Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holly vanGulden on YouTube

Much of my study time is spent working with material from Gordon Neufeld.  I truly love how his attachment-based developmental paradigm explains the world to me.

I have a second developmental attachment hero. Holly van Gulden lives in Minnesota and travels the world teaching about attachment and adoption.  Where Gordon's theories make sense of the world in broad strokes, Holly (and her partner, Claude Riedel) specializes in supporting adopted people and their families. 

A friend recently emailed a YouTube search of bits of Holly's talks.  Holly explains permanence, the ability to take for granted that something exists even when it is out of sensory contact (like my son still exists even though I can't see him across the house in the living room), and constancy, the ability to take for granted that something is the same across various states (Mom is still my loving mommy even when she's mad that I wrote in sharpie all over the wall).

Permanence and constancy fascinate me.  Once at a conference Holly gave us homework to come back the next morning with 5 popular songs that show each concept.  The assignment wasn't hard - which tells me that while the object relations academics put really difficult and fancy words to their model, holding onto who we and those we love are is something that we humans struggle with on a daily basis.

Here is a brilliant bit of missing permanence from the trailer for the new movie The Croods, watch at 1:59m.   Alanis Morisette schools us in constancy in her song I'm a Bitch, I'm a Lover.

Take a look at her videos.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Beautiful weeper post: "Love. Joy. Justice."

This post from Tea&Cookies made me cry like crazy.

December 9th is the day gay couples in Washington State were legally able to get married.  Tea&Cookies post does such a lovely job of capturing the joy, beauty and the rightness of the day.  And her pictures reflect all that. 

I'm so grateful to live in the day this important step in human justice and equity became possible.  I'm so grateful that all the people I love get to marry that one that they love. And so grateful to Tea&Cookies for noting it so beautifully.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Cross post: On Being Cared For

My December blog post for the Seattle Neufeld Community published last night. Take a look and let me know what you think.

On Being Cared For
Gordon Neufeld’s integrated attachment-base developmental paradigm, and the many wonderful courses he created to share the knowledge within it, is geared to help us make sense of our children.  His aim is to equip us as parents and caregivers with the the necessary insight to raise up children, bringing them to their full potential and maturity.

However, Neufeld’s paradigm is more broadly a story of human maturation and development.  So as I look at my kiddos, I can’t help but notice a few bits about myself.

Nowhere do my personal weakness and lacks show up more clearly than in my marriage.  There’s something about being in intimate relationship with someone and being seen and known day after day for 16 years by that same person that really shines the light on who I am being. And not being.

read the rest of the post here

Monday, December 17, 2012


I've developed a serious obession over here, making paper snow flakes.  Here's my latest batch.

Fortunately for my obsessed self, several people have asked recently for snow flake making tips. Let's start at the beginning, in case grade school was the last time you preformed this craft.

I like to start with an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.

Fold it in half. Make your folds really clean, I run my fingernail along each crease.

And then in quarters.

Then fold the side with all the edges over to the single crease side.

Now trim off the excess, you know the bit where one part of the top of the paper is longer than the other. I like to make a snow cone shape, but just cutting it off square along the shorter piece makes for interesting shapes and designs, too.

Next comes cutting.  But before you cut, you need to know that there is part you can't cut.  I've highlighted the edges that need a tiny bit preserved so that your snowflake will keep it's shape.  As long as a few tiny bits remain along the blue edges, you'll be fine.  I've been daring myself to cut more and more away, with delightful results.

Sometimes I start cutting with a plan, sometimes I just follow my fancy.  For special shapes, I find it helps to trace them in pencil first.  If I cut 1/2 of a shape on the fold line, when I open the paper the whole shape will appear.   See the 1/2 tree on the left and the 1/2 heart on the right?

Start cutting. Remeber about preserving a bit along your fold lines.

Cut out more.  I find the more paper I take away, the fancy and more intricate the finished flake looks. There is also the exciting danger factor - cutting away more and more paper without accidentally clipping the whole project in half.

Think about the point of your fold.  If you leave it un-clipped the center of the flake with be solid.  Cut off a small bit or a large chunk for very different looks.  And, if you cut at various angles diamonds or stars will appear. Again, notice the little bits of blue edge I still have showing to keep my flake together.

When you've cut off all you can bear, start unfolding. It can be a little tricky to find the opening after all that trimming and the layers can be pretty stuck together, so go carefully. Here's the first fold.

I love the anticipation of seeing what I have created. Look at this 2nd fold!

And yay!  The full unveiling! I love how delicate and intricate my busy little snippings can be.

I hope these instructions and hints are clear.  Here's to the fun and delight of a simple project!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I haven't posted any cute animal videos in a while...

Forwarded from my dad, who always loves a good chuckle.  I'm thinking if we show the video to Mason enough, he'll figure out this stunt.
Silly, cute, chilly Labrador

From Mark's Daily Apple
Trying To Find What I'm Looking for in the Chest Freezer
The kids kept asking, is someone going to help him out of there.  And I kept replying, no they are too busy laughing and taking a video.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Not this crazy....

Mark's Daily Apple rates easily in my top 3 blogs that I'm following right now.  I value the information he shares, I like his tone as he writes and I'm fascinated by all the little tidbits he throws in.  I also really dig the personal testimony stories he runs each week.

In my Google Reader today is a follow-up from a previous personal testimony person, Tim. Mark's introduction includes that Tim is a Shovelglove Master.  Huh?? What the heck is Shovelglove? So of course, my curious parts lead me to click on the link and read a bit about Shovelglove. 

Shovelglove is, as best I can tell, an intense work out done by simply (and carefully) swinging a padded sledge hammer around.  My first reaction - these people are weird and crazy.  At least I'm not that crazy.

And then a tiny part of me, that might have possibly been a little draw-in by the idea of whacking a tire with a sledge hammer, piped up and said....


All bets are off as to whether or not Shovelgloving will be my biggest obsession 5 years from now. If I've learned anything in my life its is that I should NEVER say never. It just dooms me to participation in said activity.

But still, that's crazy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Crying over spilt lotion

Homemade lotion has become a staple around here.  I make a big batch every few months and the family uses it for both hair and skin. 

I've been planning for our annual trip to Sleeping Lady.  There can be serious chapping that results from the dry mountain air, all the snow play and soaking for probably way too long in the hot pool. So I thought to make more lotion today.  In fact, I mixed up a triple batch - enough to get our family through the next 2 months plus some to share with our homeschool buddies that will meet us in the mountains.

But disaster stuck! While the Kitchen Aid whipped the lotion to a fine silkiness, the spatula I had carefully balanced on the edge of the bowl slipped in.  Theo howled with laughter as the spoon splashed waves of lotion around the room and I scampered around frantically trying to turn the machine off - of course flipping it to high for a final tsumani-like wave before managing to get to "off."  When I picked the now extremely well-oiled machine up to clean the puddle of lotion from underneath it, I lost my grip and toppled the whole thing, spreading yet more oil around (to the tune of more tittering from the peanut gallery).

At this point, about 1/3 of the lotion remains in the bowl, 1/3 is in the trash and the last 1/3 is in the dog who enthusiastically help with the 2nd round of clean up.

After grumping and pouting around for about 30 minutes, I came back around to the project and added some peppermint oil for a seasonally-appropriate bright smell and feel. 

Turns out this batch is smooth and silky, not too watery or too think. And the peppermint makes it truly delightful.  I don't know whether to be delighted or even more grumpy that I wasted 2/3 of it on the floor and dog. Below are my notes for this batch.  I'm hoping getting it into bottles goes extremely efficiently and cleanly.

Peppermint lotion - normally makes about 48 oz
1/3 c TBSP beeswax
1/2 c grapeseed oil
1/2 c jojoba oil
6 TBSP coconut oil
4 c olive oil
2 c water
36 drops peppermint oil (put only in the remaining 1/3 of the batch)

- Heat the oils and beeswax over the stove until the beeswax melts and the oils are uniform. 
- Transfer hot mixture to Kitchen Aid and add the water (I boil the water so it mixes more easily).
- Run the Kitchen Aid for about 5 minutes to mix oils and water thoroughly. Wait 30 minutes and run again.  Do this a few times until the mixture has cooled.  Color and texture is light colored and uniform.
- Transfer cooled lotion into a large ziploc bag, snip a tiny corner off the bag and carefully pour lotion into bottles.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

New bird: Varied Thrush

This morning while standing on the porch talking to a contractor, I spied a new-to-me-bird!  We saw lots of new birds in Ecuador, but I thought for sure I'd noticed and figured out all the names for the birds I see in Seattle.

It sort of looked like a robin-size wren with dark brown and clear yellow markings.  As soon as I'd finished my (now distracted) conversation with the contractor, I zipped inside to get my National Geographic Field Guide to Birds of North America.  Weirdly, it opened right to a picture of the bird in question - the varied thrush, the female.  It is hard to tell from the tiny map, but apparently Seattle is part of either it's year round habitat or its winter range. 

I don't know how I've managed 20 years in Seattle without seeing this beauty, but what a fun thrill to spot a new bird in my own yard. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a fabulous site about birds with great pictures, information and recordings of their sounds.  You can check out my new Thrush friend there.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Paper Snow Storm

I'm not sure who started it, maybe Theo or Rosie or perhaps me via a story I was telling, but this week we had a giant paper snowflake storm at our house.  The four of us spent hours cutting, chatting and strategizing about how to fold, how much paper to cut off and experimenting what what shapes we could make.




And like any true snow storm, there was some serious shoveling to be done at the end.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Good for public safety, bad for public health?

In the past few months, city workers passed through our neighborhood converting all the old florescent streetlight bulbs to new LED bulbs.

I became aware of this city program because one afternoon I curiously remarked about workers on our street and that night our bedroom was *lit up.* Honestly, seriously bright.  With the curtains closed.  As I moved through the house I realized every room that had direct view to a street light, be it just on the corner or literally the other side of the block, was now bright enough to read by.

This alarms me.  You know how I feel about sleep, already.  A big part of good sleep comes with keeping non-natural light exposure low. Even the tiniest amount of nighttime light impacts our hormonal systems, both sleep related and others.  While I can and will purchase black out curtains for the bedrooms to limit the amount of light seeping in, our city's cost reduction program will inadvertently mess with the hormonal systems of almost everyone in town.

And their dinner.  In 2010 I wrote this post about my concerns for the lettuce growing in a hydroponic farm I drive by. I know it seems silly, but there is plenty of research to show that every living thing needs rest (and dark) as much as it needs light to thrive and mature.  As I look out the window at midnight, each individual leaf of my basil is brightly illuminated.  This just can't be good for my garden.

I wonder, too, about general light pollution.  I know there are guidelines, maybe even requirements, about how much light a streetlight should shed into the surrounding area.  Searching around on the internet, I couldn't find any exact numbers for what constitutes light pollution, but I'm pretty sure illuminating the interior of my house qualifies for "light trespass."  I wonder what the NASA light maps would look like were every city to install these new LED bulbs.

The New Jersey Astronomical Association feels passionately about light pollution and links to some interesting articles about it. NASA is concerned enough about it for their astronauts to drop a hunk of change on biologically adjusted bulbs.  There turns out, even, to be a documentary about light pollution called "City Dark," reported on here by the Huffington Post. This problem of light pollution is not new, but I think it is probably also not on the radar of most public officials. Really, light pollution is neither sexy nor is likely to capture most people's hearts and imaginations.

Still, I have to feel for the City.  Here they've found a great new way to reduce costs and improve visibility for drivers and pedestrians.  They've eliminated the issue of dealing with the mercury from the florescent bulbs (though this may be more my boogey man than theirs).   City leaders are getting props for being cutting edge.

Jet lagged this week from our trip to Ecuador, the LEDs have particularlly been on my mind.  Waking up after hours of sleep, I can't judge based on the light streaming into my bedroom whether I've finally adjusted to the time change and slept in until 7:30 or if it is hours before sunrise.  2:30am LED looks exactly like 7:30am sunshine.

LEDs must be great for the budget and for public safety concerns. And I think they're equally bad for public health. I wonder how it will all work out.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

We're back

Our trip to Ecuador turned out to be a great success.

Best of course, was spending of time with my beloved brother/the children's adored uncle, getting to better know his sweetie and meeting her 15 year old daughter, the children's first 1st cousin.  We also enjoyed seeing an entirely different culture and way of life, eating really different foods, 5 days of Spanish lessons (the children may have been horrified to find they weren't fluent at the end of the 10 hours of classes), a bird watching adventure, a week on the beach, staying 2 nights in a 200 year old Spanish monastery come hotel. Oh, and the fun and fascination of participating in a South American wedding that resulted in my brother becoming a married man!

The photo is one of our amazing science moments - straddling the middle of the world!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Adventures Galore!

Hi all,

The family and I are headed south to Ecuador for my brother's wedding and some serious homeschool fun.  I'll be back in December, hopefully with some amazing pictures and stories to share.

Talk to you then!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

What sleep has to do with developmental attachment

One of my biggest soap boxes is SLEEP.  

I strongly believe, based on lots of reading and personal experience, that each and everyone of us adults needs at least 8 hours of sleep per night.  And that those of us with small children need to plan for 9-10 hours of sleep per night to make up for all the nights that doesn't go well. Heck, even for those of us with middle sized kids this is a good idea because I'm still amazed at how often I miss sleep caring for my children.

However, I've never found a direct link between my sleep soap box and my passion for development attachment.  Until today!  Reading an article on sleep by Chris Kressler (thanks J), I found this tantalizing bit:
      Insufficient sleep shuts down the pre-frontal cortex

Wikipedia explains the pre-frontal cortex:
The most typical psychological term for functions carried out by the prefrontal cortex area is executive function. Executive function relates to abilities to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, determine good and bad, better and best, same and different, future consequences of current activities, working toward a defined goal, prediction of outcomes, expectation based on actions, and social "control" (the ability to suppress urges that, if not suppressed, could lead to socially unacceptable outcomes).
From a developmental attachment perspective, the interesting part of this is that the pre-frontal cortex is where the brain mixes input.  In the same way information coming in from the left eye together with the right eye mixes in the prefrontal cortex to give us depth perception, the prefrontal cortex mixes our feelings for a deeper and more balanced experience.

I've always told people my being a good parent depends on me getting enough sleep, just because I know I'm too grumpy when I'm tired to be effective. Now I see that when I'm too tired, I've lost my mixed feelings.  I can't hold onto the "both and" - as in:
   I'm really tired so I hate everything 
  These are my dear delightful children for whom I want to be the warm and generous provider

It seems to me like almost everything in life links back, somehow, to developmental attachment.  Pretty cool!

Saturday is early bedtime night at our house - for both the kids and the adults.  Maybe you'll join us?

Monday, October 29, 2012

"A Land Called Paradise"

Ever heard of Kareem Salama?  He's a Muslim country singer who grew up in Oklahoma.  I hadn't either, but a friend (who deeply understands my love of a good weeper) recently sent me a link to Salama's song "Land Called Paradise."

Take a look.  It is beautiful, funny and very touching.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Culture mash up: lunch

This may be illegal in some states, but here is what I had for lunch:

- 2 grass fed hot dogs cooked in plenty of grass fed butter
- kimchi (to go with the hot dogs, 'cause we are out of sauerkraut)
- a giant pile of spicy Bengal bharta (smoked eggplant with peas) from our favorite Indian restaurant
- sweet potato fries with LOTS of garlic salt

The combination of flavors really wasn't as nasty as it sounds. The flavors and spices all sort of worked together.  I notice Bill didn't seem super game to kiss me after lunch, though.

What's Outside

Here's a piece of developmental attachment wisdom from Holly vanGulden that I've been chewing on all week:

What's outside goes inside.

This means that what children experience on the outside (from their environment and the parenting they experience) goes inside and becomes part of them.  This internalization informs how they see themselves and the world.

She presents this first as we talk about newborns.  They signal distress, and their designated caregiver comes to help them and bring them back to a state of safety and comfort.  The knowledge that "I'm taken care of and everything will turn out okay" eventually goes inside to create a basic trust for safety and comfort in the world.  Or, on the opposite side, a baby signals distress, nobody comes or baby gets a negative response.  The message "I'm not safe and there is no comfort in the world" goes inside, or "I'm too much" or "I have to scream and go crazy to get my needs met."

What I've been contemplating and noticing this week is all they ways that shows up in life - especially in parenting.  Right now, I'm aware that my son's struggles to do what needs to be done in a timely manner are a reflection of my never ending patience and accommodating of his resistance.  I don't hold a firm line for him to get his work done, so neither can he.

Much to his impending distress, I'm going to shift what is outside so he can create the inside he'll need to thrive in his adult life.

Try the saying on - it is pretty profound.  I'd love to hear how it looks in your world.

Friday, October 26, 2012

CrossFit Personal Record - Backsquat

I'm so in love with CrossFit.  I pretty much have been since the very  moment I encountered it.  Quick, high intensity workouts that vary hugely, using functional movements.  They're fun, they're interesting and they make me so strong.

Way back when Rosie was about 3, I accidentally got into CrossFit thanks to the trainer I was assigned to for the 20/20 program at the ProClub while I was trying to lose the extra 30 pounds of domperidone weight from nursing Rosie.  So, last year when I found myself ready to start using my body again, I went to the closest local gym (they call them boxes at CrossFit because they are usually just small garage type facilities).

It turns out, the gym closest to me is awesome - Crossfit 206.  The owners are older than I am and really seem to hold a long-term view for health.  The trainers they attract are just the right combination of careful, supportive and pushy. The positive and enthusiastic attitude of the other participants makes the heavy weights and hard challenges seem doable.

Back on the 20/20 program, we were set up to work out 3x/week. My wimpy parts decided that going 2x/week was a good start, and I've been dithering about at that level for over a year now, on and off with travel and illness and childcare disasters.  This September I realized I needed to amp it up and promptly had that reaction to the vaccination.  So this week, feeling better, I've finally committed.

Here's my pay off - today I backsquatted 100 pounds. It wasn't even too hard, I could go heavier.  I'm thrilled to be in the triple digits!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

$76 at the 76

I filled up the tank in my minivan this week.  Ouch.  Makes me wish public transport in South Seattle worked better.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Functional again

A few weeks ago, I had the 2nd of theoretically 3 rounds of Hep A and B vaccinations for our upcoming trip to Ecuador.  And it didn't go well.  I got intensely sick with a serious migraine, terrible nausea and stomach turning plus a full night of vomiting every 20-30 minutes.  It was 5 days before I ate solid food and about 10 days before I wanted to do much of anything besides alternate between napping in bed and napping on the couch.

This week with Bill out of town, I've just had to buck up so I could get kids places and help them with school work.  Still did lots of sleeping on both the bed and the couch - even the dr.'s waiting room for a few minutes. I *never* fall asleep out in public.

Today was a new day, though.  I felt relaxed and rested when I woke up and mostly maintained that state with the help of one little power nap.  Here's proof that I'm back. Today, with little effort and much enthusiasm, I:
- ran the dishwasher twice
- ran three loads of laundry
- was clear headed and courageous enough to keep the kids home from playdates because I realized the amount of bickering and refusal to do work meant they needed more connection with me and each other
- listened to an hour of Neufeld's Anxiety course with riveted attention and didn't accidentally nap
- got out the Halloween decorations and exited the kids about taking charge of decorating the front porch
- harvested a planter box of cherry and plum tomatoes AND roasted them along side plenty of garlic
- cleaned out the cucumber box (I'm never planting pickling cucumbers again, they just don't work for me)
- ate about 10 hot wings
- took out Rosie's braids and didn't have to nap at anytime during the process

It is super nice to be functional again - for both me and my kids.  I can't wait to take on the rest of the tomatoes and the basil tomorrow.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fancy dinner

I don't know where the child learns this stuff, but on a whim last night Theo set a very formal dinner table including 2 forks, 2 spoons and 2 knives.  I felt obliged to meet the level of fancy, so I quickly  ended up putting together a very simple 4 course meal.  The kids were delighted with the pause while I served up the next course rather than just having everything put out on the table at once.

Here was our "fancy" menu:
Salad course - tomato, cucumber, pesto salad and Indian veggie pakora
Soup course - chicken consumme with rendered duck fat
Main course - BBQ chicken on cauli-rice with delicata squash accompanied by lots of butter
Dessert course - paleo chocolate chip cookies and a cup of hot tea

Made me miss my favorite tasting menu at Rover's in Madison Park.  I think the last time I was there I was vegetarian, which just goes to show how long it has been.  I wonder if they have a paleo option.  Mmmmmm.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

On Being Used Up

I've been inspired by this quote over the past few months.  It reminds me to keep focused on who I want to be, not the many tiny details that aren't working out the way I want them to in this moment.

There is the true joy of life: to be used by a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; to be thoroughly worn out before being thrown on the scrap heap; to be a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that life will not devote itself to making you happy.
            George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Political fact checking

In the days after the first of the 3 presidential debates, I noticed quite a few emails in my various communities flying around with accusations of how much Romney lied. Knowing that both of the 2 major candidates are politicians and that speaking off the cuff in a high pressure situation lends itself to exaggeration, I started wondering if maybe President Obama's truth rate really trumped Romney's by that much or if maybe it more likely matched his opponent's.

A curious fact finding search landed me at two fascinating web pages.

First is a site that asked my stance on various issues and then matched me with the best candidate:  Most shocking to me was how little I actually understand about many of the issues actually at hand in this election - and despite that I was considering myself an educated voter. I've not yet delved into learning about these issues (and quite honestly may not in the next few weeks), but hopefully at least I'm a bit more humble about my true place in the world. At the end of the quiz, I was also slightly chagrined to learn that I'd never even heard of the candidate I most closely align with.  43 years old and still so much to learn about the world...

The second site I'm totally fascinated by., not surprisingly, fact checks statements by politicians and rates them with helpful and entertaining categories like true, mostly true, mostly false, flip, full flop, pants on fire.  Turns out both Romney and President Obama and their campaigns look pretty equal to me with some serious gaffs on both sides.  And I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to me to be able to easily go somewhere and figure out how the sound-bite of the day really rates.

In the end, I'm not sure any of this actually influences my voting - I still strongly hold the values I hold.  I do think these sites both help me be a better educated and engaged member of our Republic.

How about you?  Do you have any favorite political truth or clarity sites to share?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Rosie's in a music video!!

Check out how cute she is!  Our family is so proud to get to contribute to this video for an issue so close to our hearts.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' Same Love

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The real problem with Gatorade

No, the real problem with Gatorade is not the high fructose corn syrup. Not the sucralose.  Not the glycerol ester of wood rosin (what???).  Not the FD&C color # of the day. Not even that it comes in blue.

The real problem is with Gatorade is that it tastes so darn good.  

This week I got really sick.  After way to many hours of throwing up, my dear hubby decided I needed something to keep me from getting dehydrated.  He provided me with a wealth of options - lovely purified water from our filter, organic lemon/maple syrup drink he made himself and a bottle of green Gatorade.

My body was wrecked, my liver was working overtime, and every 30 minutes I'd find myself waking up craving another suck out of the high-fructose, neon-colored sports bottle. Weird. I'm pretty sure the stuff is highly toxic, but maybe my body recognized its deep need for salts and chose the Gatorade to meet its most basic needs.  But I don't think so.  I think the stuff just tastes weirdly good.

Healthy enough to drive myself around town today but not really wanting to get too close to solid food or much water, I made the health-concious, responsible choice to pick up some organic, non-sugar plant based sweetened electrolyte powder.  It's great, I notice I'm feeling better with more fluids in me, and I'm not stressed about the secondary effects of what I'm putting into me.

But it sort of tastes like my 1980's memories of Crystal Light and my tongue is crying out, "Where's the Gatorade?!"

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Flock of Eagles?

Tuesday on our way to Park Day with the Seattle Homeschool Group, I *swear* I saw a flock of eagles over Wallingford and 45th. I tried to take a picture, but nothing came out.

Am I crazy?  Anyone every heard of a flock of Bald Eagles?  Could they possibly be over Seattle?

Friday, August 10, 2012

If We Ever Needed to Vote, We Sure Do Need to Vote Right Now

Reverend Dr. William Barber II addressed the NAACP Wednesday, July 11 with this moving call to action.  

The delivery and cadence is amazing. There is lots I'd like to say about it, but I think the message and delivery stand stronger on their own.  I hope you are as touched and inspired as I. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gosh I Like to Cook for Myself

I'm high off the lovely dinner I made for tonight.  Perhaps the burn from the garlic, but I know what I like.

My most recent food goal is to eat fish at least once a week.  The fishmonger at Whole Foods suggested  fresh cod, so I started with that. Mark Bittman, from his book Kitchen Express, suggested Pan-Seared with Spicy Lime Butter (pg 91).  Mark's recipe directed me to make a butter compound with shallot mixed with lime zest and juice.  Lacking shallot, I substituted about 6 cloves of garlic. Hee, hee, let the fun begin.

Staring at the seasoned fish I was about to sear in butter and olive oil, I realized we were going to want something else on the table to go with it.  Rosie grabbed some kelp noodles while we were shopping today, and I thought in a little broth, they might be a great way to catch any butter compound that melted off the fish.  Of course, the chicken broth, noodles and fish would look very mono-chromatic in the bowl together, so I dropped a handful of arugula into each bowl before pouring in the small amount of soup.

The result delighted me.  Creamy textured fish, slightly crunchy kelp noodles, the sweet of the butter contrasting with the acidic of the garlic and the bitter of the arugula, all went down nicely with our animated dinner conversation about the Mars Curiosity.

Here's Mark's recipe that I started out with (plus my notes), in case you'd like to try some similar fun.

Pan-Seared Fish with Spicy Lime Butter
Stir together about a half stick of softened butter, a finely chopped shallot (I substituted the 6 cloves of garlic), the zest of a lime and a good squeeze of its juice (Bill and I were talking, so I put the juice of the entire lime in), a minced red chile (left this out for the kids), and a pinch or two of salt.  Pat any type of fish fillets dry, season them with salt, and cook them quickly in a tablespoon of each olive oil and butter.  Turn the fish once and cook until golden and cook through, about five minutes.  Serve the fillets with a generous spoonful of the compound butter on top.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Mocha Mama's YA summer reading list

One of my very favorite bloggers, Mocha Mama, recently posted a Young Adult summer reading list.  Some of the books look beyond Theo at this point, but right in my interests.  And of course, there's always next year.

Says Mocha Mama:
Every year I make myself a list of all the great new YA books that have been published during the school year and try to read them all. Lately, however, I find myself looking toward books that I’ve missed in the past (because, really, I cannot read them all) and asked a bunch of friends to help me put together a list of favorites. Some of them are new and some are not, but they all came highly recommended from people whose opinions I trust. Even the school librarian where I work chimed in and loaded me up with a boxful of books for the summer. 
 Click here for the rest of the post!
Good luck with your summer readers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Writing elsewhere

Yesterday I made a guest post to the Seattle Neufeld Community's blog.  You can read it here. Also, while you are there, read the lovely posts by Sara E. and Molly.  They are amazing writers and inspiring mamas that I feel so fortunate to have in my life.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Theo's Thumbs Up Booklist: 2011-12

Theo has read 220 library books this year!  This of course doesn't include any re-reads of books in the house, comic books or anything his dad has passed to him from the large stack of review books that arrive daily on our front porch.

People often ask what Theo likes to read, so here is a list of his thumbs up from this academic year for your browsing pleasure. You'll notice we were in the Ancient History cycle this year.

As usual, I'm desperately trying to keep him in books, so if anything you see here reminds you of something he might like, drop me a line.  You'll have my undying gratitude!

Still More Stories to Solve  by Shannon
Castle in the Air by Jones
Throne of Fire by Riordan
Lord Sunday by Nix
Tortoise and the Hare (Music CD) by Simon
Hoot by Hiaasen
The Kingfisher Soccer Encyclopedia by Gifford
Maia of Thebes by Turner
Nicholas on Vacation by Goscinny
Ralph Masiello's Ancient Egypt Drawing Book by Giblin
Cleopatra VII, Daughter of the Nile by Gregory
Egyptian Diary: Journal of Nakhat by Platt
Technology in the time of Ancient Egypt by Crosher
Pharaohs and Foot Soldiers by Butcher
Metropolis: Egyptian Town by Steedman
The Ancient Near East by Stefoff
The Ivory Throne of Persia by Coit
The Immortal Fire by Ursu
Olympians: Athena by O'Connor
Corydon & the Fall of atlantis by Druitt
Corydon & the Island of Monsters by Druitt
Corydon & the Siege of Troy by Druitt
Hello, My Name is Bob by Alsenas
Olympians: Zeus by O'Connor
The Shadow Thieves by Ursu
The Siren Song by Ursu
The Battle for Skandia by Flanagan
Olympians: Hera by O'Connor
The Siege of Macindaw by Flanagan
Stormbreaker by Horowitz
Treehouses You Can Actually Build by Stiles
The Glass Cat of Oz by Hulan
Mission: Spy Force Revealed by Abela
Sally and the Something by O'Connor
Uncle Bigfoot by O'Connor
Everything I Know About Cars by Lichtenheld
I Love You Because You're You by Baker
Oh My Gods! by Bryant
Journey into Mohawk Country by Bogaert
Stickman Odyssey by Ford
Children's Book of Mythical Beast and Magical Monsters by DK
Conquest! Can You Build a Roman City by Bruce
Galen: My Life in Imperial Rome by Moss
The Siege of Macindaw by Flanagan
The Sorcerer of the North by Flanagan
You Wouldn't Want to Be A..... by Stewart
...Roman Soldier
...Cursed by King Tut the Forbidden City
...Live in Pompeii

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Playing The Game

Forwarded from a friend who I deeply respect and admire (and think is super fun to boot), this post - on Whatever by John Scalzi (who I know I'm supposed to know but can't pull out of my brain's muddled files) - is a great way to think about and explain privilege. I'm thinking it is a perfect start into yet another conversation with my white son about what society/culture has handed him without implying that he is or has done something bad. Which usually leads to the accompanying Spiderman "with power comes responsibility" talk.

The part about "Gay Minority Female" almost made me spray coffee out my nose.

Click through on the first line to read the entire post. It is well worth your time.

I’ve been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word “privilege,” to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It’s not that the word “privilege” is incorrect, it’s that it’s not theirword. When confronted with “privilege,” they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.
So, the challenge: how to get across the ideas bound up in the word “privilege,” in a way that your average straight white man will get, without freaking out about it?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Beautiful Modern Swan Dance - Charles "Lil Buck" Riley

*I* am in Vancouver all by myself!!!!  I can't remember the last time I actually took time just to myself.  Last night I had a lovely walk around this funny little neighborhood of Burnaby (it reminds me of Ballard 15 years ago before it got discovered, except with an international mix), ate some amazing pho and went to bed at 9:00.

The Neufeld Institute Conference is here this weekend.  I took the opportunity to come up a day early to rest and wade through my increasingly terrifying pile of things I've said I'd do that are not tracked or maintained in any way.  An hour reading through updates on Things software and refinements on their discussion boards of how to most effectively use the software, and I'm feeling a renewed sense of possibility and commitment.

Anyway, in the course of cleaning out things from my to-do email file, I came across this amazing dance clip forwarded by my housemate.  Hope you love it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

What is iTunes thinking?

So, I'm listening to music and trying to conquer the avalanche-prone heap that was once my desk.  I'm feeling lazy, so I picked play by genres.  Pop seems like good, upbeat sorting music, right?

What I want to know is how Michael Jackson, Iyaz, Air Supply and Frank Sinatra could possibly all fit in there together?


Wish me luck on the piles.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Laughed 'til I cried

Need a belly laugh today?

You HAVE to watch this video of David Hasselhoff doing "Hooked on a Feeling" - you know, the ooga-chukka song.

Bill says I'm obsessed, but it just hurts so good.

All props go to Jenn for forwarding this to me!

Friday, February 24, 2012

WOW! "Do Try This At Home"

In working on the links for "Backyard Science" on youtube, I came across something mentioned recently by an acquaintance.  "Do Try This At Home" will definitely inspire Theo to many science antics.  Shoot, I may actually have to make the paper jet engine myself!

Fortunately, Mr.G, the genius behind the show, organized himself a nifty youtube page.  Go get inspired!

Here's the jet engine episode.  Super cool!

Backyard Science

Rosie is captivated by an Australian show right now called Backyard Science.  There are bunches of episodes on youtube, but like the Candian physics show Eureka, they are hard to get to from the main youtube page.  Also, one never knows what evils are lurking on youtube waiting for unsuspecting children.

Below are the links to the youtube episodes of Backyard Science for my kids', and your's, safe viewing pleasure.  I think they have Russian subtitling, anyone know what that language is?

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

Episode 9-38

Episode 39

Episode 40

Episode 41

Episode 42

Episode 43, 44

Episode 45

Episode 46, 47

Episode 48

That seems to be the last Episode available on YouTube.