A Warm and Lovely Weekend

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

There was a quiet morning of opening thoughtful gifts; a spectacular Christmas morning sunrise and a lazy day of lounging and cooking. As the sun set, we sat for a 14 course Indian Feast, prepared by me...May I say? It was delicious. We had sleepover guests, so the loveliness spilled onto Boxing Day. Vegan waffles and fresh from California tangerines for breakfast and leftovers with hot samosas for lunch. We painted and played music and jacks. We read books and dreamed of cool names for our food cart. All of this was followed by a long winter's nap. Husbandly had to return to the grind, but I am basking in the glow of a lovely, lovely weekend. My heart is full of love and gratitude for the sweet life we have forged together.

A gray, blustery day sways outside the windows, but Merry The Wonder Beagle and I are basking in the glow of all of the love and joy that spilled out into our home these blessed days. I hope your heart glows like mine today.

Long Silences Means Full Life

Monday, December 19, 2011

So many details fill my days. Singing, planning, drawing, painting, sewing, what a wonderful time to pass this time of ours. I have a little holiday time for nesting and decorating and putting the finishing touches on our handmade portion of the holidays. So much to be thankful for this season. We have health and love and even a little sunshine. Who says climate change is a bad thing...?

The Christmas Tree Stand is a recent acquisition. $20 at our favorite vintage store. We love it so much, we kind of habitually tilt our neck downward to enjoy its beauty. The slippers are shoes for pre-schoolers stitched by 14 year olds, cute, no?


Dylan Thomas

Friday, November 18, 2011

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

-Dylan Thomas

Things I Miss

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ha. Hamburgers, Fruit Stands and Ocean Breezes. I would call that low maintenance. The Husbandly wanted to stop for In-N-Out swag, we couldn't just leave the site of The In-N-Out University without eating something. It really was the most beautiful burger. The bun was glistening, it was perfection. Husbandly really enjoyed himself. Like I said, we are a simple people.

Quick Trip South

Thursday, November 10, 2011

We took a quick trip to Los Angeles. It never disappoints. We drove through the farms of Oxnard and Ventura, munching on too juicy oranges and fresh pomegranate. The weather was fine and clean and clear after a deluge on Sunday morning. Just the way I like it!

After The Rain

Friday, November 4, 2011

My favorite days in The City of Angels are the days that follow a storm. The rain and wind wash away all of the grit that settles on the city, allowing it to twinkle and sparkle like the jewel she really is...I hear the skies are grumbling today, meaning tomorrow, the city will be sparkling. And I will get to see her!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

I have been busy switching seasons. After years in Los Angeles, I forgot that the switch of the seasons means a little more work. The garden can't just keep blooming; there is gleaning and mulching and all the summer toys must come inside. The hammock officially came down a few weeks ago. So sad. The herbs have been harvested and are hanging to dry, and all the pots are being emptied and stacked, waiting for the spring. A few new tulip bulbs are resting deep in the earth this year too. A new raspberry plant is rooting and a pink lavender plant joined the group. There are few mums giving one last bloom, but I suspect by Thanksgiving, they too will find rest.

I have been painting and sculpting and reading, enjoying the last bits of warm sunshine...

All I have left are my warm memories and this painting to remind me of the heights of summer!


Sunday, October 16, 2011


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A leather crown of California Poppies and Northwest Dogwood

Through The Cosmos

Friday, September 30, 2011

No More Words For Now


Sunday, September 11, 2011

I feel so fickle, deciding to tell the truth. Then being silent for so long. It has been a dark time, despite the sun. I try to be involved in the world, but I struggle. I decided to tell the whole story, but now the hot, orange sun is shining. Even though we are still in Portland, it feels like The City of Angels at Michaelmas Time. I am distracted. There are summer fires east of Portland, casting a searing glow upon everything. The sunrise has no ribbons of violet or pink, but just a deep, penetrating vermillion effulgence. The days are dry and hot. The grass is crispy and dead. As I sit on the porch steps in the late afternoon, I am hot. Like all the way to the bone hot. These are the days I long for in February. To be so hot, I am miserable. I have always lived in simple abodes, usually sans dishwasher or air conditioning. I have learned to love the shifting of the extremes in weather without being lulled into complacency by endless cold air or houses sealed tight. So, here I am and for now, this is what I have been doing:

Ripening Ground Cherries. Like teeny tiny Pineapples.

All the neighborhood babes are out playing in the sun.

Blackberry Pies are on the menu.

A little en plein aire.

A little puppy love.

Twenty One

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An addition to the Blair Lake saga, I didn't mention what I did four days later. It just so happens that my first-born entered the world a mere four days after my 23rd birthday. So after my birthday swim and a few days at work, I made my way back down the fire road. This time with a very large vegan birthday cake for my girl. She was turning ten. And now, she is turning 21. I have raised on her on my own for most of her life, I was happy to do it. I like her, she is fun to be around and witty and has great taste in vintage clothes. She is a beauty. And I wasn't sad to be a single mother. Really. It was hard and lonely and isolating at times, but at the end of the day, it felt good to be their mother.

To work hard and earn the money to support them, it was nice. I am glad that I had the opportunity then, because now, well now, I don't have a career. So I guess I would have been screwed. So I am glad I had the opportunity to teach in that school in Altadena while I did, it provided me with income and health insurance. I thought it gave me more, relationships, value, but I was wrong. All of that was ripped away when I was forced to hire an attorney to help fight Employer's Insurance of Nevada. They were the cut rate Workers' Compensation company that the school hired. It was all ripped away. All of the relationships I forged and nurtured are gone after eight years. Gone. I mean I may NEVER see or speak to these people ever again. The teacher I walked with EVERYDAY during our free periods, sharing teaching tips and family stories, I may never take a walk with her again. It kind of hurts my heart, because I thought our friendship was real. I also love her daughter, I met her when she was seven. She hates me now. For good reason in her eyes, I suppose...but I still love her and her mother very much. I think of them often.

There are many other stories of lost friendships just like this...just because of this work injury. It makes me want to cry....

Summer In The Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blair Lake

All the stories of the rain are true. It slips down in great damp sheets. Day after day after day. This summer began about two weeks ago. Really. The second week of July felt like October. However, when summer does arrive here in these parts...the heart soars for the glory of the day. Bright blue skies, luminous white, puffed clouds and the greens of well fed trees.

The summer after my independence was lovely. Strings of sunny days, cool indigo nights, just thinking about it makes me swoon. The children were going to be camping with some friends to a hidden lake 15 miles down a logging road. It is a treacherous journey, the cars are white from the dust upon arrival, you can only drive three-four miles an hour. There are only a handful of camps dotted around the most serene lake. We arrived on the eve of my thirty-third birthday. The afternoon was busy with setting up camp kitchens, common areas and comfy sleeping chambers.

Camping sleep usually eludes me, I woke before the dawn and watched day creep over the tree line and reflect mirror pools on the surface, like one dimensional bubbles, resting on the water, before slipping into the depths of the lake. I wanted to dive into the lake. It was my birthday, I was 33. I like those same-same numbers. 11, 22, 33...I will be 44 in a few days. Again, I digress. I wanted to dive into the lake, slow motion style, like the movies. I was afraid the water would be cold. But because, my children's father didn't break me, because I was empowered, I just stood at the shore, walked in a few feet and dove head first into the lake(I like to think in slow motion.)

There was no shock of cold. No gasp for air from the shock of snow melt. The shallow lake had been warmed by the sun, it was welcoming, waiting for me. I swam and swam and swam. I was the only one awake. I floated in the center of the lake, light watery fingers holding me up.

I don't remember making the trip back up the fire road that morning, inching my way back to Eugene, alone. I had to head back to work. But that morning, the morning I turned 33? I was floating in a lake, deep in the woods at dawn...

What Came Next

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

After The Phone Call, my soul was set free. I never looked back again. The children and I moved forward in giant, jolly steps. We took trips to the coast, the forest, made vegetarian tacos and ate tons of them on our pink table on the lanai. The Girl Child painted at her easel and pretended to practice her cello. The Boy Child was completely preoccupied with Star Wars and had a room that overlooked a Christmas Tree Farm.

The Waldorf Teacher Training Program fed my searching heart, posing questions and pushing my limits. As a part of The Foundation Year curriculum, the students participate in a play. I had not been in a play since my breakout role as Gretel in Grade Five in which I developed the most insane, heart wrenching, love-sick crush on Hansel. I digress. I was in a play. I was one of the three gods. As a surprise, in one of the scenes we put our lines to the tune of "Baby Love." We even included choreographed dance moves. It was pretty funny. When in doubt, Motown.

This Part

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I don't know why I don't want to write this part...It was a good time. The Phone Call came at this point. The one I had always hoped would come. The children's father called in desperation when he realized that this time, I was indeed moving on. It was over. He tried all of his old addict manipulative behaviors, but I was immune. During the Phone Call, his voice changed, it became sweet and soft, like in our early days. "You are my best friend..." he whispered. In a sure and steady voice I replied, "Next time, you should treat your friends a little bit better." I hung up.

Over the next several months, after mediation and time, we tried to be "normal." He would try to pick up the children on the weekend, but he was never consistent and then one day he looked weird. My gut told me to keep the children with me. I had to be insistent but calm. I didn't remember my eight year old daughter standing there, overhearing my defense of their safety. A few weeks ago(she is on the cusp of turning 21) she told me she has always remembered that moment, the moment I protected her, kept her safe. She told me how she thought I was so brave. I remember feeling brave, confident. I am so glad she witnessed that moment.

Many years later, she was brave. She was brave when she stood up to that father who hurt her and left her and promised birthday gifts that would never come and phone calls that never rang through...She was brave when she told him he was nothing to her. She needed nothing, wanted nothing from him. Maybe, in this part, I was brave to show her how to be...

After That Night

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I did take precautions. This was the end, it isn't always for relationships like this, but it was over, finally. I began parking my car close to the restaurant and got a Club since the ex had a key. I didn't have to do it very long. He soon lost interest in our daily lives. We tried a few "normal" routes, like mediation and child support orders. It all ended badly. The mediator actually called and let me know that she could no longer help us, the ex reminded her of her ex, go figure. She told me there was no hope for him, he was never going to do what he said he was going to do, she had seen it a million times. I will always remember what both the mediators told me, "You propose and he disposes." He never did anything he said he would do. He undermined all of our agreements. So I just kept going forward. In the end, both children are adults now, he paid a total of $500 in support, plus I got $30 a week from his unemployment check for about six months in 2004. That was actually really helpful...He was eventually court ordered to pay $240 a month in child support for two children in 1999. Since I made more money, I was responsible for 80% of the children's care. The children never saw a dime of that support. Ever.

Did I mention how great work was going? I made good friends, I had a bit of a social life and I was making enough to take care of the children. School was also enlivening, I was starving for learning and I gobbled it up! I worked long hours those days. I went to school a couple of nights a week and a had a few day classes, plus I usually put in 50 or more hours at the restaurant. The weekends were filled with work and a long Saturday morning class. I remember being so envious of my classmates who would leave class on Saturday afternoon with a free schedule. Weekends were the hardest for me and the children. I worked all day Friday at the restaurant, hurried to class at 5pm and was usually free by 10pm. A friend picked up the children from school and kept them over night as I had class from 8am-1pm on Saturday. The children would often stay with the sitter overnight again, as I would rush home, try to get a nap under my belt and head to the restaurant until 3am. The sitter would drop them off early Sunday, we would spend the day together before I dropped them off at the sitter at 4pm for my night shift. I made it a point to pick the children up on Sunday nights so we could start the week together, even if it was late. I remember dark wet nights, carrying my son on my back while he nodded in his sleep. Sometimes, I would carry my daughter on my front, so we could hurry through the empty parking lot together. I would gingerly put them in their own beds, tuck them in and fall in an exhausted heap on the couch.

I Wasn't There Long

Monday, July 25, 2011

Not even a second. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by my new friends. People I had only known for a few months. Arms clad in white shirts lifted me up.

"Are you okay?"

"Who is that?"

But the best part of all? I looked over to the line, past the plates of food waiting for hungry customers...I could see Mike. He and I had barely spoke ten words since I was hired. He was big and burly and listened intently to Car Talk while prepping the line. He had heard my ex was a jerk. I guess that is why I saw him wielding a butcher knife over his very tall body. "Where is he? I'll get him!" as he disappeared out the back door. The rest was a blur. Mike was stopped and I agreed to go speak with the long lost ex.

A little back note: Life was going swimmingly at this point. I was in school, I had just been promoted, I was making life long friends. The children and I had just gotten over a bout of pneumonia. On my first day out after being bed ridden for two weeks, I was rear ended. The car was still wrecked(but drivable), waiting for an appointment at the auto shop.

When I walked back into the dim restaurant, my table of ten eagerly awaiting their server, he looked me in the eyes and asked, "What happened to the car?"

Really? The car? After all that had transpired, months of not knowing whether he was alive or dead, the car?

We stepped outside to speak alone, which really meant that every four seconds, one of the guys from the restaurant walked by, insuring my safety. He expressed his concern that I was "selling" meat and karmically I was doomed. "To support my children," I said, "I think I will risk it." I don't remember much from that conversation, save for the fact that I was surrounded by people who cared about me and were willing to protect me. That is what I remember most from that night...

This Place

Sunday, July 24, 2011

This place was created for me by my beloved. He thought it would help me find some peace. It did, for a bit.

Now when I look back at the posts, I realize I have not been very honest with you...or me. I fill the pages with lovely photos from a life I cobble together 10 or 15 minutes a day. The rest of the time, I am in bed. Or watching the world move slowly from my window because I lack the ability to leave the house. It looks lovely because I am good at that. I can make the ugliest things so beautiful. I look best when I have no sleep. I think it is a survival technique I picked up over the years of living on this planet. It does not mean I am overly broken or overly flawed. It just means that I am simply human.

If you are reading this, know that much of it is geared to a team of attorneys in Los Angeles who have had a field day with my life for the last two and half years. They have read every word in this blog, photocopied it, offered it as evidence that I am happy. They dig up my children's father, the crack addict and brought him into the picture after 11 years. They have had vans parked out in front of my house and filmed me for weeks. In the weeks they were filming, they got three days of footage. Why only three? I am sorry to say, most days...I was been in bed. It is hard to admit, especially when I look at my former life of 16 hour days and working seven days a week. Tears are welling as I type, because I love life. Ask anyone who knows me. I can find beauty in the smallest detail...I have been wasting my life, mourning for old friends and relationships that have dissolved. My work with 25 wonderful children has been erased, my relationship with their parents, gone. My career has been ruined. Waldorf is a small community. I am blacklisted.

I am trying to move forward, but I keep looking back...

It was the Summer Solstice, 1999, I left an abusive relationship to an addict with two small children in the dark of night. I roused the babes from their beds and started a new life. Within a week, I had a job as waitress in clothes I bought from the thrift store with borrowed money. I borrowed $50 from the friends I was staying to use as my bank(cash one uses to make their own change,etc.) for work until I made enough tips to have my own bank. Before the end of the summer, I was living in a brand new apartment. I was making enough money to support the children and I had enrolled in a Waldorf teacher training program. Within a few months, it all came together.

My children's father disappeared. We did not know if he was alive or dead. The children began counseling, not because we were overly broken, but because that is what normal people do when life's challenges overwhelm them. After some time, their counselor told me that their worries were the worries of every child their age and we could go forth in happiness. And we did. I was happy to be in school and thriving. I was promoted to manager at the restaurant and put in charge of hiring. I earned enough money to pay for school, and even take the children on mini-breaks to the coast. He didn't break me. In fact, I grew stronger. So you are wrong, Los Angeles Attorneys. Very wrong.

One night, I was working the busiest station in the restaurant. A party of 10 had just been sat in my station. As I exited the kitchen, I was dumbstruck. My children's father was standing three feet from me. I had not seen or heard from him in months. I had no idea where he had been or what he had been doing. It was like seeing an apparition. I turned right around and walked back into the kitchen, leaned my back against the cold steel of the walk-in and slid to the ground.

It Is The Small Things

Friday, July 22, 2011

I have to appreciate the small things in life or, well, I would be really sad.

Bits Of Summer

Monday, July 18, 2011

We have only been getting little bits of summer weather here the Pacific Northwest. Don't get me wrong, when the sun is shining, or even kind of shining it is glorious. Absolutely glorious. However, this weekend rained...a lot. Too much for July. I felt like baking a pumpkin pie. I thought it was autumn.

We have had fun when we could. Lots of cookouts on the deck. Some family and friends. Beer Festivals, Chocolate Cake for the new cake stand and long hair. I know it sounds random, but five years ago I shaved my head(for a very good reason, I might add) and have been longing for it back. I know. I am selfish, but I missed my long hair. And now it is back.

That strange vehicle at the top, you ask? A Bike Bar. Yep, it has a bar and you peddle around the beer fest...I love Portland.

Just hoping for a few more bits of summer...Xoxo.

Things I am Enjoying In The Sunlight

Saturday, June 25, 2011

There is this recipe I just stumbled upon. Homemade Nutter Butters. These happen to be my sweethearts favorite cookie, so I dove right in! This recipe is written in a smooth and easy fashion, making these many step cookies a breeze to make. While you are working on one section, the other is cooling, baking, etc. The only hitch I am having is with the dough. One should be able to roll it out, but I find it difficult, so I am going to have make a few more batches...Just to perfect it.

You can have Homemade Nutter Butters in about two hours. Danger, Will Robinson.

Then there is this sweet China Girl sucking her thumb. I simply could not leave her at the vintage store. She has been in the house for about four months now. The other day, the 18 year old man-boy was lounging on the couch-gangly legs and arms and elbows everywhere. He looks over at me and says, "Is that angel picking her nose??" Yes, sweetheart, that angel is picking her nose. Do angels pick their noses? Do angels even have noses? Questions for another day.

Our new favorite gin. Made right here in Oregon. It is pink, which I like. It is tasty, which we both like. This tonic water is mostly cute, and in glass, not plastic. I firmly believe that a good Gin and Tonic is the perfect summer cocktail. It is the alchemy of the gin that makes me giddy.

I had a little leftover paint from another painting project. Oh, and it was raining. Again. In summer. So I was inside painting. Instead of washing the paint down the drain, I livened up my very cheap hanging lamp...

Lots of time spent on the deck, soaking in the awaited sun...Have lovely summer day.

Peony Love

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have been awaiting her arrival with bated breath, and here she is! The Lovely Peony Blooms. We have had so little rain and so much sun, I am afraid to relax and believe that indeed summer may be arriving. But alas, when I opened my eyes just before the sun rise, I saw that sweet color of pink that calls forth a sunny day.

I am reveling in these details, for my focus is lost and I find I am coasting on a river of unknown. My heart still grieves for lost friendships and connection.

For today, I will inhale the sweetness of The Peony...

Any Portlanders out there interested in art classes for their wee ones, en plein air? I have a lovely deck, tons of supplies and lots to share.

Not Much But Rain

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Yes, Memorial Day Weekend was filled with rain. Note the mud on the wellies, it came from trying to run out during nice bits and do some planting. And mowing. This perfect Pacific Northwest combination of rain and bits of sun make for super growing grass. I don't care much if the lawn is a bit overgrown, but all of our neighbors have tidy mow and blow lawns, so I figure I should play nice. The cold temperatures were softened with a little Beagle cuddling. But, Hark! She smells a squirrel...

The Lovely Sun

Friday, May 27, 2011

My new fave morning spot!


I am really proud of theses puppies!

Chocolate Mint and Spearmint in the old laundry tub...

The sun has been making a few appearances in The City of Roses. Not many, but that magical mixture of rain and sun makes for this...Spring is springing and the weather is moderate enough to have tea on the deck one or two mornings a week.

Lots blooming in the garden. Are any of you proud of your perennials when they spring back after winter's bitter cold? Or is it just me? I don't mind, I will own it. I am really happy for the perennials that weather the winter. Very courageous, if you ask me...I have been planting in buckets that have been floating around, trying to accommodate all of the new seedlings. Now we just need a good shot of rainy nights and sunny days and I will close my eyes and pretend I am still living on that island in the sea.