What’s been goin’ on?

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The kids have been enjoying harvesting, cleaning and sautéing kale. It will start with Talia asking Rachel or me, “Can I go down to the garden with you?” Then everyone will want to come. Then kale will be picked, along with any lingering cucumbers or zucchini, and plenty of sweet cherry tomatoes.

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Talia’s been waking up first. She does a great job mixing up the pancake ingredients, then cooking cute-cakes or snowmen in the cast iron pan.

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Yesterday we visited Mt. Ascutney. We hiked through the woods to Mile Long Field. Micaela, Emeth and Anna ran through the woods with me, keeping a pretty good pace. Then we ran through the field. (They slept well.)

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We bought a house! Well, it’s under contract. In NJ. We’re looking forward to being back in the area, being closer to family and friends. Settlement is October 16. It’s been a wonderful eleven months in Vermont. There is much we will miss about this place. Mainly the beauty and solitude. But we know we’ll find these things in smaller, more diverse ways in NJ. We are so excited to finally own a house, and make a home, after all these years of renting. It was owned by an older woman who’s husband died, and she is moving closer to her children. They raised their five children there, and took amazing care of the house and property, down to the landscaping. We’re realizing what a blessing it is to move in to a house that doesn’t need any repairs (that we know of), and that we can start with cosmetic things, like removing wallpaper, painting, possibly ripping up some carpet, and just focussing on making it our home, inside and out.

I’ve been working on a number of creative projects for fun. Musically, I released a short album called Demos, Mixtapes and Besides, and an EP titled Memos and Asides.

The Yearly Ears Cover

The Yearly Ears Cover Memos and Asides

I’ve also been working on another one minute film project, which I’m really excited about. (One minute has proved to be a good goal so as not to get in over my head.) I should hopefully have it released within a week. These are being posted here.

I listened to a very inspiring interview with filmmaker Darren Aronofsky on The Tim Ferriss Show, which inspired me to keep going with these short projects. Always helpful to be reminded that it’s best to just be yourself when creating.

I’ve been focussing on a lot of one minute projects, like the music and visual pieces, but I recently completed a 24-minute project for a new podcast I started with my college roommate. It’s called All Things Deconsidered. It was so much fun to write, record and edit, and I’m having fun working on episode two. You can also listen on iTunes.

With all of these projects, both short and long, I’ve been trying to break down the steps by using a method outlined by the folks at Bullet Journal. This video breaks the process down pretty well. It’s been immensely helpful for organizing my thoughts, both personally and for my work.

I’ve been reading three amazing books:

  • The Meaning of Happiness – Alan Watts (I’m actually re-reading this one it’s so good!)
  • To Have Or To Be? – Eric Fromm
  • Concluding Unscientific Postscript – Søren Kierkegaard

At bedtime the kids have been asking to listen to Krista Tippett (On Being). Recommendations:

We’ve been enjoying The Olllam (yes, three l’s) and Dawn Landes and Piers Faccini’s Desert Songs.

 

In light of our recent big purchase, we’ve been watching the 1979 season of This Old House. The hat. The mustache. The enthusiasm. Goosebumps.

The kids have been enjoying watercoloring.

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Artistree Class

Each Tuesday evening — for about the last five or six weeks — Rachel took Micaela, Emeth and Anna to a class at Artistree, in South Pomfret, called “Mindfulness and Art.” Last night was their last class. The kids really loved their teachers, Susan and Katelyn, and expressed long, heart-felt gratitude and goodbyes.

The last two times, Talia and I came along, picnicked and played on the playground while we waited for “guys” to finish. When done, “guys” ran out yelling, “Talia! We had time to make something for you!” They handed Talia a clear, smooth, plastic bottle with water and colorful glitter inside. “Shake it! Shake it!” Talia was very pleased.

“Guys” ate their dinner then played on the swings.

“Daddy, can you run up and down the hill with me?” Emeth asked. So we ran up and down the hill. At first, Annie and Talia wanted to be held on the run down, but I quickly got tired, and used it as an excuse to take some pictures. “Guys” kept going, holding blankets out, flowing in the wind, pretending to be birds. Talia ran up with them, but was reluctant to run down by herself. So Rachel helped her.

Talia wanted to do it again. So Caela walked up with her. Talia still was hesitant. Then, suddenly, she ran down.

As the sun set over the mountain, they played in the sandbox while Rachel and I walked around the robust and beautiful garden. Not a weed in sight. Leeks and peppers. Flowing cucumber vines. Purple top turnips almost as big as my head.

 

Sprussel brouts.

Way to suck the wind out of someone’s sail, #4

M: Daddy, how many pizzas are you making? Three?
D: No, two.
M: Two!? I’d think it’d take half as long as you’re taking to only make two.

…#5

‘You missed some, dad.’

– Micaela, on observing me sweep

*    *     *

‘Oh I love sprussel brouts!’

– Annie, on seeing brussels sprouts taken out of the grocery bag

*    *     *

R: How are you doing, Talia?
V: Piddy-a-good.

*    *     *

Context: Some mornings we break out the peanut and almond butter for the kids to put on their pancakes. Most mornings we aren’t up for the logistical nightmare. So, Emeth, on seeing daddy try to sneak-scoop peanut butter onto a leftover pancake one afternoon, asked…

E: Daddy, what are you doing?
D: I’m putting peanut butter on my pancake.
E: [Pauses] But why do you not let children have it?

*    *     *

…#6

‘Daddy, you know how to draw hearts! But not really.’

– Annie

Emeth’s drawing, #1
Emeth’s drawing, #2
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Potential album cover
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Annie’s painting
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Emeth’s painting