Thursday, January 27, 2011

Living Abroad (Creating at least one post in 2011!)

So we made the move, finally got the computer fixed, got our 4 year old into school and the search is on for work, housing and all the fine things in life.

I'm considering having a more "Dutch thoughts" related blog that is separate from my personal blog, as a clean start, saving this blog for musings that are about life in general, or whatevs, as Cattie might say.

The sun is out right now, which I find extremely exciting.

That's all!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Home Grown Cultural Salon and WEV Fundraiser

Food. Wine. Sweets. Culture. Community. Fundraiser
Tantalize your Intellect and Tastebuds
While Donating to Women Economic Ventures!

Lime Green Monkey invites you to a wonderful evening of fun and fund raising at Oreana Winery to benefit WEV -

Oreana Winery in Santa Barbara will transform into a salon the evening of Wednesday November 10th, 2010. Not “salon” as in a hair cut or makeover. Rather, expect a salon in the 16th century French version of the word: a cultural gathering of citizens coming together to expand their knowledge through conversation and entertainment.

“When I was enlisted to join the alumni fundraising campaign for Women’s Economic Ventures, I wanted to create an event I would like to attend—something cultural, inspiring and interactive, with an organic feel, but at a price that doesn’t break the bank,” said Kristin Anderson, a WEV graduate and owner of Lime Green Monkey, an eco-business that vends organic cotton handkerchiefs and cloth napkins.

The Home Grown Cultural Salon, only $30 in advance and $35 at the door, will feature performances by singer songwriter Earl Arnold, a local Indy favorite known for his band “Earl” and Antara Hunter, who has been part of the SB music scene since 1997, including a 10-year stint in the dynamic duo Antara & Delilah.

In addition, salon attendees will enjoy a reading by Patrick McHugh who teaches writing at UCSB, and a reading by Jenna McCarthy—author of the Parent Trip—who will be reading from her latest book Til Death Do Us Part is a Really Long Time, due out Summer 2011.

Organic appetizers made from local organic produce donated by Fairview Gardens will be prepared by "The Surfin' Chef" Erik Stenberg with Out of the Box Collective , and cookies will be made by “Cookies in Heaven” expert Jillian Johnson from organic ingredients donated by Whole Foods, Santa Barbara. And, of course, your ticket includes a glass of wine from Oreana Winery, with more available at the no host wine bar. Non-alcoholic beverages donated by Trader Joe’s will also be available.

Don’t forget your checkbooks! A silent auction table will feature a broad range of high quality items donated by local businesses: music speakers from Utopia,, a photographic nature print by Dan Holmes of, an Ayurvedic Facial from Maria Carbonell of, Santa Barbara Women's Self Defense will be donating 2 hours of Private Self Defense Instruction with Teri Coffee McDuffie worth a value of $400, a $25.00 gift certificate from Crush Cakes, a 3-pack of Snottykins organic cotton hankies from and more.

All profits will be donated to Women’s Economic Ventures, a non-profit which provides opportunities for entrepreneurs in every phase of the business life cycle, from start-up and launch, to sustaining and growing your business through training courses, loans and more. As WEV is experiencing a budget shortfall, many graduates are stepping up to the plate in an alumni fundraising campaign that runs through December 31st, 2010. For additional fundraisers, see

Event Details:

What: Home Grown Cultural Salon / Women’s Economic Ventures Fundraiser

Where: Oreana Winery, 205 Anacapa Street, Santa Barbara, CA

When: Wednesday 11/10/10, 7pm -9pm

Cost: $30 in advance, $35 at the door


More Info: or 805.886.9147

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Guinness at 4am . . .book sales and Edomasa

My husband left the house before dawn and headed to the Press Room, a local bar, where he sat in the dark and drank a cup of coffee, before starting in on a Guinness. This sounds like the beginning of some dark tale, but it's much simpler than that. If you want to see the Netherlands play in the 2010 World Cup, this is their witching hour.

Funny thing is, he wasn't alone. Another 25 or so die hard fans filled the bar, including 3 Japanese soccer fans cheering for Japan, Holland's opponent in the Match.

In the meantime, I awoke at 6am and reached to find an empty bed. It didn't take me long to remember where my husband had gone. I felt awake, and took advantage of the moment to read Time magazine's extensive coverage of the World Cup in South Africa, its meaning to the country, the history of Fifa and soccer throughout the world, and even the importance of soccer on Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and countless others were held in prison, and the beacon of hope and equality that a weekly soccer game instilled in this prison population.

I soon realized that my default favorite player is Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon, not for his amazing abilities, but for his story of rags to riches, and, with a salary in the multi-millions, his generosity to his fellow Cameroonians through pumping millions into social development programs that link sports, education and health.

That afternoon as husband and child took a long nap, I headed down to the Santa Barbara Public Library for a blow out book sale (this is indeed how they advertised it), and scored a bag of books, CDs, videos and a beautiful cloth bag all for $20.00. Titles ranged from the I-Ching and the Autobiography of Mother Theresa to Al Franken's Lies and the Lying Liars who Tell Them. It felt like Christmas in June!

When Arie Jan awoke and saw my bounty, he took his turn at the sale. We have no idea where we are going to put all of these new books.

Instead of surprising him with new socks and underwear for Father's Day, I took him to Edomasa for dinner, where dear friends--also a Dutch American couple with a toddler son--joined us. It was a great evening . . great day as a matter of fact. And what better way to celebrate the Dutch victory against Japan, then eating in a Japanese restaurant?

Good night!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Organic Cotton Handkerchiefs part of Central Coast organic movement

Glen Taylor from Specialty Color Services emailed me this morning to congratulate me on a press write up on my organic cotton hanky business in Noozhawk, an online central coast news source. How cool is that? The article covers everything from home made organic pies to organic cotton hankies by Lime Green Monkey. Glad to make the grade!g (Click on this post title to go to the article).

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Description of Society

Our book club recently read A Paradise Built in Hell by Rebecca Solnit. The main, and rather repetitive message is that during times of natural catastrophe and man made disaster, people come together in a spirit of camaraderie that does not exist in every day life; racial, ethnic and economic barriers disappear and a sense of joy and humanity emerges. This beautiful expression of the human spirit is rarely reported in the news, and if it is, it is attributed to the special character of the area. For example, during the 1906 quake in SF, the San Franciscans claimed that the Utopian spirit that emerged was due to the character of San Franciscans, not human nature.
One passage that really spoke to me was a portrayal of our society by J.K. Gibson-Graham, two women writing under one name.
"They portray our society as an iceberg, with competitive capitalist practices visible above the waterline and below all kinds of relations of aid and cooperation by families, friends, neighbors, churches, cooperatives, volunteers, and voluntary organizations from softball leagues to labor unions, along with activities outside the market, under the table, bartered labor and goods and more, a bustling network of uncommercial enterprise."

I love this description of society. It describes the life I live and the lives of those around me. To be isolated in the idea of work as life, is to miss the point of existence. I think the best marriage of work and personal life comes when you find something you are passionate about, and make it your life work. Right now, being home with my son feels very close to this concept. My hours feel worthwhile. Yet, I yearn for more. I think more will come as Ezra gets older, and we have more complex conversations. Yet, already he challenges me for answers that I am still trying to answer for myself.
"Where does God live?" for example. "God lives everywhere." But what does that answer mean to a three year old? And does God live in the heart of a non-believer? Most likely not.

I pray I do not need a catastrophe to awaken a spirit of comaradarie within me. I am already thankful for my life beneath the tip of the iceberg, with all the layers of interconnectedness, friendship and support. It is the tip of the iceberg that so many of us are struggling with right now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Alternative Transportation and Toddlers

What do you do if you live within walking distance of your downtown (1 mile), but that is still too far for little toddler legs to ped it? Yesterday, we had a public transportation adventure. It started with a trot to the bus stop, which is two blocks from our driveway. We made the big leap from the sidewalk to the interior of the bus and found a great seat right in front. The differences between being in our little Ford Focus strapped in the back in a car seat and being in the bus are too many to count, but here are some of the key points relevant to a toddler: you can see all around you, you can look down upon the surrounding vehicles(an entirely new perspective) and you don't have to wear a seat belt or even sit still, and you have a captive audience should you become ecstatic over the public transport experience.

Ezra was by far the most enthusiastic rider. He shared his enthusiasm in a voice loud enough to evoke smiles from the weary college students and folks on their way to work--look mommy, a motorcycle! I see trees. There is the train bridge! Cost: $1.75 (with purchase of a 10-ride bus pass).

Next, we hoofed it down State Street, explored Borders, purchased a great new educational book and met a friend for lunch at Palazzio. After lunch, we were on our way for the long journey to the pier, when the State Street Shuttle appeared at our side. We hopped on (25 cents one way) and cruised all the way to the Wharf. The driver was a little more testy and he slammed on the breaks twice, cursing under his breath in cut off words at a driver who swerved in front of him. The bus lurched forward and I was not so happy about the open door and my toddler without a seat belt. Note: ride in back with kids, where there is no possibility of slipping out the open door!
Next, we walked out on the wharf and looked out at the ocean. Despite the beautiful, sunny weather, we slipped on our sweaters due to the swift and cool breeze coming over the ocean. Ezra asked to stop at a bench and look out at the ocean. He gave me a list of all the things that live in the ocean: sharks, seals, fish, crabs and people who swim. We looked at the sailboats, fishing boats and other small craft going in and out of the harbor. There in front of us was a small boat that was half yellow called a water taxi.
"What kind of boat is that?" he pointed.
"That's a water taxi." I told him. We continued on our walk and luckily the candy store went unnoticed. We saw a group of divers getting ready to dive down beneath the ocean's surface. A tangle of long hoses sat beneath them. I wondered if these would be attached to the air tanks for extended diving, but had no idea.
As we ventured toward the end of the wharf a friendly woman in a little booth asked if we wanted to go on the water taxi.
"How much is it?" I asked, anticipating something well out of our price range.
"One way is $5 for the both of you."
"Five dollars?" I questioned, waiting for a catch. No catch. We could hop in a boat and ride over to the harbor for five bucks. We purchased our tickets and Ezra looked a bit shocked as he was handed a water taxi sticker. We burned the eight minutes til launch time by finishing our tour of the wharf, peering over the edge into the ocean and checking out the four directions painted in bright colors. Surprisingly, when I asked Ezra which way was West, he knew. Lucky guess?
Then we heard the whistle of the taxi boat as it approached. We hurried back to the landing and walked down a large ramp to board to water taxi.

I dug out a life vest and put it on Ezra and we waited patiently for other passengers to board. Ezra was quiet--almost concerned that we were doing something so adventurous. No other passengers arrived and the captain's assistant closed the gate and we were off--our own private cruise in the harbor and Ezra's first time at sea!

The ride took us around the wharf and close to an area where 30 or so seals bathed in the sun atop barrel like objects at the edge of the harbor. As we entered the harbor, Ezra looked in wonder at the boats, at the water and around the boat. Although it lasted only 5 to 10 minutes, this was definitely the highlight of our day. We de-boated at the harbor onto a floating dock and walked up the ramp.

"Mommy, wait, I want to show you something cool." Ezra said as we walked along the metal rail. He pointed to a little crab on the rocks.
"Good eye, Ezra!" The waterfront proved slow going as there was something cool about every 5 feet--a boat, a kayak, a bird, a starfish, some trash floating in the water--before long, it became apparent that there were alphabet opportunities everywhere, and soon he was pointing out E's and S's and other letters and numbers found on boats and signs.

We next ventured across the great stretch of hot sand between us and the walk back to the wharf. The walk called for a snack break and we plopped ourselves down in the warm sand and ate apples and cashews I had stowed away in my backpack.

Back at the wharf, we visited the dolphin fountain and the restroom before catching the State Street Shuttle and riding to the end of the line at Victoria and State.

Next on our itinerary? Trinity Episcopalean. Even though we attend this church a few times a month, Ezra only spends a few minutes in the church at the end of the service. Although my intention was to walk the labyrinth, we saw that the church door was open and Ezra asked to go inside. We walked up the stone steps, through the open red door and interior doors into an empty church, lit only by the prayer candles up front and the sunshine pouring through the stained glass windows.

Ezra looked around with intrigue. He remained absolutely silent and looked at me with wide eyes. He pointed to the windows. He bent his neck backwards and took in the ceiling. He came to me and held my hand as we observed the church in silence. "So pretty." he said in the quietest whisper.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Earth Day Happiness

I am so thankful to have a fledgling business. Well, its not such a fledgling anymore. It has some feathers on its back and webs between its toes and is beginning to paddle along. Lime Green Monkey celebrated its one year anniversary at the 2010 Earth Day Celebration in Santa Barbara.

And, thankfully, a local paper called the Daily Sound responded to a press release, interviewed me and wrote their own write up about Lime Green Monkey and our organic cotton handkerchiefs.

I am so happy to read so many positive comments about our handkerchiefs in the comments section of this article!

I also learned from that an estimated 1 billion plus people will be involved in Earth Day celebrations this year! That is incredible!

There were several complaints that the Santa Barbara Earth Day celebration has become too corporate and leaves out the little guy. I would not have been able to participate if Women's Economic Ventures hadn't sponsored a booth for its green business graduates. So, I too fall in that category of little guy who would have dropped off the green revolution radar, despite the fact that I'm starting the handkerchief revolution, which is all about green if you know what I mean.

Anyway, it is a debate, because change does need to happen on a big level for us to make an impact. Yet, over and over, we hear that it is the little steps that make a difference as well, and if we don't support people and businesses in the fledgling stage of making such changes, we are missing out on future opportunities and niches of ecological friendliness.

Should I rejoice if Walmart offers eco-friendly products, or should I continue to steer clear of this mega store due to its history of low wages and exploitation of workers, and its tendency to wipe out downtown storefronts across America when it comes to town and undercuts all competition, regardless of longevity or local history? I think its all about gray. Yes, its a good thing that Walmart is going green, even if it is just based on a desire to improve corporate image to keep the bottom line strong.

I digress! Yet, tomorrow is Earth Day and this makes me very happy! Another chance to celebrate!

Kindness everyone and Happy Earth Day to you! I certainly hope we not only have it in us to save the environment, but that we take action every day.