Monday, February 28, 2011


Evelyn: On long days I am often greeted with unending enthusiasm by the dog, who often has missed me enough to pee a little if I return the enthusiasm too soon. He doesn't understand "wind down" and like a little kid, wants full acknowledgment and attention for at least the first 10 minutes after I have returned from the Abyss of life beyond the garage door. If I fail to meet those needs for attention, Gizmo begins the ritual of rummaging through his toy box, carefully selecting an assortment of cloth and plastic toys that just might stir my interest, and dropping them at my feet for careful scrutiny of my response. If I don't respond the pile gets bigger. I am grateful for the plastic toys that manage to withstand the brutal terror of Gizmo's wrath, whose limbs remain intact;  although wide-eyed and worried, this elephant has not fallen victim to Gizmo's efforts to de-squeakify and dismember him, and lays resting long enough to wonder from which side the next attack may come.

Monica: The art desk sits woefully unused in a corner of our living room. It's home to a stack of journals, tins of art supplies, fortune cookie fortunes, and used postage stamps, and a caddy of colorful plastic scissors that cut different-shaped edges on paper.  I've taken to writing my three-pages-a-day in bed at night, which really just encourages my process of avoidance. I'm writing more than I have in years, yes, but I'm also doing the bare minimum to get by, which I recognize as lazy. When I hunker down at the desk, I often end up writing pages more. Sometimes I am distracted by the art supplies and I actually create something: a little watercolor painting or a collage. I want to spend more time here, but I also want to be gentle with myself and acknowledge that just writing and taking photos every day is a huge step for me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Monica: The weather has been weird the last few days. It snowed a little on Friday—not enough to stick—just enough to see the contrast of white flakes against the dark trees before they turned to water as they hit the ground. The past two mornings I awoke to a frosted world and worried that the daffodils and verbenas would be horribly wilted. Surprisingly, the cold snap doesn't seem to have had a big impact on the plants and flowers as far as I can tell. Maybe they are adapting to the sudden changes in temperature and precipitation that seem to be happening more each season.

Evelyn:  I had little interest in snapping photos of the group of Rolls Royces and Jaguars that slowly arrived at the RR/Jag club breakfast this morning. I'd seen lots over the last year, and as they slotted themselves in place, one after the next in the parking lot, this grandmother Rolls chattered and snuggled itself in between the group. It struck such an interest that I stopped to walk across the lot just to enjoy the aging two tones and crumbling lines. All the other vehicles were sweetened up with new paint and careful polish... much like society, add a piece or part here or there, ignoring the influence of aging and trying to look younger than one is.  But she bore the beautiful lines of a car that has been run, worn, enjoyed, and weathered. The impact of time made me appreciate the vehicle more than the others, and I curiously polled the owner about his plans; he intended to enjoy her for her regal beauty. I smiled, reminded that nothing stops the process of getting older, more weathered, and a bit crotchety... and there are some who appreciate the beauty of that tender, sometimes painful process, for the wisdom and stability it brings.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Evelyn: It has been ages since I have had a Taco Night... so I gave it a go for the first time in 2011. My favorite part (aside from the vibrant energy of a clan of friends building unique tacos filled with broccoli, carrots, black beans, and other unheard-of ingredients)  is walking through the little Mexican market close to home. These little strews are so full of warm colors, between the beans, salsa, and corn,  80% of the labels sport bright red and yellow banners. It is a bit like walking through my life in Tucson for a moment, and if I really look at labels, I stand awed with the varieties of ways beans alone can be offered. I practiced my Spanish, asked for my order of carnitas, then grabbed some luscious limones, a few inexpensive avocados, and a bottle of Herdez, and I felt a bit like I was filling my world with flavors of love offerings.

Monica: We never really know what's in store for us. The basic tenet for living is very much like this sign: proceed at your own risk. There's no getting around the need to move forward with each new day and no avoiding the risks that life presents to us. It's the risks that make living an adventure. Sometimes there are hazardous plunges towards heartbreak. Other times, there are triumphs that make us soar. Every day is a risk. Every day is a blessing. 

Friday, February 25, 2011


Monica: They are practically an evening ritual, Michael's phone dates with his sister. He puts on the headset and settles into his armchair by the fire while I'm making dinner or processing the day's photos. They talk philosophy, or hear each others' dilemmas, or share a funny story. I love that he takes the time to connect with her regularly. I love hearing him laugh in the other room while I'm working.

Evelyn: I was so looking forward to a Friday set of plans, a series of dates and hanging that would be fulfilling, but as things go, not all plans work out. What I have found, however, when things don't work out as planned, is that there is a more divine reason for it all; and sometimes I have a simple date with the sunset, whose passing journey sparks a series of glorious colors and changes, that in an instant dissipate into a blanket of stars, and in that moment I believe that entire show was just for me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Evelyn: Today was a hefty disappointment because I waited all day for the shuttle launch and took the word of some schmuck who escaped from the building to announce the shuttle launch was scrapped, only to find that I had MISSED the launch because they just delayed it a few extra minutes. Dejected, thinking the clouds were in the way and NASA had given up, I returned indoors, with empty camera. I decided to play instead with my son and a new trick with settings (God-willing I figure out how to set it right again so I can take real pictures tomorrow) and we did our own series of moving light indoors, together, playfully, after 10 p.m., and that seemed almost better than the launch simply for the curiosity of all the ways we could play with a light.

Monica: Perhaps my favorite gift to give (and receive) is an experiential one, especially since it's more often than not a shared experience. Michael got his birthday present today, a two-hour tour of the redwood canopy via zipline and suspension bridges. We're both acrophobic and I had some apprehension about hurtling over 150 feet above the forest floor at over 30 mph attached to a cable. My fears were eased with the training practice on the bunny slope and all the different safeties in place. When the time came to stand on the edge of a platform and let go, it was easy, and I could revel in the feeling of moving across the forest and seeing it from a perspective I've never experienced before. It was a blast.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Monica: Development in the present is so often a contravention to the past. Walking in downtown Santa Cruz, I'm saddened to see all the new boxy buildings that have gone up in the last 10 years. This particular junction of Pacific Avenue and Cathcart Street holds fond memories for me. That hideous green/tan/orange building looming six stories above the street was once the home of a humble single-story building and parking lot where I worked for nearly two years: Gateways Books. Sometime in the early 2000's, a developer decided to put up a multi-use business/residential building here which now houses a fast-food chain and some high-end stores. The funky local flavor is slowly being devoured by ugly utilitarian buildings and all-too-familiar chain stores that blight so many American towns and cities. It makes me thankful for where I live now, a rural community on the north coast that so far holds no interest for big businesses. It's too remote and there aren't enough people here to warrant that kind of development. I know it only may be a matter of time...

Evelyn: Carrying his delicious funk of dead worms and squashed frogs with pride, his notable stinky Cheeto odor that permeates his aura after two weeks of freedom, eventually, I decide, the dog must be bathed. It is in the arms of the mobile puppy express that he puts on the most reckless of puppy-dog-eyes, gazing at me for a pardon, and staring back into the bathing cabin like I was throwing him to the gators. Such a contravention is almost criminal, yet the pleasant smell of baby-shampoo and his damp and fluffy fur make it a necessary sacrifice.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Evelyn:  Gizmo is quite the specimen of a dog. He is playful, enthusiastic, and likes a vigorous rub of the belly. He can spend a leisurely moment in a spot of sun contemplating his dog treats, long snoozes buried in blankets, and the delightful energy of chasing feral cats and chattering squirrels. He is affectionate, his coloring smooth and balanced, and been a cornerstone of keeping my energy content over the last year.

Monica: I haven't spent quality time with my best friend Sativa in years. I miss her terribly, especially when I visit her parents in Santa Cruz and sleep in her childhood bedroom which is filled with specimens of her life. Every time I'm there, I drink in the familiar objects which fill a wall of shelves in her room: books on ballet and the Greek classics we read in college, childhood art projects and dolls and figurines of dancers, small bottles of perfume and photo albums from her travels. There are remnants of our friendship, too: the watercolor postcard I gave her before I left for China, the Pema Chodron book I gave her when her heart was broken, a photo of us being silly framed in the hallway. Every time I see these things, I am reminded of how amazing she is and how much a part of my life she is in spite of the distance between us.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Monica: Spring puts on her green finery, glances in the mirror, and realizes something is missing. A dash of hot pink lipstick is just the thing. Now she's ready to roll.

Evelyn:  Put the big hairy, long legged creature in the jar and get him outside. I am not particularly fond of killing things. This guy met me at the kitchen sink this morning, quite put out that he couldn't escape. Creatures like this are fascinating to me, beautiful really, but from a distance. He was happily transported to the bushes outside where he eagerly grabbed onto a branch and hid himself from view.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Evelyn: With impending changes in my life, and the struggle to find my direction with regard to career and making livable healthy wages, I spent today—most all of it—working tenaciously on resumés, applications, and non-sneaky bragging. My friend Ed sat with the enthusiasm and attentiveness of a kid anticipating a handful of mini-marshmallows smooshed between thin-mint Girl Scout Cookies: surfing and questioning, analyzing, and applying, and eventually helping me to deliver an astounding cover letter and resume to numerous places. My list is long, but the accomplishment felt relieving and hopeful as I take steps to ensure my continued stability. Resumé successfully delivered in several directions...  Anyone looking for a dynamic and reliable post-secondary instructor who will enrich the student's lives with a significantly robust experience in learning about the intrigue of psychology and the human condition?

Monica: Is it just me, or is Spring is delivering her flowering bounty early this year? First, the plum tree in December. Then the daffodils in January. This morning I noticed the tiny periwinkle blooms of Forget-me-nots vying for attention amidst the greenery around the Farmhouse. I so look forward to the imminent showcase of color here on the coast. It also reminds me that allergy season is just around the corner, and I hope the grasses and pollens go easier on me this year.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


Monica: Today is Michael's birthday and I can't help but feel disappointed at how the day unfolded. I wanted to do something special for him today but work got in the way. One of the (few) downsides of this job is not being able to really get away from work unless we physically leave our home. Today was one of those days where we couldn't quite get away. I had no time to prepare a special meal or even bake a birthday cake, and somehow I feel I've failed in the thoughtfulness department. Granted, I have planned a birthday trip to Santa Cruz to go ziplining in the redwoods, but it just doesn't feel the same. So today's simple appointment, to celebrate my husband's birthday, turned into a bit of a disappointment. :-(

Evelyn: My calendar is filled with appointments, with others, with myself, with clients, with the college... moon phases, holidays, birthdays, weekend plans... the blocked arrays look much like a box of colored candy. Today I had an appointment with a client, and sat at a table with one of the most extraordinary orchids I have ever seen. "Ugly-pretty" is how I labeled them, lined up on their stem like dirty pots dripping single curling rose petals and a tiny bud in the center. Rough and manly, yet inviting and delicate. [P.S. I have had an appointment pop up on my reminders ALL week for Michael's Birthday!! I love you, Michael - happy birthday. Phew... didn't miss it!]

Friday, February 18, 2011


Evelyn: Chest puffed, gear in place, perched on the edge of a wall miles in the air, he stood on the precipice - intensely gazing at the lot of cars. "I am here, protector of the Dandelions, guardian of the wall... and I will jump into action when the wind blows, when a key is dropped, when the gravel has been moved!" This has been the third week he has watched me park, socialize, and leave.

Monica: Today's word gave me an excuse to do something I don't do enough of: jump. I remember the energy and agility of childhood, how I would spend my days literally running around. Jumping, skipping, climbing, swinging, twirling and sliding were the standard repertoire of my daily activity. As I got older and my body grew out of its lanky lightness, these movements became streamlined into specific activities: dance, yoga, bicycling, and swimming. Somewhere along the line, I began to spend more time sitting, standing, and walking than anything else. I don't want to stop reveling in the joy of movement. I want to keep jumping for as long as I can.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Monica: Having known my husband for over 9 years, it can seem as if there's nothing new to learn about him. Our conversations can be interesting, thoughtful, heated, tender, vulnerable, or routine but rarely are they novel. This morning at breakfast, a TV game show sparked a conversation about singing. I found out that he sang in a quartet in middle school and wanted to learn to play the trumpet. It wasn't a big thing to learn, but it shifted my perception of him just a tiny bit.

Evelyn: In the roar of human chatter, amidst students and crowds, I find I can quickly get lost. I like the connection of just two, quietly whispering greetings and encouragement through whichever vehicle is used to manage the transactions of messages. Today, however, I took some moments to  enjoy the conversations that exist in nature as my eager ears eavesdropped on nature's gossip. Sitting by a lake near my work, I was taken in by the gabble of three ducks, tossing compliments and insults, and showing their prowess along the water and foliage. I am reminded that conversation doesn't just exist between us ethnocentric humans. I appreciate and am delighted by the quiet hum of nature even at night, with my windows open and the breeze giving me goosebumps, when the crickets and frogs prattle and croak elaborate tales of their day.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Evelyn:  My art is one thing that I have been holding on to this last year. It is the hand that pilots me, the guiding smile that assures me of my voice, the calling that clearly points out my feelings, the anchor to my center of being. Doing art, with a group, or by myself, has been cleansing, full of insights, and a place where I can pour the subconscious onto a page and produce something of significance to me. It is where I find answers, at times, or more questions to explore. I hold on to this like a life-raft, just as much as my photography and daily writing, to keep me from falling into the crevices of my mind where things quickly look discouraging, or where I fail to see my own light. She is incomplete, another work in progress, but her dance reflects my own, at this moment, at this place in my story.

Monica: We needed to do a supply run and get our car serviced, so we headed to "civilization" which is 2½ hours away in Santa Rosa. The best part of our supply runs is staying with our friends in Petaluma, a quaint little town with gorgeous old buildings. I love walking around the downtown area and noticing little details I haven't seen before, like this sculpture honoring Bill Soberanes, the founder of the World Wrist Wrestling Championship held in Petaluma each year.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Monica: "Mortal" is that which eventually must die, from the Latin word for death, "mortalis."  I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the finality of death when I think about it closely. What am "I" really? And what is the abalone, that ugly slug-like creature that lives in the sea, a local culinary delicacy with the most beautiful pearlescent shell? One can only see its beauty after the creature is gone—it's all that remains of the vital force that once carried it. What beauty will remain of me when I'm gone?

Evelyn: As I get older, I watch myself in the mirror and I am keenly aware of many small changes;  my body holds curves differently from 20 years ago, it complains a bit more as it observes the impending mortality of being human. I notice the wrinkles, the way my skin feels as if the laces in the back have loosened a bit, the onset of small aches where a knee is resistant to bending, or my back uncertain of a run. I see the world a little blurrier, and my smile has grown a few emphatic marks. Regardless, my body is stronger than I have ever felt it, my eyes brighter with the lightness of being that has moved into me this last year, and I am warmly accepting of my body, my temple, and what it is capable of doing. I am mortal - and really wouldn't have it any other way... making my way on this journey.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Evelyn: Cocooned in the layers, protected and sweet, the authenticity of her nature warms her, and the festival of others, in like manner, wrapped in their own layers, provides a communal sense of connection and recognition. Sometimes flowers, delivered lovingly, unexpectedly, are morsels of tenderness that warm me, nurture me, touch on my love of nature and leave me feeling known, recognized, appreciated. Today, they remind me that there is a soul out there paddling in the same direction with me, celebrating connection in ways that are simple, clear, and of the sincerest intention. A festival of colors and aromas, every flower its own flavor, every petal its own lissome fabric.

Monica:  It's Valentine's Day and my husband refused to buy me flowers. Instead, I got to sleep in late, read a book till noon, run a few errands, eat pizza, and get a massage. It was nice to walk around downtown Fort Bragg and do a little window shopping. The shop displays are a festival of colors, mirroring the colors that are rapidly blooming from the earth. It was a quiet day, but I am no less thankful for its simplicity and the fact I get to spend another day by my sweetheart's side.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Monica: There's a difference between seeking and seeing. Seeking is looking for something outside oneself, something that is not already present, something other than what is. Seeing is being present to the immediate moment, the now. I see only what is before me. I seek what I do not already have, something I hope for in the future. Thus, seeing is an act of presence, while seeking is one of absence, of going off somewhere else to find love, happiness, or peace. What if love, happiness, and peace can only ever be seen and not sought? Each day I venture out with my camera seeking beauty. Now I realize that I don't need to seek it. It's already here in front of me, now, in this moment. I only need to open my eyes.

Evelyn:  On the eve of Valentines day, I found myself in Publix, inundated with piles of flowers, boxes of chocolates, and endless displays of ways to prove ones love. For a Sunday night, the place was packed with last minute efforts. I am not much of a fan - feeling disembodied with the commercialization of love, seeking proof through gifts and messages, and the ability to do that well on one day of the year. Love needs no proof, in purest form it requires trust and an unconditional awareness that all the other emotions we carry have little to do with our partner, and have more to do with ourselves, our self awareness, our own self-love. So in an act of loving myself (and my kid) I took advantage of the buy-one-get-one-free Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. Love need not be sought, only acted upon!

Saturday, February 12, 2011


Evelyn: I got to thinking that between all things, even down to a molecular level, there are gaps. That closeness is all relative to when a connection is felt, and that the gap that still exists holds us as individuals, separate. I spent the day at Disney, and by the end of the day my already tender sciatic decided to spread its distress through my entire left hip and into my left thigh and knee. As I stretched, pressing my feet together in the locker room, I was greatly aware of the gaps between my two feet, in the ways I am all one piece yet unconnected enough to create spaces, the space that allow things to move internally: the gaps in my spine and how the muscles hold. I was also aware of the connection between my friend and I, and the inherent gaps no matter how much connection exists, that it is filled by the mind and spirit more than mass and physical contact.

Monica: There's a gap under our porch that I suspect hides a direct passage to the inside walls of our house. In the darkest hours of morning, I've been startled awake by a small animal's muffled screaming, followed by the unmistakable and increasingly unbearable stink of skunk. The first time it happened was right before my family arrived for the holidays. Our house reeked of skunk for over a week.  It happened again a few nights ago. I cannot figure out what is going on. Is something swift and slithery dragging its screaming prey "home" somewhere in our walls?  Or do we have a couple of skunks mating behind our bathroom sink? I'm not sure what the right course of action is to take in this situation. How do you get rid of a skunk?

Friday, February 11, 2011


Monica: I've been thinking about how certain events in life lead to choices that deflect us away from the course we have charted for ourselves toward other possibilities. Each choice leads us down a new path with its own successes and failures and we will never know where other paths might have led. As I creep closer to 40, I consider the lives I didn't choose: I didn't go to an Ivy League college, marry my first love, get a master's degree, start a family, join the Foreign Service, live in Africa, become an Olympic swimmer, or learn to speak Mandarin fluently. I'm not the person I had imagined I'd become when I was 15, and yet I can say I'm happy with how I've turned out. I feel so much gratitude for the places I've been and the people who have inspired me and the many deflections along the way that have brought me to here, now.

Evelyn: The idea of deflection as a turning from a straight direction touches on the many detours that move through my life, and as I go with the flow I find that I can bend and shift as needed; because sometimes hitting the nail on the head isn't the best thing, and not every problem needs a hammer. Yes, cliche, and yet the more flexible I am, the easier life flows, the fewer disappointments, the greater the gifts.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Evelyn: Early morning, her body warm under layers of blankets, her eyelids hesitantly stretching to meet the morning radiance slipping itself into her  bedroom, she reaches for her glasses, pushes the dog aside, and begins the process of making meaning of her days, her sleep, her dreams, her lists, and even her inspirations. Her morning pages, like stretching before a run, or boiling water for a cup of tea, have become part of her commitment to herself to get things down and out. And as she runs with a stream of thoughts, pausing for breath every once in a while, she also gains clarity of her needs, her truth, her hopes. She watches a dance of language, crude, sometimes messy and half awake, practice her voice on thin pages of canvas. It is the rhetoric that summons new ideas, new ways of seeing the world, beckoning to be discovered through the mass of discourse that often swirls and buckles, until the waters are calm, the run has ended, and there she finds "me."

Monica: The theme word I chose for 2011 is "practice"—something I have been needing to do with regard to my writing for quite awhile now. I've made the commitment to sit down and write a minimum of three pages a day in my journal, which is no small feat. Every day is a struggle. I wake up in the morning, glance at my writing desk, and find all sorts of other things I "need" to do: make breakfast, check e-mail, clean house, run into town to go grocery shopping...the list is endless. I remember a time when I couldn't go anywhere without my journal. The world was poetry to me; I couldn't wait to get it all down on paper. Somewhere along the way, I became disillusioned with words and their ability to express my vision of the world. My passion for writing was supplanted by other passions—bellydance and photography. But I've always known my primary art is writing and I've missed it. So each day, I begin to explore the cob-webbed crevices of my mind with three blank pages. Slowly, I learn to see the world as poetry again. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Monica: The daffodil shoots sprouted in late December and the flowers began opening nearly two weeks ago. I've been eagerly awaiting them, as they surely signify that spring is just around the corner. The days are longer, and soon all sorts of flowers will begin blooming. But these are my favorite. They come as a surprise, unfurling their compact heads into full skirts of sunny yellow within a matter of hours. I cherish this time of daffodils; in a few weeks, their heads will droop and they will die, not to return again until next January.

Evelyn: My wallet is open —open to more dinero to fill it up, open to the abundance that I believe is available to me. I am open to the possibilities, to the energy the world has to offer, to the relationships, to the reshaping of my sense of self. I felt oddly calm in early January that things were about to start changing... and they are—and it isn't just an open wallet, or an open door, or even an open heart... but that my eyes are open to all the remarkable & whimsical things moving and flourishing and nurturing me in my life. Bu-yah for my $10 (million), and all the future representations of abundance!

Temporarily OUT OF ORDER

Well, due to some traumatic internet-technical difficulties, it looks like Monica is on a freeze for a few days. A tree removal truck knocked out JHC Farms phone and internet lines (the ones we painfully but carefully migrated across a distance so they could have more consistent internet last summer) and they expect it will take a couple of days before everything is fixed again. SO, without our internet there is no way to get the other half of pictures posted. Soon, though... soon!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Evelyn: On the property there is a small tree amidst the oaks that is covered in pink flowers. There isn't a trace of green leaves, as we are in the middle of a Florida winter, however, this tree is nothing but tenacious pink blossoms. I have been fascinated the last week at its vibrance under overcast skies, how it is living life more colorfully than the rest (my mantra this year). AND, when I looked closely, those pink buds held the kernel of life for future growth, future trees, future blossoms... future awe by passing observers, opportunity for mesmerizing color under dismal skies, and the potent energy of seeds for springtime growth. One bud offers a world of possibility in the energy at its core...

Monica: Michael and I started eating a low-carb/no-sugar diet back in October and were both surprised to see how much better we both felt overall. Better digestion, more energy, and lost weight convinced us that a diet of primarily protein and vegetables is a good way to eat. Unfortunately, we have a weakness for popcorn. It has become our evening ritual to pop a batch of kernels in one of those stove-top hand-crank poppers, top it with butter and salt (and brewer's yeast for me), and watch a movie. Our low-carb diet got kicked to the curb over the holidays and now we're trying to go back to it. We can eat protein and veggies all day, but just can't kick the popcorn habit yet.

Monday, February 7, 2011


Monica: My dictionary defines chaos as: 1. the disorder of formless matter and infinite space, supposed to have existed before the ordered universe   2. extreme confusion or disorder   3. an abyss; chasm.   I imagine the universe as "formless matter" and "infinite space" (how does one picture the formless and infinite?) and wonder how it possibly could have been corralled into some kind of order, and when? I envision countless galaxies extending endlessly outward from this little dust mote of a planet, and I can't even begin to fathom that somehow it's all under control. Life is both predictable and unforeseeable, ordered and chaotic. Patterns emerge out of the disarray to create clouds and daffodils, tigers and rust. And all those things contain a seed of chaos in their hearts, waiting to bloom.

Evelyn: Walking into the inner sanctum of my 15-year-old's bedroom elicits an amalgamation of feelings and sensations so traumatic that it often results in my transformation into a bit of a "Crazy Woman." I have been struggling for some time now with what "brings out the crazies," and I have tempered her by obscuring the reality of his room from her consciousness by closing his bedroom door. However, today's word sent me into the abyss... What I know is that I have a strong need for order and cleanliness - which is not the expectation of an immaculate sleeping environment, but a level of tidy that makes it safe to navigate his space without losing an eye or a toe nail. That, however, is rarely available and the chaos of his bedroom is like kryptonite to my mommy skills. Without a sliver of containment, the further I step in, the louder the panic, and the more the directives begin pouring out of my mouth: "I would really like to have a full set of silverware again—so THOSE need to make their way back to the kitchen!" and "Where did all your clean laundry go??? THAT needs to be handled before you shuffle any ONE of those Rubik cubes, JP!" THEN, I shut my eyes firmly, bearing hard on my efforts to restrain my mouth from further slanderous decompression, and drag myself across a field of stinky clothes and broken pencils, to emerge breathless, disoriented, and fragile... hoping to recover my sanity. (IF ONLY I had a wide angle lens!)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Evelyn: When I bump into tiny miracles, like water droplets hanging precariously to the edges of flowers, or the amazing beauty of a full blossom, I believe that anything is possible. That I won't drown in water drops, that despite the crazy weather I can still blossom, that there is always hope, always possibilities, and always a place for me in the world. 

Monica:  I walked down to the beach this afternoon to catch the last bit of warm afternoon sunshine. I watched two 8-year-old girls practice their gymnastics and try to outdo each others' cartwheels, flips, and spins and remembered the physicality of my own childhood—how easy it was to spend hours just running around, jumping, chasing, cartwheeling, crawling, hiding, seeking, climbing, and leaping. My body was compact, and nimble, and easy to maneuver.  I believed I would never stop careening through the world at high speed. I've grown up and slowed down a bit, but I still believe in play. Every once in awhile, I'll whip out a cartwheel, just to see if I still can.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Monica: Some days, there's no time. I get up and go. There are people to meet with and things to clean up and questions to answer and reservations to confirm and meals to the time I get home, it's late and I'm exhausted. The only motivation to turn on my camera and press my eye to the viewfinder is knowing that my sister is depending on me to get it done. There's no financial reward or throngs of followers who anxiously await the next post to propel me forward. It's simply my sister, whose voice I hear urging me on, encouraging my creativity even when I feel I have none. Sometimes I'm surprised by the results of my halfhearted photos. I catch things by accident that I never noticed in the moment, like tiny flecks of pollen dusting the petals of a fuchsia-colored flower.

Evelyn: It isn't always easy finding motivation to do the things I am expected to do, or even the things I LOVE to do. I would think that doing the things I most love, with that intrinsic murmur of content, would move me along... however it always seems there are more pressing things to cover, more calls to return, more papers to grade. Today I finally had the opportunity to finish a piece of artwork, motivated by a wooden bowl of fresh water for washing my brushes, and the whirlwind of 9 other souls exploring their own creativity under the salient encouragement of paint, ModPodge, magazines, tape, brushes, rubber stamps, and blender pens.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Evelyn: The collapse of my walkway, stones warping, crumbling, and separating from years of rain and shifting sand, symbolizes the shifts that come when a path becomes worn. The pathstones to my home have become a bit more treacherous... and yet, as I kneel down and stare at the crevices between each stepping stone, I am immersed in a world of boulders, valleys, and forests, like unexplored lands. New paths forged in the breaking down of old ones. New realities born of the collapse of old. Somehow, it feels like a whole new path.

Monica: The day went by too quickly with preparations for a weekend-long board meeting. The first meeting began tonight and lasted 3 hours. Any of my former coworkers (hi Jefe!) can tell you that my eyes begin to glaze over 15 minutes into a meeting, and tonight was no different. By the time Michael and I walked through our front door, I was ready to collapse. But first I had to post today's photo and write something about it. I discovered this plant beginning to flower today, and while it is obviously nowhere near collapse, it contains the possibility of its end in its beginning.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Monica: Michael was working on a project that required him to rip out a chunk of floor in a house that is over 130 years old. At the end of the day, he came home with his pockets full of treasure: a faded postcard mailed from Switzerland in 1922, a small bit of orange-gold cloth tied with red yarn, an old pipe insulator, a child's list of "seacret" places in the house, a wooden marble, a small plastic chicken, a white stone with a hand-painted ladybug on one side and "M Hinkel Fall '86" on the other, and two pairs of 70s-era ladies' underwear. Michael has had a lifelong fascination with secret hiding spots and buried treasures. He routinely "hides" messages or tokens in things he builds in the hopes that someone years later will discover his message from the past. I love that he found an unexpected cache collected over time, each object a token of another time and another place.

Evelyn: When I got the word "treasure" I immediately considered staging a collection of all the intricate knobs, trinkets, and oddities I have collected from nature throughout my journey. I display them on a shelf, much like the typical frippery people pick up from dollar stores, antique malls, and eBay excursions. However, I instead spent time with a close friend, on his birthday, and recognized the unending joy I feel about having such treasures in my life—the souls of true "framily"—with whom I connect and make meaning with on a regular basis. So as he dug into his pastry present for the treasure of chocolate folded deep in its layers, I also found, sitting there with him, a warm glow of contentedness deep in the layers of my being, He is a blessing that trumps anything that can be plunked on a shelf.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Evelyn: Quite the adventure sauntering into the supermarket, hair freshly washed, camera in hand, sporting a tank top and jeans when the rest of the US is covered in snow. I got a few strange looks as I snapped pictures of things that caught my attention - like the brilliant orange chiles, numerous mysterious and colorful fruit, and a handful of purple mums that called to be brought home. For once, I enjoyed seeing the store with different eyes, and I smiled at the produce section, all the fruits and veggies asking me to note their brilliance. For as much as shopping triggers some resistance in me on a regular basis, this became a bit of a nature walk indoors.

Monica: I was excited about today's word and the opportunity to take photos in a new place. I visited four small markets in Fort Bragg and was disappointed; the lighting was all wrong and I didn't bring the right lens and I couldn't quite capture the lines or colors I had envisioned. I did get the vintage neon sign outside the Colombi market, advertising its liquors, meats, & sundries.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Monica: A list of a few things I am baffled by: fruit stickers, spider webs, how the days already feel longer in February, the turkeys living in my yard, how it's been nearly 20 years since I graduated from high school, December blossoms, quantum physics, champagne bubbles, the enormity of the universe, and how (as my sister just pointed out) when you finally get your act together, your boobs sag.

Evelyn: I am baffled. A bird flew over my upstairs deck and PELTED my sliding door with a cascade of poo so massive I thought paint had spilled from a bucket. I have yet to be brave enough to slip out there and decide HOW to get it off without going through an entire bottle of Windex. As I sat today, staring at it - in complete awe - I began to see all kinds of strange creatures emerge from the drips, splatters, and goo. This one (out of a series of 6 images) looks a bit like a grumpy old man, with his wonky nose and jutting chin, baffling how one thing turns into another... when the imagination needs some play time.