New locations

I've never been good at long lead ins when I have something important to say, so I'll just get right to it.


Both in real space and in virtual space.

Mike got a job with the Washington department of Fish and Game. And we'll be moving up there in less than a week. We've been wishing, hoping, dreaming of a new job, maybe a new town, and moving past graduate student life - which we've thoroughly enjoyed. But we're ready for something new. Apparently the gods heard us. With a vengence!!

Also, I wanted to let you all know that this site will no longer be active after today. It will still be accessible for awhile but all the content, as well as any new posts have been moved to wordpress. You can visit us at:


Please change your bookmarks and links, and visit us often. I'm hoping it will be a good way to keep in touch for those of you who we won't be seeing as often anymore. I feel the need to move on, to let a lot of things go. This blog site, for whatever reason, needs to be one of those things.

But I have one request. This time LEAVE COMMENTS :) I never got very many on this blog, yet when I would talk to people they would always tell me that they had enjoyed the blog. I gotta tell you guys, it's hard to feel like you have an audience when they don't talk back. It doesn't matter if you have a blog or not, or even if you have a wordpress ID. The comment doesn't even have to be realted to the post! You can leave comments at any time. I would love to hear from you.

Many blessings,


Wordless Wednesday: After more than a week of non-stop snow

Up to Date Part 1: Lu's Birthday

So, I've been ofline for quite some time. For good reasons, that I'll address in another post. But in the interests of family who use this to keep track of what we're up to, I thought I'd back track a bit.

Bean's birthday, though there have only been two of them, have been very non-traditional. What can I say I'm a non-traditional type of gal.

(Coincidently, Bean's birthday is also the birthday of my college roomate who I'm very fond of and admire tremendously. And the added joy this year is that she got engaged on her birthday! Congrats Jen!)
Last year, we figured Lu wouldn't care wither way, so we went snowshoeing on her birthday. This year, burnt out from the holidays and aching to get outside, we figured we would make it a tradition. (I love non-traditional traditions, don't you?).

It was sunny and COLD, with the sharp gray front of winter inching over the mountains as we walked. I carried the Bean while Mike got back in the swing with his cross-country skiis. It was fun but we kept it short.

Photos for fun:

Now for the candles. Yes, in spite of our lax attitude last year we did make sure she got a cake (cheesecake). This year she got carrot muffins.

Photos for fun:

And after our snowshoe Sunday some other friends surprised us with a second cake for the Bean. It was beautiful, and put my mom skills to shame. She demonstrated that this was THE CAKE she had always wanted by sticking her face squarly on the edge and taking a huge bite! My little chocoholic emerges!

**As a totally unrealted side note, I've decided, after much troubles the last month or so that I'm SICK of blogspot. I'll probably be changing over to wordpress.com soon. Stay tuned for details.


Meme Me

Although I've been tempted by memes, I've tried to avoid them so far. But since I've been tagged by my friend Tracy, I guess I'll give in. Though I must admit that I've changed a few things :)

Seven sets of eight things

8 things I am passionate about
the conservation and preservation of the environment
natural child birth
local, organic food
the need of every human to be loved, to laugh, and run around naked sometimes
my family, immediate and extended
gardening and digging my hands in the soil

8 things I want to do before I die
travel to New Zealand
learn to play the banjo
go back to Germany with Mike
pamper myself at a day spa
be able to better identify birds and plants, and learn as much natural history about them as possible
own a cabin and a small expanse of land
speak another language semi-fluently
get my 2nd degree black belt in Hapkido and my 1st degree in aikido

8 things I say often
All right
6 of one, half a dozen of the other
No worries
. . .
The rest eludes me,
I talk to myself a lot but I'm not usually paying that much attention

8 books I WANT to read
The Art of Peace - Morihei Ueshiba
The Armenians - John M. Douglas
The Best American Science Writing 2006 - ed. Atul Gawande
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver
Coming Home to Eat - Gary P. Nabhan
Guns, Germs, and Steel - Jared Diamond
The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
Eat, Love, Pray - Elizabeth Gilbert

8 musicians/bands I could listen to for hours and hours
Barenaked Ladies
Greg Brown
John Mayer
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Edith Piaf
Sonia Dada

8 things that attract me to my best friends
Sense of humor

8 people who should totally do this meme
Most I would tag have already been tagged. But if this meme strikes you as fun please do it and then let me know and I'll link to you.

What to do for the big number 2?

The timing of Bean's birthday poses somewhat of a dilemma. Christmas a month before means that she has received more toys than we can fit in her closet, and she's not bored with the toys I put out for her right after the holiday, let alone the ones I have stored in the closet for later.

But nevertheless, some people have asked me what to get the Bean for her birthday. Yet when I run through the checklist of books, toys, clothes, and other ammenities I come up with nothing. She could use a few new bath toys, but lately she showers with me more often than she takes a bath. I spent days thinking about it, and after a trip downtown with my friend Tracy I hit upon inspiration.

For those of you who don't already know what you're getting her, I have a suggestion: Sponsor us for a cool class being offered through the Nevada Museum of Art.

Here's the description:

Toddler Art Adventure: Recycling Fun!
Parent and child will make art together using recycled materials and common items you can find at home. Using these materials, the class will explore painting, drawing, printmaking, collage and sculpture. Highlights include a spaghetti mobile and printmaking with vegetables and feathers. A toddler project apron is included!
Session 1: Wednesdays, March 5 to 26, 9:30 AM to 10:15 AM Ages: 2 – 5 with parent Cost: $27 non-members, ($12 for each additional child and/or parent)

This is right up our alley! Recycled materials, making a mess with art material - it doesn't get much better than this!

So there's my contribution.


Bottomless cup

The other day Luci and I were watching a show I found on PBS called Mama Mirabelle's Home Movies. This is a cute show that teaches kids about animals and the natural world. For a review of the show check out this site.

In a nutshell, most of the characters are young animals of the African savannah who run into a problem they need to solve or a question that they want to answer. Mama Mirabelle the elephant illuminates the issue with home movies she has shot. While the characters are animated, the home movies are actual footage of animals shot by National Geographic or BBC (The show originally aired on the BBC, and although I hate to admit to being an anglophile, I LOVE the BBC.)

So Luci and I are sitting on the couch watching Mama Mirabelle explain to her calf, Max and his friends, Karla the zebra (who has a New Zealand accent?!?) and Bo the cheetah, why their new friend is so good at hide and go seek. Turns out their new friend is a bat. Thus Mama Mirabelle launches into an explantation of echolocation. They begin with talking about echoes and how certain sounds in certain places bounce back. At this point I look over and Luci has her head bent over her cup of "Hot-tea" (yes, my kid is already learning to enjoy a morning cup of herbal), and is talking into the mug. Apparentally she was expecting a reply because she kept saying things ("Mommydaddy, Daddymommy. Doggie?") and then putting her ear to the top of the mug to see if anyone would respond. It was all I could do to not double over laughing. I asked her if there was anyone in there. She gave me this puzzled look, looked back down into her cup and then up at the TV. We continued to watch the program without any more comic mishaps.

I love how much Bean's interested in animals and the natural world (I accept full blame with pride). She even has a book we found in Yellowstone about animal scat and tracks called Who Pooped in the Park? (an awesome series I might add). But already I want to start buying all those science activites you find at the Exploratorium in SF and other cool science museums. I'm already thinking about showing her how things grow and sprout roots (i.e. the infamous potato/toothpick thing). My mind races and I start checking out parent teachers stores and looking at teaching materials. And then I think maybe we should focus on colors and learning what blue is, and that blue and yellow make green, before we move onto photosythesis and evaporation. I think I grudgingly have to admit that my mom was right - I'm a teacher at heart, whether I want to be or not.


Check it out mom! SNOW!

Hey Kathy. Whatcha doin' with that thing?

My turn! Let me help.

Wow, that was hard work. I think I'll just sit here and watch.

Am I in the way or something?

Anybody catch the license number on that snowplow?

So this is what a snowman feels like.

WHEEEE! No, don't stop. Who cares if there's a car coming?

I brake for snowmen.

Got your nose??

I'm going to miss you in the morning.


Morning snack

We woke up Friday to about 5 inches of snow in our backyard. It's been hard to keep Bean in the house since then. She keeps grabbing her boots and saying, "Ow-side. Ow-side Mama. Snow, dey's 'now."

I've been sick so spending half an hour shivering while she dives into piles of snow is not my idea of fun right now. But when Mike went out to shovel the driveway I gave in.

I should preface this by saying that Lu is in a stage where she wants to imitate everything I do. And I mean everything, from sweeping to wrapping presents to going pee in the potty. And I've known for awhile that this penchant for imitation does extend to the dog. We've had to explain to her several times that eating grass and going through the dog door are not things we really want her to do.
So I wasn't surprised when I looked up from talking to Mike as he was shoveling and found them both eating the newfallen snow. You've gotta smile - what kid doesn't like eating snow?

My only concern is whether, as winter progresses, she'll be able to understand that there are just certain types of snow that you don't want to eat.



I was thinking the other day of how to create characters in a piece of writing. How to encapsulate a complex persona into a snapshot for the purposes of a story. It's hard and it often means resorting to stereotypes, which is something I cringe at. For me, more often then not, it means expereimenting until I find the right details. Only with those telling details does the picture I paint begin to ring true.

So I began to revisit some of the "character" poems, or portraits, I've written. One jumped out at me. I had almost forgotten my first Italian teacher. A character if I've ever met one.

Gustavo Foscarini

L'uomo basso e forte
You are as short and stocky
as a Pyrenees mountain pony.

Your unruly grey beard is
a shaggy carpet that explodes off your face
like a snake out of a can,
hiding two ears folded open like
advent-calendar doors.

A sense of humor to match
your vivacious eyebrows,
which periodically bounce up and
down like a child playing peek-a-boo.

You remind me of Nino twenty years from now,
hands that leap and dance
to the rhythm of your trombone tones.

The classic Italian gentleman --
polite, nosy, charming,
I wonder why you left Italia,
and if you have any grandchildren.

I think you were born in the South,
where enjoyment and good wine
are prima di tutto
and passione sizzles in the blood like oil
in an August frying pan,
where there is no word for lust, only l'amore.

One day I'll ask you these things,
if you know of La Madonna del Castello,
the legends and frescos beneath her salty floor,
if the smell of aglio and basilico
are a wooden spoon that stirs memories,
and if you are ever tempted to go back
to the language where "stress" doesn't translate.


Goal: Climb Mt. Rose, Status: FINALLY!

There's this mountain. Being smack up against the eastern side of the Sierras there's a lot of mountains around here, but there's one in particular that I've been wanting to climb for awhile. She is the tallest peak this side of Tahoe, and easy to spot from almost anywhere in Reno. In the winter there is nothing lovelier than her bright snow-covered peak above the gray desert scrub.
For three years I have been wanting to climb to the top. The first summer I made serious plans to climb the peak I found out I was pregnant. I still tried to climb it, but by the time Mike's field season was over and we had time to do it I was six months along. To my credit I made it half-way up, but the top was more than I could do at that point. However, I was ok with that. I just figured I would do it the following year with Luci in a carrier on my back, as opposed to in my stomach. That didn't pan out either. Finishing my lecturing contract with UNR, nursing and caring for a baby, while at the same time getting me and the Bean ready to join Mike at his field site for the summer turned out to be a lot. Oh, and we planned a BBQ with 40+ people for my friend's family who were visiting from the Basque country. As always Mt. Rose kept getting shoved down the priority list.

And alas, after the huge 3-week vacation to Bear Lake and Yellowstone in addition to all the other summer craziness I thought I was going to miss out again. Add to this that the trail head is only a half-hour drive from our house and you can understand my frustration!

But not this time! My parents decided to take Luci for a few days after Thanksgiving to give Mike and I some much needed time to catch up - with each other and our to-do lists. And so we jumped on the opportunity Sunday and FINALLY climbed Mt. Rose. Ordinarily I would have thought this would be too late in the season, but with as little snow as we've had it wasn't a problem. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled we were able to climb to the top but I'm not thrilled about the lack of snow that high up (10,776 ft.). It was a little under 10 miles round trip - a pretty good day hike - but we managed to do it in about five and a half hours. Not too bad for as out-of-shape as we've felt lately.

About half-way up to the summit is a waterfall, which we've been to a number of times. It makes for a great half-day hike. It was really funny to see the entire thing frozen solid.

From the waterfall you wind out east through a valley and then the trail curves up along a creek bed and up the west side of the peak. This is a summit view of the valley and waterfall.

I'm a big one on texture. I absolutely love natural patterns and textures, especially wood and stone. Near the summit there was a fallen lodge-pole pine whose roots had obviously weathered a few winters. I couldn't resist the texture.
It was cloudy and overcast, and the wind gusts near the summit were almost unbearable. But, the views of Tahoe, Donner Lake, Reno, and Washoe Valley were worth it.

We spent some time at the top snacking on nuts and dates we'd brought. This is otherwise known as the "OMG, gimmee calories 'cause I'm about to die," period where we enjoy the view and recover before we head back down. And where we take the obligatory summit shots.

And then we came home, made dinner and a fire, and spent the rest of the evening curled up under a down comforter feeling sore and content.