, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons curry powder (preferably Madras)
2 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 cups fresh carrot juice
(*i added 1 can of coconut milk at the end)
1 1/2 pounds eggplants (about 2 medium), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes
5 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 pound assorted summer squash (such as zucchini, yellow crookneck, and pattypan), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound green beans, haricots verts, and/or yellow wax beans, trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
4 ears of corn, husked
1 15- to 16-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
2 cups (packed) arugula
1/4 cup torn fresh basil
What to Drink; Pour a light red.

Test-Kitchen Tip
To release the most flavor from the lemongrass stalk, it's important to coarsely chop and flatten it.

Curry Sauce
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, lemongrass, and ginger; sauté until slightly softened but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add apple and curry powder; sauté until vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then flour and stir 1 to 2 minutes. Gradually pour in carrot juice; bring to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer uncovered until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to generous 2 1/2 cups, about 20 minutes. Strain sauce through fine strainer set over bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids in strainer. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. 
(I didn't end up with 2 1/2 cups, so i added the coconut milk...and i just remembered i forgot the ginger!)
DO AHEAD Curry sauce can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Cover; chill. Rewarm before using.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place eggplant cubes in large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons oil and toss to coat; sprinkle with salt. Spread eggplant cubes in even layer on large rimmed baking sheet. Toss squash and remaining 2 tablespoons oil in same bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
Spread squash in even layer on another large rimmed baking sheet. Roast until squash and eggplant are light golden and tender, turning occasionally, about 25 minutes for squash and 40 minutes for eggplant. Remove baking sheets with vegetables from oven and set aside. 
Fill large bowl with water and ice. Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until just crisp-tender, 2 to 4 minutes, depending on size of beans. Using tongs, transfer beans to bowl of ice water to cool. Drain. Maintain boiling water in same pot; add corn. Cook until corn is just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain corn. Cool slightly. Cut kernels off corn cobs; discard cobs. 
DO AHEAD Vegetables can be made 4 hours ahead. Combine all vegetables on large rimmed baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix garbanzo beans into vegetables; bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
Combine hot vegetables and hot curry sauce in large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in arugula and basil.

i made the dishes for some really dear friends that are going through a challenging time in life, and i saved some for my family too.  luckily i didn't save too much for us, because the kids hated it.  Tallulah even went as far as to call me at work to tell me she didn't like the dinner and her papa was making her eat it.  seriously!?  i was called me at work to tell me this? better get off of this phone, girl!

i had quinoa and kale for dinner, but i have that a lot.  no nothing different there.
hope you try one of the recipes...let me know if you do.
and now off to the storage unit.  man, i am getting nervous about being ready for the yard sale.

xoxo melissa