the 5 senses, mid-August

These days, all 5 senses are alive and noticing.

I’m Seeing:

*bowls full of berries, from having swallowed my pride, and gone to outsource breakfast.

*a little bit of luck in my garden in the way of beets and carrots

*the rising temperatures making way for less clothing — my little one joins the naked ranks of the house feline

*cheap and wonderful household items thrifted from neighborhood garage sales making their way into daily use

*small piles of old fabric becoming something sweet and useful

*the last of the moving boxes finally, after 6 months, being emptied, and thrown in with the recycling.  (or at least, shoved to an unseeable corner of a closet.)

I’m Hearing:

*calls from some favorite neighbors…”can we come over and use your grill?”

*follow-up texts from those same neighbors…”We are bringing buckets of cucumbers from our garden.  Let’s pickle them.”

*Pink Martini’s Retrospective …in anticipation of a picnic concert this weekend. (my favorite)

*secret conversations between little friends, mostly gibberish, lots of laughter

*constant construction in my home, by way of toy tools pounding on my walls and doors

*everyone in my house (and everyone who visits) singing along with The Everly Brothers Greatest Hits

*a little squeaky red wagon following me around everywhere I go

I’m Smelling:

*blueberry muffins, the scent filling my home and my heart, as nothing is as nostalgic for one’s childhood as that

*the freshness of a home-grown tomato as it blushes and finds it’s way indoors: they are small on yield but big on flavor.

*fresh cut grass, sun in the skin, and the unmistakeable smell of summer in my baby’s hair

*the lemon, lime, and strawberry of play clay being rolled out next to me while I cook

*summer sweet corn as it moves from the shucking station to the grill.  (as a born-and-bred midwesterner, my standards are high and I’m loyal to my roots.  Pacific NW sweet corn gets a B+)

I’m Tasting:

*the superiority of Pacific NW avocados and the influence on summer’s greatest food: guacamole

*real ice cream, the old-fashioned way…after 1000 cranks in the ice chest

*chickpea salad with shallots and red-wine vinegar…which is becoming a weekly dinner fixture in our house

*watermelon every-which-way (with salt, with yogurt…with nothing on in the backyard)

*peaches so juicy you need 2 napkins or better yet, a bib

I’m Feeling:

*temperatures exactly where I like them most…in the mid-90s.

*the breeze, the bug bites, the sticky seats that all signify dinner outside

*the easy release of huge handfuls of ripe blueberries as they fill my hands…there is nothing like picking your own fruit

*gratitude for the bounty this time of year — a time for feeling full and rich and abundant with the colors and textures of summer

*wonderment — at the simply dazzling impact  of water

*the ease of having friends and family come visit  – lots of them, and often — sharing our home and the magic of summer



the 5 senses, late June

These days, all 5 senses are alive and noticing.

I’m seeing: 

*the colors of spring shift from every-color-of-the-rainbow to pure, fresh, Oregon, summer GREEN

*cherries, thousands of them, blushing

*the rise of red lettuces growing like weeds, first radishes, and I spy a cauliflower head!

*the primary color palette come to life in a new way as Orlis tells me the color of everything he sees…all day long.

*the finishing touches being done to our basement renovation.  So soon I’ll finally have my office and studio to myself! (photos coming soon)


photo by USFWS Mountain Prairie

I’m Hearing: 

*the constant jibber-jabber of the chickens (“chiches!”) next door.

*the crackle of the newly-fixed record player, back to her old sweet tricks playing Willie Nelson, Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder…

*…and the strong, searing sound of my unabashed toddler playing harmonica right along with her

*the rising cacophony coming from the mountain bluebirds around our yard.  specifically, around our cherry tree.  I think they are saying, “hey everyone! get a load of this!”

*spurts of high-pitched laugher that make my heart sing


 I’m Smelling: 

*wet leaves making their way from Orlis’ bucket into the compost

*the City of Roses declare herself.  A few among my backyard trellis dare me daily.

*the somewhat sickening-but-already-nostalgic odor of Lip Smackers chapstick…Orlis’ all-time favorite thing to carry around

*the scent of sun on my little boy’s cheeks

I’m Tasting: 

*a lot of salad… to keep up with planting too many lettuces.  Dinner salad enough for 5… eaten by 2

*the freshest strawberries I ever did taste

*buckwheat pancakes made by Orlis (thank goodness for the vacuum)

*weekly bike rides to this place and a penchant for their Sea Salt with Caramel ribbons

*the bundle of weekly surprises from our CSA

*taco night that will become nacho lunch today.  Mmmmm

I’m Feeling: 

*the deliciousness of wrestling with a toddler

*the satisfying feeling of catching a weed at its root

*temperatures that [finally!] tempt the cardigan off my shoulders

*the skies that clear a bit after a good, hearty, wrenching cry



slingin’ babes


There are few daily rituals I love more than holding this babe of mine in a sling.  That and my morning coffee, and I’m usually a pretty happy camper.  The deliciousness of his little body snugly against mine, and right there on my left hip where he’s got a great view of all that is happening, including all that I’m able to do with my very free two hands.  He’s so happy in the sling — it calms him, it includes him, it keeps him close and learning all the time, and it lets him know I’m available — all the things that are most important to me as a mom.  I hope he’ll continue to pull the sling off its hook and bring it over to me for a little “sling time” several times a day for a good long while still.  It’s a truly cherished routine for both of us that I know someday, all too soon, we’ll outgrow.  And I know with that out-growing, my ability to communicate all of what feels like real loving during our sling time might become a little more complex.  Knowing this “sling time” will morph into something else soon enough has me cherishing it all the more.

Everyone asks me if I made my sling.  I didn’t, but I wish I had because I think I’ve tallied around 30+ customers I’ve sent the way of Sweet Pea Ring Slings – she’s a richer woman with my endorsement, and she deserves it.  She makes a good sling, that woman — and gorgeous too.

Not too long ago I received a most delectable package in the mail from my mom — a hand-picked assortment of some of my favorite books and toys from when I was a little girl.  Oh!  The joy of sorting through those worn and torn favorite books — Tikki Tikki TemboCorduroy,  and the very funny and very therapeutic Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day –oft requested by both and my brother and me.  Also included in the package was my own personal Velveteen Rabbit — a baby doll who had been extremely well-loved by me — her eyes still open and close now but she’s a bit scratched up, she’s losing some of her stuffing, and there isn’t much left to decipher of the expression on her face.  I love having her around.

And so does Orlis.  He does like that baby doll.  Seeing it deepens my belief in the power that certain objects hold — something so well loved (even 30+ years ago) is more compelling to him than any new doll would be and I do believe it’s because this old, tattered baby doll holds a lot of love energy in her tiny, fraying frame.  Family relics are amazing and I’m so lucky my own mama saved her.

There’s a wonderful little boutique not too far from me in Portland called Milagros that sells the kind of baby gear I like — the stuff that brings you closer together.  As luck would have it — they sell baby doll slings!  And, they are made by a local Portland mom.  I snatched up one of the cutest designs and brought it home to try out on Orlis and Baby Girl.

And indeed, “sling time” is taking on a whole new meaning at our house.  We’ve got Baby Girl to comfort and kiss.  We’ve got block towers to build and squirrels to watch and dancing to do and dinner to make  — all while we hold Baby Girl on our hip and enjoy the legacy of real loving.  Ah, sling time.  It’s the best.