Wednesday, October 29, 2008

please send your good vibes.

If you're so inclined, dear readers, please send us your good karma/thoughts/prayers for our coming election here in the United States next Tuesday (Nov. 4).

I'm sorry if you don't agree, and I certainly don't mean to start a political debate, but please .... as I said, if you are so inclined, send your goodwill for Senator Obama's victory... and for his safety, as it recently has been publicly disclosed that there was a serious threat planned toward his assasination (and there probably remains such a threat). I feel so strongly that an Obama presidency is exactly what our stalemated country needs to revive. I don't even want to think about any alternative right now.

Biting my nails and awaiting the results next week .... and beyond.

peace and love to you, as always


thank you for respecting my opinion.

Monday, October 27, 2008

monday update.

dear friends,
my sincere apologies in advance for the sad lack of recent pictures in this post, apart from imitating rhonda's breadmaking tutorial on saturday ... in my rush out the door, aglow with two very awesome envelopes i received in the mail, i remembered my uploading wire but NOT ... alas ... my camera. and there is such exciting news to share!! a beautiful gift, (except i got the 1901 edition!!! yeah!!) and ... my ACCEPTANCE into grad school!!!! yes!! so... those, and my lovely, lovely pictures of the sunday farmer's market and all my resulting loot ... well, you'll just have to wait a few more days. i can't spend every day in the coffeeshop ... as it is i've spent $3 here tonight on tea and a snack back of chips. well ... i tell myself once a week here is less than $10/month and at one point I was paying $80/month for cable TV (blechhh) and Internet, and was unable to separate the two and just pay for Internet. Good news is I have a new downstairs neighbor who seems very nice and is willing to discuss sharing an Internet connection ... hm ...!! sitting home and drinking my own cups of tea would be priceless.

so ... with all that said, this weekend was very relaxing; most of it spent at home. Actually, Saturday was totally car-free, not by any design, entirely by chance, but it still made me desire to actually make it a priority in future. First I have to work on getting up in the mornings consistently ... my performance just to get up and actually eat breakfast is so spotty ... at least today i made it up to make eggs and toasty bread with butter and honey from the recipe rhonda provided in her breadmaking tutorial.

i had only a couple of problems with the bread; I'll get to that in a minute. here is how my saturday broke down:

woke up


fed cats

washed dishes

cleaned cat poop

swept floor

did half hour yoga video from library (not bad but a little too fast-paced for my

made breakfast, stove-cooked oatmeal with blueberries and honey and wheat germ
started bread

made tea and cookies, went on computer a bit

tried repeatedly and unsuccessfully to knit in seed/moss stitch. (much later, watched helpful tutorial online and will try again when i begin my next project). gave up when knitting got all twisted, and chose to make garter stitch scarf as gift. this is going well.

made soy milk, banana, peanut butter and protein smoothie in blender for lunch, and cut up some cheese bits also.

two hours later, bread was done! mine needed an hour to cook all the way through.

after this, ate copious amounts of fresh, hot bread with vegan butter and honey. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. i rolled my bread in oats and sesame seeds.

walked a mile to local bookstore, where I have a gift card given to me last spring, and ordered Putting Food By by Janet Greene. Should be here wednesday. yaya!!

walked home, and mainly worked on my scarf for a very long time until i was tired enough to fall asleep. also read some more from the omnivore's dilemma. VERY enlightening book about the modern american food industry.

okay ... so back to that bread ... well, rhonda's tutorial was overall very helpful ... except my yeast never looked quite as frothy as hers, and i used active dry yeast too. i added sugar and water, and ... nothing. so i just kept experimenting, eventually adding a whole 'nother yeast packet (so my bread actually tastes pretty darn yeasty), and even some flour (the directions on back of the yeast packet didn't call for sugar, but did call for flour) ... eventually it foamed the tiniest bit ... i just called it a day and tossed the whole thing in to the mix ... with the ending result that i never needed more water for my bread, but did have to add more flour to dry it out!! lol

also, FYI americans doing rhonda's tutorial: 65 mls water is 4tbsp plus 1 tsp and 250ml water is about 2 and 1/4 cups i think.

okay ... so ... well .. . i will just have to blog about sunday, etc. in a future blog. stay tuned ... and remember this is my month to be VERY frugal and really really direct my "spending" to the right places, i.e. mostly to my debt!! this is going to be SO hard. but i will persevere... and try to keep it somewhat documented! i HAVE decided to keep up with some knitting, by using cheap but good quality yarns to knit two more simple scarves (after the one i'm doing now, which is for a friend's son) for family members for christmas. i know it's very ambitious but i'd also like to knit my parents some cold-house wool socks ... and i want to keep grocery bills WAY down this month. If this means I eat chili every other week, or just smaller portions in general, well ... so be it. I'll be creative and apply that money where I really need to apply it. I won't bore you with the details. But please keep my plans in your thoughts, if you will!

here is the breadmaking process:

this didn't work ...

nor did this ...

luckily, putting it inside a rectangular (gah!! it's losing its shape!!) glass baking pan for a few minutes inside a slightly warmed oven did some of the trick, though it never did double in size, and i just know it harkens back to that failed yeast ... grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

so we continue ...


another pioneer girl victory!!!

so ... if you've made it this far, i had another problem: i wrapped the loaf in foil and stuck it in the fridge to preserve it, but now it's hard as a rock. is there something i can do differently next time, to preserve freshness and moisture? this rock hard thing ... somewhat annoying as i don't want to have to turn the oven on "warm" each time to de-rockify it. keep in mind: i don't own a microwave. no way! so ... what's a girl to do?

i'll leave you tonight with some knitting ... this is the second scarf i've ever knitted .. only one messed up row ... it's all in stockinette stitch. i've decided to keep it for myself. (p.s. thinking about hacking into a pile of brush at the end of my driveway left over from our windstorm of a few weeks ago .. .more on this and all those extra pictures ... still to come!!)

peace and love,


Sunday, October 26, 2008

gorgeous art

this man's work in the book Classic Fairy Tales is simply ... stunning. I'm going to get this book for myself sometime, and I highly recommend it to all of you.

stay tuned ... pictures post and weekend update hopefully by monday night (tomorrow if you're in U.S. , tuesday night if you're my Aussie friends).

peace and love

karen ~~

Friday, October 24, 2008

simple hobbies.

one of the school parents who owns a chain of local fair trade coffeeshops felt bad for me standing around in wellies and raincoat in the downpour, and handed me a free drink card. "happy friday," he said. another parent brought HOT fresh pumpkin bread when she picked up her daughter!!! mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...............fall and awesome parents.

so here i sit at the coffeeshop with my FREE pumpkin spice latte, decaf, soy. yum. AND ... it's stopped raining, and the world is washed anew. was nice to see sun for a bit before the inevitable early fall sunset.

didn't want to spend today, but made some "investments" -- in gluten flour and yeast for bread, milk powder ... glass bread dish ... etc. figure in the long run this will save buying a new loaf of organic local bread (often nearly $5!) every 2 weeks or so. we'll see how my attempt goes tomorrow.

for tonight, i have planned knitting with new ball of yarn from this LYS here in Louisville (Ari you'd love it!), documentaries (one on autism, one on the year 1968 with Tom Brokaw, and another about the economy of present-day Jamaica), and maybe some more reading of Maria Montessori and Michael Pollan.

Tomorrow: baking bread, yoga (video at home), homemade pizza, more knitting, more reading.

Sunday: farmer's market/art show that i'll walk to, then babysitting.

hopefully some more babysitting thrown in there somewhere ...

... and i'm good. the next two weeks at school are a 4-day, then a 3-day. i'm glad for the respite. the changing over of seasons is always difficult ... it's now very dark in the early mornings and hard to get out of my "nest" in the morning. it's only going to get worse when i begin sleeping with my goose down in another week or so .. ; /

sometimes, i still feel guilty about not making plans with friends for the last "golden" weekend or two we've had. but ... they're not making plans, either. everyone's "nesting." i have to always remember to put my young life into perspective and keep telling myself it's okay to "do nothing." though, as you simple lifers all know, that's hardly what we do .... blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. i hate feeling this way sometimes, but i'm sure it's a normal growing pain of slowing down from the rat race mentality.

god, this latte is good. thank god for lattes and pumpkins.

namaste and happy weekend to you all


p.s. thanks to all of you who gave me some recipes to try with winter squash. i'll get back to you on that.

p.p.s. i'm so touched you read my blossoming blog. i really, really am. thank you all so very much.

p.p.p.s. here is the veg chili i made last week!! AMAZING. so hearty!! (but alas ... gas-inducing terribly if you eat a huge bowl every day ... whoopsie.)

here's what i did: heated a red onion (diced up) and 2 large garlic cloves in a bunch of olive oil in a big pot. Then, added organic kidney beans (1 cup dried, which i had soaked overnight, i think i should have soaked them longer though cause they held up the cooking of the pot for a VERY long time), a can of garbanzos and a can of black beans (drained and salt rinsed off first). Then added 2 cups water. Then a bunch of frozen tricolored bell pepper strips. Then added 2 cans organic diced tomatoes. Then, dumped in a TON of chili powder and ground cumin. Lastly, added 1 cup textured vegetable protein flakes (cooks up very much like meat), and a bunch of canned jalapenos. Let all of it simmer for ... well as long as it takes to be hot and done. Mine took nearly two hours, stirring occasionally but like i said the dried kidneys took forever to soften. any idea on why this happened would be greatly appreciated.

when i was ready to eat, i topped with a huge dollop of Vegenaise (best stuff in the PLANET, i sometimes get cravings to eat it straight from the jar) and some organic tortilla chips.

bon appetit!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

self-entertaining at the library

today i made it out of bed 45 MINUTES before i had to be out the door. turns out it was just enough time to enjoy coffee while watching my cats devour their breakfast, and I got to make yummy oatmeal on the stove with blueberries, wheat germ and brown sugar mixed in. and eat it, too!

go me!!

tonight: here i am at the libary, checking out new DVDS, including a yoga one. i've really been craving yoga so hopefully this will be good to me. i'm also going to see what there is as far as some recipe books i can look through, and i want to photocopy some of the pages out of the knitting books i just renewed. i'm half-serious about starting up a binder of knitting, cooking, etc. tips ... and using the hole puncher at my school to help. i'd love to make it pretty and bound with ribbon or something ... but first i need a good organizational system. all my important documents for everything are literally just thrown around everywhere in boxes! awful, i know ... simply awful. ah, project for gloomy winter days, i suppose.

three babysitting jobs this week, one last night that involved pretty much nothing more than a 45-minute walk thru suburbia (very scary ... like a wasteland/ghosttown on a gorgeous fall evening, but good exercise nonetheless) with sleeping baby in stroller. thank god, i need them (the jobs).

have started my almost-daily walks again in the park. this is good, even with the cooler temperatures. the sunsets are gorgeous. i love seeing all the long shadows.

that's about all ... hopefully we'll catch up on the weekend, with some more pictures in tow. i'm going to Rhonda's blog now for bread recipes .... hopefully homemade bread and pizza will be made this weekend.

peace and love,


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

sometimes it's the simple things ...

saturday plans i'm already looking forward to:

farmer's market (yes ... apparently they have them thru november here! well it is still warm enough most days during the day to go without a jacket ... but JUST warm enough for that)

school group .... at the farm. and me there to help enlighten. yay ; )

making homemade pizza.............YUM.

maybe posting more of the pictures i've been snapping lately ... regrettably, didn't have the camera with at family farm day ... grrr ... depending how my Internet connection is working

spending some time at the library checking out fun books, and hopefully checking out some more movies to watch during the week at home.

................ in other news, i am thinking of becoming a candle seller. more on this later ... but it's one of those party at people's houses gigs. and it's a nice product people actually use. so i don't feel too bad about it ... but i like the idea of great flexibility and right now, despite simplifying life so much, i still need extra income to pay off debt. more on this when more on this occurs.

i won't get paid again until tuesday ... but that's when i'll visit my LYS for new wool and maybe some more materials for future knitting projects. other than that TiNY splurge i'm keeping tight rein on my cash this month. i like my overseas friends' ideas of putting something you were going to spend, i.e. craving a pizza takeout, instead put that $15 right away toward the card. we'll see how goes it for the next four weeks. no spend days are sounding great. luckily gas is cheaper here by more than $1...but really how long can we expect that to last? i shall have to become that morning person and take the bus ...

i'd like to soon post about mcmansions and suburbia. but not tonight. i don't want to be mired in ugliness, loneliness and misery! upstairs, to popcorn and annie hall and knitting!!

peace and love, all


p.s. if someone could leave a good basic winter squash recipe in this comments section i would really appreciate it. i'm hoping to buy some of that saturday at market. thanks!!! remember ... i'm a vegetarian. (veg. knitter i know you have goodness up your sleeves to share here!)

p.p.s. also if you could point me in the direction of some easy, wholemeal bread recipes. i don't have a breadmaker. thanks. i will be trying this for the first time, as the weather's finally cool enough!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

feast your eyes.

here are some pictures of my trip to beautiful Lexington, KY. (apologies in advance for the scarecrow at the university of kentucky's arboretum i forgot to rotate, and for my dirty car window in the sunrise picture that is last) I am blessed to have eyes to see and experience this gorgeousness. happy week to all of you. i've got a big batch of homemade bean and TVP chili simmering away on the stove, and it smells wonderful. candle burning in a window, and public radio music on. very relaxing. i'm hoping to end the night knitting, reading, maybe watching the ella fitzgerald documentary i keep putting off.

peace and love,


simple life ponderances

For the last few days, I've been gazing longingly at my "to-read" bookshelf ... well, at TWO of the to-read bookshelves ... lol.

Here are some of the books I'm dying to open (I currently am reading three books, but can't seem to find one of them....).

Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Agar Nafise
Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible by same author
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Mortal Flower by Han Suyin
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Abundance a novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund
Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

.......... there are TONS more in my collection but these are most of the titles I've been staring at, wishing I could somehow read them all at once.

I have a question for the vegetarians out there: I notice that I shed more hair now than I ever did. It's by no means falling out of my head, but I am constantly shedding what looks like dead, thin hair. very annoying. Would a B Complex vitamin help this? I've started taking 25mg zinc/day ... and already take a comprehensive multivitamin daily which as far as B vitamins go has only Niacin 10%, B6 and B12 100%each. I don't want to shed! I only wash with baking soda and apple cider vinegar, and those not every day. I do wear by hair up a lot ...??? and bobby pin back my growing-out bangs quite frequently. help ... i just want healthy hair! i do notice that my skin seems to be a little yucky, too ... prone to crazy bruising (but this is not alarming, i've bruised easily all my life) and just kind of having this weird uneven look to it. Would B Complex also benefit this? Just wondering ............... ok thanks.

on the positive side, i seem to be in excellent health otherwise and have been giving myself the gift of more sleep during the week. I've also been attacking little moles with daily applications of apple cider vinegar. this stuff is amazing! I really really REALLY want to switch over to being a morning person; like everything else in my life, I'm going to have to just plunge into it. But I love the idea of getting out and walking while the world still has that ethereal quality to it. I love the idea of actually enjoying a hearty breakfast rather than waking up 10 minutes before I need to rush out the door. Maybe get some reading or knitting done. As I get older and my "social calendar" (haha) is virtually (and thankfully) nonexistent (i'm talking about the party days being over), I look forward to enjoying mornings more. But still ... it's so so hard to get up. I will try valiantly, however.

Thanks for frugal trenches and my other British friend with the pink blog (sorry don't know your name and i call you bridget jones but it's affectionate as i loved those movies) ... for their resposibility and absolute dedication toward paying down their debt. i've reached the last straw with mine, and it took crazy bank overdraft fees to do it. It's also, of course, part of all the simplifying I want to do generally, anyway ... being debt free and being extremely frugal in order to clear away what's truly unecessary and see the enjoyment in pure life ... I am tempted to bring a small notebook with me everywhere I go and write down every piddling penny i spend but i know that will just annoy me. So instead ... I'm just going to have to be very strict with myself. Continually reading all of your blogs helps me with that so much. Please keep writing about your own struggles to achieve a "normal" debt-free lifestyle. It's great therapy!

I guess that's all I have to write for now. On a funny note, my oatmeal tasted an awful lot like garlic this morning. guess the stink wasn't fully washed from the pan. oh, well. i ate it all anyway. tonight i'm going to make up a batch of vegetarian chili, cooking with textured vegetable protein for the first time. I hope I don't overcook it. I think i'll add it near the end of simmering. I'm also hoping to get a good walk in today. Weather is still beautiful here, but turning chillier. Slept in woolies last night -- sweater and socks. I'm so far on strike against my heat, and plan on calling the landlord over soon to inspect the chimney for fires-burning. i hope it passes the test!

OH!! the farm day was great. it was fun to watch the kids go wild at the craft table, doing stamping with shapes cut from root vegetables ... and lots of messy paint. afterward, beer and bean salad and greens and veggie salad were had. I am hoping to join their CSA and get a box of vegetables each week. and, of course, to keep volunteering and learn more about farming for when i can do it.

in the meantime, i have perfect windowsills for growing herbs ... so i'll put that on my priorities list, too. i'd like to do rosemary, even though it's a tough one. probably also some mint. not sure what else yet. any suggestions? remember i live in a very small apartment. but it gets lots of light, and like i said, has great windowsills.

any advice on the hair/skin/herbs/debt would really be greatly appreciated. in the meantime, i'll keep learning from you all .. and the library!

peace, love, happy sunday.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

in the words of jewels

I'm off to a tiny bit more knitting and then sleep land having decided to mostly in great detail read the last two or three posts of jewels. jewels the way you have raised/are raising your family is so so inspiring, that with all that's come to pass in this day and age you can be so akin to ... well, the ingalls family. that's meant as a dear and delicate compliment to you.

here are some of jewels' words, which, while I myself am not religious, brought the hint of moisture just behind my eyes. I will enjoy contemplating them, and hopefully acting on them, whenever the need arises. Thank you, Jewels, for sharing your life of simplicity and beauty, and the loveliness of your children with all of us.

Jewel: I hope that each of you have a special day with those you love. I hope you're able to enjoy today, and not worry about tomorrow. Do remember, that you're free to do so. My heart does go out to those of you that are carrying especially heavy burdens, and I pray that God would not only carry them, but lovingly carry you. And, as only He is able, put your hearts and minds at rest. I pray that He holds you especially near to his tender heart....and loves you, loves you, loves you, deep inside.

I hope that each one of you will be entirely free to be yourselves. Just as you are, Right where you are. Without apology or feeling like you have to live up to anyone else's expectations--group or individual--and know that that's your special, priceless, gift to those around you. A gift that no one else can give.

love and peace,

karen <3

Friday, October 17, 2008

this post suits me better, and i wear it well and with pride.

okay, after baking 63 (yes, five dozen and three) chocolate chip oat cookies from scratch, drinking chamomile tea, knitting, and thinking about my favorite movie (Lost in Translation), and talking to a very old friend, I am feeling much much better than I was earlier, mired in concern over my finances and the world's finances while I was at it. So ... I decided to delete my miserable post. I have no intention of sugar coating my world ... in fact, I think most of us are here because we recognize it for what it is and want to better it/conserve it ... but I also think that living as positively as possible is the most effective strategy toward such an end ... and by positively I mean both by action and by attitude. So much of our world is the way it is today because inaction and sour attitudes, i.e. complaining people, have paved the way. They are great destroyers. Our job is to tend to our small gardens -- gardens of life, family, hobby, friendship -- with as little destructiveness as possible. Our peace form the seeds, our care the garden, our intentions the sun, and our determination and grit ... well, the rain and wind.

I will try hard to keep my optimism in times that are trying to both myself and to my country. It will be needed, because from optimism springs positive, productive practicality and frugality. Sounds ironic, that product can emerge from frugality. Sometimes the truth is in that irony.

I'm realizing that I'm going to have to really, really plunge in if this lifestyle is to ever work for me. Not just do little scrapings of the bowl here and there, such as recycling and reusing bags and cooking almost everything from scratch. No, radical change is about really NOT spending on a bagel here, a coffee there, a cute pair of shoes on sale at Target. It's about making your own facial moisturizer from olive oil (anyone have good recipes? what about sunscreen? how to get natural sun protection for your skin? can't wear a floppy hat ALL the time ... and it doesn't protect the arms in warm weather) .... knitting your own cleaning cloths ... at LEAST whittling my ridiculous $20/week cell phone plan to a pre-paid plan etc. etc. See some steps are necessarily small when you're venturing into a "new world" ... but how do toddlers learn to walk, right? They don't just start running marathons. And there's that Rome cliche ... but in this case I think we're hoping not to DEconstruct Rome in a day. ; )

I'm scared to completely flip this life I've been raised into and become an adult in on its head. I see my minor changes making big waves with some people, many of disbelief. Or ... "wow it's great to talk about this stuff but you're actually doing ....?!?! uh .... ok." and i get these bewildered looks ... somewhat piteous expressions ... (i can't believe these, but i'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about here) .... and still, I soldier on. Not for my cause. For my children's cause, and for their children's cause.

Not everything in life can be trusted to politics and government, whose oft-atrocities are becoming so transparent ... by the minute, seemingly. No, it's about individual responsibilities. Forming a bridge to the future that the government, that politicians, can't rob from you, can't tax you on. Your handmade clothes. Your homegrown vegetables. Your stockpiles of food. Your reusable containers. Your knitted scarves, mittens, socks. Your library books and DVDs. Your homesteading skills. Your penny-pinching grip. Your pennies, stashed wisely and tucked away well for use on what's really important. (and which, materially, amounts to very little). Your donations. Of time, money, and love. Your friendship.

We still have power. Lots of it. Let's harvest and use it to make our own "machine." Aligned with nature and independent and fully functioning, always. Circular. There is hope, and it lies within us, manifest in our hands, our vocal chords, and, most of all, in our great big hearts.

i love you all. happy week-end to you.


Thursday, October 16, 2008


it's going to be amazing. heck, it already is!!

thanks so much to several blogger friends whom i already read regularly for starting this up and continuing to inspire the rest of us out there. you rock my world!!

**link to it from my links on the left side of my page, look for Simple Green Frugal Coop.**

waking up from a long, too long, sleep.

Has anyone noticed the Corn Refiners Association ads lately, touting that "High Fructose Corn Syrup" is okay in moderation?

THEY MADE ME FURIOUS. as i'm sure you can imagine.

All you have to do is read the Omnivore's Dilemma to find out why. Or watch a documentary like Future of Food. I've also heard King Corn is good but have yet to see it. I think these ads have been out for a while now, but as I don't even have cable television because it's garbage, it took me over a month to see it elsewhere.

Ads like this make me even more afraid for the state of our country, but at least our governmental corruption is becoming more and more transparent. Am I paranoid, or preparing? I'd like to think ... preparing.

I want to do all I can to help introduce seasonal, local eating not only more to myself (though I have zero percent HFCS in my diet, admitting to the once or twice a year can of coke), but to low-income communities where fresh organic fruits and vegetables are scarce to nil, but where fast food restaurants abound by the baker's dozen. and, as michael pollan will tell you, that 99 cent mcdonald's hamburger is not cheap when you get under the bun and really look at the chain behind that pretty yellow wrapper. This is why I've signed up to volunteer at a local sustainable farm that teaches all children, even inner-city/underprivileged youth, about growing their own food. It's an excuse for me to learn, too. I mean, I was a "food comes from the supermarket" kid during the 1980s. In the microwave era. The era of margarine and mcdonald's. Enough is enough. I'm hoping to join a co-op for my year-round fruits and veggies, as I can't at this time have my own garden. The food will be produced locally.

These ads have really stuck in my craw for a while now, and I've been itching to write about all my thoughts that have stemmed from seeing such blatant lies being frosted onto the general american consciousness. literally, frosted. like all the fake icings we see in aisle after aisle of our mass supermarket fluorescent wastelands. I feel like I'm in a hospital in that place ... all the bright lights, waxed floors, waxed foods, sick-looking people, and the beeping ... ugh scary. In fact, I was in there tonight for oats, organic cans of tomatoes and beans ($5 total), and it's like Mission Impossible to me: get in and out alive, and don't make the mistake of looking into people's carts to see how much farther they're miring themselves in misery.

I won't go on forever, as I have a natural bent to be positive, and a real goal to try and accept that I can only control my own small corner of existence. I'm privileged, through rhonda's new brainchild, the frugal co-op, to have made the acquaintance of a young British gal my age whose goals for frugality ... i believe she called it downsizing or something like that ... ah. downshifting. ... helped remind me that i've only just begun scraping the surface of what i could, and should be doing for the world in that very small corner i do inhabit. here, below, are some of my near-future goals:

*cancel ultra expensive for no reason cell phone and buy a prepaid phone for occasional calls and emergencies.

*reuse bread and veggie bags for putting cat crap into.

*save glass jars

*join community farm coop for fresh, organic fruits and vegetables

*go car-free once a week to start, walking or bussing it instead (buses here are hybrid-electric, awesome).

*really use "spare money" (i.e. money that would be otherwise spent on frivolous, "oh, that's cute!" purchases, or silly things like "i'm craving a bagel today") toward paying off debt. I HATE THE FACT THAT I HAVE DEBT. AND WOULD LOVE TO BE DEBT FREE BY 32.

*invest in a good yoga video to avoid high class prices ($15/class is really ridiculous, and this is very unfortunate, as i do love the whole environment). maybe even find good yoga vids. through freecycle.

*use the library as an information/entertainment resource far more regularly.

Obviously, there are more. I just can't think of them all right now. But I was just feeling inspired today, I guess ...

... and on an ending note for now I must say that a small part of me in my very soul is kind of "happy" (though that's not the right word) all this stuff here in the U.S. is coming to a head so quickly ... it's time people woke up to what their greed/convenience/great need for hurrying up and ??? has done. and i feel that a HUGE shift is going to happen... BACK to the local economy. local food. local people depending on EACH OTHER for their basic needs, not china. not hollywood. not television. i hope, i hope, i hope this for our humanity. we need it so much. we need a leveling. here we go. i'm getting ready .... and so glad all of you are, too. we need to be, to help some others teetering off the cliff.

thanks for listening.

love and peace to you all,


Saturday, October 11, 2008

technical difficulties.

sorry to report, but ... i won't be updating until i order a new adapter from ebay and it comes in. mine died. blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. stay tuned .... sorry. i am very bummed. but well otherwise .... talk soon my lovelies.



Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekly update.

pizza, homemade (crust from trader joe's, whole wheat ... haven't gotten around to making my own yet): basil pesto, mushrooms, tofu sprayed with Braggs, hot pepper, onions. AMAZING. and yes ... no cheese. didn't miss it a bit.

Well, all ... here I am again, as promised. I am glad that you are still reading. I am still reading you all .... of course! Rhonda -- made your scones again this week, adding wheat germ and soy protein powder this time -- they are so fabulous! I did learn that 1/4lb. butter is about half a cup of butter here in the U.S. Anyway, I have lots of pictures to share, most of them from the St. James Court art fair here in Louisville which happens each year. I'll get to that in a minute. First, let me address the points I promised last time:

fried green tomatoes: oh. my. amazingness. I simply sliced up a whole green tomato, and fried it up in olive oil with the following spices: pinch of sea salt, black pepper, thyme, oregano, fresh basil. and some local fresh hot pepper. boy a little bit of that goes a long way! regrettably, no picture ... but they were very good!

homemade shampoo: having grown increasingly annoyed at what little there is out there in the way of vegan shampoos, that doesn't contain SLS and Tetrasodium EDTA (yes even at health food stores!!), I decided to mix up some water and baking soda until I got a paste that somewhat lathered when I rubbed it between my hands. I added some jasmine oil to it for fragrance, but curiously the fragrance didn't last once in the shower. at least i didn't notice it lingering on my hair afterward, and I purposely didn't apple cider vinegar rinse it afterward so i could check. Hm, well I'm still not sure what I think of it. It felt a little weird going into my hair, like gritty. But let me tell you, my hair, which my whole life has been notoriously oily after just a few days of not washing, hasn't had to be washed in days and days. in fact, maybe it's been more than a week. i also thought it would dry it out, because of the salt, but ... nope! Happy to report normal clean hair for days on end. I think it's very telling that these chemicals are very clever ... the marketers get it so it works by making your hair luxurious for a day or so ... then you need more to maintain. meanwhile you're getting continual long-term small exposure to carcinogenic compounds ... and wasting your money/hurting the environment. hm. no thank you. anyway don't have a picture of the paste, either ... but I recommend giving it a shot. I'll post on it again the more I use it; it's still an experiment in progress at this point.

peanut butter hummus: not as good as i'd hoped. the garlic and chickpeas kind of killed the PB taste, which is what I was hoping it would taste more like. Still, it was very good, and lasted a week with crackers, veggies, and in sandwiches. next time I think i'll stick with the tahini, though, and save the PB for other recipes.

the approach of fall: leaves are just starting to turn color here...but the weather has warmed up again, considerably. i did take one of the AC's out, thus giving more light again to my kitchen. i like that. i'm waiting on the two in my bedroom. i hate turning them on to begin with, but it gets sweltering up there in the loft because ... well, heat rises. so i'll wait a bit ... also not looking fwd to lugging four air conditioners (APPALLED at my sometimes energy use here... gah) into storage closet solo .... but also grateful for the opportunity to live alone for once and have to learn to just do things on my own, rather than depending on some man to do them for me.

paint-splattering incidents: ah, yes. was preparing paints for the children the other day when a purple one splattered all over my hair, shirt, pants, shoes, neck ... you name it. the kids thought it was hilarious. i rolled with it. after all, it's good for them to see us make mistakes, too. wish i had pictures ... but was too busy cleaning up! ; )

brown rice with eggplant: was very delicious. I sauteed onion, garlic, eggplant and probably some spices (can't remember, it's been a while) together. meanwhile in my blender i pureed a can of black beans, tomato paste, and a can of diced tomatoes. ah actually this is where i put all the italian spices. Then when the rice was done I just mixed it all together. very healthy and hearty, and lasted a week of school lunches. I'd make it again.

the semi-local greens: came from indianapolis, a couple hours north of us. not half as bad as all the organic greens i usually buy from california. i'm trying ... but it's hard. anyway they made a couple of good salads. Thanks to vegetarian knitters' suggestion to pair vegenaise with olive oil and balsamic. it's like ranch! yummmmmmmmmm...........

the scarf: see pictures below. almost ready to bind off! I spent part of my morning coffee time watching a couple of how-to YouTube videos. We'll see if I can pull it off. My next project will hopefully be good enough to gift, so I may not post pictures of it until after the fact. But I'm excited. I'm finding that knitting makes me have this incredibly calm state about me. I just listen to public radio, which plays awesome music, or the BBC newshour (i LOVE the british accents), and last night, why my, three hours went by like, snap! while i knitted happily. my hand also isn't cramping as much; I'm finding better ways to hold and maneuver the needles. Knitting is great meditation; just as with focusing on your breath, you are focusing only on what your hands are doing. it becomes soso nice. i think knitting probably works wonders on blood pressure, too.

the letter: I wrote it, and didn't end up giving it, and what a cure it's been. Thank god. I was getting a little worried about myself. I feel free again. I mean, why waste my precious time?

a surprise: i got the chance to reconnect with someone from my very distant (high school) past this week ... a really old friend. that has been wonderful. it's great to see how people you still think of from time to time have grown up, and not just fallen into the black hole of your past dreams ... and to have him validate the decisions i've made along the path. that was so refreshing, because i sometimes do feel like the odd girl in the crowd ... i've actually had people kind of laugh off the lifestyle i'm trying to lead, and it really really annoys me. i mean, do you really think you can greedily consume everything forever? it's ridiculous to be so materialistic, and selfish to not take small, everyday measures (such as not drinking bottled water) to conserve our planet's ever-dwindling resources. it's OKAY to be young and enjoy the pleasures of a simple, well-kept home (or apartment, in my case). so, anyway ... talking to him was a reminder to myself of how much i've grown in the last decade. and i hope i can help inspire him to reach for what makes him happy ... i think so many more people could adopt "the simple life" if they just "took the plunge" (actually it's more like climbing a ladder out of blackness if you ask me)...and they'd never look back for all of their increased happiness. i certainly have not.

well, enough philosophizing for the moment. without further ado, here are the pictures I've promised you!!

coffeeshop where i'm always blogging:

St. James art fair ...

Suzuki student concert ... can't believe the pieces they were playing!!

asleep at the helm ... lol

shakespeare sampler

sights and sounds .... lots of great (and sometimes interesting/unique!) music to be heard. and some beautiful old victorian-era mansions, some of which are for sale ... and for only $200-400K!! hm .... lol.

grown up mac n cheese ... to take with me to school observations in neighboring lexington this week: this is annie's organic mac n cheese made with soy milk and vegan butter (earth balance), edamame, veggie hot dogs, some wheat germ and some chili powder. YUM. the rest of the week, i'll eat rhonda's scones for breakfast. as for the rest ... well ... i'll fudge it. i don't know if i'll be eating with the family i'm staying with, or whether i'll have to get my own meals. i'm hoping the former; I have no cash really to spare again until payday.

there was a church flea market nearby the art fair. here are the books i scored for just 75 cents. i couldn't resist. i LoVE the one by the naturalist. The orange one is a handbook for gardening with kids from the early 1980s. i love it. The cookbook is from 1961 and is encouraging a move away from the processed foods industry and moving toward cooking from scratch. more than 40 years later and most people still aren't listening. so sad. ....

here is the scarf (nearly done!), and i'll end with some cats!

so ... i may be somewhat scarce next week, but if i can get online at the house where i'm staying i'll be sure to read all of your lovely, lovely updates. I'll try and take a good amount of pictures, as Lexington is beautiful and more rural than Louisville ... after all, it's the horse capital of the world! I am looking forward to observing new children, and having a mini-vacation to knit, read, relax in someone else's nice home, and hopefully to watch the second presidential debate on tuesday night. The weekend I'm back here promises to be a busy and fun one ... I'm responsible for the crafts table at the local farm's Family Farm Day Oct. 18, so I'll need to brainstorm ... there will also be local garden day, a fall festival, and some great live folk music by a musician and wonderful older gentleman i know personally. and a vegetarian potluck for Earthsave Louisville. and maybe more music at that ... looking forward to all of it. I'll try and keep the camera snapping!

love and peace to all of you ...