Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I was walking to class a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by this view in front of the library.

This despite the fact that spring is a bad allergy season for me, although Chinese herbs and dietary changes have made it more of a minor annoyance than the season of headache it once was.

Speaking of which--those innocuous looking yellow flowers are buttercups, which according to weather.com, are a common allergy trigger in my area right now.

Huh...DD and I just pulled a bazillion of them, the "creeping buttercup" variety from the yard. (They're just as insidious as they sound.) And I thought that good feeling was just from the satisfaction of getting rid of them.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Recently seen on my bike

(Cross-posted at RocBike).

After a powerful Earth Day sermon that echoed many of the themes in Michael Pollan's recent call to each individual to do something about climate change, and included a mention of the Rochester Chicken Club (of which I am a proud member--more on that topic to come), I came out to find this on my parked bike.

And this week, on my ride to yoga class, where I met my daughter, my new Ortlieb panniers managed the task of carrying our two yoga mats admirably.

I splurged on the panniers after I decided that an XtraCycle is not right for me, at this point. An XtraCycle is great if you want to be able to give someone else a ride, but my 17 and 19-year olds aren't likely to want to be seen on the back of their mom's bike. And everyone else I might be traveling with would likely ride their own! So, I got the panniers instead; they hold plenty of groceries and are very easy to use. I recommend them if you're in the market.

Bikes, chickens, and yoga...what more could you want?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Delayed gratification

I must like this...that feeling of preparing the soil, nourishing it with garbage that turns into luscious, nutrient-filled food for life...planting my little seeds, lots of them, which other creatures try to dig up and root out...watching the many seedlings come to life regardless...carefully plucking out the uninvited plants to keep the desired ones healthy...giving them lots of food and water to keep them growing, while working hard to keep the pests away that would injure them...giving them support as they grow so they don't fall over and collapse from the weight of all that new growth...until they finally reach their fullest potential.

The first new spring pea, fresh summer tomato, fragrant oregano--that's what I call delayed gratification. But not as delayed as the gratification I got last week...

It's hardly original of me to compare gardening to parenting, but in Spring, just too impossible to resist. Cliches are cliches for a reason...because they speak some truth which we really need to hear and remember.

I'm sure DS' fullest potential has much more room to grow, along with some continued need for nurturing and support, but still, it felt like a milestone.

He's been playing cello since the second grade, and over the years we've watched his frustrations, his nervousness, his stumbles, along with his successes and joy in playing.

Most of the people at this particular concert were probably family of students performing in the orchestra or choir, and between us, we must have logged millions of miles, hours, and money in supporting these musically-talented and hard-working young people. At the end, they got a lengthy standing ovation. It was as though the collective feeling was, "WHEW! My kid made it to perform at Lincoln Center. I am going to enjoy this moment and I am going to stand and applaud for as long as I damn well feel like it."

I don't take credit for the tomato...it had its own inherent "tomato-ness" to reach that has nothing to do with me. Similarly, I don't take credit for the performance. He's the one who practices for hours a day, who's passionate about his art, and who has a work ethic and attitude admired by his teachers and fellow students alike. But supporting a kid in their passion is no doubt a family commitment. So I'll take a little of the credit for preparing the soil, planting the seed, warding off intruders, providing support. And never mind that it took just short of 2 decades...the wait was worth it.

And when I say, "I must like this," it's because the ways in which I choose to spend my time all have this similar feeling. Lots of quiet waiting, interspersed with bursts of fierceness and a constant love. Gardening and parenting yes, but also counseling and teaching college students, community service and activism, knitting, cooking, research, and even yoga and meditation.

There's a lot to be said for patience.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Back in the Saddle

Read all about it at RocBike.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mania meme

Radical Cross-Stitch tagged me for a meme. Does it sound like I'm speaking a foreign language? If you don't know, memes are kinda like chain letters. I always hated chain letters, but memes can be fun. You learn something new about people whose blogs you read, and you get to direct people to other bloggers they may not have discovered.

In this one, you're supposed to tell 6 things about your life which look like manias or tics, and then pass it to 6 other persons. So here are mine.

#1. Bike helmets--I've written before about the people I've known who've been seriously hurt or killed while cycling. While there is some controversy within the cycling community about the promotion of helmets (some argue that helmets don't protect you from the many different kinds of injuries that can happen and/or that they give cyclists a false sense of protection), I'm all for protecting brains. When I see a cyclist without a helmet, it's all I can do to refrain from yelling at them, "PUT A HELMET ON!!" Generally I do refrain from yelling it, but should anyone have the misfortune of being in the next seat/on the next bike to me, they will hear me rant and rave for several minutes about stupid cyclists who don't wear helmets.

My favorite comment about helmets is from The Art of Urban Cycling. Wear a helmet, but bike like you're not wearing one.

#2. Hummers--Actually, any SUVs. Hummers do not belong on streets. SUVs are not necessary for urban driving. (My mom calls them UAVs...Urban Assault Vehicles.) They waste gas and their owners too often drive as though their mere size gives them the right to hog roads and parking spaces. We should have more regulations which discourage driving these gas-guzzlers and encourage saner forms of transportation.

#3. The serial comma--You don't know what that is? Obviously you didn't have me for your high school English teacher. Here's the Wikipedia definition.

The serial comma (also known as the Oxford comma or Harvard comma) is the comma used immediately before a grammatical conjunction (nearly always and or or; sometimes nor) that precedes the last item in a list of three or more items. The phrase "Portugal, Spain, and France", for example, is written with the serial comma, while "Portugal, Spain and France", identical in meaning, is written without it.

I believe in the serial comma. I admit that there is no logical reason for this other than the fact that that's how I was taught by MY high school English teacher. I just think it nicely separates each item in the series, according them each their own space all to themselves, without the conjunction running right up against them. Is that too much to ask?

#4. Proper pronunciation--If you are related to me, I will most definitely correct your pronunciation any time necessary. I may or may not refrain if your boss, dad, or best friend from high school is in the room. I am not trying to humiliate you; I just can't bear mispronunciation. In my mind, I am doing you and everyone else a favor by enlightening you as to the correct pronunciation of societal, paradigm, and epitome. (And you did notice my serial comma in that last sentence, didn't you?)

If you are not related to me, I may refrain from correcting you. Or I may not.

#5. Effective meetings--Have you noticed that these are getting more obnoxious as I go? In my mind, meetings (whether I'm at work, volunteering, or doing a group project for school) should be to-the-point and efficient. If they're meant for team-building and getting to know one another better, fine, but let me know in advance. Otherwise I expect meetings to have agendas, to move those agendas along in a timely manner, and to actually get things accomplished. I like to socialize, but I'll do it after the meeting, thank you very much. Get in, do what you need to do, and get out...that's my philosophy about meetings.

So, yeah, not everyone shares that philosophy. When I'm the boss, that's how meetings go...but I'm not always the boss. Then I get cranky at ineffective meetings. It's not always pretty. I'm trying to be more flexible.

#6. I am woman, hear me roar--I tend to take on too much in life. Yes, I do. I admit it. It's related to my eternal optimism. But god, there's so much good and fun stuff to do, it's hard to resist at times. I could have worse traits, right? (such as the belief that only I know how to correctly pronounce every word in the English language and how to run good meetings, perhaps?)

So there's my list. The one thing I feel a bit uncomfortable about with memes is any perceived pressure on the people I tag. So I'm going to tag these 6--but you know, it's your blog, do the meme or don't do it. I won't be mad. Here you go--Tracy at RahChaChow, Ann at Purls off a string, Michelle at Crafting Sanctuary, Melissa at Elemental Stitches,Patti at Patti's Purling Place, and because I think his list would be really funny, Jason at jasoncrane.org.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Signs of spring in Rochester

Tulips from the Public Market. Not only beautiful, but fragrant as well. Makes the whole house smell amazing.

High-schoolers on the Genesee River.

Crew teams doing their thing.

College students with frisbees.

While the fire alarm, undoubtedly pulled as a prank, blares from one of the fraternity houses across the river.

All from my short bike ride after work today.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The dark months

Well, winter in Rochester is always a little bleak, but this one seemed more than usual! Not that that completely explains my lack of posting. Let's just say I took on a little too much for a normal person (turns out I'm not actually SuperWoman), and something had to give...sadly, it was blogging. Here's a little update on what I've been up to.

--I took on an extra teaching gig, which I absolutely love, but it's made for some loooonngg days.

--Still doing the grad. school thing...I applied for a transfer from the Ed.D. program to the Ph.D. I got it, and I even got some financial aid, which will definitely help out!

--Good thing I'm close to my 45 FO's, because I've had NO time for crafting. But I do have a couple more things to add to my list.

--Those things haven't been added because my camera died. I'm getting a new one this weekend. I had really gotten used to walking around with the camera, and it really helped me see my world in a different way. I can't wait to get back to shooting some pictures.

--I performed in The Vagina Monologues on March 8. It was an amazing experience! I'm hoping to get some pictures to share with you all.

--I got the worst case of the flu ever...sick for 10 days, with the cough lingering another 7! Yuk!

--I did my 45-hour retreat, although not solo. I decided that I wanted the opportunity to do a retreat with Toni Packer, so I signed up for one with her. Unfortunately she was ill, but I'm still glad I did it. In fact, I had a roommate (which I've never had on retreat before), and let's just say that negotiating with a roommate you've never met, on a silent retreat, is not exactly easy. I think a solo retreat would have been easier than what came up through those interactions.

In other news, T.'s show at RoCo was a success! Her pieces looked great, and she sold 7 of the 12. DD got her driver's license (yikes!). Actually, she's a very responsible driver so I don't even worry (too much) about her driving. DS is back at college and playing some amazing music. Hear his premiere of a composition by a fellow student here.

Much more frequent posting in the future...probably lots of attempted artsy photos as I play with my new camera!