Friday, January 31, 2014

a week in color {№3}

i am celebrating the end of january over here.  because it was ridiculously cold.  luckily, it was sunny most days despite the cold.  this helped immensely.

it also helped that i spent a lot of time in the art studio playing with paint and stencils and drawing and such.  i am taking mati rose's daring adventures in paint and i am loving it.  i especially love the weekly assignments to seek out color.

even on a brutally cold day (you guys, it was no degrees out.  NO degrees!) these happy prayer flags down the street kept smiling and waving.

learning new art techniques means more trips to the art store.  hello happy place.

when the virginia winter gets to be too much for this california girl, i make myself a cup of super spicy mexican hot cocoa, languidly peruse frida kahlo's unbelievably beautiful diary and daydream of the sun and the color and the spirit of mexico.

i was doing a bit of organizing and ran across the little yellow cloth bag of mia's old winnie the pooh game pieces.  a kind woman gave them to her while we were at a yard sale when mia was four or five (which was a good thing because i had no money to buy them at the time).  there was never a board or instructions, mia just made up her own rules each time we played.  these pieces are so old, they are made of wood and paper, absolutely no plastic.  i love this happy colorful memory.

Monday, January 27, 2014

it's time for soup

for me the only thing more comforting than wrapping my hands around a hot cup of soup when it's eight freaking degrees outside (this week in virginia we are between the second and third polar vortex of the season which are seriously testing this native californian's cold hardiness) is the actual making of the soup.  i am one of those people who gets all zen when it comes to chopping and dicing and sauteing and caramelizing and simmering.  i want to convince everyone to never ever ever eat canned soup again (because ew).  plus i love it when the kitchen smells like love.

lentil soup is pretty much my all-time favorite.  i also love a spicy spinach-white bean soup that i wrote about here.  either one can be made vegan or vegetarian or animal by choosing vegetable or chicken broth or even adding in some chicken.

french lentil and potato soup
use organic ingredients if you can, even the olive oil, butter and broth

one tbsp. olive oil
one tbsp. butter
one sweet onion, finely sliced
six cloves garlic, finely diced
two carrots, diced
one-half to two lbs. potato, diced (any kind of potato, skin left on.  i like sweet potato or fingerlings)
one cup french lentils, rinsed (green or puy lentils, they don't mush out like other lentils)
two 32 oz. cartons low sodium vegetable or chicken broth (or six-to-eight cups homemade stock)
two tsp. turmeric
one tbsp. herbes de provence
one tsp. roasted chili powder
one tsp. cumin
two bay leaves
salt and pepper


  • heat olive oil and butter (you can use all oil if vegan) in large soup pot (you may need to add more, you want to cover the bottom surface of the pan
  • caramelize onions on medium-low heat (about eight to ten minutes)
  • turn heat up to medium-high
  • add garlic and cook about three minutes
  • there should be a tiny bit of oil still in the pan, if not add a bit along with the turmeric, hdp, chili powder and cumin; stir until spices are incorporated into onion-garlic-oil; season this layer liberally with salt and pepper
  • add the carrots, lentils and potatoes and let them cook for a few minutes before you add stock (this is my favorite part, it's so pretty here because i used white, red and purple fingerling potatoes)

  • add a bit of stock and carefully deglaze the pan
  • add the rest of the stock, stopping at your desired spot on the stew-to-soup spectrum
  • bring to a boil
  • cover, reduce heat and simmer on low for twenty to thirty minutes
  • potatoes and carrots should be soft, but lentils will still have a chewy bite to them
  • salt and pepper to taste
curl up, get warm, feel loved.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

it's time

next week i'm joining sas petherick's let it go project.  because it's time.  you know?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Saturday, January 11, 2014

sunday grace (on a saturday)

don't you love it when you hear a message, perhaps one you've heard a million times before, and it suddenly resonates and shifts your thinking?  maybe this time it is presented with language that speaks to you or it is delivered by just the right messenger, someone you respect and admire.  or maybe this time life events have swirled into the perfect magical vortex of time and space and experience and in this moment the message radiates with glowing truth in the center.  maybe your mind became quiet and still and open enough to finally hear it.  maybe it's grace in action.

a big part of my focus on aliveness this year involves paying attention to and exploring those things that keep me from living the life i want, from being the human i intend to be.  a resource that has been extremely helpful to me is jen louden's book, the life organizer.  jen was one of the facilitators at the creative joy retreat i attended last october.  especially resonant for me in jen's work is the concept of shadow comforts, those things we dive into when we are overwhelmed, bored, anxious, sad.  food and sleep are two of my comfiest shadow comforts; they tend to get the most airplay around these parts.  but as i explore more, i am noticing other more subtle, more insidious shadow comforts i run to on a regular basis.  one that i'm paying particular attention to is being right.

what i love about jen's message it that we don't have to abandon or give up our shadow comforts, because often they are valid components to a life well-lived.  what we need to do is pay attention to when and why we choose them; partner with them for understanding rather than battle them for domination.  this mind shift is a pure moment of grace for me.

jen louden is teaching the life organizer navigation course starting later this month.  i'll be there, doing the work, paying attention, soaking up grace and wisdom, moving into aliveness.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

a week in color {№1}

my first week of 2014 was a good one...i hope it was for you too.

the first wild unknown card draw of the year was the six of wands, which asks, "where will you go with your new set of wings?"  (i have a regular practice of drawing a focus card once a week to guide my intention and thoughts.)

i indulged my inner 10-year-old with rainbow shoelaces and some puddle-hopping.  trying to rev up my walking practice.

here is the newest ganesh to play at the altar.  i love his spirit  also...seeing a curvy fellow execute scorpion makes me happy and hopeful.

i put a bit of the sea on my kitchen windowsill to remember the wildness of the ocean.

simon prefers the beds unmade.  i can live with that.

luca is experiencing seasonal affect disorder.  he's been quite curmudgeony lately.  weird thing is, the grouchier he is, the more i love him.

i've been craving and devouring so much citrus.  i am listening to my body and it is telling me to eat more fresh organic oranges, clementines and grapefruits (or pamplemousse, as the french would say and i like to say too because it's kind of the most awesome word ever).

i started a new sketchbook for the year.  is there anything better than a clean blank book?  i am joining moorea seal with her 52 lists project.  click over if you are interested too.  our first list was words that touch my soul.

thank you first week of the year.  i hope things continue in this colorful, peaceful, lively vein.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

one word

a lovely word, a token for a thousand more:  a l i v e n e s s.

i was pretty pleased with myself because i thought i made up this word (this is not unusual for me, the making up of my own words).  the word enters my mind now and then when i work to describe a moment or feeling, bright and shiny and safe and vibrating.  and even though it felt a bit silly using a concocted word, it also felt very very right.

alas, it's a real word, official, in the dictionary and all.  who knew?  and its definition is almost precisely how i was using it.  it's my spirit word for twenty-fourteen.

a l i v e n e s s of spirit:  present, aware, mindful, recognition, conscious, connection, bodhi, sentience, enlightenment, adventure, diversity, equanimity, daring, creating and loving art and story.

a l i v e n e s s of body:  movement, breath, groundedness, yoga, ease, lightness, being rested, energy, fingers in paint and glue, feet on forest floor and in pacific tidepools, clean and beautiful food.

a l i v e n e s s of mind:  intuition, knowledge, discernment, curiosity, reading, attention, experience, writing and hearing stories, focus, learning learning learning.

these are the things that make me come alive.  i'm ready to have/do/live more of them.

i painted a wee reminder of my word on a wood block and it's hanging right next to my bathroom mirror.

do you have a word for the year?  i'd love to hear it.  whenever i read/hear someone's word, i whisper it aloud and envision them being/having/experiencing it.  i love the idea of a million little whispered words floating through space like tiny white downy baby bird feathers.