Saturday, January 31, 2009

And speaking of Mercury in retrograde...


... it sure does get a bad rap. I LOVE Heather Sullivan Bleadsell and I get her bimonthly astrological newsletter even though I'm not that in to astrology or anything, it always gives me a fresh burst of inspiration and insight. I absolutely love it. Here's her take on that bad ol' Mercury in Retrograde:
MERCURY RETROGRADE
Mercury is in Retrograde until January 30.,
giving us another opportunity to adjust our thinking, open up our
thought process, relax our attitudes, and revise our communication
about our direction. When Mercury retrogrades, we find that many
parts of our life are being reviewed. Often these RE-VISIONS can be a
surprise and might cause a stumble or two... BUT imaging it as the
Universe's perfect Stoplight. You have three weeks to take a nice
long look at the map and see where you are and where you would like
to be going. If you need some "course correction" or adjustment, the
retrograde is here for you. So, drive slow and proceed with
mindfulness - it's a good time to practice flexibility, openness, and
the art of being non-reactive. When Mercury goes direct, you might
find yourself in an entirely new place...and LOVE IT.

Rejuvenation

Laurie and I hosted our first women's group at her house today.
It was so AWESOME!!
I have been in a terribly grumpy state this week. AGH! I just realized that Mercury is in Retrograde and make of that what you will, but it really has been true that all sorts of crazy communication mishaps and broken things have been happening. It has been making me ENRAGED and FRUSTRATED. I want things to go more smoothly than this!
Also I was realizing that, as an idea person, it's so much more fun for me (obviously) to be in the state where all sorts of great ideas are flashing across my brain pan, and I'm all inspired, and bringing enthusiasm and energy to those around me. I think I need to learn how to roll with it more when I'm just going through a spell of letting myself lie fallow. What a necessary and nurturing state to be in. BUT STILL! I just did not feel like I was in a good state to inspire others!
And yet, all these women were coming. And I let go of my anxiety of feeling like I had to lead us somewhere fantastic. Wonderful things sprang completely organically out of just being together, in this little two hour space we have carved for ourselves out of the month. Plans were made to exchange recipes, help each other make or tend gardens, support was given, a few sweet tears were shed... laughter was laughed, sunshine was soaked up, and I'm pretty sure everyone left feeling lighter, more connected and more relaxed than before.
Thanks to all you amazing women for taking a chance with your Saturday morning! Anyone else, if you feel inspired to join in, please do. If you feel yourself yearning for a little dose of community, we're here.

Love Notes From the Universe!

Check out Kiera's blog!!
You can hire her to make a precious piece of art for your sweetie or friend... Check out the beauty, can you believe it??


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What I feel like today


I'm not really upset or sad. Maybe this is what little babies feel like when they're not hungry and they're not tired and we just can't figure out what's wrong. It's more like a very concentrated feeling centered right in my chest of, I JUST DON'T WANT TO DO IT. And 'it' isn't anything particular either. I just don't want to do it, I don't want it to be cold, I don't want to be in charge of anyone, I don't want to pack children in and out of the car with cold rain trickling down my back, I don't wanna I don't wanna I don't WANNA! OR either listen to a nice two year old tantrum about a lack of lollipop for about 15 minutes on a drive home.
OK, just to mix it up a little, I'll tell you what I DO want... I want to just be suspended in this cozy cocoon with diffused warm light, all lined with the softest white fur, perfectly warm, perfectly quiet, just to rest and be quiet for about three days. Hmmm... sounds nice, eh? Maybe that will be my other business idea. Cocoon retreat for mamas, right after I start my OTHER business... a P. Terry's clone with an INDOOR PLAY STRUCTURE. Can you imagine? Perfecto.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The new bunkbed


Nice and cozy!

Yelp.com

Well, my friend's husband ever-so-kindly had a session with me yesterday where we talked about blog stuff, about which he knows much more than I will ever know. Just to make sure that if anyone ever should be on the look out for classes such as I teach, I'll just pop up right there on that ol' search engine or whatever it is. So here's where you come in. Would any of you out there who have taken one of my classes mind reviewing me on www.yelp.com? I'm under Kami's Classes. You may have to create an account but it only takes about two seconds.

He assures me that whether the review is favorable or unfavorable it still improves my, uh... my rating or something, so... feel free to speak your mind!

Y'all are awesome, muchas gracias!!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vegetables to brighten a dark day

Today was such an off day. Everyone was just sad and mad and feeling bad. I find myself dreading tomorrow. I am just not in a mothering mood... and yet I must continuously mother. I will console myself with these beautiful fresh vegetables from Johnson's... dig those TOMATOES! And that groovy romanesco.... and am I weird, but I just love brussel sprouts...?

OK, now I really am off to meditate, drum up some appreciation for those dear little childrens of mine, and get myself psyched up for a fun day tomorrow...
BEST! SUNDAY! EVER!

especially delicious kid book



Friday, January 23, 2009

Special Delivery

A few days I found a secret surprise in my mailbox. It was to Henrietta from the Universe, or so the fabulous envelope said. I think that little patootie baby must be doing something right for the universe to be gifting her with something so heartbreakingly dear.
Actually I clued in rather quickly to the fact that the universe was speaking through one of it's shining stars, a creative genius Kiera Griffin who is a new friend I just met in my mama/baby group with Carrie Contey and Bernadette (which was SO special and amazing... I am so glad I did it, even though I'm on baby #3 and could've decided I was a pro and didn't need to go... so much good continues to flow from being in that group... I knew there was a reason I was called to do it...). I had an inkling that it was Kiera because she had been telling me that her real true passion was crafting special love notes, especially secret ones, and that she had the idea for doing it as a business. I wanted to share her book with any of you out there reading this, because Valentine's Day is fast approaching and I am telling you, a special-er love note than one crafted by Kiera's loving hands probably does not exist. This puts Hallmark to shame. Not that it's hard to put Hallmark to shame... hmm, let's just say that it even tops Godiva chocolates. Or dumb ol' Cartier diamonds (who needs those yechy old conflict diamonds anyway). And hey, I'm just putting it out there about the valentines, but love notes are good all year round, everyone needs more love and secret surprises in their life, a secret surprise that will put a smile on your face all day long... or ask her to make you a book like this for your baby or kid. CHECK it out... it's amazing... she even made it all crinkly and tactile so Henrietta will love it even more and it delights every last one of her senses. Email me if you want me to put you in touch with Kiera... this really is such a fun and special opportunity you will not want to pass up.

Urban hike

Seriously, one of the things that makes me swoon about Austin is the plethora of nature walks and hikes not even just a short distance from the city center but in the city center itself. AND have I mentioned that I LOVE CREEKS?? I can't explain it exactly but I just get so excited when I'm exploring a creek, any creek. I think it must be all those many summers as a kid exploring up and down Lake Creek in Central Oregon (thanks Mom and Dad! What bliss!). And Austin has just a multitude of them, Shoal, Bouldin, Boggy, Waller, the list goes on... Anyway, I've been wanting to squeeze in more adventuring (and I do love hearing Bruno yell, "We're goin' on a 'VENTURE!!") so today instead of just hitting WF and going back home I decided to hit WF and then go on down to the creek a mere one block away. It is so fleekin' awesome down there and I don't think anyone hardly goes down there.... we had ourselves a fine time. Yes it's not a pristine natural wonderland but it's still beautiful and it also reminds me that that's a subject I'm ready to get passionate about too, cleaning up our creeks. I've been thinking about volunteering for the
Texas Stream Team or something like that... that is next on my agenda...
Anyway we had so much fun. And everyone always faints with the cuteness of this little red Ramonster jumpsuit too, including me. It always contributes to the fun of the day.

Word for the day

Yesterday I was hanging out with Bruno age 2 (almost 3!) and I said, "Oh Bruno, do you know this song? "Heads, shoulders, knees and toes..." and he cut me off and said, "Oh I know that song, I know that song. I want to sing it all by myself. Head, shoulders..." here he gets a little lost, hesitates, thinking, and then touches his belly, "knees"...again he hesitates, thinking, then... "weenis..."

Bounty of Beautiful Books





A late night flirtation with Amazon left me powerless to resist..

Haven't read any of them yet except for the Instructables one, which I devoured voraciously in one sitting last night.

And yes my book diet hs flown out the window for now.... just too hard to stay on that wagon...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inspiration vacation

This is a woman's group I will be leading with my friend Laurie Kemp... she wrote the email below and as you can see she is a fount of enthusiasm, insight, far-reaching ideas, and life-changing and world-shaking energy! I'm so excited to be offering this with her and also to get to do this at her home... this really will feel like a monthly mini-Hill Country retreat, so refreshing and rejuvenating and inspiring. Check it out and email me or Laurie if you have any questions at all
It takes a VILLAGE...
You are invited--- come one ,
come all!!!
Wanting to find, define, expand, and explore YOU and your existing and/ or hopeful small or greater village???!
This is a new Austin women’s group beginning as a series of 5 monthly meetings, the last Sat of each month starting January 31st, SOON!

Our intention is to offer each other a safe, cozy space to connect with ourselves (at the very least) , which we believe will absolutely eventually catipult each other into a greater connection with each other, community, the greater sisterhood, and ultimately the whole wide world and universe (at the most, totally doable)!!

Within this space we will share golden parts, messy pieces, and ideally move forth and through to the other side which is to a solid sense of who and where you are, where you want to go, and what you wish to create for yourself, your family, your community--- Planet Earth!

Although seemingly ambitious, we believe that it is as simple as gathering and allowing each other to just BE who you are.
This may look like silence and breathing, simply listening, taking it all in, bravely putting it out there, crying, laughing—-- the sky is the limit of course, we aim to nurture and support all parts of the process.

Our greatest hope is that women will leave feeling lighter, more connected, and encouraged to explore the endless avenues of self care and be on their merry way toward what we are really here to do which is to either begin, define, deepen, or enrich our own personal journeys.

An additional bonus is that we do plan to give you a simple self care tool to take home and practice at the end of each gathering.

It DOES take a village and we want to make it happen for you and us!!

Feel free to pass this on and on and on...
Details/ Logistics:

Who:
This will be facilitated mainly by Kami Wilt with support from Laurie Kemp; we also plan to invite healers of sorts to facilitate and teach a simple self care tool after the first meeting.
Dates/ location:
This will be a series of 5 gatherings at the home of Laurie Kemp on Nutty Brown Road ( a wide open quiet space) the last Saturday of every month:
January 31st
February 28th
March 28th
April 25th
May 30th
We believe that committing and signing on to all will allow this to really sink, bubble and blossom on a much greater level personally and among us all.
Time:
10 to noon with the option of packing a lunch and hanging afterwards to mingle, find a spot in the sun, what ever you like.
Cost:
$50 for the entire series
We will NOT turn anyone away--- we are open to barter, but feel that some exchange of energy is necessary to make this happen fully and richly for all!
Contacts:
Kami Wilt kwilt@hotmail.com
Laurie Kemp laurie@digitgardens.com


Tinkering Class!








We have been making secret treasure boxes that sound an alarm when opened, and BRISTLEBOTS! We also dissected all sorts of old stuff, most especially old remote control cars I got at the thrift store, and used parts of them to decorate our bristlebots. If you want to see an ecstatic nine year old boy, hand him a screwdriver and an old appliance of some sort or broken electrical toy and tell him to go to town.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

MUNGO

And so it shall be called, my utopia. MUNGO!!

'"Mungo" is a word used by sanitation workers to refer to things salvaged from the trash.
It has been assumed that it comes from "mung," a cheap cloth. But no direct link has been found. The word has also been spelled as "mongo."
Recently, "mungo" has been spotted from the 1930s. It has been used in Brooklyn. I have guessed that it might be a joke on the colorful Brooklyn Dodger pitcher of the 1930s, Van Lingle Mungo. But that remains just a guess.'

I found this definition here.

It's funny, I came across that word a few years ago and thought it would be the perfect name for like a cool re-sale shop like NewBohemia. I felt a desire to name something Mungo but since I didn't have a desire to open a shop like that I let it go. I think I love names that end in -O. Jack was going to be Nemo, because of this beloved comic strip, but then that frakkin' movie came out...
Now perhaps fate has decreed that I have a Bruno and a Mungo in my life.
MUNGO!!
or Mongo?
in some circles it is known as Mongo.... Mungo, Mongo, which is better.
If it was Mongo, it would rhyme with Bongo, the bunny from the Life is Hell comic strip by Matt Groening. Then I would always have this rhyme in my head, "My name is little Bongo. I like to sing this son-go. Whenever I get called upon the teacher says I'm wron-go."
I always get that rhyme stuck in my head, probably because I read 'School is Hell' about 15 million times when I was a teenager. Wonder why.
And now I will take my leave. MUNGO!!

YARGH!

That's an ecstatic yawp of excitement, not a frustrated roar.
My brain's afire. I figured out what I want to do with my life, at least over the next few years.
I was just over at my friend Ellen's, and she reminded me about this place in Oakland, The East Bay Depot for Creative Re-Use. I remembered that I had seen that website a long time ago and wished there was something like that around here. Now I know:
I want to have that depot. And I want to have tinkering classes and art classes there, and a store where artists and any uh, just other kind of people, all sorts who might like to build new stuff out of old stuff... and have it all appealingly laid out... I was just reading this Reggio Emilia book about using waste materials for awesome art projects. When it's all separated out, our 'trash' looks SO visually appealing... and doing that with kids, well gee, what an amazing seed to plant in them.
Anyway, maybe I'll even have a fantastic cafe there too, because another dream of mine is to have a perfect coffee shop that is perfectly kid friendly but more than that just has perfect coffee and is fun for anyone, who has kids or not, to come hang out...
Oh this is perfect. Now where will I build my wonderland?
Oh and by the way, check out this website I found! It has multitudes of ideas for reusing everything! And they're actually good ideas, at least some of them are... not some lame thing where you cut the bottom of a soda bottle off and paint it and use it for a soap dish. I'm sorry, but that is a very sorry example of upcycling.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ramonster World HQ AND Matt the Electrician!






It was a boffo TWO for the price of one visit on our What Do People Do All Day weekly tour! Not only did we get to visit Kathie's studio where she makes all her amazing clothes (and where she made Camilla's lucky doll a skirt) but we got to see Arlo play electric guitar and sing Abba (and his papa sang a song about Arlo and played a banjo-ukelele, that was cool too).
On top of it all, they let us watch the inauguration in their living room when I accidentally showed up with my huge crew of children right smack dab in the middle of it (I thought it was at 12, not 10, WHOOPS!). They were unfailingly gracious and SO welcoming. Real down-to-earth great folks. Thank you so much you good people! video

YIPPEE!! YAHOO!! HOORAY!!

ART CLASS



I just love doing my art class. I love working with the toddlers, I love seeing their enthusiasm, I love seeing them try things for the first time, I love seeing them get the hang of it, I love see them start to love painting and making art, and I just love making a mess with them! It's that inspiring, fun kind of messy, for sure.
(That's us making yellow playdough in that bowl, by the way. If I've learned anything at all along the way, , it's that toddlers LOVE to dump and mix and stir and squeeze and sniff and taste... insatiable curiosity, those little guys.).

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kitchen success!

I've wanted to build a kitchen for this playhouse since I built the durn thing two years ago. Finally! I did it. Now Please God let them just not climb on it and break it immediately...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Eureka!!

videoI figured out something so freakin' cool today.
I think it may be something I've wanted to do since I saw E.T. and Elliot tweak the Speak and Spell, though I can't say for sure because it sure was buried deep in some latent part of my brain.
I've been spending all these bucks at Radio Shack buying all these parts for my tinkering class, and I've been feeling very non-eco about it, and sure that there must be a better way...
and the gears in my head have also been spinnin' trying to think of ways to set it up so kids can really run with ideas and be creative and explore and not just follow my instructions...
... then right next door to the Radio Shack was a thrift store and I went in for no particular reason... then I started buying all these broken old remote control trucks and cars, just thinking the kids could take them apart and maybe attach some parts of them to the bristlebots we're going to build, just, who knows what the kids will come up with because they're so freakin' smart...
Then I just totally got a bee in my bonnet when I got home and me and Jack started taking one of them apart, experimenting, getting excited, it was one of those things where of course the baby was crying and on my lap and I just desperately did not want to stop (What did Picasso do when his babies were crying and he was possessed with by an idea? oh yeah he had a wife, I think I need to get me one of those...) (thankfully Matt came out to hold her...) and yeah so, we figured out how to make it go and we rebuilt it in a way so it did something, and I'm not saying it's much, but the possibilities are really endless. I can't wait to do this with the kids... they are going to dig it SO much.
So there you go. COOL!

(Oh yeah, and the other part of the equation is realizing that I can harvest parts I need from all sorts of old electronics.... got any you want to give me? Repurposing at it's best!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's my interchangable children

It's Bruno, or is it Henrietta? Or is it Bruno?
Don't ask me, I just gave birth to them all.
Seriously, I better label these photos carefully, or who's who in the baby pictures will get dreadfully mixed up. They're all virtually identical until about age one and a half, and I can't be counted on to tell them apart.

Pretty darn cute if I do say so, anyway.

WANT TO JOIN MY YAHOO GROUP??

I'm not asking you to be my friend on Facebook... I think I might be a little behind the times.
I was talking to some friends and they, not me, had this FAN-frickin'-TASTIC idea and then it was me, not they, who was tapped with the task of putting out there to the universe.
Here's the idea:
Every Friday, if you wish, you can meet with other like-minded folk anytime between 2-7 at different super fun locations where the kids can run and roam and climb and play and maybe the mamas can catch a break or drink a beer. We'll either meet at an eatery or plan to move to one around dinnertime... the idea is to return home with your kids fed and all tuckered out, start the weekend out right. I'm putting four different locations on the calendar to repeat, let me know if you want to add a location, I can always change it with ease. The only rule is that this is super laid back, relaxed and fun!!
Email me if you'd like to join. One major point is that it's very loose and free... if you feel like going, great, if you don't, no prob, if you want to RSVP or check if someone specific is going to be there, sure thing, do it. I'm not going to promise that I'll be there, either. In fact, don't think of me as the instigator of all this, I don't want to be responsible for anything except for setting up this group. Just think of this group as a marvelous playdate that materializes out of the ether each Friday and just thank your lucky stars if it fits in well with your week.
That said, I will see you at Bull Creek on Friday, and I am PSYCHED! I am going to bring myself a little bottle of some delicious hoppy substance... or a porter... mmmm, one perfect beer in a beautiful place while the kids frolic, can't beat it.