Sunday Blues

I woke up with an indecisive bug today. I stood at the kitchen counter with two cookbooks and the Internet browser open debating what to make for breakfast.

Should it be savory? Should it be pancakes? Or french toast sounds good... oh no, actually not enough bread. Okay, waffles. No, maybe Alex will want eggs. Eggs and beans. No puffy pancakes. Oh pumpkin muffins sound good- oh right, no pumpkin... blueberry muffins? couldn't find the right recipe before my brain switched gears...okay then, it is decided: cornmeal pancakes.

I ended up making scrambled veggie, cheese, and egg wrapped in a flour tortilla. It was very good, but the indecision followed me around like a new puppy today. I wanted to take advantage of the weekend and go on an adventure... Only I couldn't decide what. I felt sad.

It is this time of year. It seems like it brings about a reflection period for me. It was four years ago that my friend Lucas died in a bicycle accident. It was three years ago that hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. It is also this time as summer is winding down and my birthday is right around the corner which gives me pause. I went through the gamut of downer thoughts today.
I miss Lucas. I miss Sparrow (our dead cat) I haven't written important thank-you letters, I haven't put anything in Lili's baby book in months, Why is homesteading so hard sometimes? (our pump died today which = no running water and back to hauling our water in a 5 gallon jug), why do our shelves look so cluttered, Why is my brain so cluttered...

Because of this, Alex, Lili, and I picked up and drove off to town in the middle of my self-pity-party. We ran some errands, had a great dinner with my sister and Dave, and slowly the funk I had been trying to shake off all day wore off. I felt freedom from my indecisiveness as we were driving home. It was finally exactly where I wanted to be.
The route home is 10 miles of hairpin turns that leads you up and over the Eastern Continental Divide. It was sprinkling out, and I was the one driving our big truck. The smell of rain was coming in through the air vent, and
Lili was asleep in her car seat. Three perfect songs came on the radio in a row~ and I felt it was a good sign... A Stevie Ray-Vaughn song, "Angel from Montgomery" by John Prine (but the Bonnie Raitt version), and "Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull. That combination: Me leading the big truck through the wet dark night, the music, and Alex and I singing along... It was decidedly a very nice moment.
Here is Lili, watching the rain out our window...
*also, don't forget to put your name in for my giveaway! (details here)


two things to do with extra tomatoes

Our neighbors, Mike and Babs, gave us some of their extra tomatoes. Ema and Alex (and I jumped in now and again) spearheaded making roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce. We got the roasted tomato recipe from Ema's favorite blog "The Smitten Kitchen." Homemade tomato sauce is one of my favorite things, and I am excited to make some calzones tonight with the sauce. And even though I am not a huge fan of sun-dried tomatoes, I found roasted tomatoes to be quite yummy, and extremely easy to make!


100th Post Celebration and Giveaway!

I have this sense of accomplishment and satisfaction at having posted 100 times. I never dreamed I would be a blogger, and yet it quickly has become an important and nourishing part of my life. It occurred to me that my life has changed a little since I started this blog 6 months ago...#1. It has made me slightly more computer savvy.
#2. I have made my first online friends ever. It feels to me like the adult version of a pen-pal. I look forward to reading about Daisie and Supria's daily life- and yet I have never met them. I had a German pen-pal when I was in junior high, and I have to say this is way better. There is no guilt because I didn't write back quick enough...I was never good about that... I can just hop over and see how it is going on their blog, and leave a comment or not... Thank you for being such great friends even though I have never met you!
#3. Before I started this blog I often "held my cards close until I was sure of the hand" so to say. With this blog I have found it liberating to openly share my parenting and art in it's ever evolving state. This is partly what my title "Sweet Mess" is about too...
#4. This blog has brought me into the blog-o-sphere. I am utterly a sucker for reading a good blog. I think this stems back to wanting to be a spy (like Harriet the spy) and in reading some people's blogs it is as if you are looking through a window into their lives. Hopefully it is not considered spying though! Unfortunately for my tired mom body, I have spent too many nights lost in a good blog until way too late...
Which leads me to #5. My two childhood friends Caren, and Erin, were the ones who inspired me to start this adventure in the first place. I LOVE being able to blog alongside them. It feels like an extended conversation complete with pictures and videos... I love being a part of their lives in this way. I LOVE IT!
#6. I also love that I have connected with other friends (like Jeff, and Kat, and Diana) in a bloggy sort of way- and friends of friends(like Katy!), and now I am feeling connected to all sorts of people that I never would have expected. And it is wonderful and surprising.
#7. This blog has thrust me out of my little shell, and I feel very inspired to make my dreams a reality. I think having this blog has given me that sense of accountability I was lacking before.
#8. Our parents and families are ga-ga for the baby- this has been a wonderful space to share the beautiful, funny, and cheerful Miss Lilikoi. Since starting this blog a little weight at living so far away from you all has lifted from my shoulders. I LOVE Y'ALL!
#9. Has anyone else noticed that the word blog is the goofiest word ever?

So... because I am SO appreciative of all that this experience has brought me I will be giving away a painting of mine. It will be a 7X7 inch mixed media painting. All you need to do if you want to be part of the fun is to go to the bottom of this post and in the comments add your name. Then one week from now I will first draw a name, then post a few pictures of some finished paintings and the lucky winner can choose one! Everyone who wants to can enter. PLEASE don't be shy!


"An Inconvenient Truth"

Alex and I watched Al Gore's movie, "An Inconvenient Truth" tonight for the first time. It has been on my To-do list for years, and so it was nice to finally sit down and do it.
Although I had wanted to see it, I had already heard a lot about it, and I was under the assumption that #1. it was going to be depressing, and #2 that I already knew the gist of it. Both assumptions were both right and wrong. Yes, global warming is depressing, and yet there are very attainable things even us in the general population can do to reverse it. And yes, although I did have the gist of it (believing it to begin with, and and doing things to decrease CO2 emissions) it was very refreshing to see all of the scientific data, and all of the images, put together comprehensively.

Even though I felt it before, now that I am a mother I feel this deep understanding of how my actions will effect Lili and my future great-great-grandchildren and beyond. In addition, now that I am a mother I am able to see beyond my own baby and feel the mothers all around the world who love their families as much as I wholeheartedly love my family. I want us all to live in harmony with our Earth..Not in a cheesy way, and not in a drug-induced 60's style way, but in a very real sort of way. This movie, and Al Gore, is inspiring to not drop the ball because it seems too big of a problem. If you, like me, have waited to see this movie (or the great movie "Kilowatt Ours") Now is a great time to see it... even if it is three years past it's release...

And since a post with no picture is no fun, here is a picture of Lili wearing a bib her crazy aunt Becca gave her. Poor baby....Post Script: Visit the Carmona's to see a good picture of David in his underwear dealing with the 11 inches of rain we got the last few days!!!


A handful of my favorite supplies

To celebrate our very rainy day (we are in a major drought in western NC) I painted a lot of the day away. Meanwhile, Alex and Lili had some quality father/daughter time driving into town to apply for Alex's passport. After having spent the longest hiatus from my art supplies ever (the end of pregnancy/beginning of mothering) I have rekindled the deep love I have for a few particular ones. They are as following: (Please note that beeswax and artist-grade oil paints would be in there too if I had them out today.)
PVA glue. So yummy. (not to eat) So strong. Archival. sort of like Elmers, only 1,000 x better.
Ode to the micron pens... how would I ever make without you??? particularly the sepia color or the oh-so-fine .005 tip?
All my fun fabric and handmade papers. So what if they smell a little moldy after being hauled around for 15 years from place to place, and lastly in storage for a year? I love you.
Inks. Water based, or not.Pen and ink. They are all so nice. I seem to have formed an obsession with this color, so this one is particularly nice...
I love these fluid acrylics by Golden. They are highly pigmented and easy to use.
My see-through, gridded, 24" ruler. I misplaced this tool a couple weeks ago and was very distraught. Luckily it was only misplaced and not lost. This is a paper worker/book maker's miracle worker. Let me count the ways...Here is my little makeshift workspace at the beginning before it got all messy today. So much fun!!!

Pick of the Week

I find these works by Yellena mesmerizing. I couldn't get it any bigger, but the top painting is by far my favorite.
The color palate in the paintings, the movement... ahhh, I could just live in them... (to visit her shop click here.)


We just got back from a birthday party down the road. We had a lot of fun eating home-grown orange watermelon, hula hooping with giant hoops, and chatting with neighbors.
We came home on the earlier end of the party though because we had a long day running errands in town and we were tired... It's Saturday night, and our little family is all snug in our house.

Sal loves nights like this...


Small Silly (part two)

While I was doing the chore of folding laundry earlier Lili had me laughing by playing peek-a-boo with a pair of my underwear over and over.


Small Silly

In general, if you are open too it, there is a lot of humor to be found in life.

I think as a parent those humorous moments are quadrupled. Or, maybe having a little one is a reflection of all the silliness in the world. Either way, several times a day Lili has me laughing hard. Sometimes she is trying to be funny, and other times- it just is funny. These pictures capture the latter. She was in her high chair eating a barley teething biscuit. She turned around and a giant gob is hanging off her chin. She is completely unaware and gives us a big smile, as we start to laugh she pauses then grins even bigger. The Gober dangles and jiggles with her movement... Gosh... It makes you want to cry with the innocence of moments like this- and yet you want to laugh too...

Being a parent can be challenging, so I think this small humor is good pay for parents.



Pip. A cat who shies away from strangers and children alike. But, if you happen to be an adult member of her family, or, a very lucky stranger, you will be graced to hear a rumbling purr, and catch a snuggle worth talking about.


#8. She says Mama...

Pick of the Week

This new blog post is inspired by the "Dear Ada" blog I stumbled upon by chance a couple weeks ago. For my first pick I will highlight Brian Haverlock. He is the partner of a woman I work with. His work is meticulous and tiny. He works with graphite and oil, and his images are striking. Isn't this one wonderful???



This was my first year growing dried beans. We planted two rows 10 feet each. We neglected the first row and by the time we remembered to harvest them the bean plants had already opened their pods and released most of their cargo. All that was left on the bushy plants were dangling open shells, twisted like a spiral staircase (twisting into this shape must help get the beans loose?)
However, the second row was choc full of black beans. Yellowed with age, and dried and bursting with little black pearls. After they were shucked, a 10' row yielded 2 cups of dried black beans. A lot of work for something you can buy so inexpensive. But here is why it was worth it to me:
1. The kids helped me shuck the beans, and any way to get them involved with our food is priceless.
2. Beans give nitrogen to our soil = GOOD!
3. This act of planting, growing, harvesting, and shucking gives me an appreciation for something commonplace, such as the bean. Even if we only get one or two meals from it, the rest of the year when I eat beans, I will have a deeper understanding of the energy it took to bring that bean to my mouth.


My big week!

Bye Bye Meme!

Lilikoi's Meme (soft e's) left today after two fun-filled weeks. Since we don't have a guest room yet she slept in a tent right outside our house (what a trooper!). Here you see a photo from 2 years ago when Mom and Paul came down to help us build our house. I am including this because I know it is so hard for all of our parents to live so far away from us... and yet they support us. They fork over tons of time and money to drive and fly thousands of miles to see us and their grand kids. They helped us build our home...

We miss you all too... XOXO


Our date out...

Alex and I got to go out just the two of us to a fancy dinner at a tapas restaurant in town the other night. Becca and Mom babysat Lili, and my four parental figures footed the bill as an anniversary present(Thank You!). It was very special, and awkward at the same time. We sat across from each other and it was like hmmmm what should we say? Almost like a first date, only we have been together close to 7 years. It was a lot of fun. There was incredible food. And we got big chocolate ice cream cones afterwards. We strolled through the city with our ice cream... We even would have held hands except Alex had poison ivy on them...

car trouble/ car dreaming

We have known for a month and a half that our 96' Subaru Legacy's transmission is going. The mechanic told us it was a matter of time- he just couldn't pinpoint an exact time of failure. I work 10 hours a week as a secretary figure (processing orders, accounts receivable, customer relations) at Red Moon Herbs. It is a wonderful job and close to home. Well, on my way there this morning it turned out to be that time of failure... The car just couldn't make it up the tiny hill just past our driveway. It never died, just more gave up trying. I had the petal to the metal and it never even died or sputtered, it just crept along until it just stopped, idling halfway up the hill. *sigh*

So... I don't know what will happen now. The cost of the transmission is about the exact price that the car is blue book valued at (around $1,500) I have heard advice never to put more money into a car than it's value. But it has been such a reliable car... I feel like I took the news with relative grace this morning considering car trouble is right up there with going to DMV and the dentist in terms of not fun things to deal with. I just calmly backed down the hill (reverse seemed to be just fine) and parked the car. I haven't sworn or felt hopeless about it yet. However now we need to figure out what to do :(

We have been day dreaming about buying a Honda Fit It has many of things we want in a car: great gas mileage, roomy considering how small it is, made by a reliable company, has a good safety rating esp for front passengers, and it has room to load bigger things in the back. The pitfalls for us are that it is not 4WD (hence the better gas mileage...) and the safety rating for the rear is only a three star and we will be putting our most precious thing in that rear...

Hopefully, since we have been enjoying using our new budgeting program we will be able to tell if we can swallow a car payment, or be able to fix the old one. Either way, it felt therapeutic to share my car woes with you.
If anyone has any wisdom for us, we are taking advice!