simmering a rew part 3 ~ stir in wild ingredients

continued from simmering a rew part 2

<3 <3 <3

with quinn in mind, and with thoughts of his life in general, his schooling, and his karate practice (at the time i pulled the cards, his dojo was undergoing a leadership transition), i pulled two cards with “wild” in the title. the first, a painting of coyote, was titled exactly that: wild. “wild, organic curiosity leads you right where you were already going.” good old trickster coyote, teaching us, albeit in riddles, how to follow our intuition.

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and secondly, an image of a basket of cranberries. “wild bounty – abundance at hand!” the idea that hand in hand with successes come some anxiety and even overwhelm, but the fruit is ripening, so keep breathing through “the positive stress of success. make jam!” he is certainly thriving and growing and ripening in all sorts of ways, he’s the picture of abundance, that boy. and here we are, right where we were already going.

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i’ve been trying, in spite of seasonal hibernation tendencies, to make sure we get a regular dose of “wild” in our lives, and whenever we catch an afternoon weather window we have been hiking or biking or heading to the beach. on his most recent bike ride, one of his training wheels finally fell off.

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wheel still on…

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wheel off!

he responded in the usual change-resistant quinn way and insisted i needed to fix it then and there, but soon he was back to riding with one training wheel, the other one tucked away in my bag for safe-keeping like a lost tooth. a little salt-air rust can be a boon when you have a kid who may never voluntarily remove the training wheels.

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sun come up it was blue and gold…ever since i put your picture in a frame… i’m gonna love you til the wheels come off oh yeah… i love you baby and i always will ever since i put your picture in a frame ~tom waits

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some days, it’s about convincing him just exactly how big he is, and encouraging him to step into a more independent, bigger-kid role, even if the very next moment is about letting him be surrounded by bigness, to remind him how small he is, we all are, in comparison to the great big wild world.

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i hear him giggle from his bed where he is reading through his calvin and hobbes book yet again. then, “mama, when calvin’s mom tells him it’s time for a bath, he turns himself into a particle of light and zooms away too fast for her to catch him!” i tuck the light particle in my heart and carry it around with me.

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<3 <3 <3

come back tomorrow to continue reading simmering a rew part 4

other posts you may enjoy:

simmering a rew part 2 ~ heat thoroughly

continued from simmering a rew part 1

<3 <3 <3

the demise of summer/fall seems to be what prompts me to traditionally pull some cards from the two decks full of magic and bioluminescence that i keep on hand for inspiration and affirmation, and once again i pulled some for my man and my boy as well as myself. the man cards… turkey vulture and st. john’s wort, all flow and generosity. no big surprise there. flow; of our housing adventures in short sale negotiation, he summed things up with, “it was starting to feel forced, so i knew we needed to go a different way.” generosity: the quote by hafiz on the second card :

“even after all these years, the sun never says, ‘you owe me.’ imagine a love like that. it lights up the whole sky.”

is one i’ve used to describe his love for me before, and it is still so fitting, even after all these years.

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whole sky, lit up

and even after all these years, there are new surprises. at a fancy birthday dinner for his mom, rich added a drop of cream to his dessert coffee. i was shocked, because in four years, he consistently uses a giant dollop of honey (or raw sugar if no honey is available) and never once have i seen him use creamer. “i don’t even know who you are anymore,” i fake-wailed, and we shared a belly laugh over our flourless chocolate torte with homemade lavender ice cream.

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friday’s sunrise on rich’s truck: “hold on, honey, don’t drive away yet…”

rich told me back in september that he didn’t like hearing me laugh with quinn’s dad over some of the things quinn had said about his first day of school (it was a dad week, so i was getting the first day report over the phone). rich was really careful about how he talked to me about it, careful not to make me out to have done anything wrong, while still communicating a request that i not do it again. it was more protective than jealous. he talked about how he likes my “very musical laugh” and reminded me “he doesn’t deserve it.” imagine someone having an objection to something you’ve done, and while telling you that, managing to make you feel like you’ve just been given a compliment and told how much you’re treasured.

imagine a love like that.

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our sushi anniversary date

<3 <3 <3

click here to continue reading simmering a rew part 3

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simmering a rew part 1 ~ soup starter

sifting through post drafts, i decided to simmer a bunch of separate ingredients in one soup pot, hoping they will complement one anothers’ flavors. one is too tangy alone, one is much too sappy, and still another one has an overpowering kick. it’ll either turn into a pleasingly balanced, wholesome chowder of words, or it will boil over and become too long for anyone to actually read, but either way, i will get several lingering unfinished pieces out of my system. since today happens to be mardi gras, i’ve decided i’m cutting myself off of any more editing and serving it up!

on my brainstorm list for a 2016 word were joy, ease, love, enjoy, and laugh… especially laugh. when lighthearted came to me, it felt like it embraced the whole list, and fit so perfectly with my intentions for the year. occasionally i take on the offhand comments people make in cyberspace about how talking about our life and how wonderful it is is hurtful and offensive to those who feel their lives fall short; a sidebar to this is that surely we are not writing #truth nor being #authentic if we post mostly good things. then i remember a blog is a space to reflect on what is salient to us, and for many of us, what is salient is the magic and bioluminescence, rather than the autopsies of our failures. of the four agreements, i consider number 2 to have been the most transformative for me: don’t take anything personally. i love how kelle hampton covered this topic when it comes to how we handle brags from fellow mamas.

how we represent ourselves on screen can be subject to an increasing degree of scrutiny. to be clear, i have not felt judged or analyzed by any of my dear readers. my older brother could always stab me in the gut with “we can’t all be perfect like you” when we were both clueless teenagers and felt like we had something to fight about (we get along great now that we are over the comparing). i find there is always room for improvement on implementing agreement number 2. breathe out: none of my business what other poeple think. breathe in: lightheartedness.

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i’ve talked about why i write, and it has to do with leaving myself an unbroken string i can cling to and follow back to myself, not what anyone out there thinks of me. i also fantasize that one day, quinn might appreciate the glimpses of his childhood i’ve been preserving in jars and lining up on the cool, dark shelves of cyberspace. my housemate recently returned from louisiana after her grandmother’s funeral and told me that her brother still has a jar in which maman stored a prepared roux for gumbo. she said her brother still puts some roux back in the jar each time he makes one, carrying maman’s recipe forward. it struck me how those remaining particles of oil and flour lovingly stirred over heat by maman are reaching forward through time, even after her passing, and nourishing her descendants.

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i have been frank about the concept of choice in my emotional landscape: i make a conscious effort to see life through a heart-shaped lens, i’ve made no secret of this. i tried the shit-colored glasses for a few years, and it didn’t feed me, didn’t help me thrive, silenced me, bogged me down, just about killed me. for me, there has to be an intentional leaning into the positive, so that i don’t fall back into an over-used (but now becoming overgrown with brambles) neural groove.

disclaimer: trying on a heart-shaped lens outlook is only a viable strategy to avoiding depression if one is free of abusive situations. i am not advocating a practice of downplaying and minimizing turmoil, or attempting to overcome by this method the depression that inevitably accompanies abuse. i tried this a long while ago, but people couldn’t trust what i said, as it always came out distorted when i was caught up in that cycle. to put a positive spin on actual shit is dishonest. even if you’ve taken off the shit-colored glasses, even viewed through a heart-shaped lens, shit is still shit. please exit abusive situations before trying this at home. end public service announcement.

the heart-shaped lens is for revealing the light in a life that is already richly woven through with light, and just needs you to pay attention to it. it’s like developing beach vision – anyone who has trained the eye to find sea glass or sand dollars or fossil shark’s teeth or fossil snails while beach combing knows that there is looking, and there is looking. you start seeing more of them once you’ve seen the first one. when you make a decision that from now on, you’ll start looking up in the trees when you go for a hike, you end up seeing eagles a lot more often than you used to. the old trusty slogan, fake it till you make it, is a bizarrely accurate truth furnished by 12 step programs concerning this alchemy of which i speak. the love is out there, you trust that enough that you decide to see it, and lo and behold, you start to see it all around you. a powerful writer named ra whose blog i recently stumbled upon talks about intentionally recognizing what is “frightfully wondrous” in life, and this in spite of what i’d call her bigger-than-your-average constellation of hardships. it’s not about superimposing a shape onto the world around me, or pushing shit through a heart-shaped extruder to try to dress it up. it’s just the way i am channeling the already-shining light, revealing a shape that was already there, just waiting to be beheld.

<3 <3 <3

i attended a yoga/writing workshop in early january that reinforced the idea for me that the truth-telling i do is full of choices; what to include, what to leave out. if we are to “be in collaboration with inspiration” (quoting elizabeth gilbert), it is a process, a craft, a honing of words.

our first writing assignment was to write about a moment from 2015, including a key, a bowl of soup, and trouble (conflict). we free-wrote for about 15 minutes, and then we distilled our paragraphs down to their very essence by limiting ourselves to the 17 syllables of a haiku. our teacher asked us to pick one “headlight” moment where we came to a big realization. i chose my decision to see our eviction from our cozy country home last year as a vacation, which filled a year that could have been experienced as traumatic instead with warm memories of rest and comfort. the conflict (hostile landlord) and the key (to the vacation house) were obvious, and the bowl of soup was the gumbo, both literal and figurative, that was spiced up by the addition of new friends (with louisiana roots), a new home, and new life-enhancing experiences.

enrich the gumbo

uprooting turned vacation

refuge lies within

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summer memories of sunshine and hummingbirds on the porch have begun to fade away, and in this season when both breakfast and dinner may involve a roux, (they both always require a rew, of course), the biscuits and gravy, alfredo, chowder, and gumbo seem to set a slower pace of the blood through our veins.

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i solemnly swear not to unravel

it’s good for me to remember this as the november-december-january blur of wet-cold-dark-blah starts to feel endless. this time of year, i am the most vulnerable to overwhelm, and i have to be the most wary of an old tendency of mine to seasonally unravel. instead i have to see it as a season of allowing myself “no” as an option, and choosing rest and down time, and not feeling bad about partial hibernation. there is the least amount packed into the calendar (compared to may and june, ha! this is nothing!), and yet, i need to set the bar even lower than that, and flake out on so many things, just to function. self-judgment can creep in, if i am not vigilant. when i am trying to round up malfunctioning equipment and the lab procedure i’m doing takes hours longer than expected so that not only am i running late to pick quinn up from school, but i have to go back to work after karate to finish up, and when i do pick him up from school, i have to make nice with my coparent’s girlfriend who is picking up her kids, as if at one point in time she did not accuse me in front of a crowd of local child welfare experts of child abuse, and meanwhile said child is, to put it nicely, requiring additional scaffolding in certain executive functioning areas involving personal responsibilities for hygiene and self care, his noncompliance manifesting as either completely blowing me off or launching into arguments with me about said responsibilities, which aren’t negotiable, and by 4:00 that day i’ve decided not to send any christmas cards this year after all. so many things are buried in storage, and my fun limit has been reached with that, but hey let’s have an hour-long phone call with a confusingly awesome new contractor i’m supposed to sign a letter of intent to work with, or not supposed to, depending on who i ask, and by the way, show up for myself at the bargaining table (where is my drive to negotiate, my son has this drive in excess, why not me?) and feeling nauseous trying to work out whether this company is too good to be true, or trying to sell me a used car. decide to skip all school board meetings, regardless of pertinent concerns being addressed therein (but do send a letter to the board), and skip holiday parties to which i have been invited.

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but hey, i work here. it’s not so bad.

<3 <3 <3

click here to continue reading simmering a rew part 2

other posts you may enjoy:

make like a geek ~ game sliders and creative dice rolling

a long time ago (2015), in a galaxy far, far away, there was a yoda snowflake.

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yes, it all started with a yoda snowflake. that was what possessed me to buy another exact-o knife, even though somewhere in storage, there is already a perfectly serviceable exact-o knife in my possession. even for what could be considered essentials, it is hard to convince me to buy something that i already own a set of in storage. rich had to give me an assignment about long johns one day over christmas break, because thus far into the cold weather months, i had just been carrying on with a single pants layer; the pair of long johns i own are buried deep in a box with all the winter clothes, in a galaxy far, far away, called storage.

unconvinced by my reasoning, he told me i could find time in my busy day to buy myself a pair of long johns. “and get the good ones, not the cheap thin ones.” thank you, honey, for saving me from my frugal self.

i digress. because of storage, and because we had no ornaments, i collected fun free ornament-making ideas earlier in december, and i was excited about star wars snowflakes, and so i overcame my reluctance to buy a tool i already own and got the exact-o knife. i only managed to make the one snowflake, yoda. it was an arduous process, so i laminated that bad boy, and maybe next year i will attempt leia.

meanwhile, my son, game engineer (he named his game engineering firm qaz8quintillion just yesterday; no idea what qaz means, but it sounds like the first syllable in quasi) has taken his game engineering to such a new level that i have started having trouble holding all of the various numbers and quantities and damage points and health points and karma points in my admittedly deficient brain.

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game master pajama

another aside: rich laughed and laughed, when my sister-in-law posted a retort about “rew memory” on my bro’s facebook post concerning a time capsule from 22 years ago that he had discovered in the junk drawer. none of us rews could remember anything about it, but apparently he had unearthed it, she said, maybe even within the past year. “good old rew memory” she teased us, for how the same discoveries are novel, over and over again. i think rich felt validated by this aspersion cast upon our collective brains as a family. there are many times he just shakes his head and laughs at my forgetfulness. but, i mean, we’re smart people, everyone forgets things now and then, right?

what was i saying?

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oh yeah, so i was trying not to poke my eye out with the pencil while quinn was going back over which ninja weapons each ninja of various expertise could use depending on their belt rank status, and how many times they could attempt to roll the d20 any time they were on the attack, based on which weapon they chose, while i tried not to let static take over my brain as all the rules blurred together on me. (you feel me after reading that run-on sentence, i know you do.) while my son would have been perfectly content to play this game verbally, and hold all the growing and shrinking relevant variables in his considerable noggin, the only things growing and shrinking for me were my dread and my attention span, respectively. i needed a visually appealing, tactile way to keep track of it all.

and then it came to me: sliders.

for every geek attack, there is an equal and opposite geek attack reaction. at least, when i bring my a game to being a mama.

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d20, the 20-sided die from d&d, comes in handy for lots of games!

it’s possible, as a mama, to not really actually desire to play ninja wars on graph paper for the entire 72 hours of long weekend, and yet also possible to surrender to the need for connection with my son (who i rarely get to hang out with for 72 consecutive hours anymore), and fully immerse in ninja wars on graph paper for the entire 72 hours. as for me personally, i just needed to put my own spin on it, and get a little crafty so that i could remain awake and static-free.

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qaz8quintillion h.q.

i grabbed my exact-o knife, some card stock and a thin sharpie, and started by making a slider for keeping track of my ninja’s health points. (she has princess leia buns: see? my own spin.) something about keeping my hands busy while the game went on… and on… really enhanced my endurance. as usual, this is not a tutorial, i don’t really do tutorials, but i am hoping that the pictures give you a sense of how to make something similar, should the need arise in your household. it’s essentially a piece of paper sliding along another piece of paper, with some way of indicating the value it is keeping track of (in this case, a hole punched in the sliding piece of cardstock).

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by the time i finished the first one, i had a sense that we were in this for a very long haul, so then i really let my geek out to run around. we ended up making sliders for keeping track of 4 different ninja’s hp’s, 8 opponents’ hp’s, each ninja and each opponents’ belt rank status, which boss we were fighting, the boss’s hp, karma points, level, and gold coin earnings.

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belt color slider; she’s an orange belt!

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opponent belt color and hp slider consoles

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karma points, level, and gold coin sliders; for some sliding pieces i hole punched and cut 2 slices with the exact-o, and for others like the yin-yang symbol, i taped an additional strip of card stock to the back.

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like a boss; a side note: this game is heavily inspired by ninja warz 2, a game i’ve never played and that quinn saw his friend playing online. quinn is not allowed to play this game online, as the site requires an account owner to be age 13 or older. we’re talking a lot these days about ethics and honesty and integrity in online choices.

it wasn’t until after i got fully involved that we worked out some actual rules and ways of making the game really a game that someone could walk up and play, even if they didn’t happen to be quinn. since he had already applied hp as a quantity to determine who would win each battle, we used the multi-sided dice from d & d and came up with a points system, also based on belt status, weapon choice, and so on. ultimately, we spent the whole weekend doing arithmetic and rounding out loud with each other: “14 plus 8, that’s 22, plus 7, that’s 29, plus 6 is 35, now roll the d10 mama, ok plus 4 is 39… that rounds up to 40 damage!”

we get a lot of mileage out of those dice, such as when quinn decided to bust out his oregon trail journal from last year at ols, and begin writing in it again. we made a list of 20 events that could happen on any given day that he has to incorporate into his story writing, just to add that element of chance that one would experience out on the trail. broken axles, backtracking, weather, health, and hunting bison. river crossings aren’t on the list, because he’s actually attempting to write over a realistic number of days, and traveling a realistic number of miles per day while following a map, so rivers will come along in the story according to geography. this is all just part of my plot to help quinn bloom as a writer, of course.

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but maybe that’s the subject of another make like a geek moment. until next time… embrace your inner geek!

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~

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red: the vacation house is a dragon house, too.

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orange: to kick off the weekend, quinn built his ideal band. i believe he had in mind to make this into a video game of sorts, hence the graph paper. he is especially jazzed about having two drum sets. his band also has 2 upright pianos, 2 grand pianos, 11 guitar players in a row downstage from the drums, and 8 violinists just downstage from them (not drawn yet), 4 flutists, 4 singers with microphones, and 4 saxophones, right out front. i know only the pencil is orange, but it’s his favorite one, and it clocked a lot of miles this weekend making games, so i feel like it earned its place in this week’s rainbow.

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yellow: january 17th, the daffodils looked lovely that day.

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green: walks with my kiddo, when i could pry his orange pencil out of his hand.

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green: comfort food, on green dishes. i sigh inwardly when he asks me for this upon first arriving back from his dad’s house… grilled cheese and tomato soup is something i associate with my mom, too.

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blue: i mentioned this new nephew of mine last post, and although i make a point to avoid posting other peoples’ children, and especially their faces, on my little corner of the internet, i was urged to post photos of this beautiful boy by his mama, who thinks he is too cute to not shout about from the rooftops, and besides, the other person who reads my blog already knows his name and where he lives. xoxo



blue: so here he is… one day old. can you even handle that smile in his sleep? we are all very much in love with him already. his next oldest sister keeps professing to me how “yeah, cute” he is, sister just older than her says, “he is as cute as a candy cane!” and one more sister votes that he is, in fact, “even cuter than a baby koala bear!” i couldn’t agree more with their assessments.

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purple: my camera missed out on the most epic part of the sunset on this gorgeous afternoon, but still managed to catch some purply-gray clouds over the bridge, bay and ocean.

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purple: you can never have too much purple in a rainbow, i always say.


~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:

a month in the life of a lifelong learner

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the trouble with blog posts is, there’s no way to make them scratch-and-sniff. perhaps i can utilize some sort of jedi mind trick to make you smell this clove-filled orange while you read about our month of lifelong learning.

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rich’s daughter and her fiance came for thanksgiving, and brought quinn a drone. the boys had fun flying it and rescuing it from the hedge with the apple-picker each time it got stuck. these two share a birthday, and i know q looks up to him, i mean, the guy has serious paintball equipment, c’mon. both daughter and son-in-law-to-be are very sweet with quinn.

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since our own christmas ornaments were in storage, we decided to make some. then we ended up giving most of them away as gifts, which was a great way to spend less money and avoid giving people things they didn’t want. (because how could they not want a handmade owl from quinn’s pinecone owl colony?) hot glue and some craft foam from the dollar store… and we were cranking out little droid-esque owls in no time. quinn asked me favorite colors of family members he was sending them to, which i thought was very thoughtful of him. he thinks often of his new york family and i know it means a lot to him to do nice things for them and think of them smiling from far away when they opened his gift.


for yet another pinterest project idea we used dollar-store ornaments to make ninja turtles, some to keep, and some to give away to karate instructors and quinn’s third grade teacher, who used to do tae kwon do. quinn did research, and interviewed each instructor to find out their favorite ninja turtle so he could personalize their gifts.


who’s your favorite? q loves rafael, and i am a donatello fan myself.

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with clay from our personal ceramics tutor and buddy, quinn worked at sculpting elf, dwarf, wizard, hobbit and ranger mover pieces for his d and d monopoly game.


pokemon card making experienced a surge of renewed interest this month.

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the school book fair enchanted quinn, and i remember feeling that way myself when i was a kid, so i gave him some spending money to choose a few (overpriced and of questionable quality, but still) books. i was impressed with his choices: the next installment of diary of a wimpy kid (he had read the whole series up to that point from the library, and was very much looking forward to the next installment), a how-to-draw teenage mutant ninja turtles book (i used to come home from every book fair with a how-to-draw book of some sort), a set of star wars stickers, and a pokemon collector’s handbook. the pokemon handbook induced spin-off activities such as list-making and story writing. pictured above, he is working on quinn’s pokemon story using my laptop.


3 people went to new york for 7 days. they spent 8 hours a day at a hotel. how many hours did they spend at the hotel?

i pondered a bit this month about helping quinn catch his writing skills up to the level of his math and reading skills, but i don’t really think there is much i need to do. he is motivated to write now more than ever, and has lots of ideas: the writing force awakens. his teacher had told me he was less than motivated to write during certain assignments, such as writing his daily “math review” which entails explaining how he solved the math equation. he tends to space out and just not do it, his teacher said, and i nodded knowingly, thinking of how he spaces out and “just doesn’t do” things like getting dressed or putting on shoes. and yet, when it is something that sets him on fire, like making a game or sorting out a new pokemon deck, he has stick-to-it-ive-ness alright, and the space-out symptoms vanish. i liked how he took the make-up-a-problem assignment above and made it into something he cared about – traveling to new york. personalizing mundane assignments is a skill i don’t think i really made conscious use of until graduate school. i think he will learn to tap into that skill for completing assignments that make him want to stick his pencil in his eye, like math review apparently does, and i bet his math reviews will become the most enjoyable read in the stack.

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music! quinn still routinely talks about drumming with special interest, when it comes to music, and i do think he is a rhythm-oriented guy, when i see him dance. also, based on the songs he chooses as favorites, i see a definite rhythm-o-phile in the making. he is also playing recorder at school, so we are doing a little at home as well (he said he has his b, a and g figured out). they don’t have music every week- each class has it for a whole week’s specials about twice a semester, but the teacher makes great use of the time, and we’re grateful for the little bit we do get. i have my eye on some star wars recorder music, as well as a cool curriculum for earning karate belts for mastering different songs on recorder that i came across on this mom’s hilarious and well-written blog. stay tuned for me wanting to stick a pencil in my eye as we take this recorder journey together.

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speaking of earning karate belts…

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a young jedi looks for the good in all people; keeps his karate covered like a treasure in his pocket; and prays he never needs to use it, or for forgiveness if he ever does. love the symbolism and lessons that reach far beyond the mat… karate really is well-rounded, if your kid is going to be a one-extracurricular-activity kind of guy like mine.

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testing for his red tip (final step before being eligible to promote to the next belt!)

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his belt promotion paperwork. question: how can commitment help you obtain a black belt in karate? answer: commitment is a kind of cowoperation that helps you. question: name two things that you have set goals to do in the past two months. answer: be a green belt by the time i’m 11. be tying bunny loops by the time i’m a purple belt. i will take a small amount of credit for planting that bunny loop idea as a goal, because q had already mastered every other step of getting his karate gear on and off, including tying his belt and folding his uniform after practice, but the ties on the sides of his gi (top) required bunny loops, and he wears crocs on his feet and has never bothered to learn to tie laces. still, in case he wears running shoes ever, it seems like a handy skill to have, and i wanted him to set a deadline so he’d actually work towards it. he decided on purple belt, and then set to work learning bunny loops. and he has indeed learned to tie them, and on the day of his belt test, did not even ask me for help with his gi.


bad picture of bunny loop tying

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belt test, the big night. several parents complimented him on how well he did, and his instructor gave him a special shout-out at the end for how hard he had worked to become proficient in his orange belt curriculum. he acknowledged how serious quinn had been in class lately, that his tendency to be a goofball had been less prominent in recent classes, and dubbed him the resident smile-bringer of the dojo.

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goofball time is built in, even during belt tests- here the kids are showing off their balance at the very end, wearing their new belts.

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smile bringer


now that he is a purple belt, he is in the advanced class, and quinn has been dying to get into that class for one single reason: they get to run for warm-ups! boy after my own heart, with ribs and gangly limbs poking out every which way just like 8 year old me.

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we had a fun play date with friends, and got to play with a cool snap-together building toy called lux blox. quinn took his new bunny loop skills on the road and helped with tying his four-year-old buddy’s shoes. (awwwwwww.) we puppy-sat for our ruby again (she was helping him learn more computer programming skills) and also had doggy friends of our housemate to play with this month.


we launched our winter break with a friendly game of uno between the three of us, and ruby helped. my sweet 8 year old boy in a 45 year old’s body (who was 8 when he watched the original star wars on the big screen) took us out on a family date to watch the force awakens. no spoilers here, don’t worry. but oh, the fun! we sure liked it. what i personally liked most were the quirky quinn-isms that were whispered into my ear: “ok mama, the weapon is fully charged. i counted 30 seconds.”

equally as awesome, i walked into his bedroom that afternoon on him trying to use the force. he wasn’t even remotely deterred by my presence, and kept right on trying, commenting on how he was trying to figure out if the force was really real.

i told him i was sure of it.

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quintuple sharp tusk; woolly mammoth-inspired pokemon attack powers

while making his dad’s pokemon cards for christmas, we hit a snag because the marker he needed for the background color (“brown sugar” is what he calls it) was drying up, and we didn’t have another one. nor did the store, though they had a close enough for mama color. it was not close enough for quinn. it took him a while, and a lot of trying to get the dried marker to work before he relented, but relent he finally did. then he told me, “it must be a miracle, because my instincts kicked in just in time and i was okay with using the other marker.”

between newfound flexibility and actually finding the christmas tree stand in the storage garage, we most definitely received our quota of christmas miracles.

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from the light(hearted) side of the force, always, mb

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and first you decide what you’ve gotta do

then you go out and do it

and maybe the most that we can do

is just to see each other through it

we make our own gravity to give weight to things

then things fall and they break and gravity sings

we can only hold so much is what i figure

try and keep our eye on the big picture

picture keeps getting bigger

~ani difranco hour follows hour

the word lighthearted chose me for 2016; but how does one quantify the weight of a heart? the way gravity acts on the literal mass of an object, or the significance we impart to it? i adore my man’s penchant for seeing miracles where others might perceive trauma. there is choice in lightheartedness; like editing we choose what remains, what we omit. when things get heavy, we change their weight by helping one another with the carrying. this playful photo of quinn making his latest stop-motion arctic movie hints at the pulleys and rigging that can lighten a load.

i’ve decided to allow myself 100 words for these weekly photo challenge posts, kind of a fun game; and then i decided that quotes (and this disclaimer) don’t count against that limit. because i get to make the rules on this blog, ok?

participating in the weekly photo challenge from the daily post: weight(less) is today’s theme

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~rainbow mondays~

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i didn’t take enough pictures this week for a full rainbow monday post, but i also don’t want to skip posting today, because i am feeling so blessed and joyful. i attended a wonderful yoga and writing workshop on saturday that filled me with inspiration was just so invigorating. then yesterday (sunday) looked at a beautiful house with my love that we would like to put an offer on. (all good house-buying mojo/chanting/prayer/finger crossing appreciated! not to wish anyone else out of the running, but there are others interested… even if we don’t get it, it felt very hopeful to see something that was such a good fit for us.) i spent a good hour on the phone with my mom hearing about the niece and nephew blessings in my east coast family, and then not long after that, received the news of my newest nephew’s birth here in oregon. i just returned from meeting him, it’s important to let them imprint on their aunties as early as possible. i am off to a great start on my theme for 2016 of lightheartedness, don’t you think? i thought quinn’s joyful look of receiving rainbow blessings in his upturned hand was perfectly symbolic for the occasion.


~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

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~rainbow mondays~

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rainbow wave-ing goodbye to 2015. i spent an afternoon all by myself on a rock looking at the tiny far-off breath of migrating whales… so much cheaper than therapy.

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red: false lily-of-the-valley berries still clinging to their stems along the short hike to my whale lookout spot. (i bet you wish you had your own whale lookout spot. nyah-nyah.)

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orange: sunset of the same day as the whale hike… after i came home due to my hands being completely unusably numb with cold, and took a scalding hot bath until the feeling returned to my extremities, i inexplicably went back outside in the cold for a walk. i had to, the sun was putting on a show…

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orangey light: there’s a cemetery right down the road from the vacation house, and i’ve walked around in it a few times. i guess it’s kind of my version of the buddhist idea of making friends with death to walk around in there. when i say making friends with death, it doesn’t mean i like to dwell on it or even really venture into thoughts-of-death territory. if anything, i spent the whole time finding symbols of ongoing life, of timelessness, of new growth, while i watched the sun reflecting off of the slabs of marble.

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orangey-yellowy light: i think it’s more about finding metaphors that make me want to live life as fully as i can… the angle at which some of the stones are settling in means certain ones end up catching the setting sun and glowing. in the same way, i feel like we each settle into life based on our set of circumstances, and given the angle we end up looking at things, the sun can reflect off our surface more or less intensely.

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on this walk, i was drawn up next to the giant sequoia tree growing in the center of the cemetery, and the way the sun was bouncing off of each and every branch… it made me think of branches of generations of families reaching into the future.

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yellow: sequoia seed cones, containing the trees that will be as large as this one long after we’re all gone, and even this tree has fallen and receded back into the earth.

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yellow-green: small birds and large trees alike seem to counter the whole death theme, chirping and setting out seed cones defiantly.

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green: <3 this tree….not sure if you can see the windchimes hanging from the branches to the right… or if anyone saw the movie cake

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right over here… they had such a peaceful melody in the gentle (freezing cold) breeze…

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green: there it is again, the metaphor for life going on, the cracks in our hearts opening space for new growth to occur.


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green: not that any of this contemplation makes me able to handle or comprehend the thoughts of any of my loved ones ever dying… so blithely back to denial i skipped, tra-la-la, and picked quinn up for our new years’ eve at home doing just what we pleased.

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green/blue: unintentional selfie as i arrived at my whale lookout spot.

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green/blue: the forest curtains parting to reveal heart-shaped glittering ocean.

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blue: best seat in the house for whale watching, albeit a cold seat.


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blue: ocean love lights


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blue: my friends hanging out way out beyond the giant breakers.

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blue: this group was pleasingly large… probably a gang of teenagers heading to mexico for spring break.


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blue: steller’s jay; i love how ruffled up his feathers were in the steady winter breeze.

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gray/white: love and light and more glittering and blinding white light and lightness of being and lightheartedness. somewhere in that jumble, i do believe, may be my word for 2016, and i am sure i will say more about that in due time. happy new year, friends!

~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

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when i was my son’s age i twisted a pipe cleaner into a shape that represented my mom holding me. she treasured those two circles and two sticks in her shadowbox. motherhood is all one big circle: the womb, the roundness of one’s child snuggling into a lap now that he is big, but not yet too big to want you; the wash cycle, the rinse cycle, the worried circles under your eyes from trying to figure out why he vomited in the middle of the night; so you call your mom, the circle returning back to origin for reassurance.

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participating in the weekly photo challenge from daily post: circle is today’s theme

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