31 December, 2011

Let's recap!

2011! I did big things!
1) Moved to Oregon! Yes! That went very well. Technically that was the end of December, but I am counting it as 2011 because we were in limbo for a while.
2) Bought a house! That went...ok. It was ok. Moving on.
3) Made New Friends! Pretty awesome. Also, all of these friends are older than me, which hasn't been the case since about 6 years in to community college. I have people who give me advice, and also just like to chat. What a wonderful new experience!
4) Learned a whole lot about government aid programs. Yay! Seriously, yay. Not only have we benefited, but I have learned a lot about the actual people who need and use these programs, who has access, who needs access, just how hard it is to abuse the system, and just how much reform is needed.
5) Went to the Hazon Food Conference for the first time ever and it was amazing. I want to go again next year, but I may have put a little crimp into that plan (#8)
6) Completed the training stage for becoming foster parents. Woohoooooo!
7) Got a JOB. Actually, my aunt got me a job, and it is wonderful and I love it. I am still very nervous, and have made a couple mistakes, but altogether I love being a translator/reviewer. Very fun.
8) Decided to and then became pregnant. #3 and final, and I have gone through some major emotional ups and downs this time around, but I am very excited and hopeful and really looking forward to next summer. Which is why I may not be able to attend Hazon. It's ok! I'll be a little busy!

Signing off until next year,

ETA: I will not be going to Connecticut. In the winter. With a baby. I'll wait until the conference is back in Davis again :)

12 December, 2011

crawling back into life

I have been laid low for 2 months with a rather severe case of nausea and exhaustion. All because I went and decided that we would have one more try at having a baby. While I am excited (and nervous) I did not expect that after 2 extremely easy pregnancies (my only symptoms were a couple mood swings and getting a big belly, and the baby at the end) that this last time I would get hit with a 'normal' pregnancy. I suspect I am vitamin deficient and so I've been doubling up on prenatals, but ugh, and yuck, and whine. From onset I have felt sick, and every time I had someone say 'I'm surprised you knew so early!' I told them it was either pregnancy or I needed to be hospitalised, because I never, ever, ever, ever feel this way. Well, the nausea is starting to abate, unfortunately I am forced to avoid any dairy or wheat (or plan to spend a day cooling my face on the bathroom floor), but I am not supposed to eat these things anyhow so I guess this baby is just whipping me into shape (it's due to be a Leo, so makes sense that it is already being bossy ;) ).

My father-in-law has been visiting for a week, he heads back home tomorrow, and it's been wonderful, not only because he gets to spend time with the boys but he's been taking the boys out with him on walks, which gives me time for napping :) I really hope that all the stories of this passing with the first trimester will hold true for me, because I would really like to cook food in my own home again soon. Also, being mildly productive again would be awesome. I'm sure my mom will laugh; she called me a sucker for having another baby after my first was SUCH a good baby, and now I get a 'typical' pregnancy after my two easy ones. I just hope that labor doesn't follow this pattern too! Yeesh!


09 November, 2011

old habits have to be formed first

So I strained my shoulder or pinched a nerve or SOMETHING and I just realised I've been dealing with this since September and that I really do not handle headaches or really pain in general very well. I have a massage planned on the 17th. Yesterday I went downtown to an herb store (okay, THE herb store) that offers chair massage because I could barely function and the owner looked at me and said "normally, it wouldn't be a problem, but we're booked solid today. Just today." Story of my life. Or rather, story of my ridiculously debilitating muscle issue. However, we then took the boys to the Children's Museum and they had a fantastic time. and then my hips decided they actually belong to a 110-year-old and let me know in no uncertain terms that this 'walking' nonsense was done. Maybe I'll just get used to it. However, it's been over 30 days and I still haven't learned to deal with random stabbing face pain, so maybe not. I am getting a lot of sitting-down activities done, so there's an upside to temporary retirement from bipedalism.

Speaking of the 30-days-makes-a-habit idea, which my mother told me repeatedly, if it holds true I despair of my son ever being fully potty-trained, because he is absolutely fine for a week or so and then, on days like today, with no outside distractions or over-stimulation or breaks to his routine, he pees in every pair of pants he own. I would just put him back in diapers but 1) that's admitting defeat 2) he's 4 and frankly needs to be getting the hang of this already and 3) diapers are not, actually, easier. I know this because I put him back in diapers a few months ago and that was the most disgusting 24-hours of my life.

Now I am heading out for the evening, even if it means I can only drive 20 mph. It's going to be wonderful.

08 September, 2011


Half the pears went into the compost today; the ones that had been nibbled and rejected by the boys. Overnight they were colonised by fruit flies, and there was nothing we could do but put them in to turn into future dirt.

I don't feel so terrible about it, thankfully; the majority of the pears we gathered would have rotted on the ground, had we not taken them, and the boys gorged themselves on handfuls of them. With a drawer full in the fridge waiting to ripen I can let this one go.

Now I just have to keep track of all the other fresh produce; thankfully we have the bunnies, so if I know something will go before we can get to it at least they get to feast, and I am very glad that we do have a compost bin, so at least I am not throwing any food in the garbage.

Still, that box of pears was slated for saucing today. At least I have a tray of tomatoes out there drying. Speaking of which, I had better go check them.


07 September, 2011


This weekend we went down to the gleaner's garden, to volunteer, and then had an hour or so between when the gardening shift ended and we could go pick up food, so we took the boys to a nearby park. I noticed that there were pears all over the ground, and at first I though maybe some kids had been snacking, and then that maybe someone dropped an entire bag of them, and then finally found the productive tree at the edge of the play area. The boys and I gathered a small bag of them (about 20 or so), even though they were all quite hard, leaving behind any that were obviously cracked or nibbled on. Then we got to the food distribution and one of the attendants handed me a full paper bag of pears. Now I had two bags of pears staring at me in the kitchen, stuck in that limbo of I don't know what to do with them and I can't eat them all before they go bad. Finally today I looked up my options; I sorted through and put all the unblemished ones in the fridge ( I lined the bin with a paper bag, just in case of spoilage) and put the rest, most of which had nibbles taken thanks to the boys, in a box. Those I am going to either sauce or dehydrate tomorrow, once I look up which is the better method for unripe pears, as these will go bad before they ripen.

We also got a chest freezer this weekend; I had been looking for a while online, all the ones being sold on craigslist were too old or being sold for almost the same price as new, and the free offers were all broken, so I kept putting it off. The choice this weekend became either glut ourselves or let food rot, as the freezer compartment in our refrigerator has been full to capacity for sometime and a large influx of frozen food meant that we took advantage of labor day sales (with added warranty). I am not thrilled about having bought one new; I would rather our food preservation were not electricity dependent, but it is a time for taking what steps I can right now. Eventually I want a smaller refrigerator, and then perhaps not to have one at all, and the freezer can help lessen the reliance on the fridge while increasing our food reserves now, while the produce is coming in, for later, when I can sort through and perhaps preserve some of this another way. That's one reason I am leaning toward drying the pears; the less food at risk of spoilage due to loss of power the better. I do still need to store water; I am going to try to do that this week, although this week is already pretty full.

We have someone coming to do a (free!) inspection and estimate for window replacement; we definitely can't afford it now, but at least we'll have some numbers to work with. The solar power 'inspection' never happened; seems to me that they want a commitment to buy before even coming out, and I will not do that without being given any numbers whatsoever, so we are at an impasse. I will eventually just install something myself, I'm sure, but not soon. In the meantime I am looking at plans for bike power. We have a lot of bikes, so that's done.

The certification process for foster care seems to be moving forward; I heard from 2 references this week that they received and submitted the paperwork for references, so I am trying to get the house ready for inspection, whenever that may be, as we have not heard from or know who our caseworker is yet. I am excited, but a bit nervous right now. Once I get the house done I'm sure I'll feel less worried, but if someone were to show up now, well, we would definitely not pass. Too many projects waiting to be implemented, but we are getting there.

I still have not written about the Hazon conference; I'll do that next, but on the way home another attendee gave me some excellent advice and a weight has been lifted from me. Sometimes you don't realise just how weighed down you are until it has been lifted; a 'lightness of being' has been restored. It's funny, I feel free again, even though I'm in the middle of all this. It's great :)


05 September, 2011


We spent Sunday celebrating Asher's birthday; we had a great time. gf waffles for breakfast, then went to the Children's Museum for a few hours, eating gf pb+banana sandwiches (hooray for gf bread from the Gleaners!), then home where he walked in the door to find his 'new' bike (with a big happy birthday balloon on it). Wrapped up the evening when we went grocery shopping and decided to try out yogurt munch, as a very special treat, and it was a big hit with all of us. My camera battery held out just long enough for me to take my annual picture of him, and since I didn't bring along a memory card it's stuck on the camera's internal memory for now :). A great day for all of us, no pressure, and really simple. We are going to go to the coast later this month too; September is turning out to be one great month!

happily, -nava

02 September, 2011

happy times!

Asher's birthday is on Sunday, and I am soooooooo excited! #1 : because it's his birthday. He will be 4. That is mindblowing and awesome in itself. #2: after weeks of searching and craigslisting and freecycling and getting stood up by craigslisters and ignored by freecyclers and finally deciding to just buy a bike from the store we actually found him one. On craigslist. So I was able to buy accessories (bike locks! safety pads! new stickers because I scraped off the old gunky ones! stuff for the other bikes!) for a total that was less than buying the cheapest new bike we had found. WIN! #3: I have an awesome day planned for him. Totally awesome. Only 2 more days!

Another happy thing, we are going to spend 5 days at the coast! A pharmacy put out a call for a tech to work a week over there, and offered to pay for travel and housing, and then they agreed to pay for all 4 of us to stay, not just him, so the boys and I are going to have an awesome awesome time while he is at work, and then more awesome time when he is off of work, because! This town is only about 15 minutes across. As in, he can be to or back from work in 15 minutes. None of this 1-4 hour commute nonsense.

Also! He is getting an interview for the brand new store here in town (15 minutes away! ON FOOT!!) next week. He's been calling and calling and calling and talking to people since he first found out they were planning construction, and I think it is going to pay off. I really, really, really, really hope so, because thanks to a restructuring of mass transit his former 1-1.5 hour commute took 4 hours the other day. FOUR. That was not anywhere close to ok. So yes, new store!

I have meanwhile been fixing up a bike, hanging a bathroom cabinet, doing laundry, cleaning the garage, a bunch of other fixer-upper things, and keeping us fed, but still have not managed to find the battery charger for my camera. Which is worrisome, as I need it for both money-making and birthday picture taking, and I am running out of places for it to be. The hunt continues.


28 August, 2011

on the upswing

Just like that, the weather is cooling down, we're charging off in new directions, and help has arrived from generous family.

We went ahead and sold what was left of our stocks; they've been going up and down for years, but down more than up, and we decided that money would serve us better now than in some hypothetical future when the economy suddenly 'recovers'. I don't think we want the economy to return to what it was, but there you go. Then today my parents offered us a generous amount of money and we can pay our bills, and catch up on the ones that we fell behind with.

I have never fallen behind on a bill, ever, so the fact that this happened is a sign that we were far too busy and need to pay attention. We also have found ways to cut our costs even further, which is awesome, and we will still be able to manage some special treats for Asher's birthday on Sunday. (4th! wow!)

We've joined up with a local gleaning group, which is like a food pantry but we pay a monthly dues ($10) and volunteer at least 3 hours a month. This past week Milt took Asher to their community garden and they had a blast; he's planning to just go each week, and wants me to go too. I'm waffling; I love gardening, but we've got the wild card of Adin to factor in. We'll figure it out though; they are planning to overwinter the garden, and I definitely want to be involved in that.

Our own garden is holding steady; put in some more donated tomatoes, the garlic needs to come up, and the quinoa and tomatilloes are looking good. My one surviving bean plant looks pretty but doesn't seem interested in either growing or setting fruit, so it's just hanging out for now. There is a gorgeous thistle growing next to the box; once I find my battery charger I'll be able to take a picture of it. The queen anne's lace is starting to fade; it was gorgeous, and the volunteer blackberries are fruiting nicely; I am cutting out the canes as I harvest each one; they are a really vicious form of blackberry and need to come out, but the fruit was very nice and didn't need any help from us. I am planning on replacing it with some thornless varieties next year; they grew so well under the pines where nothing else did, so that' some more yard reclaimed for usefulness.

Spent the day just sorting and cleaning and working on projects; put a new seat in the wooden doll stroller/walker/shapes play activity thingy we bought Adin for his birthday, went to the farmer's market and got some produce and a few little baskets of blueberries, took Asher out to see what size bicycle would fit him (16" wheel) and now waiting for a reply from a craigslister with a promising bike. Good day all around. Tomorrow will be even better.


22 August, 2011

stumbling blindly

It's been an interesting 2 weeks. I don't even know how to get started, or where I'm going with this.

Main thing on my mind is that I don't know what to do, or what I am doing, or should be doing, and not because I lack direction or ideas; i have so much I want to do, right now, and so much I need to do, right now. SO I guess I'll just bullet-list this one. Maybe.

1. We owe money. Nothing new, we are pretty amerikun in that regard. Thing is, we are really really sick of struggling. It sucks. I have been trying to find a job, trying to find some way to make money to help with our bills which don't seem to be getting any better. We cut our power usage, SO much, which is awesome, but we are still paying hospital bills and now owe our awesome new doctor another $500 on top of that, plus credit cards and car and mortgage and blah blah blah so the only consistent income I have found is online surveys. I've made $40, which, yay, that's a credit card bill or somesuch, but not nearly enough. I went and interviewed with an amazing local designer for a seamstress position but she told me today that she hired someone else and my stomach dropped. It's hard to keep being positive, to keep on knowing that everything really will be fine when everything I try to do has not been working. I had a yard sale and made $2. yeah. my etsy shop has only made enough to cover the listing fees, if that. no one seems to want to buy anything I have to sell. We decided to sell our wedding rings, because they were really expensive and they don't match, so we would take a little of the sales money and buy a set from an independent artist that actually matches. Well, so far all I've had is people on ebay offering $450 (for a $2000 ring) and I am almost at the point that I may accept it. That's one medical bill, right there. We need to put in flooring, we need to replace the heater, we need to hire an electrician because our wiring is being weird, we need to pay for gas so the job that at least one of us can keep going to work and make money to pay all these bills. The truly, truly frustrating part in this is that I know I have talents and skills and I work really, really hard, and it doesn't make any difference right now. ugh.

2. My family is worried that I am depressed and my children are in an unhealthy environment. Which is frustrating. Yes, I am frustrated, yes I am struggling with a lot of things right now, but no I am not depressed, and yes I do actually know the difference. Also, no, my house is not a health hazard! holy crap! Talk about making someone feel inadequate though. Wow. Now I get to be paranoid that whatever caseworker we get for foster care feels the same way as the well-intentioned but apparently filth fixated family member who started this. Then what? If my only option in this life is to neglect my family in order to keep my home obsessively clean then I am opting out of this whole thing. We will live in the woods. Thanks. Plus now I wonder if all the times my friends made nice comments about my home they were actually thinking 'Oh My God what a hell-hole!'. Which is fun.

3. There is so much I want to do, and I. can't. even. start. Due to time+money+support. Which is difficult, so I am stepping back on a lot of projects right now. However, there are things I CAN do. I am going to keep going on my etsy shop. I am going to have a garage sale this weekend and try again. I am going to relist my rings, again, at a price that won't leave me feeling robbed. I am going to keep on playing with my kids and cuddling and drawing and enjoying my time with them. I am going to keep cleaning whenever I darn well feel like it, because I like things clean, and not because I am worried about other people's opinions. I am going to leave the explosion of stuff in my living room right where it is and take a nap, because I was blessed to spend the last 4 days at an amazing conference with amazing people and I am incredibly tired and really wound up with IDEAS. So basically, more of the same. but MORE.


31 July, 2011

busy not doing

These past few weeks have been a magnification of the past few years; that is, feeling like I have so much to do, so little time, so busy always and yet wondering what am I accomplishing? Getting bogged down in the minutae,in the "still have to", in "haven't yet" and even, when I am unable or unwilling to do anything else, in the "could haves" and "could still".

Then a fat,frantic moth throws itself in the window and harasses me until I get it outside again, and I go again. It's a good thing, I have constant distractions from living in my own head. Thought exercises are a good thing, until they bring all action to a standstill.

-I have internet now, a birthday gift from my parents :) I spent the first day just wandering around the internet, and being utterly unproductive. It did get all of that out of the way, so now I can get back to using the net productively.

-My poor garden well, it's rather eh. That's ok though. The plants that did make it are thriving, and I will begin constructing the coldframes in the next few months, so I can just keep putting seeds out there and see how they do. I have a lot of seeds, so I am not worried about running out. Clears the way for fresh stock. :)

-On that note, for my birthday I took the boys into Portland and we picked up a bunch of heirloom seeds from a woman who put them for free on Craigslist. woo hoo! I learned that Asher has memorised which stop is for the Children's Museum. :) Also that Adin really melts down after 30 minutes on the Max, which is still about 30 minutes from anywhere we actually want to go. Except the Museum. That stop is right on the edge of that magical window of time.

-I am waffling quite a bit over just how permanent this home is. There simply isn't a community here. Part of me says "build community!" the other part says "out of what? with who?" It's looking like we are going to be relocating to someplace we can actually be connected to our neighbors. Just not sure how far in the future that is. In the meantime, what to do? Such anxiety. and really, somewhat pathetic.

-Rootstalk! I want to go, desperately, but unless I can somehow win tickets it simply isn't going to happen. That's ok, I did get a big stack of beautiful posters to put up around town, and have been doing just that. I figure if it gets enough promotion and attendance then there will be one next year for me :) Yet still, my heart is saying 'my people! Are these my people?'

Time for bed. That is a wonderful thing. I wonder, why do we say that little boys play like puppies, and why not that puppies play like little boys? These lanky, floppy, hilarious whirlwinds are so much more relatable to me; puppies must emulate them.


27 June, 2011

fear and something like it

Tomorrow my baby sister (I know she dislikes that term, and doesn't get it, but there it is) goes in for a very rare and potentially dangerous adrenal surgery. My avoidance tactics have been in full gear, until yesterday when I suddenly snapped into what I can only really call my 'calmness'. The first time I got this was calling my Dad after I had been in a car accident at 15. He said he hoped to never heard that tone in my voice again, because it scared him so deeply. He described it as calm, matter of fact, deadpan, and something else. Without any heat, but not cold. Unfortunately he heard it again when I went to tell him a few months later that my sister had fainted and hit her head. Shock, I suppose, is what it is, self-protection of that kind, waiting. This is the first time I'm in this pre-emptively and for more than 10 minutes, so this is strange for me. I hope it goes away soon. I hope it doesn't until the surgery is over and she is absolutely and completely fine.

I called to tell her I love her. In about 33 hours, I plan to again.
In between, I'll pray.

13 June, 2011


It's been a busy few days around here. I got knocked flat with a myster illness + allergy combo, and finally was able to function again a couple days ago. We are pulling up carpet and rearranging bedrooms this week; so far one room is drying and waiting for furniture, then we repeat on the next room, and then the next. We went to the hardware store and got fencing and posts for my garden; I need to get that in today so the bunnies can roam free without eating my plants. I also need to get all my windowsill plants into the garden. I've decided to build windowsill boxes so I can grow things year round indoors, but that can wait a little. Now I need to take apart my bed, redrill holes to raise the sides so I can store stuff underneath, move it into the new room, reassemble and start on the next room.
Late Saturday our awesome friends drove up from Coos Bay en route to Ohio, and we were very glad the rooms were not torn up yet, but they will be coming back through on Sunday and I intend to have it all done by then.

happily, -nava

06 June, 2011

Wish I Hads

Just read a blog update from a girl (woman, now) I knew back in summer camp. She is currently serving a medical mission aboard the Comfort, just spent several months in Kenya, and got her pilot's license. I am frankly envious. I am envious because she is doing amazing things and helping people. Me? I look back at what I could have done with my life, before I had kids, and what did I contribute? Not a whole lot. Do I regret having kids, do I think that they have taken away my freedom to live my dreams? No! Not even a little! Here's the thing: I was a legal adult for 7 years before becoming a parent. Seven! How much could I have, should I have done with that? Even if I had stopped whatever it was before marriage that's still 5 years. What was I doing? Drifting. I studied a little Tae Kwon Do, did some schooling, served as a camp counselor but I really didn't DO anything. I didn't pursue a single one of my ambitions. Why? Fear. I let fear from a car accident excuse me putting off learning to drive or fly; I let fear of social interactions get in the way of opportunity; I let fear of failure excuse my not extending myself, and worst of all I let fear of losing affection excuse never going after what I wanted, because I knew what I had wouldn't be waiting when I returned. I should have gone for it. At least I can be an example to my kids. At least I can work now, to make a difference now. I plan to. I will.


04 June, 2011

Oregon spring

I called the boys over excitedly to watch the wind swirl yellow clouds of pollen from the enormous pines overhanging our fence. First a gust one way, then the yellow billowed the other way to catch on the neighbour's trees, as if it had been aimed. In my mind I am trying to convince myself that I'll be fine, that those yellow clouds won't affect me at all. My histamines apparently did not believe a word of it. Two loratadine later, I am wondering how exactly being unconscious is going to play into my first summer here.
It was a gorgeous day, and we even had the boys outside, despite still being sick, because this weather is making them feel better. Here's hoping tomorrow brings more, in both amazing weather and recovery.

happily, -nava

02 June, 2011

ABBA was right

I remember the first tim I heard ABBA's 'Money, money, money', sitting in a rental car with my Dad. He laughed a little, sighed, and said "it would be." I didn't grow up oblivious to money; I knew things cost money, and that we didn't have any to spare. I was never worried about money though. Now, I am becoming borderline obsessed, and it is unpleasant. Yes, I need to be aware of how much is coming in and how much is going out, but triple-checking the numbers every day isn't going to change the fact that we will have $1 after bills this pay period, and that we would have been $52 short of paying bills next pay period. So I had to let go, stop freaking out, and wait. Then Milt got holiday pay for Memorial Day, and out of nowhere the rebbitzin mentioned she needed some sewing done. We are ok, again, for this month. Every single time, we are ok, and all I can do is say Thank You. And try, so very hard, to keep trusting. Also, etsy needs to start bringing in some money. Yeesh.


01 June, 2011

It has been a sleepless few days in my home; sometimes it feels longer, I at least have adjusted and the days are somewhat hazy but calm, two little boys, one very sick but getting better, one slowly succumbing, both content for the most part to cuddle and doze and watch movies, eating toast and drinking tea. It is the nights that are hard. I knew nights would be harder, not just because that is when Adin woke up with that terrifying whooping and coughing that alerted us to the fact that something serious is happening, but because nights in general are the hardest. I was wondering why, last night, with one baby finally sleeping and one in a fever-induced half-doze alternating demands and questions, both nonsense or unintelligible, hen drifting off again. Maybe it's the lack of energy; everyone else is sleeping, the whole world is sleeping, seemingly, there isn't that flow of energy to draw from, to prop up and soothe to a semblance of health. Soon, I hope, nights in an artificially humid room, lights on until first light, constantly checking and rechecking their breathing, their fevers, soothing back down one or the other, scared and in pain, will be done. Until the next time. For now, this quiet daze of sunlit hours is a welcome respite, for all three of us. Now I go back to my blanket-wrapped babies and settle in again, for as long as I can.


30 May, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

I had ancestors who fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War (they were hung as traitors, on both sides, we are talented), both sides of the Civil War, and probably even the Mexican army. My grandfather was in the Army, my father the Navy, and my sister the Marine Corps. Now I think all we need is a Coastie and we're set! I hope this is a beautiful day for everyone; we are having a campout in our smallest bedroom turned sickroom and, you know what? It's been really nice. Excluding germs.

happily, -nava

23 March, 2011


The murders in Itamar have been haunting me. It is a personal nightmare for me, the possibility that I could go to sleep in my supposedly safe home only to be attacked in the middle of the night. To know that there are people out there who would actually murder children, not just children, but sleeping infants. To have it reaffirmed that my children's innocence is no protection for them. I can't understand this, I cannot, how any human being could take a child and end them. These people have lost their humanity, and that is truly a tragedy, for they are not animals, no, animals do not kill in order to bring suffering. These individuals have given up their humanity to become monsters. There is absolutely no justification for this, none. In our modern age murder has become distant; our terrible weapons of war allow us to kill from a distance, to never connect with our victims, to preserve what little bits of our soul is left after knowing that we have murdered another, for whatever reason, with the blood on our hearts, but not on our hands. To kill in this way, so intimately, with one's own hand, that takes a soul that has been utterly scarred and sealed. I don't know what will happen to these people, but I don't think there is anything that anyone can do to redeem them in this lifetime. It is tearing me apart, those poor children, that loss. The pain of the surviving children. It's just so hard.

Then added to this is the silence of the media. I search for reports of Itamar, and what pops up? So far only Jewish news broadcasts and Glen Beck. Really? Written coverage is limited and tries desperately to downplay exactly what happened. In contrast, there are full reports on how Israel wants to expand settlements after “the murder of 5 people in nearby Itamar.” Oh, the word choices. For shame, those word choices, to distance the audience from what happened. Compare that with the reaction if it had been instead “the murder of 5 family members in nearby Itamar.” To really drive the point home, imagine if US news reported “the murder of two parents and three young children in their beds”. No, instead they are faceless, identity-less, no connection, just statistics, just some bodies, “5 people in nearby Itamar.”

I understand why they have chosen these words, to report the facts without stirring up bias, to leave intact the compassion for Palestinians. You think I don't have compassion for these people? What turmoil it must be, to live in a country that is not a country, to have opposing violent forces constantly speaking for you and in your name, to not know if your home will stay your home, your government your government, when or if there will be peace in your lifetime. What they live through is terrible, and I can only hope that this whole mess gets resolved soon. But to 'protect' them by downplaying this murder? That doesn't help anyone. What happened should never have happened, and any populace should be called on to root out such sickness from among them, that they do not become poisoned. For truly, how does this reflect back onto the Palestinian people, the majority of whom, I believe, just want peace? What these monsters did only hurts their cause, and for the rest of the world to hide it only gives impetus for more attacks, more of this. Do we wait for all of Palestine to be condemned through an atrocity too big to ignore, or do we work to find some measure of justice now?

I don't know. This whole thing is just so awful. That one of us could do this to another; the whole world should be weeping.

13 March, 2011

global conspiracy?

With all the natural disasters happening in the past few months, I have noticed an interesting similarity: in all of them, agricultural areas were hit hard. The ice storms that hit the US went through our main agricultural centers, the Midwest and the South, as well as slamming the Northeast. The torrential rains and hurricane that hit Australia wiped out their agriculture as well, although they were quite realistic about just how bad this looks for Australia's food security this year, while the US was not. Now this massive earthquake and tsunami has hit Japan's northeast, a rural, agricultural area of the country. I think it's a far-fetched idea that there is a connection, but it is eerily consistent that the industry with the highest fuel inputs, the food industry, is being hit the hardest.
What it does mean is that we have even more of a catalyst for encouraging and supporting not only local food but home-grown food, as well as food preservation, as these disasters are clearly demonstrating that our food supply is not safe, it is as vulnerable as it ever was, even more so now that we as a nation do not truly understand our own food, and to rely on it completely is folly. So now the question for me is, how can I help my neighborhood become more self-sufficient when it comes to food supply? I think removing the HOA poultry ban would be a good first step ;) Adding in a provision for goats would be great too, but maybe I can organize a planting day; a neighborhood plant-in. It would be awesome!


09 March, 2011

the politics of it all

I've been paying attention to the goings-on in Wisconsin and the repercussions around the country, and several things have come to my attention.
First, we are in a time of incredible political upheaval; with all the riots and overthrows going on worldwide,with the domino effect of political destabilization occurring in Africa and the Middle East, we should be thankful and, I think, somewhat confused as to why, that is not happening here.
Second, we need to grow up. All this came into sharp focus for me when an acquaintance of mine reposted a link calling what the Wisconsin democratic senators are doing “a temper tantrum”. I posted in response that I disagreed, and gave a brief rundown of why, as I figured he simply didn't have the whole picture of what is going on. Less than a week later, he posts a link about the arrest warrants going out and this time he himself calls their actions a temper tantrum.
I was honestly angry, and it took me a bit to figure out why. It isn't because we are on opposite sides of this issue, it is because of the words he used: belittling, disrespectful, and polarizing. I realise we have had a lot of polarizing in our country, and it does not seem to be slowing down. Both sides are defensive and offensive, refusing to 'back down' or 'give in'. The problem is that we have lost sight of an important fact: these people represent us. All of us. They all represent the same people: the American people. The reason for the mass amnesia regarding this can, I believe, be summed up quite simply: we have lost respect.
This is easy to see on an individual level; when a society is so fragmented that any type of authority (parents, police, etc) are seen as the enemy, rather than people from whom we can learn and who protect and guide us, we lose our anchors. We lose our connections, and our ability to see ourselves in each other. When we can no longer relate to one another respect falls away. It is this lack of respect that dissolves honest political debate into mudslinging campaigns, where anyone who disagrees or stands up for their beliefs can be mocked and ridiculed, and have this belittling language taken and spread by people whose only contribution or involvement seems to be participating in 'winning' this pointless game.
For that is what politics currently seem to be: a game. For all that each 'side' is fighting to keep the other 'side' from getting anything done, we are all losing. When the poor and the needy in our country are denigrated and abused, we all lose. When any segment of our population can be pushed aside and branded as the enemy, we all lose. For then we are not healing our body public; for a tourniquet does not heal the wound, and amputation leaves us forever scarred. In both, the gangrene sets in and soon we are all feeling the sickness and decay, however much we can pretend we are not all part of the same societal organism.
We should be working together, to heal what is clearly a weak and sickened system. The first step toward that healing, I believe, is to regain and reestablish respect. Respect does not mean liking each other; it does mean setting aside personal feelings when they are irrelevant. To respect does not mean to unthinkingly agree; in fact it's even fun to say: “I see, and I respectfully disagree.” Respect does mean listening to each other, fully examining the issue at hand, and working together to come to a workable solution. Respect means keeping the insults out of the public discourse, and remembering that these people are elected by us, for us, and we must work through them and with them, and with each other, to continue this country.
So please, do not cheapen debate by relying on insulting and fearful language to sway those around you to join 'your side'. Rely on the truth, on insightful, honest discussion, and on your regard for your fellow person to reclaim your role as a citizen and a loving member of a vast, vast family. We need each other; I would that we all regain sight of that.

08 March, 2011


Asher wore his tzitzit for the first time to shul on Shabbat, at his request. It was awesome. I made him a tallit katan and we tied the tzitzit earlier in the week, so they would be ready for him. He was so excited! We said the blessing, he put them on, and was very proud of himself all day.
I have another set waiting; I am debating trimming (before or after) since I did have to cut off quite a bit. We'll see; since it isn't daily for him yet I have time to figure it out.

07 March, 2011

even more direction

I have been in a bit of a tizzy since Wednesday night. Every Wednesday I go to a women's Torah study at the local Chabad; it's been a very nice time, a time for me to slow down and breathe midweek, interact, really think and listen carefully.
I've been working on just listening, as I have a tendency to dominate a conversation once I get going, and I think that connecting with and really getting to know other people through their own words and perspectives is something I should be doing, rather than just spouting off what I think/know. I have met some really wonderful ladies through this class, each week a slightly different grouping, depending on who can come. This past week one of the ladies was discussing her son's upcoming Bar Mitzvah, and their farm, and somehow (I have no idea; there goes my mouth again) I wound up saying flippantly that I dream of living on a communal farm, but that's sometime in the future. Now, I don't know why I said this; I think it was only tangentially
connected to the subject at hand (if at all), but in this case their was a reason.
See, she and her husband own a farm, a nice-sized one, and after my remark she turned to me in all serious and started “well, actually...”. They have the permits in hand to build just such a community, and have just been waiting for the right time to get started.

Now, I do believe in fate. I do believe in and try to have G-d guide me in my life. People kept asking me, why are you moving to Portland? I couldn't really answer except to say that I love Portland. I do, even though I hadn't been here in over 15 years, but I do very much love this area,and have felt drawn here since that brief visit. When we couldn't find a place in the Jewish area of Portland we wound up 'settling' on our current place, which is nice, walking distance to everything we need, etc. Milt wound up getting hired an hour away from here, and has been unable to find a new position anywhere closer. Here's the thing; by coming here we became involved in the local Chabad, and that is where I met this lovely woman. Milt's job, while far from here, in only 30 minutes (tops) from their farm. Everything is coming together, faster and faster and faster, more clearly each step we take, that it is hard for me to not get giddily excited despite the fact that hey, this might not happen.

We are currently in the position that this can happen, at least for us, and frankly if we can get it going right it WILL happen. I am thrilled. Beyond thrilled. I can't stop thinking about it. We are visiting the farm within the next 5 days, and we will go from there. Wow.


02 March, 2011

etsy feature

Last night I received a message from the etsylawst blog asking to feature my etsy shop. I panicked a bit. The timing was amazing as I had just refocused as well as spending almost 2 hours on the phone with Yohki during which we discussed, among other things, marketing my shop. I was not ready, but close. However, these things don't wait for me to be ready, especially when I've thrown away my prep time, so I said yes and got to work.
I made a blog for the shop, a banner for the blog and an avatar for my shop, both of which I will be posting tonight when I go to the library before Torah study, and have been figuring out what to do next. Well, the feature is already up, so I am racing against time here, but I am very very thankful for the publicity. At least now I'll be better prepared, yes?


01 March, 2011


I've been in a bit of a mental muddle lately, I believe I lost my way for a bit, my focus. Thing is, I hadn't really acknowledged what my focus should be, what my overarching purpose seems to be, and so distraction added to distraction and soon I was wandering in daydreams. I got a wake-up call last night, well, actually a second one. The first was a reminder of what I am and what I should be doing, and really lifted my spirits, but it wasn't quite enough, evidently, since the second was a warning as to what would come about from spending my life in my head. 2am is as good a time as any for a reevaluation, and since I had no one physical to talk to I got to have a bit of a conversation with myself and the One Upstairs. So here I am, refocused and I am going to try to get to where I need to be. Another help was the (coincidental?) mention of another blog by a fellow I respect very much, so influences and directions are coming thick and fast. ( Sometimes I do need very very clear directions handed to me, clearly!) The point is I am going to stop compartmentalising, since I am very much a web-of-connections thinker, and I'm going to get back on track.my track. Hopefully I'll also be clearer in sharing this, since that is part of my 'track' as well.
obtuse? I often am, Things may get clearer, or not, but I needed to write this and get on with things.


21 January, 2011

hello Oregon

well, we've been in Oregon for almost a month now, and in our house since the 3rd, We've been adjusting a lot, but things for the most part have been going well.
heating: our house has a radiator for almost every room, each individually controlled, with varying levels of effectiveness; the one in our bedroom will roast us in minutes, the one in the living room warms up the windowsill quite nicely, etc. For the past week I've kept all the heaters off except when absolutely needed; once Milt had to be up at 6 and it had frozen overnight, but by the time the rest of us got up we could shut it off again.
paint: the house was painted...interestingly. Thankully there was a gigantic bucket of blueish paint in the garage, so with the help of a $5 can of brown paint I am (slowly) repainting the mint-green living room a nice, clean grey. The boy's room I painted a super happy dark aqua; they love it. The kitchen will be yellow (hooray for oops paint!) but I'm waiting on that, since it needs a bit of a remodel. We'll see.
Did manage to kasher the kitchen, mostly; the dishwasher is a glorified dish drying rack, I want to get wash bins for the sink (for conservation reasons, too) and I use towels and plastic cutting mats on the laminate countertops for now.
planning my garden; there is one spot in the backyard that gets sun all day, and I've noticed that's where the neighbours have positioned their planter boxes too. Just need to salvage some materials for that.
we are still just using our phones for internet, and occasionally driving over to McD's to use their free wifi when we need it (some sites/functions do not work on a phone) and it looks like we will not be able to afford home internet for some time, which is fine, we're doing ok :)
on that note, we have been looking for a renter; I hope we find the right one/ones soon, because I would really love the company and that big, beautiful room is just an empty space till then.
Alright, time to get ready for Shabbat. Should be really great this week!

07 January, 2011

moving in

we finally got into the house on the 3rd, signed on the 5th. After much deliberation (who's, I don't know) the sellers signed yesterday. Containers were delivered the 5th, finished unloading today, and I am really really really looking forward to Shabbat. My only internet access is through my phone, so whileit's been great having some access and taking advantage of what an awesome phone I have, it's been a bit limiting. Once % have real internet again it will be picture time, because OH MAN the updating I have planned for this place! Woooo!


01 January, 2011

Well hello, 2011. So nice to see you.

I am in Oregon. We are in Oregon. Finally. I flew up with the boys on Thursday; 7am flight out of San Jose. It was a great flight; quiet, short, early. No issues in security (no scan or pat-down), easy seating arrangement switch, happy child, sleeping toddler.
The UPack containers were filled in a marathon session by my Dad, with some assistance from myself and my sister. My Mom helped indoors, packing and organising. 3 containers full of STUFF, and still some got left behind. I am going to continue getting rid of things as I unpack up here. It's been fun, actually, the purging. Assisting in this is that I am setting up our kitchen as Kosher, so anything that didn't make the cut is GONE. It means I start over too, in acquiring some things, so I am trying to keep that controlled. I want to cut it all down, as far as we can. Packing all that was too much. Even after all the Ebay and half.com and garage sales and craigslist and freecycle, so much stuff.
Mom and I managed to condense my crafting supplies quite a bit. It doesn't all fit in the wardrobe, yet, but by summer that is my plan, and by the end of this year (Rosh Hoshanah) I want it all to fit without being precarious. :) One of the last things to make it in to the containers was my little sewing machine; my heavy-duty (to me, at least) machine I think got left behind. It may get sent up, it may not. Either way I want to give sewing lessons. I have enough supplies, after all, and we can definitely use the income! Going to finish posting things to Etsy too; perhaps today, a little 'New Year' treat.
I am looking forward to the enforced frugality we are heading in to; no tv, still sussing out internet, very minimal use of utilities. Which reminds me, we need to get utilities turned on in the house.
We sign Monday, finally, 11 days late, and are taking 'early' occupancy for $30 a day until the down payment clears. Cheaper than a hotel, yes, and we are relieved to finally be moving in. Finally finally finally.
Finally together, finally going home, finally starting again after a long pause.
It's going to be a lovely year.

So here is my resolution: Go, enjoy. "We should all be all alive."