Thursday, June 19, 2008

Orcas Island

We are almost ready for Orcas Island! I'm packing bags right now - we've got Tessa's book bag, my book bag, Tessa's suitcase, Shep's food etc. all ready to go. I'll stuff some clothes in a bag, as will Ryan, and then load up the car topper, and we'll be off in the morning.

Marisa is a dear friend, and a long-time one. It is a treat and a pleasure to spend time with her, at the cabin or anywhere, and we're glad to share the weekend with her. Shep is excited because Max is coming, and I'm excited to have girl-time with my dear friend. Ahhhhhh - bliss!
(This is also a good way to get my mind off of the Ward's move - I don't want to be all mopey and ridiculous about it. Of course I will miss them, but life will continue for them and for me, and I'm glad to have something wonderful to do.)

On Orcas we will watch the ocean, hike in the forest, browse the bookstore, hunt for pretty rocks on the beach, observe herons and gulls and occassional seals, river otters, or (if we're extremely lucky but we don't count on it) orca whales. Deer come out at dusk and watch us as closely as we watch them.

We can see a zillion stars at night when it's clear.

We'll sit in the hot tub and drink wine. We'll listen to CDs on the stereo. We'll play! Marisa and I always cook together, too. Yummm.

Have a good week, everyone. Ryan will only be gone a couple of days but Tessa, Shep and I will stay on the island until later next week, taking advantage of the cabin's early summer vacancy.




I was thinking of this song tonight. Sappy. Not good music. But I don't care.
How Can I Help you Say Goodbye
By Patty Loveless

Through the back window of our '59 wagon
I watched my best friend Jamie slipping further away
I kept on waving till I couldn't see her
And through my tears I asked again why we couldn't stay
Mama whispered softly, time will ease your pain
Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the same

And she said, how can I help you to say goodbye
It's okay to hurt, and it's okay to cry
Come let me hold you, and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye

I sat on our bed, he packed his suitcase
I held a picture of our wedding day
His hands were trembling, we both were crying
He kissed me gently, and then he quickly walked away

I called up Mama, she said, time will ease your pain
Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the same
And she said, how can I help you to say goodbye
It's okay to hurt, and it's okay to cry
Come let me hold you, and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye

Sitting with Mama, alone in her bedroom
She opened her eyes, and then squeezed my hand
She said, I have to go now, my time here is over
And with her final words she tried to help me understand

Mama whispered softly, time will ease your pain
Life's about changing, nothing ever stays the same
And she said, how can I help you to say goodbye
It's okay to hurt, and it's okay to cry
Come let me hold you, and I will try
How can I help you to say goodbye

Today in the car Tessa and I were talking about how the Wards were moving, and I said, "I feel sad." Tessa said, "Mama, it's okay to cry," and her permission made me feel better instantly.

I can't read the last verse of the song, by the way. My brain can't go there.

Saying Goodbye

I cried.

How could I not? I love the Ward family, and Jenny in particular, and it is really hard to say goodbye. It is bearable because they are returning in December for a visit, and because we will visit in February....but they are some of the threads that weave the cloth of our lives, and things will unravel slightly without their presence.

Tessa gave Zoe a "pen pal box" for her Panama present. It contained stationary, cards, stickers, and sparkly pens, all for writing letters back and forth. Tessa has one, too, and can't wait to begin writing letters. It is a reminder of our connection.

Jenny, if you are reading this, know this: You are an amazing woman, and you have touched my life deeply. I have tried to write you a "bon voyage" card and haven't yet been able to do it....I feel clumsy and awkward in the attempt. I am going to miss you more than I can say, but I know that true friendship never dies, and that our friendship will last. Sometimes you just know these things.

See you in December, Ward family. Our guest room will be waiting for you!...but until then, safe travels. xoxoxox

Last day

Today is our last day with the Ward family....we leave for Orcas Island tomorrow, and they leave for Panama while we are going.

I will not cry. I will not cry. I WILL NOT cry! Okay, so I'm going to cry. They're good friends, and though we'll see them when they visit and when we visit and in a couple of years when they return, Panama is very far away. They will truly be missed.

And on another note....

Another email from Kiss My Face:

Hi, I spoke with our R&D person and we had limited issues with the sun product you were using being runny last year. It was isolated and we have corrected the problem. If you give me your mailing address, we will send you out a replacement at no cost and with our apologies. It was the sun 30 product, correct? Thanks a lot, Lewis

I may become a major Kiss My Face fan after this. I certainly look forward to trying the new lotion.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A surprise blog comment

Today I got a blog comment in reference to a post I'd made about Kiss My Face sunscreen. T his in itself is unsurprising, but the source of the comment was the VP of Marketing for Kiss My Face and THAT surprised me quite a bit.

I am impressed with their commitment to hear from their customers.

Here's the comment, and my response:


I am delighted to hear from you - thank you for soliciting my feedback. When I updated my friends and family about my quest to be green, I certainly didn't expect to hear from corporate headquarters for any of the products.

The Kiss My Face sunscreen that I bought was really, really runny. When I tipped the tube to squeeze some out, the consistancy was more like water than lotion, so that it flowed all over (into my wedding ring, dripping on the floor, etc.). I expect green products to have some differences, certainly, but this one surprised me. Isn't there something to make it a little less liquid, so that it's easier to "catch" and so it isn't so messy?

I haven't tried a lot of Kiss My Face products; the sunscreen was my first and only, so I can't give feedback on others.

I hope that you, as well, have a great day. Again, thank you for soliciting my feedback. I appreciate it immensely, and it honestly makes me more likely to try your products in the future. Please let me know if there is another product of yours that you'd recommend that has an easier-to-use consistancy, and I'll give it a shot!
Kristina Surface Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now. -Goethe

From: Lewis [] Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 12:27 PMTo: rykri@comcast.netSubject: [RyKri] New comment on General Updates: Green report, Weight Watchers, Li....
Lewis has left a new comment on your post "General Updates: Green report, Weight Watchers, Li...": Hi, I am the VP of Marketing at Kiss My Face and read that you arent a fan of our sunscreen. I would love to know what you didnt like about it so we can try to improve it. Thanks for your comments and please also let me know if you have thoughts on our other products. have a great day! Lewis Goldstein
My email is


Last night I took a few hours to myself.

I sat in a cafe, ate simple food, and wrote page after page in my journal. I even did a writing exercise (observation) for a few pages. Bliss!

Then I went to Marshall's to try to get some tops to cover my foobs. I can't wear V or scoop necks and too many of my shirts reveal this ugly aspect of my chest. I found a couple of things; I will probably need a couple more. I'm tired of my chest, and I deserve to feel okay about my body, and this helped a little.

And then I bought two Mary Oliver books of peotry. I purchased "New and Selected Poems: Volume One" and her brand new book, "Red Bird." They make my heart sing.

Love Sorrow (from Red Bird by Mary Oliver)

Love sorrow. She is yours now, and you must
take care of what has been
given. Brush her hair, help her
into her little coat, hold her hand,
espcially when crossing a street. For, think,

what if you shold lose her? Then hyou would be
sorrow yourself; her drawn face, her sleeplessness
would be yours. Take care, touch
her forehead that she feel herself not so

utterlly alone. And smile, that she does not
altogether forget the world before the lesson.
Have patience in abundance. And do not
ever lie or ever leave her even for a moment

by herself, which is to say, possibly, again,
abandoned. She is strange, mute, difficult,
sometimes unmanageable but, remember, she is a child.
And amazing things can happen. And you may see,

as the two of you go
walking together in the morning light, how
little by little she relaxes; she looks about her;
she begins to grow.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Ladies Lunch

Today I watched Kelton & Camille while Heather went for a run, and then Heather watched Tessa while I took Shep for a walk/run. When we were all back at my house, we were hungry - and here's what we hatched up for lunch. It was DELICIOUS - I could eat it by the bucketful. :-)

Ladies' Lunch Salad

3 garden fresh radishes (purple variety)
handfuls of garden fresh lettuce
about two dozen shrimp
half a large avocado
yellow pear tomatoes

lemon juice
olive oil

To prepare:
Have two five year olds and a two year old pick the garden produce. Wash well. (One of ours was accidentally placed into a cup of coffee by a two year old; you may omit this step if you choose.) Chop and tear into bite sized pieces.

To make the dressing:
Using a mortar and pestle (did I spell that correctly?), smash up a couple of garlic cloves with a healthy dose of coarse sea salt until they make a paste. Add this paste to an old jar with lid, and add lemon juice and olive oil to taste. Shake well to mix.

To make the shrimp:
Sprinkle the shrimp with salt and pepper. Oil a grill pan, and place it on the BBQ. Two minutes per side, dose with lemon juice a couple of times while cooking.

Toss all ingredients together - ambrosia! The avocado creates a creaminess in the salad, and the spice of the radishes balances the mellow lettuce flavors. I'll be making this one regularly from here on out.

(Note: We got frozen shrimp at Costco in a resealable bag, so we can remove a handful at whim. Not too expensive....but probably not green, either, and certainly not local. I'll have to work on that aspect.)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Garden notes

More harvesting - strawberries and lettuce.

The pea vines are climbing and doing well (although they seem to want to climb the ground, instead of the lovely bamboo poles I've provided them - what's with that?).

I planted another row of spinach to replace the one that failed, and another row of lettuce (to supplement what we've got) today. I filled in the gaps where we've pulled radishes, and planted more of them, as well. And we put in some random flowers (cosmos, a wildflower mix, and sunflowers) at the ends of the veggie rows. A little beauty wouldn't hurt, if you ask me.

The strawberries off the vine are nothing short of divine. All I can say is, if you've only tasted grocery store strawberries, then you've never tasted strawberries. These are exquisite. They are sweet, juicy, and more flavorful than just about anything in the world. They're incredible! They are inspiring me to get raspberries planted next year - this year, we've done a lot, but I think we have room for perhaps three raspberry bushes against the house in a sunny spot in the side yard.

With the removal of the pampas grass, we have room for more strawberries, and I anticipate planting perhaps 15 more plants next year. Oh, YUM! We could not possibly have too many - our family likes them too much. As it is, we're fighting over whose turn it is to get one each time. :-)

Our blueberry plants are small, but they are surviving, and look like they'll each have a few berries. I watered them today; I suspect that they need more water (especially for this, their first year) than I'd been giving them. Now that summer is closer at hand I will water them deeply a couple of times per week and hope that does the trick.

One of our worm bins is going dormant, and so we'll soon have some lush compost to add to the yard from that bin. The other bin has flies and I'm not sure what's up with that, and I haven't disturbed it lately so I should go dig down and see if the worms are thriving or dying in it. I think it's too wet; it needs some shredded newspaper mixed in for bedding. Frankly, I can't get "regular" composting figured out, and I don't want to buy products to mix in, so it's just random stuff thrown in and it doesn't seem to turn into any kind of compost....I have to work on that.

The onions are looking strong, and so are the garlic sprouts. I think I'm supposed to harvest them in the fall, but I don't quite remember...

The tomatoes that I grew from seed (two plants) are looking fine and sturdy, but so small compared to the ones that I got from starts. At this rate, I don't know how they'll ever bear fruit by fall. The ones from starts, on the other hand, are looking fabulous, thick and green with yellow blossoms. It will be a while until we can enjoy their fruit, but I am hopeful on that front. Today I planted three small tomato (cherry) varieties, including a yellow pear, a Matt's something-or-the-other (an heirloom variety) and I think a small red cherry, I can't remember without looking at it. We should have tomatoes in every color, size, and shape, and I can't wait. Our ten plants ought to be enough that we don't have to fight over them each day, and we can have insalata caprese as often as we choose without rationing. I also dream of eating whole bowls full of mixed cherry tomatoes, as they taste like candy....YUM!

The herb garden out back is flourishing. I'll have to cut back the cilantro, as it's bolting (any advice on that, anyone?) and covered with flowers - I'm startled at how much it has grown. The sage looks lovely, the oregano is going nuts, and the curly parsley also looks fabulous. I don't see any signs of the parsley seeds I planted, but I'm trying to be patient on that. The rore semary has been there for years and is doing just fine. The chives were completely overgrown by the oregano, so I'd like to buy another plant and try again. There are also some flowers in the pots, and I think it all looks really cheerful and lovely out back right now.

I still haven't attacked the back raised bed, but it's taking care of itself. The peonies bloomed, the lady's slipper is in abundance, and the bleeding heart is strong, plentiful, and in variety (red, pink, white). The irises don't like their location and don't seem to bloom, but that's okay, because their strong leaves form a nice contrast to the other stuff in the bed. I keep thinking that I'm going to add potatoes there, but it might not happen. We will see!

I replanted some squash seeds today, because they got mulched over and didn't fare well. Some have leaves, others looked ill, so I'm supplementing. We will see what happens. One plant looks strong and is growing well, but since I have four varieties (two summer, two winter) plus sugar pumpkins, I'm hopeful for more.

The nasturciums are coming up nicely, and I hope for colorful blooms (I bought a variety of colors). The cosmos are also in full green though not in bloom, and I'm hoping for more color there, as well. Maybe by Melissa and Ross's shower there will be flowers amidst the vegetable beds - that would be lovely. We will see!

The basil still looks yellow; the beets are non-existant (except maybe one - will I honestly get ONE beet?!). The spinach needed more water than we were giving it, and many seeds didn't germinate, so we're watering more and seeing small results there. Hopefully the new set of seeds will do better.

The carrots are plodding along, by no means lush, but there are green tops, so I'm hopeful that under the soil good things are happening. I just added the third variety about a week ago, and there's no sign of anything there, but I wouldn't expect it yet.

We bought ladybugs for natural pest control as some of our roses looked a little sickly (especially my favorite red rose bush in the back - was it lack of water? aphids? why are the blooms curled up on the edges?). I've also been adding coffee grounds around the roses as I'm told they like had better be true, or I'm killing the roses!

I am VERY pleased to report that I have stayed committed to organic gardening, and nothing unnatural has entered our garden. The mulch is all from shredded trees from a neighbor; the compost is mostly from the wormbins but with some organic (purchased) compost added. (There is something strangely thrilling about knowing that old bread crusts, avocado peels, carrot tops, and the like have been converted into edible food by feeding our garden....) Pest control is ladybugs only - we haven't had much of a problem with pests so far, and the addition of ladybugs today might have been premature or unnecessary. We have soaker hoses for watering, and are hopeful that we can use less water because they are efficient. Weeding is done by hand, certainly no chemicals there, just a lot of dirt under my fingernails despite wearing gloves.

I am starting to feel like an actual gardener. Harvesting a big of this and that here and there is exciting to me, and feels like an actual accomplishment.

I have even started to dream of converting more of our yard into an even bigger veggie garden for next year.....we could do the other side of the walk, too. I don't need grass in the front yard, after all, as we never hang out in the front except on the porch.....

But right now, my hands are full, and what I have is enough....

Happy Father's Day!

Not just a Hallmark holiday, today is a chance to remember that we had help getting into the world, and that (for those mothers who are fortunate) we do not raise our children alone, but with a father at our sides.

I am grateful for my father's love, kindness, and encouragement of me. I am grateful that he has allowed me to follow my hopes and dreams, even when they weren't what he had dreamed for me, and that he accepts me as I am.

I am grateful that Tessa has such a loving father, and that I have such a loving husband in Ryan. I am grateful that she has a Daddy to climb on, to play with, to learn from, to protect her, to teach her to ride her bike. I am grateful that he makes it a priority to attend events important to her, and to not miss out on the big or little things. I am grateful that Ryan provides for our family, allowing us to live in this wonderful community, to grow vegetables in our garden, to have a house that is truly a home to us.

This morning Tessa woke up around 5am and came tumbling into our bed, filled with excitement. "Happy Father's Day!" she beamed. "I have presents for you, Daddy!" Fortunately, we were able to convince her to sleep a couple more hours before said presents were opened (though I slept with her foot in my ribs, I swear....this is why I can not co-sleep at this age...she's a restless sleeper!).

Tessa, along with her preschool class, had made brownies. Tessa also made a card with a picture of Ryan holding a "really really REALLY big cup of coffee....and the mug has decorations on it!" Together, we gave Ryan a cap with Life is Good and a bicycle on it, as well as a C&P coffee card.

We attended church today, including flower communion (a UU tradition) and presentations put on by each class, including Tessa's. We went to lunch at Taqueria Guyamas (sp?) in the Junction with the Hisatomi's, and then Ryan came home for bike fiddling while Tessa and I went to the Farmer's Market and Tessa got a cone at Husky Deli. Then, we came home, planted a few more tomatoes (I've become worried I won't have enough....but with 10 plants, SURELY we will have enough, right?), harvested a few more strawberries, did a bit more weeding, etc.

Ryan is enjoying his Father's Day bike ride right now....of course!

Tonight we'll have a simple meal, shared with neighbors Sarah and Steven, and then roast more marshmallows for more s'mores.

The sun is out, and all is well. Happy Father's Day!