A month or so ago, I was listening to Art Wolfe speak on CreativeLive. In one part of the lecture, he talked about finding the perfect house and creating the inside and outside spaces he wanted that were modeled after the things he loved making images of. He encouraged us all to “Create a place that nourishes you.”
When he said that, I paused. And I thought about what that means. I moved to Houston because I was drawn here. There is something unique about Houston and it has become a place where I’ve thrived and I’ve done well. It is home – but that doesn’t mean that I currently have a place that nourishes me.
When I moved into my apartment five years ago, it was a chance to start over. I brought a minimal amount into this space. A lot of things have happened in those five years. R has moved in with me. My mom died and I’ve been helping take care of my grandmother from afar while she deals with Alzheimer’s. There’s been a few personal health issues as well. Suddenly I find myself dealing with piles of stuff that are left over from my mother’s estate, things that have been given to me, things that R has brought into our home, and just the general accumulation of stuff that happens when you’ve been in one place five years. The clearing of clutter has begun.
I first started creating a space that nourishes me when I was taking part in Patti Digh’s Verb tribe. I carved out a little space where I could stash all my writing stuff in one place. A place where I could pull it out when I wanted to write, and quickly put it back when I was done. Next I started getting computer drives organized so that I would not be overwhelmed when it comes time to work on my photography projects.
I’ve been working this weekend on creating a standing desk – a desk that would be functional in terms of storage, but would meet my overall desire not to be sitting so much. In the course of doing the work, I’ve created not only a work space that makes me happy, but more space overall. And for that, I am grateful.
The standing desk I created
My workspace at night. Complete with LED Stars
The space isn’t perfect. It’s going to take while to get to “perfect”. But it’s a step in the right direction. And the journey is what matter most.
It’s been a busy few months since I’ve published anything here. Work has been keeping me crazy busy. I’ve been working on a couple of photography projects on Houston Graffiti and Street Art and Houston’s Food Trucks as well as working on getting my portfolio together. I’ve also go a new kitty girl named Kodachrome.
All of that took back seat last month when I had a health scare. I caught a cold shortly before I came home from Phoenix at the beginning of March. It would not go away and it morphed into bronchitis. The good news is that because I have a history of pneumonia, my doctor had me up-to-date on my flu and pneumonia shots which prevented me from getting sicker. The bad news is that one one of the x-rays they took showed something on one of my ribs and I had to have further testing to rule out cancer. The first CT scan was inclusive and I got the added bonus of finding out a 4 mm nodule on one of my lungs as well. Second CT and a bone scan later, I’m in the clear. It looks like the 4mm nodule is a leftover from one of my previous bouts on pneumonia and the issue with my rib is either a spot that healed after a car accident, a congenital defect, or there’s something growth in the cartilage between my ribs – in other words nothing to worry about.
So after a month of feeling like warmed over poop — life is not fun when you get sweaty just from walking to the bedroom to the kitchen — and trying not to totally freak out about what might be happening with my bones, I’ve decided a few changes are in order. First I am taking one or more small walks every day. I try to stay in the tunnel system in Downtown Houston so I am not adding more stress to my lungs with the high pollen counts. Second I’m upping my fruit and veggie intake to get more micronutrients in my system. There’s a lot of smoothie action going on. And finally I’m getting rid of stuff that doesn’t serve me or I haven’t used in a long time. The less stuff I have in the house, the less dust I have to deal with and that can only help my lungs.
The changes are not easy, but they are good for me. I’m going to be around more and talking about more changes that are going on.
in the meantime, I’m hoping the few changes that I have made already will help me when it comes to my visit to the pulmonologist in a couple weeks. I want my lungs to be as healthy and strong as they can be in that time frame.
I’ve seen this video before but I thought I would share it here. This humpback whale named Valentina got her fins and flukes caught in a nylon netting. The group who rescued her were on vacation and decided to cut the netting away after they were told it would be an hour before someone could help her.
For the next few days, Sustainable in Houston is going to give you some great ideas for gifts that can be purchased locally here in Houston. There will be gift ideas for foodies, pampering your friends and family, and treasures from artists who upcycle and recycle materials.
Kicking this gift giving idea list off is Blue Heron Farm & Friends Cajeta (cah-hay-tah). If you’ve never had cajeta before, it’s a caramel sauce made out of goat’s milk, sugar and a touch of baking soda.
Blue Heron Farm & Friends Cajetas in Original and Bourbon Flavors
Its spoonable and pourable, and oh so delicious. The original flavor is my favorite and pairs nicely with apples. I like the Bourbon flavor too. It’s great over vanilla ice cream with a few pecans on top. I’ve been known to eat both by the spoonful straight out of the jar.
A lot of time has been spent this last week working on pickles of various sorts. I did two types of cucumber pickles this past week. One of them is a sweet lime pickle.
These pickles are crisp and have an excellent flavor. R. swears they have the same flavor as the Del-Dixie Sweet Baby Gherkins he used to eat as a boy. I love them because just a few of these pickles and you’ve got a nice flow of flavor from sweet to puckery and back to sweet again.
Here’s the recipe I used for the Sweet Lime Pickles:
2 c. hydrated lime (I used Mrs. Wages Pickling Lime)
2 gallons water
7 lb. sliced cucumbers, 1/4 inch thick
4 1/2 lb. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
1 1/2 qt. cider vinegar
2-3 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. whole cloves
1 tsp. pickling spice (I used McCormicks and left the Chili Flakes and the bay leaves in).
Mix and stir lime in water. Add cucumbers and let soak for 24 hours. Stir often. Drain. Wash well in clear cold water. Soak 3 hours in clear water and drain.
Make syrup with sugar, salt, vinegar, cinnamon, cloves, and pickling spice. Put cucumbers in syrup and let stand overnight. The next morning, put on stove and bring to a boil for 40 minutes. Put in hot jars and process 10 minutes.
There is power in those strokes. Someone someday will cherish your floating G’s and loopy 5s, holding on to them as if they were tiny life rafts on which they, too, could float for a moment or two or three. There’s meaning in them, and not just the referential, but the embodied, the real sort, the human kind. Hold on to a grocery list, too, for old time’s sake. Be a writer, not just a typer. — Patti Digh