Monthly Archives: May 2009

let the bees and spiders go

I have never whole-heartedly aligned myself with any particular organized faith. But I have faith. The closest thing I feel to a religion is my devotion to karma. It’s a universal cause-and-effect rule. Freedom Bee I think about it all the time. My place in this place is a blip. And, with regards to that, I think of the last line in Mary Oliver’s poem, Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? And I think of the golden rule that exists in all religions. My favorite interpretation is American Indian, All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. The thing is, why not believe in karma? One chance. Best to treat others really well, driven by tolerance and love. Be honest no matter what. Give people the benefit of the doubt. Or, the universe just might bitch slap me. And, I’d deserve it. Plus, it totally works. Stop to let people cross the street and someone will do the same for you. Smile and get smiles back. One big ole happy circle of reciprocity. And it doesn’t stop with humans. It’s over. I officially give up on getting Margot not to feed Alice her breakfast. So, why is dig getting all heady and woo woo? Because I don’t kill spiders and bees and pterodactyls and whatnot in or around my house. And it drives my man nuts but if I smoosh on a sweet little spider as she heads across my kitchen table, off to read her spider babies a book before nap time, then her uncle could crawl in between my toes at night and chomp on me. Now the lethal hobo spiders we have in these parts are downright freaky but I try to understand his plight as he aggressively runs at me with his eyeballs all at the end of his antennae, hissing. I selectively kill hobos, only if it is life threatening, like sprinting at my kid from under the washing machine. But to kill him when I awoke him from his under-rock slumber in my backyard would be rude. And, in turn, his pals don’t bite me when I flip over their rock. See how that works? Bass Creek hike with lady friends And, we choose to leave our back door wide open so our herd of mammals can come and go as they please during the long days of summer. So, when a frustrated bee gets pissy trying to fly through the screen or loses all hope while drowning in the cat water dish, I catch her and let her go. Killing anything on purpose offends my instincts. It isn’t easy, even when it’s a hobo. nut I had my first soggy bee rescue of the summer a few days ago. And, whew, my family is *a bit* safer from getting stung all summer. If my wings were stuck together in a giant bowl of water and my legs couldn’t touch the bottom, I’d want someone to pour me onto dry wood too. Upping my bee karma is a good thing because bees love my hair and think I am like a perfect effing hive. When I managed a farm, we kept bees and a dopey, crazed batch flew into my hair and got stuck and stung me all over as I screamed like a mad woman running through the tomatoes and grape vines. So apparently I pissed some bees off a decade ago and these buzzers got me back. no bee on this dandelion to sting bug because I rescued the soggy bee So, my religion. I strive to be nice to all creatures. I believe my actions affect the spin of my microcosm and subsequent actions that happen to me. And, I’ve said it before, but it has never failed me for the big, important stuff (something coming up that’ll really test this belief): I trust my gut and my heart, hurl my desire or change into the universe and it always magically and perfectly works out. Not that I don’t have to roll with it and adjust my stride, but, if I pay attention, I have everything I need and the world is really beautiful. her favorite book: Diary of a Worm. Sometimes I am apprehensive. Often, I am. Or, at least thoughtful about what I am about to shake up. first trip to the neighborhood park’s water park But once I dive in I never regret what I learn. Read more on let the bees and spiders go…
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south central Montana

When we were in college we made the six-hour road trip home to Red Lodge four or five or eight times a year. We went last weekend for the first time since last Memorial Day weekend. The cliches are true: time carries a new set of rules with a kid. It flies. Blink and you may miss out on important milestones. A year? It’s been a year. We stopped off in one of our favorite places, Chico Hot Springs, for Thursday night. The drive was long and we got in after midnight and would have been earlier but, after nearly hitting a skunk and then a giant rabbit, we happened upon a horrific motorcycle accident. At first we just saw carnage, a dead deer and a down bike and without talking, Andy and I both thought we are going to be looking for a dead body. Thankfully, miraculously, that wasn’t the case. A young kid with shattered legs is what we found. He was sitting up and talking to 911 on his cell phone. Miracle. We slept in until 8:30 am. Alice, Margot, Andy and me. I woke feeling refreshed and energized by the brilliant sun peeking though our dusty, decades-old curtains. We walked with Alice to espresso only to find the shop closed. I went to the front desk to report the espresso person hadn’t shown up for her shift and the front desk person said they open at 8. I said, But, it’s 9:30. No, it’s 7:30, she said. Our clock in our room was two hours fast. We had risen at 6:30. I suddenly felt exhausted. We headed back to our cozy room for our new favorite down time activity, a bed romp. Margot loves loves to jump, roll, lean, kiss, hug, giggle and jog on a big bed. It’s the best. A lazy breakfast, an even lazier soak. Eventually espresso. Another walk. Then back in the car to Red Lodge for the opening weekend of the Beartooth Pass. After arriving in Red Lodge, Andy immediately headed up to ski. No skiing for me this year. And, I feel like I should justify why I didn’t ski but blah. I am pregnant and didn’t feel like it. I hung around with my ma-in-law. Hiked a bit, sewed a bit, sat outside. Hugged on my family. Ate. I am so hungry. And I am craving mayonnaisy casseroles and salads like the ones old ladies make for funerals. Wonder what’s going on in there that this little critter the size of a grape wants reeser’s potato salad and doritos? Below is the dress I made for bug (worn over pjs and under her coat. She refuses to take her coat off. Ever. Sleeps in it. Eats in it. When she is especially needy, she wears two coats. Sometimes we manage to distract her and get it off but within minutes, coat?, she pleads.): And, the big news is Margot now tells us before she has to poo. And, she went in the toilet. We danced around the kitchen and blew bubbles. Chicken adores bubbles. She calls them bahdeez. Andy and I went on a date. Only the second time out, just the two of us, since Margot was born. And, we decided we needed to do it more often. We left on Monday and drove west where encountered another car accident. Again, one of the first cars on the scene, we were at the beginning of what ended up being a sting of stopped end-of-long-weekend traffic that went as far as we could see on I-90. The front end of a huge truck was smashed completely off. The guard rail tangled up like a limp noodle. Both driver and passenger were walking and ok. So, I couldn’t help but wonder what all this is supposed to mean. Andy and I talked about it for the last two hours into our Missoula valley. The most basic revelation we came to was the realness of you just never know….really, if we had been 30 seconds earlier in either car accident scenario, we would have beer a part of it. Live. Love. Laugh. And we came home and did just that. We picked lilacs, ate pickles and rolled in clean laundry on the bed. Read more on south central Montana…
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spring sewing (sowing)

It is hard to be in my basement studio when it the sky is cornflower and carrot seeds are begging to be tucked in. Usually I make stuff at night when the house is asleep but, now, I am also horizontal, missing out on my valuable dig time. So I have come to appreciate 15-30 minute blocks of time before work, after work, on days off. It’s easier. And, on Monday, I brought it outside. I was plowing through some sewing projects with Margot protesting at my feet. Outside?, she begged. Well, this mama surely cannot say no to such a reasonable request. So we packed up and headed up and out into the chilly, soon-to-be sunny backyard at 7:30am. As soon as I got all set up, giant, warm rain drops fell like molasses. The impossible kind of drop falling from nothing, not a cloud in the sky. We knew it would pass so we sat in it and waited. I wrote about Montana onesies a while back and I am happy to report that I have perfected the method so the pulling and inconsistent edge fraying and general wonkiness have improved immensely. Sorry to all my pals who endured substandard gifts for your kids. They are soon to get even better as I just got an account with a very cool clothing line that I will be using for the base t shirts. Anyway, they’re cute. And, they’ll be for sale in June. And, if one has particular pride in their state as we do here in Montana, I’m happy to do custom orders. Golly I cannot believe to horrid style endured when pregnant with Margot. Because I didn’t have (and even if I did have wouldn’t part with) $210 for seven jeans, I was stuck with thrift stores and target and, it’s not like there’s anything in the women-with-bump section of either place that I loved or even liked that much. It was survival asking the question, which jeans do I hate least? Plus it is difficult for me to justify spending any cash money on stuff I would wear for a mere few months…. Now that I am gaining momentum and courage behind a sewing machine, I decided it was time to sew some clothes for me. Yikes. Kid’s clothes are easy because they look darling in purt near any shape. But, me with my hips and womanliness, well, I need shape. And things like darts and interfacing and sneaky zippers scare the poop out of me. But I am getting better. I found a maternity skirt tutorial that I followed and it was a snap. I used a simple skirt pattern from Sew U that is three pieces (one in front, two in back) so when my non-bump state returns I can remove the lovely, comfy, elastic top, insert a few darts, a waist band and zipper up the back seam. The whole thing makes me feel quite clever. (Oh, and speaking of my pregnancy, we got an official due date last Monday, even though due dates are a total crock. But it’s still worth mentioning: December 18. Margot’s second birthday.) The other great part about sewing outside are the necessary garden breaks. All the promising green is taking off. Just magic, I swear. Placing teeny earth-toned flecks in the ground and they grow to produce enough food to feed my family. Magic. Unrelated but oh so exciting. I, for the first time in my life since moving away from home, I will possess a helpful contraption whose purpose is to cut down on swearing and gross, day-old (or two) globules of dried food, and increase sanity and water efficiency. In a week, I will have a dishwasher. Talk about magic. And, lastly, a little gift for you! So many people loved Margot’s bonnet as much as I do that Colette at Urban Bonnets is offering dig readers a deal: 10% off your purchase in her etsy shop. Just enter DIGTHISCHICK10 at check out. You’ll be charged the full amount and then she’ll credit you back. You’ll love it. Read more on spring sewing (sowing)…
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bran muffins, chicken names etc.

As a pregnant lady with real and urgent cravings, I woke the other morning with a panicked understanding that I needed bran muffins. It wasn’t like mmmmm, bran muffins would be nice, it was more like holy shit, bran muffins must be chewed and swallowed before 10am or I could burst. I hopped on my favorite food inspiration website and wasn’t inspired so I went to one of my favorite food inspiration blogs and found the recipe. This was all before I had made coffee or changed a diaper. I literately rolled my body off the edge of our bed and stumbled to the computer at 7am. Bran Muffins. I barely changed a thing. They are perfectly moist and light. Not dense cake. Only a scosh sweet. The molasses creates a deep, earthy, burned caramel color. The dried cranberries (not craisins but the plump, fleshy real deal) add sweet little surprises to every bite. Even Alice begs with extra pleading eyes. I made one dozen and our little family ate them all by 1pm. All morning, Margot jogged to the oven and reached on her tippiest toes for the tin begging, bread? They are for sure a new staple in our house and as soon as I haul out a muffin tin, bug does a jig. So, the recipe.Epic Bran Muffins, adapted from Smitten Kitchen :: makes 12 1 stick salted butter1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar1 large egg, beaten lightly1 cup plain whole milk yogurt1/4 cup dark molasses1/2 cup dried cranberries or chocolate chips1 cup all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon salt1 tablespoon vanilla1 cup miller’s bran Mix butter and sugar. Add egg, yogurt, vanilla and molasses. Stir in dried fruit. Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry to wet until just combined. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. :: :: :: And, as for the chicken name ideas, thanks! I wish we have a dozen chickens to name because there are so many great suggestions. It was a tough tough decision. Who will join Ida, Clementine and Bossy? Read more on bran muffins, chicken names etc….
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mama’s day

Whether a mama to kids, dogs, chickens, friend’s children, colleagues….all women mama someone. And we all have mamas. My day was lovely and actually started the night before with a mothers day eve celebration with hundreds of Missoula women. We shared hugs and admiration over yoga, hot tubbing and facials at a local workout center/spa. More than once I caught myself starring in amazement at the moms that are my friends. These beautiful, strong, brilliant women. I felt lucky. And in between great food and a heart-thumping dance party was the launch of Mamalode magazine which I am proud to be a part of. More on that later. Yesterday began with sleeping until 8:30 (!), shared lattes with my ma in law, sweet smelling flowers and a lazy breakfast all made by my man, with the chatty assistance of Margot. A phone call with my mama (xo). Then, a long walk with a park stop, shopping for raspberry canes, sage, geraniums and rosemary, a load of dirt, lots of shoveling and planting. I bought a darling flowering plum to plant atop the jellyfish-like organ that sustained bug two years ago. Joan said it looked like Margot. The plum bush, not the organ. Yes, a placenta has been in a red biohazard bag in my freezer for 17 months. It was time and yesterday was the perfect day. The tiny pink buds are about to burst. It will grow to 10 x 10 feet atop a mound overlooking our water-wise front yard. I listened to distant giggles from my family as I took an afternoon siesta in my back yard under the coming-and-going sun. A delightful dinner and rhubarb pie. My first garden produce of the season. My favorite moment? I quietly mentioned something about kisses and Margot toddled across the backyard and planted one right on my lips. And then said thank you. She has new words daily and her new word on mother’s day was thank you. Cheers to all you mamas out there. Wow. I am continually amazed and inspired. Read more on mama’s day…
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