Thursday, December 27, 2007

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Walt Whitman

"Love the earth and sun and animals, Despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, Stand up for the stupid and crazy, Devote your income and labor to others . . . And your very flesh shall be a great poem."
Walt Whitman

My friend Matisse had this quote on her blog and when I read it I felt new breath in me, my heart was happy and kissed with goodness. I love it.

we got a new camera

We're still figuring out all the fancy pants things it can do and it makes great films which was exactly what we wanted. Now I just need to learn how to post them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

"Purple hair, purple rain". . . to the music of Prince

So, it isn't really purple anymore but it was and I was so busy I didn't fix it for a week. Warning: if you have blond highlights and want to go brown you may get violet stripes where the light blond was. Luckily, if I wore it in two little buns it wasn't that noticeable and I actually liked it. Don't tell my mom! Shh. (Now it's the color of what you see in the photos-- Jason says it is still purple).

Soren got a haircut too (compliments of me and Jason). We like it longer but I trimmed it and it ended up like a cute little mushroom so we decided to go short for a change. I just love his little round face.

And. . .Ta Dah! The other night one of Soren's friend came over and so we put together our gingerbread house. Second warning: this is probably not the best activity for 2 year olds if you don't like your little one to eat sweeties a lot. We still had a grand old time and Jason did a fabulous job of finishing it but at one point there was the distinct sound of little happy teeth grinding candy that was placed before them for decorating and I panicked. I survived. . . and isn't the house wonderful!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Master Cash and Gold Digger

Soren comes up with the funniest sayings and if our camera was working I'd show you photos of his latest installations. He made my new favorite today (he hung a little bouncy ball from the fridge with a rubber band and it was so perfect just cradled inside). Anyway, the other day he came up with the perfect nickname for Jason-- "Master Cash". What do you think? He has an affection for the word master and when he prays he'll say "thank you for the Master. . ." (I know, it's precious) and we think he learned that from the song "Bah Bah Black Sheep" with the line "one for the master. . ."

He also loves the song "Gold Digger" by Kanye West and Jamie Foxx and if I ask him if he likes a certain song that's playing he'll say "no I like the Gold Digger song." Jason had no idea what he was starting by putting that song on our playlist.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Creative Lab

My boys on Ashton Lane!

Above are two of my favorite places in Glasgow-- The Botanic Gardens and Ashton Lane. They're also the inspiration for a creative lab I'm working on for Dance House. I decided to create a dance about response to environment and how structure and surroundings can be tools for choreography. I started working on it this Monday and the choreography has developed into something. . . That's all I'll say for now. It's a work in progress. My friend and installation artist Jeannie Richardson is developing an instillation as a response to the two areas as well and during the piece there will be movement in and out of the art she creates. Her work is so wonderful and delicate (and time consuming) and I'm really excited that we are working together. I'll post some photos of her work soon. The creative lab is an informal sharing of work among other artists/dancers in the community (and those who want to come and see). I think I'd like this to develop into a film where it's shot in the studio space and then also in the actual locations of inspiration. What do you think Charla?

That window above is on Ashton Lane and is really MacKintosh style. When Jason and I have our own home we're going to try to fashion it with Mackintosh-ish furniture bits here and there that Jason has volunteered to make. We took the tour of his home and it's amazing and so dreamy.

This is one of the busiest weeks that I have ever had. I just need to make it to Friday evening and all will be well.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Jason Performing

We celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday at church and after the meal anyone who wanted could come to the stage to sing and play the guitar. It was a good time and Jason charmed the audience with his deep voice that two people said reminded them of Elvis! How cool is my husband? So wonderfully cool and it was fun to see him sing and play the guitar. His tunes included Tom Waits, The Avett Brothers and Steve Earle and I especially loved how he sang "Rich Man's War"--I requested it.

So, the picture is really not the greatest but our camera stopped working and I was lucky to get only 2 photos. Frustrating. . . to say the least. Aside from that, we had a great time.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Installation Artist in the Making

His best mediums are plastic bags, clothespins and hangers but he has also started working with pot lids, other kitchen stuff, rags and random cords.

Which of Soren's works do you prefer? I think my favorite is the 3rd photo that he did tonight when we got home. One of his other hobbies is putting toys (or whatever for that matter) in a plastic bag and then into another and then another. . .Then he'll close it with a clothespin or have it closed somehow and then hang the bag somewhere in the house.

Monday, November 12, 2007

So, I've been reading a book called Motoring with Mohammad about a man's journey back to Yemen to find his journals he'd left the first time he was there (due to a ship wreck)--such and interesting read about life there . . . and it's a true story.

The book was also one of the hand-me-downs from our
Australian friends. They lived in Yemen for a year and worked for the UN before coming to Scotland.

. . .Some other books I love:

The Self Healing Cookbook . . . and you can read it like a book. It is so delightful and philosophical in a very unpretentious way. I totally recommend it if you are into whole foods and balance in your life. Many thanks to Amber, my dear friend.

The Scarlet Letter -Did anyone else just love reading this book in high school? So revealing in so many ways. I think I should read it again.

Angela's Ashes --There was a tidbit about it on The Office and it made me laugh . . . although the book is heart wrenching.

Primo Levi--I had to read this in Italian and it was tough. Thank goodness for the class discussions.

I finished reading Kitty and her Sisters a few months ago and it was not an epic but I was glued until the very end with lots of sister drama.

The next book I'm going to read is a Feminism: Issues & Arguments by Jennifer Mather Saul. Jason brought it home from the university library for me. After that I have to read Freakonomics recommended by Charla.

I've not been a person that goes from one book to the next always reading and reading but lately I've started to want to read more and more. I've always been really kinesthetic and needed to get up and move around after a 20 page read--even if I was loving the book. I'd get tired in a restless way--tired from sitting! So I really enjoyed short stories for a while (has anyone ever read the short story The Sound of Thunder? -- it's a good one). Anyway, I'm happy to find that I can sit and be calm for longer and maybe it has something to do with being a mom and being busy even when I have nothing planned. Reading has become an escape.

What are some of your favorites?? . . . Or books you have read lately?

Sunday, November 04, 2007


My new Wellingtons! Rain boots are such an essential thing to have in Glasgow and I'm so happy to finally have a pair. Now we just need to find a pair for Jason.

And here are some photos of my little baby model. You've got to love that neck!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Big Issue

In Glasgow there is this Magazine called the Big Issue that is sold all over town (here is a link to read about its great cause: --it's concept is really a revolutionary approach to poverty aid) . I bought it the other night and was just reading a tribute to the founder of The Body Shop, Dame Anita Roddick (1942-2007). She is an amazing woman and example to the world. I want to be like her.

Some of her great words from the October issue include. . .

Activism is being a voice for the voiceless, standing up for the weak and the frail, engaging the human spirit. It's putting your head above the parapet. Being heard. Being seen. Being counted.

I wake up every morning thinking-- this is my last day. And I jam everything into it. There's no time for mediocrity. There is no . . . dress rehearsal. You've got one life, so just lead it. And try to be remarkable.

Being an activist is sexy. Being a voice of dissent, getting informed, finding something inside yourself that gets you outraged so you expose truth and get active is far 'cooler' that worrying about split ends and spots.

She supported and admired many organizations. The Forgiveness Project is a good example of this as it calls for peace and conflict resolution. Here is a summary of their purpose from the magazine:

. . .The Forgiveness Project is a powerful conflict-resolution concept that aims to prevent cyclical violence by facilitation reconciliation and the healing of past wounds between victims and perpetrators. It uses stories, and in particular its powerful traveling exhibition "The F Word", to open up a dialogue and promote understanding. The project works in prisons, schools, faith communities, and with any group that wants to explore the nature of forgiveness whether in the wider political context or within their own lives.

There is a great play on words. . . and why not. Let's give new meaning to the F word.

The list of organizations is wonderfully long from Human Rights to Fair Trade. . .from Poverty to Health to the Environment.

With the words of Anita: Do something. Do anything. Just do something.

During the tribute there is a beautiful photo of her with (what appears to be) an indigenous tribe and underneath are the words of Ken Saro-Wiwa

Dance your anger and your joys,
Dance the military guns to silence,
Dance oppression and injustice to death,
Dance my people.

The phrase reminded me of a documentary I watched in college about the holocaust. In the film were stories of the atrocities and I remember one well where a Jewish man in a concentration camp responded to the German military by dance. His dancing and singing outraged the Germans but he continued. Others joined in. They had everything taken from them but their dances and songs of praise could not be taken.

Sometimes I get downhearted and feel hopeless for the horrible things in the world but when I see and hear about people like Anita I feel hopeful and grateful for the good in the world. There is good.

Isn't Anita fantastic!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Halloween Party and Sorenisms

My friend Patsy throws an annual Halloween party and today was the day. She makes just about all the food and it is amazing (the photo above isn't even all it)! Soren picked out his own costume and I was pleasantly surprised with his choice. I thought he would be more interested in the spider that was hanging next to it but he saw the pumpkin and that was that.

My orange hat came into good use as well.

I started the section below a few days ago--I 've just started working a bit more and I'm learning to manage my time. It is really quite a task some days and I'm having to play catch up with blogging. . .

I just finished cleaning the kitchen and while doing so Soren fell asleep on the coach just before 5 pm. Probably one of the worst times to take a nap. We spent most of his first 2 years trying and trying to get him to sleep more and now although he does sleep better at night he wants to nap at times that through off his night routine.

Since he is asleep I'll take a few minutes to share some of the greatest things our 2 1/2 year old has said lately.

1. while making noise with his feet under the table he said "did you hear the beautiful noise?"

2. Sometimes Soren likes us to hold him like a baby and then whoever is holding him goes and shows the other the little baby in her/his arms. I was holding him the other day and told him when he was a baby he cried a lot and then while I was holding him he did this funny imitation cry. Then I asked him if he knew why he cried so much when he was a baby and he said "I cried because I was frustrated."

3. Sometimes when Jason and I are playing with him he'll say in the funniest and sweetest voice "I have a little treat for you."

4. The other morning he was in bed with us and woke me up by saying "your're gorgeous."--something we say to him a lot.

5. The other day Jason was cooking dinner and Soren said, "you're doing a great job Dad."

I love my little PLUMPKIN! My brother coined that when he saw a photo of Soren dressed up for his first Halloween when he was a smaller pumpkin (compliments of Grandma Pat) . I wish I had photos on this computer--they're saved somewhere else for now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Email from Charla

I'm so worried about family and friends in the area. I woke up this morning with horrible realities and with the time difference I haven't had much contact with family. I just got word from my sister Charla (below).

Hey Cutie,

I wanted to talk to you about that last evening but I knew you'd be
asleep. The fires are the worst in So. Cal history, spanning from Los
Angeles (communities) past San Diego. Everyone in Fallbrook has been
evacuated, and I heard from a co-worker today (who's grandparents live
there) that at least (or around) 500 homes around Gird Rd./Reche/Pala
Mesa Golf course have been destroyed.

Francie and Wally and Dad (hopefully Dad) haven't been
evacuated--Carlsbad is safe right now and La Mesa, too, but Poway,
Ramona, parts of Del Mar and Rancho Santa Fe etc... have all been
evacuated. Malibu has been evacuated and the weather is supposedly
some of the driest in history. I spoke with Francie for a while
yesterday and she says that everything is very somber and eerie. No
one smiles and tons of shops have closed down, all of the schools have
shut down and people are just glued to their houses and tvs. No one is
supposed to leave their homes unless evacuated.

I'll write more later.

Love you.

I'm praying for everyone!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

War Made Easy and Independent Media in a Time of War

Jason and I just finished watching an excellent documentary about the government's and media's role in creating war. It is a must see and the end is the most striking and strong part with the words of Martin Luther King Jr. as he spoke out against the Vietnam war. Let me just say that his speeches are a breath of fresh air in this frenzy of war, politics and hunger for power. He makes me feel that there is humanity and there can be peace. He is a hero along with others shown at the end of the film.

The film is called War Made Easy and as I watched displays of normal American media on the film it was so embarrassing to see first, how we approach war as a nation and second, how this approach is "normal" to see on news stations across the nation. (If you watch the film this will seem clearer)-- Like a student giving a presentation for school with impersonal graphs and silly power point stuff. These graphs represent lives and serious issues that are about life and death! It's like the presenters don't even recognize what they are talking about and are completely detached from humanity. It was also alarming when the news commentators were so stoked on talking about the newest war planes and what they can do (like a little boy with a new firetruck). This is so absurd to me. I've heard that the Bush administration has been very in control of the media with very little visuals seen about what is actually happening, such as a ban on images of dead US soldiers or coffins and what they call "tasteless" war images. This allows for such a mainstream detachment from the value of the lives that are lost.

I'm so grateful for wisdom of the strong in the world and that there is hope in the mess of pride and lies as people stand for humanity and truth despite the obvious slant. Parallels are made with the Iraq war and the Vietnam war that leave me feeling so frustrated and even more let down than I felt previously (and it was already strong). How did this happen again? The perspectives on media are extremely profound and need be seen and heard. We can stop this because this is still a government of the people.

My friend Suvi just started an excellent discussion on the approaching war as well at:
I hope you will check it out and join the discussion there as well.

We also just watched Independent Media in a Time of War and it is so perfectly clear and honest and seeks for this same character in American Media. The documentary made me cry after seeing the truths of war that are not being shown through the American Media. Amy Goodman is the journalist and an activist that speaks out on a regular show call "Democracy Now!" She believes that if we Americans could see for even just a week on our mainstream media the true casualties of war that the American response would be to demand an immediate end to the violence against civilians. I just can't believe what is happening while we literally sit back and "watch" the media on TV with such a slant toward war without even realizing it. What we see on news channels is very different from what other countries all around the world are seeing, even when the same network owns both the US and the international programs, and it is so strange that we as a nation don't really know this. Our news is censored to promote the cause of war while silencing any calls for peace or diplomacy. Another unbelievable fact of journalism is the "embedded journalists" who only give the military perspective on war- either generals or soldiers- without the balanced perspective of civilian loss-- what a contradictory concept when the media is supposed to inform the public by presenting the facts in a fair and balanced way.

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Hand-Me-Down

Months ago we met this darling family from Australia--wife, husband and their 2 year old girl (who got along great with Soren). Both the wife and husband were here getting their master's degrees in political science (in different fields--which I think is so fantastic). Any way, before they left they had loads of stuff they needed to get rid of and gave us first pick at the goods. One of the finds was this great ceramic tart/pie pan and we have put it to good use. I started with a flourless chocolate cake and have since made 4 blackberry pies (all with different crust recipes). I'm still amazed at how easy it is to make a pie--I always thought it was this big ordeal but it really isn't and it's actually fun. On the third pie we did a crisscross topping that I thought was really cute.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Our Travel Log with Grandpa Frank

Above are photos of Carbeth Fishery

I love this photo!

Waiting for the ferry in Arran to go back to Ardrossan

One of the first things we saw on the Island--it was quite breathtaking!

The Island of Arran along the coast

another lovely castle that was originally owned by the Norwegians (still Arran).

I heart pink!

My Dad has been here for a week now and it has been a wonderful adventure. I told Soren when my dad arrived that "Grandpa Frank is my dad" and so after that he would refer to him as "your dad" and say things like "where's your dad?" or "where's mama's dad?" It was so cute and we all got a kick out of it.

My dad rented a car and we had some wild rides touring Glasgow, Carbeth, Ardrossan, and the Island of Arran. The drivers are a bit more aggressive and daring here so it was like Mr. Toads wild ride at Disneyland sometimes--I'm glad I wasn't driving. We took the car on the ferry to Arran and it was so absolutely beautiful--even when it rained! Luckily the rain cleared up on the Island and we has some sunshine. Soren was such a good traveler in the car and I think it has something to do with the fact that we don't have one here and it was a real novelty.

I had to work some of the time and it was fun to have my dad escort me to work with the rental car and show him where I teach dance. I'm really going to miss him and am so sad that his stay is coming to an end. It's hard being away from family. We love you dad! Thanks for everthing!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Kelvingrove Park

Fall is here! You can see a tower in the first photo that is part of Jason's school--He studies at the very top of the tower and wears wizard hat. OK, not really but that is part of his campus and it's so beautiful and old (reminding me of the tower in The last Unicorn and there is even a famous unicorn staircase on one of the buildings!). You can see the tower from all angles and when Soren and I are out and about he will spot it and say "there's daddy's school" and get really excited.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Maryhill Integration Network

Last night Soren and I performed "Mother May I" with the those involved in the Maryhill Integration Network and we had a wonderful time. I wrote about this piece a while back but last night it was even more meaningful to me. The network is a group for asylum seekers and refugees in Glasgow and offers a place for the women to meet and have classes, create art and make friends. I have loved meeting these beautiful women and their children and feel so grateful for their examples of strength. During the dance performances last night (which were choreographed by Natasha Gilmore) stories were told through movement and speaking that brought tears and emotion. Missing children, leaving homelands, and accepting the realities of their status here were some of the topics of the piece. And although there are heartaches the women are grateful to be here and be safe.

In Glasgow when an asylum seeker arrives they are given housing but it is in some of the worst parts of the city and they can't work and find a new house until they are given refuge status. This can take a good while. Some leave their beautiful homes behind due to strife in their own countries but come to a new state of poverty and can't better their state until they are permitted to stay on a long term basis. They have skills they can't use and some Glaswegians look down on them because of this catch 22.

Soren and I were in the second piece and while watching the first dance rehearse I was overwhelmed by their depth as women. One beautiful dancer stopped and spoke directly to the audience and said "I miss my children"--she is Armenian and has a 5 year old here with her and has 2 older children that can't come until she is officially a refugee. My other friend, also Armenian, can't be with her husband who is still in Armenia because they are of different religions and their is conflict between the Christians and Muslums. With the music playing there was also recorded text with their stories and Jason was struck by the phrase "love is a method of survival." What a true principle.

In the second dance the children dancing asked poignant questions like "am I Scottish?" while demonstrating a staged game of "mother may I". At one point the mother in charge gets angry with a daughter who wants to go out and play and then the daughter says "mother can I have a hug." After this all of the dancers filter on to the stage for a huge group hug while a Danish singer sings an amazing lullaby. During rehearsal I noticed my beautiful friend crying as we hugged. Some of the simplest movement bring the most meaning. I loved being in this dance and it taught me a lot about being an artist and choreographer but more importantly about life and humanity and love. If that isn't there then nothing else really matters.

Soren was so cute. He was rocking out with all the dancer during the finale. That was a really fun part where all the dancer could wear their traditional clothing and dance for a while.

I'm going to be working with this group every Wednesday night teaching dance to the women and children. I'm so excited and grateful. They also provide a nursery for the littles ones when their class is over so the moms can have a class. How perfect is that! I can bring Soren to the first class with me and then teach the second class while he is in the nursery (and he really likes it). Sometimes the stars line up. I love the women I've met--they are so beautiful!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy 30th Birthday, Cammie!

Cammie turns the big 30 today. I just wanted to post something about her to celebrate it, and let her know how wonderful she is.

Cammie and I have been married for four years now, and they have been the best. Life before I met Cammie was cold and lonely, and didn't even feel like life had begun or was real life until we were married and started our little family. I loved Cammie so much when we were dating, but it is so much more after being married and watching her be such a great mother to Soren. She takes such good care of him, and he loves her more than anything in the world. Cammie always wants to do what is right, and is always concerned about how others are feeling. She is a great example to Soren and me. She is always so beautiful, and I just feel incredibly lucky to have her in my life.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Ready for the Rain

Little Soren is all ready for the rain. We found some Thomas the Tank Engine rain boots the other day to go with the his new coat that Grandma sent!

I asked him if he could be "awesomely happy" for this photo.

. . . another fun one.