Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Ad

move in day ~ right around this time...three years ago.

I sent this out to the two discussion lists I subscribe to ~ the San Francisco chapter of WAPF, and SFBUN ~ the Bay Area's Unschooling group. I've gotten several responses. My landlord should be paying me. ;-)

Hello ~

We are moving from this house we have loved for three years so it's up for rent. It is a cute one-plus story house (upstairs is a finished,
liveable bedroom or office but not built with the city's strict
permits) with two br and 1 ½ bath. The kitchen is spacious. It has two
living areas, and a working fireplace, hardwood and tile floors,
French doors, and tiled bath. The house is painted a warm yellow, and
has a deck and a driveway. Our family lived here happily with a
roommate for the past year. The rent was $2900, which might be right
for someone, considering the following:
The things we are in love with about this space are its location and
its backyard. It is just a couple blocks from the "Gourmet Ghetto" (with
its 2 grocery stores, restaurants, shops, etc.), near several
well-spoken-of schools, walking distance from two of Berkeley's
farmers' markets, downtown BART, and a short bike ride to Monterey
Market and the Tuesday farmers' market. The backyard is ample and
mostly flat. It has a prolific fig tree and a few yellow and red plum
trees, a coastal oak, and a large, beautiful redwood. We have
extensively gardened this backyard, adding 4 waist-high raised beds, a
tree- shaded patio, and a reed-grass fence to enclose the garden area,
and many perennials such as rosemary and lavender, butterfly bushes,
flowers, and herbs. This yard has been perfect for having laying hens
~ we have kept up to 9 of them over the past year. There is a gated
sideyard/walkway that gets some full sun and reflected light, and a
small front yard that is 100% shaded by a pine tree, and a neighbor's
large palm. The street is quiet and low-traffic, mixed with houses and
multi-family buildings. Also, the landlord is hands-off but
responsive, and a sweetie.
We have put so much time, love, and energy into this place, we'd love
for someone to move in who appreciated it.
Send me a message with any questions.

Monday, September 27, 2010

a wake-up that promises a glorious day:
early morning sunshine through my bedroom window.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Forward Movement

Bottle of wine acknowledging our move to Sacramento.

You think all these big thoughts, you dream all these big dreams, and then you still have to go to the grocery store the next day, tend to the perpetual parade of dirty dishes in the sink, and clean out the litter box (Reminds me of the Jack Kornfield Book, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. I have felt pretty impatient with this whole Grand Scheme lately, so that an Everyday just feels too slow. So I'm reminding myself of the forward movement that is happening. We are doing things toward a purpose. Even though we can't see the end result at this time.

front door of our new place in Sacramento
celebration of the beginning of our lease
(I took so many photos, and none of them got every one of us perfect
[though Anjali looks adorable in every single one ;-)
and Arlene looks gorgeous in every single one
and I look absolutely goofy in every single one].
So this one will have to do).

This week Sealion has been in Southern California with Miles, taking a workshop at Calearth. They're learning how to construct Superadobe buildings ~ the kind we'll build in Baja. And from what I've gathered from our short text and phone conversations throughout the week, the comraderie, inspiration, and networking with other folks around the world doing similar projects, seems equally as important as the actual learning and doing process of constructing earth bag buildings. Not to mention all that good physical labor, fresh air and hot sun, campfires and stars to reinforce what's learned and absorbed!

photos sent to me from Sealion's phone.
building with earth bags.
shaping up.
working into the night. with christmas lights. and beer.

Now: to stuff the bags and hop on that camel!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Asleep, with Glitter

Yep: she's our girl alright!


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wake Up Call ~ part two

From my astrologer, Rob Brezsny (a recap):

Capricorn Horoscope for week of August 19, 2010

The poet Jean Perrin dreamed "of marrying the dawn with the light of the moon," and I invite you to do the same. The darkness you've been immersed in will leave you soon. As it does, please don't forsake the pale, moon-like radiance that has provided you with a bit of guidance and consolation. Rather, bring along what it has taught you as you head into the far brighter phase you're entering. In other words, retain some of the wisdom the dim light has compelled you to learn.

In part one of this essay, I only partially responded to this thought-provoking horoscope from Rob Brezsny; I heard the good news, but I didn't heed the advice. What have I learned during this watery moon time? What wisdom will I take with me into the Sunshine?
It has definitely been a moon-centered time - creating and growing a child is all about dark feminine energy! Moist, soft, and fertile, quiet and slow. Many women grew up thinking of themselves as future mommies. But not me; it wasn't until I met the father of my child at age 29 that I even entertained the idea for any amount of time. Learning to trust that I was mommy-material took a huge amount of inner growth. Am I reliable? Am I trustworthy? Am I Responsible? Am I a worthy example to follow? These questions weighed on my heart. When my husband left to return to work mere days after Anjali emerged from my belly, I wept deeply with the intimidating task at hand, still very much recovering physically from a week-long labor and subsequent emergent C-section. Anjali was a patient but insistent teacher.
I am delighted to have this little person to share life with. Every day she blossoms more and more into herself. I marvel in her fresh eyes and creative wisdom. And I feel confident and good in my role as Mommy-guide-partner to this wondrous being. What a gift from the Moon!

I have also come to rest strong in my understanding of nutrition and good food. This understanding - that we are animals, just like every other animal, that evolved to eat a certain way to meet our bodily needs - makes ultimate sense to my core. We are not zebras, birds, cats, or even gorillas; we are humans with certain physiological characteristics and evolutionary expectations that demand for optimum functioning that we eat certain things. Our clever minds may talk us into believing we can do it differently. We might create things in labs that, on paper, seem to meet our needs. But Nature is magically holistic. We are not merely the sum of our parts or the end of an equation. As much as my herbivore-commiserate heart would love to believe different: To create viable offspring* we need to eat animal products. "Life takes life." This truth is no less Earthly than a migrating butterfly, a running cheetah, or a hitchhiking dandelion seed on the wind. It is not right or wrong or good or bad; it just is. HOW we go about it is what determines whether our actions have positive or negative results. And in the end the trees will eat us just as we have eaten.
(*whether we believe humans should be allowed to continue is another topic altogether. And in the end, we won't be the ones to decide, thankfully. "Nature bats last.")
The details - the what and the how - are what I learned and cooked for years as I studied the work of Weston Price and volunteered and apprenticed at Three Stone Hearth community-supported kitchen. Good Food isn't a fad or fashion, it is a way of knowing whereby our ancestors thrived, that was passed down to the next generation through culinary tradition. And though our lifestyle has changed dramatically over the last 100 or so years, our guts have not. Good Food tastes delicious and deeply satisfies our hunger because it meets our needs at the cellular level. This tradition of nourishment is my largest wealth of knowledge and my greatest passion. (For more of this hearty deliciousness, I invite you to step into my kitchen, food-a-file.)

What other knowledge can I take with me into the sunshine? I'm learning how to be my own friend. That my negative-feeling emotions aren't "bad" things that need to be stuffed, squelched, and hidden, but guideposts to help me hear my inner truth and how to take care of myself. I'm learning to listen to anger, jealousy, and fear to hear what they have to teach me. I'm learning to be less hard on myself, and also more gentle on my self. I'm learning that deep nourishment heals - it's no longer just something I "should" do, it's something I want to do. I even might be learning that the different phases of my cycle and the way they effect me can be gifts to USE instead of biological curses to rue. (maybe. ;)

A huge gift of knowledge from the Moon: I have Integrity. Probably I learned as a kid to perform in order to receive approval from everyone I met. I was a chameleon who lapped up praise and attention like a cat licks cream. But I didn't know who I was, or what I was or wasn't willing to agree with/to in order to gain that acceptance. I was a whole lot of fun, but I wouldn't call myself consistent or honest (perhaps especially with myself). I trust myself now. I know what I believe and I don't need you to agree with me to feel ok about myself.
Now I'm ready to be fun again. :)
good stuff here
I've been pretty lonely. The last few years have been solitary. But I've found that I have a few (wonderful!!!) friends, and I've even made a few. They have stuck with me even when I didn't feel stick-worthy. They have believed in me when I didn't believe myself. What a blessing! Mirrors to reflect my truth. Deep pockets of real wealth. Thank you! I love you!

Very importantly, I've learned to really trust my husband. Throughout our relationship I believe I have been testing him, possibly even trying to get him to go away. He is solid. He might not understand every aspect of my mysterious and watery being, but he supports me. He truly desires to help me be the best Me possible. At our best together, our strengths balance and enhance each other. At our worst - at least we are willing to stick it out together, and don't mind quickly kissing and making up, even when we agree to disagree. Ahhh. We are blessed.

Well, it sounds as if I *have* learned a few things! Moon Mother may I: please go play in the sunshine? (and from what I've been learning about Vitamin D - I'm hoping I can keep myself feeling sunny even far north of our tropical paradise! This sounds promising...)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Plastic is Forever

(this is also the title of a blog.)

Haven't done an ad-VER-tissment or public service announcement in a while...

For years now, I have had a passion for avoiding plastic if at all possible. Not only is plastic aesthetically displeasing to me, it is toxic to our bodies - especially for tiny young people (and the marine life who unintentionally ingest it), and
I have felt fanatical along the way (even though our house is by no means plastic-free, still) - investing in cloth shower curtains, washing, rewashing, and then tying knots in produce bags that I already had, avoiding buying yummy items like fresh mozzarella and cottage cheese that are packaged in plastic, and trying to make successful homemade alternatives to personal care products like deodorant and shampoo to replace plastic-bottled products (which often contain petroleum products - even if they are marketed to be "green" and healthy!).
My attention was drawn to a blog, Fake Plastic Fish, written by a woman who has taken this preoccupation (once you take notice, you realize plastic is in and on most everything!) to the next level. Here's her list of tips on how to live new-plastic-free. I was pleased that I was already putting many into practice. And also moved to step up my efforts a notch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

the things that have collected on our fridge

As we prepare to pack up our stuff and move, I am made to pause and look: to take in the details that are our daily existence here in this gentle, sunny home.
Today: the stuff that decorates and clutters our fridge doors (and the washer/dryer that are right beside the fridge). They do tell a story of our history and Family here.
(my camera has died so i have only my phone, and some bad lighting. but i'm rolling with it, inspired to Do More Things Badly!)
perhaps the first item ever put on the fridge: there is an artist who frequents the farmers' markets in the area ~ mainly at the Ferry Building in SF ~ who props a tiny, old-fashioned typewriter
on his lap and creates poems for passersby on-the-spot.

The week we first met and fell instantly-in-love with Austin. Birthdays. Magic and Spice.

"Baby Mommy" ~ as I describe her to my little one ~ on my fourth birthday.
'Jali's first Burn. Mommy circa 1996(?).
New Year's Eve 2008, and the hand-drawn stocking that Sealion's co-workers created
for their 2007 holiday decorations ~ with a jug of raw milk in it ~ absolutely perfect!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Inspiration: from Hafiz

~The Sun in Drag~
You are the sun in drag.
You are God hiding from yourself.
Remove all the "mine" - that is the veil.
Why ever worry about
Listen to what your friend Hafiz
Knows for certain:
The appearance of this world
Is a Magi's brilliant trick, though its affairs are
Nothing into nothing.
You are a divine elephant with amnesia
Trying to live in an ant
Sweetheart, O sweetheart
You are God in

Monday, September 13, 2010

Unrealistic Expectations

one of the thousands of handwritten dedications
to the BRC 2007 Temple

Unrealistic expectations:
Re-membering Flying Fish
When I was rehearsing with
Lucent Dossier, I spent many nights there at the Do Lab, sleeping in the same bed as my mentor and director, Dream. One morning we woke to be facing each other with our heads still on the pillows. She told me she saw a fish in me and asked me if I had a totem animal. That day as we talked while we worked on costuming, she inspired me to adopt the flying fish as my totem animal*. This symbolized embodying the dreams in our life that seem impossible - fish swim; they don't fly. But a flying fish does both with ease. My motto after that became Live the Impossible.
Along the way I gave this up. Tucked it away with the other idealistic memorabilia from that era of my life.
But now I'm bringing it back. Living the life of your dreams might sound impossible. Somebody's gotta do it. I'll take this one for the team.

In response to Far Beyond the Stars':

It’s never too late to start having unreasonable expectations for yourself….

  • I want to be flexible, strong, and active when I'm 70.
  • I want to have a thrilling sex-life with my husband. More than the excitement of new discovery, I desire the kind of fun that can only come from deep knowing and all-out trust.
  • I want to live intimately with Nature ~ to have my life be lived daily as much or more outside than inside.
  • I want to have the kind of relationship with my daughter where she trusts me enough to be candid and frank with me when she's 25.
  • I want to feel confident and fabulous in my body once and for all, embodying the goddess-manifest that is my birthright. I am ready to step into my power, leaving behind the lies and distortion of our culture's view of "health" ~ they can kiss my round ass as I stride confidently toward the truth. I'm ready to represent.
  • birthright

I intend to make more bold moves and fall asleep with fewer regrets. For a while here on this blog I played polite and tried to fit this image of some blog that is not mine. I was still being sincere, but I wasn't being 100% me. I'm much juicier than that. It is my goal to continue this "living out loud," as was one of my favorite quotes for a long time from Emile Zola. It feels much more adventurous.

*Later Edition: I have since realized that I don't really know what a "totem animal" is. I have read that some Native Americans take this concept seriously, and don't appreciate "New Agey" white folks using the term disrespectfully=without a full understanding. So I want to acknowledge that. Until I learn more, I will say that the flying fish is an animal that inspires me, and an idea I'd like to continue striving to live up to.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Urban Hike

A misperception I've operated under for a while now is that it's hard to have a small child and get enough exercise. Before baby, I was very active. With my turtle (Kapha) metabolism, I can sloooow to a stop if I don't start my day with vigor and fresh air. (Interestingly, I looked up Kapha after I described my characteristics. It was spot-on!)
As I feel the cobwebs blowing clear from my mind lately, I am choosing to say to myself, "It is possible for me to get enough exercise every day." Regardless of whether Papi Sealion works or not, there are rarely days in which I don't have enough time to dedicate at least a half-hour to activity. My life is luxurious that way.
On a jog recently I muddled over ways to get more exercise, knowing that walking up Berkeley's hills is the most straight-forward thing to do. It then dawned on me that even when hiking was a regular part of my life, the first half-hour always sucked. I always wanted to quit. And after that, it felt great. In my daily life, with babe on back, I haven't been getting past that first suck-period. It just feels like hard work. I've jogged for such a long time, I know to push past this first mental hump. So I can do it on walks with Anjali, as well.
Today I applied this by going on what I called an "urban hike" ~ walking up into the hills of Berkeley with my daughter strapped to my back. After stopping for espresso at Guerilla (a girl deserves a kickstart!), I took the first right turn uphill. And climbed climbed climbed climbed. Berkeley has scenic walking paths that are actually labeled with street signs: tree-lined sidewalks that just go straight up, with very steep steps thrown in here and there.
I hiked with purpose up up up. And when Anjali started to squirm and complain, it was my signal to head back (going down, of course, takes so much less time).
Once I got past the first flight of steep steps, my mind no longer focused on the effort and instead expanded to include the sensations of the world around me. When I wasn't busy being enchanted by my immediate surroundings ~ rose gardens, Mediterranean-style houses with charming arch-doored nooks, and magically quiet redwood groves, I remembered to turn around occasionally to take in equally memorable views of the Bay and the city in the distance.

steps that are steep on the way up are also very steep on the way down!
I love roses!
hadn't visited the Berkeley Rose Garden since we first moved to CA, five years ago.
unphotoshopped brilliance.
both tree and vine had grown through and around the metal fence. i love it when that happens.
sweetly tiny, intensely vibrant.
What started as simply an effort for exercise left my legs pleasantly tired and my mind and eyes exuberantly open. A successful new beginning!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Gratitude: For Friends

She is blessed who has good girlfriends.
I love you!!!
And Anjali loves you too!!!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Be the Magic

A tradition Sealion and I look forward to every year is to gift at least one person with a ticket to Black Rock City. This really gets us in the spirit of the gift economy of Burning Man. It feels great!

This year we were given the opportunity to sponsor a good friend of mine (with whom I just reunited on facebook..). She had a spontaneous opening in her day when she could come by and get the golden ticket. So I feverishly ran upstairs to my craft supplies to create a fitting envelope for such a special gift and favorite person. I just had a few minutes. I think sometimes our most inspired art comes in these spontaneous mad dashes of productivity ~ we don't have time to OverThink it.

This woman has such brilliance and charisma, I imagined her on the playa as I have seen her in the past ~ glowing and moving. I created this with her in mind, but as it manifested itself I realized I was calling forth a message to myself just as importantly.

(much more glittery and sparkling than my photographic skills can convey..)

Which reminds me of a fun art activity I saw posted on the Jack Rabbit Speaks ~ the Burning Man newsletter: What this comically displays is that the spirit of Black Rock City, and the seeds of magic, are with us and just as possible in the "Default World" as they are on the playa. We might just need a little more presence to discover them in ourselves and the everyday world around us. As we say in BRC, Participate!


An inventive Burner who's not making to Burning Man this year came up with a clever idea:

"Burner Out of Water: A social experiment for those of us not able to journey to the Metropolis in the desert.

Spend Burn week in your Metropolis, town or village as if you were in Black Rock City. Don your finest (but legal) playa wear. Strike up deep conversations with strangers. Ride your (decorated) bike or walk everywhere. Don't watch any TV. Make your car an art car. Spin poi or do yoga in the park. Bathe with baby wipes. Dance all night. Enjoy a sunrise with your friends. Burn something. Give gifts. Take lots of pictures, write about your off-playa Burn week adventures and send them Check to see what your fellow Black Rock City lovers did when not residing in Black Rock City. Maybe it'll be so much fun, it'll last longer than a week..."


I had written a little rant that I might still post ~ about having the courage to let myself Do More Things Badly. But then I discovered this article, called Regrets of the Dying. And after reading it, really, what more is there to say.?

(a chorus from a new-to-me Michael Franti song, Life in the City ~
"Ai, yi, yi, put your hands in the sky
Cuz you never know
how long you're gonna live till you die.")