a measuring stick for my journey

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

urban homesteading

I am a country girl at heart. I have spent 87% of my life residing on my family's ranch. Country living is the picture of sustainability. We eat our own free-range beef, bartered fresh eggs for errands, drank whole milk, grew and canned our own produce. This lifestyle of living off and in tune with the land is a integral part of my life.(Eco-pioneers)
Now I live in a small town. What's a gal to do? I'm currently on a quest to bring sustainability to my urban life. During this quest, I've stumbled across urban homesteading, essentially using the land available in the urban landscape to grow produce, maybe chickens or other poultry (check with your city codes), lead a more self sustaining life. However, this philosophy goes beyond what you eat; it's what you do with waste, how you use water, your transportation choices. What I find most intriguing is that this goes beyond the tangible. It's a lifestyle change, a cultural shift, a community builder. This is a homegrown revolution! I'm fully on-board. Anyone interested in joining me?

book report

(The subtitle is pretty summary, eh?)

I love words, new phrase that pinpoint what I am trying to say or define. Crunchy con(servative) was a word revolution for me! My liberal lifestyle had always felt juxtaposed to my conservative belief system. Stumbling across Rob Dreher's book, Crunch Cons, pushed me forward in my quest for a more sustainable, green (ish, I'm not entirely sold out to environmentalism) approach to work, business, family, home, life in general. What is the crunch in the conservatism? This is Rob's Manifesto:

1. We are conservatives who stand outside the conservative mainstream; therefore, we can see things that matter more clearly.

2. Modern conservatism has become too focused on money, power, and the accumulation of stuff, and insufficiently concerned with the content of our individual and social character.

3. Big business deserves as much skepticism as big government.

4. Culture is more important than politics and economics.

5. A conservatism that does not practice restraint, humility, and good stewardship—especially of the natural world—is not fundamentally conservative.

6. Small, Local, Old, and Particular are almost always better than Big, Global, New, and Abstract.

7. Beauty is more important than efficiency.

8. The relentlessness of media-driven pop culture deadens our senses to authentic truth, beauty, and wisdom.

9. We share Russell Kirk’s conviction that “the institution most essential to conserve is the family.”

10. Politics and economics won’t save us; if our culture is to be saved at all, it will be by faithfully living by the Permanent Things, conserving these ancient moral truths in the choices we make in our everyday lives.

Food for thought, all! Read his book, or borrow it from me and save a tree (and a few dollars!) :)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour

This Saturday night, March 28, join me in shutting down electronics, and shutting of lights from 8:30-9:30 local time. A good practice to lower our energy impact, appreciate our blessings, and spend a quiet hour with friends and family. www.earthhour.org for more info.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Walk Score

More on community! Google created an application that gives a "walk-score" for the community you live in. Douglas scored 38 out of 100 and is car-dependent. I wonder what impact this has on our local community? While the population of Douglas hovers around 5,000 residents, relatively small, we are all stranded in our cars. What would the impact be if we all became walkers regardless? Would our town change if we got to know our neighbors, picked the litter up from our streets, and left our footprint on a place?

How walk-able is your town or neighborhood? Visit the site here.
PS. While Douglas scored low, my neighborhood scored high. Our walk-ability ranked 82 out of 100, very walkable. Which heads me in the direction of city planning...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

something I can get behind...(more on community)

I may not agree with everything that Obama does policy wise, economically, internationally etc. But I can absolutely get behind the fact that his family is putting a vegetable garden in on the south lawn of the White House.

Some friends and I recently reserved a plot in our community garden and we can't wait to 1) meet new friends ie other gardeners, 2) garden, get our hands in the dirt, try some crazy and new veggies 3) consume locally and sustainably and 4) put a little extra into our community. So for this, I say, Go Obama! For the full story, go here.

more on community

Much of my thought life has recently been directed toward community and fellowship. I've been pondering the notion of Christ-like community building, and the extension of fellowship outside of the walls of our church. I love the church, don't get me wrong, but I think that our church life, friends, etc need to be supplemented with a healthy dose of our local community, our co-workers, our 'real' lives. I find this quote very provocative today...

"I'm bored with all the talk, the programs, the strategies for growth, the latest all-conquering theories on evangelism. That stuff's a decoy. Show me how to love. Right now I'm not too bothered about meetings, the preaching, the music. I'd trade the lot of it for something else. Lately I've been longing more than anything else to belong to a community that is purely and simply deeply kind." -- Pete Greig

gotta love wyoming!

(Photo courtesy Casper Star-Tribune)

D and I spent a lovely weekend picnicking, stocking back up on Vitamin D (if you know what I mean), bike riding, and in general LOVING the beautiful spring weather. Winter already fading to a distant memory. Monday morning we woke up to this. We absolutely enjoyed our snow day together, but please, please, please let this be the last storm of winter.

Monday, March 23, 2009

cookin' crew do chinese

A feast of flavors: Mongolian beef with snow peas, Sweet and Sour pork, steamed buns, curried vegetables, egg rolls, sake...wonderful! Next on the menu, Greek! Stay tuned...

mountain get-away

Fabulous friends, excellent boarding conditions, delicious food, and a homey cabin due to a generous couple! A fond memory I'll revisit often!

hot husband pics

My favorite! D does a lovely job of sitting still! :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

it's finally here!

Hurray! It's finally spring. And the Wyoming weather is co-operating beautifully! My boss and I spent the morning doing field work in the local mountains and my spring fever has gotten significantly worse. I think D and I will celebrate tonight by going to bed early, as all old folk do. Marriage ages one by about 10 years, but I can't say that I mind!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

60 days and we're still crazy (about eachother)

Two months later it's hard to remember when we weren't married. Life has been full to the brim, and we're drinking every last drop of it. Marriage has been a process... I've discovered many things about D that I didn't know pre-nuptial. Such as:

-he has probably the worst fake accent ever, hilarious, but oh it is SO bad. Somewhere between Texan, British, and Australian.

-he doesn't mind when I smack him in the face in my sleep. every night.

-speaking of sleep, I'm always the first out of bed. D, he's a sleeper in-ner.

-our definitions of working out are very different. mine involves cardio loading and two hours. D consists of 3o minutes and lots of stretching.

-he as an excellent vacuum-er...

-he talks in his sleep. a lot. about strange things. like toast.

- D has excellent fashion advice, and is very good at hard to reach zippers and ties.

-D is possible more excited about summer than I am. Which I didn't think was possible.

-he is an amazing carpenter. And can do everything and anything around the house.

-and I'll probably never admit this to him, but he is better and picking paint colors than I am. There I said it.

-he's totally wonderful! :) Which I already knew, so that point is a bit of a cheat.

Fair well! We're off to celebrate St. Paddy's Day at the Sr. Center!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

this little gem caught my attention today...

we must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned,
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
~joseph campbell

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


maybe love is what it is really all about...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


a recent lose of a classmate and friend brings this to the forefront of my week. please seek help. please be aware of the symptoms and promote community awareness.

from http://www.save.org/

Symptoms of Major Depression

Depressed GirlNot all people with depression will show all symptoms or have them to the same degree. If a person has four or more symptoms, for more than two weeks, consult a doctor or mental health professional right away. While the symptoms specified for all groups below generally characterize major depression, there are other disorders with similar characteristics including: bipolar illness, anxiety disorder, or attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity.

In Adults

  • Persistent sad or "empty" mood.
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic and/or guilty.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities, including sex.
  • Disturbances in eating and sleeping patterns.
  • Irritability, increased crying, anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • Thoughts of suicide; suicide plans or attempts.
  • Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment.

In Infants

It’s important to understand what constitutes normal development in infants, children and adolescents vs. what may be signs of a depressive illness.

  • Unresponsive when talked to or touched, never smile or cry, or may cry often being difficult to soothe.
  • Failure to gain weight (not due to other medical illness).
  • Unmotivated in play.
  • Restless, oversensitive to noise or touch.
  • Problems with eating or sleeping.
  • Digestive disorders (constipation/diarrhea).

In Children

In children, depressive illnesses/anxiety may be disguised as, or presented as, school phobia or school avoidance, social phobia or social avoidance, excessive separation anxiety, running away, obsessions, compulsions, or everyday rituals, such as having to go to bed at the exact time each night for fear something bad may happen. Chronic illnesses may be present also since depression weakens the immune system. Other signs include persistent unhappiness, negativity, complaining, chronic boredom, no initiative.

  • Uncontrollable anger with aggressive or destructive behavior, possibly hitting themselves or others, kicking or self-biting or head banging.
  • Harming animals.
  • Continual disobedience.
  • Easily frustrated, frequent crying, low self-esteem, overly sensitive.
  • Inability to pay attention, remember, or make decisions, easily distracted, mind goes blank.
  • Energy fluctuations from lethargic to frenzied activity, with periods of normalcy.
  • Eating or sleeping problems.
  • Bedwetting, constipation, diarrhea.
  • Impulsiveness, accident-prone.
  • Chronic worry & fear, clingy, panic attacks.
  • Extreme self-consciousness.
  • Slowed speech & body movements.
  • Disorganized speech - hard to follow when telling you a story, etc.
  • Physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, stomachaches, arms or legs ache, nail-biting, pulling out hair or eyelashes. (ruling out other medical causes)
  • Suicidal talk or attempts.

In Adolescents

Depressive illnesses/anxiety may be disguised as, or presented as, eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, drug/alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, risk-taking behavior such as reckless driving, unprotected sex, carelessness when walking across busy streets, on bridges or cliffs. There may be social isolation, running away, constant disobedience, getting into trouble with the law, physical or sexual assaults against others, obnoxious behavior, failure to care about appearance/hygiene, no sense of self or of values/morals, difficulty cultivating relationships, inability to establish/stick with occupational/educational goals.

  • Physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, stomachaches, neck aches, arms or legs hurt due to muscle tension, digestive disorders. (ruling out other medical causes)
  • Persistent unhappiness, negativity, irritability.
  • Uncontrollable anger or outbursts of rage.
  • Overly self-critical, unwarranted guilt, low self-esteem.
  • Inability to concentrate, think straight, remember, or make decisions, possibly resulting in refusal to study in school or an inability (due to depression or attention deficit disorder) to do schoolwork.
  • Slowed or hesitant speech or body movements, or restlessness (anxiety).
  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities.
  • Low energy, chronic fatigue, sluggishness.
  • Change in appetite, noticeable weight loss or weight gain, or abnormal eating patterns.
  • Chronic worry, excessive fear.
  • Preoccupation with death themes in literature, music, drawings, speaking of death repeatedly, fascination with guns/knives.
  • Suicidal thoughts, plans, or attempts.

In the Elderly

Many people feel that it is normal for elderly persons to be depressed. This is a dangerous misconception. If you suspect an older adult is suffering from a depressive illness, a thorough medical examination should be given as soon as possible.

  • Unusual complaints of aches and pains (back, stomach, arms, legs, head, chest), fatigue, slowed movements and speech, loss of appetite, inability to sleep, weight increase or decrease, blurred vision, dizziness, heart racing, anxiety.
  • Inability to concentrate, remember or think straight (sometimes mistaken for dementia). An overall sadness or apathy, withdrawal; inability to find pleasure in anything.
  • Irritability, mood swings or constant complaining; nothing seems to make the person happy.
  • Talk of worthlessness, not being needed anymore, excessive and unwarranted guilt.
  • Frequent doctor visits without relief in symptoms; all tests come out negative.
  • Alcoholism, which can mask an underlying depression.
  • Decreased need for sleep.
  • Restless, agitated, can't sit still. Increased energy, or an inability to slow down.
  • Racing, disorganized thoughts, easily distracted.
  • Rapid, increased talking or laughing
  • Grandiose ideas, increased creativity.
  • Overly excited, euphoric, giddy, exhilarated.
  • Excessive irritability, on edge.
  • Increased sex drive, possibly resulting in affairs, inappropriate sexual behaviors.
  • Poor judgment, impulsiveness, spending sprees
  • Embarrassing social behavior.
  • Paranoia, delusions, hallucinations.

Warning Signs of SuicideDepressed Young Man

  • Ideation (thinking about suicide)
  • Substance use or abuse (increased or change in substance)
  • Purposelessness (no sense of purpose or belonging)
  • Anger
  • Trapped (feeling like there is no way out)
  • Hopelessness (there is nothing to live for, no hope or optimism)
  • Withdrawal (from family, friends, work, school, activities, hobbies)
  • Anxiety (restlessness, irritability)
  • Recklessness (high risk-taking behavior)
  • Mood disturbance (dramatic change in mood)
  • Talking about suicide.
  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about.
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
  • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.
A suicidal person urgently needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Why the woods?

A recent weekend spent in a remote mountain cabin brought a longing of mine to the forefront. There is something within me that is filled by the wilderness. Nothing else quite resonates the same within my soul. Walden sums it up well:

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

Oh to slow down and savor. To live deep, that is my longing!