Sunday, May 30, 2010

lots of work, and almost four days of summer "vacay" ...

what a day of work done!!

slept in till after 11, so not started until noon. ... got my new computer set up over coffee, then dillied online for a bit.

at two, started massive overhaul of second bedroom, completely clearing one of the two huge closets. now one is empty for the renters, and one is full, in a very organized-looking way, of my boxes of papers and other stuff (a huge winter project is to tackle the contents of all of those said boxes....).

i moved all of my dresses and skirts, which i keep in that room, to my living room coat closet, put loads of montessori stuff in my car so i could move sweaters, etc. behind the couch while the renters are here. about 4 trips to the car.

the room was then swept, and some questionable "kitty" spots removed with vinegar and a mop. the TV was dusted off (yeah been a couple months since i used it ... when do people have time to watch it?). stuck a candle in there, an extra quilt, a power strip and some converters (2-way to 3-way outlets). it looks empty but pretty ... just waiting for their mattress!

scrubbed my tub, sink and toilet with vinegar/baking soda, and took a huge pile of rotting produce (oops) to the compost bin outside.

after all this ... i was famished so i made a vegan smoothie, then took a shower.

just now i took half an hour and washed, drained, cut, mixed in sugar, and froze in quart jars two quarts of summmer strawberries -- LOCAL!! -- for the winter. i have enough to do about three more, but i've run out of sugar so i'll have to pick some up this week. they do look so pretty, sitting there!

i'm giving myself another hour to hour and a half to clean the rest of the house (my room, living room, dining room, kitchen). then, perhaps a large plate of steamed collard greens and some sitting on the porch with book/guitar/daydreams.

a day well spent, i'd say!!

monday: bring cardload of stuff to school, finish up the montessori stuff i didn't get done saturday (thanks to the computer woes/trip to best buy), and take the rest of the day.....OFF!! we have a big beatles festival here so i may do that, and some more porch sitting.

traveling light this year ... hopefully just two vintage blue suitcases and a box of the materials i have to bring with me for the examiners!

<3 have a great week, everyone!

weekending, with camera in hand!

i'll let the pictures do the talking, since it's been so long!

one small note ... i'm typing this on a new Dell Inspiron laptop. I can say I'm quite fairly in love with it already, but it really did make me think .... see, yesterday my old 2005 dell died. yep, the hard drive just. failed. followed by hysterical crying from me (this is less than a week before i leave for school, and i'm also trying desperately to rent one of my bedrooms via email). the problem? no money for a new laptop, even this one, which wound up costing $508. my credit cards are backed up by school purchases, and my money is very very tight for school over the summer and general living expenses (i was on a 10-month pay plan with the school, so i don't get paid for two months every summer...this is changing next year).

long story short, i wound up with a loan from the bank of mom and dad. now, thank goodness i have good parents, but ... really? and it hit me like a lightbulb: if i'd had an emergency fund, I could have paid for this no problem. so ... emergency fund is one of my fall goals. followed closely by opening say a 3-year CD. I just can't be trusted with even a regular savings account with ING, apparently. I'll keep it open and figure on a use for it, but really .... emergency fund/CD must. happen. lesson learned.

i am a horrible spender and i'd say this is my biggest weakness. at least my intention is there to work on it .... halfway there. :-(

on the plus side, yesterday I did purchase, for $10, from a very amazing old bookshop, a copy of The Little Princess illustrated by Tasha Tudor. Boy did it feel good having it tucked under my arm, knowing i was going to read it to my class next school year. and i was very happy that the shop keeper kindly reminded me ... to save all of my receipts from now on to claim on my taxes as educator expenses...even yard sale finds! bless her soul, i don't know why i never thought of that.

food this week will be simple, tofu and collards and various other assorted greens. it's been so hot and i've been so busy that i've grabbed a lot of sandwiches, etc. on the go. groan ....... i am so not happy with my careless spending. when will i get fed up? sigh.

i try and remember that when i take walks and imagine myself owning some the pretty houses i come across. they didn't get there by going out to eat all the time! (of course most of them are probably two-income

i'm also going to freeze strawberries.

i leave town friday for four weeks of review, exams, and graduation!

and now, without further ado ....

i have tons more but i don't want to be too overwhelming. can you tell i'm glad to have my canon back? :-)

today will be spent cleaning the apartment for renters and finishing the never-ending homework.

Friday, May 28, 2010

good news...

my CAMERA is FIXED!! i'll pick it up tomorrow.

in the past 10 days, i've ....

fought, and fought, and fought my allergies away (giving up and letting the immune system do what it would after half of it). they're lingering but not nearly as bad as they were when we had rain for days and days.

lost my usual voracious appetite. i'm attributing it to the sudden change in weather to HOT. HOT. very sunny. HOT. this is a normal seasonal thing for me. anyone else get this way when the weather shifts?

gone on a fabulous date with a fabulous gentleman.

eaten tons of local, juicy strawberries after learning i'm *no longer allergice* to them, after 30 years!!! i LOVE strawberries! hoping to freeze some this saturday for the winter.

admitted love.

been a bit out of sorts with the transition from working to limbo-before-school. i don't want to cook and so i buy sandwiches everywhere (and eat then when feeling not-hungry). i have strange sleeping hours. i have no routine whatsoever. walking and yoga have gone out the window. enter, drooling over daydreams. what. the. heck. again, this could be weather-related.

not wanting to housekeep, either. seems like so. much. work. i do bits at a time, instead. sunday is a big clean day, though, gotta get ready for the summer renters.

worked slowly on finishing up all my work for school, for which i leave in a week. never dreamed it'd take me so long. but i should be done for good on saturday.

got new bedsheets and pillows, organic cotton. divine.

local music. local music festivals. good "snooty" pints of beer.

fallen in love with my swiss chard, which is so beautiful and faithful and never wilts, no matter how much i forget to water it and eat it.

cleaned out my car, finally. tomorrow i'll take it to get a tune-up, etc. and then for its first wash in forever.

started on "building" my classroom for next year. interviewed several new students, and learned not to set out paint and waterwork for a 2.4-year-old girl. so much for her dress ....

babysitting activities: barbies, karaoke wearing a statue of liberty crown, sidewalk chalk, inflatable swimming pools, swingsets, animal card games, walks to the library, the park playground, princess leia hairdos, naps in the middle of the day.

got engrossed in an incredible tale: Julia Alvarez's In the Time of the Butterflies.

in the next week, i'll try to adjust better to the weather as i gear up for four days of nothing but: day hikes, walks, porch sitting, and more live music. i deserve a four-day self-love fest before the trial of school and exams in june!!

i feel like a wanton wanderer, slothing through the days, dimly recognizing that some things, like laundry and errand-running, must be done, and doing most, but not all of it (out of sheer laziness). this is the not-me of all time. this is the transitioning-to-summer-which-came-all-too-suddenly me.

i'm not complaining, but it all feels a bit surreal. of course, life feels like that before big travels, too. six hours away is big travel for me these days.

hoping for a sweet (post-exam) summer of porch-sitting, music, romance, books, and classroom beautification. and, of course, getting more used to this oppressive heat. so i can eat farmer's market stuff right off the table without having to cook a thing, of course. i love my stove, but i barely want to get off my bottom these days. so ready-to-eats, like those snap peas i inhaled yesterday ... that's what i'm talking about.

looking forward to picture posts again!! i know you are too!!

peace, friends.

Monday, May 17, 2010

monday update.

Home sick today with allergies/cold/sinus?? it's so gross. after numerous applications of vitamin d, goldenseal, and vitamin c (and jamming the neti pot up my nose to little success) i've resorted to a sudafed. ugh.

just a quick update, then. going to catch up on all of your inspiring blogs, drink my decaf, and get started on the rest of my montessori work, which i *just might* finish today!! i am soooooo close.

i gave the camera shop permission to tell the people in New York to repair my camera. I can't wait to have it back.

I am taking on a roommate for the summer, which is weird (I am very used to living alone), but good ... I really need the money over the months that I'm not paid. I am determined to try very hard to save a lot more than I have been. Pretty much ALL of my credit card debt at this point is school-related stuff. sigh. ... it'll come down eventually. at least i'm not blowing it on this-and-that like i used to.

went to a clothing swap this weekend, brough two huge bags there and FINALLY saw a dent in my dressers. i hate having so many clothes, most of which i was just hanging on to sentimentally, and not wearing. i think i was inspired by the brown dress project. have you heard of it? anyway, i came home with JUST three skirts, a sweater, and a pretty scarf. not too bad. there was live music in the backyard, a young band with saxophonists from chicago called The Right Now. They're awesome!

The next day, I did the farmer's market, and came away with the most beautiful, juicy strawberries, a bunch of beets, and some chives. Hit a yard sale and got a gorgeous white cotton shirt with eyelet lacing for $1! Got coffee and a muffin at a local shop despite craving "out for breakfast." Went home, did a couple good hours of Montessori work. Later went out for more live music.

Yesterday, my cold thing had exploded but i was able to spent a large chunk of my day doing Montessori-related stuff (including a loooooooooooooong time at Office Depot, ugh). Small dinner at Whole Foods after some grocery shopping -- vegan chicken, couscous salad, collards with sundried tomatoes, noodles, spicy kimchee, and a Kombucha tea. Went home and made homemade pizza. Homemade crust, topped with homemade pesto, broccoli, and *really good* vegan cheese (Follow your Heart brand).

so much i wish i could've taken pictures of. soon, loves, soon.

have been implementing Gretchen Rubin's (The Happiness Project) idea for 10 minutes/day of tidying up. It's amazing what you can do in just 10 minutes! Try it!

hope you all have a great day. i'm going to breathe as much as I can::there are only two days of school left! I leave for St. Louis in just two weeks. Hard to believe, this is it, crunch time!! (exams and certification) Reading Dr. Montessori's books like crazy.

Can't wait to have a full year ahead of me with no homework to settle into my new classroom, learn to sew, and work on squirreling away money and paying down my debt. I do like the idea of having a 2-bedroom apartment from now on. I can buy a cheap futon bed and have roommates whenever I need some extra cash. And when I don't need it, voila:: sewing room! :-)

have a great day, everyone. love.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

gardening, mostly

It's going to cost $115 to repair my camera. It's not something I can really afford, but I also can't afford to go through life without visually documenting beauty (or blog land, for that matter!)!

I attended a meeting tonight for a local nonprofit group called New Roots ... basically it partners with what are called "fresh stops" -- weekly farmer's markets in "food desert" areas of Louisville (usually underserved by grocery store/low income neighborhoods). the farmers who supply these ... are amish! anyway ... what my goal is is to help with a new community garden that's being started in one such neighborhood, and hopefully eventually help teach cooking classes for children and adults! food person at a time. right up my alley! i can't wait for this to begin.

there is also a possibility of getting my own fairly large garden space at a local bed and breakfast very close to the school where i work ... more on this if it pans out.

on the home front, my first-ever attempt at gardening has gone okay. My cats devoured the cat grass which grew pretty and tall ... and didn't grow back. my romaine failed, probably 'cause i never harvested it, thinking the leaves would grow as big as they did in the grocery store. The basil is just now coming up, very slowly. The chard .... gorgeous, springy, tall, beautiful ... and delicious, though the leaves are not gi-normous! :-) all in all, not a bad start. just sun, organic potting soil, water, and love.

Louisville has a great project started called 15,000 farmers, a movement started by an owner of a chain of local coffeeshops (dedicated to organic, fair-trade products...i link to them on my sidebar) to get 15,000 people growing their own food in the city of Louisville alone. So far the movement has about 700 farmers. I'm going to join and be one! And maybe get my school involved, too. This will involve reading the step-by-step manual Square Foot Gardening, no doubt.

Lots of good things going on in this town.

I'm making vegan carrot-raisin-walnut loaf right now, if my trick to get my brown sugar softened works. using up stuff in the house. I also want to find some kind of recipe for my exotic pho noodles. not tonight.

had my favorite tofu/steamed bok choy dish tonight. i've posted on it before.

food and sustainability and self-sufficiency have been on my mind a lot lately. I'm glad my life has headed down this path.

The Happiness Project is an inspiring book .....

be well, all. i might try and get to a hatha yoga class tomorrow night. friday night, i'm going to see wicked! i love a night out at the center for the arts.

Monday, May 10, 2010


plans for an herb garden at school next year.

a rare coffeshop pastry treat: blueberry coffee cake! soooo not vegan ;-)

walking to and from a university of louisville screening of the pbs documentary beyond the motor city: a look at detroit's transportation past and future, along with a subsequent discussion featuring a democratic candidate for mayor

stove-popped corn with olive oil and sea salt!! i'm a convert from air poppers!

the happiness project. great book so far... already jotted down ideas for my own happiness project. sometimes i think i'm happiest when making lists upon lists of ideas and intentions ;-) my boss told me today i seem very good at this! lol

homemade pad thai noodles at lunch time: amazing!! raw carrot and scallion, garbanzos, fried tofu, buckwheat soba, sauce of peanut butter, garlic, ginger, tamari, jalapeno, soymilk.

hummus panini for dinner, followed by sort-of ice cream in the blender: frozen strawberries and soymilk mixed (hormonally lol) with vegan chocolate chips, leftover vegan whipped cream (coconut cream, silken tofu, and powdered sugar), almonds, and ground flaxseed. holy sugar.

cats high on catnip and much mellowed-out. the organic cat food sprinkled with catnip is going well.

a realtor who claims she's looking at selling to investors ... which would mean i'd get to keep renting this amazing place, hopefully indefinitely!!

if you haven't read the happiness project yet, it's a great read so far!!

tomorrow's agenda: yin yoga. wednesday's agenda: attending a meeting at a local church to find out more about teaching cooking classes for low-income minority children in town! and seeing my bluegrass band friends play :-)

no word on the camera yet ... i am trying to wait patiently.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

today (and recently) i ...

walked to the local coffeeshop, sat with a decaf and started...

the Happiness Project

came home and make an egg/cheese/veg panini, then...

spent 2 hours ordering classroom material online

spent 4 hours (yeah!!) with a headache (boo) doing montessori work

made homemade pad thai noodles and took tylenol (and headache disappeared!)

heard from the realtor selling the house i live in that there will be a showing at 1 pm tomorrow ... how's that for last minute? luckily the house is fairly passable. grrrr

now i'm making preliminary parent-teacher conference notes and going to start on some more coursework material for my montessori certification course.

bluegrass show will be on the radio in five minutes.

it was sunny today, but cool so i moved my hike to next saturday and it should coincide with a bluegrass festival.

rest of the weekend was good. ate vietnamese food, bought some exotic groceries (pho noodles, dried peppers), heard live music, met monks and did chanting with them, ate vegan indian food, attended a vegetarian potluck and signed up to teach cooking classes to children in a food desert (low-income) area, attended a hippieish "kindness" festival that i made vegan oatmeal raisin cookies for.

did not do yoga due to another (hormonal/sinus) headache saturday. bah humbug.

there is never enough weekend. did not have time for: yoga, knitting.

but at least there's an end in sight with the montessori work. maybe next weekend!!

i'm going to try and make vegan raisin-carrot bars sometime this week.

i'm still trying to figure out whether to eat vegan or veg but i have a bunch of eggs and cheese to use up in the meantime.

i like setting weekly intentions. i've been less stressed about crossing it all off.

i bought organic cat food for my babies, and it was REALLY expensive. but i don't want them to eat Purina's factory farmed dry food anymore. do you blame me? their poop doesn't smell right and it can't be good for me to breathe in, either.

used the neti pot a few times for some strange stuffiness in the nose

tried to call my family all day but they've been out and about

off to read some blogs, listen to bluegrass and get back to work for at least two more hours before reading (montessori/happiness project) and bed.

this is the last full week of school! with a teacher's luncheon on friday. tomorrow night, i might see a screening of king corn at the university of louisville. friday night i'm going to see Wicked at the Kentucky Center (i have a box again ... i can't help myself!). Hopefully yoga on tuesday, before my woman's cycle kicks in.

have a great week :-)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Living intentionally

Lately, I've been trying to make dinner more intentional. When you live alone, this can seem silly, but it's not. I set out a placemat, arrange the food i've cooked simply but artfully on a plate with fork and napkin beside, and ... well i'd like to start burning a candle again, too.

Meals have been simple: panini, homemade soup, steamed greens and tofu, fruit smoothies. That's fine with me. Homemade cookies have been happening quite a bit here, too!

I want to thank Nicole for her incredibly thoughtful words. You are a beautiful soul, and your post brought me to happy, hopeful tears ... for myself, and your brother. Your kindness was, is, tangible.

I have found two new extremely inspiring blogs. Thanks to Jessica and It's amazing what finding fresh, inspiring words and pictures (and commonalities to others just like yourself) can do when you've been feeling just a bit down over the course of a somewhat trying day.

Tonight I cooked a delicious but simple meal, baked up a vegan cheesecake, took an unusual (but much-needed!) two-hour nap, woke up and took a slow stroll around my historic old neighborhood, and then came home to sit on the front porch strumming my guitar until it got too dark to see what I was doing.

It's so amazing to slow down and become more intentional. Time slows, too!

Tomorrow will see me back at Kundalini yoga. And to see a friends' bluegrass band's weekly gig.

Thursday a community drum circle?

Lovely dinner out is planned for Friday (hopefully with friends!), and two hours of communal chanting at the yoga studio.

Saturday is the farmer's market, yoga, a Mighty Kindness festival, potluck, and possibly karaoke with the girls.

Sunday, maybe a day hike and picnic.

And some homework in-between the spaces.

All in all, busy not not stressed. Only 10 more school days left!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

sunday update.

this is just a little update to say that i've gone and dropped off my camera to be sent to New York for repair and that I should be full of pictures again in another three weeks or so!

for what's a sweet little blog without some nice images spiffing it up? not much, i'm afraid ... so i thank all of you for continuing to read during this time of shocking blog nudity ;-)

i want to thank Libby for her very kind words on my last posts. life is a process that we sometimes walk through a bit blindly, but the light at the end of the tunnel can be staggeringly cheerful. i really must go to a cash-only system very soon. summer is my scary lean-time as I'm not paid for two months of it and subletting doesn't seem to be working out so well this year. I have only positive goals relating to money and this will help by making more of it next year and being able to be more flexible. So for now, I'll just hang on and will try hard to have a frugal summer.

There has been lots going on in my corner of the world, mainly cooking up yummy food, shopping at the farmer's market, planning (maybe next Sunday) on a day hike and a picnic. Getting ready for my last month of school. This is the summer I will hopefully pass my exams and get my Montessori certification!

I'm halfway thinking I might go to Ireland next summer for a week or two. We shall see.

let's see, i've cleaned up my house, including mopping the kitchen floor and bathroom (there is a realtor coming over tomorrow to take pictures, as the owners are listing the house again ... makes me nervous a bit, i love this place so very much), grocery and other-errand shopped (don't like to do that on sunday, but this past week was a busy one, lots of events going on in this Kentucky Derby town and a guest to show around), made dinner.

just going to load up the dishwasher once more, give the kitchen floor a sweep, and settle in with some knitting and reading before bed. it's been weeks since i've knitted, but i'm attempting a pair of socks. I'm reading two books, Maria Montessori's Discovery of the Child and Jonathan Foer's Eating Animals. Both hard to put down.

Hope you all have a lovely week. I'm going to take it fairly easy around here .. a little yoga, a little homework, a lot of reading, a lot of simple dinners. My favorites lately: homemade veg and cheese panini, steamed greens mixed with lemon juice, balsamic, salt and pepper (and sometmes tahini) and fried tofu triangles with tamari. Frugal but delicious.