Jumbleberry Jam

The Sweet and Sour from Birth to Bliss

Something Old, Something New 1 January 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rain @ 12:38 pm
Out with the old…

January 2009 Coming out of the 26 Month Fog and DeThinging Like Mad

February 2009 DeThinging Continues with a Dash of Crafting

March 2009 The Month of Crafts and the Job that Wasn’t

April 2009 More Crafts, Travel, News, Pasta and Love

May 2009 Gifts, Gratitudes, One Masters Ends as Another Is Given the Green Light to Begin, Moving Commenses

June 2009 The Road Home

July 2009 Absorbing the Beauty, Magic and Wonder of the Olympic Peninsula

August 2009 Employed, Enrolled and Eager to Settle in to Seattle

September 2009 – Signed Off for Transitions

October 2009 – Coping

November 2009 – Celebrating JumbleSon’s 3rd Birthday and His Decision to Stop Nursing Completely

December 2009 Bruised, but 1st Quarter of Grad School Done, and Enjoying a Much-needed Break

In with the new…

Welcome 2010

You can make your own New Year’s dreamboard here.

Happy New Year, friends!!


Gnome-ish Notes 28 December 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Rain @ 6:26 pm
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Today’s elf is tomorrow’s gnome. ” – David Sedaris on This American Life

Just a quick check in to thank you all for thinking of me since I signed off in late August.  I had hoped the month before school would give me time to prepare myself for what was to come.  Alas!  I don’t think there was any way I could have prepared.  Sparing you all the ugly details, here are a few “notes” I took this quarter…

  • Grad School Note #1:  Thinking is a luxury.
  • Grad School Note #2:  Education is for the privileged of time, mind and money.
  • Grad School Note #3:  Once I’m settled in a job (post-grad school), I’ll write a lengthy treatise on the above, as well as the remaining notes (undocumented here).
  • Grad School Note #4:  There are some beatings that this Mama may never recover from; but it will take more than my miserable 1st quarter to knock me out of this game.

But enough about all that.  I have briefly scanned all of your lovely blogs, and my heart is so full.  The beautiful babies and Mamas soon to hold their new babes.  The gorgeous crafts and wise words.  The amazing food, fabulous travels, sweet photographs and delicious slices of your lives.  How I have missed you all!

I don’t excel at balance.  I am either one thing or another.  This, as you can imagine, has added to the stress of these past 3 months.  I haven’t crafted a lick, hardly did a thing for JumbleSon’s 3rd birthday, our meals are often carry-out, seasonal celebrations have been nearly non-existent, and I haven’t really communicated with anyone (including my dear JumbleSpouse) since it all began.  Jumbleson has coped remarkably well being in full-time childcare for 45 hours/week, and at home the rest of the time with a highly distracted/agitated Mama.  Still, it has taken its toll.  So, in the first of many juggling acts, we’ll try to reduce his pre-school time to no more than 28hrs/week which means I’ll be at my school the barest of minimums next quarter.

Which reminds me…

  • Grad School Note #5:  It’s full-time (plus) or bust, apparently.

Although I’m not exactly sure what it all means for me – now or in the future – I’m just holding on because what if today’s elf really is tomorrow’s gnome??  ;-)

The elves (älvorna) and children of the forest (lit. the "tomte children") from Elsa Beskow's Children of the Forest


Inventory 29 August 2009

Filed under: parenting,Seasonal Musings,Seattle,Spirituality,work — Rain @ 10:23 am

The starting-point of critical elaboration is the consciousness of what one really is, and is ‘knowing thyself’ as a product of the historical process to date, which has deposited in you an infinity of traces, without leaving an inventory…therefore it is imperative at the outset to compile such an inventory. Antonio Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks:  Selections 1929-1935

I’ll try to keep this brief so as not to bore you and to satisfy my ever-increasing desire to unplug.

We’re here.  In our spacious, nearly empty Seattle home.  JumbleSon will be starting school soon.  So will I.  (We’re making 5 Orange Potatoes’ Elderberry Syrup today (using Agave Nectar) so we’ll be ready for the back-to-school germs.)

Our things remain in Boulder.  And, I’m OK with that.  In fact, I’m not sure I want them back.  Life here is so very simple without all our gear.

My days are spent trying to choose the most perfect lunchbox systems for both of us (that’s an entire post of its own), reading book after book with JumbleSon on our shady front porch, studying Festivals Together and Halloween costume hunting, visiting thrift stores in search of treasures that we need but don’t have waiting for us in Boulder (like baskets … I’m so done with plastic containers).  We visit different libraries many times each week.  And of course, coffee shops (with seating) nearly daily.   We walk along the ship canal and sit under tall trees, waving at the boats & kayaks gliding by.

I find myself watching JumbleSon play, eat, climb trees, draw, etc. with a goofy grin on my face.  My heart is so full.   I wonder if this bliss isn’t how most parents spent their newbie days – watching their quiet, peaceful newborns (something, sadly, I never have the pleasure of doing).  I am drinking in every ounce of him, and wanting no distractions.  Us.  Just us.  Time alone together in these last lazy days.


At the same time, I’ve started acquiring and reading my texts for school.  I remain terrified, but so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to stretch my mind.  With that comes the need for integration of my Selves – my Mama/Wife Self and my Student/Teacher Self.   This will take all the energy I have for a while.

And so, like many bloggers before me, I will close JumbleBerry Jam for Inventory until further notice.

I love and miss all of my friends here very much.  So please, if you are interested in keeping in touch with me, please let me know.  I will check in with your blog from time to time (until my Reader explodes ;-)).  And hope that we can stay connected until I can post regularly here and on your blogs again.

Thank you so much for being here for me these past 9 months!!


I Like Your Bunny! 23 August 2009

Filed under: Seattle,Vegan Life — Rain @ 10:53 pm

I don’t think we’ve had enough rabbit posts lately!  So…

We decided to stroll through the Sunday Market during our morning outing today.  I hadn’t been in years (ok, even before we moved away it’d been a long time) because it conflicted with my favorite Farmer’s Market in the neighboring hood.

I tried to act cool when we came upon my favorite artist’s stall.  You know, not to weep & wail like a Beatles groupie (circa 1964),  but to hold it together and seem all casual about how happy I was to see her work there.  And, it’s hard to miss with paintings like the ones you can find here hanging under the awning.

Soopa J Delux  (Jenna)  wasn’t there, but had sent her lovely partner in her place.  He didn’t seem to mind my crush on her (work).    In fact,  he was happy to share all sorts of exciting news about her success since I first discovered her here 4ish years ago.   How happy I was to hear it – so well deserved!  And to see how her work has evolved over the years (click here to see for yourself)

He also told me wonderful things about her that she probably wouldn’t have mentioned had she been there herself – like how 50% of the proceeds from her art sales go to animal & children’s charities.   And, from stalking her website, I get the feeling that she almost certainly is a fellow vegan – bonus!

Thankfully, JumbleSon had a bag of kettlecorn to munch so that we could talk for more than 30 seconds without being interrupted.   During that time, this kind man gave us our choice of two of her wonderful prints on a tile and a keychain!

I promised the tile to JumbleSon for his new room.  He had a hard time choosing between Lost Loompa and I Like Your Bunny, but not surprisingly, the Bunny won out :-).  I offered the keychain choice to JumbleSpouse.  He chose Right on My Sleeve, but later gave it to me – both his heart & keychain ;-).

"I Like Your Bunny" by Jenna

"I Like Your Bunny" by Jenna

I couldn’t get a good shot of the key chain, but you can see Right on My Sleeve and Lost Loompa here.

I swear Jenna’s not paying me.  But, I am hoping that she reads this so she knows how completely off-the-charts-awesome she is, and how happy she & her man made us today.  Every time I walk past JumbleSon’s room and see his bunny tile on the window ledge overlooking Charl0tte’s rabbit hutch, I giggle with glee.

I am now planning to SoopaJDelux JumbleSon’s entire room.  Move over Thomas the Tank Engine because I’ve found a room “theme” I can believe in!!


Purple Berry Bunny Sea Summer 21 August 2009

Filed under: home,Seasonal Musings — Rain @ 9:39 pm


Our summer comes to an end today. We pack up all that we arrived with in our tiny Celica & a bit more (how does it accumulate so fast?!?), and walk down Rose’s garden path from our guest house for the last time.

Burned in to my memory of this summer are

the smells of bee balm & Corsican mint in Rose’s garden
the sound of hundreds of bees humming in the gardens & seagulls calling (and now geese!) overhead
the sight of purple fields full of lavender
pints upon pints of berries being devoured by JumbleSon (most of which he picked himself)
visits with our friends & their animals at Black Rabbit Farm
tribal arrivals
time sharing the wonders of this place with Colorado friends
the miracles that unfolded here (new work, wonderful preschool and new home)
and of course the ocean & forests surrounding this amazing place

Oh, we’ll be back. For Rose. For us.

But, visiting is never the same as living it daily.

As your summer comes to a close, what will you remember/miss most?


Key Day! 20 August 2009

Filed under: home — Rain @ 8:37 am

Thanks so much for all your supportive comments in my school post! I’m feeling so much better as the days pass.

Yes, the photo at the bottom of School Daze is, indeed, a peek into our new house.

We picked up the keys and hung out a bit yesterday, just exploring, discovering treasures, and getting it ready for JumbleSpouse who will spend the next few nights there (JumbleSon & I come on Saturday).

Retro lampshade found deep in a dark closet corner

Devo discovery by JumbleSon in dark closet corner

While we were inside checking in with the property manager, a treat was delivered to our door.

Blackberry Honey, Fig Honey Jam & Fresh Flowers

Blackberry Honey, Fig Honey Jam & Fresh Flowers

Charlotte! Clearly, she was back from vacation. And, it would seem, had been alerted to our presence :-)

I’ve spoken quite a bit in the past about how our beautiful neighbors got us through very difficult times in Boulder. We’d never appreciated neighbors as friends before. We have been forever changed for their kindness and love.

When it came time to select our home, “community” was the word that came up as the deciding factor. I laughed and said we were getting “soft” ;-). It’s hard to be nomads when you keep falling in love with long-time neighbors!

Still, we headed right over to visit Charlotte and her menagerie. We hadn’t seen each other in nearly 6 years. And even then, we hadn’t known each other that well. But, I just knew she’d be as excited as we were to be neighbors. And so she was as she squealed and welcomed us into her home with a huge hug!

Sunset on Dahlia looking into Charlotte's Garden

Sunset on Dahlia looking into Charlotte's Garden


School Daze 16 August 2009

430px-Luna_Park_Melbourne_scenic_railwayDon’t get off that roller coaster just yet, JumbleMama!

So, last week after we got JumbleSon into the luscious Waldorf preschool, we received a call from the AP-friendly, Reggio Emilia preschool. You guessed it! A full-time spot had opened up for us.

I’ve been stewing and stewing over our fortunate dilemma for nearly a week. But today is our deadline for making the final decision…

JumbleSpouse, while loving the Waldorf environment (that’s the one with the rabbits & amazing play yard), is sold on the Reggio emergent curriculum. I, too, am a fan as I think JumbleSon will love it.

Still, both places have amazing pros, and frustrating cons…in wildly different areas.

The Waldorf folks are all about tuning in to Nature, rhythm, Seasons, and nurturing play; but, they want the parents to butt out. The Reggio gang invite the parents into their school days – keeping journals w/pictures full of details from each child’s day, there’s an open door policy for parents, and the rooms have framed pictures of Mama & Dad in their “living/school rooms.” However, their outdoor play space is non-existent (thanks to a recent move…it’s slated for the next development phase) and there is a serious lack of animals!

Although the Reggio school is almost directly across the ship canal from our home (less than a 1/4 mile if there was a bridge across it), it’s harder to get there (and then on to my school) by bus than Waldorf.

And of course, there’s the food issue…Waldorf – peanut free only. I can live with that. But Reggio – totally nut free. That’s a big issue since JumbleSon’s main protein source is a wide variety of nuts. And, to add another royal pain in my rear, I have to get a doctor’s note so JumbleSon can drink rice or soy milk at lunch/snack time at Reggio (because they’re on the milk program).

And yet, in spite all of this, we’ll be switching gears and enrolling my Jumbley one at the Reggio school. In large part because they are (unlike Waldorf) licensed by the State, so there we are entitled to a 40% tuition reimbursement by my grad school (and the generous American taxpayers – thank you!). But also because, while we believe our son will be happy either place, the reality is that the Waldorf school is mostly for me – to ease my guilt.

Reggio feels like “school”. Waldorf feels like home. And, a home I won’t be able to provide for my boy 5 out of 7 days of the week. Waldorf is magical in every way. Reggio is more like the “real world”. Sure, the kids still get to be kids, but they don’t necessarily spend their days looking for gnomes and making faerie houses…which is exactly what I want that for my son (whether he wants it or not ;-)). P1000232

I long for magic in our lives, but will have a difficult time spotting/creating it once my school starts. In Waldorf, it’s a part of daily life – life that is rich, warm and nurturing – at least on the surface.

And yet, kids do not even take home the art they create, let alone have the chance to transition into school days with the help of their parents who are ordered out the door as soon as they arrive. This is where the AP-friendly nature of the Reggio school won us over.

Not only will I be able to stay as long and as often as I need to until he’s comfortable, but I’ll also get detailed, weekly reports – with photos! – of all that I’m missing in his long days away from me. I REALLY need this…more than relief from the guilt of not providing a magical, nurturing environment for him 5 days/week.

I try not to recall the free-range bunnies, incredible play structures, nature tables, gardens, Australian finches, and ethereal “school” rooms at Waldorf.

Instead, I’m thinking about the Reggio field trips and projects (that JumbleSon is so fond of working on already), and our new home next to Charlotte, her animals and the hope that she’ll share farm-life with us in the city. About our huge back yard and ample living space – the clean slate they are for creating a warm, nurturing environment to come home to each day…after our work is done and the roller coasters have stopped and we’re together again at last.



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