Monday, November 16, 2009

My Lime Green Monkey Business

I recently hired Santa Barbara photographer Lindsey Eltinge to do a photo shoot for my business, Lime Green Monkey. Here are some adorable shots of some of my models with Snottykins. All models seen are owners and users of Snottykins organic cotton handkerchiefs. Just as soon as another block of time arrives, I will update my website with our latest designs at

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

That Half Marathon and Other things

Just like any long journey, I suppose I needed time to process my half marathon, which was a month ago yesterday. I did it! All 13.1 miles of it! It was an exciting experience to run with 20,000 other people, to be up before dawn, to feel the excitement build, to be in a crowd silenced by the first notes of the Star Spangled Banner and to feel tears actually welling up in my eyes.

I was impressed that so many people all over the country were training for this event--all scheduling training runs into their busy schedules, with friends or alone. It really gave me a sense of solidarity I haven't had in a long while, because training for such an event is not part of our daily culture--especially after you graduate from college and no longer participate in sports.

Luckily, Barry and Chyrss were there with me to experience a few hours of running in the city of Anaheim and in parts of Disneyland. Would I do it again? Nope. Once is enough. But, I see a 10k in my future, God willing.

Other things! I am so happy to be alive and healthy and to have friends and family that love and care about me. How lucky is that? How blessed is that? Very very blessed.

Peace and Love,


Friday, September 4, 2009

You're running what? Why?

I'm running a half-marathon this Sunday, September 6. 2009 in Disneyland, Anaheim, California, at 6am in the morning. I know it sounds crazy. At least it has always sounded crazy. Like, why? I like my knees just the way they are!

Most people I tell say "oh. That's cool." My mom said "You're running what?" She didn't say the why, but I saw it there on her tongue. And she's not reserved in sharing her thoughts, but for some reason she let the letters dangle just on the other side of her vocal chords and then she swallowed and said something encouraging.

I took notes. I'll need them in the future I'm sure, when Ezra tells me he's hiking the Appalachian Mountain Trail in a week's time.

Anyway, this whole half marathon business wasn't my idea. It was Chryss Yost who put a little spell on me (must be all that time she's spending in Haiti learning about Haitian culture and Santeria.

Anyway, for some reason I said yes. I don't remember if I said it casually, or with an upturn at the end, but regardless, this Sunday I'm doing it. 13.1 miles of one foot in front of the other in Disneyland. I'm sure many have accomplished this feat in Disneyland, but at a pace that makes me look FAST!

Okay, on a less silly note, I am rather excited about it. Not nervous yet. But when I see the other 17,999 people in the race, I think it'll kick in.

Barry Miller, Chryss and I have been training for a few months now, so I actually feel prepared. I saw Dr. Brown, my favorite naturopath who teaches the Morter Health System, on Thursday for a preventative tune up.

I feel like I'm ready and I'll let you know how it feels to run 13.1 miles. I'm sure it is in our biology to do this, just as I am sure my human ancestors were also impatient. We must have run this far in the past, before cars and wagons and domesticating horses and inventing rollerblades. There must have been something a few hours away that we felt a desperate need to run to and see within a short period of time.

Perhaps I will have a distant memory and connect with my ancestral roots--wanting to visit my Jondular in a neighboring tribe. I'm thinking I had a Jondular in a few tribes, why else would I run so far?

If you don't get the Jondular reference, that's probably a good thing.

I'm publishing this without re-reading because I've got a little boy calling my name!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

If Toddler's Could Write: Advice Column #1

If something doesn't go your way, roll your lower lip down as foreshadowing.

If possible, eek out a few crocodile tears to make your eyes look dewy.

Then, take a deep breath and give it your best howl.

Chances are, once you start howling, your tears will start flowing more naturally, which adds to the drama and can increase effectiveness.

Someone will come give you attention.

Success rate of getting your way with this technique: 37% (42% with extra tears)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Safety Joe

I am really into safety, especially since Ezra came into the world. I wouldn't drive over San Marcos pass the first 3 months of his life as it seemed so unsafe and he was such a fragile little thing. Now that he is approaching 3, I have lightened up considerably, but I can't help but hold his hand extra tight when we are walking along a busy street.

Last week, I saw a mom at a busy intersection holding a baby with a toddler boy about Ezra's age playing wildly. She didn't hold his hand and he ran in circles, flapping his hands wildly with glee. From inside my 2 ton metal box zipping by them, I was terrified that the little boy would chase the imaginary thoughts in his mind right into the street. I shared some version of my concern with my husband and he thought it was good that this little boy was wild and free. Obviously, he seemed to know the boundaries of where the sidewalk ended and live frogger began, but why on earth would you take such a chance?

At the same time, I see children in my neighborhood not older than 6 or 7 caring for their younger siblings while their parents walk ahead with a baby in the stroller, all attention focused on the new addition. And they get by. They know the rules and they have their wits about them because they have the space to learn on their own.

I can't help but think of the John Prine song Safety Joe. Joe doesn't have any fun as all he can think about is safety. You want to give Joe a shake and shout "live a little!"

I know there is some middle ground. I'm fairly certain Ezra wouldn't step off the curb into the street. But I won't be letting go of his hand with my fierce grip anytime soon.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekly Post

It must be my personal nostalgia of back to school combined with Ezra starting pre-school tomorrow (sigh) that leads me to the decision to make a Fall Years resolution: I will blog weekly! There it is, in print. According to that Harvard study that everyone likes to quote at motivational seminars and business meetings, if you put it in writing, you have a much higher chance of achieving your goals.

Yeah, but how does that apply to a blog, which is all in writing? I mean, every time I write here I'm putting it in writing.

Okay, I do get it. No need to clarify for me.

So here's the official post.

Today I talked to two strangers at the beach. The first was a woman with a cast on her arm in a tiny bikini, who conveyed by her movements that she was not the least bit shy about being in so little material in such a public place. I, on the other hand, had to make an effort not to think of my two piece on the same stretch of beach as the swank 15 year olds with tight and smooth lines I had mistakenly assumed would always be with me.

The fact that this was even a subtle undercurrent tugging at my thoughts annoyed me. Yet it was there. The woman with the cast on her arm, seemed to be about my age. I decided she was from a foreign country--Italy, perhaps, or someplace where people are simply comfortable with their bodies for what they are.

She waded into the ocean, her arm lifted above her head to keep the cast dry as I played with my friend Lyske and her three year old daughter Nina, who balanced on a little mermaid boogie board.

As I swam out of the water, I was standing next to the woman.
"I bet you want to go swimming. It must be hard to stay out of the water on such a beautiful day." She smiled, but clearly did not understand all of my words.
"Do you speak English?" I asked.
"A little bit." she said.
""Where are you from?"
Aha. I was right about the foreigner part. Turns out she is here on vacation for two weeks doing an English language course and broke her arm the first week. What a bummer of a vacation. She was from Madrid, a city I never made it to during my week in Spain five years ago. Her sense of calm made sense, and I wanted to pry the secret from this stranger, who's body reminded me of my own, except the cast.

And yet, the answers appeared of its own accord. Had I broken my arm in a foreign country, would I wade into the ocean in my bikini, my broken arm held gently above my arm, or would I stay in the cafes and walk gingerly around the museums? Or, stay in, reading books and feeling sorry for myself.

I'd like to think I would be in the ocean by myself. I'll try on that thought for today and see if it fits. And maybe next time I'm on the beach in my bikini, I'll forget to think about anything except the ocean, my son screeching in joy as the waves crash at his feet and the conversations at hand.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ezra From the West Side

Our friends Olin and Delice have taught their sons Remi and Lino to call our son "Ezra from the West Side." Well, here he is, in his EJ glasses, flipping some attitude in his poor yuppy-ghetto backyard. If you can calculate carbon cap and trade, then certainly, you can calculate ghetto offset. Does our organic garden and cloth diapers hanging on the line offset our dilapidated metal fence and the neighbor's moss covered trailer?

Talent as Derailment /Talent as Motivation

When I read something so well crafted and unpredictable, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" for example, I find myself thinking I missed the literary boat a long time ago--like right after I finished my BA in English Literature and then moved to Idaho to be with a boy man.

Perhaps I missed the boat before then, when I was playing in three bands and exploring the many faces of Jaegermeister rather than the intricacies of Beowulf or Canterbury Tales, leaving my education to the illusionary genius of cramming and late night epiphanies.

Now, in the stillness of a Saturday afternoon, my son and husband at the zoo, the chocolate eaten, I come back here to my blog and ask why? What draws me here?

I've heard a handful of times that accomplished writers combine their talent with diligence. They create space in their lives to write--even when it turns out badly. Its the perserverance that pulls them through.

So, in honor of all those dollars mom and dad spent on my undergrad education, and in honor of the happiness that sometimes comes to me when I write, I will continue to spend time here and in other places where words align themselves--sometimes into meaningful verse.

Speaking of which, I am very impressed with Michelle Howard's recent column on the Huffington Post about the nature words we are losing in the junior dictionary.

Check it out here:

I won't say I'll try to write more often, because that sounds like a trap!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The American Dream Then and Now

"The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position."

The Epic of America, James Truslow Adams,1931

How does that dream hold up today? I like the idealism, I understand the mistrust. I have read countless stories of upward mobility and America's wayward friendliness to entrepreneurs compared to other countries. Yet, has our society cracked to a point that can not be healed? I suppose that is too broad of a question, because there are so many issues facing us. The highest incarceration rates and depression rates in the world, not to mention our nation's place in the domino effect of economic collapse worldwide.

Yet, our roads are still being repaired, the electricity is consistently on, water comes out when you turn the tap, and people still start businesses, buy homes and graduate from college, "regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.

To be continued . . .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Miracle on Tuesday

Yesterday seemed like a normal enough day. I did the morning routine, came to work, read through my emails. But then the call came in on my cell phone. It was my niece, returning my call.
"I would like to go the party with you on Saturday," she said, and "yeah, Nathan {her boyfriend} will come too."

The Miracle? I, Noelle, made it on the agenda of my 17 year old niece on a SATURDAY. Okay, well, I'm not fully on the agenda. She qualified the call with "well, it is graduation weekend, so like, there may be other parties, but I'm pretty sure we can come."

Whenever I go to visit my family, she is a flitting butterfly, shining, mesmerizing, youthful, gone. And now that she has a boyfriend, those brief sitings of Ms. Niki are even less. So you see the miraculous quality of this Tuesday phone call.

Crossing my fingers!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are you 1 in 4?

If asked what I would be if I could do the work God put me on this earth to do (I saw my atheist friends flinch at that three letter word!), I would unequivocally say "a famous novelist." I have a hunch that about 1 in 4 people in developed nations have the same ambition.

Could that be why blogging is such a big deal? With such an unexplored dream bracing at the tip of my tongue, each blog entry feels like an acknowledgment of the preferred life path. Even if I have an audience of five, as my friend Shelley put it, that's better than an audience of one.

I once read a story about journals. Many many people keep journals, but have shelves of only half finished journals. I definitely fit that mold. Its as if we need a new outer encasement to re-inspire the forward momentum. I'm no longer a yellow daisy journal sort of gal. I need one with a peace symbol on the cover. Okay, that wasn't much of a stretch and I've only made three entries. I must need that journal with the skull and roses on the front--I'll write about some of the bigger issues facing humanity in such a journal. But, I never really liked skulls--not out of a fear of death, but out of wtf would I want a skull displayed on my clothing, my body or my secret writings?

Luckily, writing is something I CAN DO while keeping the day job. And in this economy, no one has to even say "keep the day job" to keep me in check.

I want to congratulate all my blogging friends who keep it going on. I won't make myself any promises, but it sure feels good to write, and I enjoy feeling good. And to the novelist within, know that this entry is more than a nod to your existence. It is a call to action. I plan to let you out on the weekend for an hour, so be ready to be brilliant!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blue Rodeo In the Pocket

Below is what I wrote the day after Blue Rodeo Came to Town. Not sure WHY I didn't hit post! Here it is, in all its unfinished glory. Thanks for a great evening everyone!

Yesterday, I spent the rare overcast and drizzly Santa Barbara day with kids--Ezra in the morning, refereeing Nephew Emmet and Ezra until early afternoon, playing games with Marissa and Ezra in the early evening, and by 7pm, I was beat. Yet, Queen Whackamole had offered us an evening out with a show at the Lobero, and childcare provided by one of Ezra's favorite play dates. So I chanted the mama mantra "fatigue be damned" as I changed into black evening wear, put on jewelry and slid into my high heeled boots.

We arrived at the Lobero at a quarter past eight, enough to enjoy the opening act and settle into the casual atmosphere of Sings Like Hell. When Blue Rodeo took the stage, the audience went wild. Within a few songs they had me tapping my toes. By the first quarter, I was breathing in their upbeat energy and by the time they left the stage, I was screaming and clapping wildly for an encore.

I keep saying I don't do country, but then along comes a band like Blue rodeo who schools me otherwise. Blue Rodeo is country, rock, ballad with some Beatle-esque overtones. A Hammond organ / piano player and pedal steel musician fill in all the white space, add layers of harmony and tasty solos, all backed by a solid rhythm section. There are two lead singers, which our group, during post show drinks determined to be opposites--one optimist and one pessimist with corresponding smiles, scowls and body language to support the dualism.

The optimist pulled me in, and the whole band was in the pocket--grooving and connecting with one another and with the audience. It was the type of energy that connects you with the universal life force, should you be willing to accept. Luckily, I was.

The Paradise Cafe was the backdrop for post show discussion, and Patrick, with his professorial gaze, was the one to point out the yin yang light and dark of the lead singer's energies. Although I had to agree with his observation, I realized that I had watched Blue Rodeo as a whole, and had not spent as much time concentrating on each individual.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Valentine's Day Two

Allright. I've been thinking about Valentine's Day a little more. My first thoughts have been expressed in a previous post. However, from a marketing perspective, the holiday is marketing love. It may be crass, it may be about retail sales and quarterly objectives, but the side effect is that a lot of people think "I love this person and I want to express it in some way, what should I do?"

That's not such a bad "Call to Action." All those great expectations and great let downs are another side effect,but in a world with so much angst, aggression and callousness, I must recant my previous position and say I am in support of a holiday that promotes love and affection, and awareness of expectations we create of others.

Did you know that in India there are conservative groups that raid and trash shops that sell Valentine's day cards and act out in violence against those who express their love through affection or participating in this holiday?

I find myself very and unexpectedly patriotric and appreciative of my right to be romantic with my man, and if I felt like buying him chocolate, I can (and I did . . . )

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentines Day? Whatever.

I'm in love, but I don't need a retail holiday to tell me so. I already know, and in honor of valentine's day, I will buy nothing and love my family and friends in ways that exclude pink and red. Well, maybe just some little red sprinkles on those heart shaped cookies I made with those heart shaped cutters and a dinner shaped like cupid's butt, but that's where I draw the line!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Check Yourself Out Baby!

I swung by Ralph's to pick up a PBA free sippy cup after Ezra's disappeared on our last trip to Eilings Park. Sick and grouchy, I avoided the lines and went straight to the new "check yourself out" (ooh baby!) self scanning systems. I was out of there in less than a minute. Cool. Simple. No "have a nice day" schtick.

Later, I went to the library to pick up a book I had on hold, which was in a self retrieve hold section. I approached the friendly staff at the library counter to check out the book, but could not miss the large signs directing me to the new self check-out system. I'd already checked myself out once today, but twice? First times a charm, but checking my self out the second time around had lost its magic. It wasn't my butt, or a bad hair day. It was the lack of human interaction and what this automated approach bodes for the future of the supermarket employees and library staff. Were the friendly folks there to assist me should I have any trouble scanning my sippy cup or book, credit card or library card thinking the same thing?
Please. Ask me a question. SHOW THE SYSTEM that I'm still needed here!
I sometimes avoid conversations in line, based on my mood or the mood of the potential chat mate, but other times, I'm the one to start up a friendly exchange. And they have value. I'm not saying chatting with strangers in line is the bread and butter of community cohesiveness, but they are like a dash of salt to a tomato, or a dab of color that adds interest to a snowy landscape.

Am I sentimental and resisting the positive advances of technology, or is my simple desire for human interaction a quality that corporations simply undervalue?

Share your story of checking yourself out. (That butt is not so bad, is it?) How did it make you feel? How DOES automation bode for the future of our employment stats in a down economy?

Have a super great day!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our New President Mr. Obama

So many of us have prayed for this moment! Congratulations to all Americans and to the world with the start of the new presidency of Barack H. Obama!

Praise be!

A transcript of President Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address

My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors.

I thank President Bush for his service to our nation...


... as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath.

The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age.

Homes have been lost, jobs shed, businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly, our schools fail too many, and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable, but no less profound, is a sapping of confidence across our land; a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real, they are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this America: They will be met.


On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.


In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less.

It has not been the path for the faint-hearted, for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame.

Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life. For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West, endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died in places Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed.

Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.


For everywhere we look, there is work to be done.

The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth.

We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.

We will restore science to its rightful place and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality...


... and lower its costs.

We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

All this we can do. All this we will do.
Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions, who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short, for they have forgotten what this country has already done, what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them, that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long, no longer apply.

MR. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified.

Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end.

And those of us who manage the public's knowledge will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched.

But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous.

The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.


As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.

Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations.

Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake.

And so, to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.


Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We'll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard- earned peace in Afghanistan.

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

We will not apologize for our way of life nor will we waver in its defense.

And for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that, "Our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken. You cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you."


For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness.

We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth.

And because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those...

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.


To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds.

And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to the suffering outside our borders, nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service: a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves.

And yet, at this moment, a moment that will define a generation, it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies.

It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours.

It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends, honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old.

These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history.

What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence: the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed, why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall. And why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.


So let us mark this day in remembrance of who we are and how far we have traveled.

In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by nine campfires on the shores of an icy river.

The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood.

At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet it."

America, in the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words; with hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come; let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you.

And God bless the United States of America.

End (with major applause)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

When East Coasters Come to Visit

If you're from California you're a Californian, but if you're living in Connecticut, are you a Connecticutian? or a Connecticonian? I know Google or Wiki could provide the answer instantly, but I like to live dangerously, and just let you consider the possibilities before you enter something in that search bar.

Our dear friends Lauren and Nico, who are the reason the man and I met in the first place, came to visit. They rolled in from Connecticut via a brief tour of Big Sur and transformed our tiny home into a hub of activity, constant conversation, celebrity worst dressed online viewing accompanied by cackling and the smell of coffee brewing on a regular basis.

They were reluctant to stay with us at first, seeing as we have a 2 year old now, but I have to say, it turned out to be a wonderful choice.

If you can get along with someone in your personal space first thing in the morning, it's well worth it to have friends stay with you rather than the hotel down the street. It created real time to hang out, and seeing the suitcases and extra sets of toothbrushes and wash cloths made me feel like this was a real visit, not the brushed up tidy visits of people meeting you for lunch or a walk before returning to their hotel.

One morning Lauren said--we all have the same sleepy, mellow morning energy. You can't replicate that with a mid morning meet up. Our late evening conversations (late for mamas and papas of youngens, anyway) brought another type of mellow happiness, although accompanied by more lively conversation and fits of laughter. (August, would you like a sound track?)

Even though it was sunny and in the low 70s here, the East Coasters had to check the East Coast weather every day. "Ice storm blowing in" and "it's below zero in Minnesota." It's as if they needed to confirm just how miserable it was at home to thoroughly enjoy the eternal sunshine of our unspotless home.

Thanks for coming friends! Who is next on the list?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009: All about Change

Every new year seems to be about change, but this new year is different.
How many times have we said that? But this time, we have the spirit of Obama, and the looming recession/depression to kick us all in the butt and get us thinking about what's really important.

Today I read about a site called It calls for all social activits, well, all citizens to take Obama's call to be a part of the change as a serious invitation. Those who knew about before today, could have voted on the top 10 issues to share with Obama. Check it out if you have some time.

This year I want to:
Blog more
Write with a pen and paper (no mouse pens) at least once a month.
Visit at least ONE ecovillage
Bowl with friends
Make tortillas from scratch
Grow my garden
Grow my business
Step up my activism

I'll spare you the "exercise more, eat only healthy food, cut back on desserts and wine, etc".

Happy New Year!