This little guy right here is not handling the latest move well. He’s neurotic and in need of more exercise than I can provide, which is saying something. I am going to give him a couple weeks to adjust. Don’t we all need some time in a new space? And while I have more than a decade of experience with this home, Nelson has just a few days. Hang in there, buddy.
While I wish I had some marvelous new recipe or knitting pattern to share, instead this is what is on my plate, so to speak:
1. The pit bulls who live next door are peeing on my garden. As such, they have killed four tomato transplants. They seem like sweet dogs, although they would like to make Nelson their lunch. I don’t know what to do to protect the plants that won’t cost a fortune. A large fence won’t work — this is a central area between the two homes. Any thoughts?
1 a. Speaking of animals in the neighborhood, one of my neighbors has chickens, a rooster, goats and sheep. I am going to introduce myself and see if I can’t pitch in on occasion. Or maybe keep a couple chickens at their place for some extra feed. It would bring me so much joy to finally have chickens!
2. I finished the first draft of my second novel, Basket Baby. I am reading it again and taking pages and pages of notes. This is the tricky phase. I can write stories — and often do. But getting them just right for publication is another feat entirely. I have a team of close friends waiting to help me edit. I just need to sit down and put red pen to paper. There is a certain mental hiccup about editing your own “completed” work. Instead of listening to the critic, “Oh, good God. Don’t publish this drivel!,” I need to muster up my courage to hear, “You can do this. It doesn’t suck. You’ve read worse and there is a really good story here.”
Amazing how fragile the ego is.
3. My sewing machine is back from the shop AND we are expecting rain this weekend. Friends, this is the recipe for a weekend inside, in stretchy pants. And frankly, I can’t tell you the last time a weekend didn’t involve packing tape, moving trucks, cardboard boxes, chasing tenants, schmoozing a landlord or organizing items in cupboards.
Me + rainy weather + sewing machine + lengthy list of projects that have stacked up = almost sounds like a vacation. Seriously. Add some champs and Netflix and by golly, we have us a proper weekend to remember.
The new library in the office. Cute, right? That’s new carpet right there. It is pretty, smells new, and is a daily reminder of why I will never, ever, so help me God, let strangers live in a house I own again. I am simply not cut out to be a landlady.
I’ll have to return my Mrs. Roper gown.
4. I’ve been working on a project that made a leap forward this week. It involved meeting the governor, and having say while shaking my sweaty hand, “I’m watching you.” It was an uncanny. I am so in love with what I do, and it is so frustrating to not be able to talk more about it. If I ever really dive into political life, I may have to get my jaw wired shut. And my typing fingers cut off.
Or maybe I should just stick to public health.
5. Lent starts next week already. Who is ready for Calculated Acts of Kindness 2014?
* Fo’ drizzle. (My new favorite joke. You’re welcome.)
- Posted in
- Arizona, CAOK, Heirloom Hacienda
Who would have thought the world would change if a Pope came to power who actually embodied the characteristic love and kindness of Jesus?
Who would have thought any human, Pope or otherwise, could be this good? Someone who seeks social justice, works for the poor, eschews the fame and glory of such a prominent role, and instead reminds those who report to him to him “no intrigue, gossip, power pacts, or favoritism.”
Who couldn’t use a reminder that intrigue, gossip, power pacts and favoritism — at home and at work — hurt us all? (Hey Arizona legislators, please consider this.)
I am loving Pope Francis. He gives me hope for the global Catholic church.
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As I do a few home repairs in my free time, I am entrenched at work in research on women in prisons. Specifically, I am reading about women who have substance abuse or serious mental illness and become jailed for whatever offense. The research isn’t great, and God knows the US has the highest rate of incarceration internationally.
A few facts that are really bothering me:
- Half of all women incarcerated received substance use treatment or mental health treatment prior to being jailed. Half. As in: 50% of those women who are behind bars today have either a mental health disease, or a substance abuse issue. I would guess in other countries, these women would be in treatment rather than prison.
- Those who experienced partner violence were four times as likely to engage in sex work and two times as likely to deal drugs.
- Those who had a substance abuse issue were seven times as likely to get DUIs and six times as likely to engage in sex work.
I am attending a training next week about women jailed in our community, and how we can do a better job to offer services (mental health, substance abuse, community outreach) to prevent girls from becoming the next wave of women in prison. The solutions aren’t easy. They are drenched in politics, finances and let’s be honest: prisoners may be the least considered in the social justice arena.
But the problem is certainly clear.
Have I mentioned how lucky I am to have this job? That I get to learn and think and brainstorm with some of the smartest policy folks in Arizona? It is fun, challenging and exhausting. And it provides plenty to think about as I’m painting and replacing light bulbs.
- Posted in
- Arizona, Heirloom Hacienda, Public Health
Trying to find the light and positive, seeking the warmth of the Arizona early spring. My vegetable garden is going wild, eating up buffalo loam and drinking up as much water as I can provide. The heat comes on strong, and stronger.
Again, I plant a garden. And again, the earth reminds me everything happens in its own season. It is as pointless to dream of watermelon in February as it is to hope for citrus on the trees come May.
- Posted in
- Arizona, Flora and Fauna, Heirloom Homestead
I love walking Nelson first thing in the morning this time of year. The air is crisp, cool enough for a light sweatshirt. The light comes a bit earlier each day, cresting over Camelback and flooding our little park. The birds begin to sing before day break, as though calling the warmth forward.
I am busy, friends. Work is going so well. I simply love my job and am really thankful to be back in public health. And that second novel is coming along! I am finishing the first draft, after three years. This week it will be emailed off to a handful of dear friends who have offered to pull out their red pens.
And then, of course, there is the moving. This weekend is more painting and carpeting and gardening. The little home that could is coming together slowly, but sweetly. This home will be called the Heirloom Hacienda, with a nod to southwestern roots. I’m looking forward to having my sewing machine back from the repair shop, the kitchen ready for a dinner party and the garden producing food for our table. (Maybe a lifestyle book with recipes and the such is next.)
I hope your February is full of love!
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- Heirloom Hacienda
This weekend I planted a vegetable garden. One of the perks of returning to my little home in Tempe: space to garden. I’d done a good bit of work over the years to clear areas for gardening and no surprise — they were empty and ready for some attention.
Tomatoes and leeks and peppers and zucchini and in a few months, we will have more vegetables than we know what to do with. Thankfully we also have more Ball and Mason jars than I know what to do with. (I may be a bit of a jar junky.) I see a tomato canning party early summer.
Otherwise, I scratched the itch to have everything spotless and organized this weekend.
New drip pans for an old stove — with a bit of elbow grease and Magic Erasers (which, my God really are magic and possibly produced by Unicorns) and voila — a much nicer looking, sparkly clean stove:
My other cleaning hack worthy of sharing: my little home has OLD cabinets. They could use to be replaced, along with just about every other fixture in the joint. My mom suggested cleaning them with Simply Orange and my goodness if that didn’t make a big difference.
You wouldn’t believe the ick that stuff removed. Are they brand new? No. Are they clean and ready for more use? Yep.
So, while this place isn’t palatial, it will be clean and tidy as we take our time moving in. I’m pleasantly surprised by how much it feels like home. A garden always helps with that.
This week: painting, bathroom updates and new carpeting. And lots of watering the little garden that could (and will).
My home in Denver was the Heirloom Homestead. Any votes if I keep the name or spice it up? I’d love your suggestion.
- Posted in
- Arizona, Happy Hippie, Homebody
One Community is a monthly photo project in which participants photograph their homes and communities with a theme in mind. The theme varies by month. The goal is to both showcase similarities and differences in our communities worldwide – and bring us all closer together in understanding through art.
Each month, one of the hosts picks four words for us to interpret through photographs of what we see around us in our daily lives.
The Rules: Post one or more photos interpreting the words for the month, and add your blog post to the link-up. Please include a link back to the link-up post on your One Community post, and take a look at some of the other links and comment on them.
This month’s words, selected by me (!) are: style, heirloom, heartbeat, warmth.
I currently live in what some might call a “transitioning” neighborhood. There are wealthy pockets and very, very poor ones. I’ve never lived in a place that had both ends of the extreme living quite so closely to each other. Trailer parks crammed full of tiny, dented tin homes — with piles of children, kittens and the random chicken wandering the street. One block over? A county island with a private drive winding past custom homes, on acre-plus lots.
For my four words this month — I’d like to show a bit of the style, heirloom, heartbeat and warmth of the Phoenix Homestead neighborhood, tucked in a pocket of the community I described above. The Homestead neighborhood is a historic district in central-east Phoenix. Oddly enough, the neighborhood includes a greek orthodox monastery. It is quiet; you can hear the birds, and this time of year — nearly every bird is here visiting.
It is neighborhoods like these that make me stop and pay attention. There is such a crazy love of color, gardening and community. I imagine these folks are all friends — they swap cans of jarred tomatoes and get together for dinner parties. Needless to say, I’d really like to live on this street one day!
Link up with us, and play along:
Thanks for playing!
- Posted in
- Arizona, Community, Photography
Robyn and I don’t really know each other. But we have long read each other’s blogs and supported each other. Well, really she has supported me. She and her community of knitting friends regularly pitch in for my variety of projects. Boxes of hats, scarves and other hand knits have arrived from around the country for homeless vets, for example. Her generosity knows no bounds.
She is expecting a little girl soon. Her first! I thought it would be nice to send some non-pink or purple love her way to celebrate the addition to their family.
Pattern: Kimono Wrap in Mason Dixon Knitting
Yarn: Peaches and Cream cotton
Time: This knit up within a couple weeks. It took far longer to decide what to do about the closure. With the move, my sewing supplies are packed (and machine is in the shop) so when Sue suggested braided ties, I jumped on the idea. I love the colors of this yarn; they remind me of the sea.
Next up: ball band cotton dish cloths — a pattern from the same book. I have a lot of small bits of cotton yarn remaining from a variety of projects I’d like to clean up, and a few friends moving and settling into new houses. Perfect fit.
- Posted in
- Blessings, Community, Domestic Art, Earth Mama
A few of the colors from a neighborhood walk. Oh Phoenix, you are so gorgeous this time of year!
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- Arizona, Community, Flora and Fauna, Photography