Wednesday, July 27, 2005

No time to post...

I've been babysitting for a friend in the evenings this week while she and her husband work with their youth group from Connecticut. I have this evening off. Otherwise, I get off work, stop by home to change clothes, pick up the six month old baby, take her to the guest house where she and her mother are staying, feed her, play with her, go for a walk, put her to bed, and stay with her until her mother returns around 11:00 each evening. Then I come home to bed, get up, go to work, pick up the baby, etc. I really don't know how people work full-time AND care for small children AND do anything else. But it's fun for a week.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Do what you can where you are with what you have*

My mother sent me an article she cut out from a local newspaper in Washington state about a man who has created a garden at his low-income apartment complex. He spent three days hauling in topsoil in a wheelbarrow and then amended the soil with animal manure. He grows both flowers and vegetables. I love that he stores his squash under the coffee table! A short, very inspiring story.

If you haven't already seen it, check out another person's backyard garden here in Pasadena, inspired by my friends over at Path to Freedom.

At Path to Freedom, scroll down to their July 9 post and link to and download a 15 minute interview with Jules Dervaes about the family's sustainable living project. (It may take a while to download if you're on a dial-up connection.) Jules emphasizes taking even the smallest steps toward living more sustainably and growing one's own food.

*Attributed to Theodore Roosevelt.

Monday, July 18, 2005


Today's Daily Dig from Thomas Merton's The Seven Storey Mountain was spot on:
If what most people take for granted were really true—if all you needed to be happy was to grab everything and see everything and investigate every experience and then talk about it, I should have been a very happy person, a spiritual millionaire, from the cradle even until now…What a strange thing! In filling myself, I had emptied myself. In grasping things, I had lost everything. In devouring pleasures and joys, I had found distress and anguish and fear.
And from Eugene Peterson's new book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology,
Only when we do the Jesus truth in the Jesus way do we get the Jesus life. (p. 334)
P.S. I was prompted to buy (from my local bookshop) Christ Plays... after reading this review by a book seller recommended on a site I read to make sure I get an occasional dose of (neo)Calvinism, Gideon Strauss.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


The first thing I did this morning was dig a hole in my clay-pack flower bed to compost my fruit and vegetable peelings that had been marinating for a couple weeks. I don't know if the decomposing peelings will help the clay soil much, but it was very satisfying to dig in the dirt and return my peelings to the earth. I used to compost my organic waste in a worm bin, but since the worms came to untimely, overheated end due to my neglect, I've not been composting. Time to start again.

The gardening bug bit, so I cleaned up another clay-pack area, repotted old plants, and transplanted eight herb starts I picked up at the farmer's market. After three and half hours of work, here are the results:

Not much in the larger scheme of gardening but a small step of doing something with what I had—some old pots; a bag of soil; some very neglected plants; a scant 25 square feet of shaded, except in the mid- to late afternoon, hard-pack; a basket of herbs from the farmer's market; old (toxically treated, I'm sure) boards I'd inherited from a former tenant; and a summer Saturday that wasn't oppresively hot.

This evening I stopped by the Bridge Party to hear a colleague sing in his barbershop quartet and to visit my former boss. The event is a fundraiser for the local preservation society. I didn't stay long but did get a few pictures after eating Pad Thai from one of the food vendors.

(click to enlarge)

Then I came home to sit in peace on my front porch, cat in lap, reading until the light was gone.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Pray for Darfur

By decree of Congress, July 15, 16, and 17 has been designated a national weekend of prayer and reflection for the people of Darfur, Sudan (S. Res 186 and H. Res 333).

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Weasel words

Via Mental multivitamin, here's an interesting article and interview with the author of Death Sentences: How Clichés, Weasel Words and Management-Speak Are Strangling Public Language, Don Watson.

I like his proposal that
if companies are serious about their "corporate social responsibilities" they should make the language one of them. They could put "saying what we mean and meaning what we say" into their mission statement. They could employ in-house editors.
The weasel word I've heard around work recently is "advantage" used as a verb—"We need to advantage our resources/market share/fill-in-the-blank."
How to stay awake all night

Stop drinking coffee for over two weeks past, then drink a latté around 10:00 in the morning as an incentive to complete a languishing project. Notice how wide awake one (still) feels by 1:30 the next morning. Dread the thought of the crash that's bound to occur by early afternoon.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Saturday around town

Today is another mild summer So Cal day. Marine layer in the morning to keep it cooler until it warms up beginning mid-day, only to cool off again in the evening.

In the mood for low-key browsing. Went to Needle in a Haystack in Montrose. Bought seven balls of Mandarin Petit cotton yarn on sale in a pale yellow. I bought it mainly because it is manufactured in Sandnes, Norway, near where many of my distant relatives are from.

Then I stopped by a couple shops in Altadena. First, a thrift shop where I found some more yarn, seven balls of Brunswick Pomfret 4-Ply Sport Yarn, 100% wool in Strato Blue. I'm thinking lace socks. I also picked up a couple Sunset gardening books for 15 cents each.

Then I popped into a health food store, one of the older kind (versus Whole Foods or Wild Oats). I bought Puffed Millet Cereal and black licorice from Finland.

Friday, July 01, 2005


For some reason, July seems much closer to the calendar year-end than does June. June 30 to July 1. But tonight has that expansive feeling to it—it's the beginning of summer (and the improved commute season because schools are out), and it's the Friday night beginning a three-day weekend (and we got out of work about 45 minutes early—not much, but enough).

I washed two stacked dish racks' worth of dishes last night; did a load of laundry this morning that was well dried by this evening; pressure-cooked a batch of brown rice and then made a savory rice dish from the recipe on the Sunmaid raisin can as well as a huge salad; washed tonight's dishes; caught most of the NewsHour's report on Sandra Day O'Connor's retirement from the Supreme Court; scanned a few weblogs; and typed up this entry for the annals of everyday life.