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Archive for the ‘Living’ Category

Seattle, next time

Seattle was beautiful. We’re back in the flat geography of home, and already I miss the long views of water, skies, and hills. The locals assured us that the weather is not always this gorgeous and that for months, it’s gray and drizzly. Still, I felt the pull of this place. Tea & Cookies’ posts on Lake Washington and Seattle’s relationship to water capture some of the allure of Seattle, I think.

Next time, I want to jog around Green Lake, browse the stacks of the Central Library, have tea at the Starbucks on the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower, and ride a ferry out to an island. Less guidebook stops. More absorbing the beauty of the place. Next time though, I think I should go when it’s gray and drizzly and cold. Just to be fair. Just to see the city honestly. Just to know for myself whether it was a beautiful summer day fling or a true city love.

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This is a favorite summer potluck dish, because the veggie mixture can be prepared a day ahead and refrigerated. Do remember, however, that the rice should be mixed in on the day of serving so that it does not dry out or harden.

Fresh Veggie Rice Salad

Fresh Veggie Rice Salad

4 cups cooked Jasmine rice
1 can artichoke hearts (marinated or packed in water), chopped
1 can chopped black olives
1/2 jar capers with liquid
1/2 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh, canned or frozen corn
1 carrot, diced
1/4 cup fresh or canned red bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
2-3 basil leaves for garnish
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Olive oil
Paprika to taste
Salt to taste

Heat olive oil in wok or pan. Saute garlic. Add all veggies, leaving basil to the end, and saute until tender. Do not overcook. Season with lemon, paprika, and salt. Mix rice into veggie mixture and let cool. Garnish and serve at room temperature.

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The Riddle

“We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It’s just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn’t have expected.” – Ben Okri

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Autumn, welcome.

Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby. – Langston Hughes

lantern

Japanese maple

stones

Sometime recently, the first autumn rains fell. I stepped out into the sweet tea of raindrops and felt cleansed, just a little bit. We’ve had challenges along with the immeasurable joy of seeing our precious baby grow (most of them rooted in the discovery of his tongue-tie at 8 months). But we’ve persevered, and he is healthy, happy, and thriving on mother’s milk and organic foods. This is a new season. The sky is opening, the earth is washed clean. Whatever your path this autumn, may it lead to peacefulness and wisdom.

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There are fancier and more authentic aloo gobi recipes out there. This is a quick-and-easy version that we make at our home. I’m posting this for Indian food lovers and also especially for our friends, Mike and Ellasion. 🙂

Aloo Gobi

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large potato, cubed
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp. olive oil
Tumeric to taste
Paprika to taste
Cumin seed to taste
Salt to taste
Cilantro (optional)

Instructions
• Prep cauliflower, potato, and garlic.
• Add to olive oil heated in wok or pot.
• Add water to just under vegetables.
• Let cook for 7 minutes.
• Add spices and salt.
• Let cook until fork passes through potatoes and cauliflower.
• Garnish with chopped cilantro.

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Plums to Hydrangeas

Since my last post, we’ve transitioned from the season of flowering plums:

flowering plum

… to brilliant roses glowing in the sun:

rose

… and hydrangeas in hues like watercolors:

hydrangeas

hydrangeas

Sleep is elusive in our new life with a baby with a million-watt smile who would rather drink in the world than close his eyes for a nap. We are on a fast-paced journey during which the seasons change from plums to hydrangeas almost before we realize it. Breathe. Luxuriate in each moment. Even on the tough days after long, sleepless nights. That’s what I keep telling myself. I want to be awake, to be present every moment of the journey.

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Our baby boy arrived two weeks early on February 7, 2009 (7 lbs., 8 oz., 19 in.). He’s beautiful, healthy, and so very adored. We’re thrilled and exhausted, as can be expected during the first few weeks of parenthood. Sometimes it’s bliss. Sometimes it’s sheer exhaustion. But we’re excited about the journey we’ve begun. We’re hoping for just enough patience and wisdom for the years ahead. That’s it for now, but I’ll be back to post more when life settled into some semblance of a routine.

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For 2009

Books

– May there be space in my life for books and poetry and art.

– May there be abundant health for the ones I love.

– May my heart expand fully to embrace our little one.

– May I become more aware of the earth, of humanity, of the spiritual.

– May my soul be at ease just enough to be able to write.

– May the richness of love and family pervade our home.

– May I be a good friend.

– May I always choose softness of heart.

– May I encounter beauty, peace, goodness, and hope in the world.

– May I be thankful each and every day.

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Winter garden,
the moon thinned to a thread,
insects singing

– Matsuo Basho

Outside:
Roses in apricot

And inside, winter fruit and poetry:
Mandarin oranges & poetry

Festive decorations:
Christmas 2008

Making more caps for babies in Haiti:
Caps for Mama-to-Mama Charity

Caps for Mama-toMama Charity

It’s that season when my heart turns inward a bit and longs for quietude and cozy evenings. I haven’t been posting regularly for that reason and because our days have simply been busy preparing for the holidays and for our baby boy’s arrival in ten weeks. I hope you’ll keep visiting despite my sporadic posts. May you have a peaceful, blissful holiday season!

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Newborn Cap for Mama-to-Mama Charity

I’m not a great seamstress, but I’m very excited about the new charity project Soule Mama has started: Mama to Mama.

This effort provides an opportunity for crafters to create with love and intention in order to make a small, positive change in another person’s life. Mama to Mama‘s first project is to send handmade newborn caps to Haiti to be distributed in Safe Birthing Kits. Here are some stats about Haiti from the Mama to Mama site:

In northern Haiti:

  • Just 1 in 5 women receives skilled medical care during childbirth.
  • Haiti has the highest maternal mortality ratio in the Western Hemisphere.
  • 1 in 40 women will die as a result of pregnancy complications, unsafe abortion, or obstetrical emergency.
  • Twelve percent of children die before the age of 5.

capbutton_3You are invited to dust off your sewing machine, dig up a few gently-used T-shirts, and join this beautiful effort to share with women and newborns in Haiti. A simple pattern, instructions, and a mailing address for your finished caps are available at Mama to Mama‘s web site. The deadline for the initial care package send-off is December 10, 2008.

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