Wednesday, November 19, 2008

These are a few of my favorite things

Lately I have been listening to the music channels on Comcast and this morning while I was buzzing around doing laundry I decided to listen to the TV on the movie soundtracks and show tunes channel. A song came on from one of my favorite musicals, The Sound of Music: Favorite Things performed by Julie Andrews. I decided that I will start a posting of my current favorite things. This is just for some fun and I will continue to add to this list or even change it as I find new favorites. Enjoy!!

Favorite Salad Dressing: Pumpkin Vinaigrette; This is my variation on the one that was shared by a friend (Thanks Aubergine shoes!)

4 cloves of garlic freshly minced
1/4 C. of honey
1 T sea salt
1 t. black pepper
1/2 -3/4 C. of pumpkin puree- depends on the consistency you want
1 C. of rice vinegar or 3/4 C. of champagne vinegar
1 1/2 cup of vegetable oil or olive oil if you want a flavor with more depth

Favorite Sweetener: Star Thistle Honey from Pat Brady, a bee-keeper who is periodically at the Eastern Market and his honey is amazing. The Star thistle is my favorite, it is whipped and it's consistency is so creamy and SO GOOD! His Trefoil Honey is also amazing.

Favorite Snack: Power Bars from an amazing book titled: Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children. This is a must for anyone who is concerned about instilling healthy eating habits in children. They discuss nutrition for children based on age and address the issues of childhood obesity and diabetes in our country. It is also an excellent resource for parents who want to address the issues of healthy and fresh food in school cafeterias and has wonderful recipes as well. Such as this one:
1/3 C. of canola plus more to oil the pan
1/2 C. honey
1/2 C. light corn syrup
2 C. of rolled oats
3 C. of puffed rice cereal
1 C. dried fruit, we love raisins, golden raisins and cranberries mixed
1 1/2 C. almond pieces
1/4 C. shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350 Grease a 9X12 inch pan. Combine the oil, honey and corn syrup in a pan on the stove and heat until warm, or in the microwave is fine too for about 1 minute. In a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Toss together and then pour the warm honey mix over the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Oil a spatula or hands and press down lightly. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool in pan then remove and cut into bars and store in an airtight container. I have found that if I bake longer than 15 minutes the bars don't stick together as well, more like a granola-which is perfect to top yogurt with-mmm!!!

Favorite Comcast Music Channel: 433, Soundscapes; this is so relaxing and has helped me during the day when I need something to help me find a place of balance. I turn it on and lay on the couch for a few minutes and meditate, sometimes drifting into a well-needed nap

Favorite Quote: "work is love made visible" ~Kahlil Gibran

Favorite Smell: Cinnamon Sticks , Cloves and Cardamon cooking on the stove or a fire in the fireplace, I love these smells every fall and winter

Favorite Hot Drink: Tibetan Chai, see the "Just Another Day" posting for the recipe and an Americano with the mellow flavoring from Bigby Coffee

Favorite Cold Drink: Raspberry Stoli with Lime Tonic and a squeeze of fresh lime juice and fresh raspberries. This was our favorite of the summer and still in on top of the list. A Key Lime Martini is not too far behind though!

Favorite Book: This is a hard one. I am starting to read The Secret Lives of Bees again because I remember really enjoying it the first time around. I didn't even know that it was a movie until a couple of days ago! I really want to get bees, maybe one day when we eventually leave the city I can and maybe chickens also :)

Favorite Magazine: I love Mother Earth News and Mother Jones. With the both of these I can cover everything that I am passionate about.

Favorite CD: Red Letter Year by Ani Difranco , December by George Winston and Vagabond Lullabies by Po' Girl (I love their websight also because it streams their music for you to listen to- I like it in the background while I write). I seem to listen to these CDs a lot.

Favorite Dance Song: Closer by Ne-Yo (Thanks Na!) I could listen to this 100 times in a row I swear. It makes me move, it makes me smile :)

Favorite Love Song: Lucky by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat

Favorite new music source: Pandora Radio this is a really fun free music Internet sight that you can create your own stations based on a type of music you like or even an artist you like. It is a great way to be introduced to new artists. You can even get it on your phone! (Thanks farm mom!)

Favorite TV show: The Colbert Report , The Daily Show and anything political. I also love watching The Food Network and HGTV. And my guilty pleasure, The Kathy Griffin Show on Bravo, she is so far out there and wrong-and I LOVE it.

Favorite Holiday Movies: The Family Stone, Love Actually and White Christmas

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Oh to be back in college again! I am taking this moment to admit that I am a nerd and if I could be on college campus the rest of my life that is where I would be happiest.

Earlier this week I spent a day back at college and was loving every moment of it! Even trekking across campus in the bitter winds of winter didn't matter to me. It felt nice to be back in an environment that I have such an affinity for. I went back to Oakland to be a guest speaker at the request of my dear friend who is the director of the Women and Gender Studies department. She put together a small panel of former students who have graduated with degrees in WS to talk about what they are doing in life and how having a degree in this field has shaped their lives.

As I was driving there I was thinking about what I was going to say. I was the unemployed feminist who was going to be talking about how I have used my passion for women's issues and feminism to shape my experiences with volunteer work and my experience as a stay-home mother of two. I have to admit I was nervous because I anticipated the questions and the looks I would receive when I said that I am not only a mother of two, but a mother who chose to stay home.

When most people (including feminists) think of someone being a feminist they have a very clear image in there head of what that person looks like, what their politics are and what "choices" they have made with their lives. Feminists might be the hardest critics of each other when it comes to fitting the criteria or making the "check-list" . One is a feminist if....

So I went, I met some new, wonderful people and I spoke about how my passion for women's studies has shaped my life; how it has shaped each choice that I have made in my life. Because that is what we as feminists fight for, right? Freedom, equality and yes... choice. But I am curious as to when in the movement the idea of choice began to apply just to reproductive rights, abortion and sexuality and not EVERY choice a womyn makes as she transitions through her life. And also why it is that these other choices are not discussed, practiced, or supported in this community? I am sure that some would argue with me that feminists do believe, practice and support these range of choices and yes, I am one of those feminists and I am sure there are some others out there, but we are in the minority. My experience as a mother who is part of what is now considered the third wave, has not been welcomed with overwhelming support, or even moderate support. If I were to rattle off all of the times that I have been met with opposition from my own community for the choices that I have made this email would take you a serious amount of time to read.

So yes, I did talk about what I have done since college and I guarantee that is not what any of them expected me to say; I could see it on there faces. And yes, I did get the question, the first question asked: as a feminist, how did I come to this place of motherhood and why am I staying at home? So it was at that point that I went into my rant on choice and what it should mean, and how and why I have made the choices to become a mother and stay at home. I am always amazed that as I explain my understanding of choice that many have never really viewed choice the same way. But as I started explaining myself and my belief system I could see expressions changing and it led the group into an amazing conversation about choices and the importance of applying this idea of "choice" to all areas of our lives. Numerous people were able to offer their own examples of educated choices they have made in their lives and the difficulty or ease that accompanies these choices. It was at that moment I felt proud to be a part of that community and hopeful that the more we talk about issues such as "choice" that we will redefine their meanings and finally loose the check-list!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lazy Sunday....

This has been the first Sunday in over a month that has actually felt like what I believe a Sunday should feel like:lazy! Even though I was up at 6 am, it still has been a laid back day with very little fighting among the kids and very little noise in our home. Greg made breakfast and cleaned the kitchen while I listened to Christmas music with the gurl (at her request) and colored. The boy has kept himself moving through the house finding numerous things to do and get into, but he has left his sister alone and that has made it a very pleasant morning.

It is snowing right now. The first real snow of the season; everything is coated in a fine layer of white and it looks beautiful. I want to take a picture to remember it because in another month we will have mounds of snow and roads full of grey slush that will make me (and everyone else in Michigan) despise leaving my house especially with two babies because it takes way too much effort and energy. But right now as we dressed up in our winter gear to go out and catch snowflakes on our tongues I basque in this moment of pleasure and excitement. it is well into the evening and I am still in my flannel pj's that are oh so comfy and I have not yet climbed in the shower because that takes just too much effort. I took a short nap on the couch before lunch and if I could have slept all day I would have. Since I am on my own tonight I made some pizza dough so that we have an easy dinner and the kids can help me pile it with topping-something the gurl always loves to do and what kid doesn't love pizza? Pizza, salad, and maybe some gelatto for dessert if we are not too cold.

Gregory is at the funeral home, his Situe passed away Friday morning and so he won't be home until late this evening since today many family members from out of state will be in to offer their condolences and respect. I am happy for Situe, because she lived a full life (96yr. old almost 97) and now she is no longer in pain, but with that being said, we will miss her dearly. It is sad to see so many others who are mourning. Especially her children because at the end of the day their mother will no longer be a physical presence in their lives. They are very blessed to have had her present for so many of their greatest moments in their lives.

I know that feeling of loss all too well. My father died when I was twelve. It was sudden and very tragic. His death has fills me with an overwhelming sadness at times that he was not present for my college graduation, marriage and the birth of my children, but I take comfort in knowing that his presence is with me and I honestly believe that. I talk to him when times are good and when times are bad. Even though he is not here to hold me, comfort me or give me advice I know that he is still with me. This summer confirmed that to me when I had a beautiful session with a medium who was able to offer me information that I had been wanting and needing to know for years. Today on this lazy day I think of him and know that his presence is here with me and my children as we go about our evening making pizza and listening to Christmas music. Now I must make a fire and read with the kids...which it is a perfect night for and then maybe a bath...a perfect way for ME to end my day!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Identity Crisis

For the last 9-10 months I have been a mess! I have been on a non-stop emotional roller-coaster. I have been that crazy hormonal womyn who cries instantly over the smallest of things; whose patience is as thin as tissue paper and who has had a very hard time finding true joy in any area of her life. I stopped breastfeeding my little one back in early March and I began to wonder if maybe all of this was attributed to that and my hormones being out of whack. But after an $800 blood test (don't get me started on this b.s.!) to test my thyroid, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels all they could tell me was that all of these are normal and exactly where they should be. So my doctor then says maybe I am dealing with depression. Okay...depression, really? AND that I should get a low dose prescription of Prozac. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is coming from doctors that know how my family functions: no immunizations, no antibiotics and doing EVERYTHING as naturally as we can. This is coming from doctors who have not done a psychological evaluation, nor even talked to me about what has been going on in my life over the last 8 months such as:
  • being mother of two kids under 4; 24-7
  • constant sleep deprivation
  • taking on responsibilities at my daughter's school
  • realizing that my husband is probably always going to work way too hard and not give himself the rest and downtime that he needs-that we need
  • realizing that I am turning obsessive about my house being clean
  • having a mother, whom I am not particularly close with, move in with me for four months and then up and moves to Oklahoma leaving my daughter with serious separation anxiety
  • a teething son who cut 6 teeth within two month
  • a garden to tend to (which usually isn't stressful, but was at times this year)
  • extremely difficult menstrual cycles that take me days to recover from
  • and the everyday issues of multi-tasking and life i.e. finances, food, computer problems, car problems...the list goes on
So that is not really a lot of stress and yes maybe I am dealing with a little depression, but I am beginning to realize that more than anything else I am struggling with an identity crisis. I am having a hard time with who I have become, because I no longer see myself as what I once was. And in all truth, I am no longer who I once was. I am now a mother; this is my primary identity as hard as that is to accept sometimes, it's true. I had a very interesting conversation with a dear friend this weekend, who had an interesting conversation with a dear friend of hers the day before ( all of us young mothers). The topic: mourning ourselves; our former identities before the identity of mom took over. How do we get back to who were? I don't know if that is possible, because our lives have changed, pretty drastically and this new element is now a part of what defines us.

So the real question for me is how do I meld the two? How do I redefine who I am to incorporate the pre-mom Lacey and the post-mom Lacey? Am I doing it already and just not realizing it and how is it that I only started feeling this way after my second child?

I no longer see myself as this fiery, independent, young feminist and activist who is ready to take on the patriarchal world. But I see myself as this overly tired and overly stressed mother of two who is ready to be done with changing diapers, who wants a little freedom back in her life, not a child always at my feet or on my hip and as someone who on rare occasion has time to actively engage in her feminist and environmentalist agendas. When I was pregnant it wasn't an issue for me because I had experienced pregnancy and birth through the lens of female empowerment and I used that to shape my experiences. Since then I have found many things over the last four years to take interest in and even develop a passion for, but I have reached a place in my life where I am mourning that former self. I miss that freedom and independence that I once cherished dearly.

I think many womyn feel this way once they become mothers, yet it is something that we don't discuss often so we have a hard time articulating what it is that we are feeling. And it is hard to find a confidant in which to have these types of conversation. Are we that scared of admitting that motherhood is not all kisses and giggles? Whether we have chosen to be stay-home moms or moms who work inside and outside of the home, we all deal with the same struggles and balancing acts. We need to talk about it together and we need to offer support to each other. I now have a wonderful community of mothers around me who I am starting to openly discuss such difficult issues with. And I am spending more time writing to discover what it is that I want and need at this moment in my life.

I do feel that since I have taken up writing again I am connecting with myself again, a piece of myself that was lost quite some time ago. Writing has been a way to remind myself of the natural process of evolving; who I was, who I am and who I will become. Writing has created an outlet to let this new chapter of my life (motherhood) foster a new creativity that I have been longing for. It has been almost a year I have been craving a creative outlet and I have made a list of many things that I want to do: take up a new instrument, sew, knit, crochet, write a book, take a dance class, start a blog. Something that is for me; just ME. And I am slowly working on some of these things and teaching myself that it is okay to spend time on me. So as I start to navigate this journey through connecting the old me and the new me, strengthening who I am and who I want to be I ask for your kind ears at times and once in a while I might even need a shoulder to cry on.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Anything is possible

I can't seem to keep much composure these last two days. I am so overjoyed. I can't stop crying..

I hear his name... I cry.
I see others who are crying...I cry.
I watch the speech over and over and...I cry.
I hear an interview on NPR with Rev. Jesse Jackson...I cry.
I think of what a moment in history this is...I cry.
I think of every person of color I know...I cry.
I think of the pride I feel for this country and our democracy...I cry.
I think of the long journey ahead of us and this country...I cry.
I think of the last 8 years and all of the damage that needs to be fixed...I cry.
I watch this video and even this video and I can't stop crying for some reason...I cry & cry & cry.

I now feel that anything is possible and some may call me foolish, but I have a new hope and confidence for the people of this country and the people of the world. I want to be a part of this change. I want my children to have a better future and now I have hope for that. I frequently pray for a future for all children that is unfettered; that they can follow their wildest dreams and conquer them. I believe that is in the realm of possibility. I want my daughter to believe that she can accomplish anything including being President which is on her list of what she wants to be; artist, mommie, President. "I like being the boss, I think I want to be President one day, because then I can REALLY be the boss." Now when I tell her along with her brother that anything is possible, it is not just words coming from my mouth, but from my heart.

It is a new day in America; a new day in our world and I am so honored to be able to be a part of it. I am ready to be a part of this movement and I am ready to extend myself and join those who are already fighting. I have sat lazily on the the sidelines for too long running my mouth at all that is unjust, yet not doing a damn thing about it. This election cycle stirred a change in me. A moving away from the apathy that I have harbored for far too long. And I am ready to exercise my rights and let my voice be heard.

I know I am up for the challenge, are you?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Jitters

I am so nervous today. Today history will be made and I will be able to tell my children that I was there, I voted in that election. I have been up since 5 a.m. just anticipating tonight and the outcome of the election. I am feeling confident about Obama, but I know that feeling of disappointment all too well; the last two Presidential elections as well as the last two Detroit Mayoral elections. I am nervous because I know that these other elections had a negative effect on my love for political and social issues. They sent me spiraling down a path of complacency. A path that this one amazing politician, Barack Obama, has been able to pull me off of and out of my funk and restore my hope and excitement about such issues.

I know that Obama is not perfect, and I love that he recognizes that and admits that his presidency won't be either, but I truly believe that he has a beautiful energy and a gift to bring this country together and push for a change that this country needs on so many issues: health care, environment, the war and the economy are the top of so many lists. But I am also hoping as a feminist, womyn, mother, partner, environmentalist, urban dweller, gardener ( and the list goes on) that more than these four issues are addressed over the next few years. I am full of hope today! So today I will take my children, walk down to our community house and cast my vote in hopes for a real change in America.

It has been almost 12 hours since I started this entry and I keep coming back to it because I can't sit still. I have baked a loaf of country wheat bread, I have made 3 dozen of banana nut muffins with Marscopone frosting, I have made a batch of the Madras Curry Pumpkin Choc. Chip cookies that I have been dying to get the recipe exactly the way I want it, I have found 2 hours of clean-up to do in the yard, I have colored with my daughter, and I HAVE VOTED!!!

I am guessing this won't be the last of this the night goes on I will most likely find so much more to say!

12:25 a.m. -YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS HOPE!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thoughts on this year's harvest and what the future holds

I just finished up my final week of garden work and preserving food for the winter. I planted my fall crops such as 68 cloves of garlic, about 25 Egyptian onions and I worked about 15 lbs. of llama manure and A LOT of compost into my garden beds. I also insulated my new fig tree and piled my leeks up with leaves to insulate them for the fall and early winter, I have about 40 so that should get me through until spring, or close. I finished shelling all of my garbanzo beans and I should have enough for two batches of hummus. I canned the last of my tomatoes and I got 4 pints of stewed tomatoes, so that bring my tomato total up to 25 pints and 6 quarts of whole tomatoes and 6 quarts and 4 pints of stewed tomatoes. I am hoping that is enough since we use an average of 3 pints a week. I also am thinking about grabbing some more down at the market this Saturday if there are any left and doing another big batch of stewed tomatoes.

We have almost 50 lbs. of pumpkins, I think for the first year that is not bad. I have acquiring recipes for the use of pumpkin, because I hate pumpkin pie and besides it is just too boring. Along with a friend we are trying to figure out an amazing madras curry pumpkin chocolate chip cookie and I think we have it close, I am trying out the recipe today with a couple of adaptations to see how it goes. I also was told by the same amazing womyn about pumpkin kibee so I am trying to find a recipe for that and I found a recipe for a pumpkin cinnamon pasta sauce. I wish I had an ice cream maker because I love pumpkin ice cream, but I guess I will just have to settle for the pumpkin spice gelato at Whole Foods-which is beyond amazing! I am realizing there are many uses for these beautiful fruits. I also started the process of cooking down some of the pumpkins and pureeing it to freeze for use this winter in breads, cookies and whatever else I may experiment with.

As far as my garlic goes, well...I thought about planting more since I use about 3 heads a week and I am already out of hardneck from this last year. But if I were to do that, it would take up a lot more room and I haven't thought that much about what I will be planting for next year so I guess 68 will have to do and fingers crossed that I don't loose any. This last year I harvested 36 heads of hardneck and 14 softneck and I had planted about 40 of each; my softneck didn't do so well this year, I think I didn't fertilize it enough, who knows!

Anyway, I am happy and sad the season has come to a close. I still have to dig out some of my herbs and bring in for winter use, pull the last of my beets and carrots and then I will officially be done. I am happy because now it is time to do projects inside the house and read. I love to sit with something warm to drink and curl up with a good book and there are many on my shelves that are beckoning me. As far as the house goes, there is always something that needs to be done. I will try to get some painting done these next few weeks before it gets too cold-although I think the cold is already here to stay. All of this is almost as exciting, although I will miss plunging my hands into the earth and talking to all of those worms and micro-organisms that help me out.

I was asked recently why I spend so much time and energy on such garden tasks when they "seem" more work than what they are worth. I stood in amazement ( I am sure I had a dropped jaw) and didn't even know where to start. It was during pick-up last week at my daughter's school and I didn't have time to go into my whole philosophy about food, politics, health care, the environment and poverty...because they are all interconnected. So all I could do was say that I was sad to hear so many people have lost their connection with the earth and that there are numerous reasons to know where your food is coming from; if for no other reason health being the primary. I then decided as I drove home that I would send this womyn an email with a link to the brilliant article, "Farmer in Chief" in the NY Times a couple of weeks ago by the well-respected Michael Pollan. I am hoping that she reads this and gets a tiny peek into what is going on with agriculture and farming right now and not just discounts it as biased liberal media given to her by a vegetarian, environmentalist liberal (which is what I am almost positive that she sees me as).

Even if you may think that this is not an important issue I added the link to the article so that you have the opportunity to understand how the food policy needs to be a priority to everyone including our next president, whomever he may be. And also to educate on why our food system in this country needs attention. This article might just help some people understand why so many like myself have made a commitment to producing as much of their own food as they can and what they can't produce they take control over where it comes from.

So as this election comes to a close we will soon have a new President and even though I am hoping for Obama I am also praying that either way, Obama or McCain, that this new President will take on this issue, because we can't afford to continue using insecticides and pesticides, planting GMO crops and eating heavily processed foods; we need change. We need a sustainable future for our country and our mother earth.