on Friday, March 25, 2011
I'm not simply ready for winter to be overwith and spring to arrive. I need me some warm and dry and sunny weather. We recently experienced the warmest day of the year so far! It reached 58 degrees, I believe. Reuben and I for a run on the nearby sun-filled high-school track in the morning and set off after lunch to Fort Ward with a blanket and reading materials. There's nothing sweeter in my life right now that a break in precipitation and a little sunshine. It was even dry long enough to hang dry my linens! I've learned enough from the past month of my life to not be convinced that it's all warmth and sunny skies from here. After all, "Sweet April ( March, February, & January) showers brings May flowers."

"There is solace in every breeze. Support in the ground below you. Nurturance in every raindrop. Compassion within the warmth of sunlight. In gratitude for these we will find connection and healing."

Love is

on Thursday, March 24, 2011
Instead of a guestbook for our wedding (how boring!) we did two things. Reuben sketched out a tree that we had people leave thumbprints on which turned out fabulous.

The second thing we did was have people write what love meant to them on die-cut paper leaves.

It's taken me forever to get around to it, but this morning I finally got around to creating a display for them. I loved reading what people love about love, and on wedding days people always feel especially shmoozy. I love it!

Flower time

on Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The phrase "Island Time" is a misnomer. It may be true if you live on an Island far away from anything else. People on those islands, of course, have nothing else to do. Hence "Island Time." This is not true of Bainbridge Island. Bainbridge Island is located just miles from downtown Seattle and is readily accessible by ferry. Ferries ruin island time. Living on Bainbridge and working (or in my case, going to school) in Seattle makes your life revolve around one thing: ferry times. I feel like I'm always for a ferry. This is especially true on the Seattle-side. The first thing I do when I make an appointment or find out my class schedule or plan a trip over to the 'city' is refer to the ferry schedule. I don't have to do much of this anymore, however, because I practically have it memorized. My life revolves around making the ferry and trying to make the earliest possible ferry home. The ferry time mindset negates island time.

I stumbled on an invention from my old buddy Carl Linnaeus this morning called the flower clock. While he was creating the most brilliant botanical nomenclature system in all of history, he was also studying a (already established) field called "chronobiology". The gist of it is, he found that different species of flowers open at different times of day. Certain flowers opened at 6:30am, others at 7:00am. He studied these plants over the course of years and concluded that one could tell what time it is simply by watching the flowers in the garden. So he created this:

Linnaeus was apparently so busy naming things that he never got around to putting one together, which is probably why the idea of a flower clock actually fails miserably. It didn't take into account weather and seasonal changes, such as length of day. Easy mistake!

The flower clock requires attentiveness. It demands us to slow down, perhaps kneel close to the earth and study something. It requires one to observe the literal unfolding of time, to understand one point in time from another based on tiny green plants. It's not as simple as glancing at your watch or opening up your iphone's digital time display.

One of the reasons why this probably would have never caught on (especially today) - besides the fact that it was utterly flawed- is because people can't stop for anything. It's true for me as well. I rarely stop moving between the ferry and the UW campus - except for in my seat on the bus! I'm always rushing, trying to make that next bus, and trying to catch that ferry so I can be home at a reasonable hour. I wish that I could use my garden to keep time. It would at least urge me to slow down, stop, and pay attention. Attention is the greatest gift you could give yourself and the ones you love.

New Life

New Leaf, New Life, The Days of Frost Are O'er
New Life, New Love, to Suit the Newer Day

- Tennyson


on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ok, maybe not 'restitution' in the true definition sense of the word, but I've always wanted to be able to say that. However, this is the first experience in my life that ever comes close to that, so I'm going to use it while I can.

We were called into the Bainbridge Island Police Station this morning to look over all the goods that were recovered from the string of break-ins. It was my first (and hopefully last) stepping into a police station, and (despite the reputation of the Island police) was a very positive experience. The head of 'evidence gathering' escorted us down into the basement where we entered a room full of bags marked "evidence" and "forensics".

We were told not to touch anything and she warned us there was still fingerprinting powder on everything. I felt like I was on a CSI investigation! The police had taken our report of what was missing and had linked many of our things directly to us, and we had a whole box full of stuff including my backpack, several of our credit cards, two of Reuben's jackets, etc. There was stuff wrapped in plastic bags scattered on the tables as well, and we walked around and ID'd what was ours. Right when I walked into the room I spotted my favorite cloth grocery bag! My dad got it from a drug company and it's my favorite to bring to Safeway because it's so big and I can fit a ridiculous amount of produce in it. This bag, as was the case the night it was stolen, was stuffed not only with ALL our other cloth bags (in the meantime, we had survived grocery-runs using 2 tiny cloth bags and picked up plastic bags from the recycle bin at Safeway!) in addition to just about everything that had originally been in my REI backpack. Then I knew that this thief wasn't just out for goods, he just wanted mischief. He took the time to unscrew my bottles of lotion, soap (that he had taken from the kitchen counter), and the lid from my favorite lip-gloss and made sure that they were smeared over everything. I wish we had realized it at the time; we probably could have smelled him the morning after from anywhere on the Island! I had a sweet note from Reuben that I was keeping in my backpack, and the guy had taken the time to open one of Reuben's mini-wine bottles, drink half of it, and then smush the note inside. They were also thoughtful enough to rip mine and Reuben's driver's licenses in half, and tear out all the pages of my school notebook.

We took our stolen goods back home and laid it all out on the floor. What came next felt like Christmas! Packages were opened, and Reuben squealed with delight as he found his glasses and his Garmin GPS watch. And I found my Nike+Ipod sport kit remote (minus the Ipod, but I'll take what I can get!) And the car keys! Other random things were a lovely note from my mother and our fortunes from our cookies that we had gotten the day before the break-in at the Penang Food Court in Seattle.

Since there was a combination of either salt-water, red wine, soap, and lotion on everything, we did a lot of scrubbing and loads of the washing machine. But thank GOODNESS that inside that great green bag were all my library books, dry and unstained! Hooray, now I don't owe hundreds of dollars to the UW library! One of the books from our local Island library is a little questionable in its condition, but out of the ones taken it is the cheapest and most readily available (good old Booker T. Washington!)

I am pleased to announce that my REI backpack, also known as Alejandro (named well before Lady Gaga took it), made it through the incident. It was soaked in salt-water, but luckily Miss-Evidence-Collector had dried it out nicely - she commented that she had the same pack and it was an excellent one. Alejandro went through a cold-cycle rinse and is just fine. I can't wait to take him back to school. I know they're supposedly cool and all, but I can't stand Reuben's over-the-shoulder Timbuktu!



on Friday, March 4, 2011
I am envious of other people's thoughts. Not in in the desiring to commit plagiarism-sort-of-way, the cardinal sin of graduate school. I guess I could say I envy thoughtfulness. I am always so amazed at what peoples' brains generate, and how much time they all seem to have to read and reflect and communicate. I read something and I think to myself, great quote, but how on earth did you find the time to read that book to discover it? Why did you decide to read it in the first place? And why did that one sentence, above all others, stand out to you at that particular time?

Every one of us is on a different part of our journey in life. I remember times where I would read great and thought-provoking books, and hang on their every word. These days are very different. I look at my stack of books I have on my shelf. I brought them to Bainbridge with me because either I wanted to read them for the first time or wanted to dive into them for a second round.

Once you've reached graduate school, thankfully there are LESS textbooks and more online sources. I only had to buy one book this quarter, and even that I realized too late that I could have gotten it from the library. Two of my classes this quarter are completely textbook-less. The UW bookstore is completely full of texbooks still, so I wonder if this trend is just a grad-school thing. In any case, now all of my readings are saved to my computer. I'm reading about the Black Freedom Schools of Mississippi in 1964, project management exit strategies. Non-digital and non-academic reads include a book or two on marriage that I pick up once in awhile. I'm going through the Old Testament right now, and just started Leviticus.

My problem is that I try to do too many things. School has definitely taken over my life, so I've mostly put my want-to-read books on the shelf and am staring at the computer most of the time. Nevertheless I check out books from the library ALL the time. I love the library. And I love it even more because it's a 8 minute walk away. When I need to get out of the house, I go to the library. The walk from our house to there is past the high-school, so it's 20 mph in a school zone and unlike the rest of the island, has sidewalks! Makes for a nice walk. ANYWAYS I am usually all-too-overeager in my library selections. I kill my back in the load that I sometimes have to carry on my walk home. This is all to say that I want to read EVERYTHING. Books I've heard good things about, books that have been on my Amazon "Wish List" for years, and books I think would be good for my life right now. All these books end up sitting by the couch in my basket. Once they're in there, they're generally never moved. What's the point of picking up a book, reading a page, then putting it back? Some books you can do that with, but not the kind of books I pick. All these books are good things. I want to glean from each one of them. But I'm so overeager that I end up with NOTHING. I get overwhelmed and end up back on my computer, studying my online school texts. ugh.

I watched a Nooma episode called "Shells" a few months ago. Rob Bell talks about how he took his daughter to the beach one day and she was so excited about the shells that she found that she collected and collected them until she couldn't fit any more of them in her arms. He likened this to the ridiculously busy and full lives we try to lead, where we gain a tiny bit of everything but a whole lot of nothing.

That's my life. As long as I overwhelm myself with options, I don't truly gain from anything. Rob Bell in the video says:

"May you drop your shells in pursuit of a simple, disciplined and focused life, in which you pursue the few things that God has for you - and may you be enabled to say NO to some things, because you already said YES."

Wow. I'm so blessed to have a life with so many choices, with so many good opportunities. But how do I say no to some of them? How do I find the few?
I think that's what my thoughtful friends that I spoke of in the beginning have already discovered. They have found the few and dived deep into it. That's where all the treasure is found. That's where gleaning and insight come from.

So that's what I hope for myself. I want the courage to say no to most things and the wisdom of what to say yes to - and the grace to stick with it.

I guess that means I have to give up some of those lingering library books.