This is the story of our adventures -- every day and extraordinary; our dreams -- tiny and grand; our gardens -- ornamental and sustaining; this is the story of our journey.  We are a family of four living a mindful, simple life here in Los Angeles County.  We are green, conscious, and forward thinking.  We keep an eye on the past because some of the best things have already been done and bear repeating.  Walk and talk with us, have a glass of wine, taste a peach or a tomato, blow some bubbles and watch them drift up over the canyon ridge.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Share

This past week Alex finished her final days of her first year of school (kindergarten at Topanga Charter Elementary).  Friday was her last "share" (what we called "show and tell" when I was in elementary school).  She chose a family photo, which I'm proud to say has been a big theme of her shares all year -- most kids bring in toys or gadgets -- I love that what she wants to share is her family and our tales.  Well, it has been so much a theme that I wasn't at all sure that the framed photo of the four of us, my parents, and my bro, SIL and niece and nephew hadn't already been shared!  So, I suggested that she take instead a photo from the Panama Cruise we took with my folks a few years ago.  She enthusiastically agreed.  And then I was struck with the realization that I had no idea where I had stored those photos...

Well, I did eventually find them.

But not before I found a large box and an overflowing bag of "stuff" -- finance stuff.  Commercial real estate structured finance stuff, to be exact.  Research and deal summaries and statistics and theories I had accumulated over a career in that stuff.   Stuff that holds ZERO appeal to me now.  I pulled the box out of the girls' closet with emphatic disgust.  "WHY is this crap taking up vital space that could be used for craft supplies and to-be-grown-into-Patagonia-jackets-bought-on-great-sales  and memory boxes?"  I got the whole stinking pile to the hall before I paused and said, "Could I...  Ever... Maybe?  Would I...  Ever?  Maybe..."  NO NO NO NO!  I could not would not could not join the dance.  Again.  Ever.  The Stuff must go.  But as of this writing, it hasn't.

But it's sitting in an annoying enough location that it will soon. Go somewhere.

The other day, this day specifically, I was going to stake the tomatoes and went in search of our sledge hammer.  I thought that it was in a box in the storage area under the back deck.  I dug around through the cobwebs and the dried oak leaves, checking box after box (why why does Someone not organize that area????).  I never found the sledge hammer, though I did find several boxes of tools and one of old tupperware containers.  And I also found a large box of law books.   Heavy hard covered tomes into which I poured my brain and spirit and over $100k over 20 years ago.  (Yes, 2011 will mark the 20th anniversary of my graduation from Columbia Law School -- scary how that time has... well, no it's not actually scary at all -- in 20 years, wow, the lives I've led...  the journey to arrive HERE has been grand; I digress...)  For the longest time those ridiculous books (because trust me, I NEVER had cause to consult one after my graduation one sunny day in May in Morningside Heights -- no reason to ever lift one and crack it open) sat on a shelf in my living room(s).  My Black's Law Dictionary still sits on my shelf.  But that's different, a true reference manual, which has been cracked.  These were text books, nothing more than class materials.    But they were so HEAVY, so serious.  Maybe their presence reminded me to be proud of my JD, a degree that led me down the proverbial garden path.  Until I found myself on the right garden path.  But I AM proud of my JD, proud of my education, my knowledge, my abilities, proud of my career (to an extent), proud of my journey.  I don't remember when I put those books in a box and moved them into a dirty cellar.  And I wonder why I put them there -- did I ever think I'd want, or need them again?  I'm going to send them packing.  This week.  With the Stuff.

Remember those cruise photos?  I found those in a bag that had somehow become a last minute carry on tote as we boarded the ship.  (Where did we get that bag?  I'll have to ask Gregg.)  

Inside the bag I found the photos, a bunch of "scrapbook material", and my journal  The journal I started the winter before my year long solo adventure of self discovery -- three times across the US and to Panama and back. Yes, I had been heartsick over its missing status.  Thank the Universe for the Share!

p.s.  I just now realized that I could have used one of those heavy books to drive in my tomato stakes...

Monday, June 20, 2011

A really big spider! Oh my!

Today, the first really hot and sunny day in over a week, I decided to stake my tomatoes (yeah, I'm smart that way).

While I was pounding and tying and sweating and swatting, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, hanging out (literally) in the pear tree.
Gregorie and I found him/her wonderful and fascinating and we took lots of pictures!

Gregorie helping
The pepper bed
And my NEW bed, with tomatoes and beans, which I just realized I forgot to cover with bird netting -- crossing fingers!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Onion goggles

Today Gregg made some amazing onion soup for dinner.

As soon as Greggie saw him slicing onions she ran to get him the onion goggles she bought him for Father's Day.  But then, she put them on herself!

After the slicing was done, she took over with the cooking!  So I should say, Gregg and Greggie made some amazing onion soup for dinner (btw, all with homegrown onions and thyme!).

Monday, June 13, 2011

Of clutter, screen time, and embarrassment

Yesterday I was chatting with a group of friends about stainless steel appliances and whether kitchen appliances needed to match and stuff like that and one perfectly obnoxious friend (KIDDING, totally love her) shared a picture of her absurd, insane, perfectly lovely kitchen.  Aside from the fact that her kitchen is just beautiful, what we all noticed, and what we all commented about, was the complete lack of clutter on her counters.  So she shared another picture today.  Ahem... still NO clutter.  

So, being pretty anti-clutter myself, especially in the kitchen, I looked around.  My kitchen was in good shape.  I had some dishes drying in the drain rack which I quickly put away and then I snapped these photos:

Then I started wondering, hmmm.... how does the rest of the house look?  I knew I had vacuumed the office and cleaned all the toilets and sinks/counters in the bathrooms, but I hadn't actively "cleaned up".   I had, multiple times told the girls to be sure to clean up whatever they were playing with before they headed outside to seesaw.  But I had doubts...

I looked in the living room:
Okay.  Good.

Then I checked the office.  Uh oh.

Well, I mean, it's okay, in terms of clutter/neatness-- just a basket of clothes to go on the line.  But what is Alex doing in here?  With her vReader?  Hmmm...  I took the clothes outside and then checked the girls' room:
Uhhhh... again, okay on clutter.  They DID clean up.  They just didn't go outside!  Yikes!
Oh, and here is the other one in the master bath, with the Mobigo.  GO OUTSIDE NOW!!!!!

So later one of the girls (Greggie I think) got ahold of the camera and snapped this:
One word:  GUILTY!  And yeah, that's an Etsy shop and I bought myself two rings...  Double yikes!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Today in p-p-p-pictures

This morning I tried my hand at braiding garlic.  My first couple attempts were not grand:

But by my third try I was getting it down!

I'm pretty proud of this last braid.  So, I hung it by my front door.

And took lots of pics of it!

I'm also pretty proud of the potato chips I made for dinner!

And I'm most proud of my princesses on the porch eating peach popsicles! (I think my favorite part of these pictures is there pheet!)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Test balloon

Trying out this new poem -- perhaps a work in progress.

Let me lead you down my garden path
And tell you tales of love and wrath...

Walk with me while sunlight soothes
And tell me all your pithy truths

Did you dream of wealth and power
and ignore the dew on fragile flowers

Or did you rest on bended knee
and understand the strength of trees

Did you breathe the fresh green air
and lead with heart without care

Or did you sell your soul to Mr. Man
and then go sell his corporate plan 

Where do you stand, and lie your head?
Where is YOUR place?

What will they say of you when you are dead?
Does your mirror like your face?

I have no tales of wrath to tell
Least not any you know not well
I leave my anger by the way 
and try to smile upon the day
My world hasn't space for greed
Instead it calls me to sprinkle seed
 in my tangled garden
love and hope and joy and peace
have won.