Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter Solstice Scene

I love the little Nativity scenes...the ones with the cattle so lowly, the sheep and the oxen...the little manger scene with a tiny bed of hay and a beautiful golden child being adored...
I have a very strong desire to create a little scene for my family to reflect our feelings at Christmas, so I've been making a very unique little Winter Solstice scene.
I've made a little fawn, a happy squirrel and a smart little racoon.
I've made a mother owl and her little fluffy baby...all out of little bits of this and that from my sewing box.
Can I just show you my little brown linen fawn again?
I made the structure out of twigs, wrapped together with fabric. I tied on some evergreen boughs. It isn't finished yet...I'd like to make a bear, a rabbit, a little chickadee and some trees. I'd also like to paint a watercolor background of mountains and a few pine trees. I'll need something to represent snow, too. But most importantly, there is the Lady, who'll be adoring and welcoming the Light of the World (in the form of a candle): hope, peace, love, joy...everything good.
From the looks of my photo, I'd say my endeavor has approval :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I love a story...movie...

I don't normally blog about this, mostly because I keep a little book of all of my favorites, but I love movies. I was a bit ashamed of this at one point because I figured it might explain why I was becoming overweight to some people, but do you know what I realized? It just wasn't true. I've loved movies since I was little, and it is no different now...so...there it is.
I love stories: reading novels, being read to, movies, picture books, historical museums, museums with the story of a place or animal...I even love to hear what people did over the weekend...obviously I read other people's stories in the form of blogs as well. So, yes, I love a story.

Here are a few that I had never really heard of before, but have recently rediscovered. I'd watched them some time in the past but didn't pay much mind to them besides a passing, "Ah yes, that is an interesting story." But, I've realized what fine pieces they are in some way or another.

Firstly, because it is on my mind first, is "Doubt". Wow...Phillip Seymour Hoffman was PHENOMENAL in this one. Of course, Meryl Streep is who she is - always WONDERFUL, but seriously, I've never seen Hoffman do better. I've always expected him to play the oily unctuous secretive sleezy type, so here he was ACTUALLY making you forget everything he'd ever been in, and then to wonder what sort of trick he was playing on you in the first place. Was he or wasn't he? Did he or didn't he? I was so surprised at how good the movie was, I had to go and watch some more with him in it...yup, I definitely think he was best in this one, for me...
Doubt

Okay, next is something steamy: "The Lover" I won't really get into why I chose this movie to watch, but let's just say that the steamiest parts of the movie include touching pinkies, holding hands and a kiss through a window...I was breathless during those parts of the movie and I think I said out loud, "wow, woah..." If you ask me, that is good writing.
The middle part of the movie took me on a kind of interesting adventure about a life and mix of characters I hadn't ever imagined before, and the ending was, while not shocking, surprising. The cinematography in the beginning credits and for a few scenes at the beginning were amazingly beautiful and drew me in right away. I love movies for all sorts of different reasons, this one had some understated beauty in parts.
The Lover

One movie I have watched probably 4 or 5 times now, is called "Firelight". Whenever I think of that movie, I see the gazebo-like greenhouse/sunroom in the middle of a pond/pool...there are some beautiful scenes in that movie. It is an intriguing story as well, and I won't spoil it by telling any of it to you, but it is a must-see, BEAUTY of a STORY.
Firelight

One that I've talked about before is called "Seraphine". It is such an amazing glimpse into the life of an artist...and the art is breathtaking. I posted about it once before.
Séraphine
Lastly for right now, is one I just watched called "Silk". I wished they'd made me care more about the characters, cause I think it would've been a much better movie if they had, but the story they told through Keira Knightly's character, I thought was gorgeous. Her clothes, her house, her schoolroom, her garden, her demeanor...it was beautiful. It was really contrasted with her scraggly (although cute) husband and the times he was in Japan...but, like I said, I love movies for different reasons...I saw the story they told about the wife much more clearly than any other part of the movie, and for that reason alone, it gets itself a spot in my favorite movie book (you see, there are many good stories)
Silk

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Snow Buddha/Chicken Buddha


I am home today. This is the view from my ever-cozy couch with my fuzzy orange blanket. I've left the lights off because the snow is falling down and there is a white-blue light that brings me so much peace and tranquility coming through my windows.
I've gotten myself sick with the flu, but am feeling so much better this morning that I had one of my chicken eggs on a croissant. Thank you chickens! They haven't lain (layed?laid?) an egg for months! and voila! this morning, ONE egg. Big Momma even let me pet her while she ate. I said, "An egg?! just for me girls? Thanks Momma!" It gave me such a good feeling that I, though I am without my good camera, I took pictures on my phone of the idea I'd had about the Buddha...putting Buddha in situations that remind me that life is beautiful...So here is my Buddha statue, with his hands in a meditation mudra, holding a beautiful heart-shaped rock in two situations that I find beautiful and mindful and meditation worthy: a loved Chicken and fresh clean snow.

My daughter had her first store-bought egg about a year or so ago when our chickens quit laying and we didn't want to wait. When she opened the box and saw all the white eggs, uniform in size, and the bland sickly looking yolk on the inside, she said: "Are these fake eggs?" I said, "They are real eggs, but they are from chickens who aren't loved." My son said to her, "Those are factory eggs, we have real eggs." That made me so proud. I hadn't ever said as much to them, but we've always been so thankful and proud and praise our chickens' eggs that when confronted with some that were obviously "not right", they just knew...they just knew.


I found this article from the New York Times and just had to share it here with you, it just tickled me:

Buddha and the Art Of Raising Chickens; Family Caters to Chinese Market With Farm-Fresh, Whole Pullets

By ANDREW JACOBS
Published: May 05, 1998

When it comes to chicken, Doris Ma knows that bigger is not necessarily better.

On a recent Sunday morning, while most New Yorkers were still in bed, Mrs. Ma worked her way down a refrigerated display case at the Dynasty Supermarket on Elizabeth Street in Chinatown, eyeing poultry the way a drill sergeant might inspect his troops. She disregarded the shrink-wrapped oven stuffers and the plump skinless breasts, and instead directed her scrutiny to comparatively scrawny birds stuffed in plastic bags, heads and feet tucked beneath their wings.

The chickens, which the previous day had been wandering around a farm in upstate New York, wore white metal tags on their ankles with the name Bo Bo Poultry Market, in English and Chinese. At $1.69 a pound, they cost nearly twice as much as Hollyfield Farms' brawny broilers.

Asked why she would spend more for a chicken with less meat, Mrs. Ma scoffed, ''Even if you offered me American chicken for free, I wouldn't feed it to my family.'' Mrs. Ma, 47, a seamstress who emigrated from Canton, China, a decade ago, said brand-name poultry is raised on too many chemicals, and by the time it reaches supermarket shelves, it is several days old ''and has no flavor.'' And besides, she added, ''without the head and feet, it's worthless. If I can't look a chicken in the eye, I don't know where it came from.''

Such sentiments help explain why Bo Bo, a poultry business run by the Lee family, has exploded over the last decade. What started as a hobby, rearing egg-laying hens at the Lees' weekend retreat in the Catskills, has grown into a $10 million-a-year enterprise that now supplies 7 out of every 10 chickens sold in Chinatown, according to the company. Bo Bo is also expanding up and down the East Coast and planning to aggressively pursue customers who follow kosher and halal, or Muslim, dietary laws.

Like the once ubiquitous kosher butcher who served the city's Eastern European Jews, Bo Bo is catering to an immigrant population with uncompromising culinary needs. Categorized as ''Buddhist style'' by the United States Department of Agriculture because the head and feet are not removed, Chinese chickens are raised, killed and prepared according to precise specifications.

''We Chinese are very particular about our chicken,'' said Michael Tong, the owner of Shun Lee Palace and Shun Lee Cafe. ''We don't like chickens from factories.''

Monday, November 15, 2010

Forest Buddha

I've got an idea that is mulling around in my head, and I was wishing I was getting home when there was still light out, so I'll mull it some more, but in the meantime...this is EXACTLY how I feel about the Buddha...just look at this sweetest little photograph & you'll catch a glimpse into ME...how funny that is, considering I'm sending you to a blog I've only just now started reading...but Kindred Folk are always here and about.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

children of space

But you children of space, you restless in rest, you shall not be trapped nor tamed.
Your house shall not be an anchor but a mast.
It shall not be a glistening film that covers a wound, but an eyelid that guards the eye.

You shall not fold your wings that you may pass through doors, nor bend your heads that they strike not against a ceiling, nor fear to breathe lest walls should crack and fall down.

You shall not dwell in tombs made by the dead for the living.
and though of magnificence and splendour, your house shall not hold your secret nor shelter your longing.
For that which is boundless in you abides in the mansion of the sky, whose door is the morning mist, and whose windows are the songs and the silences of night.

~Kahlil Gibran~
The Prophet, On Houses
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Our little dream house is not much really. It was originally built sometime in the early 1900s possibly the late 1800s, then added to in 1920, and again in the 1950s. It has staying power, and yet it is just a house.

The land was first farmed during the Homestead Act when they gave free land to farmers. It use to wrap its arms around much more land, but it has been whittled down to 10 acres now. It has given its people a sunrise and a sunset for over 100 years...which is a long time in late population-blooming Oregon.

It has the bones of an original barn and bones & skin of two original outbuildings. I've never seen a better chicken coop...I long to take artistic photos of the turquoise and cream peely-paint door with a big heavy make-do latch. I long to take photos of the hawthorn trees and say, "I am home" as a simple caption.
I long to have my family there in the simple rooms and make a Christmas meal.
I long for it like a memory of having lived there before...what is this pull?

There is a very old thriving lilac in the front yard and I imagine it during the spring...its scent trailing its way into our upstairs room every night. I imagine sighing and closing my eyes and feeling at home.

It is a home for children of space...more outside than inside.

Friday, November 12, 2010

in the stretch

lately, I've felt like a rubber band that is in the stretch
waiting for that moment when the
snap
brings it back
to it's center

the pull is uncomfortable
it is filled with a kind of longing
that is only
described
as

stretch

Sunday, November 07, 2010

love


Isn't love that beat in my heart that clenches and hurts and squeezes
when my son doesn't like the way he looks
and I know it is because I've said as much to myself
when he
was
listening

isn't love that calming liquid that comes from my head
down into my chest and makes my hands
hug and hold
rather than clench
even when I haven't seen the spider
that scares
my daughter
at night

isn't love the simple act of listening first
to frantic appeals from a high-strung
son who only
wants to be heard
no matter
how
moot

isn't love the conscious turning from despair
and buying brand new expensive clothes
that fit me
just one day after
I was
weighed
at the
doctor's

isn't love every small thing
because Life is
every
small thing
strung
together

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Free & New

A morning fog laced out every spider web
from grass tip to grass tip
making our world a place of wonder
and newness

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Fullness & Emptiness


There is a child in my room who struggles with neglect. His little face is rarely washed. His clothes stay on his body for literally weeks at a time. He is constantly itchy. These are the smaller things that are left empty in his life...the one I really notice is how much he needs hugs. Oh yes, the way he goes about it is lip-curling-ly annoying...but, it pains me to see how deep his emptiness has come. He is only 6 years old. How does a little child get so lost and hollow?

I love my job because I get to see parents who fill their children to capacity every single day. They are brushed and fed and moderately clean (all Kindergarteners have the tremendous ability of taking one crayon from a cup and finding themselves dirty from sleeve to toe). I see children who do not need my hugs but definitely want them. I talk to littles who want my attention, but do not always need it. This boy needs it.

I want to rattle the teeth out of the parents who simply forget that they've a little child they brought into the world who still needs their tenderness. What in god's name happens to them that they cannot check to see if their child is hungry or full, dirty or clean, sad or happy, awake or asleep...life is full of emptiness some days.

As a teacher, there is a gap I can fill...and so I fill it with a hug, a tender look, a real interest, a glass of milk, a hot apple cider...whatever I can do to fill up that boy's growing emptiness...