more currently cooking

K. and I recently completed a 21-day detox. Together we quit coffee/caffeine, gluten, sugar, dairy, animal products, processed foods, and alcohol. The first week we ate mostly produce but also got to have olive oil, avocado, and nuts. The second week we added in some fish and tofu, and the final week we got to enjoy a couple of eggs.

All in all I felt great and lost eight pounds (not the reason I was doing it, but not a bad thing either, eh? :) ). The best part, though, was preparing diverse meals together and taking turns cooking with Kia, eating different nutrients every day, and relating to food in a very communal, healthy way. Sharing meals more regularly is something I've long wanted to do more of, and this finally seems to be a year when that is happening. Housesitting at an incredible house this past three weeks has certainly helped--a big long wooden table where we've had I think at least ten shared meals and six dinner parties.

Meyers-Briggs J that I am, I can't resist listing out some of the good food we've been having:

*Grilled salmon, with grilled bok choy and orange-avocado salsa
*Avocado-vanilla smoothie (one avo, one cup pear nectar, one teaspoon vanilla= incredible)
*Red lentil soup
*Baked sweet potato with nutmeg, orange, toasted nuts, and cinnamon for breakfast
*Quinoa with poached egg (yes, I've learned to poach eggs, which preserves the most nutrients), wilted spinach, carrot, cucumber, and chive
*Vegetable-miso soup with chickpeas
*Crispy roasted cauliflower
*Tofu scramble with collard greens and tumeric
*Rice noodles with brocolli-almond pesto
*Toasted coconut muesli
*Baked tilapia with sweet-potato fries
*Spicy black bean salad
*Homemade chickpea burgers


primera dia de primavera

So much I know, that things don't just grow
if you don't bless them with your patience
And I've been there before, I held up the door
for every stranger with a promise
But I'm holding back, that's the strength I lack
every morning keeps returning at my window
And it brings me to you, and I won't just past through
but I'm not asking for a storm...


I've been thinking about how the root of responsible is ''response'' (and in Spanish also, responsable y responder)--to fulfill an obligation, to come through, to act on or respond to the information or knowledge you've been given, entrusted with. Not to be indifferent or unresponsive, pretending or living like you never heard.

Looking at my notes from Ash Wednesday at St. Paul's, I've been thinking how our purpose as ambassadors for Christ is the slow sanctification of the whole world, beginning with ourselves. Acting as ambassadors of blessing and joy: to make Jesus famous in the earth. Representing the Way over a cup of coffee or glass of wine.

To add to that, something I was reading in Radix that Eugene Peterson writes, our work as followers of the Way is, ''living as a colony of heaven in the country of death.''

I know colony is a word fraught with problematic paradigms and ugly historical events, but in this case, I think I like it. That connotation it carries of moving in, moving in to stay (not, ''The earth's going to burn up, so fuck it'') , but actually chemically and aesthetically and completely changing a place.

And Heaven meaning Life, Peace, Freedom--to proclaim the green good news that we can be healed and made whole, even in a country of death. And it is not empty positivity or mindless happiness, but it is Jesus, who enters the mess.

Oh, that his story would be stitched into us! That we would respond, and not be left unchanged.


poems for first graders

Part of my job is teaching four rotations of first graders poetry, rhyme, and sentence construction every afternoon. They each have journals to work in with words and pictures, and every week I write a new little poem based on the story they're reading from their lit book... I wanted to share these two from the last few months.


Winter came, and I burrowed in the ground
When the snow showed its face, I was nowhere to be found
In my tunnel I stayed till spring was on her way
And through December I dreamed of the Butterfly Queen
Of her wings the color of my heart.


We spent the summer picking apples
From sunrise until dusk
The light kissed my cheek in the morning,
Painted my hair with its dust
When darkness fell, in the kitchen
Grandpa would hold me close
Tell me stories of his boyhood
He talked of Mexico the most
And when I slept, I dreamed of those days
Mi abuela in long bright skirts
Of my Grandpa's hands playing guitar
Red apples, the color of the earth.


whale bone

salt winds
bleach beached wood
unrecognizable tree carcass:
a spruce? a cedar?
stripped now, becoming shell

we walk among the million rocks,
different in size and shape
mold on our shoes
(hoof rot, she calls it)
navigating bird skeletons and wood pulp
eyes on the horizon

those sea-dwellers
whose bread is the wind
left me nothing

but a box of moss light
i opened it
under house of shell and sky.


on counting to 1,000

gifts from the weekend
990. Longboarding to the Y on weeknights, yoga mat in tow
991. yesterday's 60+ degree weather and sol, sol, sol
992. Prairie Nocturne, Ivan Doig: currently reading
993. running 13.5 miles Saturday. And not dying!!
994. Lentil burgers from The Green Spoon, eaten with new friends
995. followed by a night hike
996. bouldering at the Whitman wall
997. a giftcard to the Patisserie from Kia'a mom
Thanks, Ann Voskamp.


I grew up on a lake. Most evenings of my first ten years of existence were spent walking its 2.25 mile perimeter, or else canoeing around it at dusk.

My mother's spun mythology permeates my childhood, the way she called the little patch of land surrounded by water ''Monkey Island,'' telling me stories about the orangutans who resided there. Christmas morning, she would ask, ''Did you hear the bells on the roof last night?'' and I would shake my head, wondering, How did I sleep through magic?

She was the one who convinced me, easily, that the fake deer along our neighbors' driveways were real, so that I would tiptoe past, not wanting to scare them.

She measured road trip time in Sesame Street episodes and told me stories whenever we had to drive more than 30 minutes, about my friends and me solving mysteries for our neighbors, hiding out in our tree-house club house, always heading down to the swimming hole in the woods at the end.

In a way, I think these stories, this enchantment, saved me. They helped me to access another world when real life did not feel safe, did not appear to be a desired story.

I was amazed to learn that over 50% of Wyoming's lands are public, that hematologists make upwards of $260,000 in a year... but you couldn't pay me enough to study blood, even if I had the mind for it.

The fog rains and the steaming kettle sings and dailiness is, in fact, luxury, if we will only take note.

Well I've been thinking of eating kumquats out of the trees at Westmont every year about this time, of the dogwood red along creekbeds farther north, the plum blossoms of February and March in San Francisco, the quickly-coming jasmine of Santa Barbara. I know I'll be heart-glad any moon now. I know the days themselves are rich.

And riding the bus with little J. after school, helping her get home in case of seizure, well the first time I boarded all I could think of were the last buses I rode, much further south, of the heart-attack feeling of fear at the driving, then the letting go, the trusting that things would be okay, the enjoyment, even, of the trip.

I've been thinking of the magic of our days, even in March grayness. Of the hope that all things will come together. So I will keep letting go.
The Patisserie is playing the Chili Peppers and Jimmy Eat World. Not that I didn't love these bands in their day (when was that, 7th-10th grades?)... but this is a little strange. I have such a hard time going back to music I've played out.

And in other news, I'm registered! May 19!!! OMG, OMG, OMG!!!!! I'm halfway through the training, I just have to keep remembering, so I don't freak out. :)



''Did the hobgoblin inhabit the distant dismal bogs?'' reads the sentence in our phonics book. Emilio, reading, stumbles over hobgoblin: ''Hhh...hob...hobble...hhh...hobblegob...hobgob...'' This is one of those rare occasions where I burst out laughing in front of my students. ''It's not you,'' I quickly reassure Emilio, ''these sentences are ridiculous.''

Need more proof?

''This pathetic ostrich is exotic but not splendid.''
''My despondent dentist consults with a skillful calligraphist about his dismal penmanship.''

I understand the point of phonics is to teach, well, phonics, not vocabulary. But when you are working with kids who speak functional English, who maybe understand one-in-four words I say and far less of the ones we read... well, it just gets a bit silly. I will not knock the program though, perhaps in the long run, it really helps. I only wish I could get a job writing sentences as ludicrous as that!