Tuesday, November 07, 2006


It was a weekend sandwiched between crazyness. Halloween in Stillwater, Oklahoma. We had such a great time! I loved meeting Rebekah's friends, and as much as I can dread wearing anything besides a grey t-shirt and jeans, the costume action was quite fun. And according to everyone we know who was at the party, Rebekah and I won the costume contest but weren't there to claim the honor.

The weekend included a lot of animals sleeping at/on my head and stomach, hiking in the Wichita Mountains, and an Evil Jungle Prince (thai food).

And it wouldn't be a weekend with my sister if she wasn't wearing crazy wigs.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Ode to my Sista (the hipsta)

here is a toast to my sister Rebekah, soon to be a DVM. She took these beautiful pics with a couple of friends out in Southwest Oklahoma this weekend. Proof that good was had despite a wallet being lost. I love my sister very much and am very happy to know that she never will change- she'll always be wonderful and crazy and empathetic and loving and a genius with those animules of hers. So, to Beka.

natural sickness

I knew it would happen- I could feel it coming. Sickness. And it might seem weird, incomprehensible even, but being sick can be so beneficial. It stops you right in your self-centered, circular tracks. Here I've been, jogging around my life, just going where my schedule in my non-existent planner takes me. So it says I go to the pub, I go to the pub. Drive to NYC, off to NYC. Throw clothes in the laundry, round and round they go in the washer. But there's no time to consider why I do what I do. No time to think to myself about the washing machine we have, or the trees changing colors in Pennsylvania, or the conversation to be had while putting the chairs on the table at the end of the night at the pub. So where does it all lead? In a circle, perhaps. But the great thing is that I got sick. So I sat here, wallowed a little, begged my partner to go buy some juice, and slept, and slept, and slept. And then, intermittently, I would wake up and send an email, write an email, read a few pages in a book, and try to functionally manage an impending 5 year anniversary from Josh's accident (hence some of the emails).
Most of all, I've been wondering, in this short span of life we've been given, at least until it's gone, what is worth doing? What validity does art really hold? What should we be doing with our time? It only makes sense to me that life is about survival, and the first priority to survival is maintaining our biosystem and land and the people living on this land. Where is the balance in this? So I've been learning to grow food and thinking outside the confines of agro-business of which we almost all partake. I've started thinking that there are no other options in this world but to dedicate the self to healthy lifestyles in our relationship with the earth and food.
This morning I have been reading a book called "The One-Straw Revolution" by Japanese author Masanobu Fukuoka. He is not only a subscriber to "natural farming", he goes beyond techniques of even the organic farmer. While not using fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, or pesticides, he also does not plough or disrupt the soil. I know this is becoming tedious to read, and I apologize to those that love me... but here I am, reading, thinking of all that I know, which is really very little, and wondering if I am somehow going to have to learn how to be an entomologist and soil purveyor in order to live a life of meaning. And then Masanobu says these things after describing the silk of spiderwebs resting on his field of rice:
"The spectacle is an amazing natural drama. Seeing this, you understand that poets and artists will also have to join in the gathering."
Also, "And so the use of chemicals is not a problem for the entomologist alone. Philosophers, men of religion, artists and poets must also help to decide whether or not it is permissible to use chemicals in farming, and what the results of using even organic fertilizers might be."
Also, " Since advanced technology had nothing to do with growing this grain, it stands as a contradiction to the assumptions of modern science. Anyone who will come and see these fields and accept their testimony, will feel deep misgivings over the question of whether or not humans know nature, and of whether or not nature can be known within the confines of human understanding. The irony is that science has served only to show how small human knowledge is."
ah, I love sick, rainy days, the water pouring horizontal from the sky. Time suspended and out of your control. That's just it- sometimes when you think you are most in control and so suave in your choices, you are smacked with horizontal rain, humbly shaking your finger at it while you lie, your back against the ground, laughing just the little bit amongst your sneezes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Dippin' in the Desert

We landed in the smoggy and sprawling city of Denver on July 27th, eager for our reunion with family. Josh’s loving parents picked us up at the airport, ready to embark on the four hour return trek to Rawlins, Wyoming. Ironically, the first reunion we came upon was “a new hometown- Reunion, Colorado.” They named a town Reunion, and claimed it to be everything any perfect suburbanite might ever want, and in driving distance to every box store imaginable! Needless to say, the arrival into the state of Wyoming was glamorous and glorious, a relief to be seized and appreciated. The 12 days spent there was devoid of our cell phones and internet. We spent time making and eating delicious dinners, enjoying Aunt Cindy’s backyard gardens, moving cattle on horseback and via truck, celebrating Sadie’s birthday, hiking, enjoying time with Grandpa Bellin and Gramma Smith, and spending time at the ranch.

Josh and I took a trip to Sinks Canyon near Lander, about two hours northwest of Rawlins. We hiked to some falls and slept under the stars. It was both wonderful and refreshing. We were able to make the same trip with DonRay, Sue, Cindy, Sadie, and Rebekah, hiking and then sharing in a wonderful campfire meal.

Traveling often seems to bring about recognition of contradictions- this time proved to be no different. Wyoming offers stillness, darkness, quiet, beauty. But you can’t find an organic apple to save your life. Cattle, elk, antelope, and wild horses roam free. But the ranchers and cowboys don’t get compensation for lean and healthy hormone-free cattle. Nights are cool and the air is clean, but the state is in its eighth year of drought. It’s a place of immense history left unscathed, but being stripped of its ancient rocks and landscape. Coming back, flying over fields of lush green plants, arriving to a garden overgrown, was a bit trippy. Wyoming is dusty and dry. The people are worried and wondering. Water tables are dropping.
Going there, or maybe just going away, really makes you think about things… things you believe in, things you love, the steps you walk. The steps that most recently I’ve been walking have been over farmland, gardens, farmer’s markets, and food co-ops. Being in Wyoming and not being able to buy fresh, local produce really threw me for a loop. It is not available in Rawlins unless you actively grow in your own backyards (applause to Cindy and her tomatoes). The only organic option at the single Rawlins grocery store was a jar of 505 salsa. And I think that’s only because they offer almost a whole aisle of Mexican salsa. It isn’t an affluent town or a town with booming businesses or universities. It’s the hub of Carbon County, a county that spans 7900 square miles and has 15,639 people (I’m not kidding), but none of that land mass features a farmers market or a marketing organic farm. I guess that’s not too hard to imagine considering the elevation of 7,000, 8 year drought, and the fact that it really is a desert. But even so, shouldn’t these members of this community have available to them pesticide and chemical free food, free of corporate schemes? Food available that benefits the local economy and the local people? The very things I love about Wyoming, the things that are so opposite of what is happening in Denver, are exactly what submerses the citizens of Carbon County in a world lacking healthy options. Even crazier and more contradictory is the fact that all this beautiful, slick cattle wanders free on the range, lean, healthy, and happy. Yet the carnivorous people aren’t feasting on this meat, the animals they dedicate their land and resources to. They feast on what City Market, the monopoly grocery store offers- fatty, “choice” beef that may have once been theirs, but is now full of fat and cholesterol, chemicals and hormones.
So anyway, that was our vacation. It was time spent comparing worlds and places that are both from the earth, and both full of people who come from this earth. It was time enriched with home, family, and lots of love.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

organic reality

Daylillies, potato, watermelon,tomato, polebeans, our porch, mesclun and sunflowers, and strawberries.
Now all we need is a little time so we can make some progress... it's been so crazy busy working all these jobs and preparing for the show- not my idea of a wise use of time when you can't even say a sentence without spinning in your steps. But anyway, here are a few simple shots of some things we're attempting to grow. Most of the strawberry plants got gnawed to the root crowns by some critter.... we need a watchdog.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Did you say nemesis?

Sunday morning arrived without asking, so Josh and I didn't keep it from coming into our chaotic little establishment. Yesterday we went to our neighbors family sheep farm and shoveled sheep shit, and today we spread it. The compost is now nourishing the garden and the raspberry bed (provided by Aunt Cindy earlier this year). Our garden now consists of five varieties of potatoes, asparagus starts, pole beans, radishes, eight varieities of tomatoes, onions, spinach, mesclun, arugula, okra, oregano, basil, sunflowers, raspberries, an apricot tree, thyme, parsley, sage, and mint (contained). We've been trying to pull our invasive oregano, honeysuckle, mint, thistle, and wretched something or others with these thick and long roots that reach almost straight down to Mongolia. They are going to be our doom... I even asked my bosses at the organic landscaping company what to do about them and they wouldn't look me in the eyes the rest of the afternoon. I'm afraid there's no answer but to just keep digging. And then there's the torpedo Maple tree seeds. They are our other nemesis. Anyway, we'll see what happens. Here are pictures of the garden in progress. So overall the garden's a bit risky considering I'm extremely impatient and messy, and Josh is a bit methodical and precise. As long as I can keep convincing Josh that it's not humid and hot, he'll keep working and we can balance each other out. We still have watermelon, carrots, and squashes to grow. We are hoping to expand the vegetable garden, plant strawberries still, and get rid of as much yard as possible in the front, replacing grass with native Michigan plants. Grassy lawns that span neighborhoods are a terribly ludicrous actuality. Chemical additions to make things greener, when they only enter our water and trip us into thinking the mono-lawn is normal. I was trying to explain to my mom the other day that being a hippie isn't so bad... you save on things like razors, deodorant, sweat shop clothes, and your husband brings you a plate of crackers and cheese shaped like a peace sign...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Dimensions of Photography exhibit

Josh curated his first gallery show last week. May 11th was the opening reception, and I have to say that it was a complete stampede of fun and artsy folks. There was a good turn out, and the work looks really phenomenal. He found and chose 6 area photographers that approach the medium with different insightful and thoughtful techniques- medium and subject wise. You can see the gallery here and him standing tall as curator. He even bought his first jacket (I couldn't get him to buy one for our wedding, but his art show, yes- just kidding). He'll have a show in July with 3D work, including work of his own and probably mostly friends of his.... it's been fun getting to know the art scene in Ann Arbor.

Monday, April 17, 2006

day after easter

Schmoly, it has been a really long winter. Finally, though, things are starting to turn green- amazing, I'd almost lost hope, and there they go proving me wrong- proving they will come again. Proving that the wild charges through our tiny little house and home, producing these beautiful and intricate offspring that need just a bit of water and a bit of trimming. It's not too hard to get back to the roots- well, maybe it's harder then I claim. I think maybe a bit of unplugging does the human mind well. Unplugging from the chemical side of life, I mean, not the philosophical, although that might be good to unplug from occasionally too. One thing I've never learned from tv was how many earthworms live in our backyard, or how to transplant bulb plants, or what wet clay feels like in your hands when it goes from being wobbly on the wheel to centered and controlled. Life embraced is a completely different story then hopelessness. One thing that easter this year actually reminded us of is hope. Our pastor told us that the number one thing survivors from the concentration camps sited as their means to coming out alive was hope. Why hope, though, when so many of us feel we can't trust the leaders that define "American" to the greater world? Leaders of nations, even in these advanced times, are propogating not only violent but also subversive measures that intend only good for themselves, not the people of their nation. Why else do we find genes of plants, created from the earth in the beginning, literally owned by corporations, not the people that have for generations and centuries grown the green of life. Animals are being treated as profit, not life. And we ignorantly partake, even commune, of these beings. BUT, I almost forgot! Easter is a time of hope. Why? Because it means that life does exist and has existed and always will continue to exist, but will only be better beyond. Because we are all young (ALL of us), we are all learning, and we all do really hurtful things to those we love, yet we are forgiven by our loved ones and have stronger and deeper thoughts and loves through and through. I think lately Josh and I search for our way home, to a place that makes sense, with people that make sense and understand the world in a similar vein we do. And while the paths have been a little prickly with our bare feet plodding, I love to feel when it changes from the prickly to soft and sensual growth hugging at my skin, knowing it can only get better in the end.