30 January 2010

High School Acting

Twenty-some years ago, I was a high school actor. Totally immersed in it, doing rehearsals three times a week, acting as president of the "Theatre Arts Club" with the French influence coming from me...we had been the Drama Club until I came along. Ah, oui! Chris was the butler in this shot, and Joel played Bullshot Crummond. My mom made the green dress with lace trim.

And here is the venerable director George Cuyler. He played a big, impressive King Lear. He was equally kind, reclusive, odd and creative. I liked him very much.

We did a performance once that was a medley of scenes from Shakespeare, with can-can dancers to open the show. I remember Mr. Cuyler calling us "Madame Tinker and her roving streetwalkers", which cracked him up. Lori, on the far right (stage left), is now married to my cousin Greg.

Haiku Saturday

I drop my secrets,
treasured stones, into your pond.
They cast no ripples.


23 January 2010

Haiku Saturday

wild desert party
swirling sand and burning man
free to be, just be

19 January 2010

Thank you for your blessings, she said

Yesterday was one of those days when you just have to stay loose. There is no other way to move through it. Because there was a total downpour here in San Diego (read: flooded roads, shops, homes) we left our bikes at home and journeyed out on foot. After bundling up and race-walking to the bus, we got to St. Paul's Cathedral with plenty of time to register for the Matthew Fox lecture that I was really looking forward to. Problem was, contrary to what the website said, Frances Moore Lappe was speaking at 1:00 FOLLOWED BY Matthew Fox at 3:00. I had a commitment to teach a mindfulness group at 4:00 and I didn't have any of my materials with me.

So, we hopped the bus back home. I got my mindfulness bell and a nice relaxing CD into a shoulder bag, added a pretty lotus sketch to a meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh, did the printing and cutting to have my handouts ready. I started out again at 3:30 (plenty of time for the trek) and within 3-4 blocks I was soaked through...water in my shoes, dripping from my pants...did I say "downpour"? Back home again for me... to make a call and cancel my group.

We had planned to have dinner in North Park and to attend a lecture on music marketing. We abandoned that plan. THEN...there was a break in the weather. We got our raingear back on, RAN for the bus...made it to Ranchos in time for a great dinner and then over to Old Time Music for a presentation by Bob Baker. On the way home, Jeff and I were chatting about new media, playing music, and marketing in general...

...when a woman with heavy bags and a cane who had boarded the bus after us, stood up and gathered her things, looked directly at us, and said "Thank you for your blessings."

We smiled all the way home.

17 January 2010

A call for compassion

I just finished Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. It's a thorough and thoughtful look at how we got to a point in human history where animals who are being raised for food, are being treated as if they're already dead. It's not a vegan manifesto, just a challenging and well written perspective on our relationship to what we eat.

As a pleasant surprise, I heard Martha Stewart recommend this book on NPR the other day, along with her other hopes for the New Year.

16 January 2010

Haiku Saturday

gingerly he climbs
fruit falls into her open hand
papaya delight

14 January 2010

Three Lane Highway

My husband has been playing guitar and singing for as long as he can remember. He can easily switch from electric to acoustic, rock to standards...he just has the language of music imprinted on his soul. I've never known anyone with so many songs in his head! His rock band has a couple of performances coming up and I made a page on the Sweet Orange website where you can listen to their demo tracks. They're doing a custom set at a private party in February for a crazy-for-Springsteen fan. I'm extremely proud.

10 January 2010

Lemonade and Rootbeer

We just received an entire basket of Meyer Lemons! I squeezed most of them, and froze the juice into ice cubes. It's a great way to store organic lemony goodness when it arrives all at once. Just pop the cubes out of the tray and into a labeled freezer bag. Each cube is about 2 tablespoons. Good for recipes, or mixed with agave to make lemonade. Liquid gold!

The rootbeer is ready. I've tweaked the recipe a couple of times so it's not too sweet and fills six bottles. You'll need clean beer bottles (dark glass, no screw tops), bottle caps and a bottle capper, which you can find at your local home brewing store. That's also where you'll find the extract and champagne yeast.

Smith's Rootbeer

9 cups filtered water
1/2 ounce Zatarains Rootbeer extract
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 cup organic white sugar
1/2 teaspoon champagne yeast

Mix yeast into a little cup of warm water (I add some sugar too) to dissolve and get it started. In a large glass container (preferably one you can pour from) mix the extract and remaining sugars with lukewarm water. Sterilize six clean bottles with boiling water. I also put the bottle caps in a small dish of the boiled water to soften the seals.

There is a lot of information on the web about sterilization. Use your own intuition to determine how cautious you want to be. The boiling water method works for me...but I always do a squint-check to make sure the inside of each bottle looks pristine before I begin.

Mix all ingredients together including 9 cups of water in all. Using a good funnel, pour into bottles, cap them, and lay them in the sun for two hours. Bring the bottles in and let stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Refrigerate and enjoy!

09 January 2010

Haiku Saturday

eager bee explores
flowerless curly green edge--

08 January 2010

Lucky Four

You know when people ask you to pick a number between one and whatever? I've always picked four. Honestly, as long as I can remember, I've always chosen four, or fourteen, or twenty-four. I'm one of four children in my family. The first and only move in my young life was at age four. The year I moved to San Diego I turned 44 (my husband was 55, and my mother-in-law 88...a bit of numerological synchronicity to consider another day) and it was one of the most blessed years of my life.

I was able to bring my job with me and work remotely for the first three years. I got married, enjoyed being a honeymooner, luxuriated in the sun and surf, and generally lived in gratitude for all the good food, and the love and support I have in this new place. But in many ways, I've been a tourist.

In April [the fourth month!], I'll begin my fourth year here and I'm noticing deepening roots and spreading branches. I'm launching house and garden projects to feather my nest, building spaces to nurture my creativity. I'm meditating and practicing yoga more often. We have a new website that wants to expand, and I started this blog...it's calling to the writer in me every day.

Year four is going to be excellent.

07 January 2010

Our day in pictures

planted in July...we have sweet potatoes!

these turnip starts should be thinned soon

sun tea...will be kombucha in about ten days

for the first time in three years (maybe more) the paperwhites bloomed

"tree collards"

batch of rootbeer fermenting in the sun

How was your day?

05 January 2010

Good energy is rising

I've been meaning to do some research on the meaning of that gorgeous full blue moon that arrived on New Year's Eve. We stepped outside to share a fresh tangerine from the tree, and to marvel over how lit-up the whole world was that night! Some great photos have been posted here.

In my little corner of the world, the Sophia Circle is gathering this week to generate some beautiful feminine energy, and interesting new projects are arriving on my doorstep. I'm have to really meditate to stay grounded, it's all so energizing!

03 January 2010

Regenerative and peaceful, new world order

Today we participated in the repair of a very special poetry bench where people gather in Balboa Park on the first Sunday of each month at noon to read poetry aloud in community. Architect Candy Vanderhoff is the inspiration behind the clay plaster bench installation, and she has committed to teaching workshops on natural building, and planning rainwater and greywater collection systems until we all have the skills we need to live in rhythm with our precious planet.

I shared the Rumi poem that is guiding me through 2010:

Birdsong brings relief
to my longing.

I am just as ecstatic as they are,
but with nothing to say!

Please, universal soul, practice
some song, or something, through me!

If you live in San Diego, Candy of RainThanks is teaching a greywater workshop on January 30 or 31, and you can help build a schoolyard pizza oven on February 6 and 7. The oven will be used by school age students to bake vegetables from their garden and bread made from their wheat field.

02 January 2010

Quite a transformative year

2009 was quite a transformative year, as I moved the business home and my commute became a short walk out the back door to the garden studio. I really loved all the creative vegan lunchboxes my husband packed for me back in the day, and I enjoyed the people at the San Diego office, but I have to say that the organic flow of working from home is very peaceful indeed.

We had the good fortune to travel to Long Beach with a dear friend in September to be with the Dalai Lama for a weekend of teachings and encouragement along the path. Although there were around 8000 people in attendance, it felt very intimate and special for me.

There's way too much to fully share in one post, so I thought I'd touch on the highlights in a 12 Days of Christmas kind of countdown. Here goes...

12) we were on the move with at least 12 trips up and down the West Coast by train, plane and automobile, topped by my first trip to Mexico for Thanksgiving to soak in most beautiful natural hot springs I’ve ever seen…and to hike the biggest boulders I’ve ever scrambled over!

11) learned to play the violin with a super-talented teacher, and walked away with great appreciation for the instrument after 11 lessons or so

10) tried 10 paint samples on the house, before deciding that Rye and Tansy with Charcoal trim [correction: the trim color is Berlin] are the right colors

9) the garden house became our recording studio 9 months ago, thanks to the generosity of Mr. Smith who moved his music and massage into the second bedroom

8) harvested at least 8 gallons of fava beans…note to self: plant more beans this Winter

7) enjoyed the company of 7 beloved visitors from Portland

6) traveled to Northern California 6 times, including a side trip to Reno, a family reunion for Easter, and sadly, two funerals

5) gratefully participated in mindfulness gatherings with these 5 teachers: Thich Nhat Hanh my root teacher, Dandapani, Roshi Joan Halifax, Sister Helen Prejean, and we were blessed by the incomparable Dalai Lama with all of his lightness and grace

4) built 4 new raised beds in the garden to grow even more food for our table, and visited a couple of noteworthy California public gardens with my oldest friend

3) worked with 3 new voice actors on Australian, Spanish and Korean projects

2) made 2 moves toward meaningful volunteering by completing hospice training and beginning to lead hospice families in mindfulness practice

1) left my 1 corporate job, to jump feet first into life as a creative freelancer