“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
What an October! Seemed to fly by… While it’s a bit late, here’s my wrap-up of the month for Greenhaven’s Slow Living Essentials series…
This month comfort food ruled, with my dairy-free version of my stacked chicken enchiladas (Daiya wasn’t bad…it ain’t cheese, but it did the trick). No homemade food was photographed this month, shockingly, so I borrowed this from an old blog post. That being said, it was a pancake for dinner kind of month with the hubby working late shifts and coming home famished 🙂
All done with harvesting and therefore not too much going on in the land of preservation. We did cut up and roast our Halloween pumpkins and pureed them, tucking away in the freezer until it’s time for Thanksgiving in a few weeks. However, my friend Ruth gave me this great book on pickling to get my brain thinking about next year’s cukes and what I could do with them 🙂
While I’m thrilled to announce my husband landed a good job with the local organic grocer pretty darn quickly after getting his American employment authorization, the green thing we are celebrating is how we spend our one day off per week with each other, which is always focused around walking somewhere beautiful. This month included renting a car for the day (we don’t own a car) and taking our newly adopted (shelter) bullmastiff, Ruby, on a field trip out to the Sandy River Delta so she could go offleash, be around other dogs in a non-dogpark setting, and enjoy the fresh air and freedom of the wide open spaces, paths through the trees, and yes, the lovely river. She stood in the water but doesn’t have the capacity to run and jump like the crazy labs, but we could tell she thought it was pretty cool.
The rest of the garden came down this month and the majority of our time was focused on reorganizing the cinderblock raised beds which I’d not placed too well over the years, so they weren’t maximizing space. So there was a lot of heavy lifting! But we got some plants from pots into the ground, like this gardenia (pictured above), and also discovered ChipDrop.in, an awesome resource for arborists and gardeners to partner up – arborists have to pay to dispose wood chips and gardeners want them, so we just signed up and within a day we had an entire truckload dropped off on the street in front of our house. Thank goodness it wasn’t raining! Boy was it nice to save all that cash too!
Beyond our normal dropoff at Goodwill, physically we didn’t reduce much. We sold our old leather sofa on eBay for enough to pay for the majority of the cost of a new one (not made from animal hide, yay!), and rearranged the living room which I like to do rather than buy new stuff, but didn’t get rid of anything. One point I will celebrate though is that we annualize our natural gas bill for our heating, and if we use less than in the prior year, we get the difference back, and this year we got $20 back, which left our monthly bill at a whopping $8. Pretty rad. And that includes our contribution to Smart Energy, their carbon offset program we joined last year. Yay 🙂
Major editing in process on my to-be-named jobseeker book and am now into my 2nd draft, with a hardcore goal of getting through it by Thanksgiving to send over to an editor I know who I’ve been trading services with this year. She’s also recommended I get a literary agent, as what I’m putting together is something I think could make money if I go about this the right way. While I’ve considered the self-publishing route, I don’t have 100% trust in Amazon and the other services I’ve read about seem so-so, so I think a few meetings are in order when the new year arrives.
This month Dan & I kicked off our weekly volunteering with Start Making A Reader Today (SMART) at Woodlawn Elementary School, not far from our home. This is my first full year and last year he got to try it a couple of times and was hooked. This year we’ve got the kindergarten crowd, and Dan has two little girls he reads to who you can easily tell think he’s the cat’s meow. One gave him a big hug at the end of reading and the other was wearing his scarf as they read. Pretty adorable and obviously as a future mama making me smile big. 🙂 We are thrilled to see that SMART is in this year’s GiveGuide and will continue to be part of my business’s annual giving budget going into 2015.
While it wasn’t a class, per se, we learned all about holistic dog care including acupuncture from our new veterinarian at Ruby’s integrative exam. She responded well to the acupuncture needles (then I think it tickled after 10 minutes or so and she shook, with needles flying everywhere, hahahaha) and we got a lot of good information about nutrition and natural supplements that would aid her in feeling better, since she came to us in much worse shape than those lying jerks at the shelter represented her to be. It was good to talk to someone who believes dogs, like humans, can be treated with more than conventional methods!
One of the highlights of my year was the opportunity to escape with a bunch of Northwest woman to a beach house on the Oregon Coast for a yoga wellness retreat, hosted by my “dream team”: my gentle yoga teacher and my fabulous massage therapist. Four yoga classes over three days, meditation, vegetarian fare prepared by a great cook, and lots of quiet time to take solo walks on the beach and grab a window seat to look out at the forest behind the house and write in my journal. It was a wonderful getaway that has inspired me to find new ways of self-care in the future.
“ I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive.”