April 2013

Monday monday

tell him by the exciters

You just know this is going to be a great song. Just look at this cover!

Why be productive when you can check out these links instead?

A day at the zoo with The Exciters singing their 1962 hit “Tell Him” to some unsavory looking characters.

I just spent way too much time watching the President of the United States tear it up at the White House Correspondents dinner. You should too.

Kim Gordon is my hero. Check out this interview if you’re wondering why.

A beautiful post by Joanna Goddard on being the safe haven for your kids.

Wanna be a superhero? Find everything you need right here.

The new Flaming Lips record is out! Immerse yourself in the latest version of their world via this video right now.

Stripped down cell phone

John's phone.

A little guy putting a SIM card into the lowest of fi mobile phones out there. Photo courtesy of johnsphone.org.

My friend Bibb has decided that she paid far too much attention to her phone… texting, taking pictures, going online… all at the expense of being present with her family, herself and life in general.

And unlike most of us, who just shake our heads and mutter things like “well, that’s just the way the world is now” and other nonsense, she decided to actually do something about it. She is my hero.

She got rid of her old smart phone, and bought a John’s phone, a totally bare bones cell phone (from Holland of course.) Now her only method of communicating (when she’s out of the house) is actually calling somebody and… gasp… talking to them. Directly. — Read more

An indoor herb garden

cult evergreen planter

Now even I, whose Native American name should be plant-killer, can keep my thyme alive.

I don’t know about you guys, but it drives me crazy to have to buy a big bunch of, fresh thyme lets just say, only to use a sprig or two before the rest of it dries up and shrivels away. Such a waste of thyme and money. Plus there’s all that packaging that ends up primarily in the landfill.

This year, I resolved to do something about this horrendous problem. Blissfully on my way (in my mind) to becoming an indoor year-round herb farmer, sprinkling good taste wherever I go, I bought a thyme plant, potted it, and killed it within two weeks.


But then, enter my husband, with the most perfect birthday gift ever (also typical). The idiot-proof-and-also-attractive square planter from the Swedish company Cult. Here’s how it works:

The top part is made of unfinished terra cotta, natural, absorbent, historic (in constant use for 5000 years!). The plant lives in there. The bottom part is glazed, and the water lives in there. Once a week or so, you fill the bottom with water, and these canvas straps soak it up and transfer it to the hungry roots living in the top part. The plant drinks what it wants, when it wants, and you barely have to pay any attention to it at all.

Except for when that recipe calls for a sprig of thyme.

(Continue on if you want to get one of these things RIGHT NOW! Like for mother’s day… hint hint?) — Read more

Earth Day 2013

The Earth, as seen from Apollo 17.

Home, as seen from Apollo 17. Photo courtesy of NASA.

Happy Earth Day everybody!

I’m tied to my desk, which doesn’t feel particularly Earth Day like to me, but since I’m here, I thought I’d share a few links with those of you who are also desk bound on this lovely (if a bit chilly) spring day.

Check out Earth Day celebrations from around the world with The Washington Post.

See how much you know about the Earth — Take this New York Times quiz by the professors at the College of the Atlantic in Maine.

Or this one, from CNN.com.

Dance around to the Kinks while you watch this video and then join the Rainforest Alliance’s Village Green Preservation Society.

Resolve never to litter again after checking out this photo which shows how a discarded six pack holder effected the life of one turtle.

Be inspired by this call to action for more women leaders in the environmental movement.

Revel in UK artist Anna Garforth’s moss installations and then learn how to make your own.

Feel free to share other great Earth Day related links in the comments. I’d much rather check these out than do all the other stuff I’m supposed to be getting done…

Tackling tough issues

sit in by Andrea and Brian Pinkney

A book that appeals to anyone curious about the civil rights movement in the 1960′s.

As the mother of a bi-racial, interfaith child, I have my work cut out for me in the teach-your-kid-their-family-heritage department. And while its tempting to gloss over it altogether (Slavery! The holocaust!), ignorance is the one sure fire way to guarantee that the unsavory aspects of history keep repeating themselves.

So we’ve chosen to keep our eyes open and, as a family, try to understand what has gone on before us as a way to feel empowered about our ability to improve our future. And when I encounter a great book on one of these topics, I grab it, because there is no better way to illustrate a point than through the power of a good story.

Sit-In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down
by Andrea Davis Pinkney tells the story of the 1960 sit-ins protesting segregation at the Woolworth lunch counters in Greensboro, North Carolina. The story is powerful, without feeling oppressive. It’s told simply, but without being dumbed down (which is what drives me crazy about so many children’s books out there. The illustrations (by husband Brian Pinkney) are bold, exuberant and colorful, perfectly representing the spirit of these brave civil rights protestors.

The core message is big and bold, so even the beginning reader can digest it by herself, making it all the more powerful.

The core message is big and bold, so even the beginning reader can digest it by herself, making it all the more powerful.

There is also, if you really want to get into it, a timeline chronicling the major events of the entire Civil Rights Movement (see below) which helps put this particular event into context.

A timeline of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

Here’s the timeline.

In the end, Pinkney distills the whole struggle for integration into a simple recipe:

1. Start with love.
2. Add conviction.
3. Season with hope.
4. Extra faith to flavor.
5. Mix black people with white people.
6. Let unity stand.
7. Sprinkle in dignity.
8. Fold in change.
8. Bake until golden.
10. Serve immediately.

It’s a recipe we should all learn by heart and pass along to everyone we know.

A new beginning

cactus flower

An unexpected burst of color in the Mohave desert.

Every spring, for a couple of weeks, the beige and khaki California desert erupts into bloom. It is the most profound sign of the evolving seasons that I’ve ever seen– right up there with the crocuses bursting out of the snowy backyards of New England. It is a glorious time to be in the desert, all full of optimistic thoughts of rebirth, rock climbing adventures, slightly overenthusiastic forays into outdoor swimming pools, crazy Easter egg hunts at our hotel (The 29 Palms Inn– one of my all time favorites)… All in all, the perfect beginning to springtime.

Which brings me to this post, which heralds the rebirth of my own online universe. A whole new look, all kinds of bells and whistles that I can’t believe I care about (RSS feeds! Pinterest!) and hopefully a more coherent experience for all. Springtime, but for your computer.

I have so much to share with you guys and now… finally… I have an adequate platform to do just that. Even in it’s current work-in-progress state, if you’ve got loads of time on your hands, you can wander around and check out some photos, or songs, or even articles I’ve written for people besides myself. More of which will be arriving every day. And then you can go out and tweet that sh*t to your hearts delight. Just by pressing a button!


A thousand thank you’s to the good people at Area 17, who rocked the design and implementation of this website beyond my wildest expectations. I am still pinching myself. They are geniuses.

Do please let me know what you think. I’ll be here at my desk, busily updating past blog posts into the current format, uploading content (as of this writing, there is only one song up for you to listen to, so I have my work cut out for me…), generally trying to get used to these new ways of navigating this brave new world… and keeping it real.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

On the road

On the road in Joshua Tree National Park.

On the road in Joshua Tree National Park.

It has been awhile since my last post… But I have been busily at work behind the scenes here spearheading a soup-to-nuts redesign of my entire website, which should be ready to unveil in the next week or so. This massive endeavor has all been done with the help of the sublime web gurus of Area 17, who are as good as it gets in this dept. No joke.

I’m really excited, though I have my work cut out for me these next few days, uploading all the content, resizing images, figuring out what to keep and what to get rid of (very hard for me!) etc etc.

But hopefully the result will be a better stronger faster and all around more up to date online universe where I can… gasp… Upload videos! Spell check my blog entries! (so the literary editors amongst you will no longer have to send me polite e mails regarding my typos) Put captions underneath my photos! Get you guys to like things on Facebook! And all the other stuff that we have come to assume is a part of our web browsing experience.

Maybe with this new version, I’ll even post more often. Though I make no promises.

Fingers crossed.

Oh and by the way, the above photo is from a recent trip to Joshua Tree National Park, where my little family spent part of spring vacation. More on that trip to come…