Friday, December 30, 2011

Sky Neapolitan

The sky today kind of looks like Neapolitan ice cream.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood

The day after Christmas Jason and I went with my parents up to Mt. Hood for the first time.

Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood is an historical landmark so we had to check it out. It was absolutely breath-taking (in every sense of the term).

Here's a view from one of the lower lifts.

When they say Timberline, they aren't kidding. We were so close to the summit  of Mt. Hood that the actual tree line (timberline) stopped.

You can't really tell from this picture, but there are ski lifts (and people skiing) all the way to the top.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Hangover!

OMG!! This was definitely a Christmas to remember! We took the town by storm last night and had a great time.

 (Our special hangover remedy - juice, yogurt, black tea, coconut water)

Heading up Mt. Hood today to check out Ski Bowl. Will report back.

(Has anyone seen my barf bag and Drammamine?)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas -- from our neighborhood to yours

Jason and I spent a lovely Christmas Eve with our neighbors Larry, Marylou and Ruth Ann. We had a great time eating, talking, laughing, playing Taboo and Chinese Checkers (Jason was the big winner in both games).

Ruth Ann, Jason (and his hair), Larry, Marylou, Sarah

We are so thankful to have such great neighbors!

Now, we're headed downtown to meet my parents and eat and drink our way through Portland -- starting at Henry's.

Happy Holidays! Hope you're having a great one!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas is in the air

This video is a holiday classic around our house. We used the audio from this in our 2006 Sick and Twisted Christmas internet radio show.

Be sure to turn the volume up and enjoy!

Everything about this video makes me laugh!

(I feel sorry for the sound guy...he's in a pretty shitty position!)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kinda, sorta, maybe agree with Ira Glass

This clip from Ira Glass speaking on the creative process has some interesting ideas.

I agree with some of them but not all of it.

I don't agree that creating great volumes of work is necessarily the solution to creating a great piece of work. Sometimes that just results in a lot shit for the trash bin.

I do agree with the idea of an artist having a certain taste, but then not being able to create something that meets that "taste standard." There are so many projects that start out in my head one way but then the actualized version of it is nothing like I pictured -- not up to the standard I had imagined.

I guess this is where I run into the issue of "Is this something I want to create a thousand times until it's perfect?" or "Well, that was an interesting idea but not quite what I had in mind. On to the next idea."

Usually, I go with "on to the next idea."

Repetition can be super boring and artistically draining and that's not part of my creative process.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Train Lines

Recently, I've been taking the train to Nia classes on Wednesdays. While it's nice to have the public transportation option, it's never really that pleasant of an experience. It's definitely more of a means to an end than a pleasure trip.

But the lines. And the sky. They make up for all the discomfort. I love taking pictures at the train station.

The beauty of the overhead lines, the new moon, the color of the sky as they all dissapear over the horizon along with the tracks.

The honest image of progress and industry collaborating with nature.

And it's all for the taking. You just have to open your eyes.

Monday, December 12, 2011

One Frigid Bitch!

Last night we had no heat do to a failed heater. It was 27 degrees outside and got down to the fifties inside. 

We noticed it during the afternoon, but lucky for us we had chili making and cookie baking on the activities list for the early evening. With all the baking, cooking and holiday action the house maintained a tolerable warmth.

Are those not the most festive little holiday cookies you've ever seen? ;-) Sugariffic!!!!

Once the guests departed and the beer was tapped we retreated to the back bedroom for a cold winters nap. Snug in our blankets and warmth to be all that mattered with smelly remnants of beers and cookie batter. Suddenly we awoke to a startlin crashin clatter at half past one. We sprang from the cozy bed into the frigid air we went racing and stunned.  To the kitchen without haste we did run, to find that the ugly light fixture had fallen, broken and shattered on the floor looking like plastic cookie crumbs. 

Bottom line, it was one cold frigid bitch last night and this moanin! Not to mention waking up to what sounded like an invasion on the other side of the house.  It was like rolling into an icy pond, asleep! What a brisk awakening indeed.  My heart has just now resumed normal beats per minute.

As I post this, we have managed to get the temperature back up to 67 and the heater should be back to work by this evening.  Then we shall hunt the great christmas pickle of 2011!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

One month

He was a friend of mine...

Been pickin and singin this song a lot lately...

Where's Derville?

Where is Derville!?!? I can't find him anywhere! Just a rolled up rug with a tail...

There he is!!!

What a silly kitty! He loves to hide under the rugs or roll himself up like a burrito and then jump out...


He jumped out as I was taking his picture! Scared the crap outta me!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Forever in Blue Jeans, Babe!

Heard this song today while waiting in line. Was feeling kinda shabby in my winter layers of jeans, hoodie, long-sleeves, short-sleeves, tank top, wool knee socks, etc. This song just reminds me how much I don't give a shit about trendy fashion and things like ugly-ass billion-dollar sweaters from places like Anthro. (You'll definitely never catch me wearing a cardigan belted around my boobs.)

I've come to the conclusion that I'm more of an "urban outfitter." Black, black and black for dressy. Jeans and Henleys for casual. Easy. Simple. Comfy.

Also, I like my man to dress like a man, not like a Dandy (no sweater vests, please!) so jeans and flannel are perfect for him too. My sexy lumberjack! (And his hair is pretty dang close to Neil's these days! Rrrrrr)

Forever in Blue Jeans, Babe!

(Note to self: buy a Neil Diamond album -- this guy can rock a cheesy love song like no other!)

Money Talks
But it don't sing and dance
And it don't walk
As long as I can have you here with me
I'd much rather be
Forever in Blue Jeans

Honey is sweet
But it ain't nothing next to baby's treat
And if you'll pardon me
I'd like to say
We'd do okay
Forever in Blue Jeans

Maybe tonight
Maybe tonight by the fire
All alone you and I
Nothing around but the sound
Of my heart and your sighs

Money Talks
But it can't sing and dance
And it can't walk
As long as I can have you here with me
I'd much rather be
Forever in Blue Jeans, Babe

Honey is sweet
But it ain't nothing next to baby's treat
And if you'll pardon me
I'd like to say
We'd do okay
Forever in Blue Jeans

Maybe tonight
Maybe tonight by the fire
All alone you and I
Nothing around but the sound
Of my heart and your sighs

Money Talks
But it don't sing and dance
And it don't walk
As long as I can have you here with me
I'd much rather be
Forever in Blue Jeans

And if you'll pardon me
I'd like to say
We'd do okay
Forever in Blue Jeans, Babe

As long as I can have you here with me
I'd much rather be
Forever in Blue Jeans, Babe

As long as I can have you here with me

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Mail Call!!

These showed up in the post today.

It's an interesting mix of a  fake band album/soundtrack and an autobiography by one of America's seminal folk singer/songwriters and poet - Woodie Guthrie.

Can't wait to dig in!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Coming Back to Life

I took a heavenly ride through our silence, I knew the moment had arrived, for killing the past and coming back to life

"Coming Back To Life" by Pink Floyd

Where were you when I was burned and broken
While the days slipped by from my window watching
And where were you when I was hurt and I was helpless
Because the things you say and the things you do surround me
While you were hanging yourself on someone else's words
Dying to believe in what you heard
I was staring straight into the shining sun

Lost in thought and lost in time
While the seeds of life and the seeds of change were planted
Outside the rain fell dark and slow
While I pondered on this dangerous but irresistible pastime

I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the moment had arrived
For killing the past and coming back to life

I took a heavenly ride through our silence
I knew the waiting had begun
And I headed straight..into the shining sun.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pacifiers and Baby Steps

Meet Floyd, my giant stuffed puppy. He's a great pacifier -- big fat snout, dark puppy-dog eyes, soft furry butt, and he's big enough to give hugs!

Call me crazy -- I don't care. I've always loved my stuffed animals like they were real and Jason's the same way. So every now and then, when we feel bad, we take turns hugging the puppy and it actually helps (in a pacifier-type way).

This morning the sun peaked out again. Now that the weather has officially turned to crap, I have to take every opportunity to grab some sun. I've been avoiding the dreaded first solo walk without the Pooh. Jason and I have made the rounds a few times without him, but I didn't have to think about what to do with my leash-holding hand -- I just held Jason's hand.

So I'm looking out the window, thinking to myself - baby steps. You can do it. One time around the block. You must get out of the house. I gear up (it's only about 40 degrees outside), grab my MP3 player, turn it to Talking Heads, ask the cat if he's up for a walk (nope, he's not), and head out on my own - solo.

It wasn't too bad. I went around the block 3 times (about a mile). There were tons of other people walking their dogs. I was okay. I even told one passer-by with a small terrier mutt in a sweater "Cute doggie!" And I meant it -- he was precious.

Noticeable differences:
1. no pace-setter (that dog hauled ass!) so my walking was slower.
2. figuring out what to do with my leash-holding hand? Thank gawd for hoodies with kangaroo pouch pockets.

I can definitely say that this whole experience has really motivated us to act on our dream of buying "the farm." We want lots of space to raise goats, chickens, ducks, worms. We want to rescue strays, revive frozen kittens, heal injured squirrels, raise abandoned baby possums, and everything in between. In the spirit of Jason's mother, we want to help every animal that needs a home or a hand. We've been really interested in animal husbandry for a few years and can't wait to have our own menagerie.

Next step - find the place to make this all happen. 

Pacifiers and baby steps. It's all about tying to feel good and moving forward now.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I miss my doggie

Well, I made it through the first major holiday without Clancy.

Just one short month from now and it will be my first Christmas without Clancy in over a decade. So many years we were too far from home to go back and be around family for the holidays. But no matter where I was, I always had my little white fluffy angel doggie to make it all okay. We'd build a makeshift tree out of holiday liquor boxes decorated with purple Crown Royal pouches as ornaments and open the couple of presents my parents sent. Always being strangers in a strange land, we'd wait out the day together in solitude. Booze for dinner and then early to bed. His soft white fur catching my tears as I cried myself to sleep from being so lonesome.

(Sarah and Clancy circa 2001)

Clancy wasn't just a pet, he was part of my identity. For so many years I was the girl with the sweet white dog. People always commented on my little white doggie when we went for walks. As I'm typing this, the sun just came out for the first time in days. First instinct is to grab the leash and holler "Wanna go for a WALK?" Second instinct is to cry. How goddam sad is a girl on a walk without her white doggie? Pretty fucking sad, I can guarantee that. It feels like I've lost an appendage -- an extension of myself. I feel like there is less of me now. I definitely have phantom pains, except they show up in the form of mistaken glimpses of the dog -- like thinking I see him outside in the yard or at the back door waiting to come in. I don't even have to watch out for poop in the backyard anymore, but I still check my shoes when I come inside. And that makes me so sad.

I just wish he was still here.

While he was sick and starting to fade, we spent so much time in silence listening to each other breathe. Such a beautiful sound I wrote about it:
10/19/11 11:33am

Laying in bed
Listening to the sound
of the Pooh's snooze
Light breath in
Hmmmppphhhh out from the belly
Enjoying the moment
with my best friend
and unconditional confidante
I love to hear you breathe

Once we found out it was cancer and there was nothing we could do for him, we went into hospice mode. The entire situation was all too reminiscent of my last hospice experience. Not wanting to leave his side for one minute, realizing there was nothing I could do to fix anything, knowing it was only a matter of time before we would no longer be together. The biggest difference with this hospice experience and the other one is that it became MY responsibility to make the decision to separate -- to send my best friend on his new journey because he was too loyal to leave on his own.

This was the hardest decision on earth. I put it off. I hoped he would pass in his sleep. But he's a good doggie and would NEVER leave my side no matter how painful his life had become. I didn't think I could do it. Not while he still recognized me.

During his last month, I spent hours with him sending out this loving-kindness meditation to him.
May he live his last days with ease and comfort, as much as possible
May he pass from this world with dignity and peace, as much as possible
May he transcend this mortal burden of illness and shine eternally as a white light of energy

I probably repeated this meditation a thousand times. I can only hope it helped him through such a painful journey. I know it helped me calm down and appreciate each moment I had left with him.

Then one day, death visited. Not in the phantom form that I hoped would quietly climb into his slumber and release him, but in the form of a scent. A scent that I had smelled before. A scent that, once smelled, can never be un-smelled. It's the sweet, sour, metallic smell of sickness. Unlike anything else. Unforgettable and unmistakable. The smell of Death.

I knew at this moment that I was no longer being a good pet parent. I was being selfish. I wanted Clancy to do the hard part -- to say it's time to go. But he wouldn't because he doesn't give the commands in this relationship, he takes them. That's how it has always been - why would it be different now?

I decided I wasn't going to fail my furry friend after all these years just because it would be too hard for ME. I contacted an at-home vet service and scheduled a time for them to come to our house. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

The time came. Jason and I were together with Clancy in our home. He was in his own bed with all of his stuffed animals around him. I realized I was glad that he could still recognize me because I stared straight into those brown/black eyes the whole time. He knew I was with him -- that I would never leave him. I know he knew because I could see it in his eyes.

It was very peaceful. The vet cried with us as we moved through the moments. I can say with confidence that he was comfortable and passed with dignity.

The vet took him away with her, for which I was thankful. I'd been having nightmares of going to the vet with my dog and leaving without him.

We had him cremated and brought him home in a tin box a few days later. Now he's up on a very high shelf surrounded by his stuffed animal pals looking down over me everyday.

I miss my doggie.

And that's the saddest story I've ever written.

(PS - Please don't think I've forgotten about all the love I still have in my life. I'm so very thankful to have Jason, my parents and Derville to help me through this massive change in my life. But nothing can replace my love for the Pooh - there is no comparable love in this world and that's why it hurts so bad.)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bad as Me

We have always loved Tom Waits and his new album "Bad as Me" continues to reinforce the feelings!

So many good songs on this album. The New Yorker had a nice article that you can read here.

Here's a small excerpt from the article:
Waits’s new album, “Bad as Me,” his twenty-second, has plenty of stone gargling. It was made with a vast constellation of new and old friends, the most prominent of whom is an often overlooked collaborator, his wife, Kathleen Brennan, who has been writing songs with Waits since his album “Swordfishtrombones,” from 1983 (for which she was uncredited). “She responds to things like she’s in an opium dream. I’m more of a sticks-and-wire guy,” he said. (Much of what he says in conversation could, with little intervention, become lyrics.) “Bad as Me” also features the guitarist Marc Ribot, whom Waits called “the Lon Chaney of the guitar—there are so many voices he’s able to conjure,” and high-profile guests such as Flea and Keith Richards. Central to the album are Clint Maedgen and Ben Jaffe, reed and brass players from New Orleans’s Preservation Hall Jazz Band, who appear on many of the tracks.

The title track "Bad as Me" makes me want to growl!

"Bad as Me" by Tom Waits

You’re the head on the spear
You’re the nail on the cross
You’re the fly in my beer
You’re the key that got lost
You’re the letter from Jesus on the bathroom wall
You’re mother superior in only a bra
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the hat on the bed
I’m the coffee instead
The fish or cut bait
I’m the detective up late
I’m the blood on the floor
The thunder and the roar
The boat that won’t sink
I just won’t sleep a wink
You’re the same kind of bad as me

No good you say
Well that’s good enough for me

You’re the wreath that caught fire
You’re the preach to the choir
You bite down on the sheet
But your teeth have been wired
You skid in the rain
You’re trying to shift
You’re grinding the gears
You’re trying to shift
And you’re the same kind of bad as me

They told me you were no good
I know you’ll take care of all my needs
You’re the same kind of bad as me

I’m the mattress in the back
I’m the old gunnysack
I’m the one with the gun
Most likely to run
I’m the car in the weeds
If you cut me I’ll bleed
You’re the same kind of bad as me
You’re the same kind of bad as me

Friday, November 25, 2011

Brinicle, anyone?

This is absolutely amazing and is the FIRST-EVER footage of a brinicle forming. My inner marine biologist is all a-flutter.

Where “Brinicle” met the sea bed, a web of ice formed that froze everything it touched, including sea urchins and starfish. In winter, the air temperature above the sea ice can be below -20C, whereas the sea water is only about -1.9C. Heat flows from the warmer sea up to the very cold air, forming new ice from the bottom. The salt in this newly formed ice is concentrated and pushed into the brine channels. And because it is very cold and salty, it is denser than the water beneath.

“That particular patch was difficult to get to. It was a long way from the hole and it was quite narrow at times between the sea bed and the ice,” explained Mr Miller.

“I do remember it being a struggle… All the kit is very heavy because it has to sit on the sea bed and not move for long periods of time.”

As well as the practicalities of setting up the equipment, the filmmakers had to contend with interference from the local wildlife.

The large weddell seals in the area had no problems barging past and breaking off brinicles as well as the filming equipment.

“The first time I did a timelapse at the spot a seal knocked it over,” said Mr Miller.

But the team’s efforts were eventually rewarded with the first ever footage of a brinicle forming.

Filmed by cameramen Hugh Miller and Doug Anderson for the BBC


Monday, November 21, 2011

Life Ain't Easy

I woke up singing this song this morning.  My favorite line is "And how much soul must a poor man sell to rub two coins together?"

"Life Ain't Easy" performed by Dr. Hook and written by Ray Sawyer and Shel Silverstein (one of my all time favorite authors and I had no idea he has written so many songs).

Well here I am in the wind again,
floating where it takes me
Laughin' and a splashin' in the summer sun,
until the alarm clock awakes me
Then it's coffee and a kiss and two cigarettes,
and I'm back out in the cold, cold weather
Chasin' my dream but I just can't seem to rub two coins together
(Sing it)

Life ain't easy, they never said it would be
Life ain't easy, whoever said it should be
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, free, free, free
Life ain't easy, tell me all about it
Life ain't easy, no, no, no, no
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, for you or me

That woman she don't understand,
the way my mind keeps driftin'
And the Lord don't always lend a hand,
when my poor heart needs liftin'
Is home and kids really all there is,
or is there something better?
And how much soul must a poor man sell to rub two coins together?

Don't you know that
Life ain't easy, no, no, no, no
Life ain't easy, whoever said it would be
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, free, free, free
Life ain't easy, can you hear me
Life ain't easy, tell me all about it
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, free, free, free
Life ain't easy, tell me all about it
Life ain't easy, no, no, no, no
Life ain't easy, and nothing comes free, for you or me
Life ain't easy
Life ain't easy...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

History of the Sky: A Year at the Exploratorium

A camera on the roof of the Exploratorium in San Fransisco captured an image of the sky every ten seconds for a year. The video below is a mosaic of 360 time-lapse movies, each showing a single day.

Totally mesmerizing -- enjoy!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Don't forget about Derville!

Who could forget about Derville?

He's taking our loss pretty hard. Derville and Clancy were two poohs in a pod for sure.

Derville had never been completely alone while we were gone. He always had the Pooh to remind him of our everlasting promise -- we always come back. Sometimes we have to leave but we ALWAYS come back. He's starting to get it.

Derville's always been a needy little guy, but now without his big fur-brother around, he's beside himself. It's like he's lost in his own house. I feel the same way. But we are just trying to help each other through this sad time with laughter and extra attention for all.

Derville is such a caring little guy. Full of surprises and interests...

(Derville: We can play chess, talk literature, or make some music if that would help you feel better.)

(Derville: Hey check it out! *singing* Fat Cat in a Tiny Box. What!?! This box is too small for me? NEVER!)

He's getting better at snuggin' especially in the morning, but sometimes it still feels like cuddling up to a piranha! Muncha Muncha. But that's why we call him Munchster, and we couldn't love him more.

Thanks for all the smiles, Derville!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This is how I remember him in my dreams

(Originally posted on The Life of Clancy blog in June 2009.)

Finding The Perfect Spot

You know...that spot...that's just perfect. The.Perfect.Spot.

Well I found one today and mmmm was it nice.

I encourage every one of you to go out and roll in the grass!

It's one of my favorite past times.

Hope you find your perfect spot.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gotta Walk Alone

This song pretty much sums up how I feel these days.

If I didn't have Jason, this would be one lonely fucking road.

"Gotta Walk Alone" by Willie Nelson.

(Pardon the craptastic video. This Vietnamese thing is the best I could find.)
I gotta walk alone
My sweetheart's gone
Nobody here loves me now
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

All the friends I knew
By two and two
Have left me one by one
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

Don't know where
Don't even care
I just keep walking on and on

All the friends I knew
By two and two
Have left me one by one
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

Don't know where
Don't even care
I just keep walking on and on

All the friends I knew
By two and two
Have left me one by one
It's a long and lonesome road
I've got to walk alone

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Fare Thee Well, My Friend

Clancy Pooh
(April 2, 1999 - November 9, 2011)

He passed away peacefully at home with his family after a short, but vigilant battle with cancer.

He will be missed by many.

Our hearts are broken.

We'll meet you again in the ether, my friend.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Day Dawning

This was the view from my window this morning as I did my yoga and meditation practice. What a beautiful way to welcome the day.

It made me think about Nina Simone singing "New World Comin'"

Here are the lyrics:

There's a new world comin'
And it's just around the bend
There's a brand new mornin'
That belongs to you and me
A new world commin'
The one we had vision of
And its comin' in peace
Is comin in joy
and comin in love...yea...yea...yea
There's a new world comin'
And its just around the bend
There's a new day dawning
the one that's for you and me
A new world comin'
The one we've had vision of
and it is comin in peace
comin' in love
Comin' in peace
Comin' in joy
and comin in peace
comin' in joy
And comin in love
And I saw another sign in Heaven
Great and marvelous
Seven angels having the seven last plagues
for in them is filled up the Wrath of God
And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire
And them that had gotten the victory over the beast
And over his image
and over his mark
and over his name,
stand on the sea of glass
with the harps of God all around them.

There's a new world comin'
and its just around the bend
There's a new day dawning

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Beach Bums

Beach Bums: Sarah and Clancy
(Carmel, CA -- July 2008)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Couple Dies Holding Hands

This is the saddest yet sweetest love story. I can only hope for such a loving exit from this life.

The part where he dies but they are still picking up her pulse through his hand totally wrecked me. *Tears*

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Electric Avenue

Heard this on the way to yoga this morning.

I remember when this song was a hit in 1982.

Almost thirty years and the message is still the same.

"Electric Avenue" by Eddie Grant from Killer on the Rampage (1982)

Boy -
Now in the streets there is violence
an-na-na lots of work to be done.
No place to hang all our washing and then I can't blame it all on the sun.
Oh no
we're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher.
we're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
And then we'll take it higher.

Working so hard like a soldier
can't afford the things on T.V.
Deep in my heart I abhore you
can't get food for the kid.
Good God
we're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue . ..
Oh no
oh no
oh no
oh no

Oh Lord
we're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue . . .
Who is to blame in what country? Never can get to the one.
Dealing in multiplication and they still can't feed everyone.
Oh no
we're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue
Out in the streets
out in the streets

Out in the playground in the dark side of town.
we're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue . . .
we're gonna rock down to Electric Avenue . . .

Monday, October 17, 2011

Defying Gravity

This little angel dog of ours continues to amaze us. 

I can only hope to be as light-hearted as him when I'm pushing 88.

(Clancy catching air while playing rope ball with Jason yesterday.)

This was one of the best moments of my life.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Full Catastrophe Living

"Full Catastrophe Living" by Jon Kabat-Zinn is the seminal resource for the MBSR course that Jason and I took earlier this year.

I've been slowly working my way through the book. Usually, I'm a total speed reader but this book is different. One sentence can hold me for days.

This passage I read today felt particularly poignant for me at this time in my life:
"To cultivate meditative awareness requires an entirely new way of looking at the process of learning. Since thinking that we know what we need and where we want to get are so ingrained in our minds, we can easily get caught up in trying to control things to make them turn out "our way," the way we want them to. But this attitude in antithetical to the work of awareness and healing. Awareness requires only that we pay attention and see things as they are. It doesn't require that we change anything. And healing requires receptivity and acceptance, a tuning to connectedness and wholeness. None of this can be forced, just as you cannot force yourself to go to sleep. You have to create the right conditions for falling asleep and then you have to let go. The same is true for relaxation. It cannot be achieved through force of will. That kind of effort will only produce tension and frustration." 

Letting go is hard.

Friday, October 07, 2011

One fast move or I'm gone

"One Fast Move or I'm Gone" by Ben Gibbard from Jack Kerouac's Big Sur.

This river of road,
It don't flow like it used to.
But it's more of a home
Than anywhere that I've ridden it to.

We used to dream together
But now I drink alone.
From the bottle to the tumbler
Is the only journey left I know.

And in my memories' depths I retrace my steps.
I cannot find where I went wrong.
It was one fast move or I'm gone.

I found out at an early age
I could make anything or plane
Disappear or cease to exist
If I turn my back to it.

And that the interstates, they don't connect
Where you are to what you've left.

And the ghost of our dreams
Haunt the roads in between.

Though nothing could compare to the love we share
It just didn't have a place to belong.

It was one fast move or I'm gone.

One fast move or I'm gone.
One fast move or I'm gone.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Two Poohs in a Pod

(Clancy, Derville, and Hippo napping 10/05/11)

Saturday, October 01, 2011

One More -- Did you read?

Here's another one for the giggle box.

I think I've had this conversation before -- Bennett, I'm looking at you! Haha!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Portlandia: Dream of the 90s is alive in Portland

I haven't smiled much this week, but this video gets me laughing every time. This is where I live and I love it! Let's end this week with a good belly laugh!

Welcome to Portland!

BTW, this video isn't too far off. Actually it's pretty spot-on!

Here's another one. If you need to add a special touch to something...just put a bird on it! The best part is around 1:10 in the video.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Life Fades Away - Roy Orbison

Popular topics around our house these days have been quantum physics, String Theory, M TheoryBig Bang (and the unknown flip side), conscious immortality, Steven Hawking, William James, Isaac Asimov (particularly "Earth is Room Enough") and "Hidden Connections" by Fritjof Capra. And "The Aleph" by Borges.

I guess we are just really trying to figure out what THIS is all about. I just can't satiate myself with the ponderance that we simply are born, live, and die. There has to be more. Not more like heaven, but more like immortality. Our energy existing and reexisting. Channelling the energy into something else. It's the something that is so illusive to me.

In the past if I couldn't find a channel for my energy, I picked up and set out looking for it -- that Aleph. That point of all meaning. Now, I'm where I need to be. No more nomadic searches. Now that I'm here, I just wonder. What next?

We were watching a show on OPB that raised the question, "is it possible that we only exist in others' reality when our realities bump into each other?" I've been thinking about that a lot lately. It feels possible to me. I've moved into and out of so many people's lives in my vagabonding years that I know there are people out there that exist. However, if my reality had never bumped into their reality, would they have ever really existed?

Do I still exist once my reality ceases to bump into yours?

Life Fades Away by Roy Orbison.

"I'm tired of tomorrow, lost for today, I long to be at peace forever..."

My time has come the clouds are calling.
December wind has came my way.
And now I feel the world falling.
All at once, it's too late.
Life fades away.

The night is my day.
All thoughts slip away
And even though, I must leave you.
Remember I love you.
I'll always be in your memories.
I will always be with you when I'm gone.

Hey, life fades away.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah.
Life fades away.

I'm tired of tomorrow, lost for today.
I long to be at peace forever.
My dull peace
and even though, I will miss you.
I must leave you.

Hey, life fades away.
Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Life fades away.

So please forgive me and try not to cry.
I long to be at peace forever more.
Forever more.

Oh yeah, yeah , yeah ,yeah ,yeah.
Oh yeah, yeah ,yeah , yeah, yeah.
Life fades away.
Life fades away.
Life fades away. Away.

One last thing to say
Life fades away.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

There is no "Jiffy" in Nature

In preparation for our first winter planting, I decided to try the "Jiffy" method of starting the seeds. I planted three types of onions, broccoli, and cauliflower.

Here's the onions after 3 weeks:

When we plant seeds directly in the ground, they sprout after 5-7 days. These things were on week 3 and barely knee-high to a grasshopper!

So drastic measures had to be taken. Today I took the onion seeds that had sprouted and planted them in one of the vacant tires. Done.

Then, I decided to turn the soil in an unused spot in the big garden bed and plant a fresh round of onion seeds. Done.

The broccoli and cauliflower starts didn't do too bad. They sprouted in the Jiffy container about 10 days after planted but they were so wimpy! I planted them in another vacant spot in the big garden bed. Done. 

We'll see how this winter planting goes. I'm not too concerned about the yield. My main two reasons for wanting the winter garden are:

1. It will help keep the soil from leaching and draining off during the winter
2. I really like watching nature at work and it would be nice to have something to entertain me during the gray winter days.

The Jiffy pot experiment has just reinforced to me something that I am learning more and more everyday. There is no "Jiffy" in nature. Things will happen when they are supposed to happen. And, more importantly, who am I to dictate when the right time is?

Our ecosystem has been functioning without "Jiffy" methods for millions and millions of years. I think we should continue to let the expert, Nature, set the timeline.

Seeds will sprout when the time is right. Not a minute before and not a minute too late.

We just have to be patient and trust Mother Nature.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

NuArt: Oil pastel watercolor on paper

Here's a photo of my latest painting. It's oil pastel crayon watercolor on heavy paper. You can check out my process for this type of painting here.  

"Left Out" 

After finishing this one, I realized that this is the fourth painting I've done that features a dress. Not sure if that means anything significant, but I thought it was interesting.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Gettin Saucy

As Jason and I become more serious in our practice of sustainability, I've been trying to hone my canning skills and expand my recipe box.

Recently, I decided to try my hand at making tomato sauce and canning it. I definitely feel like I have transcended to another level in food preservation after this experience.

Here's some pictures of the process. Let's get saucy together!

Step 1: Collect all the ripe tomatoes from the garden, blanch them, then peel skins.

Step 2: Cook the tomatoes down. Since tomatoes are full of water, you don't need to add any liquid. Eventually the tomatoes will liquefy. You want to reduce the liquid by 1/3 to 1/2 to make sauce.

Note: I started cooking the tomatoes in the crock pot, by recommendation of a recipe, but ended up switching to a regular pot on the stove. Here's my rationale: in order to make tomato sauce, you need cook at least 1/3 of the water from your tomatoes. As we know, reduction is assisted greatly by taking the lid off while simmering. Well, when I took the lid off the crock pot, I lost the simmer. With the lid on, I kept the simmer, but also kept the water. Therefore, after several hours in the crock pot and no reduction happening, I dumped it all in a big pot on the stove and went from there. In the future, i will forego the slow cooker and go straight to the big pot.

Slow cooker

Big pot

Step 3: Begin water bath canning process.

I'm not even going to attempt to explain all that goes into getting those jars to the final "pop." I'll let the people at explain the canning process. They have a wonderful step by step tutorial with pictures that I used.

Step 4: Bask in the glory of 3 quarts of homegrown, homemade, home-canned tomato sauce!

Step 5: Kick back and have a cold beer because it took you 8 hours to achieve 3 quarts of tomato sauce!

Obviously, these are just the highlights of making tomato sauce -- I left out ALL the dishwashing involved and the ever-present fear of third degree burns. (note to self: wear galoshes next time to protect those little tootsies!)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

So Many Dahlias!!

Jason and I went to the Swan Island Dahlia Festival last weekend and as promised, here are pictures.

Over 350 varieties!!!!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Swan Island Annual Dahlia Festival

This morning we are off to the Swan Island Dahlias: Annual Dahlia Festival to see over 350 types of Dahlias!

Swan Island Dahlias is the largest and leading dahlia grower in the United States. They are located in the town of Canby, in the rich soil of the Willamette Valley of Oregon. This is exactly the area that Jason and I dream of settling down on and starting our own farm -- microfarm -- homestead. The dream. Ahhhh.

(Swan Island Dahlia Farm)

We are going early so we can get lots of good pictures (hopefully without a bunch of people in them) so keep an eye out for Dahlia photos!!

Friday, September 02, 2011

Music in the Morning

Every now and then I take Jason to work in the morning so I can have the car (or just to get out of the house). Invariably, I hear a song on the radio that I haven't heard in years or maybe a song that I didn't like so much, but now it resonates.

Today was a situation of the latter. I re-heard "Hand in My Pocket" by Alanis Morissette after I dropped off Jason and it sounded good. I don't really care for Alanis but the song felt good. I turned it up and it made me smile. So here it is for your listening/viewing  pleasure. (I wish there was less Alanis and her giant mouth in this video, but oh well.)

I'm broke but I'm happy
I'm poor but I'm kind
I'm short but I'm healthy, yeah
I'm high but I'm grounded
I'm sane but I'm overwhelmed
I'm lost but I'm hopeful baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

I feel drunk but I'm sober
I'm young and I'm underpaid
I'm tired but I'm working, yeah
I care but I'm worthless
I'm here but I'm really gone
I'm wrong and I'm sorry baby

What it all comes down to
Is that everything's gonna be quite alright
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is flicking a cigarette

What it all comes down to
Is that I haven't got it all figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving the peace sign

I'm free but I'm focused
I'm green but I'm wise
I'm shy but I'm friendly baby
I'm sad but I'm laughing
I'm brave but I'm chicken shit
I'm sick but I'm pretty baby

And what it all boils down to
Is that no one's really got it figured out just yet
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is playing the piano

What it all comes down to my friends
Is that everything's just fine fine fine
I've got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is hailing a taxicab...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Garden Update: End of Summer Is Near

Okay. Here we go. It has been a weird summer and I haven't done a very good job with the garden updates. So I'm just going to cram as much into this post as possible. Seeing it is the last day of August, which is essentially the end of summer, I would like to have the garden on record before it's time to put it in next year!

Snow Peas:
These did very well. We harvested, shucked, and blanched. We ended up with 2 quart bags of peas for the freezer.

Green beans:
Did very well, also. We harvested and blanched. Ended up freezing one gallon bag. I'm going to make our Thanksgiving green bean casserole with beans from our garden this year!


Did a good job of training and trellising the plants. They were HUGE!!

But was slack in trimming back non-producing limbs to make room for more growth. All of the plants fell completely over at one point or another (except the Roma because it is only 2 feet tall, which is also weird).

Everyday we looked out the window and another one was laid over. We tied them up, tied them to each other, and even let one use the chaise lounge! There was so much unnecessary growth that the plants were pushing their cages out of the ground and flopping over! They also were not focusing on the task at hand -- making ripe tomatoes! Eventually, I went snip-happy on them and trimmed off a giant pile. All plants lived and we had red tomatoes within days.


These did very very well. Seems like root veggies love it here. We chose to plant carrots, beets, radishes this year because the winter was so rainy and the slugs were so bad, we knew the leafy veggies would just be a liability.

We harvested the beets, cleaned them up, blanched them, removed skin (what a pain in the ASS!), and pickled them. We yielded 10 half pint jars and 2 quart jars! We've stashed them away in the pantry for the winter. This was a very long and arduous process. I can definitely say we were "beet" by the end of the day!

Oh my gosssssshhhhh, this post could go on forever! There are so many pictures of the garden and I just don't have the time to write about it all. So, I'm going to post a slide show of all the garden pictures so you can check them all out.


PS. We're planning on having a winter garden this year. I'm planning to sow the seeds soon (it's way late to plant a winter garden but what the hell!). I don't have high hopes for the crop, but I am hoping that a little ground cover will help keep our fabulous soil from washing away like last year.

Always something new to try with our urban farming!