~rainbow mondays~

red Pictures 172

red: rhodie riot (with red leaves of the cherry tree in the background).

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yellow: moth in my garden. tolerated for photographic purposes.

green Pictures 145

green: elk at rest

blue Pictures 174

blue: i may not have much produce to show for my overwintered garden, but i do have this bumper crop of forget-me-nots.

purple Pictures 173

purple: tip-toeing through the ajuga in my new birks (birthday present to myself!)

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

spring break in the age of reason

i mentioned a birthday post, but i never actually began typing that, and now a month has already gone by. march came in like a vortex, in the form of the hunger games series, and i was not spit out again for 12 days while i devoured chapters late into the night. i never thought i would read that series, but then i kept feeling left out of the conversations my after school students were having. whoosh: the sound of me in the vortex as march sped by.

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anyway, i am now the parent of a seven year old boy. quinn had several weeks of parties and presents, as you do when you live in two households and have a chosen family and a school family and a real family far away who all want to celebrate with you. and now i am spending spring break with this child who seems to have arrived in the age of reason exactly at the prescribed time on the child development time table.

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i have always heard in passing how seven begins this so-called age of reason, and now i know what it looks like. it looks like a picky eater pondering things like “spicy vegetables”, mint, and chocolate, and acknowledging that someday he may end up liking them, even though he doesn’t for now. it looks like a boy who has never been very motivated to write saying, “i should take notes on that,” and deciding that a three-fingered grip is worth a try, because he can see how it someday will help him write more quickly when he is writing chapter books. it looks like a budding new reader commenting over his reheated pancakes, “for proficient readers, every word is a sight word, isn’t it?”

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yoda’s hut, which is really an accessory in the x-wing fighter lego set, was the one thing quinn requested for his birthday. thank goodness for ebay.

he traced the map from the series we are reading, the guardians of ga’hoole, by kathryn lasky, using a photocopy from the book which he taped to the sliding glass door for light on a sunny sunday. he brought the finished tracing for show and tell, and i noticed that he lost focus on the questions the group asked, because he was concentrating on the fact that he was able to read the names of the places on the map.

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quinn is really into minecraft, but i need to preface that by saying he has never played, or even truly witnessed the playing of the video game. he calls it, in his oh-so-quinn way, mindcraft, with a d. he has drawn picture after picture, and coveted lego sets of the minecraft persuasion, and done various scenarios in his imagination about said game, while never having played the game, or even, as yet, bugged me to let him play it.

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selling pictures of herbert hoover and george w. bush. want to buy a republican?

i asked him what he likes so much about it.

“well, it’s because i get to use my mind, to make crafts. like making different buildings and guys and making them do different things, and building caves. so i make all these crafts with my mind. see? mindcraft.”

yes, i see.

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talking drum session at ols

quinn won’t be playing minecraft any time soon, as i am reluctant to engage him in the super-reinforcement of neuronal connections linking violence and fun. yet i like to encourage his creativity. the best thing is that i can have a conversation with him about this very idea, and not really hold anything back, and he is able to grasp all of the concepts i present to him about neurons and violence. he just seems able to hang with just about anything we need to talk about, and see my point of view, even though it is not his. which is precisely what i had overheard other parents saying is what seven is supposed to be all about.

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i like that i put my kiddo to bed and have to get him to stop drawing frame after frame of the current video game he is imagining in his crafty mind. i like that he is video game savvy, but only so much so that he takes the game off screen and goes onto paper with it, creating paper model versions of his own unique blends: angry birds legos, how to train your dragon legos, guardians of ga’hoole angry birds.

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i appreciate that in spite of wanting more than the 30 minutes of screen time i allow him per day, he feels he can still say to me candidly in minute 31, “my brain doesn’t feel very good. it feels like… a lego brick. with a whole bunch of pots on the top of it. and sauce, sprinkled everywhere!”

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having a seven-year-old is also being blown away by the fact that i am no longer a part of all of the conversations he is having. sometimes, i find out about a current hot topic of the seven-year-old justice-and-environment-loving cohort when he finds me in the kitchen scooping coconut oil into the granola bowl and says, “do you want to know why i don’t want you to buy coconut oil anymore? it’s because people are taking away aminals’ homes to make it.” the juxtaposition of “aminal,” that three-year-old hold-out of a word, with this conservation agenda, takes my breath away. (and i need to do some research on sourcing environmentally sustainable coconut oil, apparently!)

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the sheer amount of academic work quinn chose to do during spring break was as much staggering as it was encouraging given my approach of trusting in his internal schedule, especially considering how he can go weeks at a time without investing much energy in any real assignments. there was only one specific assignment for his reading teacher that i even mentioned over break, which he happily completed twice, but the rest: the pile of math worksheets, handwriting workbook practice, story book writing (not just making and drawing, but actual writing!), and his decision to pull out both boxes of bob books and read them to me in order from start to finish, were all him. mr. seven, emergent reader with a crafty mind.

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~


red: flash has returned! it’s definitely spring.

orange bark

orange: afternoon sun through madrone bark


yellow: oregon grape in bloom

trillium windmills

green: trilliums lining the hillsides like tiny windmills

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blue: the sky, with bird and blossoms


purple: after a trim last year, this bush came back with extra vigorous blooms


brown/rainbow: one of the garden guardians


white/rainbow: one more hummingbird, with its head buried deep in the flowers. i hope that is the kind of week you have!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

st pattys rainbow

on this st. patrick’s day morning, it felt particularly lucky to witness a rainbow right over the ocean.

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red: the rest of this week’s rainbow monday photos are all flowers!!! our first rhododendrons of the year are the reds.

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orange: the middle of this daffodil seems to have derived some extra minerals from living next to the compost heap.

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yellow: violets

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green: comfrey, not yet flowering but almost!

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blue: forget-me-nots

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purple: another patch of violets

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white: i had been calling these magnolias, but i’ve been told they are starry dogwood trees. either way, i find them to be one of the most magical early blooms of spring.

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speaking of magical, it was a nice weekend having my boy around, doing his traditional unstructured sunday activities of eat-your-age-in-pancakes, and lounging around partially dressed being read to. he also played with his legos, dragged his crab trap around the yard, and drew various new angry birds games of his own invention. oh, and played peek-a-boo with me while i was doing a flower photo-shoot just outside the window.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

Picturez 006 happy 7

red: the only color in his seven birthday balloons to appear twice.

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orange: the birthday boy flying his new x-wing fighter

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yellow: forsythia in bloom. time to plant peas!

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green: orbs of green light glowing through this beautiful web.

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blue: backdrop of cherry blossoms

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pink: the brave little tree blooms another year.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

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pink: frosting color requested by the birthday boy, and provided in hippie cake approximation, according to his specifications. (a separate birthday post will be forthcoming! seven!!!)

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orange: newts!

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yellow: first daffodil bloom, at the foot of our driveway.


green: i got to take a sunday drive out into the forest to gather firewood with my honey, and luckily brought my camera along. we passed lots of parked trucks as people were out fishing in the yachats river. and so was this majestic creature.

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blue: speaking of majestic creatures… these two hawks were perched together on a branch on my way into town on saturday. it’s been a wilderness week… with a nice blue backdrop for some of it!


purple: vinca blooms – i forget that they come this early.

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brown: yet another wilderness moment, one of the regular visitors to our backyard.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

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white: more snow on the coast!

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red: quinn’s valentine’s day garb

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orange: looking out the window at the snow.

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orange: a glimpse at what my valentine has been working on in all his spare time.

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yellow: quinn’s glowing face at his early birthday party, held saturday.

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green: snow last week, but spring is ready to burst onto the scene.

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blue: an underwater lego land.

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purple: see what i mean about spring?

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brown: hobbit on pony.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday morning

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

other posts you may enjoy:

it lights the whole sky



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dear valentine,

your love for me is the exact opposite of unrequited. i look forward to 99 more valentine’s days with you. xoxoxo, mb


even after all this time

the sun never says to the earth,

“you owe me.”

look what happens with a love like that,

it lights the whole sky.

~hafiz, via danny ladinsky, via the sunPicture 003


other posts you may enjoy:

break out your deer hair stacker

alternate title: it’ll fish

i have not written much about my current gainful employment as after school program site coordinator, and, since i resolved in 2014 to complain less, it may continue to be an untapped subject (with a few rants saved in drafts). the job is both rewarding and frustrating, and results in us eating a lot of nachos for dinner at the end of each very long day. however, there are little connections made there that augment quality of life rather than detracting from it. a few volunteers from our local fly fishing club will be coming out to work with my after school kids, and when they came to visit the site and introduce themselves on monday, one of them, a man named harry who would make a good santa clause, announced that on thursday evening, the club would be meeting at a nearby rec center for fly tying night.

guess who would not let me forget about fly tying night? in spite of barfing on wednesday evening, and skipping school on thursday morning, quinn was up and ready to go thursday afternoon, and when we finished with after school program, we headed off for our fly tying date. which, if it’s up to him, will likely become a regular event on the third thursday of each winter month.

there were about ten older gentlemen who looked like they had been busy tying flies for a half hour or more when we arrived two minutes past the start time, and almost all of them did a double take at a mom and young child walking in, but harry practically leaped out of his chair to welcome us. he had assured us there was no age limit, and that they would be happy to teach anyone who wanted to learn. this proved to be true, and another man named john patiently worked with quinn, standing over his shoulder for a whole hour and taking him through every step of tying a “western coachman” fly, which happened to be the fly the group was attempting that evening. several of the men chimed in from their work stations about how quinn was the most important person in the room that night, both to serve as a vessel to carry this crazy-specialized art into the future, as well as, “to get us to the fishing hole when we get too old to drive.” john indicated he would keep tying with him as long as quinn wanted, but i had to insist on taking the boy home after an hour to make it to bed on time.

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western coachman by quinn

during the course of the week, quinn had told me that while he already knows some things about fly tying, he is really interested in learning a whole lot more, because one of his goals in life is to “become a grown-up and master fly tyer.” he also mentioned that he would need to write down the things that he learned at the fly tying meeting, since he would want to remember everything he learned, and if he wrote it down, he would be able to go back and read it again later. i have many 4-8th grade students in the public school setting who have yet to find a use for note-taking, and here is a boy who isn’t even fully literate yet, creating meaning and necessity for note-taking as a means of achieving his own self-motivated life goals.

i offered to take notes for him while he dictated, so that way he could concentrate on watching and using his hands to practice fly tying, and he agreed. this is the essence of what i wrote down, which, maybe not so oddly, seems to contain subtle bits of life advice:

tying a western coachman fly


the last thing you use is the first thing you tie in.

try to avoid cutting your thread, the joke being that “no one here has ever done it before so you don’t want to be the first.” (the one time we did snap our thread on the point of the hook, it was happening simultaneously to two others down the table from us.)

in case you cut your thread, it is best to throw in a few half hitches as you’re winding.

it’s not about perfection, a comment i heard several times was, “… but it’ll fish.”



golden pheasant feather to make the tail

gold tinsel to make the shiny stripes along the abdomen “so it’ll flash.”

peacock feather for iridescent abdomen

white deer hair for wings

brown hackle feather for around the head

some of the tools we used:

vise – holds the hook while you tie

bobbin- holds the thread used for tying/winding around fly

bobbin threader

small sharp scissors for trimming “whiskers” and clipping off ends of feathers

hackle pliers – for grabbing and twisting/winding the peacock and hackle feathers

deer hair stacker – small device into which you drop a small pinch of deer hair and tap on the table, for lining up individual deer hairs evenly so they can be tied in neatly

whip finisher – bendy piece of wire that is used to tie off the head of the fly using a whipping (end of thread is caught under a series of wraps) instead of a knot, that way the head stays smooth

bodkin – small pointy tool used for, among other things, getting the tiniest drop of head cement, the glue used to secure the whip finish, and applying it to the fly’s head. (quinn was gifted a homemade bodkin made by harry out of an old guitar string. i can see this first tool being the first among his prized fly tying tools for years to come.)

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unfortunately i didn’t bring my camera to fly tying night, a mistake i won’t make again. however, this soggy playing-in-the-rain boy seems fitting for this post

the teacher in me can’t help noticing how the left and right brain need to collaborate in this art, with the left hand holding onto a feather while the right hand winds the bobbin around to secure it. great for 6 year old brains and older gentlemen brains alike.

quinn was mesmerized and attentive and just plain happy. he ended up tying two western coachman flies, with help from john, and was given two more flies tied by harry, who also gave him a special fly holding tool (a cork) to take all four of them home on.

i will give you three guesses what quinn brought to our living school for show and tell on friday.

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other posts you may enjoy:

two years!

recently it snowed and then got very cold, and we had some issues with our spring-fed, gravity-driven water system. i was reminded of how my inner feminist has completely sold out for the conventional male/female division of labor, and how interdependence with an extremely capable handsome man really suits me. i am sure that if it was just me, i would have been able to fix the problem (it would have taken me at least twice as long) and even speak intelligently about the particular issue that occurred, but i am quite content not to understand much about what happened, having bided my time inside the toasty wood-heated house making the dinner while he handled it. i am also sure he would have managed to feed himself, had i not been in his life, but the thing i am surest of is that neither of us would choose that other version of reality over this.

speaking of the handsome man in my life, he has now officially been my man for two whole years. wow, is it just me or do you guys feel like i was only just recently talking about the mysterious stranger in my yoga class and trying to work up the nerve to chat him up at the laundromat? two years!!!

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as you know, since i go on and on about him, he has turned out to be mister exactly right. serious lifelong commitment material. although we are only committed for 99 more years at this point in time, forever is certainly on the table for discussion. i feel unworthy. for our anniversary, i wrote him a love letter and made him a mix cd with a pablo neruda poem inscribed inside the track list; whereas he started speaking not at all cryptically about manifesting the newer, better car he would like me to be driving. with four wheel drive to get me all the way up our driveway in weather such as we just endured, and more room for him to drive it comfortably on road trips we will be taking together. mix cd, subaru. 50 cents, $6 grand. the best thing is, nobody is keeping score.

“your love is better than ice cream, better than anything else that i’ve tried.” i don’t even have to explain a single one of the intentional lyrics i planted on the cd to him. no matter how subtle, he notices every one, knows why each one is significant. which is good, because if pressed, i am not sure i could articulate exactly why the song from the movie zach and miri (hold me up by live) needed to be on this cd. then if i draw attention to any of the subtleties, he pretends to play it cool and oblivious, the same way he will thrust the sports section into my hands open to an article about the romantically sappy way some linebacker just proposed to his girlfriend, and then when i ask him what he liked about the article, will simply reply, “huck it, chuck it, football.”

i, on the other hand, am emotional in the more characteristically feminine role of being prone to weepiness, crying at the drop of a hat, or over the sports page. our living school sang some songs in spanish for our holiday party and it was magical. little drummer boy chokes me up on a regular day, but listening to all the children sing it en español, the non-readers and younger sibling toddlers booming out with “rom-pom-pom-poms” in between all the trickier phrases carried along by the more proficient readers, was quite something. sometimes the tears hit me out of nowhere. my mom sewed a gorgeous tree skirt for us, an amazing, 7-sided, quilted piece of pure beauty, and when i opened the package, sitting alone beside the tree, i wrapped it around myself and cried.

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the tone of some of the songs on the cd mix echo my seasonal trend toward emotional tenderness, with a theme threaded throughout of how keenly i feel our mortality in the context of fierce love, how love sharpens the reality of the impermanence of all of this. take your pick. eddie vedder: “it’s a fragile thing this life we lead, if i think too much i can get overwhelmed by the grace by which we live our lives with death over our shoulder.” bob dylan: “and if there is eternity, i’ll love ya there again.” making a cd is partly my lame attempt at transforming the painful, desperate, grasping feelings into something more beautiful. a way to send my thoughts out in the form of music, as sound waves traveling out into the universe. i unclench and let each impossible thought go, each note a thread from a prayer flag, released forever into the infinite wind.

exhaling, i return to the present moment, where my son has just asked me, “mama, could i make you a christmas present?” and more transformations swirl into being, as a boy once filled only with expectations of piles of gifts to be received has suddenly blossomed into one who also gives.

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another day ends, and i fall into bed with my love, only to blink and the supposed longest night is already over, my exhausted body unsure it has actually slept at all. the christmas tree lights blink on, and i know a freshly shaved face surrounded by the aura of witch hazel and tom’s of maine woodspice is about to burrow into my neck and wake me up to start another day. (isn’t it funny how certain smells can fit one’s olfactory receptors like a key in a very specific you-were-meant-for-me lock?) i know if i turn to the alarm clock, it will read 5:38 and it will be time for me to go wander sleepily around the kitchen manifesting coffee, breakfast, lunch. but first, i have a minute to hold this special man close and mumble nonsensical accusations about how he is an eskimo just returned from outer space, otherwise he would not be so cold. barely thirty seconds pass and he is already contributing more warmth to this equation than i am, in spite of his shirtless foray into the frigid arctic of our bathroom/igloo. yet another magical manifestation of the combined whole being ever so much more than the sum of two separate wholes.

two years, going on 99. and, because i know you will eventually read this, because you are unswervingly dependable and you always do: i love you rich! even after all these years!

other posts you may enjoy: