Friday, January 18, 2013

An Ode to Lists (but not in ode format ... if there is one)

When I get overwhelmed, I return to lists. They're just so orderly.

My house is a lovely size for my needs. Maybe a tad too big. But very manageable. Truly, it's the easiest of all the places I've ever lived to clean. Perhaps that might be because of my partial ability to let go (mostly) of my attachment to what my children's rooms look like. Or maybe the kids make less mess as they get older. (Which I don't really believe.) Probably it's that the kids' messes look more and more like mine every year, and I can't really decipher whose mess is whose, and I just imagine it's mine.

Everything is just the right size to easily keep clean. And "out of hand" in this house means two days in a row of not doing the dishes. And even after two days, cleaning the kitchen takes fifteen minutes. So no big deal anyway.


Except when there are contributing factors that prevent my innate kitchen-cleaning skills to kick in. Or the one that allows me to pick things up and put them away as I walk through the house, heading towards doing something totally different. That skill doesn't kick in either.

Things that slow me down and contribute to small messes piling up into gargantuan mountains (at least in my eyes)?

Not getting enough sleep.
Being cold.
Where I am on my moon cycle.
If I've argued with my children.
If I've argued with my ex-husband.
If I have a deadline looming.
If my kids have a deadline looming.

Or sometimes ... just because it's winter.

It's especially bad when it's ALL of those things at the same time. Like it was the other day.

So I turn to lists.
Somehow creating a list helps me to feel like I'm accomplishing something, doing something constructive. It's a baby step to actually getting the thing done.

I list
I can accomplish.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Holiday Letter 2012

Talk about cross-posting ...

This is the holiday letter that my kids and I wrote to mail out whenever we bought stamps. (We have decided to call them January Letters.)



We are attempting our first ever Holiday Family Letter, especially geared towards those of you we love that are far away. We’d love to catch you up on our shenanigans.

First off WE LOVE YOU and MISS YOU. That’s the main reason we are writing you.

Aubrey has braces now, and started Tae Kwon Do again. She just earned her yellow belt. She’s in 8th grade and we’re trying to find the perfect high school for her artistic talents, and one where she will thrive.

She’s still taking Japanese lessons, loves anime, manga (her new favorite series is “DRRR!!”), drawing, reading, wearing black, and skeletons. She loves music, but nothing girlie. Case in point: in this year’s school talent show, she’ll be singing either “Leave out all the rest” by Linkin Park, or a Japanese song. She still loves Harry Potter. She’s dreamy, elegant, dark and talented. I love her so much.

Robert says he’s doing “pretty good,” and is fitting in at school, which he says is “very nice.” He loves video games (“Of course, ‘course, ‘course!”). His current fave is Minecraft. If he has to read, his favorite is The 39 Clues series. He’s finished the first whole series and has moved on to the next series (within the series.) 39 Clues: Cahills vs. The Vespers. A Garfield connoisseur, he’s recently moved on to Calvin and Hobbes.

He has a permanent retainer; his braces came off years ago. He’s a 6th grader at a charter school that has a combined elementary and middle school that keeps the same teacher two years in a row. He’ll get a new teacher for 7th and 8th grade. He still doesn’t like to brush his hair and gets only one hair cut a year – a buzz cut during Spring Break. He still likes Legos, and still wants to paint his room grey (it’s bright yellow right now).

He’s funny, curious, quirky, and compassionate. I love him so much.

They both play Dungeons and Dragons with their dad and friends weekly.


We’ve been in our rental house for a year now. It’s a cozy and lovely fit for us. We’re planning to get back to some suburban homesteading this summer: gardening and chickens.

Valerie just got a new job using her massage therapy license finally – at Chi Spa (a place specializing in Chinese massage, reflexology, and detox techniques – like FAR infrared saunas and ionic foot baths.) She’s been building up her editing clientele with Yellow Pen Editing ( ), and continues to facilitate and co-chair the Mid-Valley chapter of Willamette Writers’ monthly meetings. She also has a work/study position with the Bikram yoga studio in town, and has a weekly yoga and ecstatic dance practice. (She recently treated herself to a blind contour drawing/writing class “just because.”)

Her biggest and most heartfelt news is there’s a new relationship in her life – a Turkish man named Ali who writes for a living, collects art, loves dogs, and has a great laugh.

She’s put money down on an acre of land in Costa Rica, and plans to move there full time after the kids are out of high school. Aubrey says she’s looking forward to visiting on college breaks and Robert said he might live there “if it’s cool.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Solstice. We, today, just hiked to the top of Mt. Pisgah in Eugene, Oregon to watch the sunrise on the shortest day of the year – the beginnings of a new tradition? We’ll see. 

May you find loads of peace and joy this coming year. We’d love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Time of Transition Requires a New Name

This blog started back in 2008 as a mommy blog. Or, more accurately, a place to compile the insanity of my life -- specifically with my son's undiagnosed PDD-NOS, and the unschooling/homeschooling adventures I had with him, and his sister.

The blog was aptly named Insane Parents Unite!

But now my kids are in middle-school. And you can't even buy parenting magazines geared towards kids that old. Not to mention that both my children refuse to be photographed, and what fun is a blog post about teenage angst, hunting for high schools, or the continual battle of limiting video gaming time when you can't even add a picture?!


So I changed the blog title to Indian-flavored Everything because I love all things Indian, was dating an Indian man, and I was running out of kid topics. (Which isn't really true, but whatever.) I still want to write about my favorite Bollywood movie, and the trip I'm dreaming up for Kerala with my new guy, but I also want to write about homesteading and reading and parenting older kids and cross-cultural dating. And hopefully in an artful-heartful way so that I may bring some joy to the soul along the way.

So now what do I call the blog?


And now for something not-so completely different ... I will be starting a BRAND NEW BLOG within the next month (in addition to this one). Something along the lines of Eco Expat. I've bought some land in Costa Rica at an Eco Village (off the grid, self-sustainable, intentional community) and I want to chronicle my experience of readying myself for life in a foreign country, earning income in a foreign country, learning a new language, practicing my homesteading skills -- plus all the logistical things I didn't anticipate happening but I'm sure will.

Stop by here for a link to the new blog.

Pura Vida!