Monday, June 14, 2010

check in

Its been sixteen days since our initial paper gathering. Erin has been very meticulous with pulling the outer bark off our paper pulp. Sacrificing her hands to the clingy stench of the rotting materials. Its not quite ready, we'll wait a bit longer.

The darker material is dried out. Some of our bast fibers were greener (literally) than the others and thus broke down much quicker than some of our older more stubborn specimens. Supposedly you can dry them out and then rehydrate them when you're ready to use. We'll see how that works out.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

fleet foxes - tiger mountain peasant song

Wanderers this morning came by
Where did they go
Graceful in the morning light
To banner fair
To follow you softly
In the cold mountain air

Through the forest
Down to your grave
Where the birds wait
And the tall grasses wave
They do not
Know you anymore

Dear shadow alive and well
How can the body die
You tell me everything
Anything true

In the town one morning I went
Staggering through premonitions of my death
I don't see anybody that dear to me

Dear shadow alive and well
How can the body die
You tell me everything
Anything true

I don't know what I have done
I'm turning myself to a demon
I don't know what I have done
I'm turning myself to a demon

Saturday, June 12, 2010

return to the wheel

I sat at my wheel for the first time in about a month. It took me a little while to get back into the groove. A few swear words. A few sighs. But once I got going, my mind when blissfully blank. I think I might have been relaxing. I'm not 100% sure, but something inside me says that's what was going on. This relaxing thing is usually prevented in some way by constant picking by my overactive brain. By all this 'thinking' I seem to do. Instead of knowing and accepting, I over work and over think the simplest items.

Not tonight. Tonight, I simply focused on the fluff sliding through my hands and magically twisting, turning and organizing. The fluff compressed into a neat and tidy line. Transformed into a more manageable and logical form. Order. It is put in order. Of course this appeals to every part of me. I like order. I like things to be in their proper place and logically categorized. It isn't terribly surprising that I find such a process soothing. I found it all rather fitting. Spinning seems to be a lot like how I process thoughts, emotions, and information.

It starts out as a loose cloud. Then a few strands are funneled though my sensory organs; twisted, turned, packed, organized and arranged. Twinned and interconnected with one another. Simultaneously guided and pulled into a neatly packaged line. The line is then taken and stored in the proper place for later categorization and classification. Maybe is immediately put to use, or maybe its set aside for later. Either way, it is placed in its unique and specific location. This process isn't without snafus. Every so often a few of these bits drift off and stick to some sort of nagging question in my unyielding mind. This nagging causes the entire production line to back up into a tangle of whatever. The production must come to a halt. Order must be reestablished and all the strands must get back in line. Sometimes, as is often the case with thoughts or information, this can take longer than expected.

Maybe this all makes sense. Maybe it doesn't. Perhaps its a jumble of incoherent jabber. Yet, all that seems to matter is the clarity I have right now. For this moment, everything appears crystal clear and simple. For this moment, I'll break out of my normal pattern to accept the clarity. Accept and sit with the simplicity of the scary place that is usually my mind.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

episode II: the artist and the botanist strike back

You may recall this sort of shenanigans happening before. Last year, Erin and I embarked on a paper making adventure. I can happily report that the artist and the botanist are at it again. You may revisit our efforts here, here and here.

We planned out the expedition a bit better this year. We borrowed a friend's pick-'em-up truck for easier hauling, grabbed a saw and some good clippers and went to a location I'd been eye balling for several months. We also cut off all the leaves before transporting. It made the entire collection process easier not to mention, less itchy.

Venturing into the unknown in search of treasure.

Our booty.

A bundle.

Peeling is beyond satisfying.

The artist (left) and the botanist (right).

Tommy took pictures. Notice the shiny shoes.

The concoction is brewing... well, rotting in a 5 gallon bucket near Erin's compost. She has reported that its good and smelly. Which I approve of. We're trying to figure out how to properly do the paper making. We're currently in search of a large enough tub and debating on how large to make our screens/frames. I'm voting for a kiddie pool and hula hoops. We'll probably end up doing something smaller and more practical, not to mention a better shape for storage. But, come on. How awesome would a kiddie pool filled with Broussonetia papyrifera goodness be? I can answer that for you: Wicked cool.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

field work

AWash and I took a brief hiatus from field work in April, but we're back at it now. The sites are much greener since it has warmed up. We're seeing tons of incredible critters! All sorts of caterpillars, moths, butterflies, spiders, dragonflies, and even a fawn. A lot of plants that were pretty dormant during the winter have sprung back to life and are flowering. AWash is doing a much better job at documenting these incredible finds, and I'll see if she'd mind if I posted some of her pictures. Until then, these images from good ol' swamp cam will have to suffice.

Leucothoe racemosa (Fetterbush)

The logging trail. It looks very different than the last time we visited the site. Much more greenery and ferns.

Itea virginica (Virginia Willow)

Woodwardia virginica (Virginia chain fern)

Cypress dome

Friday, April 30, 2010

jason mraz - i'm yours

Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
Now I'm trying to get back
Before the cool done run out
I'll be giving it my bestest
And nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some

I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love
Listen to the music of the moment babay sing with me
I love peace for melody
And It's our God-forsaken right to be loved love loved love loved

So I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

Scooch on over closer dear
And i will nibble your ear

I've been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror
And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my breath fogged up the glass
And so I drew a new face and laughed
I guess what I'm be saying is there ain't no better reason
To rid yourself of vanity and just go with the seasons
It's what we aim to do
Our name is our virtue

But I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find that the sky is yours
Please don't, please don't, please don't
There's no need to complicate
Cause our time is short
This oh this this is out fate, I'm yours!

Monday, April 12, 2010

nonprofit finance for hard times

Nonprofit Finance for Hard Times by Susan U Raymond is the second book I've reviewed for the Feminist Review. You can check it out here. I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much. But I guess you win some, you lose some.

Enjoy. Criticism is always welcome.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

enjoying the solitude

Yesterday, I spontaneously decided I was going to walk part of the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail. I parked at the trail head, walked the mile or so to La Chua Sink and then walked out to the over look on Payne's Prairie. Along the way, I inspected the various blooming plants and quizzed myself on their names. I appear to be a tad rusty.

Not too much to report. I went alone and did some thinking. My mind seems like a messy place these days and I was in need of some serious self reflection. I feel a bit more at peace with myself. At least for the time being...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

this tornado loves you - neko case

My love, I am the speed of sound
I left them motherless, fatherless
Their souls they hang inside-out from their mouths
But it's never enough

I want you

Carved your name across three counties
Ground it in with bloody hides
Their broken necks will line the ditch
'til you stop it, stop it
Stop this madness

I want you

I have waited with a glacier's patience
Smashed every transformer with every trailer
'til nothing was standing
65 miles wide
Still you are nowhere
Still you are nowhere
Nowhere in sight

Come out to meet me
Run out to meet me
Come in to the light

Climb the boxcars to the engine through the smoke into the sky
Your rails have always outrun mine
So I pick them up and crash them down
In a moment close to now
Cuz I miss, I miss, I miss, I miss, I miss, I miss, I miss
I miss how you'd sigh yourself to sleep

When I raked the springtime across your sheets

My love, I am the speed of sound
I left them motherless, fatherless
Their souls they hang inside-out from their mouths
But it's never enough

My love
I'm an owl on the sill in the evening
But morning finds you
Still warm and breathing

This tornado loves you
What will make you believe me?
This tornado loves you
What will make you believe me?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

career day

Let me first say, the thought that I have enough of a career to be qualified to participate in career day is mind blowing. I don't want to be mistaken for a real adult... ew.

I have a small phobia of teaching/facilitating groups with youth under 10. I'm afraid I'm going to scar them for life, or damage their sweet innocent little brains or they'll eat my soul. Although, I sold that long ago, so this fear is possibly invalid and the most irrational. To top it all off, I don't really know how to talk to them. I don't speak their language. This fun fact about me came out during a staff meeting last month as we were discussing my slow (and not so successful) development of a violence prevention curriculum for Elementary aged youth. Da boss, and da BIG boss decided that all I needed to get over my fear was more practice. Hence the signing up for career day at M.K. Rawlings Elementary School in Gainesville. I've also been permitted to 'borrow' some coworker's 5 year olds. Oh, joy!

The panic didn't really set in until I received an email from the coordinator giving me some ideas for talking points. The big one being "What education did you need to prepare you for your career?" The degree I used for acquiring me job was my B.A. in Women's Studies. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN WOMEN'S STUDIES TO EIGHT YEAR OLDS?! Many college students can't seem to wrap their heads around what this is. How in the world could I break this down into kid friendly speak? I called Mom in a frenzy. We decided to explain it like this:

"You all have learned about the founding fathers, right? Well, do you know anything about the founding mothers? I studied the work and lives of the founding mothers. Not just in our country, but in other countries around the world. I learned their special stories and about why they're often hidden from the histories that we all learn in school. Pretty cool, huh?!"

This explanation went very smoothly. There was no glossy look in their eyes. I even heard a couple of them whisper "cool". We did several activities that we'd do with our groups (made age appropriate of course. No talk of dating relationships, instead of friendships). We played telephone to explore a new big word, communication, and talked about why being clear with our messages is so important. I had one student tell us she could read minds. Which, she failed to read mine, so I think she might have been being silly.

On a whole, the entire experience went VERY well. Thanks to Mom for helping me prep and Da Boss for bailing me out when I ran out of ideas on how to simplify my language and froze. The interns observed and reported that I did fairly well. With only a minor sense of panic and terror in my eyes. I only slipped up and used words that were too advanced a few times, but we turned that into a vocab lesson. We learned 'communication', 'confidential', 'parental figure', and 'compromise'. The kids used them in sentences when they were telling us about their experiences. Go team!

Kids can be cool and aren't really anything to be afraid of, I'd just rather stick to talking to teens. I can use big words and be cool for occasionally saying 'shit'.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Saturday I spent the majority of the day on my porch. It's not the most beautiful space, but the weather was amazing, I had a good book, a cup-o-coffee and no obligations. I decided to simply enjoy the day. Enjoy the moment. Be one with the bliss and peace around me.

Stopped for a minute to pay some attention to my own feet. The very feet that carry me through the days' adventures. I put them up and let them rest. After all, they deserve a break too! They're under appreciated. Those feet. They endure so much; high heels, boots and tiny rock climbing slippers.

Yep. That's a wonderful spring morning for you. Bright and full of gnomes. As it should be.

Later, my neighbor came out and we talked about his job in forestry. He works in many of the sites that AWash is doing her research in. It was fun to compare notes and experiences on the locations and what we thought of the current best practices.

As dusk approached, I continued to sit on the porch. With my glass of wine, I watch one of the parking lot cats saunter through their territory. Stopping briefly to watch some TV through someone's open window. I secretly hoped she would come up and join me. Instead, she continued on her patrol. I observed from a distance. I then proceeded to watch my other neighbors and the various birds settle in for the night. Some families came in for the evening. One with their three kids. Clearly tired from a day of enjoying the sunshine. I created stories for their lives. I laughed and cried with their triumphs and failures. I watched them grow.

I turned back to my book and slipped away as did the perfect Saturday sunshine.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

where did february go?

I've been slacking on most of my 2010 resolutions. Updating the blog included. There has been a lot going on in my part of the universe. Traveling, working, laughing and eating... oh the eating. Lots of delicious foods, fun and friends.

I dropped my camera in the swamp a few weeks ago and lost some pictures. Luckily, after a good drying out, the cam is somewhat working again. Although, I might just use some of that tax refund to get a new one and designate the other as "Swamp Cam".

Last weekend, I went to Ft. Collins, CO to visit The Hanners. We had a wonderful time and it snowed the entire time I was there. It was magical. Snow is way cool. The picture below is a shot from The Hanner's front door.

We went on a hike to Devil's Backbone Open Space in Larimer County, CO. It was a nice little hike, but the altitude difference left me a bit winded. At least, that's the excuse I'm using. We had a wonderful time!

After the hike we drove through Roosevelt National Forest and checked out the lovely snow covered mountains. We ate lunch in Estes Park and then headed back to Ft. Collins. On a whole, great outdoor time with! I'm definitely planning on going back to visit The Hanners again and do more exploring.

Monday, February 8, 2010

first review

I just started writing book reviews for the blog Feminist Review. You can find my first here. Enjoy! Feed back is always welcome and appreciated.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

first day of 'work'

Monday I started my second job. Well... it's more like a weekend adventure time where I get paid. Oh, gee. Life is SOOOO terrible (sarcasm, incase you didn't catch it). Thanks to Dan the Man, I landed this amazing gig with AWash's research for her Master's project. Every weekend or so, I help her measure the depth and density of cypress domes in logged sites. I'm learning more and more about the process and regeneration of the ecosystems every day. I'm also brushing up on some rather rusty botany skills. My job is to help with collect data and identify plants in the area. I'll be going out with AWash as often as she needs, and my 'day job' permits. Stay tuned.

The site we went to Monday had been logged last year (2009). It is our most recently disturbed habitat and proved quite the difficult walk. Also, boots (galoshes) are not the most fun/comfortable things to walk miles in. Definitely noted.

Logged site, the entry point.

Cypress dome aka the Laboratory

Moss of sorts.

Possibly Selaginella apoda (Spike moss). It might be difficult to see, but there is representation of the sporophyte stage in this specimen. Uber cute!

The dominant tree species we were surveying were: Ilex cassine (Dahoon Holly), Gordonia lasianthus (Loblolly Bay), Magnolia virginiana ("Swamp Magnolia" or Sweet Bay), and Persea borbonia (Red Bay)

The logged pines were mostly Pinus elliottii (Slash pine).

Monday, January 18, 2010

happy mlk day

I know I've done this before, but I truly feel strongly about celebrating this speech and the things Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. did for our country. While the fight he started is far from complete, we're so much closer to 'ending the long nights' of oppression, discrimination, prejudice and hate.

Today isn't just about a much needed day off in mid January. Or about the individual man it celebrates and honors. It's about something bigger. It's about an idea. A hope. It's about working towards a dream.

Take a moment or two to remember that dream and renew our hope and resolve to make the dream a reality.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

what did i come down here for?

The new year has snuck in and made itself quite at home. Since the close of 2009, I've been in a odd place as far as wanting to write about my adventures and thoughts. Most of the time, I feel that the deepest and most profound things I have to say are lost in the storm cloud of my mind. Floating about. Morphing. Meshing.

My emotions complicate these thoughts even more. Adding a coarse additional layer to ponder and mull over. Instead of fully processing these blobs, I've been piling them up. I'll externally be upset for a day or two. Feel uncomfortable. Cry. Release... but not only partly. I keep a piece and stash it away to revisit later. Eventually causing the clutter and piles of half finished thoughts, ideas, projects and feelings which currently overwhelm and consume me.

This morning I took a deep breath and resolved to clear the clutter. The next hardest thing... where do I start?

Going to take another deep breath and start from the top. Work my way down. Slowly pick away at the layers. Perhaps there's buried treasure somewhere beneath the muck.