31 August 2011

Treasure Hunting

I grew up in a family that treasure-hunted, to put it mildly.  My father's toy train collection was (and still is) legend among my friends, and our home was filled with antiques and collectibles from all eras, each one either sentimental, valuable, beautiful, interesting or all of the above.  Many Sundays after church, our family would take the long way home, winding our way through Seattle neighborhood garage sales, my Dad always asking the proprietor at the folding table, "Do you have any toy trains?"

I remember one garage sale in particular when my mom had found some beautiful, under-priced handmade quilts.  (This was in the eighties when it seemed like handmade would never return.)

She could have easily bought the quilts, resold them for more money, or kept them for her own.  Instead, she asked the women selling them, "Don't you want to keep these in your family?"

The woman responded that she had assumed that no one would want them, but when turning to her daughter-in-law, realized that she had been wrong.  My mom didn't take home a quilt that day. 

At Christmas and birthdays, my sister and I, (and now our husbands), always receive a carefully selected vintage item (or a few) from my folks.  Maybe it's a book, or a picture in a frame, or some other "find."  But it is always unique and special. 

26 August 2011

What is right in front of you?

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am pretty darn happy about how much I have been progressing in my ability to cook and keep K and myself (and anyone else who stumbles into our home) well-fed over the past few years.  My love of food and cooking can border on the obsessive, but I try to keep it within bounds, and to remember that there are many other things to be interested and to do besides concoct a meal.

I love cooking for many (obvious) reasons, but especially for the teaching it provides.  "Learning to cook" is one thing, but the process of finding ingredients, putting them together, and adding little touches is a true teaching.  It is filled with lessons about life, nature, love, family, giving.  And it is full of decisions.  Having to face those small decisions over and over again forces me to continually return to one of the mantras I offer my clients, no matter what the issue: What is right in front of you?

When you are facing a problem in life, it is easy to become stressed, frazzled, and unfocused.

Choose instead to look and see, What is right in front of you?

15 August 2011

Lavender Days

Yesterday K and I went to Sauvie Island in pursuit of summer's bounty, or, at the very least, some lavender.  Sauvie Island is an agricultural oasis just outside of Portland; it is a fun place to visit.

I had found a u-cut lavender farm and had my mind set on holding some of those luscious purple bunches in my hands. I am dreaming of teas made with lavender and lemon verbena; petals thrown into desserts and simple syrup; and just having the smell around the house.   The smell...!

Cutting lavender has to be one of the most inherently relaxing activities you could do. As soon as we got out of the car, the smell of the field came full force.  I found myself lifting my nose in the air, trying to take it all in with big gulps and sniffs. I could feel my heart relax as I sat down in the field to begin cutting.  It felt like it was smiling and thanking me for bringing it to this special place.

10 August 2011

Standing in the Wind

Today I'm thinking about movement and wind.  It certainly seems like things are moving fast, that chaos is all around, and most of us cannot help but feel afraid and very uncertain about the future.

The whole situation reminds me of wind, and of a very windy place I visited on my vacation: the beautiful Cape Blanco...

Cape Blanco is a state park and campground outside of Port Orford on the Southern Oregon Coast.  It was so windy there, both in town and at our campsite.  Cape Blanco is the Westernmost point in Oregon.  The Cape hangs out into the sea, all to itself, with a lighthouse at the end.

04 August 2011


I have been away on vacation.  Yes!  It was wonderful.  We hit some Oregon highlights, with a trip down the Rogue River, two nights on the Oregon Coast outside of Port Orford, and then a weekend at a house on the North-Central Coast with some good friends.  Lots of water and wind.

Now, I am back and looking forward to a late summer and fall filled with beauty and life.  I loved and lived heartily on my vacation and am glad to have returned refreshed and ready for what comes next.

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