Category Archives: Lightly


Golden Pothos

Care Instructions

Light: low-high, 4 hours
Water: moist
Container Size: started out at 3 inches (small one is in 5 inch pot); large one is in 10 inch pot)
Fertilize: every 2-4 months
Temperature: above 50°

Ravenea rivularis

AKA: Majesty Palm


Today I present Luna. She’s also in need of a new clay pot. I’m also still moving her around looking for just the perfect spot.

Care Instructions

Light: high light, can be indirect, within 5 feet of a window.
Water: keep soil moist
Container Size: 12 inches
Fertilize: every 2-4 months
Temperature: never below 40°

Dracaena Marginata


AKA: Madagascar Dragon Tree

I think I’ll call this one Norbert. Harry Potter fans will understand. It’s an air purifier.

It’s also in need of a lovely clay pot. Hannah brought it home to me a few days ago and it’s still in its plastic pot. I try to get my plants out of plastic and into clay as soon as possible.

Care Instructions

Light: high light, 1-5 feet from a window.
Water: keep soil moist, but no standing water.
Container Size: 12 inch
Fertilizer: Every 1-2 months
Temperature: never below 50°

What I Stand For


**Because nobody says it better than Wendell Berry**

Election 2016

Standing Rock Sioux Nation

Elder Care

Health Care

Black Lives Matter

Gender Equality

Environmental Breakdown

Public Education (including college/university)

Tomorrow I will go to the polls and I will choose who I think best represents my ideals and my passions.  The flollowing day I begin sending letters and emails to all those who will be my voice for the next two to four years.

I almost feel sorry for them.  Almost.

My sister sent me a meme from Sophie Haewood.  I’m going to include it below.  You should know (and anyone who knows me knows) I don’t like or use the F-Word, so please excuse it’s use below.  It is a pretty concise statement of how I’ve been feeling.

The older I get,

the more I see

how women

are described

as having gone mad,

when what they’ve

actually become

is knowledgeable

and powerful

and f***ing furious

Knowledgeable.  Powerful.  Furious.

Yep — and:  Voting.  Voicing.  Writing.  Marching.  Sitting.  Standing.

The Gifts of Imperfection, part 3

Today is my final post in this series on the book The Gifts of Imperfection. Three short sections to work through and then a wrap up /book review.

Calm and Stillness:  Letting go of anxiety as a lifestyle. Calmness is perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity. Stillness is time for meditation, prayer, quiet reflection, and alone time. Both of these are practices that give us an emotionally clutter free space.

Calmness — I am an “under-function-er” when it comes to stress, particularly emotional stress. Some people might take the bull by the horns, get all up in your business, and generally take charge. Sometimes whether or not you want all that help–in fact, usually without even thinking you might not want that.

I, on the other hand, I under-function: I get less competent under stress; I withdraw; I sleep; I hide. Meditation is very good for me. When I feel that first tingle of emotional stress, I take 3 deep breaths and if possible sit my butt down on blanket and breath some more. I’ve learned to say things like, “I need some time to think about that.” Email and texting are super awesome for someone like me. Nobody knows for sure when you see an email or text and so if it is an emotional land mine for me, I take a step away from my phone, sit down and breath, and then come back to it.

Stillness — There are two things that give structure to my day and also allow me time to be still.  I start each day with a morning routine that includes the morning devotion and Bible reading from the Book of Common Prayer and then straight onto the floor for yoga and meditation (I use Headspace).  Each day ends the same way, only in reverse–yoga, meditation, and then Compline (again from the Book of Common Prayer).

Meaningful Work: Meaningful work is sharing your gifts and talents with the world in whatever way you can. It doesn’t have to be sexy, it doesn’t have to be full of hustle, it just has to be something lifegiving for you and for others. For me, right now, meaningful work is helping my son through a difficult time; answering text after text from moms with kids recently diagnosed with ASD; writing this blog (that reaches all 4 of you 😉 ); and working with my parish on a grant project. None of these things brings a single penny to our family budget, but they are all lifegiving to me and I hope to others.

Laughter, Song & Dance: Letting go of being cool and always in control. Laughter, song and dance are three ancient forms of self-expression. Everyone does them and not everyone does them gracefully. They remind us we are not alone. I have my polite public laugh and then I have my “Oh my God, I’m snorting water through my nose and holding my sides, trying not to pee in my pants” laugh. Occasionally the signals get crossed and the public gets to witness me in full on laughter.

I can sing with the best of them. Unfortunately the best of them don’t want me singing out loud. I somehow missed the memo on how to make your voice do notes that are similar to the notes those around you are singing. So I mostly keep my singing to times when I am alone (although Kelly, Michael and Hannah have to listen — it’s in our family contract). There is nothing that lifts my spirits more than belting out a boy band song (or some classic Donny Osmond) while hoofing it up a hill on my walk or when scrubbing toilets or when cleaning the fridge (my two least favorite household tasks).

Church presents a unique form of torture for me . . . . Have you ever attended an Episcopal church service (or Anglican for my Brit readers)? Good Lord, they can sing. I think it must be something they put in the baptismal font, which would explain how I missed it, I was baptized Methodist. Dang! My heart wants to belt it out, but my brain says “hey man, step back, be cool, don’t kill Kathy (she sits in front of me) with that awfulness.”

I know, I know . . . The gifts of imperfection. Embrace your vulnerabilities. I’m trying, really I am. This book came to me at the perfect time. I’ve done a lot of soul work over the past 20 months and was ready to step beyond it. This book reaffirmed what my counselor from 30 years ago and my counselor from 20 months ago told me. The skill sets are the same. You are enough and your gifts of imperfection are those things that help you embrace your story.

Courage, Compassion, Connection:: My story matters because I matter.

**edited to add:  Since I wrote this post in September, I’ve tried moving seats in church.  This way nobody, especially Kathy, sits in front of me and I feel free to attempt a more vocal participation in the singing.**

Season of Creation, D29



Jasper is such a little guy that his belly rubs in the medium length grass and his nose (even when lifted in the air) is only 6 inches off the floor. I don’t want anything in my yard or my house to be a potential source of poisoning for him, so my commitment to safe cleaners continues.

Season of Creation, D22

As is probably getting obvious, I find most of my inspiration to live responsibly from things I see on my daily walks. Knowing this area so well helps me spot the new little things (and some not so little) as they change.

Today’s inspiration:



Season of Creation, D19




I maintain that there is nothing more heavenly than pulling on a t-shirt that smells like fresh air. In my life this scent doesn’t come from a bottle or a sheet. It comes from clothes that hang in the fresh air to dry.

Each morning, from March through November, I do a load of laundry. I use 2 Tablespoons of Sal’s Suds, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar, and a dash of washing soda in the machine. Hanging laundry is an almost meditative part of my day. There really isn’t much to think about the mechanics of hanging laundry, it’s all muscle memory by now. Instead I reflect on the morning Psalm, think about what chores might need to be put on tomorrow’s list (because today’s list is already being accomplished), or sometimes I just watch as Jasper does his survey of the yard.

Each afternoon I bring in the same laundry, check over each piece as I fold it and sort it into piles for each person to claim. The clothes are usually quite warm from the sun and if folded/rolled neatly right away I don’t have to deal with wrinkles. I do not like to iron.

December through February is a rougher laundry time. I tend to wash the load in the evening, and then hang it on drying racks over heater vents and around the wood stove. I also put a few drops of sweet orange oil in with the Sal’s Suds. It takes much longer to do laundry (not as much heat + heavier materials) and I don’t find it nearly as relaxing.

Season of Creation, D14

Daily Walk :: Inspiration

Daily Walk :: Inspiration

Season of Creation, D12



This picture shows a few of my shopping bags. I carry them all in the cooler bag in the back during the warm months. During the cool months I just shove them all down inside of the smaller canvas bags. After each shopping trip I wash them so they are ready to go the next time I head out the door.

There are two really big canvas bags (yellow and green), three regular canvas bags (all that normal canvas color), and two bags that fold up into very small pouches. I keep one of these in my purse at all times. That way if I make an unexpected stop I have a bag with me.

The second small bag gets filled with things I need to do on errand day: mail, library books to return, purchases to return, my water bottle, a snack if I think far ahead enough, and whatever else needs to be done. The bag empties during my running and by the time I get to the grocery, always my last stop, it’s empty and ready as a spare grocery bag if needed.

I’ve been using the same bags long enough that I can gauge my normal grocery trip and fill all the bags without running over. The two big bags hold a week’s worth of produce, the smaller canvas bags hold staples, the cooler bag holds frozen veggies, almond milk and eggs, and one small foldable bag holds everything from the other stores.

My eco-friendly cleaners come from and are delivered once a month. I like this because I’d have to drive twice as far to get them as I normally do on errand day. Each month I get 1 Sal’s Suds (Our laundry soap), 1 Mrs Meyer’s dish soap, and 1 Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap. Every other month the shipment includes walnut scrubbers, cellulose sponges, bamboo toothbrushes, an extra Sal’s Suds, and an extra dish soap. Once a year I get Argan oil, a salt stone, a new canvas bag, and Dr Bronner’s liquid peppermint scented soap.

Season of Creation, D8

Sept 8, 2016 — Inspiration


Season of Creation, D7

Sept 4, 2016 — Inspiration

Sunrise over the corn

Sunrise over the corn

Season of Creation, D6

Sept 3, 2016:  Water Bottles.

I have two insulated 16 oz Klean Kanteen water bottles.  The green one is a tumbler with a lid that you can sip from or put a straw through.  I mainly use this one at home.  It’s almost always sitting on the table so that I can grab a sip every time I walk through. It also goes on bike rides with me because it fits perfectly in my bike’s cup holder.

The silver one is actually my favorite.  It keeps things amazingly cold or hot, doesn’t leak, and I have a carabiner on it so I can attach it just about anything.  This is the bottle that leaves the house with me.

Taste:  I love the way water tastes out of a glass, but I’ve broken so many glasses around the house.  I’m happier with my non-breakable tumbler.  As long as the Klean Kanteens are kept clean, and occasionally rinsed with vinegar, I don’t notice any off-taste.

Insulated:  I prefer the insulated water bottles for a couple of reasons.  The first is that water that sits in a hot car or a hot house will end up warm.  I don’t like warm water.  I like it slightly cool and occasionally icy cold.  The second is pretty similar, sometimes I want to tea or even coffee with me in the morning.  It’s nice knowing it will still be hot when I get where I’m going.

Take-Out:  I fill it up at home and usually sip the whole time I’m gone.  If it is a really hot day, I can just fill it up at a water fountain.  Our local coffee shop (Heine Bros) is really terrific about making tea and coffee right into the bottle.  Subway and Quiznos both let me get iced tea straight into the bottle too.

No Plastic:  By always carrying my own water I never have to worry about plastic bottles.  I don’t have to buy them, recycle them, and wonder what they are doing to my health.  If I bought a bottle of water each time I went out on errands I would probably use 100 per year.  Over the 10 years I’ve toted my own water that is 1000 water bottles kept out of circulation.

Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen

Season of Creation, D2

September 2, 2016


Encouragement:  Wild flowers growing along the side of the country road where I walk each morning.

Season of Creation

September 1 to October 4 :: The Season of Creation

Let us put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children — Sitting Bull, Sioux Chief

I’ve written so much on here about our endeavor to reduce our environmental impact.  Often I wonder if my individual efforts make any difference at all.  My conclusion is:  it doesn’t matter.  I cannot step aside from my responsibility to make this life and planet as whole as possible for those who will come after me.  So I continue on in my efforts to leave as small an environmental impact as possible.

Others are in a position to call the big corporations and nations into action and accountability.   I am proud to be part of a church that takes this responsibility seriously.  Churches of all types are gathering together for a Season of Creation from September 1 to October 4.

I will be praying, but I will also be posting pictures throughout the Season of things that help me, encourage me, and inspire me in this endeavor.

September 1, 2016


My primary Bible:  The Green Bible.  I love this Bible because every day when I pick it up it is a quiet reminder to do my part.  The front includes some essays from a variety of writers and the back has a study section.  Passages that emphasize Creation are in green ink.

Purchased in 2009, Cotton cover with recycled pages and soy ink.

New Orleans –Packing List

I have a rule:  never take more on a trip than you can comfortably carry on your back.

I used to have a 30 liter schoolbook type backpack that I travelled with all over the world.  It held all my stuff including instant oatmeal, Amazing Meal, and homemade trail mix (usually enough for a week).

When preparing for this trip, I noticed I couldn’t carry the same weight comfortably on my shoulders.  Getting older does have a few drawbacks.  So I began the search for a new perfect travel bag.  (Please note this is a travel bag, not a hiking pack). After reading a ton of reviews and trying on packs in several stores, I decided on an Osprey Porter 30 Liter travel duffel.  Amazon Link. 

Here’s why:

  • Osprey has an incredible reputation and warranty.
  • Comfortable shoulder straps that can be zipped into the bag when you aren’t using them.
  • A hip belt that actually helps transfer a bit of the weight. — This is a major upgrade from my bookbag/backpack I used to carry. This hip belt tucks away into the back of the pack too.
  • Pockets, enough but not too many.  Just enough to organize without confusion. One awesome pocket to hold things you really want to be able to find — In my case, my 311 bag and snacks.
  • The main compartment unzips in a U-shape that allows you to pack like a pro.  No stuffing things down into the pack.  This also means you can find things at a glance.  Love this!
  • At 30L I can still carry enough to go almost indefinitely (providing you have a sink, Dr Bronners, and a clothesline (which I do).
  • Cinching straps that make the pack compact and stable on your back.
  • The size fits perfectly under the airplane seat.  Also allows for a purse/messenger bag to fit alongside it under the seats.  = Awesome!
  • Several handles to grab onto if the straps are packed away (also great for someone to hold onto while you’re getting into the straps), plus a place to attach a shoulder strap if you roll that way.

The only thing I didn’t absolutely love about this bag. . . .  The lack of a water bottle pocket.  I always carry my Klean Kanteen.  I had to resort to some creative carrying techniques.  Some of which were less than stellar — I cracked myself in the head with the Kanteen, cracked Hannah in the head with it, and finally stowed it in my shoulder bag which was really uncomfortable.

New Orleans in July/August Packing List — 6 days:

  • UV shirt
  • t-shirts x 3
  • UV skirt
  • capris x 2
  • 3/4 sleeve shirt
  • tan cardigan
  • UV hat
  • Undies (enough for 3 days, then wash)
  • PJs x 1
  • workout shirt & sports bra
  • swim suit (bottoms = workout shorts as well)
  • rain jacket
  • cooling buff (amazing little thing)
  • walking shoes, teva sandals, and dress sandals
  • Turkish towel (blanket, towel, and impromptu yoga blanket)
  • Journal & Pencil
  • shaker cup with packets of Amazing meal
  • insulated Klean Kanteen
  • Instant Oatmeal, homemade trail mix, truvia, tea bags
  • iPad, case, charger
  • iPhone, charger, nifty stand, ear buds
  • 311:  sunscreen, Argan Oil, Dr Bronners, toothpaste, Tide stick, contact solution
  • Non-311:  glasses, nail file, extra contacts, salt stone, clothesline, Toothbrush, Rx and OTC
  • packable grocery bag
  • Tom Binn small cafe bag (which is my daily purse) with wallet, phone, charger, snacks for the day, water bottle, reading glasses, sunglasses, map, and my UV hat.

The only thing I wished I had taken, and had planned to take, was my travel yoga mat. I couldn’t get it to fit comfortably for the trip down.  In hindsight, I would have left the oatmeal and trail mix home to make room for the mat.  The grocery prices in NOLA were similar to home so schlepping so much food down didn’t save me money.  So instead of yoga on my mat, I did yoga with shoes and my towel.  Still kept me moving, happy, and flexible, but not ideal.   Next time I will not leave the mat at home.  It will pack in first and everything else will fit around it.

I wore both the UV shirt and the cardigan daily.  UV every time I went outside and cardigan around the hotel — so I’m thankful I had both.  The cardigan aired all day and the UV shirt aired all night.  Perfect balance.



Thinking/Writing:  upcoming project, Riot review, using Headspace as journal prompts

Reading:  The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Listening:  Headspace meditation, Linguistics class

Watching:  Olympics (bits and pieces of gymnastics, rowing, men’s indoor volleyball), Star Wars Rebels with family

In my Garden:  cucumbers, tomatoes, flowers, lettuce going to seed, chives, and the very last blackberries.

In my Yard:  a struggling cherry tree, tall weeds surrendering to the clippers, a super happy dog chasing about a hundred motorcycles — from the safety of his fence 😉

Reflections on New Orleans

Hannah and I just had a whirlwind trip to New Orleans, LA.  She was invited (as part of the CNA Edge team) to speak at the yearly Pioneer Network Conference.  The theme was Changing the Culture of Aging.

It was an amazing opportunity for the team and they did an incredible job.  They communicated clearly and thoughtfully.   They represented CNAs with dignity and clarity.  I was overwhelmed and very proud.

I was just along for the ride, to support Hannah, and have a vacation.   I am so thankful I was able to go.  I learned a lot about the industry of elder care.  I have a lot of thoughts to process through.

My favorite part of New Orleans had to be the streetcars.  I bought a Jazzy Pass which gave me unlimited access to all the public transportation.  And boy, did I use it.  Every morning, except Tuesday when Hannah was speaking, I would walk out the hotel doors by 8 am and board a street car.  I learned a lot about the city by just talking to the drivers and the people who use the streetcars for transportation. I rode every line from beginning to end.  I would get off at one stop, walk my way toward the next stop and see all the sights along the way.  Then I would ride the line all the way back to the hotel in time for lunch.  After a quick trip for lunch supplies, then lunch, a nap, and some quiet reading time it would be time for Hannah to finish for the day.

Picture of my favorite streetcar stop — along with Hannah!


She and I would head out for a different streetcar and repeat the whole thing.  I must have ridden about 5-6 hours a day.  It was incredible.  The streetcars are either air conditioned or they have fans.  So I never got overheated, and I never got too much sun.  Between my UV shirt, hat, and capris, I was in pretty well covered in sun protection.    We were always back in our room by dark and enjoyed a quiet evening together reading or watching a show.   That quiet end to the day kept me from overdoing it and wearing myself out.

I didn’t take a lot of pictures.  Mostly I took pictures to help me remember where my stop was so I could catch the correct streetcar heading back.  So many memories though.

My second favorite part of New Orleans was Rouses’ grocery store.  It was about 4 blocks from our hotel and I walked down 3 times for lunch stuff.  It was a pleasant walk and at lunch time I could chat with locals about their day and their lives while standing in line to check out.  They were so friendly — and a little surprised to find that grocery shopping is my favorite tourist stop.  You can learn so much about a city from watching people in the grocery store.  New Orleans grocery shopping is laid back, chatty, and the accent is so smooth.  You don’t race through the store to find the things on your list.  You glide down the aisles, nodding and chatting with everyone — it was so incredible.


Upcoming posts:  on traveling lightly,  a project,


In my garden:  Lots of weeds that grew while I was gone

In my yard:  One happy dog who missed me

Readng:  The Hero with a Thousand Faces by J Campbell

Watching:  Olympics, a bit here and there

Listening:  Headspace (meditation) and lectures on linguistics (a favorite topic).  The lawnmower as Michael attempts to finish cutting the grass before more rain moves into our area.



Irony — a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects.

Thanksgiving is just a few short hours behind us. Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday. I like the simplicity that surrounds our traditions. We gather around a meal and publically declare our gratitude for our blessings.

My family’s traditions have changed as the years have marched past. I used to attempt to recreate the Thanksgiving of my childhood. Of course, it was nearly impossible since I had a beautiful Granny and her daughters who cooked enough food to feed a small nation. My Slifer family is a pretty large clan– so the amount was just right. When Kelly joined the Air Force and our children came along, I felt they needed that experience even if we couldn’t be physically present with the clan.

Our journey took us to Turkey. There I saw real poverty up close for the first time. Cemile taught me the true meaning of a feast. To her mind, Americans feasted every single meal and every single day. She was shocked at how food we wasted. Shocked that we would only use the best bits — and toss the rest. She regularly took home the odd scrap from my kitchen and would turn it into a dish.

It shamed me. But it didn’t immediately change my ways when it came to the holiday.

Fast forward a decade, and I finally felt at peace with my Thanksgiving. It is more about a simple meal, prepared as much in advance as possible, joyfully shared, and eaten with true gratitude.

I see other families with their huge elaborate meals and wonder, “Are they grateful or tired? Joyful or stressed out?” I don’t know. I don’t probe and pry. However, I suspect the answer can be found the next morning. The irony is that Thanksgiving is now just a prepatory pause before Black Friday and the Holiday Shopping Frenzy.

I, therefore, continue in my boycot of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. I have quietly opted out of feeling entitled to a good deal. Instead I will carry the gratitude of Thanksgiving into the expectation of Advent and further into the joy of Christmastide.

Making Soap

Making soap is a fairly straightforward affair.  Attention to details and to safety will help produce a lovely product.  We have made many types of soap from many different recipes.   I use a basic soap recipe and add whatever my fancy leads to that day.  I’ve given my favorite recipes and add-ins.  If you intend to make soap you really need a book, a friend, or a web-site for the minute details.

Basic Recipes:

1.  Basic White for non-vegans
32 oz water or milk
12 oz lye

4 lb lard
17 oz olive oil
8 oz coconut

Add essential oils or fragrance at trace

2.  Classic for vegans
39 oz olive
24 oz coconut
18 oz palm

26-30 oz water or milk
12 oz lye

Add-ins added at trace.

Add-Ins:  This list could go on forever, but these are my very favorites.

  1. pulverized oatmeal and lavender (for soothing itchy skin)
  2. tea tree oil (for disinfecting /  first aid soap)
  3. peppermint oil  (invigorating)
  4.  rosemary oil and rosemary bits

Soap Making Links:

  1. Walton Feed
  2. Teach Soap
  3. And here