: Matty returns to Australia and is already missed
: 10 Golden days
: 22nd French birthday party for Shoshana
: The return of the Pre-emptive Strikes Bowling Team
: Sin Nombre, Arrested Development, Weeds, Californication — thank you Netflix
: Bon Iver in concert last night; so very good!
: Spending time with new girlfriends, laughing equally at ourselves and each other
: Reuniting with a girlfriend I missed very much
: Jackie O on the cover of Vanity Fair, Michelle Williams on the cover of Vogue, me drowning in Fall couture dreams
: The most fascinating podcast I’ve ever listened to — thank you Radiolabs
: The community garden pushes us to learn how to pickle (okra)
: A new community garden takes root with high school students in south Phoenix
: The pumpkins keep flowering in the garden, but no signs of actual fruit yet . . .
: Market on Mill takes off and Tempe has a community gathering for farmers and hippie folk
: New Jay-Z
: My novel is solely awaiting a cover design; so very close to the finish line — Amazon
: New reasons to bake chocolate cake
I hope your month was filled with beauty and grace,
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- Celebrate!, Journal
When Sandy saw this month’s Craft challenge, she was excited to have a couple pouches for her pooches, Sage and Bo. Happily, I obliged and she sent photos of her sweet pets rocking their new accessories:
Way to work it, Sage!
When I was in Colorado, my brother Cody and his dog were out on a lengthy camping/hunting/testosterone fest when his pup, Raja, became seriously injured. Raja was chasing something through the woods when he was impaled by a stick that nearly killed him. Cody called me, after hiking six miles out with his beloved pup and getting him to an emergency vet clinic, rather hysterical.
If you look closely, you can see Raja’s stitches. There were way too many. Thankfully, he survived! And today is my little brother’s birthday. So happy day to both the Colorado boys!
“He survived? Ah, nuts!”
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I’m home again, home again after a lovely week in Colorado pet-sitting for my friends Sheila and Charlie. They were off to Africa and left me with their gorgeous home, a car full of gas, a GPS system, 5 furry friends to spend time with and WI-FI. I sat at their kitchen table busting through my work each day so I could go outside afterward and explore. Spending so much time away from home and my propoer desk feels decadent. I am so very lucky I’ve been able to escape from the heat as much as I have this summer.
I appreciated every cool breeze, the pitter patter of paws as the pups approached my bed each morning and simply being in a new environment. There cannot be enough said about the healing properties of reveling in sweet, thin mountain air. I spent hours lost one day on a hike only to find a path marked with “Beware of mountain lion!” signs. As my heart raced and I breathed as hard as I could in the altitude, I still couldn’t help but smile and stick my arms out in “Sound of Music” fashion. (Okay, in all honesty — I cried. I sat down and cried and was 4-miles off course, panicked, without water and completely freaked out when a ranger on a horse found me and got me back on course. Resume soundtrack music… ) The golden hills, dotted with the occasional pine and bouquet of purple wildflowers, with an absurdly bright blue sky above and towering gray Flat Iron mountains in the distance, made me feel alive.
When I wasn’t hiking, I was finding ways to follow my passions without my sewing machine. I saw this dutch oven in Sheila’s hutch and once I was done drooling over the size and color of the Le Creuset, I knew I had to cook. Roast chicken and vegetables is the easiest way to make a savory meal that makes the entire home smell welcoming. I threw together some veggies and rosemary from the garden and voila — a meal waiting for my friends when they returned from their time-zone hopping:
The funny thing is, when they landed yesterday we couldn’t stop thanking each other. I was so grateful to have a different place to work and to connect with my creativity. I made considerable progress on a few projects that sorely needed my attention. They were happy their pets were still alive and the house hadn’t burned down.
Win-win and a jiggity jig,
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- Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, Journal, Kitchen Talk
From garden to table:
Roasted at 350 for 25 minutes with a dash of EVOO
Spicy Tuna Burgers with Roast Veggies an Beet Greens:
1 can (regular sized, not giant/tiny) of tuna in water
1/4 cup of breadcrumbs
3 tablespoons of spicy mustard
1 egg white
dash of salt and pepper
EV Olive Oil for the frying pan
Combine all the ingredients, minus the EVOO. Drain the tuna and continuing adding mustard until you feel like the mixture is burger-patty consistency. I think 3 tablespoons is enough, but it is up to you. This makes two large patties. Heat EVOO in the frying pan and cook for 3 minutes on each side.
I like to add wasabi paste on top. It’s nice with the tuna.
Trim some of those beet greens and throw them in the pan to soak up the tuna browning:
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- Domestic Art, Happy Hippie, Kitchen Talk
Dark chocolate almond brownies for Cody’s birthday dinner. The recipe would be a Betty Crocker mix + a handful of almonds + the high altitude instructions on the box. Voila!
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- Domestic Art, June Cleaver, Kitchen Talk
I am not exactly a cat lover. In fact, I’ve been known to say that the best cat is one deep fried. My mom was bitten by a cat on her face as a child; her own litter grew up hating the feline world in solidarity.
Come to find out, that is really dumb. There are some very sweet kitties in this world and Woody and Yogi are at the top of the list.
I know. Woody says it is going to take a little more time to believe such news. I no longer hate cats.
Yogi is also a skeptic.
Abby, however, is such a cuddler and purrs like an engine when you rub her belly.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time hanging out by the fire for the last two unseasonably cold days in Golden. I’m not saying I’m ever going to own a cat, but I can see why they are sweet to have around.
Bruno, on the other hand, is coming home in my luggage. Love this little guy!
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- Happy Hippie, Homebody
Other than the serious oxygen high I’ve been getting from hauling my booty through the aspens and pines on long, winding hikes, I’ve managed to find a bit of inspiration in the furry creatures in my charge:
Really — have you ever caught yourself a bit dizzy, staring up at a brilliant azure sky dotted only by the paling green leaves of towering trees between you and the heavens? I took one of those fat finger walks this afternoon, getting lost in Golden. I managed to meander by the river for about 20 minutes, crawl up an embankment and weave through a sweet community garden, over a bridge and back through suburbia to the homestead. I was sweaty, clear thinking and tingly by the time I made it back to the animals. Could be the altitude, could be the change in scenery. It is most certainly the cooler weather. I feel human again.
I’ve been storming through my professional and personal to-do list since arriving Friday. It feels so good to sit at a different kitchen table, feeling the creativity pumping through my veins. The sweet dog asleep at my feet, the fire keeping us all toasty (snow in the mountains today), and the endless bounty of delicious veggies from the garden are making this all that much better.
Giddyup, Colorado. A happy cowgirl I am.
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- Happy Hippie, Journal
Zucchini and tomatoes rescued before the freeze:: first day of fall in Golden, Co.
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- Domestic Art, Kitchen Talk
And with the altitude, I was moving about as fast as this guy:
My heart was racing, my breath labored and my mind clear. I hope to make it to the top before the week’s over. Two hours in yesterday and I only got about 3/4 of the way there.
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- Happy Hippie, Travel
This week’s Speaking of Faith is an interview with Irish poet John O’Donohue. In his last book, Anam Cara, he writes:
“It is strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone. Behind your image, below your words, above your thoughts, the silence of another world waits. A world lives within you. No one else can bring you news of this inner world. Through the opening of the mouth, we bring out sounds from the mountain beneath the soul. These sounds are words. The world is full of words. There are so many talking all the time, loudly, quietly, in rooms, on streets, on television, on radio, in the paper, in books. The noise of words keeps what we call the world there for us. We take each other’s sounds and make patterns, predictions, benedictions, and blasphemies. Each day, our tribe of language holds what we call the world together. Yet the uttering of the word reveals how each of us relentlessly creates. Everyone is an artist. Each person brings sound out of silence and coaxes the invisible to become visible.”
Blame it on my surroundings this Sunday, but while on a long hike first thing this morning, O’Donohue’s voice and story struck such a cord, I was suddenly in tears admiring the gorgeous forest. The podcast discusses how God is found in beauty and how it is human nature to seek out things we find beautiful to better understand them.
“The heart is where the nature, feeling and intimacy of a life dwell, and without heart the world grows suddenly cold. In its desire for beauty, it reaches toward the beyond. This poignant desire for beauty suggests that beauty is the homeland of the heart…. When God created [the heart], it was fashioned for an eternal kinship with beauty; God knew that the human heart would always be wedded to him in desire; for the other name of God is beauty. The heart is the tabernacle of divine beauty. St John of the cross puts this poetically:
I did not have to ask my heart what it wanted
Because of all the desires I have ever known,
Just one did I cling to
For it was the essence of all desire:
To know beauty.”
With these words ringing in my ears, I found beauty and God everywhere I looked. The colors, lines, textures and perfection of these creations — they took my breath. We may not all believe in God, but I think it is safe to say we all have a belief in beauty. There are things we consider beautiful, which he is quick to say doesn’t mean glamour or anything materialistic. Instead, when the host asked what was beautiful to him, he listed off friends and experiences of feeling loved and accepted.
He also lists this piece of music as one that made him tingle with exuberance. I couldn’t agree more. I was smiling from ear to ear feeling so thankful to be able to enjoy these notes and their order as I hiked along. Oh, to be so talented!
To me beauty is my father’s relaxed laugh when he is with his children, my mom dancing without shame to Prince, my brother’s love for his dog, a deep breath of musky dense forest air, seeing the Milky Way on a clear night in Mozambique, women in Colorado without makeup and their sun-kissed hair pulled back in long, carefree braids with mud stuck to the backs of their legs after a long ride/hike/day in nature, crab and sourdough bread eaten with your fingers on the pier in San Francisco, purple hydrangeas growing like weeds in Central America, a pair of jeans that fit magically and finding a handwritten note of love on an otherwise blue day.
God is in each of these.
What’s your view of beauty?
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- Faith, Happy Hippie, Media, Travel