Saturday, July 31, 2010

Weekend Fire - July

We are finally to the point in the season when wood ticks are no longer abundantly menacing. Wood ticks have the sign of evil on their backs. I'm serious. Take a look that next time you find one on your body. No, scratch that. Just chuck the thing away from you and remember I told you that they have the sign of evil on their backs.

Because wood ticks have lived out their seasonal existence (mostly), we have been able to go to our trailer more often.

And, the Baby Lotus Bud is in bed asleep by 8:00 every night. Having the rest of the night to myself feels mighty decadent!

I get to sit and think about my life and that I have a camera and a husband and time, blessed time to just nothing or everything.

I even remembered that I had a tripod. So, I whipped it out of the back of the Jeep and set up next to fire and just fooled around for a hour and a half.



The Big D was playing his guitar and I took shot after shot at varying shutter speeds, counting out one thousands while sipping a beer. Talk about multi-tasking. Ever tried to count out one thousands while gulping a liquid at an entirely different pace. Not as easy as you would think.

Go ahead, try it sometime. I dare ya.



Look at this freaky shot with the Big D's hand! It made me think of the petroglyphs we saw at Horseshoe Canyon, the littler ones that were right under where the canyon wall fell, nearly crushing myself and my wonderful husband. Alright, so we were about 100 feet away. The point is, we could have been there. I mean there at the rock fall, not here at the fire pit.

I mean we were here at the fire pit. OK. Now I'm just confusing myself.



Cool, huh? I mean, hot, right?
Read More »

Friday, July 30, 2010

In the Co-op Back Rooms

Ever wonder what is behind doors like this in Food Co-ops? I have, in fact, I've thought about this often.

Co-op staff always impressed me. They look all official and motivated and determined. I'm glad to see that because I think they provide an invaluable service to the community. I imagine that working at a Co-op is very much different from having a job at a conventional grocery store. Working at a Co-op seems like much more than just a job. Co- op staff are always genuinely curious about the product or produce that they are shelving and are quite helpful if a member-owner-shopper has questions. They always seem like they are on a worthwhile mission. The enthusiasm is contagious.

My eyes follow these people as they come in and out of doors like this. Often they come out with a cart laden with gorgeous fruits and healthy vegetables.

So, yes, I have, many a time, wondered what the heck was behind this door.



For the record - no, I did not go busting through the door. I was, in fact, invited to tour the backroom(s). Well, actually, I helped organize the event which ended with a tour and just attached myself to the group as they ventured past the door.

And, my initial response was shock. This first room is quite small. It's where the fruits and vegetables are prepared.

Did you know that at the Eastside Food Co-op, you can request to have that gigantic head of cabbage cut into half for you? Or that you request to buy just one stalk of celery. I didn't know this. I overheard this in a conversation between a staff person and a co-op member.



I wasn't joking when I said my eyes follow these people around. Don't think I'm weird. I just love food and will use any means necessary to find out more about it.

Even if I have to eavesdrop.



So, beyond this small room, there is the larger warehouse space with shelves of liquids and dry goods. Yet, another shock for me as I walked into this space. It was not jam-packed with stuff. They run a tight ship at the co-op, keeping inventory low and moving products through quickly. I'm sure this takes a lot organization and planning.

Something well beyond my skill set.



Finally, we were allowed to enter the refrigerators. Yeah! This is what I came for, the reason I joined the New Member Orientation Committee, the motivation that kept me going to all the planning meetings - the refrigerators!

T.M.I?



It was way cool. And, I don't mean just cold and refrigerated. Having never worked in food service nor ever owned a walk-in closet, this experience sort of combined the two novelties for me.



OK. Now you can think I'm weird.

I can't help it! I love my co-op!
Read More »

Thursday, July 29, 2010

love thursday: the neighboring trees



Soon there will be a new baby on the block. Our neighbor, two houses down, at the end of the block is due in early August. It's been hot here in Minnesota, hot and muggy and humid. I see her walking her other child on the sidewalk in front of our house, her beautiful belly large with pregnancy, and wonder what it would be like to give birth at this time of the year. On the one hand, it would be nice to go out for walks with the baby right after she is born. My baby was born in February and there always seemed to be a reason not to walk: too cold, too windy, too icy, etc. On the other hand I do not like the heat and I imagine being incredibly miserable if I were to be pregnant during this time of year.

These trees line the sidewalk to the northside of our neighbors' house. The helicopter seeds seem like little July valentines waiting to drop and decorate the yard once the baby arrives. The earth awaits the birth of a new little soul and yearns to shower the neighborhood with love.
Read More »

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lotus List Item #21: Drink 50 Microbrews

I started working on my Lotus List last night but silly, silly, me, I did not bring my camera along. I had to use the camera on my phone and needless to say, the pictures sucked, or maybe it was that I had two of these beers. Nooo, I took this picture before I had a sip of the beer.

Lift Bridge: Farm Girl Saison



It wasn't until today that I realized that this beer is brewed in Stillwater, MN. Everyone at the table last night was saying it must be Duluth because they have a few very fine breweries up there, but no, this one is from Stillwater. I'm so glad I inadvertently chose a local, closer to my home brewery.

It was yummy, golden beer. So yummy that I had two.

Last night was the first time I've been out drinking two beers since May 2009. It felt good to be hanging with a great group of adults! It was a great start on my Lotus List!
Read More »

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beyond the Power Grid



One of our favorite things to do when we are at our Wisconsin Airstream retreat is to take a particular drive that brings us to a remote canoe-in campsite on the Flambeau River. Much of the land up in these parts is owned by Jump River Electric Co-p and bordering that is a lot of state-managed forest land. We've done this drive in all seasons.

I feel an immediate difference once we pass beyond the power grid. That electric buzz is no longer there, instead there is the buzz and energy of all those living things in the forest.



The roadway starts to get darker as the forest gets more dense.



The majesty of this place is only broken every once in a while when we encounter road signs that are pock-marked with bullet holes.



This road seems to go on for miles. In the winter we chase turkeys. Winter logging seems almost unnoticeable by the time spring rolls in. In the spring, we splash through the puddles left by the melting snow. In the summer we keep an eye out on the raspberry patches and the blackberry bushes waiting for that day when they will be ripe enough to pick. No matter what season it is, we are always on the lookout for wildlife.



We discovered this remote forest road one day just be turning off the main paved road onto a gravel one that seemed interesting. We followed it until we could go no further. I miss those days when we didn't know the region so well, when every turn seem to take us towards a new adventure.



I was writing my dissertation back then, thinking this very same thing about life, thinking that every corner would bring a new adventure. Bob Marley would be on constantly on our car stereo and I would think some truths about life would surprise me as we drove along, trying to take notes of these thoughts that I would later want to incorporate into my dissertation about Marley and the role of his music in social movements.



I sure was surprised when we turned this corner and came upon this space, this garden, beyond the power grid, beyond miles and miles of dense woodlands. Dang! I was starting to think I had manifested this reality out those intense dissertation meditations on the road.



Last week, when we went on this drive, with the Baby Lotus Bud in the back of the Jeep, I tried to meditate upon all that had changed in our lives. I hope I have passed that phase in my life when there no longer seem to be any surprises waiting around the corner. Because what sort of life would that be without those surprises? Boring, I'm sure. Mundane, jaded, uninspiring. Seeing this Rasta Garden again jarred something in me that had laid dormant for a few years. What that is, I don't know. And, that's good.

Read More »

Sunday, July 25, 2010

cucumber pickles



The recipe I use is very simple, but sometimes simple is the best, right? I also don't can these pickles, but we eat them right up. The recipe, which I've had for a very long time and therefore, do not remember where it came from, the recipe says that these will last in the refrigerator for three weeks. Ours never, ever last that long. I tend to use old, washed out pickle jars which for me is a reminder of how much we are saving by making our own and those jar just happen to be the right size for pickles.

Used up all the CSA cucmbers for this recipe. Believe me, I was worried when I saw how many cucumbers we had gotten, but perked right up when I remembered I had this recipe. I have also used this recipe with green and yellow beans.


Pickled Cucumbers
3-5 cucumbers
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup plain white or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
5-7 cloved garlic
4 Tablespoons dill seeds
2 Tablespoons sea salt

Cut cucumbers into long spears and fill 3-4 jars. Mix water, vinegar, sugar, garlic, dill seeds, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Pour over cucumbers and let cool. Cover jars and refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving. The pickles will keep for three weeks in the refrigerator.


P.S. No, I am not pregnant. Definitely not pregnant. And for the record, I didn't crave pickles when I was!
Read More »

Friday, July 23, 2010

Mosquito Netting



Talk about putting the "OM" in Mom, this mosquito netting allowed me to enjoy our time around the campfire. I didn't have to worry about any nasty mosquitoes sucking my Baby's sweet baby blood.



Not sure what she thought about it, but it did me good!
Read More »

Thursday, July 22, 2010

love thursday: before and after Baby

Before Baby





After Baby



I think this is the perfect pair of pictures for my first Love Thursday. We're all a little chubbier, a little heavier, and a little flabbier. This only looks good on the Baby. But none of that matters because we are also full of a lot more LOVE.

Karen over at chookooloonks has got me thinking about love thursday and I hope to continue sharing in the weeks to come.

Read More »

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Green Eggs Without the Ham



The prettiest things in my kitchen this week were these eggs. Such beautiful colors. Eating them feels like a holiday. It's all about the chickens and apparently, this farmer has some good ones!

Would you? Could you? Eat green eggs without the ham?

OK, stop with the Suess.

Stopping now.

Well, for this post, anyway.
Read More »

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Resistance is futile and in this case, unappetizing.

Baby's sleeping and I'm sitting here munching away on carrots and chips.

This is the era of packaged baby carrots. I actually believed they were "baby carrots." I sure was disappointed to find that these packaged baby carrots are real adult carrots whittled down to look like babies. What do they do with the whittled parts, I wonder?

I still buy them. I admit it, openly, freely. They are an easy snack, especially tasty with some hummus. Sometime these carrots, some whole grain tortilla chips, both dipped in hummus, will be my lunch, on those days when Baby is cute but cranky, mad and loud, howling and growling at every cloud...sorry, wandering into Dr. Seuss speak.

I guess vegetables in the produce section of a conventional grocery store is somewhat like wandering through a Suess book. Carrots who aren't babies made to look like babies, apples and cucumbers dipped in wax - Could you? Would you? With some wax? And fruit shipped from crazy-far locations by planes, trains and boats - Could you? Would you? On a train?. Get what I mean?

Anyway, so when I got carrots in a CSA box, I was delighted to have the green leafy tops. Curly and bright. Who could resist? Well, actually, most everyone I know, myself included for most of my life except one day this summer when I became intensely infatuated with veggie greens.

This summer, resistance to veggie greens is utterly futile.

Oh, beautiful, bright greens, I was scared to eat you, but I did.
I did?
I did.
I did!



This recipe for Tuscan Carrot Top Soup is so good, I've made it twice already!

You get a lot of greens with just a dozen or so carrots. So I froze what I had left.
Be sure to chop the carrot tops really good. The second time I made this soup, I got a little lazy. I pulled the carrot tops out of the freezer and lightly chopped them which means they didn't break apart so much in the soup. I'm left with this strange sensation of eating seaweed, another Suessical moment - Could you? Would you? In the sea?



Carrot tops are loaded with potassium, Vitamin K and chlorophyll with that last one being especially good for hindering the growth of tumors.

Let's face it. We, meaning the Big D and I, are getting older. I think it's appropriate to look at our diets as a pharmaceutical resource for disease prevention.

OK, gotta go. Next up - Greens eggs without the Ham.
Read More »

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Letters to the Baby Lotus Bud: Month Five

Dear Little Lotus Bud,

The other day, after your Daddy came home, I ran to the store. On my return, I pulled into our backyard and spotted your Daddy sitting out on the side patio. He had his back to me and suddenly, I felt ticked off that he wasn't inside with you. I jumped out of Jeep at the exact moment he got up and turned and wham! There you were, hanging in front of him, the cutest clothing accessory, ever. I went from ticked to intensely in love with the both of you in an instant. That's what you do to me.



Every time I see you, I fall in love all over again. Some days your big eyes are a deep brown. On other days, they look slightly blue. And, sometimes, they look green. Those are your Daddy's eyes you've got. You have the shape of my eyes, but the colors are like your Dad's. His eyes change color, too.



Holy Cow! Five whole months you have been here on earth, outside my belly. I can't believe it.

You tire me out! Then when you are sleeping, I miss you so much!

About a month ago we moved you out of our bed and into your crib. I realized that I was being a bit selfish keeping you in bed with me because co-sleeping in this family was about what was most convenient for your daddy and I. Like it's much easier for me to nurse when you are already in my bed. But, we don't go to sleep until after 11:00 and you really need to be sleeping by 8:30. Those last few nights when you were sleeping in our bed, it was really apparent that you needed undisturbed sleep, although I don't mean that your daddy's snoring woke you up at all. It's just you need your own space. I was nervous moving you into your own crib, but you seem to take it really well.

I have to admit though that putting your sleep every night stirs up a lot of crying. I'm not sure if it's that you are overtired or that you are resisting going to sleep. Once you are asleep, you sleep for hours and hours, sometimes until 8:00 in the morning.

I do like the late night dream feeds you get at about 10:30. Those are really sweet for me. You seem so precious when I wake you. So cute and trusting. You go right back to sleep and those are the nights you stay asleep all night long.

Just these last few days we moved up your bedtime and now you are sleeping at 7:30. Which on the one hand, I like, but on the other hand, there is the fact that I do miss you. I miss you a lot and look forward to seeing you in the morning.

We started yoga together. You are an awesome yoga partner! You smile all the way through the yoga class and sometimes you start chattering so loud that I can't hear the yoga instructor! That's OK, because this class is all about us bonding as mother and child. The first half of the class is all about baby yoga focused on you, little one. Then we move onto mommy yoga. In the last class we did the Warrior poses with the babies and I felt so strong holding you in warrior pose! Yoga makes you hungry, sleepy and poopy. So I get all three of these things in abundance on Thursdays. How is that you know to poop right before your Daddy comes home and not right after?



I'm not doing all that I should be doing to get back into shape and for that I feel bad. I want you to have a strong, healthy mommy.

But, listen hear, pumpkin. Our last yoga class was outside on the back patio of the yoga center. There was a lot of noise around being that we were right in the center of a dense urban area. You seemed to have found your voice, some primal yoga core sound. Like I mentioned earlier, in the second half of class, you were chattering so loud that I couldn't hear the instructor. That was fine. In fact, it made me very happy. That afternoon, after class, the chattering escalated to a shout. It's hilarious to hear you scream away. You do that early in the morning when you wake up before we do. And, then I know you are OK, able to occupy yourself, exploring the limits of your voice. I want you to always have a strong, loud voice.

The temperatures have been way too hot in the region lately. It's not supposed to be this hot in Minnesota. We live in one of the colder states, but it is cool to think about that this state has over a 110 degree range in temperatures. We go low in the winter, sometime 20, 30 degrees below zero. We can go over a 100 degrees in the summer.



And, when that happens, your mama is not happy. You, however, sleep like a babe. Seeing as you are babe, this is perfect, but what I mean to say is that the heat puts you sleep in long naps during the day. Just like yoga class.

Last week was Independence Day and that means that a lot people in this country shot off fireworks and stuffed themselves with hot dogs. Your Daddy and I marveled at the idea that it was one year ago on that date that we knew for sure that you were coming into our lives. We took this picture that day last year:



Go figure. Independence Day is when I took the pregnancy test. Although this means that we have a dependent, it is rather liberating being your parents.

Your cousins who live in Florida have come up to visit. They were so happy to meet you. I was glad. I want you to know them and be close to them. They live near DisneyWorld.



When you are older, I'll send you down there and your Masci (which is the Gujarati term for mother's sister) will take you there. You can go with your cousins. And get your princess fix from them, I mean the whole Disney princess craze.

As far as being a rajkumari, well you can do that any day with me. I'll let you be my little rajkumari, my little Indian princess. Because the clothes are great. Pretty girl!



You are my pretty girl. And you are Daddy's little guitar girl. You sit and listen to him play. And then, he puts the guitar near you and places your fingers on the strings. I'm usually in the kitchen cooking. It's great to hear you two playing music together.



You and Daddy have a great time together. He takes you roller-blading. It looks like so much fun, but I'm too scared to do it. Just like skiing. Pretty soon you will be skiing downhill with Daddy. And soon, you will leading the way, making him keep pace with you.



I suppose we do yoga together, and you two go blading together. I want you to enjoy the outdoors and lots of activities.



At the NE Network meeting last Thursday, at least a half a dozen random people came over to say hello to you and commented to me that you looked like a smart girl. I believe them. I believe in you! I believe that you deserve every opportunity in this world and I hope that you will have the confidence to explore many opportunities. I want you to have a rich and fulfilled life.



Many of my dreams have transformed into dreams for you. I hope that they all come true.

That's what I want. That's all that I want. I want it all for you.

I promise you the best of all that I can give.

Love from me, your Mommy.
Read More »

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Clouds

Clouds: such an easy subject to shoot. So many and so many different kinds. I was struck by the beauty of these when I walked out of Bella Lana a few days ago, or was that more than a week ago? The reflection is unusual, isn't it?



My mind is still floaty like these clouds. I thought preggo-head was supposed to go away after giving birth. Apparently it sticks around while I continue to breastfeed my baby.



So many storms around this region lately. There is roof work being done on the school near my house. This crane is enormous, but looks so small next to the clouds.


As a stay-at-home-mom, my photo ops seems very limited these days. But, I try to make the most of it. A splash of color in the clouds after an evening of storms brings a little bit of joy to my life.


Read More »

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Panties for Tina



The dolly is coming together rather quickly. I've moved on to clothing for Tina, starting with the panties. I really like saying panties. I'm also going to make a V neck top and a skirt. I'm learning some new stitches such as the moss stitch which is really quite easy and simple with pretty results.

I have to admit that I'm stumped when it comes to attaching hair. The directions in the book are good, but they always seem a little lacking for someone that is relatively new to knitting something other than a scarf. I'm going to wait until Cornelia from Bella Lana is back from her trip to Ireland so that I can get her help. $11 yarn cannot be wasted on inexperience.

And the eyes? I want so much to do this right. I want to sew almond shaped eyes like those of my precious Lotus Bud. I'll probably put that off for quite a while too.

Officially, yes, I've gone ahead and named the dolly Tina. Lotus Bud can change it later if she wants to, but Tina is Tina to me.
Read More »

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Morning at the Walker



The Baby Lotus Bud and I packed into the Jeep for a morning at an art gallery: The Walker Art Center. We met another Mommy and Baby at the museum and spent a couple hours strolling through the first floor of exhibits.

My local library has free passes that can be checked out for a week at a time. There are so many art galleries, museums, and zoos in this program (The Museum Adventure Pass) that I'm sure the summer is going to be full of great outings and activities. I plan to do one a week and it's the free passes that make these excursions possible. Today's trip would have cost me and the other mommy $10 each. The babies got free admission.



This Adventure Pass dealio is awesome because for places like the Walker you need to go back several times just to see the bulk of their regular collections.

We spent a lot of time at the Benches & Binoculars exhibit where there were 90 paintings grouped closely together on two walls. All the paintings were from the Walker's collection. It was great to see them all at once. I walked out of the exhibit when the other mommy had to leave, then wandered back in, not ready to leave at that time. I swear it seemed like they had switched up the paintings in those few minutes I was out of the room.

There is so much to gaze upon that I see a new painting each time. Another good thing about this installation is that we get a chance to see pairings of paintings that probably were never shown together before. For example, an enormous Chuck Close, a painter whose work looks like black and white photography, right next to several smaller canvases full of bright colors and abstract forms; or a Georgia O'Keeffe alongside an Andy Warhol.

For some reason it reminded me a lot of our hike out to the Great Gallery in Utah. It was a seven-mile hike that the Big D and I took on our 14 year anniversary. The Park Service supplied binoculars at the site. We spent a couple of hours eating lunch and peering through the binoculars at the ancient artwork.

I wish I had been able to take some pictures with the interactive art installations at the Walker. There were some great ones with mirrored surfaces where it would have been interesting to capture our own reflections. Another one was some sort of shadow installation with the color image projected back onto the screen. It was psychedelic vision of shadow, faded 3D imagery and real life all in one little darkened space.



The Baby Lotus Bud did great, gazing with wide eyes at all the art installations. She didn't fall asleep, I'm sure because there was so much to look at. I hope I can provide these sorts of experiences throughout her whole life.

We passed by the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens, which strangely I've never been to.



We'll have to save that adventure for another day. As soon as we left the Art Center, the Baby Lotus Bud fell asleep, hopefully dreaming dreams full of canvas, paint, sculpture.

Read More »