Saturday, May 29, 2010

more food talk with melissa

another quote:
"When most of us think about food and health, we think in fairly narrow nutritionist terms - about our personal physical health and how the ingestion of this particular nutrient or rejection of that affects it.  But I no longer think it is possible to separate our bodily health from the health of the environment from which we eat or the environment in which we eat or, for that matter, from the health of our general outlook about food (and health).  If my explorations of the food chain have aught me anything, it's that it is a food chain, and all the links are in fact linked: the health of the soil to the health of the plants and animals we eat to the health of the eater, in body as well as mind.  Food consists not just in piles of chemicals; it also comprises a set of social and ecological relationships, reaching back to the land and outward to other people."  -Michael Pollan, In the Defense of Food.

another interesting fact...Americans spend 9.9% of their income on food, compared to Italians: 14.9%, French: 14.9% and Spanish: 17.1%.  those countries are often touted for having better health than the average American, even though they may eat rich, buttery food.  also a study done in 2003 demonstrated that from 1965 to 1995, American slashed their time spent cooking and cleaning up after eating almost in half (in 1995 we spent only 27 minutes/day preparing food for the average American).  we spend little time preparing our foods, and little money goes into acquiring those foods, its no wonder out health is diminishing.  our food nourishes us, if we eat healthy...we ARE healthy.  it isn't just something we have to do.  it is something to savor and really enjoy, something to participate in.  this is your life.  it also stands to reason that the cheaper the food, the quicker the cooking time (i.e. packaged, fast food)...the less nutrient dense the food.  the less nutrient dense the food, the more your body wants you to eat so you can find those missing nutrients.  and if you keep eating those same foods, you aren't getting the missing are getting calories, more and more calories.  hence the new found human oddity, overweight and undernourished.

i imagine it is hard, if you were like me, and eating in a way that didn't feel is hard to not blame yourself.  i am always finding something to feel bad about, and blaming myself for eating in a way that didn't support my whole self...super easy to do.  but the more i felt bad, the worse i ate.  i suppose that is where the yoga came in, to find a new determination.  i almost think it is magical the way these months have ordered themselves to flow so well from on to another.  i never thought when we first talked about doing this, that it would be so changing and such a positive experience.  i just thought it would be fun.  speaking of feeling bad, i just had to laugh at myself yesterday.  after yoga, i found myself thinking..."Now there was something i was feeling bad about before yoga...and what was it?  i need to keep feeling bad about whatever that thing was, if i could only remember it!"  needless to say, i never remembered it, so i had to let go of feeling bad about not remembering what i had forget to keep feeling bad about.  haha!  the mind can be so silly.

I just added a couple netflix movies to finish off food month, as i am also determined to finish the book as well.  (38 more pages, easy!)  the movies are "The Botany of Desire", i saw part of this on is done after another of Michael Pollan's book by the same name.  i kept thinking it was on "The Omnivor's Dilemma"  but i was wrong if i mentioned that before.  and another one i had never heard of before, "How to Cook Your Life" a zen practitioner and cook teaches cooking classes in Austria and California at Zen centers, showing how food feeds our bodies and spirits.  we'll see how that one is, but i   thought it went along with the food month.

I'll leave you with some new shots of my growing food.
we have, from top to bottom: the whole raised bed, tomatoes, rainbow chard, and an almost full garden shot with kale, zucchini, chard and more kale.

love it!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

great book: In the Defense of Food

seriously.  i thought i would be reading things i already knew, and while i do feel that it is solidifying my stance on food and agriculture, there is a lot of information in here that is new to me.  Pollan cites a lot of studies and points out some inherent flaws in the reductionist view of nutrients.  i don't want to sell a single vitamin again at work and i don't want to eat any processed foods.  i know that i inevitably will, but my intention is to change my tendency toward cheap and easy, to whole and nutritious.  when with people that don't hold the same values as me, for whatever reason, i often choose to go with what they want so as not to rock the boat.  i also remember from my vegetarian days that people who ate meat somehow seemed to think that my food choices implied that i was judging the way they chose to eat.  i am doing this for me and for my family, and yes, of course i think the more people that choose to eat this way could possibly change the future of our land, of our health and of our children's lives for generations to come.  but i do not judge your choices.  i trust that everyone is where they need to be, and i have been in a lot of places in my life when i needed to be there...and basically, i am learning to be me...and not to change because i don't want to  rock the boat.  my choices are not meant to hurt anyone, and i know that.  hopefully everyone else does too.
so,  uranus in aries.  i am telling ya.  be yourself.  don't go trying to make yourself into a round peg if you are a square, you know that old analogy.  go full force ahead, just as you are

ok, back to the book.  here are some randomly remembered quotes...
-"A diet based on quantity rather than quality has ushered a new creature onto the world stage: the human being who manages to be both overfed and undernourished, two characteristics seldom found in the same body in the long natural history of our species."
-"Only 20% of American children and 32% of adults eat the recommended five daily servings of fruit and vegetables."
-"The sheer novelty and glamour of the Western diet, with its seventeen thousand new food products every year and the marketing power - 32 billion dollars per year - used to sell those products, has overwhelmed the force of tradition and left us where we now find ourselves: relying on science and journalism and government and marketing to help us decide what to eat.  Nutritionism, which arose to us better deal with the problems of the western diet, has largely been co-opted by it: used by the industry to sell more nutritionally "enhanced" processed food and to undermine further the authority of traditional food cultures that stand in the way of fast food."

most of the great information is hard to encapsulate into a brief bit here on my blog.  you just HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK! now off to cook some good old regular food for my family.  i am sure the kids will learn to love it. :)  and tomorrow, payday, hoping to buy a book on Urban Homesteading.  wooohooo.  i love how much i am learning through doing this blog!

love, Melissa

Monday, May 24, 2010

Blog Blog Blog

So I really feel like I should be blogging more but I just don't really have anything interesting to say..sorry :(.  I sit here with a blank screen and nothing comes out so I am not going to force it and honestly I am bored with reading my own blogs so I am sure you are also. 

I am working, organizing, packing, planning, and well that is about it.  Ian and I go to Geneva on Sunday to look for a that is something to write about.

I guess I just wanted to check in...more later!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

last week of

so, today being sunday, i did my weekly menu plan.  it has been feeling so good to be back into our food.  i have a say in what we eat and how it is made...not just running out here and there to get whatever is quick.  oh, and this week i did choose to take the kid's taste into consideration, a little.  so, here is what we have on our plates for this week.  in case you're wondering,  i only plan dinners...lunches come together pretty easily with leftovers and pb&js. and breakfasts are not that involved since we are getting ready for school in the morning, mostly cereal...although we have been having waffles pretty often these days.  not as much clean up when you use a waffle iron, so it can be done pretty easily before school.  here's the menu plan...
Sunday (tonight):  grilled veggie salad, grilled chicken with mango-sesame marinade, cream of broccoli soup and strawberry-rhubarb crisp for dessert.  (it was so good!)
Monday:  pesto pasta and white bean tomato salad
Tuesday:  corn fritters and green bean salad
Wednesday:  asian noodle salad with chicken and sugar snap peas (using leftovers from sunday)
Thursday:  curried lentils and cauliflower
Friday:  white pizza with sage, slow roasted tomatoes, and asparagus with peas and green onions
(and one night i'll make an apple tart.)

i didn't get to the farmer's market today.  unfortunately.  there was yoga with jamie in the morning (we are both still loving it! and loving each other more as a result.  it is great to have a common interest that also inspires you in all areas of life), then levi had all-star practice (i am so proud of him!) and i went to the grocery store while he was there.  so i only had time to go to the co-op.  but we will still get our box from the farm this week and our co-op tries to keep as much local stuff as possible.

as far as the garden goes, it has been pretty hands off this week.  we have had rain for a while now, so not needing to water.  later this week i will need to be putting up some things for the sprawling and climbing veggies to use.  i bet friday, lets hope for sun!  i can also use that day to thin the kale and chard.  anyone want some starts? :)  it'll be fun to menu plan around my own garden one day!

i also saw a book at the co-op that i want to get.  just didn't have the extra money today.  it is called Food Not Lawns by HC Flores.
 you can buy your own copy here and here is another link to a website with great info
it looked great and we could really use more and more and more people growing their own food.  and it is more than possible, no matter where you live.  and if you create a community around it, it shouldn't cost too much.  look, i have free starts for the taking and so did my neighbor.  and don't forget the weeds!  dandelion, chicory, red clover....can be great food or medicine!  you know, i just realized that i think the Food Not Lawns is a relation to the organization Food Not Bombs.  I ran into Food Not Bombs when we were traveling.  in People's Park in Berkeley, CA they would set up and feed anyone that showed up.  and we would show up and get good vegan food, and we went once and helped them cook the food as well.  i never knew much about their philosophy or ethics, but i think i will continue this thread and see what its all about and how the two are connected.

ok, so i gotta go and soak my beans for the cannellini salad tomorrow night.

oh and just for and my girls had our first ever "girls night out" last night.  we painted our nails and got kinda fancy...we all had on cowgirl boots, super cute, especially because both lily and tallulah's were pink.  and we went to central cinema, the place i saw the food movie.  we saw Back to the Future and it was sooooo fun!  this blog is taking me places i might not have tried and i am loving that!


Friday, May 21, 2010

A night out!

I am glad Melissa blogged about the movie last night..she is good at remembering the details.  Lately, I have trouble remembering what I have done the day before.  It was a good time and a much needed date with Melissa.  The movie was very interesting and I appreciated learning new be honest I am not sure I have processed much of it...but I am sure I will.  I have been totally consumed with preparing for my move that I have pushed aside many other things that maybe I should be working on.  That is ok for now as there is a time and place for everything and at this time and in this place I can only do what I am doing. 

I am so very excited about what is to come in the next few weeks...can you imagine that 6 weeks from now I will be living in Switzerland...who does that?  I never thought it would be me but I am soooo glad it is.  Our goal is to see as much of Europe as possible while we are there so I am posting a call out for suggestions on places to go and what to see when we are there.  We are flexible to go by train, car, bus, or plane...just want to see everything we can!

Suggestions Please!!!!


oh and my tomatoes continue to grow..that is my exciting gardening news for today!

what to be?

when i was little it was a candy shop owner.  and then in high school, and this is a little embarrassing to admit, i wanted to be the wife of a professional athlete...yea, i know, i was clearly moved by all my academic courses in high school. ha!  in college, it changed from teacher to social worker to writer.  post college and after my first pregnancy i wanted to become a midwife, then herbalist, and nursing was in there somewhere.  oh, and astrologer.  i get easily swept up and away by many things and i attach to each of them and picture myself being that, or doing that thing for a living.  as my offering to the community i live in.  and i guess that is how i found myself googling "how to become a farmer" this morning.

seeing that movie last night brought me closer to the thought that i have held far far back in my on a farm.  i love living in the city, but if could live anywhere would be a farm.  or maybe on the beach.  but back to the farm, cause that is where i have been all morning in my head.  the movie was called Fresh.  i highly suggest watching it.  from the gorgeous farm land in virginia to the urban farm in milwaukee, i found it to be moving and inspiring.  inspiring enough to have me thinking how i can contribute to this movement...even if i don't end up being a farmer :)  cause to be honest, last month i was thinking...."hmmm, maybe someday i'll be a bikram yoga teacher."  somehow i need to understand that i just can't do everything.  i think it is pointing to my saturn in gemini.  but that should be a whole other blog!

oh, and we went to the greatest little movie house.  walking distance from where i live, is the Central Cinema.  it has booth seating with a little table, and serves food and wine and beer.  we had a few small plates....pita with edamame hummus, red pepper jelly and a yogurt dill sauce, meatballs (from a local free range farm), and stuffed mushrooms.  everything was great.  i think jamie and i will go back for the showing of the Big Lebowski later this month.  and after the movie we had a cocktail at Tavern Law in capitol hill.  i had a great drink with tequila and red wine, i never would have thought of putting those togeher!  it was called Farewell Romeo, i think.

so...unless i figure out a way to become a midwife/herbalist that lives on an urban farm (and maybe has a beach house) and i write a book about it all...and stay youthful and healthy with my bikram yoga practice!...i guess you'll still find me at Rainbow Remedies pouring herbs from big bags into small mouthed jars and getting allergies from making teas.

now back to the laundry.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

night out!

i am ready for more inspiration, and a night out!  this month has already been so inspiring...watching my seeds grow, reading about nutritionism and the history of how the foods we see on our supermarket shelves have got there, and watching movies that shine light to the hidden truths about how those foods are grown and what the motivating factors are.  and you may not be for humans and other living things, not to mention the earth we live upon, is not one of the motivating factors for many farms out there. factory farms that is.  and now tonight we will see another food and farmer movie, Fresh.  and i can't wait to tell you more about it.

but for now, a picture of my week with my new found inspiration.  and the thing to know about me, is it doesn't take much to inspire me to change my food habits, because the guilt i carry for some of my food choices is quite a load.  as much as i love crappy food, i just never feel good about it...either in my body or what it stands for and what it supports in the world.  i mean...i love candy (sweet tarts and kinda my fave), i love french fries, i love soda, i love mcdonalds, i love pringles, i love stuff that i don't want to love.  what a conundrum.  and so consequently, when i see and read things that give me something tangible to hold onto in the face of the quick drive through with the yummy burgers and fries and soda...when i see something that gives me the depth of what whole foods, grown with care for the earth and the animals, the depth of what those foods makes it easier for me to make the choice to drive by, or the think ahead and make our own food to bring with us.  and when my husband is on board because he sees it too or i read him a few paragraphs...that is the best, cause then there is less fighting about how i spend ALL of our money on food.  i am sorry, but that is one place where we really truly get to vote for what we believe in...where and what we spend out money on.  and i want to keep it local, keep it supporting farmers that care more about me than my money.  we all need money, and we all make choices based on that...AND i think we can also keep our values and morals in tact, to a certain degree.  (wow, caps.  twice, i hardly every whip out the words all in caps.)

and so back to my week.  i sat down sunday and made a meal plan for the week.  then i made my shopping list.  then i sent to our farm website and modified the contents of my box to match what i was making.  i could try doing that backwards...seeing what is coming in the box and making the meals accordingly, and then i would use more local ingredients.  next week!  anyway.  then i went to the farmer's market, and gathered a few things...and honestly i couldn't get that many things there this week. and then off to our local co-op, Madison Market...for the rest of the list.  here is my meal plan for the week:
Sunday:  Shrimp Stew, Mediterranean Quinoa Salad and Greek Salad
Monday:  Three Sisters Stew (red beans, winter squash that i had still from a winter farm box and corn) and Massaged Kale Salad
Tuesday:  Golden Spice Rice (turmeric/cardamom spiced rice with chickpeas, peas and currants)
Wednesday: Mexican Bean and Corn Casserole (the corn part is polenta...mmmmm)
Thursday: Nut Burgers and Grilled Veggie Salad
Friday: Sushi and Tahini Noodle Salad

they are all from a great cookbook....Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair.  and everything has been sooooo good.  says me.  ask my kids and they will tell you that every night has been disgusting.  and why oh why is everything we eat organic????  why can't we have food like everyone else!?  i want to know who these kids are hangin out with?  :)  all kidding aside (sorta), i just don't get why they have to fight me on everything....including dinner.  i am just hoping that if i keep it up, they will get used to it and shut up and eat it!  i want them to be healthy.  we used to eat more this way and sometimes i feel guilty that i let our dining room table slip into the realm of the Standard American Diet (SAD.)  but then i pick myself back up, dust the gmo's off my fat thighs and start again.  ok, my thighs aren't that fat, but i thought it sounded funny.  and seriously, the crappier i eat, the worse my body feels and looks.  and its not all about vanity, really it isn't, but for me it can be a reflection of the care i put toward myself.  and with bikram yoga and whole foods, i feel great.

so, I have been surprising even myself.  soaking beans overnight, cooking them in the morning before school.  finding time to make everything from scratch and work and clean the house and go to yoga.  oh, and water my garden!  luckily the rains have been lending a hand there.  :)  and i feel more energized and less tired.  and i know this is one changes, weeks bring different challenges, and as good as i feel about keeping it all together and torturing my kids with all this gross food, i may not be able to do this every week.  they might actually get their damn hot dogs and ramen noodles someday.  can you tell have absolutely no animosity toward my darling little babies and their addiction to sugar and refined carbohydrates?  ah, those sweet little reflections of myself.

love, melissa

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What to say?

Good Morning,
Not really sure what to write plants look happy and peaceful.  They are growing and I think we should have some yummy tomatoes before long.  Did I mention that I don't like tomotoes :)..oh well the girls think it is great to watch them grow.  So that is about all in my garden world.  It is fun...and really something I would have never done.  I am looking forward to my date with Melissa to see the be really honest I have no idea what the movie is...just have not had two seconds to figure it out but I am sure it will be great.  I am just happy to see Melissa :)

Wow..that was some exciting info.  Really..things are crazy at my house.  Just got back from seeing my baby sister Erin graduate from WVU.  How fun to be back in is so different but yet so much the same.  The trip helped Ian and I reconnect and we needed that.  Felt nice to be back where it all started and fun to show the kids.  We were such babies when we met...we have really grown up together.  Living in Switzerland will allow us some much needed family time..traveling around Europe, navigating a new city, and well just being together.  We are moving in 6 weeks and I am feeling the crunch.  Working on getting the house rented, car sold, cleaning out the garage, working on Visa applications, and getting ready to return in two weeks to look for a house.  So many changes.... Here is a picture from our trip!

I guess that is it for now...I will try today to be as peaceful as my plants. I feel like this experience will help me grow right with my tomatoes.



the days in seattle have been sunny and warm the past week, and my garden has shown the benefits of such weather.  it seems only a week ago my seeds had not sprouted and now...everything is up and strong and gorgeous!  the other super cool thing about the garden and the weather is that everyone has been out tending to their plants, tilling soil and building trellises for their peas...together.  i love that about living in an apartment building.  in the city.  i have really been loving living here lately.  walking my neighborhood, going to the park, walking to yoga, working right up the street...and best of all, my building, the Boathouse.  and when everyone is out gardening together, talking about taking over all the grassy areas with growing food, laughing and sometimes just quietly is a sense of community.  and it is a beautiful thing.  how lucky am i that the apartment building manager had these raised beds built for us, just in time for growing our own food month.  and that everyone i live with is into growing their own food too!

here is what i see when i look out my first floor window.

I hear there is a movie called "the Garden"  that documents a community garden in LA.  that is next on my netflix.  i loved Food, Inc.  and although it will be hard to figure out how to eat the way we want, due to finances, our plan is to sit down together as a family and work out the numbers.  ok, well, maybe just jamie and i will do that, not the kids too.  and i am continuing to read In the Defense of Food.  i have to say, coming off such a page turning novel, it isn't as engaging...more dry information.  but Pollan does as good a job as you can with the information, making it enjoyable to read.

next this Thursday @ Central Cinema.  movie - Fresh.  7pm.  food and wine available.

maybe we'll see you there!


Saturday, May 15, 2010


here they are!  my cuties.  the peas are so sturdy and thick.  the kale, more delicate and clumped together, so there will need to be some thinning out after they grow a bit more.  i didn't get a shot of the zucchini, but now just the next morning, they are really coming up and i think i may have one tomato!  i am totally amazed.  you put a little seed in the dirt and a plant grows and then you can eat it!  it brings a child-like awe to my life, to my mind...and to my face, as i sit pondering it with an open jaw and wide eyes.

i started Food, Inc. last night.  inspiring.  informative.  and much like the book i am the Defense of Food...sparking the motivation to make more changes in the way i gather my food and what i choose to eat.  i have always been one that wants to make these choices, but i find excuses why i can't.  like money, time, and certain burger and fries cravings.  but i am determined to do it again, make a commitment to healthy eating, to knowing where my food is coming from, more importantly.  i mean, it is truly a miracle...a beautiful thing to witness, the growing of food.  or in the case of meat, a life has been given for your nourishment.  and in the spirit of reverence for those acts of nature, i would like to be more responsible and more conscious about what i purchase as food.

so tonight we will finish the documentary.  and this week, i am going to try to make it to Central Cinema for a screening of a movie, Fresh.  another food documentary.  it is showing tuesday and another night, I'll get back to you about what the other night is.  Dina, a night out, perhaps?

ok, at long plants!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

so small, but so exiciting

no photos yet...i gotta get my kids outta bed and my hair is to crazy to run outside right now. but i have plants growing!!!! yesterday after yoga class i was standing in my living room admiring my garden plot and i saw something odd on the soil. at first i was like...oh, shit, what is that? what the hell is on my garden? and i ran out all sweaty and a mess...and lo and behold, they were tiny little kale plants! wow! i think i really did squeal with glee. and i am not just writing that for you, i really did. and the snow peas had sprouted too. and a little bit of the chard. so, i watered them. i really water a lot, and my soil is right up to the rim of the raised bed, so often some dirt flows out over the top. lily always yell at me....mama, you are putting too much water! but i think it is fine.
the next couple days are supposed to be even more gorgeous than yesterday. sunny and up in the 70's! i hope my little plants keep reaching towards the sun, growing taller. and when i go to bed at night, i think about how i am going to get the zucchini and peas and tomatoes to grow upright. with a wire or wooden trellis, i suppose. i guess i have a little time to decide.
exciting though, right?
enjoy your wednesday!!!!
and if you feel down, think of my tiny kale. fighting against the odds. breaking through out of its comfortable little seed shell, opening up and being vulnerable. anything could have happened to it as it opened and yet it did despite the dangers, when it could have stayed safe for an eternity as a seed. the seed yielded its perceived safety and it started its precious journey, toward the sun. what warms you? what keeps you sheltered in your perceived safety? hardened like a seed? do you have the courage? this analogy is remembered from a deck of tarot cards i have that are inspired by Osho. OK, even though i risk being late for school, i cannot resist. i am gonna get the book and just type out the quote. here is a quote from the book....
"The seed cannot know what is going to happen, the seed has never known the flower. And the seed cannot even believe that he has the potential to become a beautiful flower. Long is the journey, and it is always safer not to go on that journey because the path is unknown. Nothing is guaranteed. Thousand and one are the pitfalls - and the seed is secure, hidden inside a hard core. but the seed tried, it makes an effort; it drops its hard shell which is its security, it starts moving. Immediately the fight starts: the struggle with the soil, with the stones, with the rocks. and the seed was very hard and the sprout will be very soft and the dangers will be many. But the sprout starts towards the unknown, towards the sun, towards the source of light, not knowing where, not knowing why. Great is the cross to be carried, but a dream possesses the seed and the seed moves. The same is the path for man. It is arduous. Much courage will be needed." -Osho
"when we are faced with a difficult situation we have a choice: we can either be resentful, and try to find somebody or something to blame for the hardship, or we can face the challenge and grow. The flower shows us the way, as its passion for life leads it out of its darkness and into the light. There is no point fighting against the challenges of life, or trying to avoid or deny them. They are there, and if the seed is to become the flower (or in my case, kale) we must go through them. be courageous enough to grow into the flower you are meant to be."
great stuff...i always think of this card "Courage" as i am gardening. i always think of how things relate to my spiritual life and growth. that's just me.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Here we go.....

Wow..I have missed you all! In the crazy I just got to my garden (if you can call it that) yesterday. I will say yesterday was about the worst mother's day on the planet..not going to comment I am having a redo today! All I really wanted to do was gym-done, shoe shop-done, and garden-done so I guess I was productive. What to plant??? I was feeling a bit like this was kinda crazy since I will not be here to eat what I plant but then my good friend Maari told me that there were some nice tomato plants at Whole Foods Market that looked good and already had some mini tomatoes growing and for $6.99 perfect. Great that our readers are looking out for us and following what month we are on. The funny thing is I do not like tomatoes at all but oh well. Here is our personal Whole Foods Market helper...grammy! Thanks for picking out the best tomato plants. We also decided to get some herbs to go with them. Cutie Madeline holding her plant. They really were nice so we were excited. We came home and potted them in a few big pots and put the herbs in some smaller ones. This kids were eating the parsley and basil and thought it was great to eat their plants. We really did have a good time and maybe we can have a small garden in Geneva. I don't always "play" with my girls so to spend this time with them getting dirty and having fun was what Mother's day should be all about!
Here is the finished product!

We decided that we had a "pasta sauce" garden! That is what we are going to do with it...use the tomatoes and herbs to make pasta sauce. Fun and simple :)!

Sooo...more importantly..check out these shoes I got to wear to a wedding in June. HOT! I love them...well really I just love shoes and these are smokin! The animal print reminds me of my gram and that makes me smile! These shoes make me feel happy :)! I think I will wear them in the garden!


Sunday, May 9, 2010

mom and seeds

well, if it weren't for your mom nurturing her "seed" (you), then you wouldn't have bloomed into the beautiful flower that you are. or maybe you are a vegetable or a fruit, tree, weed, herb or other plant like thing. figuratively speaking, of course. no matter how our mother's have shaped us, good and bad, we have grown. and every so often we have a blossom. and not unlike a tree or other plant, we go through times of losing our leaves or going to seed, and we feel vulnerable and unprotected. those times can be scary or unsettling. but somehow we find the courage to begin again...and whatever nurturing our mother's gave us, in our memory, is still there shaping how we grow anew. we take the good and can learn from what we have labeled as bad. as mothers, this can feel like a huge responsibility...knowing that our children take our voices with them far beyond the years within the walls of the family home...or we can be gentle with ourselves, like we would as we grow a plant in our garden...and trust that it will bloom when it is ready. and that it's branches will always grow toward the warmth of the sun. when we love ourselves...we glow like the sun. take care of yourselves today, mamas. and take a moment to be thankful for the ways your mom nurtured you. thanks, mom!
today i will go to bikram yoga (taking care of mama) and then have a late breakfast with my family. then off to cal anderson park to enjoy the sunshine. thank you, thank you, thank you...i love the sun! my seeds don't seem to have really sprouted yet, maybe just a few blades of random leftover weeds in the plot so far. except for the starts. and they are looking good. i think tomorrow or later today i'll post a picture of the plot. wait, did i say that in my last post? well, as stated before, this is a slow process. so, the photo will come in its time.
i am also still reading the book. and i left it is the car, so quotes will be forthcoming as well.
i was thinking that this month, with the food growing so slowly. you all may get to know me and dina a little better...we'll have to talk about something!
love to the mothers...

Friday, May 7, 2010

damn dog

i was parallel parking in from of our apartment building this morning and a flipping dog ran right through my precious little garden plot. Hello lady running with your dog???? did you really just let your huge dog trample my sweet little sprouts!!!!!! i jumped out of the car and without thinking yelled..."Hey! your dog just ran through my plants!" she shrugged and said she got him out when she saw. and ran on. a little awareness please, like know where your dog is before he trots on top of my kale? come on.
i guess i am a little protective. but i am so excited about getting to see these vegetables grow. to know i tilled the dirt, planted the seeds, nurtured then, and can watch them sprout and creep slowly toward to the sun...bigger and bigger everyday. i am sorry, but that is just so cool. and i don't want some dog crushing my coolness. and then i remember my yoga. and i breathe. i let go. carrying that anger isn't healthy for me or any other living thing. so, i let it pass through. and i'll think about some sort of little fence around the plot. you know, so i don't have to work on that anger issue anymore! ha! that's it, just build little fences everywhere i don't want to feel anger creep in. oh, isn't life funny? cause we do that as humans, don't we? building our walls. protecting our ego. ok...a bit off topic. back to plants.
I finished my book about women in Afghanistan...intense, moving, brought me to a deep place of gratitude for where i live and the bountiful opportunities and wealth that i enjoy. and last night i started the Michael Pollan book i mentioned, In the Defense of Food. I enjoy his sense of humor. i really like that he is getting the word out about food, where it comes much of our food is really "edible foodlike substances." and i would love to share just a few quotes from the first 10 pages.....enjoy!
"Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
"If you are concerned about your health, you should probably avoid products that make health claims. Why? Because a health claim on a food product is a strong indication that it's not really food, and food is what you want to eat."
he proposes that we have in part become either addicted to crappy foodlike substances (think twinkies), or on the flip side...have an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating (orthorexia), minding only to professionals that tell us what nutrients are the best at any given time. and then the food science people and manufacturers make foodlike substances that have high amounts of that "good" nutrient. both ways, as you see....have us eating things that are not whole foods. so, eat food. untampered with food. simple. inherently nutritious. and if you are planting a seed (especially an organic, non-GMO seed) in the soil and nurturing its growth, havesting and eating will be eating food. and i assume when you sit down to eat it, knowing all that went into it, it will be a celebration. a sense of accomplishment. satisfaction.
my suggestion for you, if you cannot do this with us this month....because of time or space restrictions (there are always container gardens!) start going weekly to a local farmer's market. visit a farm. get a box delivered to your home from a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture.) we get one from Full Circle Farms, and there i another great farm that our friend's own...Nature's Last Stand. it feels great to eat food grown and harvested locally, and it is so fresh.
til next time...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

slow growing

seems seeds are slow growing. and yes, i did know that going into this. there isn't as much to write about as far as the process of growing food rained, so i haven't needed to water. and the sun comes out when it wants to...i have no sway there. believe me, these days, if it weren't for my darling seeds needing the rain, i have not been very happy with the weather. it has been cold too. but really, we had a pretty good winter, so who am i to complain? ok, who am i, cliff mass? onto other topics besides weather!
So, in lieu of boring you with the minute details of my seeds starting to sprout. (which, i could be crazy, but i did think i saw a few little dicotyledons...ha, i did learn something in botany!...standing just above the dirt this afternoon) (oh and ps...i don't know if i even used that word correctly in a sentence, all you botanists out there might be getting a good laugh) anyway, as i was sayin. i have some other ideas about this month. way back when i wrote my list, it included reading some good info on food, like Michael Pollan's book In the Defense of Food. a friend of mine said why bother, i know all that stuff anyway, but i think i'll find some useful new information. or at the very least, a new inspiration for refining my food choices and purchasing habits. i saw a show on PBS that was after his book, The Omnivore's Dilemma and it was really great. i highly recommend trying to watch that. so i am going to start that first book i mentioned as soon as i am finished reading the novel i am working on right now. which i have to say is SOOO good. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. i suspect i will be finished with this one in the net couple days.
also, in the next few days i will be viewing the documentary movie Food, Inc. I'll let you know what i think of it. lots of food things coming up though. been thinking about sugar. and i read a little article yesterday about its effects on our body, really not good. really. and heard a bit on NPR today about soda consumption of kids. really? this kid they were talking to had soda in the morning before school, at lunch and dinner too. he said water didn't agree with his stomach, he needed something with more flavor. it is disturbing. and yet i have reservations from being some hard core "health nut." because sometimes when you take one stance it is as if you are judging the other. and i don't feel there is really a need for blame. aren't we all just doing the best we can? who know why that kid was hooked on soda like that. but i have to say, that when i started yoga and i cleaned up my wheat, no sugar, no dairy. i felt really great. and last thursday and friday, and most of the weekend....i had pizza, an egg bacon and cheese panini, and other such foods...and i felt sluggish, tired, and i really really wanted more and more and more of those foods. i think that i thought i used to feel fine eating all that all the time, that i had a really hearty constitution and could handle it. but maybe, maybe i didn't even know how good i could feel. maybe all my times of feeling cranky and depressed and apathetic could have been at least somewhat related to my food choices.
ok...enough babbling for now. just some food for thought, so to speak :)
good night.
maybe tomorrow i'll get some photos up of my little green friends...

Monday, May 3, 2010

As good as it gets....

So...I am not exactly sure how I am going to give this gardening thing my all and kinda feeling like what is the point to plant things if I am not going to be here to eat it. I am also feeling like I have so much to do and things I want to do and not sure that growing things is at the top of my list. Hard to say if this is my thing but I feel like I can not judge since giving it my all may be the hardest part. So this is as good at it gets to till the weekend when I will try to figure out what I am going to do... I planted this pepper kit in a pot the size of my thumb...really that small. Got it for free at the last PTA meeting at Madeline's school..pathetic I tell you. Anyway, I followed the directions and we will see. Hmmm..what is my plan. I guess I will spend mothers day in the garden. Off to the grocery store and gym. Madeline is 6 where did the time go! xxoo-Dina

Sunday, May 2, 2010

the beginning...

we got started today. we walked to madison market, our local co-op and bought soil/compost mix and seeds. with wagon in hand, we wheeled it all home. i have also been perusing the magazine my mom gave me, "Starting from Seed." with helpful hint on how to get this whole process underway. now we are warming up inside and watching the Mariner's game before we head out to plant our seeds.
flash forward....we went out! i didn't even warm up or get to finish reading the magazine, we just went for it and now i am back to tell the tale. to be honest, i would have sat inside and read and warmed all day...maybe even a nice bath. but the kids wanted to get out and get started. and since this is MY thing :) i had to join them!
My neighbor Megan was out there thinning her vegetables that had sprouted, making sure each plant had room to grow. and lucky me...i got to use some
of hers, so now i have rows of starts as well as seeds. She gave us lettuce and kale. and we planted seeds....small yellow tomatoes, zucchini, kale, snow peas, and rainbow chard. we also had a basil plant that levi brought home from school and i put next to the tomatoes...i heard somewhere that they grow well together. here is a picture of our plot.
The seeds we bought are from a local washington company, Uprising Seeds, in Bellingham. They specialize in seeds that thrive in our region, and are 100% organic and non-GMO. i put a link on our "places our blog has taken us" list...if you want you can buy seeds on line from them.
well...alas, my screaming child needs my attention. he is "bored." as always. dear god, please help me find the strength to be his mother. i think levi needs bikram yoga!

moving on...sorta

wow...who knew i would have loved bikram yoga that much! not i. and i am so, so thankful for this adventure with Dina, or else i might not have tried it right now. i finished off yoga month feeling successful. there were only 4 days during the month that i did not go to class or do the video at home...but chances are i read about it or talked about it all day to anyone who would listen! :) there wasn't all the guilt i carried around during painting month or during the dancing class...when i would go to bed and feel horrible that i didn't paint or practice that day. the days i could not do yoga were simply because the day was so busy, i could not get to class. that will be the challenge i foresee going forward with fitting into the studio's schedule, and it fitting into mine. but i am going to keep going. i know in the past Dina said she wasn't going to keep doing anything, just move on to the next, with a clean break. i am choosing to hold onto the yoga. i just do no want to let it go!
and now onto May!!!!!
yesterday was May Day...a festival at the kids school. it was beautiful. we gather early and everyone makes crowns of flowers to wear and we make a procession down to the may pole. each class does a dance and some weave the ribbons around the may pole. then there is food and games, and everyone's favorite...the cake walk. and best of all, it did not rain!
so, I did that and did not begin my monthly passion search. today though, i will begin. i have a bed out in front of our apartment building, a raised bed. i'd say it is around 3'x8'. it reminds me, i once read an article by someone that grows their own food and he said that if you have a plot as big as your dining room table you can grow enough food for...oh, i don't know. but basically, if i have a plot the size i have, i can grow a good amount of food. now i have to figure out what to grow. what will we eat? what grows really good here? how much maintenance does each vegetable or herb require? i'll take any and all opinions.
my family's opinion...(the ones that are here right now)
Jamie "cucumbers"
Tallulah "purple cabbage, broccoli, and salad."
Lily "strawberries, carrots, peas, kale, and cucumbers."
Me "kale, collard greens, cilantro, and sun gold tomatoes."
Levi isn't here, so I'll ask him tomorrow.
time to get digging, go buy some good soil and seeds....and well, first do some research on what to do. cause, actually, i have no idea. but i can be the kin of person that just goes and does it the way i think it would be, and hope it works. :) we'll see if i do it that way, or actually try to learn something today! but really, i would still learn something about growing food, it jsut might take a few seasons to do it trial by error style....