Oh Hello, I Disappeared! And We Adopted A Community Garden! Plus Other Goings-On.

August 15th, 2015 - posted under: Furthermore » Inspiration


Image via my Instagram, which is where I’ve actually managed to continue posting for the past few weeks.

Hi Guys! Wow, so okay, I seem to have taken an un-planned blogging break. And honestly, I think I’m going to continue with that for the next few weeks. BUT, I didn’t want to just leave all y’all hanging, and also I have this incredibly amazing new project to share with you, so I figured I’d pop in for a quick update.

I’ve been trying to write this post for weeks – literally weeks – and things keep coming up and pushing it down the seemingly unending to-do list. I have so much going on right now, I may be busier than I’ve ever been before.

Anyway, before we get into all that, YOU GUYS WE ADOPTED A COMMUNITY GARDEN.

Abandoned Community Garden 1

And by “we” I mean Waits’s preschool. One of the teachers found this abandoned secret garden (!!!) in her neighborhood, hidden along the railroad tracks, tucked behind a park. And she went to the city and was like “What’s up with that?” and they were all “Oh yeah, it was built in the 90s and then completely abandoned and has been sitting empty ever since.” and she was like “OOH ME ME!!” and they said “Well, okay”.

So that’s how that happened.

Abandoned Community Garden 2
Abandoned Community Garden

It’s a quarter of an acre, with [somehow, magically] a healthy little orchard of 6-8 dwarf trees (with amazing avocados, see??), but other than that’s it’s all dirt, dirt, trash, weeds, and more dirt. There’s a LOT of work to do, and we are so excited to do it!

The surrounding community is very underserved, primarily Spanish-speaking, and there’s just nothing like this there. Our plan is to get it cleaned up as quickly as possible to remove safety hazards, and then open the gates to the children of the community. It’s going to be so amazing.

I’ve already started about a billion fall seeds in my back yard, everything from leeks and shallots and red onions and chives, to birdhouse gourds and beets, to mustard greens and Chinese cabbage. We’re so lucky that we have a year-round growing season here in southern California, so we’ll be able to get things going right away. My outdoor table is totally covered with seed pots!

Abandoned Community Garden 4

Abandoned Community Garden 5

I’ll blog our progress as it unfolds. I’m so excited to share this amazing project with all of you!

Aside from the garden, I’ve got so many things that are keeping my busy these days, sometimes it’s hard to keep my head straight.

The biggest thing is that the project I’ve been heading for the past year has finally come to fruition. And even though it’s something I’ve been working on for so long, and I know I’ve mentioned bits and pieces in Love Lists and such, for the most part I realized that I’ve never formally written about it! But basically, last summer I wrote a grant proposal, trying to get funding to turn a face-to-face biology course that I TA for and that my advisor teaches, into a fully-online class. And, the grant was granted! I was appointed project manager and we set about converting this course into an online product. And we’ve been working on that for the past year — updating material, building the website, filming lectures, creating quizzes and examinations and figuring out how to administer them online, and conceptualizing and designing new learning activities that would not only replace, but actually enhance the students’ experience. It was so much work and it was my baby, and man, it’s been so cool to just literally build a thing where no thing was before.

And anyway, 2 weeks ago it went live. We are running our first class, and so it’s been a wiiiiiiild couple of weeks, as I’m sure you can imagine. Hello, unforeseen bugs and tech issues and troubleshooting — oh my!

But it’s fun. And stimulating. And so, so rewarding.

Abandoned Community Garden 6

Mulching mulching mulching.

So along with the online class, I’m also TAing a whole other course right now (I know, I’m sadistic) and this one is kind of intense. Public speaking is my biggest fear and it’s something that I’m slowly conquering through my TAships. But this time I’m teaching to a 300-student room, and I have to wear a freakin’ lapel mic, and I have to use this crazy polling software, and it’s just really intense. Oh yeah and it’s math. Computational sets, over and over. Yeesh.

So I’m obviously super tied up with school/work, but on top of that, Jeremy and I are working on our next business venture, which is slated to open in the next few weeks. I KNOW. And I just can’t wait to tell you all about it! It’s a logical next step following from the barware and mixology shop that Jeremy opened last year, Still, and it’s not something we planned but something that sort of fell into our laps, and when opportunity knocks . . . ya know??? Still is mostly Jeremy’s thing, with me just being the vintage buyer and helping out here and there where I can. But this next business is both of ours, and it’s going to be so cool!

Did I mention I was busy?

Abandoned Community Garden 3

So many seeds!

On top of all that, my Portland house needed a bunch of repair work, and I’ve had to handle everything remotely. And then my tenants gave their notice, and I had to find new tenants (luckily, I was able to get some friends, an awesome vegan couple, to move in).

Plus Waits and I packed up all of our worldly possessions and moved out of my house, and into Jeremy’s. So that took up some time.

And Harley is very sick. He hasn’t had another seizure since that first one back in July, but his brain tumor has progressed very quickly, and his health is deteriorating more and more each day. We’re trying to spend as much time as we can with him, before the end.

So why am I even telling you all this? I don’t know, really. But I just feel like – it’s always been so important to me to be honest and open in this space. It felt weird to be away, and to not tell you guys about it all.

So there it is.

♥ ♥ ♥

My life is very full right now. Lots of beginnings, and also endings. And in a week and a half, my little boy will be starting kindergarten, and everything will change and it will never be the same again. So I’m going to continue taking some time to just hunker down with my family, and spend these last few weeks of summer in our own, real-life, quiet space.

Thank you all for continuing to visit me here, and to read, and to leave your wonderful comments. This little community we have created means more to me than you could ever know. And I have so many wonderful things to share this fall.

Looking forward to catching up with you then.


What We Ate Wednesday: Saturday With Waits, Plus A Review Of “Plant-Powered Families” By Dreena Burton

July 21st, 2015 - posted under: The Food » Food Styles

I’m just going to start this post by saying: I’m a big fan of Dreena Burton. For starters, I’ve been buying her books and making her recipes for years. And, I had the opportunity to meet her, and to sit with her on both the parenting panel and the privacy panel, at VVCII. And also [...]

“When Vegans Get Sick” — [Excerpts From My Talk At Vida Vegan Con 2015]

July 15th, 2015 - posted under: The Food » Food and Health

Back in May, I gave a seminar at Vida Vegan Con, called “Facing Failing Health As A Vegan” (subheading: “And What Our Community Should Be Doing About It”). I had really wanted to film my talk, but wasn’t able to make it happen. So, I thought I’d share my notes, and the powerpoint slides, for [...]

Welcome To My 2015 Urban Garden! Plus, Some Real Life Real Talk.

July 8th, 2015 - posted under: The Farm » Flora

It’s already July. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! It’s already July and my garden is in full-swing, so I figured it’s about time do a little walk-through, no? But also, I wanted to give y’all a little life update. In my last Pictures Of Things + Le Love List, I mentioned that I was experiencing a [...]

Pictures Of Things + Le Love List

July 3rd, 2015 - posted under: Furthermore » Feedback

What a strange and difficult week it’s been. On Saturday night, at 4:30 in the morning, we woke up to find our Harley having a seizure. We rushed him to the 24-hour emergency vet, where they were able to get the seizure under control. They told us that in elderly dogs, seizures are most often [...]