Monday, February 28, 2011

3 Books, 3 Bucks!!!!

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I hadn't been to Half/ Price Books here in Columbus for several years. I have fond memories of finding a second edition copy of Lloyd Kahn's Shelter ( my second) and a little gem entitled Freewheeling Homes by David Pearson (on the same day) there among the Architecture section during the earlier part of this century (!). I also yearned to get back to their (once extensive) Native American section to add to my collection. This Half/ Price Books is the second branch of my acquaintance, as I lived and worked within a block or two of one of the original Half /Price Books on Guadalupe St. in Austin, Texas for a few years in the early 80's. Read: This means that I was spending a good deal of my paycheck at this same store, but again, I digress.

Yesterday I went with a fellow lover of HPB's and for the very first time in my life could not find a book in what I had previously considered my small collection of favorite sections. So stumbling toward the cookbook section, ( not yet but in the future I will start collecting cookbooks) I found THE CLEARANCE SECTION! and EVERYTHING WAS A DOLLAR! Dangerous territory for a book lover, ahem, hoarder. Well, I did finally (Libra sun and moon) narrow it down to 3 and they are pictured above. By the way, we Libras are truly not in fact ''indecisive" but admittedly do tend to slowly weigh the pros and cons for the perfect outcome. I can already hear the "ha's". I love Half Price Books and I love my new favorite section . And it has both Fiction and Nonfiction . Insert wide grin emotican.

I started reading One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus first and can already tell that I am going to both savor and love it. The other two also seem to be coming to me at the right time, but they always do. Almanac of the Dead by Leslie Marmon Silko and Hullaboo in the Guava Orchard by Kiran Desali (who also wrote The Inheritance of Loss that I love) should keep my insatiable thirst for books, semi- quenched for a few more weeks. Add Half / Price Books to my list of redeeming qualities of my hometown (last blog).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My Love/ Hate Relationship with my Home town

Columbus, Ohio
Mojo-Cup O' Joe Cafe

I have a love/ hate relationship with this, my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. Like many who grew up here in Columbus and fled to such farflung places such as Austin, Texas and the Bay Area of Northern California, I have a rollercoaster- like relationship with my home turf.

While I was in college in Kentucky I always pictured myself living on either of the coasts or somewhere mountainous like Colorado or North Carolina. I came home only rarely for visits on holidays such as Christmas. I always thought that my hometown was like every other cowtown in the midwest. This is because I had never been to the OSU campus area and definitely did not know that there were other people "like me" living and working here. When I finally did venture out and find publications such as The Columbus Free Press and bookstores such as Fan-the -Flames back in the early 80's I knew that there must be some redeeming quality about my hometown.

From 1998-2005 I actually lived here and had my own apartment. When I first came back in 1998,
I felt like someone from another planet for both riding my bicycle here and there (and heaven forbid actually wearing a helmet) and taking public transportation to and from my jobs. Now I see bicyclists everywhere:).

Natural food stores seemed to be way overpriced (compared to the relative utopia of both Austin and the west coast) and few and far between. There was not yet a "Northstar Cafe" , Whole Foods Market was still Wild Oats and Trader Joes had not yet established 2 stores here in central Ohio. The arts community and the amazing radio station that is WCBE had been here a while but I was just not aware of them. I did know that there was a large Gay and Lesbian community because we came up here from Kentucky on occasion just to go the the bars.

Being back here again has forced me to really evaluate what I can and cannot live with or without. I am constantly weighing whether to stay here near my parents while they are both still alive or to flee again, back to my Pacific Ocean , back to my ancient forests.

I do know that I have the power to be happy and content anywhere that I land. I did not know this so much when I was younger. Here are some more things (as lists that I LOVE and/or Hate about Columbus, Ohio.

LOVE: My parents Joan and Ray; WCBE; free admission to The Columbus Museum of Art on Sundays; an ever growing Arts and live music scene; being in close proximity to my family and many, many old friends from college; people from everywhere (really everywhere) in the world live here, all colors and creeds; still relatively low cost of living including organic-slow food; more and more great Mexican, Thai and Indian food places and foodcarts; more and more Community Supported Agriculture projects are cropping up--even in the middle of the city; the always amazing Metro Parks and Greenways; new bicycle trails and bikelanes seem to be an ongoing process; hands down the best Library system I have seen in all of my travels; pretty good mass transit , busses with bikeracks! (at least we still have some to the suburbs); amazing soil in places to grow all types of plants; 2-3 open and accepting cousins; the ongoing trend to reclaim damaged places and turn them into artists live/work spaces, most recently starting to happen in my ancestral home of Franklinton; a mayor (Michael Coleman) that makes me proud to be from Columbus. I am sure there is more that I am not thinking about right now. And now for the not so hot schtuff about Columbus:

HATE: Still a very large divide between the wealthy and poor in many, many ways; a Republican governor who "Gave back" the money for investment into light rail here in Ohio and seems to think that he is king and all of us are his servants; lack of public transportation to more of the outlying areas where the jobs tend to be; lack of light rail; people who can't seem to give up their cars; the very, very poor air quality in central Ohio; people who (in ignorance) think the Mexicans (or insert Somalis, Croatians, Russians etc etc) are taking our jobs; rampant xenophobia in some places (outside of the Short North, Grandview, Clintonville, German Village bubbles), no defined "Central gathering place"; that it takes me 4 hours roundtrip on a bus to get to Trader Joes ( I dream for one in downtown like the one in the central part of Santa Cruz); that alternative healing methods ( my choices such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, reiki etc) still are "crazy" to many here; that nearly all of the small booksellers are gone; that city and county governmental agencies are still steeped in dysfunction and apathy, and that with 30 -plus years of work experience I still can't seem to find a job in parks here.

So, as is the par for the course of my life, I will continue to weigh the pros and cons knowing also that " It is what it is", continue to try to give Columbus a chance but also continue to hold my vision for what Columbus could be.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A picture of my Dream!

This is it! This is just about exactly how I envision my dream Strawbale Octagon House to look.
Lloyd Kahn (ever so amazing see link to right) posted this link . I have studied this for over 20 years and finally did a hands-on internship here in Ohio a few summers ago. I just need to find the landowner who will allow me to rent-to-own an acre or so of her/his land upon which I might build this structure (or one with a little less square footage actually) as well as grow Organic food, flowers and herbs. For anyone seeking to do an internship in sustainable building, this looks like a good one if you can afford it. I spent time in and around Williams, Oregon years ago . It is a really beautiful part of sw Oregon. For more info go here:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Old Friends/New Blogs!

Brian Aptekar and The Snow Monkeys of Japan
on his blog:

I met Bryan Aptekar many years ago when we worked at neighboring Outdoor Education programs near Pescadero and La Honda, California back in the early 90's. I have been getting in touch with more and more of my old Naturalist and college friends via facebook and it has really saved me this past year and been alot of fun. Bryan was a long time National Park Ranger and like so many of my Outdoor/Environmental Educator Naturalist friends over the years, at some point we lost touch with each other. I really look forward to reading his amazing writings and really beautiful pictures long and slow, just like a really good book.
The second blog is by another Naturalist friend that I worked with in Coloma, Mel Berg. She is an amazing all around artist, crafter, and sketchbook goddess. I swear I wrote about her blog about a month ago but it is gone from my blog roll now. Check it out:

Monday, February 14, 2011

As I continue to go through boxes of stuff that I have hauled back and forth across the country over the past several years, I continue to find paintings from years ago. Hmm I wonder how THIS will scan? Having access to a scanner is fun at times. This one was done on a really thick piece of pulp used for papermaking.
It surely is a remnant of my working as a Naturalist in the Great Smoky Mountains one summer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

collector B.

I am a collector of sorts. I (for sure) inherited a hoarding gene from my dear Mother about certain things. Rocks, beads, books,pottery,old stamps, postcards of all sorts, matchbooks, plants, old wine boxes , seeds, botanicals. I love old plant books such as this one pictured above. This also illustrates one of my favorite used book stores, Westside Stories on the Westside of Santa Cruz, California. I hope that store is forever open.
This is a 1964 (4th) Edition of Flowers of the Southwest Mesas by Pauline M. Patraw and illustrated (my favorite part) by Jeanne R. Janish.
I hope to see the sw desert in bloom at some point this spring and this book was one of my lifetime finds. For those of you lucky enough to be living there close to the Mohave, check out The Geology Trail of Joshua Tree National Park during the first week of April, for glimpses of every color in the spectrum.

Rumi revisited...

This is one of my favorite pages from one of my favorite books,
The Illuminated Rumi by Coleman Barks.
Thanks to Mr. Barks we have fabulous translations of a long ago poet-seeker, Rumi.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Love Is All There Is
a valentine for mi madre

Annie B's Recommended Reading for this Millennium:
Miss Rumphias
by Barbara Cooney

Friday, February 11, 2011

I am 4 years old in this picture. Oh to be 4 again.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here is the entire original of the Watercolor Leaf print found today.
Back in the summer of 2009
I had stuffed it in the Dover Coloring Book , Stefen Bernath's
Common Weeds Coloring Book ,
one of my favorite collections of black and white line drawings of Medicinal Herbs that surround us.
I enjoy combining leaf prints with pigments of watercolor.
" Wholeheartedness is a precious gift, but no one can actually give it to you. You have to find the path that has heart and then walk it's like someone laughing in your ear, challenging you to figure out what to do when you don't know what to do. It humbles you. It opens your heart." Pema Chodron The Wisdom of No Escape
this came to me today via

times are exciting for small scale farmers

Here is a blog that I learned about (yet again) from Lloyd Kahn's Blog .
I could easily spend hours reading over blogs such as this one and I am getting even more excited about this coming growing season. The comments are also worth a read. and now I will look into William Dam seeds.

One of my
from a few summers ago that I found in (yet another) book this morning.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I keep beating my head against the wall every year at this time until I finally realize Again that I belong outside. Outside in the air. Outside in the fields and streams and trees. Outside. Outsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide Annie. Outside.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This picture is from an amazing new blog( to me) that I saw a glimpse of on lloyd kahn's blog. I am always looking for new and inspiring ways to build with clay,straw and old stuff. Bloggers like are just the ticket.

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My Dad and I took a ride last Sunday out to my favorite metropark, Big Darby. We were looking to see a herd of Bison that were recently reintroduced to the park. We didn't see them but did get some more pictures of winter trees that I love. And being stuck inside, I do whatever I can to balance the place out for myself.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rabbit,RABBIT Happy year of the Rabbit

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some of my favorite rabbit images found via google images
my collage using lots of others art and photos center and top

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Rabbit,Rabbit Happy Brigid!

Brigid the Triple Goddess from
Happy Imbolc/Brigid!
February 1st is the feast day of the old Irish Goddess Brigid, as well as an ancient Irish festival marking the beginning of spring. It falls halfway between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox.
Fire and purification are themes for this festival. Brigid is the Goddess of Poetry, Healing and Smithcraft. Light candles and fires to represent the warmth and increasing power of the sun in the coming weeks and months. For more on that see: