Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Unplugged


I was reading a post by julochka this morning and reflecting on technology in general. We're headed out of town tomorrow for the lake. There is limited cell phone connectivity and I'll be without my computer for a whole week!

We've had a great visit with my Brother-in-law and Sister-in-law the last few days. It amazes me the lightning speed with which Mark can navigate his iPhone. I love technology. It's thrilling to see all of the "necessities" that are right at our fingertips. Within the last year the kids have become Google fiends. Sidney (8), began using it as a resource and has a insatiable appetite for researching anything of interest. Even Charlie (6) is infatuated with Googleing something, mainly Star Wars or Ben 10, but still small words he can hack out to get to the desired location.

I've found that I'm very computer dependent myself. Email has virtually replaced the telephone for most communication. You can Email, Facebook, or Twitter conversations in real time and admit it....there's something a bit exciting every time you get the notification that you've got a new message. I can get the news, weather, shop, or connect to about any information that I require in seconds. Talk about immediate gratification. Especially since I've entered into the wonderful world of blogging and seem to see life in bloggable snapshots. Hmmm, maybe the time away will be good for me. :)

All of that being said, I've also had some wonderful conversations with my best email buddies on the phone and you realize how you somewhat miss the long leisurely conversation. You know, like the ones we had when we spent our teen years connected to the telephone, and texting wasn't even a blip on the radar yet. I guess it all comes back to a recurring theme here. Balance. Finding the place where technology and humanity can be melded together seamlessly and allow for the best of all worlds; the convenience of technology with the ability to recognize the richness that life outside the monitor has to offer. Using technology as a tool for enrichment, and not a screen to hide behind.

I've noticed the past few times we've gone on vacation and been separated from our technology, that the world did in fact not stop. We survived with flying colors the void of immediate connectivity. I bid you adieu, dear blogger, for the week.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunday Funny




How true this is!  And we're getting ready for a long drive down to Beaver Lake in Arkansas.  Yikes!!

Happy  Sunday!

Summertime Roll




I don't know what it is about summertime, but even as a grown-up it seems so much more relaxed.  More time for everything outdoors.  This  could be the result of being snowbound for 5 months, but the extended evening light energizes even those of us early risers, to prolong our days into the late evening sunsets.

When we were growing up (Billy & I), we would spend a week every summer at a place called the Alisal.  It is a guest ranch in Solvang, CA. and was a perfect place full of rest, relaxation and fun.  You'd turn in the drive and just know you were on vacation, and ready to see the same friends every year.  It has a similar kind of simple care free feeling to the vacation setting in Dirty Dancing.  For many years Brian and I also went there, it was our choice for a honeymoon spot.  

We've often commented that just driving into our long secluded drive feels like we've turned down Alisal Rd.  All we're missing is the landscape dotted with oaks.  We do have one oak tree, but it's fairly hidden, out in the tree row.  Brian just found a baby oak growing which he managed to transplant a month ago and it's doing great.  What a blessing that this is the feeling we come home to!  Our kids get to suspend real life when they come home and play, help in the garden, or dream up a new project (Sidney is currently dying to make a vermiculture).  

Interesting thought... do the kids get to suspend real life, or is it the grown-ups doing that?  We've created this increasingly efficient environment for them to call home and it is their real life.  So is our escape and dream just their cool childhood?  I hope so.

I've been remiss on garden pictures so I've included some of the lushness that is getting larger everyday.  We picked swiss chard last night and leave it to Brian to create a great centerpiece with it the day before we consume it.  

The only downside to this years garden, is it seems to be the blood letters den.  Do not go and peruse the veggies un-protected.  The vampire-like mosquitos will swarm!  We're just waiting, weeding, and watering right now as things ripen and mature.  It is however, berry time!  We're harvesting today, currents, mulberries and raspberries which are all abundant.  As an aside, Brian just left for a morning walk along the train tracks to pick wild blackberries.

As to the cutting garden, I just left it to grow this year.  The time that it needed the most attention, was right when both Brian and Charlie had their separate yet equally traumatic accidents.  I've found that letting all of the wild flowers go to seed last year allowed for a beautiful and natural cutting garden this year.  The echinacea is blooming beautifully right now and the natural "weeds" that have come up in between are gorgeous.  There's something to be said for less is more on the intervention front and just let it grow and flourish.  

Maybe that is what we need to take away from life... less is more, just grow and flourish.

***if you'd like to listen to one of our favorite Janes songs and the inspiration for this blog title go here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Simple Things Wednesday




It never ceases to amaze me, the simple pleasures.  Here's this weeks list....

**I love the sound of cicada's, I know that my favorite part of summer is here when I first hear their voices.

**Chasing fireflies with the kids.  Hundred's of these glowing beauties at eye level are so graceful and they fly the perfect speed to catch.  (we were only able to get one snapshot off, but we captured it, not that's not an artifact in the photo :))!

**Fresh mulberries from the tree, made into daiquiris on game night.

**Sitting on the couch at the end of a long day and Brian and I shelling peas from the garden.

**Setting the kids loose in the garden to eat their way through the berry patch.

**Listening to a summer storm while drinking my morning coffee.

Enjoy your week ahead!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Weekday Wind-Down



Just a quick note to end the day.  The kids have settled in for the evening and had a favorite supper request, butter noodles and shrimp.

  Now it is time for the grown-ups to relax, watch "le Tour De France" and enjoy.  Brian found me this cool, fresh summer bottle of vino to enjoy and we're getting ready to dig into a beautiful salad made solely of our garden's bounty (sans the goat cheese). 

 I'm beginning to contemplate those precious gems that I was thankful for this week, stay tuned tomorrow for my second edition of Simple Things Wednesday.....

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Work, Play, Love, Open The Proverbial Can of Worms



Brian and I have always been very committed to each other.  We enjoy our time and find that we are each other's most trusted and valued confidant.  Some said we should be committed when we bought the business and began working together too.  All aspects of our life, family, play and livelihood are intricately woven together and I can't imagine having it any other way.  There have been many nights over the years where we'll lay awake planing, and will be so energized by the plans, that even having had no sleep didn't make us too tired the next day at work!

We dream big and we seem to jump into many a can of worms with both feet.  Whatever we do, we do it ourselves and take great joy in the hard work and the accomplishments.    
I'm thinking of this all today as Brian has begun another gargantuan task. The re-building of the drive to a portion of the barn, lowering the grade and replacing the floor.  It's been a project in process since the beginning of the summer, but since his accident, been left to idle.  Now it's of the utmost importance to complete, as we need to get the boat out for the lake trip and it's being held hostage about 4 feet above grade right now.

I can think back to every house we've owned (tally at 5 and I'm done counting, we're staying here)!  Each house has had massive yard projects that friends and family have thought we were crazy to do ourselves.  Aside from many farm improvements and  landscape jobs of every shape and size, one in particular stands out.  

When we lived in Vegas, our second house had a good sized lot.  We decided to put in a large, virtually pool deep, terrace with steps down into a garden and a small pond.  Keeping in mind this was yet another job where there was need for a large tractor.  The landscape was sand and rock and we were working in 110 degrees.  We got it done and it was beautiful and quite an accomplishment. 

 I went back several years later to take a peak.  I figured whoever lived there now would have filled it in, or put in a pool.  It was still there and  covered in the now mature vegetation that we had lovingly hand picked and planted years before to fit into a lush desert xeroscape.  And yes the desert left in it's natural state is incredibly lush and beautiful!

Our life is peppered with dreams, ideas, ambitions, hard work, accomplishments and most of all our family, love and each other.  I hope our kids learn from us that with hard work, determination and a can of worms they can reach their dreams too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Best Intentions


The craziness!  I have spent a bit of time this evening reading blogrolls.  I enjoy finding new and interesting people to follow.  Then it happened, I found this cool graphic (above) from Wordle on a blog (that I was really enjoying by the way)!  So I went to the site, put my information in and viola the above graphic.  How easy is this!?  Well not so easy I guess, because this simple thing has now taken me an hour to figure out how to get posted into my blog!  Jeez, the can of worms, something so simple turning into a cyber-adventure!  So I apologize now to the dear person whose blog I just found this on.  I'd love to give you credit.  However, in all of my efforts to get this darned thing posted I can't find you again!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Simple Things Wednesday

A wonderful idea presented by soul aperture.  Listing the simple things that make you happy right now.  You know, those things that make you take a moment and slow your life down and  appreciate all of the gifts around you.  Here are a few of mine:

That when I tell my little boy that I love him, his response is always :"I love you more!"


The smell of fresh lavender


Newly cut wild flowers from the garden sitting on the kitchen sink

Watching Sidney's imagination working at full steam ahead.


The pure joy of childhood and that I can relive the simple pleasures again with my kids.

I think a weekly tribute to what we cherish is a fantastic and very grounding idea.  I hope to make this a regular entry!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer Simplicity


As we are beginning our last day in California, here is a snapshot from yesterday evening. There is a threesome of dragonflies that have kept us company all week at the pool. Last night they seemed to be playing with us, flying with their iridescent purple wings around our heads, landing on the pool toys and floating along with us. There's something about watching this that just emanates summer in it's peaceful simplicity; where lazy days can be highlighted with something as simple as a game of dragonfly tag.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Babette's Feast, Buffalo Exchange & Bike Lanes







We're enjoying our California vacation immensley. We have accomplished some of our favorite things, the 3 'B's'. We ate an al fresco breakfast in Belmont Shore at Babette's Feast, a great little french bistro. Then we proceeded to our favorite second had shop Buffalo Exchange, and enjoyed digging through the new and recycled clothing. Finally as we're walking back to the car I see the Bike Lane. Amazing, and different since the last time we were here. It's the whole right lane designated for bicycles and the cars must go around them! Fabulous!

The weather has been beautiful and we're preparing today for an outdoor family 4th BBQ. Great stuff I love getting ready the deviled eggs, bean salsa, and pasta salad. We're doing it Wisconsin style and are introducing the family to beer bath brats with onions, yum!




The kids have been inseparable with Grandma and Papa and Sid has gotten to swim her little heart out. Charlie has been a great sport and doing well finding things to do despite his cast. And of course the endless viewing of Buffy with Grandma. In fact they've designated the room where they watch it the "Buffy Cave". I guess that's the 4th 'B'!!

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