Thursday, July 23, 2009


We got those.

And Green Zebra.

Elsewhere, we are suffering a lack of squash and zucchini after a severe vine borer attack. We uprooted all the plants and killed all the larvae we found. Hopefully we got them all, and next year we will grow our squash under row covers until the threat of aerial attack has passed.

Also steadily rolling in: cucumbers and string beans. And oh, there's lots of taters to dig.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

more beans, please!

I wanted to mention a new book I picked up recently called Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman. Andrea has written several books including The Roasted Vegetable and The New Vegetarian Grill, and has contributed to The Classic Zucchini Cookbook-all new favorite cookbooks of mine with many amazing options (the roasted kohlrabi has convinced me to grow this veg in the fall).

Yesterday we tried the roasted green beans recipe which is in Serving Up the Harvest and The Roasted Vegetable. You can search either book for the recipe on Amazon and I highly recommend you do-it's simple (2 lbs of beans, oil, salt, an oven at 450 for 15 mins) and oh so delicious. It takes the grassy edge off the beans and makes them sweet and juicy. Having picked our plants clean to make this, we are now waiting for them to produce more (and contemplating hitting the farmers market in the meantime). The recipe is correct-there are never enough green beans once you've tried this recipe.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

today: 27 June

Today we have potatoes. Purple Peruvians.
Steamed and mashed, served with fresh dill, salt and pepper. Yum.
It's hot here, hottest it has been all year, but you won't find me outside in less than jeans, knee high socks and long sleeve shirt to garden anymore. The mosquitoes find me quite delicious, apparently, and somehow manage to bite me even through all this protection.

Yesterday's haul: 2 zukes, lots of chard and green beans. Today's haul looked like this, but 2 cukes and 2 yellow squash included. We are not sick of squash....yet.
Lots of stuff growing and growing and growing. Here the cherokee moon and stars watermelon is climbing high. There's already one melon the size of an orange and several more starting to grow. Think we'll start pinching back the vine to focus on three or four good melons. We will slip these melons inside old nylon stockings and support them on the trellis. This way should keep the birds away. I won't believe it until I see it, for we have several fearless deep crows hanging around the yard. They've already attacked the neighbor's tomatoes...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

the squash are in weeks after planting. It's nice to keep records so I can determine this sort of thing for the future. Now if only we had written down the day we planted the potatoes. I'd like to say it's almost time for them to come out, but all I see when I dig around in the dirt are tiny wee taters that seem smaller than the seed pieces we put in. Any advice?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

hidden treasures

The fun part about gardening, especially if you are trying it out for the first time in years and have forgotten all the cool bits, is going out each day to see what nature has created for you.
Our first snap beans! mmm... purple.

To think that Nature has created this bounty as a byproduct of normal plant growth, and my family will harvest and sustain ourselves from it is incredible in its synergy. Particularly when warped ideas about where food really comes from abound in today's removed society.

Our favorite part of the garden has been tooling around first thing in the morning, still in our pj's, cultivating what's here, dreaming about future plans.
Having a snack or two to munch on is helpful, of course. The bean with a bite taken out of it was nommed by the C-bear. If I told you none of the peas we harvested this year ever made it to the table, barely into the house, would you be surprised?

a favorite passage

Removing the weeds
putting fresh soil about the bean stems
and encouraging this weed which I had sown
making the yellow soil express its summer thought
in bean leaves and blossoms
rather than in wormwood and piper and millet grass
making the earth say beans
instead of grass-
this was my daily work.
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Thursday, May 28, 2009

fast grow the weeds

First, a question for you uber gardeners out there: I have read that tomatoes actually enjoy being planted in the same place in the garden year after year. Fact? Or Fiction?

I am always surprised at how fast the time rolls by, and with a small child the adventures are ... new! Yet the garden, it never sleeps.

We started out this year with the Square Foot Gardening method. I'm sure you might have heard of it. While the book sells like a Ronco infomercial, the logic behind it seems sound. Yet we have discovered that having plants spread out among six beds and the upkeep of the "squares" just isn't our style.

And that's okay.

We are drowning in a sea of lettuce and spinach, chard and kale. The cabbage worms have struck, the thunderstorms have pelted, and now the sun shines brightly. Even as I become tired of all the greens I am eating the tomatoes and squash eagerly shoot out of the ground, promises of the summer harvest.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

did you have a good easter?

We did. And a good vacation to Florida, my birthday was awesome, and oh, mother's day. Check and check.

So, how's things with you?

It has been crazy around here. I'm excited that we are heading into summer and the garden is picking up full steam. I have never grown a full blown vegetable garden from seed on my own before so we're learning this year what to plant when. The chrisasaurus has described the current state of it, and I have just realized my last pictures of the garden were from oh, March? Clearly outdated. We're expecting a thunderstorm soon so I'll take myself outside here with the kiddo in a few.

For now, back to the jamming that's going on in the kitchen. Not the musical kind, the strawberry kind. We went berry picking with the small one and are now knee deep in strawberries. As soon as we got there I realized we took her strawberry picking for the first time ever and I. Forgot. The. Camera. I wish I could say this bonehead move was an isolated event but it seems that it's just par for the course for me these days.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I bought a calendar with no 7's...

Ok, so it's been longer than two weeks.... But I promise we've been busy. Much progress was made on the garden, so...

Now weighing in with 6 4x8 and 1 4x2 Herb bed... is the garden. Once we get photos off the digital camera we can post some. I leave that to my lovely and talented wife. Our potatoes are huge and ready to flower, as are the first plantings of peas. I'm also pleased to not that my trellis strands are working out for the pea plants; I was concerned (yes Tim Gunn finger and all) that is was a little too far away for them to climb, but they found them, with a little help.

Yesterday was our first application of DE, which is not unlike flouring. Hopefully it takes care of whatever the heck is eating the heck out of our veggies. After a brief invasion of cabbage moths, it's hoped that our broccoli and other related plants will recover. Some organic coffee grounds from work will hopefully keep the rest of the moths away so we can eat the stuff and not them.

Also, we started taking musical instrument lessons. For me, guitar and for TW, fiddle. If I find a jug of shine and some overalls it will confirm that she intends to turn me into a hillbilly (not that that's a bad thing mind you); either that or I'm trapped in a horrible episode of Hee-Haw.

As I said, pictures will be hopefully forthcoming...

Monday, March 2, 2009

snow day

In march of all times. This place never ceases to amaze me with its weather capabilities.
We got four raised beds completed thursday with the arrival of the dirt. Then the rain began. And it rained and rained and rained. Then the rain turned to snow. So I made scones.
Which look more hearty and rustic than high quality but oh, did these ever taste good. These are the Orange Scones from Vegan with a Vengeance, though I subbed lemon for the orange in all places for lack of one. I expect the orange variety will be yum as well.

I also subbed whole wheat flour for the AP flour called for. I have ceased to buy any flour that isn't Bob's Red Mill and until we get a flour mill and start grinding our own (someday, when I have some semblance of spare time again) I don't think I will buy any other. The whole wheat flour is awesome for the hearty bread I make as well as for the baked goods we use it for. Sift it well and it should be good to you.

P.S. the corn meal makes an awesome cornbread as well. Future post!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

working hard for the veggies

With a 60 degree day on the weather radar we knew that this would be a good one for getting a jump start on our gardening plans. We are essentially starting at square one as far as food gardening, and part one of our Plan To Grow A Crapton of Veg started with building some raised beds. And 8 cubic yards of dirt!

Luckily, wonder hubby has been coming home early-ish from work to get outside every day this week and level the ground to install these beds. It wasn't all 60 degree weather these past few days-it was more like 40s and 30s in the early evening that he braved the cold.

But get them done he did-all but the fifth, which requires another run to the lumber department.
Now for the compost-y filling. And just in time for a large amount of rain this weekend. Woot.

The tomato seedlings are sprouting, coming back strong after a small over watering mishap.
And everywhere else spring it bursting onto our mild climate already. Buds on trees, flocks of robins, fields of daffodils.
This is my favorite part of the year.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

the garden, stage 1

Seed to Seed challenge update:

Somewhere here in the near future there will be raised beds and compost going in. Right after some of the smaller trees come out. These little guys are giving up their lives, though I promised each one we would be planting two more to replace it. Dwarf fruit trees, in the fall. That's the plan anyway!

Is it hot in here....??

So it appears that now another prominent scientist has come out against the theory of runaway global warming... I'm glad to see that someone else i trying to get across a more objective view.

I suppose some background is in order.. by education, I'm an environmental scientist (concentration in waste management). I find any aspect of science deeply interesting, and I will watch any science shows I can, something that my beloved wife can't usually stand to watch. My original goal was to work for the EPA cleaning up superfund and other hazardous waste sites. I learned how to deal with petroleum spills and groundwater modeling, etc. As it turns out, back then, people didn't want you unless your degree said engineer... sure it's only a few classes, but it's a different college inside the university, and I wasn't a part of that. So now, by trade I'm a Network "Engineer". Oh well, at least I'm not slogging around in a hazmat suit now right?

In any case, during my extended stay in college, I did a research project on "global warming" in it's true form, the process of heat transport and cycling that LETS US LIVE ON THIS PLANET. People have this notion that global warming is a new term that science invented. In truth, without it, humans as we know them would not be able to survive on Earth.

Back to what I was talking about. The man's point is valid, as with most things, the goverment I believe, is using this as a way to gain a stronger foothold. The issue when a large body of people, who generally don't have your best interest in mind, is that truth often gets twisted, or at the least common sense does not prevail. In that regard, I suppose that means I should label Al Gore a villain. I have mixed feelings on this, I believe that he may truly mean well, and his message is good. More importantly, though, his data is fundamentally flawed, in my opinion. It seems that he has chosen to only take the most extreme set of data and use it, which is to say, he's using shock tactics to get his more modest point across. His message that we need to become better caretakers of our one an only planet is on the money, it's just hard to see that behind the power point slides of a post apocalyptic global warming wasteland.

Humankind has not been on the Earth long enough to know all it's inner workings. While that may be the case, I think I can say with relative certainty, as a "scientist", and someone with some shred of common sense, that we cannot continue to go on the way we are. Our food is contaminated, our air is poisoned, and our water is becoming undrinkable. At what point will we wake up and realize that THIS is what we are to blame for. A little temp change seems to pale in comparison to not being able to eat, drink, or breathe without risk of death. What many don't seem to get is that returning to a more sustainable lifestyle will have a dual positive effect of preserving our food and water supply, as well as restoring the environment. The time to start that has long passed, but maybe it's not too late to start.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

On cranial offspring.... oh and olives

So... a recipe...

One note before I start, the pasta needed about another 30-60 seconds of cook time. Being the first time I had made fresh whole wheat pasta, it didn't finish cooking like a white flour pasta would after taking it out of the water, so it was ever so slightly undercooked. (So that's bring water to a boil after adding fresh pasta and cook for about 3 mins instead of 2). Other than that, I would eat it everyday. Yes, all 3 meals...

There is no sauce here per se, although I imagine that a good, savory tomato or a "cream" sauce would work just fine. This particular iteration only has a light olive oil glaze on it, so you could, if you like extra OO on your pasta (I do, she doesn't), you could also add a bit more oil at the end, just drizzle over the top. Anywho..

1 bag Organic peas
1 package Tofurky Italian Sausages, cut into 1/4 - 1/2 inch slices
a handful of olives, stuffed or not, the pictures olives happened to be super collossal pimento stuffed spanish olives, probably about 1/2 a cup roughly sliced
4 TBS Organic EV olive oil

I should mention this is a two pan recipe for us, as I do not like olives at all. I've tried them, with my wife as a witness, they are just too much for me. If you like olives, you can certainly do all this in one pan, and save some washing later.

In a small saucepan (or after you cook the peas below if you use the same pot), add a tablespoon of olive oil and over med high heat, saute the olives until they start to get browned, this can take up to 10 minutes depending on your pans and stove, so don't rush. If you heat them too fast, the oil inside can turn on you and make them more bitter than they already are.

In a large saucepan, start out by sauteing the peas (they can be frozen) in a tablespoon or two of olive oil over med high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes, until all the peas are thawed, and they start to darken. Remove from the pan and return the pan to the heat. You know they are done when they shrivel up a little after you take them off the heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and add the sausage slices. Saute these until they get color. We have Le Creuset pans, so some of the bits in the sausage stick a little, if you use cast iron or enamel and they stick, it's ok, just stir gently constantly to keep them from burning on. After they cook for about 5 minutes, add 3 tablespoons of water or no/low salt veggie stock (you do use homemade right?) to deglaze the pan (scrape with a spoon or spatula that's safe for your pan; presumably you were already using one to stir anyway). Let this cook until the water is gone, but the sausage still looks moist, then add the peas back in and stir for a minute or two to combine. If you like the olives, then add them in with the peas or add them on top. Once combined, spoon over your cooked pasta, rice or whatever you like.

You'll note a complete lack of additional spices here. With the sausage being so heavily spiced, I didn't see any need to add more to the party. Part of the reason I like to add more oil to them is to bring out the flavors that are oil soluable and use that to coat and season the peas. So far it seems to work pretty well. Adding the peas back in when there is still a tiny amount of water left also aids in that process.

You can also top this with Vegan parm, tomato sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, or a nice lightly flavored cream sauce.

I should also note that we really do try to use all organic ingredients whenever we can. In the recipes I have given below, with a few rare exceptions, all that is organic. From now on, when I post up a recipe I will include the organic notation. This is by no means trying to dictate using organic ingredients, but perhaps it will tip you on foods that are available organically, and if you can't readily find it, maybe you'll get up the nerve to ask where we get it from!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

sunday dinner

Reason #87 I'm a bad food blogger: Sitting down to dinner sunday I barely remembered to snap a photo before devouring this bowl o' deliciousness.

This would be green olives, peas, and some Tofurkey sausage sauteed up together and then added to the top of...

...homemade pasta! Made with the recipe from Bryanna Clark Grogan and my mom's pilfered pasta maker. Rawr!

Husband dearest, would you like to post the recipe? It was your brain child, after all.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Well that was a nice break now wasn't it?
When people ask me "what's new" I have a bad habit of replying "not much". For a number of reasons: I don't want to bore them with a subject they might not care about, or I don't feel like giving a big explanation for something, or I am too embarrassed to admit what I was really doing (looking up vegan food pron, hello). So it's a bit of a change for me to blog about what is actually going on in life here.
And the reality is ... not much. I made stock. Lots of veg stock.

And brownies! More on this development soon.
Also, our sweet bug turned a year old. It's crazy to think that I have been a mother for a year, but even more unbelievable to look at the tiny creature she used to be and all the growth that has occurred since.

So, interesting stuff, yes? Life at its best. And more to come, always. Always.

Monday, January 12, 2009

DING! rice is done!

Over the course of our marriage, I have at times, stumbled upon dishes that my wife thinks are great. Much more numerous are the times where she looked at me after trying/smelling it as if to ask me if I truly believed she would eat that. She might insinuate it's from me not measuring, (I use my palm to measure things, and experienced cooks/chefs will tell you if you've done it for a long time, it's accurate!) My personal belief is that this stems from a profound difference in our food upbringing, as well as a difference in taste buds. She is much more sensitive to spices that I grew up eating (namely Italian ones) and finds things much more "spiced" than I do in general, particularly if one of the aforementioned (YES!!!) spices is used. Her mother didn't cook with salt or much in the way of spices, so the first few things I made for her blew her taste buds out of the water, to say the least. Over the course of time, she's become less sensitive, but I still make many mistakes here and there.

When I used to make sauce for example (yes, I mean tomato), it was heavily laden with Basil and Oregano, with a shot of Thyme thrown in for good measure. When making it now, I have to tone down the spices quite a bit, so it tastes different than what I remember; still good, but different. I've gotten to the point now that I try and make sure to let her taste it after I've waved the spice jar over the stuff before I add too much. I will say that since going vegan again, she's eating onion in things, a feat I never thought possible.

Being a former professional cook (not chef.. cook, I don't have a culinary degree), this was, suffice it to say, disappointing and frustrating for both of us. You never want to be the cook that makes food no one else will eat but you. While that's certainly a good way to keep yourself fed, it's not a good way to keep your family happy. Thankfully, this is not one of those dishes. It's actually painfully simple, made even more simple by the fact that half the work is usually done for me before I get home.

Fried Rice

Ingredients: (Yes that is a cast iron wok, thanks for asking!)

This makes enough for 2 if it's all you're eating, 4 if it's a side.
  • 3-4 TBS Canola, Peanut or other light tasting "saute friendly" oil. You could also use Coconut oil if you like that taste in your rice
  • 2 Cups frozen peas
  • 4 cups cooked rice (we use organic brown rice, cooked to perfection on the Gaba cycle of our Zojirushi Rice Maker)
  • 1 tsp Sesame seed oil (regular or toasted)
  • 2 tsp Garlic powder
  • 2 tsp Onion powder
  • 1 tsp Mustard seed powder
  • 1/4 Cup Low Sodium Tamari, Shoyu or Soy Sauce
A bit on the powder. You could certainly use "real" garlic and onion (in fact I would use whole onion, but my wife is opposed to it in rice), but I find that the lack of other things in this simple rice makes it feel more, I dunno, clean.

Over high heat, cook the peas in 2 TBS oil for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and add cooked rice, and add a little more canola oil and the sesame oil. I find that damp starchy foods (read: freshly cooked rice) stick to that pan on high heat, despite my attempts to season it over and over again. Stir the rice for a few minutes, then add the spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the Tamari. Stir through and serve hot.

Feel free to add any veggies you find to your liking. Any long cooking or frozen veggies would need to go in before hand (alternatively you could steam them first, then toss them around at first just to give them a little color.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

weekend vittles

I look forward to the weekends and the opportunity to spend a little more time on food. With my wonder husband present for baby distractionary maneuvers, I have a few more moments to work on my veggie slice and dice skills and put together a meal that maybe has a side dish instead of being just a big pot of soup.

Of course, first the chrisasaurus needs to whip up waffles for breakfast! We use the pancake recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, doubled for waffle batter.
What you see before you is the king of waffle makers, the All Clad Waffler 9000. (The number is discretionary, I just sort of threw that in.) This was a Christmas gift to our clan and is a ten thousand point improvement over our old waffle maker, the Bamalator, which took about ten minutes to churn out two waffles (and a real let down in the BAM! department as well).
My husband will tell you I have no patience for that sort of lollygagging when it comes to my breakfast foods. This waffler contraption makes all my waffles in large sheets and in 1/4 the time it used to take for us to make them total. That's what I call progress. Above is my daughter's as the rest of them did not last long enough for photos.

Oh and then there was a soup. It was based on the Southern New Year's Day soup from this month's Vegetarian Times. I didn't see it on their website. So if you have the mag, check out that photo because it looks much better.

I kinda made substitutions and additions based on what I had in the pantry. You should know I am a newb at cooking and am usually not confident enough to stray from a recipe. So if I can, you can. I wanted to use up the last bit of black eyed peas I had, so I decided to roll with it. I threw in a pot:

The last glug of olive oil in my bottle into the pot. About 2 Tbs.
Chopped up half an onion
4 cloves of garlic minced
Random dash of assorted spices: Marjoram, Thyme, Sage.
Half a bunch of curly leaf kale, stems removed, and chopped into largish pieces
28 oz can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup dried black eyed peas
1 cup squiggly pasta
Less than 1 qt of veg broth (I believe about 1 cup was used from it, then I used the rest in this soup)
7 cups of water

Heat up the oil, saute the onion and garlic, add the kale and cook for a bit until it starts wilting. Add veg broth, water, tomatoes and black eyed peas. This needs to simmer about an hour. Then I added the pasta, let it cook through about ten minutes and we ate it with Vegan Parm (recipe from Yellow Rose Recipes) and the last bit of homemade bread we had. Yum!

Besides the large hunks of tomato in the soup (neither of us are fans of eating chunks of warm tomato) it turned out really well, sort of a spin on a minestrone. The other thing I might try doing is adding less water or more broth. I really need to make some broth, we are out, and I need to freeze it so I have it on hand. I never seem to get from putting it in the fridge to cool to putting it in the freezer for storage. Any tips out there? I am always open to your experiences and suggestions.

Friday, January 9, 2009

I drank WHAT?!

I just came to the gruesome realization that I made that entire last post without using aforementioned, quite possible my most favorite word in the english language. DO not ask why, and do NOT add water. The results would be far more severe than any old chinese antiquities shop keeper would have you believe.

I am both shamed and disappointed.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Does anyone need anything moistened?

So it seems that I have been granted access... I thought a long time about how exactly I would form my first post, a smorgasbord of tiny pearls of what little wisdom I have at my disposal. No doubt, my wife would tell you that she would fully expect me to post something that was entirely composed of smart alec comments. While I see no need to disappoint, I will struggle to contain myself. As she reminds me, "Our children will be reading this blog at some point." I sleep soundly knowing they will eventually come to know their father (and my father) as having a derriere that attended only the finest clown schools. I suppose a place of sanctity from that is not such a bad thing, a place where a more serious side can come to the forefront. I am, if nothing else, a creature of reason. Besides, any man with a functioning brain cell dare not wake the ire of a mother. Those of you who do not understand would do well to learn. I have reason to believe a simple search through Google would reveal all you need to know and more.

Being a techie type of person, I find it most amusing that this is in fact, my first ever post on a blog. Oh sure I had a web site here and there, but truly, I have never delved into the goodness that is the modern web site. I stopped posting web pages at home many moons ago, and I haven't been on IRC, AIM or any other messenger for years. I do not twitter, nor will I, unless there is some sort of situation occurring that would require medical intervention. I do not own cool tech gadgets, mostly because I can't afford them, but also mostly because I just don't feel the wanton need for them. I do not see the sense in buying the latest new gadget, nor do I get caught up in the fervor for them. I can barely stand to wait in exceedingly long lines in a grocery store, why would I wait overnight to get THIS new phone, because it has more memory than the last? Keep in mind that I need the things at the grocery store to LIVE. Indeed, I am quite technologically naked, as it were. I do enjoy a good gaming machine though, so I supposed I'm not totally without substance. Some might suggest that my nerd self is weak, or is some ghoulish shell lurking for it's next morsel. I do spend a lot of time reading hardware reviews, in the vain hope that someday, I too will own that video card. Eventually I probably will, I just won't pay 600$ for it. My Frugality beats up your nerd. Sho'nuff.

It would also appear that my wife is a closet blogger. While I knew she spent a good deal of time doing ridiculous things on the interwebs, I had no idea the DEPTH. Gandalf himself has no comprehension of the magnitude I tell you. If he did, I can assure you his robe would not have been white; perhaps variegated. (Did I mention that I've picked up on knitting terms?) Being lost in a sea of blogs and chat windows has to be worse than a Balrog, right? Fly you fools indeed.

By the way, I'm not being paid by the word for this, so I have no contractual obligation to type a long winded post. Having said that, I believe this will be a long winded post. Don't say I didn't warn you.

On a more serious note, and hearkening back to my earlier statement about our children reading this, I would be remiss if I didn't say SOMETHING regarding just that. Being a father is all at once scary, thrilling, intimidating, humbling, stressful, full of wonder and perhaps most importantly, fun. I could have gone on there, but I didn't. See how I've grown? I could also type out everything about me all in one run on post, but that would be a web site wouldn't it? Perhaps someone who is up on this new fangled interweb can enlighten me. I'm still stuck in the html/asp era, and yes, notepad is god for web design.

IN any case I suppose an explanation is in order. I don't mean any of those adjectives in a negative way, or at least not in any serious way. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact I have a child, much less that she is about to be a year old. Perhaps I can sum it up this way. Those of you who are parents will no doubt remember that every time someone talked to you about your fears as a first time parent, they always said, "You'll do fine, just be the best father/mother you can be." (This is assuming of course they didn't tell you exactly what to do...) At the time, you probably rolled your eyes and thought that you had just been given the most corny advice ever. "Being the best parent I can be isn't GOOD enough" you said, "I have to be better than that." A year in, I can safely say that I have come to understand what they meant. It isn't that being the best you can be isn't good enough, it's the only way to be.

It's often said that you should never stop learning, and this is doubly true for a parent. Doing anything less is a disservice to your child, as well as yourself. I have learned things about myself that I never imagined I would learn, and felt things I never fully understood. While it has most assuredly made me a better person, it has also showed me that I am woefully inadequate. You struggle mightily with the fact that NO ONE can be the perfect parent, and it is a constant source of inner turmoil. The fact of the matter is, no matter what you do, there is most likely always a way to do it better, you just didn't think of it at the time (and if you're "lucky", someone else made sure to take the time to tell you).

Having said all that, it is also important that your child understand WHY you do things the way you do. Because I said so is definitely not going to cut it in our house, and I hope it doesn't in yours either. You should never shut out your children, as doing so will only result in bitterness and resentment. While you have to lay down ground rules for your kids, I believe that having them involved with the decisions cannot be a bad thing. I'm not suggesting that you let them run their lives (at least not till they are older), but is it so bad that they want to wear THAT outfit with two different shoes and your sweater? I guess what I'm trying to say is that being flexible makes things a lot less stressful. Here's to hoping that I remember that in the future.

Take note however, that this rule does not apply to boys attempting to date my daughter. I have a foot, and I knew where to put it, so you just keep that in mind, eh? Also, I will be teaching her karate, so in case I'm too old to lift my leg that high lest I break a hip, she can do it for me. Again, don't say I didn't warn you...

Until next time.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Reason: Gardening.

I am a bit of a transplant. Born in New England, I have lived in several different states and overseas while my military family followed my dad around the world. It was good times and gave me life experiences that some kids my age will never have.

A predominant chunk of my childhood and life was spent in the Pacific Northwest, and it is there that I realize now I truly feel at home. I am a lush green forest kind of girl. But one of the biggest things I remember from my home in Washington was the garden my parents tended. I have pictures somewhere, and I'd love to share them someday. This backyard has super status in my memory as the coolest backyard ever (well, until we moved to California... then I had a naval base for a backyard and that was pretty cool too).

Lately I have felt disconnected and removed from things like my community and the passage of time, particularly the seasons. I realize now that gardening has a lot to offer me besides heavy sweaty work in the buggy, humid summers. It can offer me a new outlook on the life that I sometimes think of as drudgery. It can help me reconnect to the girl that used to hike alone in the woods without fear of spiders, bears, or snakes. It can help me be a better mother to my daughter, wife to my husband, and steward to my land.

Long story short, I want to give my daughter the gift of garden related memories, like the kind I remember with such fondness. As part of this, I'm signing up for the Growing Challenge from Seed to Seed over at One Green Generation. I had already planned to start a basic veg garden this year, and the idea that I can then save the seeds from successful plants and use them next year will motivate me. Also, having to answer to someone else about what I'm doing will keep me honest. So, I suppose I should get to planning what seeds I should buy this year...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


So here it is, the first post in yet another blog I contribute towards. Since 1997, I have been "blogging" in some way or another... my interests, from the X-Files to Ronin Warriors to knitting have always kept me on the internet in some way or another. The most recent one, fiberjinx, has lost my interest by no fault of its own. Simply, between the advent of Ravelry and the lack of knitting time I have had since my daughter's birth, it has fallen out of my realm of upkeep.

So, another blog you ask? Well, I want to do this for a number of reasons, not least of all holding myself accountable for things I plan to do, finding some kindred spirits in the world, and keeping my mind healthy and active. That makes me sound like I'm senile, but I'm only 25, yet the "mommy brain" syndrome has been dulling my wit like an old pearl eraser. Does that even make sense? I am in no shape to know!

What I don't want to happen is for this to become a chore to me again-and that takes the joy out of things. I'm not going to expect myself to blog daily, or even weekly necessarily. But I do want to keep some record of this family's events, not least of all because someday this can be a well kept record for my daughter to look back and say, "Wow. My mom was kinda weird. But in a good way?"

So. Deep breath, close eyes, dive in. Here goes!