Onward and Forward

I always feel a sigh of relief when the holiday season wraps up. I hate the kids going back to school, but there is a definite release of pressure and the calm new year to make friends with.

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This is an especially exciting January. This year we are entrusting real walls with our food dream and creating a restaurant that will hopefully house customers all year at a semi continues rate. Food trucks are lovely, but winter and summer both hold their challenges from frozen pipes (and frozen customers—almost no customers) to hotbox days where you open the freezer just to cool your face down as you stand wondering what the F#%^*CK you were ever thinking. Nobody comes out for food when it’s a hundred degrees, so you just open to open and watch an empty concrete lot simmer in the sunshine. Yes, four walls, a ceiling, a floor and some good old-fashion tables accompanied by full backed chairs will surely go a long way.

Our house has made some exciting steps forward too, and our giant children are continuing to be more and more giant. I have written myself a list—still to be completed— of what I need to do this month:

 

Foodtruck:

  • Clean Floors
  • Empty and clean fridges
  • Empty of all equipment
  • Power-wash back
  • Take down signs
  • Light sand outside?
  • Scrub walls
  • Scrub steam table
  • Clean shed
  • Move fridges
  • List truck for sale

Restaurant:

  • Paint
  • Wainscot
  • Sand tables
  • Assemble tables
  • Steam clean chairs
  • Purchase dishes/cups/bowls/silverware
  • Figure out bar top
  • Make wood signs
  • Complete menu
  • Make official ordering and shopping lists for each vendor
  • Choose and hang artwork/decorate restaurant space
  • Make bathrooms wonderful/paint and decorate

House:

  • Trim door to basement
  • Install wood floor from kitchen to hall
  • Cap floor to dining room
  • Paint kitchen walls
  • Paint kitchen cabinets
  • Sand and paint bath tub
  • Organize sewing room
  • Hang kitchen doors
  • Hang bamboo on driveway gate
  • Dog door???

 

I also hope to get a little time to relax and recoup. I got some big paper, pastels and charcoal out. I figure maybe I’ll play a bit and see where that goes. I haven’t used charcoal or pastels in a long time.  In fact, I’ve been feeling artistically rusty lately. Not sure whether it’s just been a while, or if I am now past the age of being in tune and my personal flow of creativey has gone away. But that’s a post for another time. . .

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Happy January Everyone!

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A gift made my my dear friend Robin.

                                                           Cheers ~

                                                                            Marica

The BIRTHDAY BOOK IS DONE!!!

At long last I am actually writing this post. I have dreamed about this for almost as many years as I have been authoring this blog. It is with great satisfaction I can finally say–and mean it–The birthday book is done! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
I have told my husband and the kids so many times “the birthday book is done” that it started to loose meaning. Draft after draft, after frustrating small-tweaks-here-and-there draft, it is really truly completely, no-more-to-do done. I invite you to to pop some champagne for me… no not really, I can do that myself, but geez luize, it is good to put this one on the shelf and say fini! 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays
It was a project my good friend Robin and I started back when the kids were little. We traveled through so many stages of our lives and I have lived in five houses since we started. I guess I like to move! Or it has just taken a long time and finding the place that is home takes a long time too. 
But anyway, enough about that, here are some of my favorite images from the book:

Filled to the brim with step-by-step instructions for making original gifts, favors, cakes, wrapping, decorations and games, BIRTHDAYS: HANDMADE, HOMEMADE is interwoven with stories, photographs, illustrations and anecdotes. We invite readers to pull up a chair, pour a cup of tea and spend the afternoon making and creating. Our goal is to offer inspiration on how to make a birthday handmade, homemade and your very own.
Readers will love the creative ideas that make this book so personal and tangible. Projects range from fast and easy . . . Dinosaurs in real eggshells, to more timely and in depth . . . Dining table forts. Young parents and do-it-yourself enthusiasts will find endless help onhow to prepare and execute a homemade birthday party.
At a time when it seems like families are trying to take back just a bit of their own and blogs hum with self-reliant know-how, this book is a great jumping-off point for those aiming to leave commercialism behind and bring it all back to the ones they love. 
Birthdays: Handmade, Homemade is available online. 
crafts, chidren, homeschool, birthdays

Hope everyone is enjoying summer!
                                   

                                              Cheers~
                                                         Marica

P.S. I have one copy to give away, so if you live in the United States and would like to enter for a chance to win, leave a comment below. I’ll pick a name at random and post a winner Sunday July 23rd.

Snow in Portland

 Snow in Portland is a rare treat. An occasion that stops the city in its tracks and beckons a large number of people to go out walking. My daughter and I spent a wonderful afternoon trekking through the novel whiteness, taking pictures and (hee hee hee; singing a few Christmas carols).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Hope everyone is well!

Cheers ~

                                                                                        Marica

 

A short visit…

And a very special one. The kids and I snuck a few days away from our usual hubbub and spent some time with some very missed grandparents.* It is so funny to watch the kids rediscover the property where they used to live. To them it is now a distant memory. Sometimes it feels that way to me too.
 
                                                Cheers ~
                                                         Marica
*Unfortunately I am missing pictures of the other set of very dear grandparents who we also got to visit.

From an experience while visiting my parents. Today, I decided to put it into words.

Sitting on the hard ground, more rocks than actual dirt, I watch the water in the river, except—oh waitthere is no water there is a drought. I look out to the dry riverbed, birds a fluttering in every which way, I wonder where they fill their drinks and I smell the strong shrubs of the canyon hills. 

I see a long irrigation pipe scroll across from bank to bank and beyond. I feel the words blow through my head, they sound like something my dad would say “unfortunate that has to be there.” It’s not bad that a pipe lies across the ground, just unfortunate because it would be so nice if it were only willow shrubs, packed dry earth, grey and white river stones and the vibrancies of birds.

A realization sets in motion and I feel the truth, the real truths that emit their essence only when there is a moment like this. I feel it. I hold the sensation, I hold it and flow it across my very face and body and inner piece that so often is diluted and submerged in disillusion of where and what is clear.

Philosophy is for the one in the wilderness, impossible to be seen surrounded by concrete roads and brick buildings. You can still analyze in the vivid culture of modern world, but no philosophy can be extreme enough to be true unless you are in the open scape of no human.

I look carefully, I know my eyes can see, just for a brief segment of time, I want to know, I trust I will pull what I need out from this moment and I will carry it with me to the typical world I mostly toil in. I see clearly, we are not all one. That common misconception is so close that it can be muddled and stated as a truth. I wait for more; I know it is on the tip of showing. We are each a square or a perfect small piece of a giant whole. I feel that small piece that I hold up, if I clean my piece and make with it what I can, I will affect this giant one. I am not responsible for the other pieces.

I gather myself, I walk the fifty yards to a fresh sage plant and collect a bouquet for my good friend who had requested such. I feel my brother in my heart. I pick each twigy branch and feel the tie, the gift, the thankfulness, the complete of him, then my sister and myself.

Sage has an intensity, fresh off its rugged stems, that wafts and penetrates more than any other plant I can bring to mind. I carry that powerful smell with me as I climb into an outdoor shower not far from where my kids are sleeping. As the water pours directly down—not at an angle but straight from above, like a waterfall from the heavens—I shut my eyes and sustain the beauty of what I have witnessed. 
                                           
                                                                                      ~  Marica  

Lazy relaxing + yogurt and ice cream…

I am terrible at relaxing. I run my mind too far and wide even as I sit thinking—don’t do anything. I like the idea of relaxing, and I do manage to lay on the sofa to watch some terrible something when my day has been too long and there is nothing else left in me to stay upright. But even that gets to me. 
I just sat down with this exciting plate of vanilla ice cream, plain yogurt, sliced banana and toaster waffle. I took out the book I am supposedly reading and started alternating between sweet and sour bites and detangling the words that make up a page of the story I am trying to feel enthralled in. I’m not caught. My thoughts drift away to the pretty plate, the perfection of ice cream and yogurt —something I learned from my great aunts in Utica New York—and the fact my computer is only ten feet away, fully charged and I could even write a silly post about nothing. 
A silly post wins.
 Right now the little ones are at some national women’s soccer league game with their godfather. My fifteen-year-old is in his room doing his own version of nothing and my husband is still working. 
A quiet house to my self. Remarkable!
I think I will get out my knitting and try to find some cold, wet, British movie that captures my imagination. Any suggestions?

    

                                                                                     ~ Marica

Guilt…

I have noticed I have an overwhelming saddle of guilt. I see it in moments when I am tired, 
or my ability to complete things falls short. It really follows me everywhere, and I am starting to see how absurdly contradictory it is. In spite of the knowledge that guilt will do me no good on a daily bases, I still feel it crawling its long clammy claws through the folds of each day and burdening my sheer existence with its weight. 


I feel guilty when I go grocery shopping and spend too much money on 
grocerieseven if we need them. 
I feel guilty when I leave a grocery store, carrying out only one bag of 
ingredients that will last me but a single day.

I feel guilty when I make a luscious dinner with fabulous vegetables 
and expensive grass-fed meat. 
I feel guilty when I choose to make a cheap, simple dinner of pasta and 
cheese, knowing full well I am not feeding my family what it needs.

I feel guilt when I shop at Trader Joe’s because it has so many irresistibly 
items that it always makes for a high total which I accept by scribbling my
 signature at the bottom of a very long receipt. 
I feel guilty when I am at a independently owned health-food-store and know 
I could get the same items at Trader Joe’s for so much less money.

I feel guilty when I spend money to pay the bills.
I feel guilty when the bills don’t get paid.

I feel guilty when I don’t open the pie truck.
I feel guilty when I’m at the pie truck late, because I should 
be at home being a mother.

I feel guilty when I spend hours on this computer, carefully going 
over each line in one of my books.
I feel guilty when one of my books sit unfinished, and only I can finish it. 

I feel guilty spending time with just my husband<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:1; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:0 0 0 0 0 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} an evening off, out for a drink. 

I feel guilty when I don’t make time to go out to eat, just the two of us, my husband and me.

I feel guilty when I make too many Christmas presents for the kidsI know 
they would prefer mostly bought ones.<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS 明朝"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} —

I feel guilty if I don’t make any Christmas presents, because what kind of follow 
through person can I be if I don’t set aside time for that?

I feel guilty when I water my garden because why would I choose to grow plants that can’t exist all on their own and need me to pump water out of this dear mother planet we live on, so I can see colors and greenery to calm my soul.

I feel guilty when I let plants die and shrivel up into composted soil.

I feel guilty when I mow my lawn, the gas emissions are unnecessary just 
like the wee patch of shorn blades that are supposed to be beautiful.

I feel guilt if my lawn grows too long, like I am a straggling, lazy being 
who can’t keep up with my bidding. 

I feel guilty when I feel guilty because gosh darn it I am supposed to
 be enjoying life, not over analyzing my sorry feelings. 


Oh to be human. 

Anyone relate?
                                                                                        ~ Marica

And a million pies later…

This was a good week. A long week, but good in so many ways. Firstly, I felt in tune with the pie truckand that is a must to feeling good. Sometimes the inside me doesn’t align properly with the tasks the world is requiring which certainly causes a lousy battle.  I find that when I feel as if I am playing, I am most at ease. It is a constant wonder in my mind if I am completely loopy, partially loopy, or if most people “play” when they are doing their best work. I hope some of you understand what I mean, because alas, it would be unfortunate to find I am the only one…

Secondly, this week I completed a project so huge and satisfying that my soul doesn’t know how to withstand the comfort in having it done. I keep wanting to go back, tweak this, adjust that, yet there is nothing necessary to tweak or adjust. The project is done, at least for this stretch of the road. I am not going to be so thoughtful as to include you all in what the project is, I am not being coy or sassy, it is just that it needs to be kept unrevealed at this time. (Is unrevealed a word? My computer doesn’t seem to think so). I will however say it is a book project, so no one will start believing that I built a house from ice blocks or sculpted a goddess in a giant boulder. 
Lastly, I managed to have my children clean the housejust enough<!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"MS 明朝"; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:”MS 明朝”; panose-1:0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:128; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-format:other; mso-font-pitch:fixed; mso-font-signature:1 134676480 16 0 131072 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:””; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:Cambria; msoascii-font-family:Cambria; msoascii-theme-font:minor-latin; msofareast-font-family:”MS 明朝”; msofareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; msohansi-font-family:Cambria; msohansi-theme-font:minor-latin; msobidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”; msobidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;} @page WordSection1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} –>that my “weekend” was not fiddling with dishes, washing floors and scrubbing toilets. I’ll admit, I did do all of those things; wash dishes, clean floors and scrub toilets, but they were all minimal versions of what would usually be defined as major cleaning. I am so thankful.

Oh, and on a simple, minor note of satisfaction, I bought a small wood-desk at Goodwill. I thought it was for my daughter’s room, but my husband reminded my what a stack of things would gather on it in oh so short a timeand he is rightit will be of so much more use downstairs as a wee work spot for me. Now here I sit, so professional, writing this and feeling quite complete with my forearms resting appropriately as I type. What a lucky trick for me, guiltlessly buying something for someone else, and then reaping the benefit of its luxury.
Well, that just about does it.
All my best to Everyone!
                                                           Cheers ~
                                                                 Marica

Late August, and a Roasted Tomato Recipe…

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I’m a winter knitter or at least a wait-til-fall knitter. Somehow in the summertime I never have any urge whatsoever to push needles through yarn. Warning: this is a bloggy-post blog-post, so please excuse me… 
I am noticing something is changing in the air—an autumn presence— you can smell it and feel it. It’s one of those sort of days with wind in the trees, leaves rustling, clouds collecting high in the still-blue sky. I’m so excited, summer’s been way too warm. Even in the northwest I feel like I’m continually fighting summers. Yesterday I took the kids to the park… These kind of outings remind me of when the kids were little, when we were always altogether, always at the parks, and I was always making something on a blanket on the grass… Over the years my projects have become so much bigger; house restoration, food-truck start up, books… I feel nostalgia for the simple hat, a little doll and the oh so many attempts to make socks; they never came out as I wanted them to. I guess I’m just not a sock maker. I always marvel at all the people who knit these beautiful socks in beautiful colors with beautiful stripes. For me, somehow, I just never got the knack. It’s probably impatience on my part, I hate patterns! I can’t pause my mind long enough to want to read the small print with such specific guidelines…
  But summer is not done. Proof is in the tomatoes and zucchini still so abundant…

Hope everyone is having a wonderful end to August!
    

                                                                                                          Cheers
                                                                                                                  ~ Marica

Roasted Tomato Recipe
In a glass baking dish pour a splash of olive oil and then fill with sliced tomatoes, garlic and zucchini. Splash with more olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, black pepper and smoked paprika.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.

 


Greenpeace at the St Johns Bridge…

Well I guess after my last couple of posts, and now adding this one, I will come across as feeling somewhat political lately. Maybe I am, or maybe it’s just been a coincidental bunch of things happening one after another. Either way, yesterday morning at 3:00am thirteen Greenpeace activists suspended themselves from the St Johns bridge to block a ship heading out to the Arctic to drill for oil. Late in the afternoon the kids and I managed to walk down to check out the protest. Wow, I have to say it is an impressive feat. We went back again this evening and there were loads more people out watching the spectacle and supporting this dangling human barricade. 

green peace in portland

st johns bridge
I hope it works!
                                                                                                        ~ Marica