Friday, April 19, 2013


Looking for something to lift your spirits?

Lately... oh my, the world has seen some seriously sad acts. There has been a lot to trouble our thoughts and hearts. It's not easy to process. It's hard to absorb the news, the madness of hate, the greed and hypocrisy of some acts... hard to make sense of it all. We look for the good, for the brave acts, for the people who step into the smoke and chaos to help. And we offer our prayers, our healing wishes, and aid. Still... the stories play on, and the news rolls.

I realize it's not just lately. Watching the news, staying informed, it's obvious that there is a always a great deal happening every day in the world... troubling, unjust, pathetic, ugly events... no need to go on...

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, dismayed, discouraged... if you need an escape, I have some things silly, some things amazing, some things encouraging for you. Enjoy!

Cat + Shark Suits + Dog + Duck + Roomba = Surreal amusement, sublime comedy

Now for the answer to the compelling question: What happens to water when you wring out a washcloth in zero-G? Ignoring the small fact that I am emotionally raw from other news, I have to say... the beauty of this made me cry! The visual beauty of water and how it behaves in Space is stunning, and the greater good in the nature of science and curiosity and cooperation is encouraging, too. We are capable of doing great things!

How about a few minutes with our favorite, the world's greatest, sign flipper... Grant!

Have you seen sound? Alex and Suki, through our Young Maker's Club, Love & Rockets, built a Ruben's Tube!

The steel tube is seven feet long, and two inches in diameter, with one hundred and forty-five 1/16th" drilled holes. A three inch speaker is capping one end, and propane is piped into the opposite end. The device demonstrates a relationship between sound waves and sound pressure. The sound waves create high and low pressure "nodes" in the tube, and the flame height is proportional to the pressure... see if you can recognize what high notes look like in the flames~

Ready to get out there, and play?

Moments to love... from the birds and the bees. I like to turn down the audio a bit, the visuals are stirring enough.

Courage, and humor, friends.

{this moment}

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment.
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Stuck... Good Days, and The Rest

Not every day is good.

Never give up!
Never surrender!
I don't say it, repeat it, because it's so firmly affixed in my beliefs, to demonstrate my sound convictions. I say it to remind myself to keep moving forward. I repeat it to convince myself that somewhere, along the way, I will hit upon a solution, find an answer, make things work out good enough.

Otherwise, to be quite honest... I struggle. I am disheartened. I doubt. I am scared.

Let's not pretend my insecurity is based on these almost lovely loaves that stuck to the pan... there's more on my emotional plate than a stuck crust! But, while we are on the topic: Why did they stick? Any ideas? I followed the same recipe, did the same things, but this time it was a crusty mess.


Sometimes, it seems a small thing, a minor crisis, is just the thing to trigger a confidence plunge! One, or three, broken loaves, and suddenly it's all so clear: Life is impossible, and messy, and I am in over my head, and why can't I be all the ideals I keep imagining I could/should/might/hope to be!?!... with maybe some tears, and a bowl of rice pudding. Maybe.

Do you ever feel this way? A pity party, maybe? A bout of doubt, and drama?

I say, with embarrassment, and regret: I can think of more criticisms, and self-deprecating remarks about myself than nice things.

Good grief.

The stuck crust tasted amazing. It was still hot, and I peeled it off... well, actually I hacked away at it with a big knife. It was delicious.

Life is confounding. I like it, to be sure. But there a moments... some long spells, when it really helps to say, Never give up! Never surrender! And then sit with chickens, or chase goats. Or just sit and write stuff down, and realize that it's okay to feel the feels.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Remembering Switzerland

I love Switzerland... and I admit, this is the emphatic and impassioned declaration of one who was in Switzerland for barely 26 hours. Twenty-six stunning, inspired, lovely hours. In 2009 we packed five bags, and began a European adventure with our four children that took us from London to Barcelona, and points between. It was an amazing trip, one that I, in my mind, revisit often. Maybe it was the trip of a lifetime, but we hope it was simply a first visit, an introduction. We want to return.

We picked up a rental car when we left Paris, and made our way to Brussels, then on to Amsterdam, and our dear Rabbit Hill. We visited the ancestral home. We were in Germany. Triberg. Zip! We were moving fast!

I know. I know... I am retracing steps, here. Covering old ground. I can't help it. It may be one of the best souvenirs of our trip of a lifetime that I still love looking through photos, recalling our reactions and impressions, enjoying the memories of our experiences. The pleasures and enjoyment are still fresh. As I re-read some of these old posts from our time in Switzerland, I recall how strong my emotions were. I felt so keenly taken in by the beauty and charm. I felt apologetic, too, because of my idealism, and naiveté. We could afford this splurge by keeping our stay very short, a little luck, and lots of thrift! Geoff and I still talk in shock about the dinner we just managed to bring to the children... the most expensive, yet small, pizza ever. Geoff and I inhaled the sights and fresh air for our dinner!

I love it when setbacks, minor bumps, or even significant missteps become the highlights, the amusing points of an expedition. Getting lost, unexpected discoveries, making do, feeling surprised... that's the good stuff for the lasting memories, for the stories you tell again and again. Whoever enjoyed a story where everything went smoothly from start to finish, and nothing daring happened? Other than being a bit out of our budget, this particular leg of our trip happened to be extremely idyllic and smooth... a welcome delight when doing laundry in bathroom sinks, getting by on five carry-on suitcases for six people, and navigating the Autobahn in and out of Germany, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, in the middle of the night! Yeah! It was awesome.

So. Switzerland.

Why Switzerland? Why now?


At the time, Alex called it my Trinity of Joy: Chickens, goats, and rabbits, together! I was completely smitten, it's true. I knew chickens. I knew rabbits. And I agreed the goats were adorbs, but the moment was another among many, enjoyed, then filed away in my heart. The idea of goats did not come up again until the summer of 2011, when my cousin planted a Nigerian Dwarf Goat seed in my head. And now... now that we are constructing our chicken run, I am struck and amused by the comical-blessed-Trinity of Joy we are creating! I feel luckier than a Swiss chicken!

Come with me, to Brienz, Switzerland. To Ballenberg! It is a place that makes me quake with giddy happiness.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Long Live Eight Years Old

On a visit to a favorite thrift store, Maria made a prized discovery... she calls it her Tasha Tudor dress. It is a homemade dress, many sizes too big, and yet a perfect fit for an eight year old girl in love with Prairie stories, farm days, her garden, and living by candlelight. It was hers for ten dollars, money she felt proud to have saved, and happy to spend.

Eight years old... all of the imagination and wishes of a young child, and a new sense of ownership and responsibility from knowing more, doing more, than when she was four or six. She can make believe, and she has strong convictions, happy ideals, for which she feels no hesitancy or embarrassment. When she feels pretty, she declares it. When her skirt can twirl, she twirls it. All of the delights in life are hers. She sees the opportunities, she fosters the play, and the joy in play.

She wanted the natural broom, "It's old fashioned. You can tell this is what someone would have made, with straw and wood, maybe. Not plastic. It looks right with this kind of dress."

Maria asked to have her hair pinned up. She's wearing her cowgirl boots. She's eager for summer, for gardening, and sleeping in the barn.

Last night she watched her brothers jumping over the tall fence, and leaping across the straw bales, and she was game for that kind of play, too. She's reading The Amazing Adventures of Doctor Dolittle. She's been researching gems and minerals, and creating a poster to define and illustrate different minerals, and their properties. She wants to learn to program her Adafruit computer, so she can write her own games. When she's nervous she scratches a tender spot at the base of her thumb... she tries to hide this. I hold her, and show her the finger I used to keep in my mouth when I was scared.

I want to remember all of it. Each of my children, at every age... treasured times, and memories. Lifetime memories. We hope. I want long, and healthy, safe, adventurous lives for everyone. Lives that are full of prized discoveries, trees to climb, foods to try, gardens to plant, medals to earn, languages to learn, places to go, people to love. I know we share this feeling of hope, this feeling of awe for young lives, for good people, for people who run into the smoke and confusion, and help. I want to protect, and nurture, to respect the ideals and spirit that eight year olds keep in their hearts, and carry through their busy days. I want their imaginative, eager, curious, idealistic spirits to last, forever.