Wednesday, April 30, 2014

the truth of who we are

Catkin or corn? Who cares?


An Evolving Course

We began as a mineral.
We emerged into plant life and into
the animal state, and then to being human.

And always we have forgotten our former states,
except in early spring,
when we dimly recall being green again.

That is how a young person turns
toward a teacher, how a baby leans
toward the breast, without knowing
the secret of its desire,
yet turning instinctively.

So humankind is being led along
an evolving course through this migration
of intelligence, and though we seem
to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness
that directs the dream.

It will eventually startle us back

to the truth of who we are.    -- Rumi (of course)

It's amazing what health, spring, music, friends can do for life. All this reveals the truth of who I am. I love all the opportunities to grow, to change, to evolve, to be.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

this girl and her hair

Oh, goodness, look at that hair! When it's wet it goes all the way down to her bum. Her father refuses to hear words like "trim" or "cut" or the most cursed of all - "bangs." I'm afraid that if we do cut we'll lose the curls.

But what's a girl to do with many days in the woods, days without a bath, days of tangling dreading hair?

We've tried braiding which helps but each length of the braid eventually begins to lock up.

There are so many goofy things to do with long hair.

There are so many ways to frame a beloved's face with long hair.

I look at these photos and think about how she's living my dream of long hair.

And I don't envy her at all.

Not one bit.

Well, OK, maybe a little.

But I will never be sad that she has this hair, a legacy of her Dad.

A Dad who would burst into real tears if we were cut this glorious hair.

I growled like a lioness while I gave birth and she ended up with the mane.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

golden worker

One flake from the wall of a goldmine
does not give much idea
what it is like

when the sun shines in
and turns the air
and the workers golden. - Rumi


Hello, you, whatever you are.

I didn't expect to see you so early in the season.

You seem dressed for business so I won't detain you any longer.

Just keep in mind that while you are more than welcome to hang on the catkins, my family is off limits to your visits.

Because you look at little like the wasp who, as we all know, has a nasty reputation.

But I know you are not a wasp and I think that you are also not a fly. Whatever you are, welcome.

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trailer trash cocktails


Whiskey, lemonade, splash of diet coke = Whiskey Spring

Sure eventually, when I'm in the city, I will make a lemon simple syrup with lemon zest and craft myself a fancier cocktail. But out here in the woods I have to make do with what is in our little trailer refrigerator which happens to always have some lemonade and diet coke. And of course, there's always a bottle of whiskey sitting around.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Red Baraat at Orchestra Hall - date night!

Friday night began with dinner and cocktails at The Mill Northeast. The Big D said that we couldn't order the same entree and so while he had the hanger steak I had the steelhead trout. I got the better choice, I think!

Then we were off to downtown's Minnesota Orchestra Hall and a night of explosive music: Red Baraat. They blend bhangra and New Orleans Jazz. And we danced! We were in a nearly empty box in the balcony just to the left of the stage and we kept hearing the usher say "We've got dancers in the row one." I think they were afraid we would tumble right over the edge with our dancing.

During the intermission, the usher asked if we wanted to move to the main floor but we declined because we liked having what seemed like a private box where we could see everything and everyone.

The music was amazing and it brought back so many memories: the music my mother used to listen to, a wedding I overheard while in Queens, the drums drifting through the mountainside while going to school in the Himalayas.

And of course, our trip to New Orleans.

We even got to do a meet and greet after the show. These guys were so sweet and I surprised by their shy, mild manners after so much energy they threw around the show.

They invited the audience up on the stage and encouraged a dance-off. The evening was so much fun and I couldn't believe our luck at finding the perfect thing to do on our date night.

How fun would it be to see these guys in New Orleans, or even New York City. I think I would like to plan some of our out-of-town trips in a way that we get to see some bands.

And, yep, you got it. I snuck my camera in and managed to take over 300 hundred photos. I had a long chat on the phone with a woman at Orchestra Hall the day that we went and she assured me that if I got busted with my camera, they would not kick me out of the joint. When I was younger I had dreams of a career in photography and even had the chance to take photos at a few concerts. Why didn't I follow that path? Now I'm thinking I should talk to the neighborhood newspaper to see if I can get a press pass.

Minnesota Orchestra Hall never had a night like this, I'm sure. And I was thrilled to see so many desis in the audience. So much dancing in the aisles with the crowd rushing the stage. A few of the ushers were freaked out, but most of them were enjoying the crowd as much as the band.

It's amazing to realize how much Bhangra and New Orleans jazz have in common. It was amazing to be out for the night. It was amazing that all of this happened within five miles of our house. It was an amazing night!


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Friday, April 25, 2014

the book project

Well, I had a light week and having nothing to do drove me a little batty. I confess that I took on another project BUT this one has no deadlines and it brings some structure to my evenings at home. I am very curious about book binding and I don't have the time (or the inclination, to be honest) to take on a course. I also don't have the patience to wait until my schedule clears up so I turned to a book.

I have the bad habit of buying DIY books and only trying those things that interests me which means I don't usually go beyond what I already know and my desire to do it a little better. This book has changed that for me in terms of book binding.

I have decided to try every project in this book. This is the sort of thing that will keep me occupied for years and I love that! The book is especially helpful because with each tutorial there is an example of how the book was artistically crafted.

The first one is the "X Book" and again, it is not something I was immediately drawn to so I credit The Vikings for getting me started (the gore and violence in The Vikings had me grossed out so this kept me entertained during the bloody parts while my husband got his dose of television). Also I was thinking about the recent Iron Craft challenge and even though I hadn't completed this project in time I must say that it was immensely inspiring.

See that little example on the top left corner of the book? That is what got my creative juices going. I decided to do a little book with some of my Spring photos paired with Rumi.

I love the way Alisa Golden talks the reader through the project, not only in each tutorial but also in the introductory pages. Handling content? Mock-ups? Printing? She begins by saying have a project in mind, choose a title. All of this insists that book binding should be done with a purpose. It's not just about learning the technique but applying that technique.

I got into book binding so that I could make my own journals, now I feel like the sky's the limit!


I put my new little X Book by my bedside table and I read through it right before I go to bed, a nightly meditation. I'm thinking this technique will be good for birthday cards, Father's Day cards, etc. I also added my website URL to the back and imagine leaving these sitting around at coffee shops. I haven't had the courage to do that yet but who knows what the future will bring.

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tiny seeds


One of the benefits of a sick household is the urge to stay in the city which is what we did last weekend. As much as I love going out to the woods, I am also fairly consistently relieved when we decide not to go. It was a warm weekend and we got out to clean the yard but just a little bit of it. I was feeling overwhelmed so I concentrated on little parts: the front garden, the patio. I got to less than a fourth of what needs to be done but I did notice that what I left was mostly pretty.

The seed head on this tall grass will stick around for a little longer and maybe a get a chance to spread its goodness throughout the yard.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

the radish


CSA (community supported agriculture) season is just a few weeks away. My CSA goes from May until January with the final month full of loads of root vegetables to last me for quite a while. It is usually in March and April that I start buying more vegetables at the Co-op. I am one of those board members that is not ranked as a "top shopper" but I'm OK with that (finally) knowing that I spread my money around. Today I bought a ton at the Co-op because I just couldn't wait any longer for some fresh vegetables. We had big salads for dinner and I feel so good now imagining all the nutrition coursing through my body (and yes, today I have a touch of the dramatic in me).

Anyway, so it is because of the CSA that I am fond of radishes. They seem exactly what I need to flush out those cold weather toxins from my body. I'm sure there is some science in that, some local wisdom about eating in season and maybe someday I'll pin that down. But for today I'm just going to feel good.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014


                            I, you, he, she, we.
                            In the garden of mystic lovers
                            these are not true distinctions.  -- Rumi


I totally had other plans for the photo today BUT today was a day full of sunshine and therefore, we had to be outside. We spent most of the day outside therefore, no time to do any sort of work inside. So, there you have it - a dried hydrangea, or I might say, a hydrangea in a phase of perfection. Yet, I am well aware that every phase of the hydrangea is one of perfection therefore there is no other distinction in the phases of hydrangea but perfection.


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Monday, April 21, 2014

the happy couple

Every Spring I am truly astonished by the wildlife that appears in my backyard.


The ducks are back! I'm glad they appeared last evening rather than this morning. In the past they have had a tendency to announce their arrival early in the morning, suffering what appears to be identity crisis, waking us all up at the crack of dawn with their incessant, insisting quacks.

I'm glad this little lady has already found a mate what with all that I've heard about the brutal way single female ducks are treated later in the season. I followed her around while her mate kept an eye on me from the rooftop. I tried to get the Lotus Bud off the couch to see the ducks, but she was tired. It was her first day out and about after a long three-day battle with a bad flu.

Eventually this couple was sick of me and with a call to one another, they were off into another neighbor's yard.

Compare these photos and you will see that they have some matching feathers.  I do hope they choose our yard again for some egg-laying! Our backyard elm tree is perfect for all sorts of habitation.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

city birds


Having recently heard about the housing problems that birds face in the fair city of Minneapolis (foreclosures, McNests, gentrification, etc, etc),  I started paying attention to the birds in my own backyard.

On a daily basis I see how the squirrel clan comes in and takes all the choice foods, even the stuff that's been left out specifically for the birds. And there's yet another bully in the yard.

Yesterday I saw that migration has had an effect as well, an entirely different species of sparrow have moved into the hood. Because I have dealt with discrimination on my own block, I do hope these newcomers manage to find a home and ignore the bird gangs that have taken over the wood-pile high-rise.

I'm starting to feel like I'm in the middle of a reality show drama -- Stay tuned for more episodes of The Real House Sparrows of Minneapolis.

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Saturday, April 19, 2014


Nature doesn't rush,
Yet everything is accomplished.  ---  Unknown author but found by the Big D


In the middle of every month I come to a place of total exhaustion. Now is the time for rest. I try hard to ignore all those things that didn't get done and I try to empty my mind of all that still needs to be done. I want to linger in these promises of warm days and relax myself in the faith that the season has turned.

This the lull in the month and the lull between seasons. The snow has finally found another place to dump and summer is just waiting to fill the region with bounty.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

a night of big dreaming

Chowgirls Parlour


I went from a day full of child vomit to an evening full of public speaking - versatile and adaptable is the best way to describe a Gemini Lotus and her life.

Last night was the unveiling of our expansion plans to the Co-op Owners. Usually we have less than twenty people at these events (counting a few spouses). This year we has nearly 200! And we were stunned by the turn-out. There was standing room only in the back. It was a great event and I had to begin the meeting with a little update about the Board's work. Phew! Glad that's over.

The EFC expansion rendering
 It was a surreal experience for this low-tech, flip-phone girl. People were tweeting things I said and posting real-time photos and updates on Facebook. Nonetheless I loved talking to the Owners who seemed super jazzed about the plans. An article in our local newspaper got the scoop about our recent property acquisition along with the architectural renderings which probably explains the large turnout. We also aired the new video that was filmed last Thursday.

It was all very exhausting but all very, very fun.

first time seeing a washboard in action

I got to end the night with a drink at the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis where I also got to hear some awesome music from Mike Munson and Mikkel Beckman.

In the Fall of 2013 when I began "big dreaming" I put it out to the Universe that I wanted to be a community leader. And that's exactly what I felt last night. It was all that I imagined it would, everything except the day full of child vomit and 5 loads of laundry.

Now I have to switch gears and prepare for the class I will teach this Saturday morning. It's my last class of the year and I'm looking forward to the break and the opportunity to focus in on these other parts of my life: family and board service, but...ummm...hopefully without the vomit.

I look tired, don't I?   photo by Kristina Gronquist

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She did it!


For the first time, the Lotus Bud made it through her school concert!!! I am so ridiculously proud of her! Last year it didn't go so well. She broke down in tears when she saw the large crowd and I nearly cried watching her trying to brave it out. This year I was nearly in tears and they were tears of pride.

She even surprised us with the special song where a group of five kids got in front and sang about clouds. She didn't tell me about this ahead of time and I was stunned by all the cute-ness.

Ever since the last concert fiasco, we've been encouraging her to practice in front of big groups of family and that strategy seems to have worked.

That silly goose did so very good!

And I'm glad she had a good time because the very next morning she got hit by a stomach flu. It's been all vomit and fatigue since then. The bad with the good, the natural way of life.

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