Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bored With It All

Thoughts from me, Mollie.

It took me four days to get geared up to do it, which is a luxury (to not have to think about my food, that is.)

So on Friday, I ate and drank in this order:

Cup of water
Black coffee
2 bananas
1 avocado
Mug of peppermint tea
An adapted version of this recipe in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, only using the onion, olive oil, chard and eggs.
Mug of peppermint tea
Two handfuls of cashews
Bowl of tortilla chips

Then for dinner I WAS going to have chicken grilled on the George Forman grill with salt, pepper and lemon squeezed on it, roasted asparagus and a baked sweet potato.
Honestly, by the time it came around to prepare dinner I was tired of thinking about food and preparing whatever so I did not eat my goal. But I had a goal. And it felt thoughtful in an irritating way to consider the ingredients of everything.

I appreciate this project, but I did not enjoy this as much as I hoped.

Some other thoughts I had through the day:
1. This takes so much time.
2. I would have to really change my lifestyle (time management, budget, hosting others, convincing the rest of the family to eat this way, etc.) if I were to keep this up on a daily basis.
3. I have a deep respect for individuals with food allergies and intolerances.
4. I am taking out the compost bin a lot today.
5. This affects my digestion.
6. I have more energy.

I do hope I think about this more and that it gets easier over time.

Ms. Four-or-Less

Thoughts from Carol:

This assignment reminded me of my book "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" by Euell Gibbons. (I know I'm dating myself by being familiar with the book--a "classic" from the '60's.) I didn't do very well on the eating part. It was difficult to find something with so few ingredients in my cabinet--I felt like I was stalking an elusive wild asparagus. Even when I tried to focus on eating four or less, twice I found that my food had more than 4 ingredients but I was eating it before I realized!

Here's what I had:
Breakfast: Egg, bacon bits, cheese (oops--too many ingredents listed on the package!), pistachios, black tea with raw sugar.
Lunch: bulgar pilaf (which has bulgar, onions, eggs, and soy sauce--another oops--too many ingredients in the soy sauce!), orange slices, carrots, lettuce, and mandarin orange slices.
Dinner: pot roast with beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions. I felt like I was just throwing things together to meet the assignment requirements, not really making a cohesive meal.

What I learned:
1. I couldn't eat anything from a box except my black tea.
2. Even things like cheese and soy sauce have way more than 4 ingredients! As I looked through my food stores I found that most of the stuff in there had a huge lists of ingredients, most of which I can't even pronounce. (I found that scary!).

What I realized:
1. How far away I've gotten from what is genuine and most healthy for me.
2. How often I make mindless choices without being fully aware of what it is that I'm choosing!
3. Less is better--I actually felt more alert mentally without the processed food ingredients.

I was going to have a nip of my red cooking wine to celebrate my new awareness, but alas--more than four ingredients!

My photo is of some of the things I ate during the day. I call her Ms. Four-or-less, she's just read what Mr. Gibbons suggests about eating naturally. She's trying to smile but just can't seem to make it a genuine one!

This was fun!

Project Aware, Week 2

Last week, participants in Project Aware spent some time thinking about the food they eat.

Here was the assignment:
A Day Under Four

One day this week, try to eat only items that include four or fewer ingredients.
If you are looking at your meal, each component of your meal must be four ingredients or less.
Example for your sandwich component:

Each of those components of a sandwich must have fewer than four ingredients.

If you want chips, try tortilla. If you only have Pringles, maybe go for a raw carrot instead. Or some celery or cashews.

If it's too hard to do a whole day, try just one meal.

Once you have done what you can do, email me about the foods you ate, the picture of what you ate (if you feel inclined to snap a shot), any experiences or revelations you had, any thoughts around this assignment.

I'll post the responses throughout this week, along with a few pictures.

Happy, thoughtful eating to you all...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Noticing Carroll Lane's Week

1. Tea Party Balloon - CLP
My daughter's balloon left over from a "real" tea party at the library

2. Art Essentials - CLP
Crayons and dishtowel - essentials for any art project

3. Remodel - CLP
Light switch that has yet to be recovered from remodel

4. Treasures - CLP
My daughter's "treasures" on the floor in the afternoon sun

Noticing Lauren C.'s Week

1. Boxes on Trains
I live over the hill from very busy train tracks and love
hearing the train whistle almost every hour but have actually never
seen it. I saw this train at work, just a few miles away, maybe it
goes on the same tracks by my house. I loved the color of the
containers, like children's blocks, carrying something, somewhere.
Now I have these beautiful colors to imagine chugging by when I hear
the train whistle from my mysterious train.

2. 490
This greets me everyday when I come home, our house number
and little birdhouse. I love how everything in this picture is a
little tattered: the cement wall is chipping, the house number is all
scratched up and the bird house is full of cobwebs. Somehow the
imperfection of it all makes me feel welcome and home.

3. Waiting for Eggs
I live in the city and we are raising chickens in our
backyard. We raised them from chicks and they have finally reached
the age where they should begin laying eggs. We built them a nesting
box, made a nest, and added some golf balls for their inspiration.
Every morning I open the door on their coop to see if they have laid
an egg yet. In this picture, I love the feathers that have fallen
around the "eggs". This is my image of hopeful expectation.

4. Walking Beauties
Every morning on my to work and on my way home I see this
beautiful woman walking her dogs. She is so striking to me with her
beautiful brown skin, most often clothed entirely in black, walking
these enormous fluffy white dogs on either side of her with great
power and grace. I was delighted to meet her on a walk and she gladly
stopped for this picture. In this photo I noticed for the first time
her fur-lined hood which completes the picture.

Noticing Darcey's Week

I am appreciating light these days interiorally as well as in our little house; thus lightness of being and home focused my Noticings.

1. Darcey 2

2. Darcey 1

3. Darcey 4

4. Darcey 3

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Noticing Brittlee's Week

1. Brittlee 2

2. Brittlee 1

3. Brittlee 4

4. Brittlee 3

Noticing Brian's Week

1. My Other Job
I can see my office from the front door of the parsonage. It's amazing how much your world shrinks when that is the case, since you're always both at home and at work. When Mollie asked for "everyday" sorts of things in these photos, I immediately thought of bathing the kids and walking to work, I'm not sure what that says about me.

2. Brian 4
Picture two is what I see out one of my office windows, the reflection of the Chapel in the theater building.

3. The Commute
The third picture is literally my entire commute. In the time it took you to read that sentence, I am at work.

4. Bartholomew
The three flaying knives are from the front doors of the Chapel, which display the 12 signs of the apostles. 7 of the 12 are the ways in which they were executed, including this representation of Bartholomew's "flaying." It's a pleasant way to say "Welcome to worship."

Noticing Meg's Week

1. carpool sneakers

2. carpet's view

3. commute

4. bed time

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Noticing Leta's Week

1. Mug
My morning ritual: a cup of hot tea in front of the computer.

2. Feet
Self portrait

3. Clean
I have way too many bottles of shampoo.

4. Lokie
I spend the vast majority of the day chasing this little crawler around the house, discovering what new mess she's gotten herself into.

Noticing Alicia's Week

1. After Shower

Before leaving my sanctuary each morning, the shower, I always pause for a moment in the steam, take a deep breath, and enter the cold.

2. Window

The morning sun streaming through the curtains makes a beautiful pattern of light and shadow on the floor of our living room. I look forward to this each day if I wake and know the sun is shining.

3. Donald & Daisy

My son has a love of vacuums. He knows which brands are which, and will quickly tell you that the Dyson is the best. He has lovingly named our Hoover vacuum, Donald, and his toy Dirt Devil vacuum, Daisy. He plays with them every day, gives them blankets when they're "cold," and often wants them to "sleep" at the foot of his bed. I love the maternal way he cares for these machines.

4. Morning Alarm

I have never experienced waking up and seeing the alarm clock clearly. This is an attempt to illustrate what I see when I first wake up. Of course, there are several inaccuracies I must mention: 1) I never get to sleep in until 9 am and 2) this image is much clearer than what I actually see.

Noticing Kristen's Week

1. Aspirations

2. Pesto

3. Early to Rise...

4. New Perspectives

Noticing Lisa's Week

1. Vintage Aprons
A pile of vintage aprons amassed for the new window display at work.

2. Miss P and Me
I had Andy take this one. Miss P and I share the ritual every morning.

3. The Other Woman
Zach's engineering degree is the other woman these days.

4. Be Gone Winter
The coats in the hall are threatening to take over. If only winter would end I could banish them.

Noticing Neda's Week

1. Trees

After living in downtown Baltimore for 6.5 years, I still can't get over the luxury of a back yard with trees in it. Every morning when I get up, I come down to the sunroom and look out the windows, just to notice the view.

2. Tulips

On a similar note, all plants and flowers in our old apartment would die within 24 hours. Period. No matter how I would position them near various light sources, no matter how much or how little I watered them, they would die within one day. We've lived in our new house for one month so far, and our plants are thriving. I noticed the bright color of these tulips a whole week after my parents brought them over.

3. Fan

At each meal, I notice the reflection of our dining room light fixture in the glass bowl centerpiece, neighboring the similarly round and pale candle.

4. Mervis

Shortly after we moved in, Anis found a little mouse in our utility room.  I've never seen him, but I call him "Mervis" so that I'm less afraid of him.  We laid out mouse traps, and every day I notice whether or not we've caught Mervis.  We haven't yet.  I'm okay with it. 

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Noticing Carol's Week

As I was "noticing" this week, I found that I was drawn to certain objects that I see every day in or around my home. They seem to define the major forces that make up my existence day to day:

1. Hope--as seen in Dawn from my Kitchen Window

2. Interconnectedness and neverendingness (is that even a word?) of all things--seen in a stained glass piece I call Unity Circle

3. Love--the force that holds all of the elements of my life together as seen in Love Stitches (the first counted cross stitch my niece, Alicia, made when she was little).

4. Surprise--in Snow Berries--as a sudden and unexpected snow fell just today!

I loved the nudge to notice the little things that bring the greatest joy to each day.

Noticing Jennie's Week

Only after I took pictures this week did I realize why I was so uninspired: I was seeking the outdoors and was closed off to subjects that did not relate to outside somehow, whether in the form of dying flowers, glimpses through the window, or a pile of things habitually taken outside.

The cold weather always makes February a month to simply endure, sandwiched as it is between the post-holiday high of January and the hint of spring in March. I am clearly pining for warm weather!

1. Duck Table

2. Tulips & Crafts

3. Suncatchers

4. Junk by Front Door
I am always irritated by this pile of stuff, all of which is close at hand for those exiting the house.

Noticing Lauren S.'s Week

1. Ocean Beach

2. Walking Spot

3. Chinese Junk Market
A Chinese junk store on Clement Street

4. Practicing Brazilian Capoeira
A kid practicing his Brazilian Capoeira at an intermission of a professional performance of the same.

Noticing MCK's Week

1. windex please

2. trashed

3. amalgamation

4. storm today, firewood tomorrow

Noticing Jesika's Week

my eyes find evidence
of what
I've not yet done
and wish still to do;
or fulfillment and feast,
or famine and fast.
i've eaten well and yet there's more
to have -
words, stones, fruits, and hopes -
looking, seeing, waiting.

1. Enter

2. Avocados

3. Rocks

4. Banana

Friday, February 20, 2009

Noticing Robin's Week

1. Mousepad
This is at my computer at school--mousepad was a quarter at the thrift store 15 years ago.

2. Glass after slumping
Washing the glass after slumping--the light is so nice.

3. Maggie
And, mean ole Maggie.

4. Favorite people
A view of my bulletin board behind my chair at school--my favorite people.

Noticing John's Week

1. Princesses,
Our daughter's dollhouse is overrun with small plastic people, including the Disney Princesses, who were oddly lined up and ready for their close-up.

2. Please,
This sign was hung up on a tree along one of the county roads where we live. I've never been one who thinks evangelism signs, bumper stickers, t-shirts did much good, but I really do like the fact that this one says "please."

3. Fish,
I carved this from a table top and have always loved this image of three fish as a trinity. I look at it everyday. It hangs in my office.

4. Three Months From This Date
This is a fortune cookie fortune I taped to my computer in the first few weeks at my new church. It was a much needed reminder that things would get better, and I think it was more appropriate than the poster of the kitten hanging from the line with "Hang in There" under it.

Noticing Beth's Week

1. Ready to go home
NY Post protest outside of Rubert Murdoch's News Corp building. Was walking to grab a slice with my old boss and walked passed the protest. You read about it here.

2. On my way to lunch
Beautiful sunset view from the 40th floor, where I sit. You can see the Empire State building, Bank of America's new green building, Fashion Week in Bryant Park, Lady Liberty floating in the water. After a long day of sitting in a cube, it's nice to walk by the large windows and take in the view. Quickly reminds me why I live here.

3. Still at the office
Trapped in a glass bubble - view from our breakroom.

4. On my way home
Waiting on my ride to pick me up. I found this tree branch sticking out of a trash can last night. Seems as if someone purposely placed it there. As for the fruit cup, I got no explanation.

Project Aware, Week 1

A new workshop has begun!

Project Aware is a four week collaboration designed to heighten awareness of our days without creating more work.
It's about noticing what you are already doing.
This project involves taking pictures, noticing the food you eat, how your home is arranged, and personal intentions for your days.
Anyone can participate.

This week's assignment was to take four photos of your life.
This could be an image reflected in your coffee mug, your shoes before you put your feet in, what you see on the way to work, while at work, when home, going to bed, etc.
Each picture could be part of a theme, or they could be totally random. They were just to be of your day, your life. No posing.

I got lots of inspiration from Sisters of Serendipity as well as from The Noticing Project 2008 and 2009.

For our Project Aware, I am uploading all of the submitted photoshere, but if you only want to see the collection of mosaics, they are saved here.

Everyone who has submitted will be highlighted on the blog this week.

I'll go first.

Here are some things I noticed this week:

1. Cleats
I drive under these cleats several times a day. Sometimes I take a different route home so I don't have to notice them and feel sad for their owner.

2. Amphibians
I have passed this sign in every season and have yet to see an amphibian, or see the road closed in case they are crossing. I'm not giving up though.

3. Scarves
Trying to stay positive about these cold days we are having. Looking at my scarves through sunlight helps.

4. Nightstand
I noticed this week that my nightstand describes my current state very well: the white book I am enjoying so much that I don't want it to end is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - thank you, Heidi!; the yellow cup of water because I like to have a sip in the middle of the night; just recently I had to start setting an alarm again; the roll of toilet paper on top of the alarm clock for the runny noses that come to my bedside in the middle of the night; and all of the assorted clips and rubber bands as I am in a very in-between (read: ugly) hair phase.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Turns Out...

...that if your daughter is left handed, and you put the mouse on the LEFT side of the keyboard, she'll love playing Starfall and ask for a turn at the computer before she has her cereal in the morning.

Because My Mom Taught Me Never To Throw Anything Away

I pieced a baby quilt top with some old scraps. So fun!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bye Henry, Jack and Marv. Hello Morton.

Henry decided before Thanksgiving that his name was Jack.
Everyone had to call him Jack: family, friends, the librarian, even his preschool director.

Then he changed to Marv (pronouced Maaahhhv).

Then he found Morton (pronounced Moh-ton). Marv and Morton are friends on Charlie and Lola, of course.

Oh, and Morton has "frankles."

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Swing Batta Batta

Papa got some great pictures of Henry playing baseball this past weekend.

You can see them here.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just want to point out a few things about this video:

First, the words are set to the tune of Jingle Bells (as if that wasn't obvious har har) and they go:
Valentines, Valentines,
Valentines for you.
Valentines, Valentines,
Red and pink and blue.

Valentines, Valentines,
Valentines for me.
Valentines, Valentines,
Pretty as can be.

Those are the words, but I'm not sure we ever get them out in correct succession.

Second, even though the video does not show this, Henry does get in trouble when he hits his sister.
And we do, in fact, tell her to shake it off.

Third, this correctly portrays what happens when I ask them to do something and one has to hit the other and then one refuses to sing, and the other immediately agrees, then one changes the words, and on and on. Seriously, this is real.

Fourth, aren't they cute?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ciao Bella!

Aunt Beth gave Svea this "Ciao Bella" purse when she got back from her Italy trip last August.
This is Beth in the airport:

And here is Svea re-enacting saying "Ciao Bella!" in her best Eye-talian Accent:

Aunt Beth, she just may have one up on you in the drama department...just maybe.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Evansville Parent

Sarah Chia at Evansville Parent Magazine wrote a great article about Mommy Bloggers for the February issue.

I got to talk with her about a month ago and it was so nice to revisit the reasons that I started blogging in the first place, how many people I've met by doing this, how fun it is to go back and revisit old posts, etc.
Thank you Sarah!

She interviewed many Mommy Bloggers including
Leta Joy,
Beth at Total Mom Haircut,
Misty of Rainy Day in May, and
Kat in The Secret Life of Kat.

After talking with Sarah, the editor Natalie Reidford called and asked if I would mind being on the cover of the issue (!!!!!) which was as much fun as it was awkward.
So thank you, Evansville Parent, for including me in this project, for connecting me to even more Mommy Bloggers, and for keeping me up to date on parenting issues in Evansville.

She's Got Funny Words

I walked downstairs this morning to see I,Husband, Svea and Henry having cereal at the table. Svea had milk dripping off her chin and looked up to inform me that her "brother is being difficult." Except she can't really pronounce the word "difficult."

(missing you, Aunt Beth!)

Svea told me the other day that her "hanger" hurt and it was caused by a "the wind and a string and a duck." When I figured out that she was talking about a hangnail on her finger, she wouldn't let me clip it for 2 days. When I did finally trim it off, she said her "hang" felt better already.

On Saturday after a missed dance class, she asked if she could take her "leotarder" off because it was hurting.

Last night in the bathtub, she and Henry were playing Cat and Shark, of course. Svea had the foam puzzle piece that is a monkey but that she has decided is a cat. She named it Agua since it likes the water. Henry had the foam puzzle piece that was shaped like a shark and he named his Doo-doo...and then wondered why neither Svea nor I wanted to play with him anymore.

A Call for Community

Some dear friends of ours found out recently that their 5-month-old may have cancer.

The emotions surrounding this news, as well as maintaining some semblance of a normal routine with the older 4-year-old and 2-year-old, can feel overwhelming.

They have started a blog to help keep those of us who love them updated on Baby Paul's health, as a call for thoughts and prayers, and to connect with other families who deal with similar situations.

You can see the blog HERE.

Please join us in rallying around them with thoughts, prayers, and support.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Busy 'Round Here

Bobbie and Pops came to visit this weekend!

Our yard was still a mess, so Henry and Svea "helped" Pops clean it up a bit.

We're a little worn out from all the excitement, so we decided to take it easy this morning, each in his/her own space:

I think Dora and Kermit ate too much at their tea party.

(This Quiet Time lasted all of 11 minutes. Suh-weeet.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Just in Time for the Oscars

In the movie "The Dream Team" there is a character who will only speak in baseball phrases. Like when someone makes a mistake, he says, "Swing and a miss!"
I remember cracking up at that so hard, and also thinking: how very clever.

That was 1989.
Now, I feel like I am having to decipher what Henry and Svea do and say to me to figure out what movie it came from. How do they memorize them so fast?

Henry saw a play doctor's kit the other day in the playroom and immediately said, "Just a little pinch and it will allllllllll be over..."
Where did he hear that? "101 Dalmations" to be exact.

Walking from the kitchen to the bathroom, he began singing "Everybody wants to BE a cat..."
It's been months since he saw "The Aristocats." And I have no idea what the connection of the kitchen to the bathroom is with that song.

When Svea woke up the other morning, she wanted me to hold her before she fully opened her eyes. So I was cradling her and smelling her sweet sleep smell, and she said, "Oh, Mom. It's like a wonderful dream come true.."
Indeed, my little Cinderella.

The other night at dinner, Henry had a dollop of sour cream on his plate. He removed all of his food to his napkin so he could see the dog picture on his plastic plate. Then he began dipping his finger in the sour cream and outlining the dog's face while saying, "Siiiimmmmbaaaaaaa..." like Rafiki does at the beginning and end of "The Lion King."

Dooce commented the other day that Disney ruins everything...and on some accounts, I totally agree. But the trivia has made my life very interesting, and hilarious, the past few weeks.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Still Adjusting

Today was one of those bitter cold days that makes your hands shrink in your gloves and your four-year-old asks you before stepping outside, "Mom, will we have smoke in our mouths today?"

Indeed, son.

Though our power is back on, Henry seriously asked me last night to come sit on the toilet seat and warm it up for him before he sat on it.
I love that kid, but there was no WAY I was doing that.

Svea's sleep patterns are still a little off and before she even opened her eyes this morning, she said, "Mom, I want to go to another house."
That is, she enjoyed the house-hopping we did to stay warm last week.

Luckily, things are supposed to thaw tomorrow and hopefully we'll get outside to frolick a bit. Then maybe we won't have to entertain with chalk drawings at Daddy's office or riding T-Bone the Bull at the mall. Just maybe.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Power-Full Days

We have power! We are back on the grid! When we stand in front of the vent, hot air comes out! When we flip a light switch, there is light! It's amazing.

When I read back over the previous post, I gag a little bit.
The With Electricity At Her Fingertips Mollie thinks that Pioneer No Electricity Mollie is a little delusional and too positive. I tried to be diligent about writing something each day we were without electricity so I could remember the things that really made me lose patience and the things that weren't all that bad. I am aware, and did document, that I had to shut off the parts of my brain that needed to dwell in Pity Land.
I HAD to be that positive and delusional that we could do it or I think I would have cried the whole time.

Now that all my fingers and toes are warm, and I'm not cashing in favors from friends, it's like my brain has shifted and shut off other parts (like the survival instinct parts), and I calmly turn on the stove to boil water for tea.
How can the change happen so fast?

I can't figure out if my dominant emotion is disappointment in myself, or sheer gratitude for the return of the conveniences I am reluctantly attached to. Maybe the gratitude and disappointment are edges of the same cliff: my parenting cliff.

Today I'll lean on the side of gratitude, and I'll sip my hot tea and catch up on some serious blog reading.