There Is Something In The Air

Friday, June 26, 2009

Kwan Yin Temple
Honolulu, Hawaii
My family's temple...

There is something in the air today. A scent of hope, cool and sweet. We have had June Gloom here in Southern California lately. It is a grey marine layer that sits in the valley. Sometimes there is a misty rain, but mainly it is just cool and dark. In the afternoon, the sun gathers it's strength and shines throughout the late afternoon and evening. 

This morning, there was a slight haze and white mist along the foothills. However, the sun pushed through early this morning. The breeze is still reminiscent of the mist, gentle, cool, sweet and light. The garden is twinkling and weaving in the glory of a new day.

The house is clean and quiet and I am settling in to finish an embroidery project for a bridal shower on Sunday. A few words of Hafiz, my favorite, on a hanky...

What sweetness is touching your skin this fine summer morn?  

Mediative Cooking

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I like to meditate while I am cooking. I love cooking for special occasions. I love thinking of the person of honor. Whether it is a birthday, a graduation, or a height of summer dinner party, I love meditating on the person or people I am feeding.

We had a Moon Ceremony for my daughter when she was 12 or 13. I made a full Indian Feast. Many women and girls were gathered in the garden under the billowing saris hanging on the clothesline. After the ceremony, we had spinach and paneer, fancy rice, potato and pea samosas, tomato and spinach pakoras, cucumber raita, fresh coconut chutney, mango chutney, sweet rice and rose ice cream. There were also lassi's. My daughter's favorite.

I cooked for two days. As I stirred and chopped, boiled and cooled, I thought of her. Her face kept popping into my vision. I remembered little past deeds, funny ways she said things, dresses she had. It is so lovely to be cooking, and fondly recalling how much you love the person you are cooking for, how they like certain flavors more than others. Trying to remember every favorite preparation they enjoy.

This morning I am making cupcakes for a friend. They are for a baby shower. I like thinking of this unborn babe, feeding his mama a nice sweet treat, hoping his nature will follow the sweetness of the cupcake. The cupcakes are all white. I like white cupcakes. They are pure and simple. White cream cheese frosting flavored with coconut and vanilla and almond flavored cupcakes. Sweet, in more ways than one...

Even evening dinners are more sweet, when I take the time to enjoy the process. I think of my loves and what will nourish them and satisfy them after a long day. Meditative cooking....


Monday, June 22, 2009

I always feel as though I do not celebrate the passing seasons as much as I should or could. There was no naked dancing to honor the Solstice, no special ritual. So, between laundry and dishes and walking the dog, I tried to be aware of the evening. I tried to smell the last sweet smell of spring. The sky was violet and filled with luminous clouds. The birds were busy finding their nests and the garden sat in repose, readying for the heat of July.  This morning, the first morning of summer, dawned with bright light and a cool reminder of spring. As the sun climbs, I am sure it will increase in intensity. 

I feel a bit of relief this summer morning. Graduations are behind us. Celebrations are behind us. I can look forward to all of the newness that is before us. New steps in new directions. May they be light and free of past turmoil. Release, I crave release.

And So It Goes...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The time continues to pass, whether I am fully present or not. It has been 18 years of lessons, love and laughs. There have been tears, but all those tears made the joys sweet and moist and juicy. I can remember holding her for the first time. It was then I realized that pregnancy does not prepare you to be a mother. It only prepares you to be pregnant. The mother thing, well, that is an entirely new journey. 

I know I have many more years of being her mother, but this time, this mothering time...has come to an end. The great thing is, I got to fix her hair, just like on her first day of school so many years ago. I am so lucky. Really lucky.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I am grateful for his love. He loves me. He really loves me.
I am grateful for my darling daughter and her taste for vintage dresses.
I am grateful for this boy and his dog.
I am grateful for my camera and my backyard.
I am grateful for milky tea, pretty tea cups, fountain pens, sealing wax and handwritten letters on linen paper.
I am grateful that I sometimes make time to paint in the yard.
I am grateful for my time in India, so I could whip these up for supper!
I am grateful for these words. Hafiz fills me with giggles and sighs.
I am grateful for my clothesline and the sun that kisses our garments.
I am grateful for my vision, so that I may rest my eyes upon sights such as this.
I am grateful that I have a gift with fire, so that I can fill my family's bellies with food that is warm and whole and filled with love.
I am grateful for my bed. I love my bed. It has nursed me to health and offered me a soft place to rest while my dreams form in luscious pictures behind my sleeping eyes.

This little post is courtesy of Tara Whitney. I have been an admirer from afar for some time. She has inspired my photography and my enlivened me in ways I find hard to express. Denise is also guilty of this...But this post is inspired by Tara.

I have learned to embrace the gifts I have in front of me everyday. This is a mere spattering of all that fills my heart. I am grateful, for each and every day, for each small gift that comes to me. I am very fortunate, very fortunate indeed

That Was Then-A Photo Journey Of The Garden

The rainy, misty days were good for the garden. It looks happy and green and teaming with life. Food is growing, bugs are eating, flowers are blooming. Most of the garden was started from seed this year. It is all very exciting. My soul is giggling at the result of our work and drinking in the simplicity of it all. Grow food. Grow food. Grow food...

To My Class...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

I will love you forever

Time To Say Farewell

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I had a vocation. A vocation I knew was mine from the time I was in second grade. Sister Guadalupe was my muse. I loved her as only a seven year old girl can love a sweet, soft spoken nun. I dreamt of her at night, I stared lovingly at her soft hands. She smelled of clean cotton. Not the clean cotton that Glade sells, but really, clean cotton. The clean white cotton that comes straight off the clothesline. It took me a good thirty years to surrender to my vocation. 

I became a teacher. I taught the same children for seven and a half years, plus a few months of eighth grade. Of the 25 graduating students, 17 of them have been with me since first grade. I was so enlivened by this vocation. I loved going to school. I loved seeing all of their bright faces, their toothless grins. I watched them grow. I watched their new teeth grow, I watched them stretch from wee to taller than me. 

I spent my days planning their lessons. I spent my nights asking their angels for guidance. I prayed and laughed and learned so much from these young souls and from their parents. In the summer before seventh grade, I hurt my back getting the classroom ready. I ignored it, thinking it was nothing, just age, overwork, stress from the anticipation of a new school year. I wasn't the same that fall. Every time I fell ill, or tired, my back would hurt. I pressed on. I am a single mother, sole bread winner. I would think about it on my sabbatical.

In December, I took my class bowling. I was distracted while bowling, trying to supervise the students, especially when a few of them decided to start throwing themselves down the lane with the bowling ball. I felt okay when I left. 

At three in the morning, I awoke with severe pain. My right leg was paralyzed. I couldn't move. I had herniated a disc. Really bad. Seventy percent of the disc matter was pressing into my spine. It swelled in my sleep and caused the nerves to shut off. The next few months were plagued with battles with the insurance company. I will not get into it, save to say, it felt like hell. I know there are other hells worse than this one, but for me, it was bad.

My employer  had a hard time communicating with me, our relationship began to deteriorate. Once I had the surgery, several months after my injury, I committed myself to recovering so I could return to school.  When I returned to school, it was not at all what I had imagined. It felt like they were purposely trying to make it difficult for me. I had a part in it, I am sure, but I was surrounded by individuals moving out of fear. There was no love, no aloha spirit. My doctor pulled me from work. He felt it irresponsible to let me return. I wasn't sleeping, I was barely making it through the day.

I spent my time off taking stock. I realized that I did the best I could. I really did. I could say that I sacrificed my own children for the children in my class. But I won't. We all knew what we were doing. We all chose this path. I spent my time off healing, really healing. I was there for my own children, my daughter's last year before university, my son's first year of high school. For the first time in a long while, I was present, fully present for my family.

There is more to this tale, but I feel like throwing up and crying at the same time...To be continued.

There Were Gems, And Mummies, And Tiny Toes

Monday, June 8, 2009

There were gems, pearls and such. There were funny hydrants, parades and Egyptian mummies. There were teeny tiny toes, velvet wallpaper and recycled waterfalls. There was just enough rain to make me nostalgic, but not too much to make me feel soggy.  There were vanilla cupcakes with rich butter cream frosting and coconut rice pudding, served warm with crusty  cinnamon topping. There were meandering walks through an antique store with a proprietor named Sal. There were family suppers and Farmer's Markets. A view of the park and a full, but cloud covered moon filled our view. There was a trip to heaven, I mean Powell's Books and a rare and sweet pocket sized book of fairy tales...

Thunder Storm on the third of june

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We are in the midst of a silvery thunderstorm. At dawn, the weather seemed calm, a dark June Gloom morning in Southern California. Mid-morning, the sky deepened, the winds began to bluster, cool and heavy with moisture.

The first drops were few, but big. Ploppy clear drops on the window shield. The raindrops seem reluctant to fall, yet you can feel them, weighted on your skin; there was a spattering. Then, just as the black bananas were transformed into golden muffins, the skies began to rumble. Slowly and quietly at first. Now as I type, the thunder's growl  taps at my window. 

It seems as though the trees and birds are in retreat, a lone bird is heard now and then. It is certainly not the cacophony we hear daily, when the skies are blue.

We have weather. I love weather. I love when it shifts so quickly, you can hardly believe it is happening. Should I run in for my umbrella? Lovely days filled with sunshine, when they come in great lengths of time, I think we become complacent. It takes a swift shift, when we so certainly expect one thing and then the sky begins to grumble to you! I love weather. It makes us pay attention. It makes us stop and notice it. The smell of the air, the song of the birds, the wave of the wind, we are forced to address them. Ideally, with a tip of our hat.

I leave you with one question:
Can you ever take a poor photograph of a Peony? 

Great Scenery

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I found this great courtyard in my town. It is so fun taking photos! I shouted to my friends, "Run like you are being chased by the plane!" They easily complied.

From Wee To wonderful

Monday, June 1, 2009

Saturday was Prom Night here in our neck of the woods. My garden was filled with the joy of youth, decked in satin and silk. There were shiny shoes and stiff black jackets. Smiles were creeping across freshly lipsticked lips.  The "youth happy" spread with ease, before long, we were all remembering those simple days of being 17 or 18. Oh, what a blessing for our garden.