You can find me here.
Please update your address bar. This site will be deleted at the end of 2010. is moving!!
This does not affect the web address in anyway, and the site will probably look exactly the same –
the web address will likely be down for 24-48 hours. And I will be sweating bullets trying to follow hopefully explicit instructions from the dreamhost support guy’s email.

THIS wordpress site ( will still be here, unchanged. Unless, I need to take a break
or procrastinate
and decide to throw together another post.

Christian as Yoda with neighbors Riley and Rorey, who are ghosts.

This move to my own hosted space at dreamhost, is kinda like moving from a rental to my own house; I’ll be able to make changes, add wigits, and play around with however I like. I will be using the free wordpress platform though, so the look and feel of womantalk should remain the same.

STEEP learning curve here. I feel jittery and nervous.

I own the domain name, and just have been directing it to this wordpress blog.
In order to host it somewhere else, I had to download an FTP program – but now I don’t know if I need it.
I’ve been paying for the space SINCE JUST BEFORE CHRISTIAN WAS BORN.
Sad, really – but now here are the instructions I’m am going to follow to transfer my wordpress blog to
“Hi Jeannie!

Here are the instructions that you’ll need.

1. Go into your current WordPress dashboard and and get a backup of your
data. It should be given to you an an XML file.

2. Change your DNS name servers to DreamHost’s! Login to your management
area at Network Solutions. If you’re unsure of how to change your DNS
name servers, please contact their support and request them to do it for

The name servers need to be set to:

Alternatively, Network Solutions has a guide here on how to do that. Go
Google! 🙂

3. After this, it may take a few hours, but your domain will resolve to
DreamHost now. You will see a WordPress installer page when this has

4. You will want to proceed with the setup (it’ll ask you things like
blog name, email address, password, etc). After you’ve set that up and
can login to the dashboard, you will want to import the XML file.

5. Lastly, setup your desired theme and plugins!”

As Bella’s birthday is November 1st, she pretty much gets a Halloween-themed birthday cake every single year.
This year she got spider cupcakes delivered to her sushi dinner in Laguna Beach. They were a hit.
I made the devil’s food cake recipe from Williams-Sonoma (I amped up the chocolate flavor with a scoop of instant coffee) and frosted with the chocolate frosting mix from Trader Joe’s (very fudge-y).
Decorations: black sprinkles for a fuzzy back, mini gobstoppers for the eyes, and licorice laces cut into sixths for the legs (eight legs turned out to be too many)
Happy Halloween!

I’m blessed to have extremely literate, well-read friends who share their favorite books with me. This comes in handy, because I don’t have much time, but I LOVE TO READ.

I’d like to figure out which social networking site works best for books (shelfari? goodreads?) and post all the books I read there, but in the meantime here are three I highly recommend.
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer – This was a good read, but I only recommend it if you have an interest in the art world. Because I am, and have attended art fairs, and mingled with art critics and artists, I was fascinated by the setting of the Venice Biennale – and the fact that the main character is an art writer. This guy is also on the manic, neurotic side, which I don’t mind, and other people might. As the title suggest, the first half of the book is set in Venice where Jeff is trying to make sense of his life while have a terrific time with a woman he meets (nice sex scenes!); the second half takes place in India, where, well, things make less sense.

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers – is one that I’ll be recommending to people for a while. It reads like a novel, but is the true account of one man and his family’s experience of Hurricane Katrina. Zeitoun stays behind to take care of the house and his numerous business assets around the city, so you get to read about the surreal beauty of the city under water, while the water is still clear and fresh – before the rot and contamination set in. And then because Zeitoun is silently floating about in an aluminum canoe, he is able to hear the quiet calls of help of people stranded in their homes. The first woman he rescues is a 200-pound 80-year old woman floating near the ceiling in her dining room holding onto the top of her bookcase.
The real truth that is uncovered here, though, is not so much the devastating effects of the storm, but the United States government’s reaction to the crisis. That’s what’s truly horrifying.

And on the topic of uncovering, Annie Leonard’s book The Story of Stuff is the mama of all unreveals. She takes you through the history of your favorite t-shirt, from extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal – much the same way Michael Pollan traced the origins of four meals. This book is the culmination of ten years of research and presents information EVERYBODY NEEDS TO KNOW. Fortunately, it’s well-written and riveting read.
For instance, do you know that of everything that comes into your home – what percentage is still there after six months? ONLY 1% – everything else has been trashed or passed on, but mostly trashed.

Also, the average American creates 4.6 pounds of garbage A DAY. I thought, well, that seems like a lot compared to China, where the average Chinese produces only .7 pounds a day. It was mortifying and humbling to read on that AUSTRALIANS only produce 2.7 pounds a day, and CANADIANS only 1.79 a day!

Below you’ll find the 20-min youtube video of the same name that first put Annie Leonard on the map.

Real storm troopers! As Christian pointed out, they held guns! Not light sabers!

I took Christian to Disneyland for the first time this afternoon.
It was a very different experience than I imagined after hearing all about Minne’s house from my 3 1/2 old niece who visited for the first time this summer. Instead of seeing Minnie and Mickey, we spent the afternoon shooting aliens (Buzz Lightyear ride) and watching jedi training (Star Wars show). It was an extremely fun day and I can see that my annual pass will be worth every penny.

We were lucky to go with some very seasoned Disney pass holders and they shared a few tricks for a quick dip into the park.

First, we parked at Downtown Disney, where the first three hours are FREE. You get two free additional hours if you have a validated ticket from eating at a table service restaurant. Any hour afterward is $6 measured in 20-minute increments. Regular parking is $12 and a parking pass is something around $50. We elected to keep our trip under three hours.

As a SoCal resident we qualify for a local’s annual pass which costs $169. That is a lot, but still a good deal when you consider that a 1-day, 1-park pass (there are two parks at Disney) is $80. Children under the age of three are FREE.

Also, Sierra pointed out that you can access the Disney Way exit from the 5 directly from the carpool lane.

Mama and TiTi in the teacups - we're both a little green around the gills.

From the parking lot’s furthest corner, you can hop directly onto the monorail and enter the park. This way you skip lines. Our tickets were scanned (purchase and print in advance), our bags checked, all in a matter of seconds and we’d completely bypassed the main entrance to Disney.
The monorail dropped us off in between the submarine ride and the car track. Christian’s eyes were as big as the proverbial saucers when he saw kids driving kid-sized cars – and they stayed that way for the duration.

We helping Buzz Lightyear by shooting aliens.

I mean, how could they not? The first thing we did was the Buzz Lightyear ride. Each car has two laser guns and you get to shoot at targets during the entire ride. The console in the car dashboard keeps track of your points. At the end of the ride you can go look at your picture, which is a hoot. The best part? Instead of trying to get you to buy the pic, you can send it to your email address for free on a touch screen. Nice touch.

Sierra and her family in the teacup - no green.

bb gv vbc

Next, we went over to the Star Wars show, which was presented as a Jedi Training. Aiden was picked to be in the training along with about twenty other screaming hollering kids. Each kid was robed and given a practice light saber – then they all learned a series of protective moves with the activated light sabers. Just in the nick of time too, because Darth Vader showed up and each kid had to fight him ON STAGE! Everything was taken in great seriousness by the children.

After all that adrenalin rushing we were all starved and went for hand-dipped corn dogs with apple slices ($5.99 each). I watched the littlest ones while Anna and Aiden went on the airplane ride.

The teacups were fun too, but next time I’ll save my corn dog for AFTER the spinning teacups.

Then the kidlets got Dibs, which is ice cream made into finger food, as we headed out of the park via the monorail again.

The last fun treat was playing with the remote control ships outside of the Rain Forest Cafe. Sweet Aiden treated each of the kids to the $2 charge.

So three rides, one show, and dinner plus free parking. That was the perfect little dip into the craziness that is the magical kingdom.

is not what you want to be at almost midnight on a random Tuesday evening.

So, I’ve been trying to prove my non-addiction to caffeine, by not having any. The result? Predictably, my first day I had a major headache by mid-morning. That sent me into a panic – and since then, I’ve been in an on-again-off-again separation with black tea and coffee.

Yesterday was good. Although the white ayurvedic chai from teavana felt pretty caffeinated.
Then today: I had a great morning at the park making paper-mache lanterns with a bunch of moms I really like from my attachment parenting meetup, and when I got home I was just beat. So beat, that at 4 pm, I turned tail and ran to the kitchen to brew myself a strong black cuppa.

About an hour ago, my husband kicked my chatty butt out of bed, with a, If you’re so awake, why don’t you take your laptop out and post?
I grabbed a pile of books (good reads) that I’ve been meaning to post about and bounced out to the dining area.
But there is so much other stuff to write about, than the books I finished a month ago.

I told Chad today that there are going to be some changes around here. Life changes.
1. I’m going to clear the surfaces in my bedroom and keep them cleared.
When I got home from Korea this summer, I woke up one night in a fog. I was sure that I was in somebody else’s room, but I hadn’t the faintest idea whose. The room was awesome. It was dark, but I could see the outlines of all the furniture. The room was clean and uncluttered. It felt like a room that had been designed or spatially mapped out by an interior decorator. (I envy people with excellent spatial design skills and I’m always on the look-out for a friend who might want to come over and just completely critique my house and help me redesign my living space.) The strange thing was, that in some corner of my mind, I knew logically that this room was my own bedroom – I just couldn’t see any of the clutter.
When I woke up, I determined to re-create that room.
Of course, I’ve ALWAYS meant to declutter my bedroom, but it is always the space I neglect, because when guests come over, I focus on the living room and kitchen. Bathrooms must get deep-cleaned regularly, guests or no guests. The bedroom where my office resides pretty much gets ignored, even though in reality, most of my guests end up seeing it and I spend a lot of time there. This time I mean it. It’s going to happen.
Besides which, I really do believe in creating a more peaceful serene environment for Christian.
So, this is the plan: there are three major surfaces to tackle. Each one needs to be cleared (and it may be easiest to just leave them empty), which means going through every item and finding its home. The top of the chest of drawers will be done by Nov 1 (gulp – next weekend). My desk and accompanying file cabinet by Nov 15. And the top of the bookshelf will be clear by Dec 1.
Warning: I’ll have to get rid of more stuff, so anticipate parcels and gifts.

2. I’m going to start exercising twice a week and doing yoga twice a week. I think that needs to happen from this week until the end of my life, because I am growing old and I CAN FEEL IT HAPPENING. For somebody who has always been in pretty good shape and very limber in her youth, it is frightening to feel that strength and energy slip away.
I read in a Real Simple magazine that it takes 10 minutes a day to maintain your current level of flexibility. BUT if you do nothing, you can lose up to 7% of mobility A MONTH, in your hips, for example.
When I was young, in my teens, most stretches that people did to warm up, did not feel like stretches to me.
Scarily, now everything feels like a stretch. It feels like a stretch to simply reach up. My back hurts all the time. The reality is that I haven’t exercised or stretched properly since before I was pregnant with Christian, so three years ago.
Ideally, I need two walks/jogs around the lake each week. I need to figure out what mornings are good for that. I’ll start with once a week, by walking to playgroup every Thursday. That’s an easy way to sneak it in.
And yoga – I’m thinking every Tuesday to start. There’s a handwork and Waldorf discussion group meeting at a park every Tuesday – and I’d like to do an hour of yoga at the park before that begins at 10. Maybe the other jog and yoga session can happen on the weekend. Hmmm. Better set a deadline…
I’ll try another yoga set on Saturdays or Fridays and another run on Sundays by December 1.

If you want to join me for any of this (sit on my bed and chat while I organize?), let me know. Maybe I’ll start a weekly walk/jog meetup? Accountability to others seems to work for me (better than a monetary carrot, which is my husbands preferred method of encouragement).

I think this might constitute a minor mid-life crisis.

We used candle lanterns and also homemade lanterns out of tin cans, that were lit with glow sticks for the kids.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Martinmas next month with another campout and soup and bread potluck.

According to French lore, St. Martin was a soldier passing into the city of Amiens, when he passed a shivering beggar. He stopped, took off his own warm woolen cape and slashed it half with his sword and gave one half to the beggar. I love this image – one, it’s more practical to share what you have rather than give it ALL away and I love the complete surrender of material possession to human generosity with the slash – and I love the magnificent gesture of a sweeping sword to give rather than to kill.

From Diana Carey and Judy Large’s book, Festivals, Family, and Food: “Martin went on to become patron saint of beggars, drunkards, and outcasts. He was known for his gentleness, his unassuming nature and his ability to bring warmth and light to those who were previously in darkness.
On the evening of Martinmas [Nov 11] he is remembered in many French households with a festival of lanterns, carrying light throughout the darkened home, singing songs, and sharing a simple cake, perhaps decorated with the symbol of the sun.”

Inspired by my dear friend Darlene’s 20+ year tradition of celebrating Martinmas with a homemade soup and bread potluck, I’ve decided to do the same here in Orange County with my friends.

We’ll start the potluck around 5 pm with a short blessing and explanation of Martinmas. The bread and soup directs our mind to the meals of the poor – but really, we’re taking a moment to be intentionally simple to reflect on our own lives of plenty. And one of my greatest riches lie in the community I’ve found here, who will camp with me in November!

The puppet show props.

Shortly after dinner is done, we’ll gather to watch a puppet show about the shortening of days, and the idea of making a lantern to carry light through the dark days of winter. This is the puppet show Darlene wrote years ago. I posted it in full last year here.

Then we’ll practice a few songs together from Sing Through the Seasons: “Down with Darkness” and “With a Lantern in the Hand.” When we’ve got the melody worked out, we’ll light our lanterns (we’re making balloon and tissue lanterns) with glowsticks and have a lantern procession through the woods. The kids love this part and so do I.
This celebration has become one of my favorite holidays.

Christian will be thrilled to be camping, and doubly thrilled to be singing and with his favorite friends.

*All photos by Jaimie and Alex.

I’d never heard of this program before, but it works for me! Basically, high-achieving kids at the high school are offered a guaranteed admission to a UC school just based on grade-point average.

This is an excerpt from the letter Bella received this weekend:

“Dear Bella,

As one of the highest-achieving seniors at your high school, you have satisfied the University of California’s admission requirements through Eligibility in the Local Context (ELC). I am pleased to guarantee your admission to UC Davis for fall 2011 in the major of your choice. Congratulations!

All you need to do to join the UC Davis class of 2015 is to apply by the November 30 deadline, complete required “a-g” coursework and exams, and maintain your academic performance.”

I am one proud mama!