~rainbow mondays~ sunshine daydream

seeing the rainbow even when i’m not looking for it; found lego rainbow during a dragon game.

quickly becoming a new weekend ritual, i refreshed my rainbow dish washing inspiration yesterday.

red: tulip season! these red ones are still in their pot, but will be getting in the ground once they’ve finished blooming.

orange: daydream tulips

yellow: rogue yellow tulip in the orange batch, maybe i shall call it sunshine daydream?

yellow: a happy surprise meadowfoam growing from a random batch of old “butterfly/hummingbird mix” seed packets i dumped into a planter box.

green: glowing boy

green: snowball tree, whose flowers turn white as they get larger, but start out a pleasing shade of green!

green/blue: future dandelions

blue: future robins! at the home of camp boss. (p.s. happy mother’s day!!!)

blue: a dragonfly, also from the home of camp boss

blue/purple: forget me nots, and lilacs that went to work with me last week to brighten my desk in my blue jar… from camp boss. (echo, echo, echo…)

purple: more lilacs for this week, and the first columbine!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

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

other posts you may enjoy:

~two months in the life of a lifelong learner~ turrets and portcullises

minecraft fortress building was a frequent occupation these past two months. quinn has also been inspired to build games in scratch, making use of a book fair purchase to familiarize with how to use code within the scratch framework to generate a game.


birthday books; on the right, an excellent story called eagle boy that i found at our local book store.

contemplating fortress features (like hidden sky libraries) with kitty ball.

mission control; where the scratch games are made, as well as some of the minecraft work accomplished. the head lamp slays me.

we cleared off a small area of his desktop so his piper can fit there, alongside a story cd. (he was listening to harry potter and the deathly hallows). i asked him if he felt he had figured out how to work in scratch, how to use the various commands.

“the only one i don’t know what it does yet is pen.”

“have you ever just played around with the commands and figured out what they do?” i asked.

“yeah! i figured out how to make someone jump! you go “face in direction zero (which is up) and then say move 5 steps then wait 1 second, then face in direction 180 (which is down) and then move five steps. and you actually JUMP!

“…and i know how to make gravity.”

he made his “first game ever” called whale saver, in which you have to click the space bar quickly enough to get the mama whale across the screen to the baby whale. if you are too slow, the mama whale drifts towards the left, and you lose if she gets all the way to the left and her thought bubble reads “defeat”; if she makes it to the baby, her thought bubble reads, “victory!”

then he made it more difficult by adding a shark that the mama whale has to out swim in order to reach the baby whale before the shark does.

we have an ongoing discussion concerning cool math games, and before he played it one day, we talked about using it to research how parts of a game work together, with his new perspective of game making in scratch, i.e. how you make it look like a penguin is swimming even if he is in the middle of the screen, by making other objects move past the penguin. though in my opinion there is nothing cool and a negligible amount of math embedded in cool math games, a site which i resent the schools promoting because of its blatant ads targeting kids and its ability to require restarting my computer, i am trying to find the middle ground between adamant disapproval of (big air quotes) cool math games and finding some redeeming value since it is obviously something quinn enjoys. reverting back to my principles, i asked how can we use even this despicable platform as a tool for learning?


he came home pretty psyched about his tag program one afternoon, just absolutely buzzing with inspiration about automata. they are going to build automata. i played dumb and asked what’s an automaton? he regurgitated the definition, understood what it meant, and was able to discuss it critically, such as when i asked “ok, so what makes it different from a robot?” we ended up watching some of the you tube videos he had seen in class, finishing up with the TED talk of theo jansen, which quinn subsequently reenacted, listing each adaptation that was added to each new iteration of strandbeest. his capacity to memorize reminds me of my ten year old self, while my 39 year old self has trouble remembering where i parked.

raspberry storytelling.

becoming entrusted with more dangerous kitchen jobs; serrated knife use, birthday candle transportation, and (the incredibly risky) making of guacamole.

shown above, his finished essay on martin luther king, jr., plus a collection of notes and research on the subject. one worksheet (most of which was empty, classic quinn) contained a space to write one connection made during reading/research on mlk where quinn had written “martin and i both are as non-violent as possible.”


we’ve been getting outdoors between bouts of rain. when we trek to the bayou, we sometimes catch imaginary pokemon; other times we observe trilliums, trout lilies, the flora and fauna. he was compelled to do some irl minecraft brick laying. i was intrigued to realize that he understood to alternate the way the bricks are oriented so their seams are offset in each layer. play is never pointless.

his class took a field trip to cape perpetua. we hiked, wrote and drew in nature journals, did a visitor’s center scavenger hunt, and hiked some more. our final hiking destination was the giant spruce, under whose roots the whole class crawled. walking together alongside a stream, quinn and i brainstormed descriptive language; gushing slushing sploshing galoshing giggling clapping hooshing whooshing shhhhhh… were just a few i can recall, describing our impressions of the different character of various sections.

he fell asleep on my lap on the return bus trip to school.

the library hatched a batch of baby salmon, so we stopped and paid them a visit.

baseball! i am surely biased, but i believe that quinn has very good aim, and i adore his pitching style of raising his left arm as though to place his pitch where he wants it. he has been practicing archery since he was quite small, and i noticed that when he began learning to use throwing stars, he aimed well with them, too. we are looking forward to more throwing stars, nunchucks, eskrima sticks, and bo staff classes that are going to be happening soon at our dojo.

quinn worked diligently on a birthday present for the baseball buddy pictured above (aka panda)… his very own pokemon collection. quinn sorted through his own binder to find cards of which he had duplicates, to put together a pretty awesome starter collection. he put them in a binder for panda, colored the front and back covers (raichu and greninja, panda’s faves) and he was very excited about giving him his gift.

earth day! more (slightly unfinished) school artwork.

one day when i was volunteering, quinn’s class discussed and voted on several topics, items that had been submitted to the suggestion box. one was written by quinn about rotating between play porch, gym and classroom when brain break has to happen somewhere other than the playground due to rain. his suggestion was the one voted into effect, after careful consideration of pros and cons of each alternative. their discussions are amazing to behold. (“who can show proof of listening to jasmine, and add to what she said; do you agree or disagree… because…” were some of the prompts the kids are accustomed to receiving.) they also voted on saving spots in the classroom for work (this was sorted out in all its nuances of when it is and is not okay to save spots), as well as whether to do yoga both at the beginning and end of the day (they already do it at the beginning) and they did institute an end of the day yoga session by majority vote.

quinn was pretty elated when his suggestion about brain break won in a landslide.

we also got to do a yoga session while i was there. quinn asked if we could order a set of the yoga cards for home, “so i can teach you yoga.” so we ordered some! we have done quite a few sessions so far. as yoga has been an incredible source of self care, solace, exercise and healing in my own life, i am quite pleased to see quinn embracing this positive practice.

feeding ice cream for mama’s birthday to the family of camp boss. beautiful sunny day to play with friends!

easter egg dying and hunting, and a fun (belated) easter basket when he got back from his dad’s.

one recent wendesday morning wake up (after a late bedtime due to karate then dinner then bath) was not one of my better ones (nag nag nag), so for thursday morning i decided to do a better job. when i went in he was burrowed under his grammy quilt, head and all, and my usual “good morning boo-pa-loo” song turned into more of a david attenborough narration.

“here we see a rare undescribed burrowing creature in its natural habitat. this animal has a fuzzy head and is very quiet, just before emerging from its sleeping burrow. we are hoping to catch a rare glimpse of this new species, which we shall give the name boo-pa-loo boo-pa-lee-doo, as it rises to consume one of its favorite foods; biscuits. with any luck, the aroma of the biscuits will entice the creature out of its sleeping burrow at any moment.”

for some reason, that worked better. it was easy to then coax each appendage out of the sleeping burrow with further narration, sans nagging. (i say it again: play is never pointless!)

play can be a science experiment. quinn made some spinning tops from legos, and it was a great avenue to discuss experimental design. he was telling me that the one made from the big lego wheel and the taller stick spun for the longest duration because it was the biggest. i asked him if he thought it was the larger diameter of the wheel or the weight of it (which aspect of “bigger”) that helped, and whether he could design an experiment to determine which factor was most important. he hesitated, then told me “you just gave me an idea” and came back having tested the wheel on an even longer stick, having found out that with the same wheel, the longer stick helped the top spin longer (yet another aspect of size). then he was able to verbalize how one could test two different diameters of the same weight on the same length of stick, or two different weights of the same diameter on the same length of stick, to test the diamater vs weight concept.

“concept” is a word he is using quite frequently. his battle/dungeon/castle/mythology/pokemon story language is as lyrical as ever.

in the realm of d and d, he has me on a mission to defeat a dragon, who is guarding a treasure stolen by some orcs/goblins from the elf high council (my character is an elf and she is apparently a member of said council) and right now we are discussing an alternate plan, instead of killing the dragon, to get him on our side. i freed one of the original guards who wasn’t killed when the treasure was stolen but who was taken prisoner, so he informed me that the dragon has one scale missing over his heart and that’s his weakness and the way to kill him if i wanted to, but i suggested making the dragon a shield/artificial scale and offering it to him in trade for the treasure (agreeing to set him free in the process) but then it turned out one of the orcs has the missing scale (made of mithril) and is using it as a shield so before i face the dragon the new plan is to go kill the orc with the missing scale and bring it to the dragon to return it as a peace offering.

and the experience of actually playing d and d is a lot like an incredibly long run-on sentence, so i’m going to leave that exactly how it is.


there was more work to be done these past months on the theme of advocating for himself. quinn arrived at the conclusion after one frustrating karate session (frustrating because of a missed week of class, and because he had forgotten the techniques he had learned the previous week) that he was disappointed about not being brought to karate at least once during his dad’s weeks. we had a pretty good conversation about how he, quinn, has a lot more power to change that than i do, and how he would be wise to communicate his wishes to his dad.

karate has provided a plethora of opportunities for self-advocating and initiative practice. our sifu believes in letting the kids have space to learn how to initiate their own advancement through curriculum; this implicitly allows them space to flounder, until they realize they are in charge of their own destiny. i very much appreciate this, and have had numerous discussions with quinn about this dynamic; such as discussing how open mat classes allow an ideal time to “bug sifu” for a new technique, given the smaller class size and therefore increased availability on the instructor’s part. children deal with so much powerlessness, and i want to teach quinn how to use what power he does have, teach him that, “it is what you make of it” and the structure of self-paced learning at karate is helping him see how much control he can have over his learning.

both his classroom this year at school, and his dojo, are achieving some of the educational priorities i hold nearest and dearest, such as connection with his teachers and a sense of belonging.

though my favorite memory this month is not my shoulder injury, one bright spot in that particular evening at the dojo was the way quinn rushed to help me with carrying my bag, and holding doors for me.

one morning we parked at school several minutes early so quinn sat on my lap and snuggled while we finished a deathly hallows chapter. when i turned it off and took the keys out of the ignition, quinn tried to take them back, then got this twinkle in his eye and said, “i’ll roll you for your keys!” and i laughed so hard. our sifu uses that particular choice bit of slang (and other good ones… “you talkin’ mess?” for example… when he’s creating a scenario for using a given self defense technique). sifu had joked the previous night to quinn, about his new day-glow safety green karate hoodie, “i’ll roll you for that hoodie” but having q use it on me (and immediately start giggling uncontrollably) was hilarious.

and i will leave you with one final gem from the school spring concert, during which such rites of passage as 50 nifty united states, found a peanut, and the rattlin’ bog were sung. but this one really says it all!


other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ best of farmstand

being out at the farm and hearing discussions of market display strategies a week ago, i realized i have been planning on sorting through to find some of my “best of” market displays, and just haven’t gotten around to it in the 3 years i’ve been working for gathering together. while some display strategies value symmetry and delineation, i tend to accentuate color and abundance. this post starts with one of my favorites from near the beginning of the outdoor market season last year, the season of peas and berries and cherry tomatoes! i always try to be the rainbow whenever the produce in season and other market constraints allow…

the “triple” is one of my favorite racks to build a display on, because i love how you can create a waterfall of abundance cascading down its 3 surfaces. the early bunches of spring veggies are well suited to this.

but mid-summer veggies work on the triple as well. summer squash and green beans help fill out the display when bunches are fewer, and berries can hide on the bottom shelf and help pop out the zucchini varieties when we only have a few berries to sell.

i have put in a request for more blue vegetables, by the way. it’s usually the only color i’m missing!

the “wall” is a favorite display of mine in summer, less so in spring and fall when it is full of greens and nothing else. i love to eat greens, but displaying them is not my strong suit. i really like to paint with peppers, though, and last year we found that they worked well in the wall of boxes, when we had so much other produce (melons and tomatoes) taking up the more horizontal surfaces. last sunday we got to hear the story of the wooden boxes that our farmer obtained from an old russian farmer from whom he was buying some other equipment.

but peppers can sell themselves off of any surface, really. what’s not to love about all that color?

for a change, i decided one day to display the few remaining corn cobs of the season in less of a “pile” format, as it is usually done.

when it comes to winter squash, the rainbow has the required blue, but i’ve also put in requests for red and purple squash varieties (they may not exist, but it never hurts to ask!)

sometimes black and white add a great accent to the colorful peppers. late fall roots are starting to take over for the dwindling summer nightshades in this display.

when it turns into beige veggie season (winter), i try to still find a way to bring some color (cut a watermelon radish in half – bam!). we always have a great leek crop throughout the winter season, and i discovered that the leek fan is a great way to draw the eye, and the customer over to the beige roots section and strike up a conversation about soup.

sometimes it can be tricky to display greens in a pleasing manner, but every now and then i pull it off. i liked this raab/carrot/beet situation from an early spring market last year. i would have been docked points for my tablecloth being out of level, but i did attend to symmetry with the veggies…

late spring rhubarb from this season lent itself well to the leek fan format. it sells itself, truly, but the display work is such great therapy, a great lesson in impermanence, and a great excuse to play with color!


other posts you may enjoy:

~black and white wednesday~ looking up

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ beginnings and endings and all the things in the middle

rainbow wedding research and development makes doing the dishes much more stimulating. this round of flowers includes pear blossoms, quince, that pink flower that grows everywhere which i just learned is a wild geranium called herb robert, a daffodil looking lovely today, a dandy dandelion, fern and lemon balm holding down the greens and making it smell lovely, forget me nots and pulmonaria trying to tell themselves apart, and some purple and white blue bells. (blue bells are like red onions… purple.)

tidepool rainbow gloriousness. on a beautiful friday with no school, quinn and i enjoyed a lovely tidepool excursion together.

i also had my first minecraft lesson. if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. and make a rainbow stained glass greenhouse.

pink: the liberty apples are blossoming.

pink: and our first rhodie has bloomed!

pink: wild bleeding hearts are taking over for the trilliums and trout lilies.

red violet: my cultivar bleeding hearts are blooming right in synch with their wild counterparts. something feels right with my world now that i have bleeding hearts and peonies growing.

red: crusty stuff on a shell, surrounded by other reds and pinks and purples.

red: my ride around the farm on sunday for market training. things also feel right in my world when i’m on a farm.

red: the farmstand restaurant is such a beautiful spot.

red: baby chard

red: more baby greens

orange: madrone driftwood

orange: nudibranch sightings!

orange: and this creepy thing… we thought it was a stringy piece of trash, but its “head” moved…

see? i have video of it moving… um… i’m stumped! i know not what creature is quite this long and safety orange colored and stringy.

orange and yellow: my daffodil variety pack had a few of these lovely orange-centered beauties!

yellow: a buoy we set down on the beach, intending to take it off with us, but it was picked up by another kiddo and taken off by her instead. i will have to tell quinn i did manage to document it while he was holding it.

yellow-green: fucus (seaweed) with mussels, sunshine, and waterfall.

green: this anemone seems to have extra ruffles.

green: so many beautiful anemones… this one was showing off its adornments and its entourage of snails so nicely.

green: and this one seems to have recently gobbled up a tiny crab.

green: landscape with boy

green: “it sounds like we’re walking on ice with lava under it.” -quinn

green: nudibranchs make us smile.

green: endings… the trout lilies have lost their pretty petals.

green: beginnings… alyssum with a rogue pea

and corn starts!

blue: a jellyfish plague was visited upon our coast.

blue: taken one at a time they are cool looking… slipping/wading through them by the thousands… a little overwhelming.

blue: chiton photo by quinn

purple: sea urchins in the sun!

purple: the inside of the crab’s carapace is so gorgeous!

purple: and did i mention endings? we’re all feeling about as soggy as this trillium these days…

brown: owl driftwood

brown: drift nut heart

black/gray: ice/lava substrate.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

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~ a crack in everything

being the rainbow around the dragon house… rotating flowers through the rainbow jars and dying/hiding/finding rainbow eggs in stolen weekday moments before my son left for his dad’s on good friday.

this is bart, being the rainbow kitty healer. he has a special sense to know which body part upon which to drape his 19 pounds and purr in order to perform his best healing magic. he hones in on a uterus with cramps or a knee with a twinge, he drapes himself across one’s neck if one has a sore throat, and across one’s face if one is congested. so this one time (thursday) when i dislocated my left shoulder, he could be found attending to things in his usual manner. p.s. is this shirt candy pink or baby pink, do you think?

red: another fire child celebrated a birthday, and since we’re growing old together, the universe figured we could practice more “in sickness and in health.” i’m pleased to report that rich still knows how to make nachos and washed all the heavy dishes for me over the weekend. he said i don’t need to hurt myself in order to get him to help in the kitchen. not being able to use one arm for a day made me appreciate allllll of the things i do while taking for granted my two capable hands. “sweetie, would you please open my underwear drawer?” i was back to french braiding yesterday, but for friday rich got to practice his ponytail skills.

red: on saturday i was back in action for farm work, i just didn’t throw any 80 pound totes of veggies around, and restricted myself instead to emptying them out into their displays, arranging rhubarb into bright red rainbows, without holding any of it up over my head.

orange: i’ve been reflecting lately on trying to be open to what is next for me in terms of career path. now, when i said open, i didn’t mean i wanted to be broken open. i meant in the sense of brainstorming and thinking outside the box. but, as the late l. cohen sang, “there is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” if nothing else, my injury was effective at enforcing that i work on my wedding invitations… i couldn’t exactly haul buckets or push the wheelbarrow around this weekend.

for fun i looked up shoulder injury in louise hay’s you can heal your life, which i’ve found to be startlingly accurate every time i’ve referred to its hippie dippy master list. it did not disappoint this time either: joint injuries represent changing directions in life and the ease with which we make those transitions.

orange: i guess cracking is how we get to the yummy part of the egg, too.

yellow: my legs were still working fine, so i took a few bayou walks with rich. we are in skunk season.

yellow: we are also still enjoying the trout lily patch immensely. in a rare moment of sun, i laid sideways on my good shoulder and took pictures of this spider’s fancy gypsy tent.

yellow: pollen!

and sun!

green: a few bayou walks with this lad were taken as well. trilliums were observed.

owls were impersonated.

trees were hugged.

green: rich and i went to a lady rizo concert last night. she is an expert weaver of metaphor during her performances. she sang the leonard cohen song i quoted above (title: anthem), and had me in tears with her recitation of the statue of liberty poem during the song’s bridge. as a new york city resident, she saw that lady liberty, mother of exiles, went dark the day the second executive order immigration ban went into effect. she wasn’t sure whether the credit was due to some crafty park rangers, or mere coincidence, but the metaphor couldn’t be denied. sometimes imprisoned lightning is more visible when it is suddenly absent. sometimes it’s the silences between the notes that sing the loudest. sometimes we can see the shaft of sunlight better when a trail of smoke goes across it, and like a light bulb to lemon juice, reveals a secret message we’ve been needing to read.


green: a wind storm blew a bunch of the flowers off the maple tree onto our driveway, and i find them to be quite captivating filling the green jar on my windowsill. maple is a family favorite (i’m thinking of all my pancakes and also of my great grandfather’s maple syrup/sugar business), and as i am a special fan of green flowers, these first green flowers of the spring are a new favorite.

blue: don’t forget!

purple: the garden will still be there when i get back. in the meantime, the hyacinths are holding down the bottom level of the terraces, and i’ve pulled all the ivy all the way to the cedar tree where cardboard is now laid down. i’ll be inside the house under a cat. contemplating the cracks in everything… they’re how the rainbows get in.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

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

other posts you may enjoy:

39 ~ letters in the sand

i had wanted to say more during women’s history month, but here we are slingshot into the month of april, and 2 of my 3 big events of the year have come and gone. quinn is 10!  i am 39! and our wedding is a few short months away, for which we are giddy with anticipation.  this is my letter written in the sand, as my 39th birthday surges on by.

on april 3, i woke up, made the bed, trudged upstairs and hugged rich. when he told me, “happy birthday sweetie,” i replied, “oh yeah! i forgot!” and that, ladies and gentlemen, is 39 in a nutshell.

being born on april 3 is a little harder to fit into a nutshell, because those of us who share this birthday, jane goodall and myself included, tend to be relatively passionate, difficult to encapsulate, individuals. which means we can be boisterously enthusiastic, fiercely loving, miraculously multitasking, as prickly as we are cuddly, including the leg hair we sometimes boycott shaving due to so many other more important things we need to be doing! doing! doing!, especially starting projects, and we can be the biggest compilation of contradictions you have ever encountered. i probably shouldn’t speak for jane on these matters, but i’d be surprised if she didn’t fit some of this description, being my birthday sister.

wedding boss is learning what my mom has known since i was a child, that i have a hard time articulating creative endeavors before they are completed, that i rarely initiate group projects and prefer to make things myself with nobody watching, and that yes, i say contradictory things about my plans. “you have said both that you want lots of color and lots of flowers, and that you want to keep it minimal and use lots of white.” what can i say, sis, it makes sense in my own head! the lots of flowers in the terraces will provide single flowers for the colorful vases on the mostly white tablecloths… surrounded by rainbow prayer flags. lots and minimal and white and color.

i was born in the same year as a giant blizzard, under the fire sign of aries. a tornado of fire who can’t keep her extremities warm to save her life. to be situated in the draftiest northwest upstairs bedroom in the farmhouse was my childhood fate. i am blessed with an equally fiery fiance who, probably due to all the taurus in his chart (*wink*), is able to store his warmth and share the excess with me on chilly nights, and it’s just one of the galaxy of reasons i am so happy to be marrying him.

two aries might sound like a lot of head butting, but between his grounded earthiness and my attraction to the fire-quenching water, we both seem to have found some balance and evolved a few coping skills, not to mention the chemistry of our teamwork that seems to result in a lot of cleared land with plants growing in it. maybe aries finally become more settled with age, more able to channel that fire into a forging, creative bed of embers, than a raging, destructive inferno. sometimes i even finish projects nowadays. i know i feel a lot readier to embark on a lifelong relationship with someone than i ever would have in the previous two decades of my life.

i think my parents must have had some notion that i was a born hippie, right from an early age. at that time, the only way i had to exercise it might have been to experiment with consuming large helpings of sprouts and sunflower seeds at the pizza hut salad bar. but there were other signs, accumulated over the longer term, that might have clued them in.

when we were allowed to choose among the three afternoon tv programs (sesame street, mr. rogers, and the electric company) i remember frequently choosing mr. rogers. i was drawn to his nonviolent communication and his neighborhood of make believe. and ohhh, the crayon factory episode. when a premature calf was born and i insisted on bottle-feeding her multiple times a day during my summer vacation around age 8, they could see my (stubborn) heart for animals. i disliked eating steak, and refused to eat any beef at all if my father revealed the former name of the cow we were consuming. i belonged among the wildflowers, i belonged on a boat out at sea. with an unlimited supply of scotch tape.

my fiance knows about my thing for wildflowers. this is my birthday trout lily (in the yellow vase), a delightful patch of which is thriving on the bayou trail.

as i grew up, i went from calf rescue to calf delivery midwife. for my career path i was torn between music, art and biology, with biology eking out a slight lead due to its inclusion of wildflowers, whales, and boats out at sea, the subjects of the music and art i liked best.

jimmy carter was president when i was born, and in 1980 when the first women’s history week (which expanded to the whole month of march) was born, along with my younger sibling. he even put in a plug for the e.r.a., which still hasn’t been ratified.  i don’t know if that has anything to do with my becoming a feminist, but i always did have an interest in female heroes. i wrote essays for the famous american women contest in numerous years, my most memorable subjects being beverly cleary and mother hale. mother hale cared for hundreds of crack-addicted and hiv-infected babies when no one else would take them in. beverly cleary wrote the most captivating stories about a girl with whom i acutely identified, who got muddy, did not consider herself inferior to the boys, preferred to wear pants, and got in trouble with her teachers… in oregon. between ramona quimby and playing oregon trail on the apple iie computers, i think i have always been destined for oregon. with a strong desire for all babies to be wanted, and a need to write on behalf of women’s equality.

i wrote on quinn’s birthday that 10 is both a culmination and a beginning; 39 feels like being on the cusp of finally arriving at home within myself. i also wrote that 10 was a sum of consecutive prime numbers; can you guess what other number that can be said about?

“Thirty-nine is the sum of consecutive primes (3 + 5 + 7 + 11 + 13) and also is the product of the first and the last of those consecutive primes. Among small semiprimes only three other integers (10, 155, and 371) share this attribute,” says wikipedia. considering that neither of us is likely to ever reach 155 or 371, we are rocking two pretty special ages this year, my boy and i.

since i took calculus around 155 years ago, i can’t remember if the color pattern quinn chose represents a harmonic series or some other kind… 1,1, 2, 1, 3, 1, 4, 1…



the song 39 by queen was an unexpected birthday gift i discovered when i googled 39 to find out its mathematical attributes. (yes i am that much of a geek.) the song touches on the subject of fleeting time when a ship full of space travelers return one year older to a world in which generations have passed them by. maybe when i chose the word ephemeral for 2017, it had something to do with how keenly i am feeling time rush by in great dollops. ephemeral like letters in the sand. relativity is relentless, “the day i take your hand in the land that our grandchildren knew…” but woven into this turnover is a web of connection. “your mother’s eyes through your eyes cry to me,” makes me think of the way i’ve been told ever since i can remember that i have my nana’s eyes, smile, mannerisms. thinking of that brings grief entwined inextricably with comfort. i have mentioned ani’s lyric about children, “the funnel through which women’s lives are poured,” and more and more, in spite of being my own distinct someone, i feel like a vessel, a conduit, through which my son’s life energy can pour forth.

so, i guess i have a lot on my mind. it totally makes sense that i didn’t remember it was my birthday!

other posts you may enjoy:

~rainbow mondays~ a happy return of the day!

i spent part of spring break on wedding projects, including dying and cutting the fabric for prayer flags i am asking my guests to help decorate.

checking items off the to-do list feels pretty good!

i also gave my rainbow jar/flower plan a test run, even though i didn’t have any orange or green flowers yet to work with.


my son requested that i buy him a set of the yoga cards his teacher uses in class. i felt like this particular card was a sign that it was a good addition to our library. he has been setting up flows for me to do with him ever since they arrived.

rainbow tidepool creatures from a low tide walk with a good friend on sunday… with sunshine! on my birthday weekend, i couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for our walk!

red: sunlit crab in the shallows

red: another, larger sunlit crab!

red: gooseneck barnacles are not often seen on land, as they often grow on pelagic flotsam. we saw a cluster on the beach yesterday, looking like they’d just arrived from outer space.

orange: crabs seemed to be prevalent!

orange: including hermit crabs! i loved this little guy perched on the baby orange urchin.

orange: as part of my pre-birthday celebrating, i tested for my orange belt! had an awesome test alongside some inspiring young women.

yellow: test day, the last day of my previous belt rank of yellow.

yellow: and one of my first days of sparring. i was dreading it, but it turned out to be very fun!

yellow: a friday night outing with some girlfriends included a fun dessert, which came with sparkler candle! the friend who took this pointed out my angel over in the lower right corner.

green: minecraft, irl! (in real life, with real bricks.)

green: more sparkly twinkles. dew on clover.

green: twisting dragon pose!

green and blue: sharing smores with camp boss!

blue: smiley face rock!

blue: eagles always visit us at this beach. this was a juvenile.

purple: we picked up some trash from the tidepools, but some trash has become a growing surface, like this sparkly red plastic. i had reached in, ascertained that it was not one to be removed due to baby sea urchin, and stooped lower to take this picture before i saw the sculpin lurking in complete stillness! they are incredible at hide and seek.

purple: still quite sparse after the wasting disease that diminished their population to almost nothing, we did see a hopeful handful of sea stars.

purple: sea urchins with tube feet visible!

purple: some of my birthday flowers, and another purple birthday present, from sparring. it looks much worse than it feels!

purple beauties.

purple: crocuses in the terrace garden. i’ve always loved the stripey ones!

red violet: speaking of stripey, the trilliums are beginning to do their magical color change trick. trilliums in red violet, 3 petals on the 3rd of april, a lovely birthday present!

white: but a few of them are still white, providing a nice camouflage substrate for the cute white spider.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

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

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~rainbow mondays~ slowly unfurl

pink: practicing gratitude for daylight savings, and appreciating that i can be up before sunrise once again for a brief few weeks…

pink: my fiance comes home with his truck covered in cherry blossom snow each day lately.

red: then we walk around and look at nature together.

a wild bayou hummingbird sighting! the salmonberries in bloom are a favorite of the hummers.

orange: there is a fungus among us.

yellow: i can’t get enough of these…

yellow: or these! but rich can… poor pollen people…

yellow/green: someone please tell me what wildflower this is?! i cannot find it in any of my field guides. it’s growing near the bayou, just on the side of the trail. i feel like it is familiar in some way, but those crazy reindeer-antler leaves are throwing me for a loop on the identity.

green: watching the slow unfurling of the hidden inner parts of things…

… spiraling outward…

…beginning again and again…


green: renewal can take many forms. like starting over again after a long, hard day, getting a hug and a photography assignment from my fiance so i can regain my positive outlook. i took about thirty photos of individual raindrops that day, and felt like they washed it all away.

blue: forget-me-nots, my nana’s favorite and one of mine, are starting to show their faces. we know they are abundant here at the dragon house, since we were arriving in their high season last year!

blue: happy to be enjoying a slight uptick in hours when this blue stuff is showing.

blue-violet: hyacinths in bloom in the bottom (purple) level of the terrace rainbow.

red-violet: a surprise azalea on our north fenceline, just underneath one of our hummingbird feeders. we think this one will thrive more than it might have in the past, since rich has done a lot of pruning and trimming of overgrown shrubbery that might have shaded it out.

brown: where’s waldo, the tree creeper? (at least i think that’s his name…)

black/gray/white/brown/green: knock knock! hello monday? it’s tuesday and i’m here with your photos.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

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

other posts you may enjoy:

~two months in the life of a lifelong learner~ peaceful protests and a lot of alliteration

it’s been a good couple of months to be review listening to harry potter audio books, with so many themes having heightened relevance to our current events. it was quinn’s idea to listen to them again, when we finished with the heroes of olympus. while we were waiting for the order of the phoenix to come in at the library, we briefly reviewed some lemony snicket, and quinn observed, “these titles sure have a lot of alliteration.”

when he turned 10 *gasp* a month ago already, i borrowed from some of my lifelong learning notes for the birthday post, so you’ve already heard about peaceful protests, fourth person point of view, and our chatty walks up to the school building each morning.

the peaceful protests, of course, were a residual effect of his essay on martin luther king jr, an essay of which i think he is quite proud now that it is finished. he put a ton of effort into it, and i personally learned facts i hadn’t known before, such as that the day of his assassination, mlk:

“…went to Memphis, Tennessee to help black garbage collectors get the same amount of money as white garbage collectors for the same amount of work.”

i could copy and paste that snippet of his work into this post because we live in such a fancy modern age that our children can “share” their google doc essays to their mama’s email address when prompted to do so!

i went to school one friday while they were doing their martin luther king jr essays and i was circulating and helping kids. the first 10 minutes of the 45 minute class was a mindfulness breathing exercise… the teacher had them sit tall and breathe along with a drum beat for each breath, and a breathing ball (it expands and contracts) that the two team leaders handled. this was followed by a loving kindness meditation: “may i be safe and healthy… may i be happy… may i be… ” was the first of 4 rounds; second, she had them think of a person they love, and hold that person in mind and repeat “may he/she be safe…. “; third, “this one is harder… think of a person that it’s hard for you to like… “may he/she be….”; and finally, “may everyone be…” this was such a good investment of ten minutes, because the kids proceeded to spend the next 35 minutes acutely focused and getting so much accomplished on their essays. with lots of direction from her (they were working on conclusions so she provided examples of transition phrases that work well for beginning a conclusion…. and then had kids share their first sentences… then they worked on how to include the 3 main ideas of the essay in that first sentence… and went back to work on their first sentence some more… very methodical with them on actually how to write.) quinn had a ton of writing on his piece of paper, and also arrows going here and there of places he wanted to insert sentences he wrote later… the kids completely understand “drafts” and they get excited when it is time for “publishing” and writing their final drafts… he picked the right year to work on improving his writing, with such graceful guidance.


he is a certified… guacamole masher, steam mopper, fireplace filling technician!

(i clearly was unable to put a log in the wood stove, with 30 pounds of cat on my legs, so someone had to do it!)

risk and play date fun with a panda, and birthday celebrations with a koala.

beach clean-up class field trip! we found some cool rock formations including some that quinn claimed were dinosaur eggs in a nest! we filled a pretty big pile of garbage bags from our little stretch of beach.


first belt test at his new dojo! quinn earned his half yellow belt, something he was very keen to do. i appreciate sifu’s approach, and the way he tunes into the individual needs and interests of each kid. he knew and understood that quinn wanted to “collect them all” and was happy to oblige with a half belt test! quinn actually already knew almost all of his yellow belt curriculum, so his full yellow test was scheduled for soon thereafter.

this dojo is a really good fit for us. i personally enjoy the self paced curriculum, because if i feel ready for new techniques, all i have to do is ask for them. if i need more time to practice, i can take more time. i am not lumped in with a group all trying to advance at the same pace, and yet somehow teaching everyone new individual techniques does not seem to become unmanageable even with large class sizes. i am trying to use as many opportunities in life right now to help quinn learn to assert himself in positive ways, to advocate especially for what he wants to learn. since our debut in public school, i have wanted to reinforce his right to self-direction in his learning choices. in the conversations we’re having about learning, i keep trying to set the tone that what he wants matters, and that speaking up about it is always a good choice, even if his wishes can’t be accommodated right away. he is getting to practice that in his karate pursuit, and i am glad for the parallel to his schooling that i can point to as an example.

creative reading postures; eye rolling

a visit from ruby tuesday! she’ll even hop up on his loft bed with him to snuggle him into bed at night. we are so lucky to be her fairy dog family.

games! playing games with panda, playing games with grammie e, who recently added quinn into the weekly rotation of her grandkids so he could play games with her and have some undivided attention. they played monopoly for their first round. when he’s not playing games, he’s usually making games…

some recent game themes included wilderness survival, owl evolution, battle islands, an angry birds spinoff, and a few others that he didn’t not have fully developed or named yet. graph paper!!!

most of his peaceful protests had to do with bringing graph paper, pencil and markers along to work on a game design. he also made some new “elements game” cards one afternoon, based on magic the gathering, but with his own spin. i was glad i had already turned on google safe search when he started google image searching terms like “mermaid queen.” all of the mermaid queens he found were fully dressed, thank goodness!

it will be fun to find out how this game is played!

one of our vacation house roommates came to visit! he hadn’t been to our new house so we got to give him a tour and feed him dinner and treat him to our air mattress. he brought a king cake for dessert (awesomeness, straight from NOLA) and i made soup and bread for dinner and we all ate and got caught up. we told him he needs to bring his other half and come back in july for a get together we’re having. we also showed him the bayou, the name of which was of course inspired by our new orleans roomies.

after dinner we got out the king cake which had a warning label “inedible baby figurine included” or something to that effect. they don’t hide the baby in the cake anymore because of litigation so the baby was sitting inside the wrapper. i took it over to the counter and hid the baby under a piece that had green sugar on the frosting, thinking quinn would want a green piece, so maybe he would get the baby. (if you have never had king cake this all sounds incredibly ridiculous!) i brought it back over and handed rich the knife and he asked quinn what color he wanted. quinn said green, and rich cut the exact piece where i had put the baby (which was a long shot!) and the baby popped out as he was putting it on the plate. lots of laughing, quinn was happy he got the baby, and our friend told stories about king cakes he’s eaten in the past; how some high end places use gold babies, and how his cub scout leader had a king cake one time with 15 babies in it so all the kids got a baby and it was a fun surprise, and several other funny scenarios involving king cake.

our friend had been tracing the geneaology of his family, who it turns out have been living in the 9th ward for something like 8 generations. he has been visiting old family homes, graves, and digging through old microfiches to trace family members back even farther. we were talking about the naming conventions of various family members and he would say to quinn, so who is your grandfather’s son (and quinn would answer, um…. my uncle) and then it got more tricky and there was a discussion of what “once removed” means in cousin terminology. i told the story of how luigi always called q “cousin quinn”, and that one time when we went to visit when q was 5 and luigi 4 and i was coaching them on being kind to each other “after all, you’re cousins” and luigi saying, “wait, i’m a cousin?!” mind blown. that led to principles of family like “you can’t have a cousin without being a cousin” and you can’t have a sibling without being a sibling, and quinn was coming up with more. then we talked about how it applies to friends too, but can you have a friend without being a friend? that was discussed, but then it got silly with “but what if the second friend is really a spy, and only acting like a friend to extract information from the first friend…” so then to be even sillier i asked, “well then what if the first friend is a double agent” and then it was “oh yeah, what if the second friend is a triple agent?” and by this time we were all giggling hysterically at the table, to quadruple and quintuple agents, and beyond.

when our friend asked quinn about school, quinn said they are learning mostly about martin luther king jr. right now, and also about native americans. he told us all how their land was taken away, and talked about the sioux and knew where in the country to point to on the map of where their land was, and didn’t know what states’ names that corresponds to now, so he went to look for an atlas, and wandered away. i went and found him after a while and he was on his bed reading calvin and hobbes. we looked at an atlas together and he pointed right to the dakotas, with an “oh yeah, that’s right.” i am glad to know he is learning such things right now. i got him a young peoples’ history of the u.s. on audio cd (howard zinn), one of his stocking presents for christmas and i think he will get into it once he starts. knowing how he absorbs auditory information, he will be an american history expert (from the zinn perspective) in no time.

i chaperoned a field trip to the art department at the local community college. the kids had all prepared a drawing they would use to carve and print a linocut, so they set about carving right away. this was full of ups and downs for a few of the kids who struggle a bit with perfectionism. not that i  know anything about that. at one point he wanted to give up and felt he had ruined the whole thing, but as he worked through it, he found equanimity again, and then he tried a print even though he wasn’t finished carving and beamed, and said, “it looks like an old black and white photograph!!”

using the brayer; printing his first draft

pleased with his print

“just like an old black and white photograph!” i guess i’m not the only one in this family who likes spirals… i quite like the way this spiral has a beam of light shining out of it, and even if he continues to carve away the rest of the outer portion, i will treasure this first print.

recently the name “the happy spot” has come back into vogue; lately he likes to get cozy in my chair with my laptop and my heating pad on the low setting… often it is his first activity upon arriving home from his dad’s week.

he started back up studying computer programming on khan academy and got caught back up to the point where he left off a year or so ago in one night. after that quick review he moved forward. this was a totally self motivated effort.

in the department of “life lessons we wish we didn’t need to learn” these past few months, one of the teachers quinn had for walk to math last year in third grade was arrested for sexually assaulting a teen minor at a summer camp. the teacher had already left quinn’s school, and was now teaching in a different county, and so our school system did not even appear to address it, which was disheartening. for my part, i discussed it with quinn, preferring him to hear about it from me rather than from classmates (i heard about it via facebook, where a friend had originally learned of it from her 6th grader reading the online news article aloud at the breakfast table (!), so i felt it was safe to assume it was going to circulate around school), and we sat together and read the brief few pages in it’s perfectly normal that cover the things that are not normal or okay when done by an adult to a child. i had just recently ordered this book, since we had the 7 and up book it’s so amazing but are now approaching 10!

the song happy by pharrell williams came on the radio on a random weekend day when we had npr on the radio. quinn loves listening to all of those shows (wait wait don’t tell me, radio lab) and laughs at the political jokes. happy came on and quinn was singing all the words and rich and i made eye contact over his head and grinned as we do when stuff like that happens.

he’s getting so big… he has favorite songs he knows the lyrics to…

he got past the part where leslie dies in bridge to terebithia.

he has inside jokes with me like “whatever sleet is.”

karate is a fun long evening twice a week, and i feel good about the time we’ve spent every time i’m leaving there. he is learning a lot in sparring, which in this dojo has a lot to do with control vs pummeling your opponent, and he is finding he likes working with some of the adult class green belts because they teach him while they spar.

one day quinn and i were all by ourselves for a day class, and he got to go through all of his moves for his full yellow belt test. he had fixed one foot maneuver sifu had worked on with him in his short one form, and sifu noticed that he had fixed it and said “i’d give you your belt just for that.” that was a nice acknowledgement of quinn’s attention to detail.

and the full yellow test was again a success! this time he tested with a friend, and they both did a wonderful job. and better yet, they left feeling like they knew they had done well, their hard work had been affirmed and encouraged.

valentine’s day; excuse for dorkery in the kitchen and receiving handmade cards!

some random learning moments this month; listening to his friend read to him (as part of their daily 5 reading program, i think quinn has probably helped this one boy with his reading quite a bit this school year, by being such a loyal listener and patient decoding helper. plus they are awfully cute sitting in their camp chair together. we also attended a fun movie night at the dojo, to which each and every student brought their fuzzy fleece blanket. before the show, board games were played, which of course is always a good time for quinn! he even got to eat an off-brand lunchable, poor deprived child that he is, he has had precious few of them in his lifetime, like possibly only one other one, but i succumbed to his special request.

and then he turned ten….

his birthday weekend was nice, and not stressful. by deciding to keep it simple, i ended up free to make it fancier. he helped, and it was so low key that i could have fun and be creative. the pizza pokeball and the type symbols on the veggies were last minute add-ons, because i had time to sit around and briefly google “pokemon party.” quinn set up the pokemon figures, and also decided he liked my balloon curtain idea, so he hung 4 out of 5 of them, after i hung up the first.

the boys played outside quite a bit, and would come in and do pokemon and legos and stuff in between. quinn got a minecraft medieval fortress book from grammy and grampy and that was his favorite. for a while they played minecraft, and then they would revisit the table and load up on more pizza and veggies. the three of us sang to quinn and he joined in singing to himself and laughed, and then he made his wish and we ate cupcakes. we put on a movie in the evening so the boys could transition to inside voices. we watched indian in the cupboard  since they’re both familiar with the book.

then they went to bed and read and drew and talked. i turned the light off at 9 or so, and they fell asleep 9:30ish. not too bad, they were actually noisier the next morning.

it’s wild that he’s 10 and having sleepovers…

he hasn’t parted with the minecraft book (it rode to school in the car with us several mornings) so that definitely won best present. he does like his jedi robe though, and he was listening to music on his mp3 player morning while he got dressed for school. because he’s happy… “clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.

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