11–20 of 22 entries from the month of: March 2011

Friends + Food

March 18th

Mmmm... pizza







Snacks by the pool

Food voyeurism — a new photography genre.


Posted in
Arizona, Kitchen Talk
Comments (4)


March 17th

Not as much as I heart AZ, but it is still a nice place to visit

For the first time in 30-plus years, I’m not wearing green today and let me tell you — St. Patrick is punishing me. My day started in a New Orleans hotel room. Here for work, with a two hour time difference, I had to be up by 4:30 am Phoenix time to make it to my first meeting. Groggily, I slogged forward after too few hours sleep from a very long day of over-booked and delayed travel.

Limping. Because I have a foot issue that needs a minor procedure next week, but is a huge aching annoying pain this week.

Of course, I’m finally ready to meet this new group I’ll be managing of sorts and wait! Where is my rental car key? I know six hours ago when I collapsed in this room I had it. Didn’t I have it? Wait. Where did I see it last…

Three hours late to my first meeting, with a spare key in hand (after a tow truck and locksmith had been ordered, then canceled by the rental car company after they located the spare that previously did not exist), I saunter into my meeting. Never mind the hundreds of dollars in fees now on my credit card for said snafu. With frizzy hair, a limp, and a sweaty what-in-the-world-is-this-humidity-thing look on my desert girl parched brow, I arrived three. hours. late.

To the first day on the job. THE FIRST DAY.

Very sexy. Very professional.

The day hasn’t exactly improved. And I’m still not wearing any green because I forgot to pack even a smidge. I know. I’m Irish (by name, perhaps. Pretty sure my skin tone and ethnicity are actually Mexican) and my biggest fear is snakes; yet I didn’t take the time to remember the one mythical man of history who was Irish and banned all snakes from the homeland.

Dear St. Patrick, I’m sorry. Okay? A Guinness and a giant shepherd’s pie in your honor. Never again will I cross you.


P.S. It isn’t even a fun rental car. So to the leprechaun who stole the key? Feel free. Steal it. All four cylinders won’t keep you entertained for long. Although please don’t. Because with this limp, I am not walking far.

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Weekend With Finny

March 16th


gate Heaven


Finny's idea of snacks


Time with Finny at the spa + pool in Scottsdale — heaven.


Posted in
Arizona, Celebrate!
Comments (3)


March 15th


When you take census of the things you own and the things you are willing to move 1000 miles, you are reminded of who you truly are. Our things, especially those of which we are unwilling to part, define our values. We’ve voted with our wallets. These dishes, this piece of art, this bike. They each have a story.

Part of this move is to pull myself from the vain and excessively materialistic culture I find myself so attracted to by working in north Scottsdale. BMWs, fancy designer bags that cost twice my mortgage, prescriptions to grow eyelashes longer and plump lips. Being a part of this life is my default. It’s where I find myself without any work. In fact, it feels great to walk into a trendy restaurant wearing designer jeans and having a great pocketbook tucked under my arm and diamonds in my ears.

Like these things tell everyone in the room I’m successful. I’ve made it. And really, how silly is that? My heart could be as tiny and black as the Grinch’s, but with the right clothes, I’d feel noticed and admired.


This isn’t who I want to be. I need a shedding of skin  — to remind myself of the values that made me the weirdo through primary school (save the trees! recycle!) and in college (why blow dry your hair when you can spend that time reading/hiking/looking at the clouds?). Of course, with a change in jobs and income I’ll no longer be shedding that skin with a fancy spa treatment, so much as a homemade sea salt scrub.


Who do you want to be? Exactly who you are? If so, my hat is off to you. Each day I awake and think of how I could have handled the day before a bit better. What I could have said differently, how I could have acted a bit more gracious. I often hear from friends, “I don’t know who I want to be when I grow up.” Never mind most are in their 30s. We aren’t a lost generation so much as one that wants to balance luxury with meaning.

I want to be a woman who is confident without a mirror. One who regularly volunteers. One who always makes room for others in her home and at her table. One who gives generously and doesn’t care about her car because she’s on her bike. One who can get along with her mother no matter what, because for heaven’s sakes — I’ve only got one and she is dang special. I want to eat less meat, grow more of my own food and have a home that reflects a family trying to tread as lightly on this sweet earth as possible. I want to be confident in sharing my faith with others when they ask. I want people to know I’m a Christian by my actions — and I want that to mean something good and honorable in my community.

I want to spend less time navel gazing (ironic, on a blog) and more time photographing life.

(And I kinda want to change the world, so I’m going to start with mine.)

Too much? I dare say not.

Letting my homemade, optimistic, hippie freak flag fly,


Posted in
Arizona, Get Fit, Happy Hippie
Comments (11)

CAOK Apron

March 14th


CAOK Apron

A coworker gave me a garment that she wanted recycled. She’d had the gown custom made with Heather Bailey fabrics and was so sad the end result didn’t work. She didn’t want the fabric to go to waste. Could I make something of it?

CAOK Apron

The Betty Draper apron. Pearls and angst not included.

To be delivered this week!


Posted in
CAOK, Domestic Art, handmade, Happy Hippie
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Natalie Merchant + My Maniacs

March 13th

Trying to warm up pre-race

This weekend I ran the inaugural Mountain to Fountain 15k with a team of friends, aptly named “Natalie Merchant and the 15k Maniacs.”  The race started in the McDowell Mountain State Park and finished at the giant fountain in Fountain Hills. While it was a “net” downhill run, there are several considerable hills and it was one heck of a run.


Adam + the fountain

I had more fun with this race than I’d have had running in a long time. It renewed my love for the sport; I can’t wait to get through a cortisone shot this week in my heel so I can get back to distance running. (Add that to the list of sentences I never thought I’d say.) Everything about this race reminded me why I like distance running: the variety of participants, the glorious scenery, the repetitive one foot after another, the battle of your mind vs. the pain, the powerful surge for the last half mile showing you can run farther and faster than you ever thought you could. There is nothing as sweet as being stronger — both mentally and physically — than you thought.

Donk Runs

Donk Runs

Donk Runs

I finished smiling knowing I couldn’t have run it one bit faster or smarter than I did. That in itself was a complete victory.

And who doesn’t need the occasional win?

The Maniacs!

Thanks to my compadres, the Maniacs: Juliann, Adam, Dave and Octavio. And the mystery member of our team who signed herself up obviously because of the rad name. Whomever you are, we salute you — random Maniac. Also, many thanks to Kilimadog for photographing and driving.


Finny came to the finish

P.S. Lookie who surprised me at the finish — Finny! Such a good supportive friend of crazy athletic endeavors she is.

Posted in
Arizona, Get Fit, Good to Great
Comments (6)

What We Can Do

March 13th


Waking this morning to another BBC broadcast full of panic and sorrow. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so overwhelmed with worry for another country. (Which, let’s be honest. I was born with a fretted brow and am an over-empathazier. Zimbabwe, Sudan, North Korea, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Ivory Coast — all on the list.) I feel paralyzed with grief and what to do for the Japanese — how to offer help, how to stop nuclear meltdowns, how to know how to prevent this sort of mayhem in the future.


Prayer. The Red Cross. Lots of thought and optimism for the people of Japan. It is with great shame that we know your country can rebound from horrific nuclear disaster. I will continue to hope these reactors can be contained quickly.

What we can do in our own communities — other than donate money — is to donate blood. If you are eligible to do so, I can’t recommend this strongly enough. It takes 30 minutes, is minimally painful, has health benefits for the donor and saves life. It’s free. It helps. It’s in great need. This is one CAOK project that’s a no-brainer.

Also, there is no time like the present to tell those you love how you feel.

Be well, blog friends. Know you are in my heart.


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CAOK 2011

March 9th

Sea anemone

Calculated Acts of Kindness — CAOK — is a Lenten themed project I’ve led for several years. The idea is to spend the 40-plus days of lent in reflection, strengthening your faith through helping others.

This help may come in a note of encouragement, time volunteered at the food bank, buying a stranger lunch or simply paying someone a compliment. The intention of CAOK is to stretch your own comfort by being of service to others, and to do so humbly.

That humble part make this a bit tricky. I encourage you to share your ideas and acts here as a way of encouraging and inspiring others to participate. If you’d like to see what’s been done in the past, there are photo galleries and plenty of posts.

I look forward to this challenge each year because so many people reach out. They send the love letter they’ve been thinking of writing. They buy bus tickets and hand them out at the stop before work. They anonymously send flowers to the woman in the office going through a divorce. You wouldn’t believe how many of these emails I’ve received. It is a powerful project to be a part of.

So! If you are interested — now’s the time. Let’s do what they say can’t be done. Let’s make our homes, communities and world a bit brighter by truly being kind.

Saguaro bloom week

A Franciscan Blessing:

May God bless you with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen

May God bless you with anger. Anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen

May God bless you with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. Amen

May God bless you with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen

And the blessing of God, who creates, redeems and sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and forever more. Amen


Posted in
CAOK, Faith, Journal
Comments (8)

What Brings You Real Joy?

March 7th

Emme Lou's sneak

I have a sign at my desk that reads: “What brings you real joy? Do that. Be that. Share that. Spend more time with that and get more joy!” I read this each morning as I’m writing out my priority list and ruminating my daily prayer. The sign is surrounded by photos of my friends’ kids and photos from my adventures around the world.Bec + AB

What gives you real joy?

One of the easiest answers for me is time with my girlfriends. While this once meant slumber parties, Taco Bell and gossiping about boys — today it means backyard potlucks, good wine and gossiping about parenting. I do a lot of baby holding and listening for that last part, but I have a smile on my face nonetheless.

Oh, we eat well.

Oh, we eat well.

Mini + AB

The Germans are so good with language, I’d guess they have a word for the feeling of happiness when you watch a friend become a parent. It is a specific flavor of happy that is so sweet and satisfying. I’ve watched with awe as more and more friends become even better versions of themselves when they have a child. It’s remarkable.

Me + AB

The Germans do have a word I think aptly describes my love for others:

schwarmerei (shver-muh-RY) noun

1. Extravagant enthusiasm

2. Excessive sentimentality

[From Schwrmerei (enthusiasm), from schwrmen (to swarm, to be wild or mad
about). Earliest documented use: 1845.]

If there was ever anything to be extravagant and excessive about, I’ve nailed it.


Posted in
Happy Hippie, Journal
Comments (4)

OMGit’sfinallydone. Phew.

March 5th

M + M's wedding quilt

M + M's wedding quilt

This is the sewing project I thought I’d never complete. Not because it was exceptionally difficult, but because I was nervous I wasn’t going to do it well. My mom, thankfully, finally talked me through finishing Matt + Mariah’s wedding quilt.

M + M's wedding quilt

M + M's wedding quilt

Remember their amazing wedding in Seattle last summer? Oh, I do. When I wed one day, those two will be in charge of the details. Exquisite party!

M + M's wedding quilt

My mama created the embroidered tag for the back. The quilt is made of squares signed after the ceremony — a folk art wedding guest book of sorts. The back fabric is a capulana from Kenya, where the groom has done a lot of work.

I so love this couple and am thankful to give them something meaningful to celebrate their union.


Posted in
Domestic Art, handmade
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