Spring :: Growth + Change + Renewal

With the allergy season coming to an end, I can't help but reflect on all the things I've done to transition right on through this funky time.  Spring is a time of growth, change and renewal and when you suffer from seasonal allergies in Sonoma County, it's absolutely no fun.  

Change is hard for most people and I'm definitely not exempt from this common feeling, so it's no surprise to me that Spring is my least favorite season of the year.  I've kept myself busy to work through these moody months and I'm sharing a few things that brought me my very own welcome feelings of growth, change and renewal.

ink+paper+plate, point reyes station, ca
I signed up for a one-on-one printmaking class with owner/artist Sirima Sataman in her fantastic little print shop (a 45 minute drive from my house).  She was an intuitive & efficient teacher and we quickly figured out that I would do a little mono printing on her large etching press first and then add some letters or a word using her vintage Vandercook printing press.

The class was about three hours long and I felt right at home in her cozy, art-filled space.  Sirima was knowledgable and generous with her plethora of supplies and fancy presses.  I ended up selecting the word swell because of the imagery it draws up for me and because of its many meanings.  

swell (verb) : 1. to grow big or make bigger 2. to expand or distend abnormally or excessively 3. to fill or be filled with emotion (as pride)

swell (noun) : 1. a long crestless wave or series of waves in the open sea 2. sudden or gradual increase in size or value 3. a person of high social position or outstanding competence

swell (adjective) : 1. fashionable, stylish; also socially prominent 2. excellent, first-rate

The private class was $75 and I walked away with a few dozen original prints.  If you're interested in this type of class, you can visit her website here.  If you register for a Friday session, the chances are pretty good that "The Tamale Lady" will saunter up to her storefront around lunchtime and sell you the most delicious homemade tamales & homemade salsa.  Art + food for the win.

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Good Reads
I've been diving into books as a way to retreat and rest during this allergy season.  As my allergies have progressively gotten worse over the years, I've used the forced down time to catch up on my reading lists and rest my mind and body.

I've used the Goodreads website to track my reading history for the past seven years.  You can add shelves for books read, to-read, abandoned, etc.  I added a shelf for Grady a few years ago when he was on a mission to read 1,000 books (his 2009 New Year's Resolution).  He reached the magic number 417 books read for that year and using Goodreads was a godsend in helping to keep track of all of the book titles.  We also use it a lot for books we want to read and this helps when I order books from the library, as I just pop over to Goodreads and see what's on our list.  Otherwise, I would totally forget!

If you're looking for anything new to read, click here to see a list of books I've read so far this calendar year and what star-rating I gave them.  I'm diving into Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod.  I fear this will only add to my anti-social behavior, as of late, but I'm forging ahead anyway.

Writing Life
A few months back, I wrote an essay for mamalode entitled Bodega Bay, Population 950 and you can find it here.  Mamalode's March theme was Simplify and I shared about how we moved three times and lived in four different homes in one calendar year (and lived to tell about it).  Oy vey!

Their March sponsor was The Minimalists and I was inspired to read their book, take their 30 Day Minimalism Game Challenge and purge our home and garage of unnecessary items.  I love this kind of thing.  I even signed up for free tickets to see The Minimalists speak on their Wordtasting Tour in June in San Francisco.  I'm all in when it comes to downsizing and re-thinking the spaces we share.  Stuff can drag me down and this was the perfect way to spend the beginning of Spring - Spring cleaning.

My Garden
When we moved to the rural countryside seven years ago, I had grand visions of having a small farm with a henhouse, vegetable & flower gardens.  And while we did have chickens for several years and an occasional garden experiment, I wouldn't say that I'm in any way a farmer or a gardener.  Those forays turned out not to be my thing.  As much as I romanticized it and read books about people doing it on their own plots of land, I have finally come to the realization that all of these longings were just a fantasy on a my part.

Maybe it's my allergies talking, but I can't be out in the garden for very long.  It starts to feel overwhelming (we live on approximately one acre) and I quickly shut down.  The one project I feel capable of embarking on before the end of Spring is fine-tuning our composting bin and transferring all of that gorgeous soil into one big garden bed.  My loose plan is to cultivate an abundance of zinnias and sunflowers in this patch of dirt.  I'm enlisting cheap child labor (ahem, my son) and I'm hopeful that working together on this will yield a few good conversations, as well as a beautiful cutting garden later this summer.  

We'll see.  

Usually anything having to do with the garden is just an idea in my head.  I lack the follow through.  Hopefully, by declaring this endeavor on my blog, this will help cement my intention.  I'll do a follow-up post later this summer and let you know if I've succeeded or failed in the garden (again?) this year.

Spring Sale!

My Library Junkie tote bag is on sale in my etsy shop.  Click here and use the coupon code LIBRARYSUMMER for 50% off this large canvas tote.  Yes, 50%!  Maybe I have been taking allergy meds for too long?  Just cleaning house, so get them while you can.  They are great for a weekend getaway bag, as well as for groceries & sporting equipment.  Super sturdy.  New designs will be released mid-June.

I know there's still another month of Spring left, but I'm so ready for Summer.