Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bird's Nest on My Door

There is a wreath on my front door, made of various leaves and twigs and dried flowers and herbs.
I noticed a few weeks ago that it is looking a bit tired after a few seasons of facing the elements, even though it is partially protected by the overhang. I also noticed that some birds were stealing from it - I figured they liked the bits for making their nests. So I decided to leave it up for a while longer.
Today I realized that I was catching those birds almost every time I opened the door. They would immediately flit away, of course. It dawned on me, and I confirmed, that they have built a nest right in the wreath! Sure enough, there is a nest that fits perfectly in the middle of the wreath, and it is very well camouflaged, too. Peering inside, I see 6 beautiful, tiny eggs in various shades of blue!
Isn't that great?
There is a window in the door, through which you can see outside, right through the middle of the wreath. From inside, you can see the silhouette of the bird as it tends to its eggs. Truly magical.
When the eggs hatch, I will have a musical door!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I know peace. Peace is familiar to me. Peace is in me. Peace begins with me. Peace and me? We're likethis.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blanket Wars

Every morning, my kids engage in a skirmish over the sofas and the blankets. Each one wants the big fluffy blanket. The next best blanket is a soft, warm blanket also, but apparently it is not quite as good as the big fluffy one. Usually, Julia wakes up first and stakes her claim to the big sofa and the big fluffy blanket. When Daniel arrives, he immediately exclaims that she must give up one or the other. Either he gets the big couch or the big blanket, or else it's unfair. Now, up until this moment I have usually been having a pleasant and peaceful morning, as is my wont. Here begins the blanket wars. I try to let them duke it out, and, for the most part, they do manage to work it out with only a smattering of tears and/or screaming. If that goes on too long, I start to protest, as it shatters my calm to hear it. Eventually, something like "each one gets a turn with the blanket" takes hold. And they settle in to wait for Mom to call them to breakfast. What a life.
So, in the case that I should die or otherwise be absent from this crucial transaction, I am setting forth the exact permissible variations on the blanket/sofa/pillow placement.
1) Julia has the big sofa, and the (second best) microfleece blanket, and Daniel has the loveseat and the big, fluffy down blanket
2) vice versa
Heaven forbid that John left his memory foam pillow on the sofa (sometimes he falls asleep there, and invariably does not return said pillow to its home on the bed). Then all bets are off. Because, of course, they each want the memory foam pillow, too. Then the acceptable configuration is:
1) Julia has the loveseat, the big, fluffy down blanket and the memory foam pillow, and Daniel has the big sofa and the microfleece blanket. This is okay, because lo! Daniel has a memory foam pillow too! Only it's upstairs! And Daniel will gladly accept the lesser blanket, if Julia will go upstairs and get his pillow!
Here is photographic evidence of their latest state of detente:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Audacious Happiness

It seems as though, these days, there is a lot to be unhappy about. Rising prises, war, the economy, etc. etc. I think it takes a certain amount of courage to be happy in the midst of all that is happening now. Maybe even a bit of craziness!
This is what is true for me now: I want to be happy. There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy, both from a personal and a global perspective. But whom does it serve to harbor this unhappiness? Is it not better to simply be happy? I am not talking about denying reality or not being compassionate and caring of others. All I am saying is, Dare to Be Happy. It is audacious to be happy. It takes courage to be happy. I'm doing it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Foggy Mountain

This is my view from the kitchen table this morning. I never tire of looking out at "my" backyard. It has been very foggy on the mountain these past few days. In another month, we will have come full circle with the seasons here. It's been an interesting year, at times a joy, at times a nightmare. But when I look outside at this, I feel nothing but peace and contentment. With some fog mixed in. My head is in the clouds!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Chicken-Mushroom Ragout

This is a recipe I adapted from one I found on is simple and delicious!

Chicken-Mushroom Ragout
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme, crushed or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
4 boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces (12 ounces total)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, halved
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion or leeks
1 cup water or chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch


In a large saucepan or Dutch oven combine chicken broth, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Stir in chicken, mushrooms, carrots, and leeks. Bring to boiling.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs, if using.

Combine water and cornstarch (use your judgment as to how much, depending on how much liquid is already in the pot.) Stir into chicken mixture.

Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Serve in bowls. Great with a crusty bread!