Monday, May 31, 2010

The Garden Project, Part 4

Well some things are growing, anyway.  Alas, the lettuce didn't come up, even after a second sowing, but the rest is looking nice.  I spent a hard day weeding the other day (the weeds are relentless!!), but it was worth it, because now my garden looks decent enough for a photo.  It's really scruffy looking without the shade trees, but what can we do?

The volunteer sunflowers are craazy, but I decided to just let them stay.  :)  There are several at the row ends.  Good placement!  The tomatoes are growing, and I had to pull a bunch out of the furrows with the weeds.  (Compost tomatoes, perhaps?)  I borrowed some seeds from a friend and planted purple beans, radishes, lettuce (again), chard and onions.  I got another parsley plant to replace my poor transplant that didn't make it and some strawberries too.  The lettuce in the box didn't germinate, neither sowing, so I gave up and planted strawberries.  We'll see if it grows in the row.
The landlords next door did a number on our shade bushes.  They completely hacked an entire row of 20 foot bushes that shaded our studio, workshop and their own tenants houses, leaving us all in the heat of full afternoon sun and without privacy.  BOO!!  Additionally, the bushes (trees?) were holding up a falling down fence that we had propped up with a 2x4.  Now it's leaning the other way precariously, and looks like it could fall down any minute.  Slugs are eating the basil, potato and pepper plants, so I confess I BugGetta'd them.  The pumpkins are doing great (as pumpkins will do), and the cucumbers are growing up too.  I was weeding in the watermelon area to plant beans, since the watermelons didn't germinate, when I found a bunch of tiny 2-leaf sprouts.  I realized too late that they might be watermelons, and the two or three left might not make it.  But I halted the bean operation anyway, and we'll see.  They were under the drip hose, and completely invisible!
The grass is growing in nicely, but so area lots of stickery weeds.  They will have to GO!  Also, the day I made the lettuce boxes, I finally cut the pot off that poor tree and planted it.  It was easy!  After my mom and I cleaned up the dead leaves & spider webs, it looks pretty good too!  I added a mini date palm next to it.  I don't know if that's a good place for it or not, but it's the best location I had, and I just love those!  The large artichoke isn't doing very well, but it's sprouting a smaller one from the base, so they'll all be the same size next spring.

Grateful Beads

There's one shop I forgot to mention in my Eco Fashion bit.  Grateful Beads!  These ladies make the sweetest, girliest little things for girls and ladies, and at very reasonable prices.  These are perfect for a little girl's birthday gift or something for yourself.  They do not currently have all the pretty little rose and flower necklaces and earrings up, but I'm hopeful that they will.  For $5, you can buy the prettiest little beaded necklace for a girl, with handmade glass charms and lampwork beads.  They also sell flower wands and hairclips too!  Check 'em out:  If you'd like the children's items, you may need to email and request them or wait for them to go up.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It's a good thing I was wearing makeup

It's a good thing I chose to wear makeup last night.  At the last minute, I thought, hey, there's going to be lots of people there, let's fix up the hair and put on a little lipstick.

Good thing.  Because I found myself at the front of the room with a microphone, saying the words I never dreamed I'd ever say:  "I'm Sunshine Cowgill, and I'm your Booster Club President for next year.  T-shirts are on sale in the back of the room."  That was what was on my cue cards.  I swear.  I just repeated what I was supposed to say.  I was a little shocked, but what could I do?  All those people were in there, potentially looking at me as I mouthed the words..."  ".  Yeah, that's right, I was speechless.

How did this happen, you might ask?  Good question.  One day, I received two separate phone calls from current Booster members saying that they thought I'd be a great president next year and asking if I'd consider running.  I was floored.  I mean, I couldn't even get elected to student body secretary in 6th grade, let alone anything where I had to actually do something.  Truth is, I was really flattered.  I didn't imagine anyone would ever think of me for something like that.  But the honor is a little dubious, since no one else wants the job.  Not a lot of competition to beat out.  Still, I do feel honored. 

But I also feel unqualified.  So I said thank you, but no.  Not just speaking modestly and saying I'm unqualified, but actually unqualified.  I don't know anyone here, have no ties to the community, and most importantly:  I don't know how PTO's and PTA's work.  I don't know how school districts work.  And I'm already doing all I can do in a day and more. I say inappropriate things.  I swear.  Hell, I need adult supervision.

So how did I step on their trap?  How did I not see the smirks on their faces?  I swear there were smirks.  I knew something was up, but I didn't think I'd fall for it.  Guileless, I just repeated the words.  It's true, I was tricked.  But I could have simply not said it.  I could simply have said, "I'm so sorry, I can't do it."  But the truth is that no one else would step up and do it.  Okay, maybe someone would.  But who?  When?  I was worried that my son's school wouldn't have a Booster Club President, for Goodness sake.

People, there are doers and do-noters.  There are commitmentphobes.  There are full-time employed single parents.  But I have discovered that the amount of stuff a person has on his plate doesn't seem to have anything to do with whether or not they step up and volunteer for something.  People are just simply leaderless, or maybe they are fearful of getting in over their heads, or they are selfish.

People, step up to the plate and help the world out.  There are jobs large and small that need doing, and no one is going to do them but you.  Don't be afraid to ask for a specific assignment, to ask how large of a commitment it is, to admit that you don't know what you're doing, but you'll try.  I suggested just this week that a woman I know start her own Girl Scout troop.  She said she didn't know how.  Well, shit, sister, neither did I.  But I survived half a year with 12 (now 9) tiny little Daisy Scouts.  (Okay, it nearly killed me, but still, I made it.)  Afraid that others will complain about your performance?  Who cares?  Do you see them volunteering?  All you have to do is simply say you are going to do something and then do it.  That's it.  No flaking out, obviously, you have to follow through.  Take the leap.  Say you'll do something.  And then do it.

Your child's school, baseball team, youth group, Scout troop, choir, friends need you.  I am not just doing this because my son's school didn't have a president.  I am doing this because your son's school didn't have a president.  I was already volunteering, I was already doing.  Now I am doing more.  And you can too!  Don't be afraid, you can do it!  Every meeting, every gathering, every whatever, it's the same handful of people doing all the work.  Just because we are doing it doesn't mean you are off the hook.  Just because we are surviving doesn't mean that we don't need your skills, no matter how great or meager.

Sure, the meetings aren't that fun.  We don't have cocktails and play games.  It's business.  But it's business that needs doin'.  And plus, there are some really witty, fun people that I've met and become friends with.  I owe all my current local friendships to my involvement in some way or other with my children's education and activities.  I have fun at meetings.  (Prolly cuz I can't keep my mouth shut, but hey.)  I crack jokes.  They may or may not be funny, but I'm having fun, anyhow.  Who cares?  I show up.  This is all part of my life, part of what I do all day, and I actually think I'd miss it if I quit it all.  (Though I'd get a lot more sleep!)  Those moments driving across town, when you're talking to your kids in the rear-view mirror?  That's your life.  You are spending time with the people you love.  You are talking to them and teaching them and learning from them.  Those conversations with other parents after pick-ups and drop-offs, on the sidewalk, in the driveway?  That's your social life.  And I don't mean that in a bad way.  I mean, not every moment is a red carpet moment.  Not every evening is a sunset on the beach evening.  There is a great deal of joy to be had in the little transitions when you see your friends and spend time with your children.  These are smell-the-roses opportunities.  There are actual roses by the sidewalk, know what I mean?

I don't know if I can do this job.  But one thing's for sure:  they must be desperate, because they asked me.  So I'm doing it.  Maybe I won't have time and some things will slip through the cracks and someone somewhere will be angry with me.  Hopefully it's not someone who either pays me or whom I care about.  On the other hand, maybe I'll be a great president. 

People, it's time for you to show up.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Eco-Fashion Favorites - or just Fashion Favorites

Every year I save up to do my shopping at the Whole Earth Festival in Davis, California.  Here I can find beautiful, eco-friendly fashions that are not only practical, unique and stylish, but they fit and make me feel pretty!  Now that the hippies are on the technobandwagon, I am happy to announce that all my favorites are available online.  This is American ingenuity and labor, and much of the materials are American-grown and milled. :-) Isn't that nice for a change??

Might I recommend:

Xylem features pixieish designs in gorgeous foresty colors. Most items seem to be non-GMO soy and organic cotton, but there are some hemp silk options too and maybe others. This brand looks amazing on slender women, but it looks great on me too! Sexy, sophisticated and totally unique. These guys have a smooth operation, but don't let that fool you, they are still handmade in the USA. Xylem is also available on Etsy at  

Waxing Moon Batiks

This fun & funky brand is so cute for everyday, with simple styles that are differently-cut for a great fit. My favorites are the hemp skirts and gauchos/capris with pockets in the front. Don't be afraid of crazy colors - I've found that they look totally awesome with all my little tees, tanks and tops. Also available are superslinky soy tops and dresses, hemp silk things and cute accessories. Plus stuff for your hunky man. Handmade in Washington state. Betsy Cassell ( in the blue scarf) is the designer, and she's just a doll and one of the nicest people I've met! Intertwined Designs is also available on Etsy at

Intertwined Designs

This brand has been around a little longer than the others. In high school, I used to pine for the beautiful, jewel-hued velvet hippie clothes that the original designer, Moni Sumner, used to make and I could never afford on my fast-food wages. Now her daughter (Jessie Reynolds, pictured above) has taken over, and just look what she's done! Amazing creations, all handmade in organic cotton. These are sewn and batiked in Sonoma, California by the artist herself (well, there's a few American Apparel blanks, but they are at least made in the USA). She's got tons of amazing, stylish designs that are very wearable. Don't worry, they even go in the washer & dryer just fine. :-) Waxing Moon Batiks makes gorgeous things for women and children. Pick up a batik velour tank dress for your little girl - every one comes with a tiny, matching purse, and she is guaranteed to love this dress that doubles as a jumper when the weather is cool! Waxing Moon Batiks is also available on Etsy at

Don't know about Etsy? You should really check it out! is the largest online marketplace of handmade goods and supplies to handmake your own goods. This isn't Ebay. These are serious artists that present beautiful thing beautifully. :-) Support art and craft by buying it and surrounding yourself with it; your life will be richer.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Morning Run

Don't laugh.  I ran.  Twice.  lol.  Here's the view from my run.

Do you think the natives are friendly?

The babies sure were cute. :-)

Um.  Moo?

Now there's some contrast.

The architecture in this neighborhood is so cool.  Wait...where am I?  Well, I can't be too far from home, I ran here, right??

More contrast.

Teeny Baptist Church

So I'm running along and I notice finally that these tiny hopscotch squares are numbered.  They are too small for anyone's foot, but they keep going and going.  So I got curious how high they counted.  I turned around and ran back...all the way back to the end of the block!  There were 600 individually numbered chalk squares, in three different colors.

Okay, there's no trail here?  I really kept expecting a trail to materialize.  Okay, so this is probably trespassing...and a really good way to get ticks.

Ahh.  How hot can I get this sucker??

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thick Skin

So my daughter says to me, "You're not fat, mommy.  You have really thick skin."