Weekend in Pictures

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Starting off the weekend beautifully, a bouquet of lilacs, tulips and irises from the garden my husband made for me. Love this man :)

Starting off the weekend beautifully, a bouquet of lilacs, tulips and irises from the garden my husband made for me. Love this man :)

And speaking of flowers, our irises in the garden are very happy :)

And speaking of flowers, our irises in the garden are very happy :)

Saturday temperatures broke into the 70s and with that, my hubby was inspired to finish up his latest project of creating a mason bee house out of scrap wood and putting it up on the back of our garage to attract more pollinators.

Saturday temperatures broke into the 70s and with that, my hubby was inspired to finish up his latest project of creating a house for mason bees out of scrap cedar and putting it up on the back of our garage to attract more of these awesome pollinators.

And wouldn't the timing be that there was this event going on, right on the bike ride to my hubby's work, so we "buzzed" (doh!) down there and talked with folks from the Xerces Society, coming home with news that the local bee club will now be meeting in a new location super close to our house, yay! (image source)

And great timing that there was this little event, right on the way to my hubby’s work (whenever my schedule allows, I ride with him to get much-needed exercise), so we “buzzed” (har har har) down there and talked with folks from the Xerces Society, coming home with not only a cool pocket-size bumblebee identifier AND great news that the local bee club will now be meeting in a new location close to home, yay! (image source)

Meanwhile, back at home, our three varieties of tomatoes that I started by seed in our basement (gotta say I loved how helpful the warming mat was in getting germination kicked off!)

Meanwhile, back at home, our three varieties of tomatoes that I started by seed in our basement (gotta say I loved how helpful the warming mat was in getting germination kicked off!) are now hardening off in two of these clear plastic bins, which acts like a mini-greenhouse. First time trying this and it’s been great!

Picked up some paint at Freddy's and started decorating the new rain barrel! Painted it green and we decided that "good bugs" would be our theme (since the other ones have clouds and flowers). Found these ideas online and drew them freehand and then painted. Pretty cute eh?!

Picked up some paint at Freddy’s and started decorating the new rain barrel! Painted it green and we decided that “good bugs” would be our theme (since the other ones have clouds and flowers). Found these ideas online and drew them freehand and then painted. Pretty cute eh?! Still have more to do, as Dan wants to do a spider and some others – fun fun :)

EcoGrrl-icious

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Our third rain barrel is now installed! We've had it for a week or so but this week the hubby built this nice stand for it (has to be strong - a full barrel can weigh 500+ lbs!) out of scrap wood. Isn't she pretty? Not painted yet - gotta figure out a great motif (here's how our 50 gal barrel and 300 gal cistern are painted)

Our third rain barrel is now installed! This Algreen one is 65 gallons and has a li’l planter on top – not much but it’s only taking rain off our We’ve had it for a week or so but this week the hubby built this nice stand for it inspired partially by this design we found and our other existing one. It had to be strong – a full barrel can weigh 500+ lbs! – so we used existing cedar scrap posts and 2×4’s in our garage. Isn’t she pretty? Not painted yet – gotta figure out a great motif (here’s pix of our 50 gal barrel and 300 gal cistern) now!

Oh happy day! The 70 degree weather arrived on Thursday and it’s been glorious! We took a long morning walk to breakfast down to Gravy on Mississippi that first day, worked a tad in the garden, read on our chaise lounges in the backyard til realizing our winter skin would probably pink up pretty quick in the rays, took a bike ride down to Poa on Williams for a light lunch (gotta love a yummy bowl), then barbecued chicken satay skewers with rice and garden-grown spinach & arugula here at home (Thursday is our Sunday in our household with my hubby’s current work schedule). So excited to get back to taking my two wheels to client

* This ain’t got nothin’ to do with EcoGrrl themes but the last three words in this trailer made me literally yelp with joy!

* This happened a few years ago but a friend from yoga shared with me this article about former President Jimmy Carter, Losing My Religion for Equality, which was extraordinary and beautiful and…about time we had a leader standing up for women.

* Did you know there was such a thing as black walnut syrup? Neither did I but wow reading about it made my mouth water?

* Speaking of food, we’re hearing a lot about the California drought where the governor is cracking down on the 20% of water wasters (residential) rather than the 80% who are so, so much worse (big agriculture including cattle, oil and fracking). And for some reasons, nuts are getting the brunt of it, so really? Stop demonizing almonds!

* As we contemplate a sustainable bathroom remodel, we are digging the recycled clay tile samples sent over to us from Fireclay Tiles. Green is gorgeous!

* Rad cycling technology continues to amaze -check out these wheels!

* GREAT way to track your state politicians’ eco friendly (or unfriendly) actions – check out Who Votes Dirty.

* On a great final note, Portland-based PacifiCorp has closed a coal plant. It’s in Utah, but it affects us all. May there be more to come.

Example is not the main thing in influencing others.  It is the only thing.
~Albert Schweitzer

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and not putting the onus solely on women for equal pay)

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“Asking women to take responsibility for closing the pay gap with their ace negotiating skills is sort of like teaching women self-defense as a way of addressing sexual assault. It puts the burden on women to figure this out as individuals — it doesn’t ask much of employers, and it doesn’t really address the bigger issue.”
~ Ann Friedman, Women Can’t End the Wage Gap on Their Own, New York Magazine

 

Weekend in Pictures

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Blueberry gluten & dairy-free pancakes (with raspberries on top for Dan) - working on the last quarts of frozen berries from last year's picking expeditions on Sauvie Island - definitely will have to pick more this year since next harvest isn't for a couple more months!

Blueberry gluten & dairy-free pancakes (with raspberries on top for Dan) – working on the last quarts of frozen berries from last year’s picking expeditions on Sauvie Island – definitely have to pick more this year since harvest isn’t for a couple months!

With less than a month left in this year's SMART program, we got photos taken of us with our kindergarteners that we read with. Here's Dan with one of his kiddos who he's built a great relationship with over the school year. Makes me all warm and fuzzy to see them!

With less than a month left in this year’s SMART program, we got photos taken of us with our kindergarteners that we read with. Here’s Dan with one of his kiddos who he’s built a great relationship with over the school year. Makes me all warm and fuzzy to see them!

...and here I am with one of my kiddos who has come a long way. We don't realize how much of an impact we have on these kiddos, even with just a short amount of time with them each week. It has taught me a lot about having faith in the process because when I look back to the start of the year, I'm amazed at how far these great kids have come and am so proud to be part of such a wonderful program.

…and here I am with one of my kiddos who has been so fun to spend time with. We don’t realize how much of an impact we have on these kiddos, even with just a short amount of time with them each week. It has taught me a lot about having faith in the process because when I look back to the start of the year, I’m amazed at how far these great kids have come and am so proud to be part of such a wonderful program.

While we are hoping to get pregnant on our own, we are also starting our research into adoption. A couple of weeks ago we went to a DHS information session for foster/adoption within the Portland area, and also have begun to inquire with a couple of local DHS-approved adoption agencies who do international adoptions, including Journeys from the Heart, who has a program in Uganda that looks to be a good fit with our background. We also like that it is not a religious-based agency, which we appreciate as we don't think that religious beliefs (or lack thereof) should be a requirement for adoption. Kids need good homes and the chance to find their own way when it comes to spirituality.

While we are hoping to get pregnant on our own, we are also starting our research into adoption. A couple of weeks ago we went to a DHS information session for foster/adoption within the Portland area, and also have begun to inquire with a couple of local DHS-approved adoption agencies who do international adoptions, including Journeys from the Heart, who has a program in Uganda that looks to be a good fit with our background. We also like that it is not a religious-based agency, which we appreciate as we don’t think that religious beliefs (or lack thereof) should be a requirement for adoption. Kids need good homes and the chance to find their own way when it comes to spirituality.

Watched (image source)

Watched the awesome documentary Howard Zinn: You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train this weekend and got even more inspired. (image source)

I am proud to donate, to volunteer, to support with all my heart Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. No, she's not perfect, but she is an incredibly strong, smart woman with a good heart, tremendous record as Secretary of State and defender of human rights, and a role model for girls, for women, and for anyone who believes that women are equal to men. We need a woman at the helm, and I hope that people will not be swayed by the rampant sexism in American culture and see how important she is for our future.

I am proud to donate, to volunteer, to support with all my heart Hillary Clinton for President in 2016. No, she’s not perfect, but she is an incredibly strong, smart woman with a good heart, tremendous record as Secretary of State and defender of human rights, and a role model for girls, for women, and for anyone who believes that women are equal to men. We need a woman at the helm, and I hope that people will not be swayed by the rampant sexism in American culture and see how important she is for our future. (image credit)

EcoGrrl-icious

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Our new clothesline!

Our newly built clothesline! Dan & I walked to the lumberyard in the neighborhood for the cedar and hardware, then followed the instructions on DIY Diva‘s Kickass Clothesline blog post to build it. We borrowed a post hole digger from the NE Portland Tool Library along with a post level (OMG we had no idea these things existed, how totally rad!), and rather than hurt our ol’ backs, we paid our awesome 15 year old neighbor kid to dig them for us (way quicker and a great way for him to make some extra $$). After the quikcrete dried, we waited til a sunny day to string up the clothesline and – voila!

Well, April has definitely started off all over the map! We’ve seen warm weather, cold weather, dry weather, wet weather, hail, thunder, lighting, wind, and quiet sunshine that makes you happy that spring is indeed under way. Our lilac is sharing it’s gorgeous scent and the second “shift” of tulips have begun to bloom in purple and yellow, and we’re seeing little peeps from the soil of blue corn (3′ versions that can actually grow in raised beds..pretty cool huh!), cippolini onions and carrots are proving that we didn’t scatter seeds in vain, and the tomatoes under the lights in our basement have now been thinned as they get their li’l leaves. Cool cool!

Here’s a few other things to share with y’all…

* Speaking of hanging laundry, In San Francisco, could hanging your laundry get you evicted? I hear about this in so many places. Fight the power! And if they try, call the media to shine a harsh light on these folks, because these kinds of bans are asinine!

* Big thanks to Cherie from Renaissance Garden for recommending Paris to Go to us for our autumn trip to Paris, with lots of sustainably-minded ideas.

* Why I’ve been a member for over 20 years: NRDC fought the military’s devastating practices in the oceans for the sake of whales and other sea mammals – and won!

* Aphids are after my roses and I’ve got neem oil spray on them every other day. Here are some new recipes for natural pest sprays.

* Now this is something I know the Eco Grandma and Green Woman Ways will like: a tiny home built with repurposed materials for only $500! Everyone can get inspired from this, y’all…

Happy Spring!

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and remembering ALL forms of diversity)

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We talk about several forms of diversity when hiring, especially EEO-focused areas like gender, color, age, and sexual orientation, and every once in a while recognize personality differences as diversity factors when hiring and managing. But the one that most are ignorant to or even blow off is working with those with a variety of disabilities. With our disabled citizens being the largest minority group in the country, at over 50 million, there is a lot of education needed and real work to be done to ensure not only we are being inclusive, but actually understanding the perspective and the true capabilities of the disabled, rather than relegating them to certain roles and assuming a level of potential. This infographic below says a lot:

Weekend in Pictures

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our dogwood's first blooms

our dogwood’s first blooms – wow!

daikon

daikon radish blossom – we let them all bolt and while we can’t eat them anymore, we’re loving the beauty they add to the garden so have left them

tulip

i love our tulips – these ones are from bulbs we picked up on our honeymoon in washington :)

Spotted tons of trilliums while hiking through Forest Park...love them!

Spotted tons of trilliums while hiking through Forest Park…love them!

As we end out the month, proud to donate a portion of my income to March's selected local nonprofit, The Portland Kitchen! TPK offers free, comprehensive culinary after-school and summer programing to Portland high school youth, age 14-18, whose mission is to empower urban youth to graduate high school with job skills and improved eating habits. I've volunteered with them and have seen first hand the impact they've had, especially with at-risk youth, here in Portland.

As we end out the month, proud to donate a portion of my income to March’s selected local nonprofit, The Portland Kitchen! TPK offers free, comprehensive culinary after-school and summer programing to Portland high school youth, age 14-18, whose mission is to empower urban youth to graduate high school with job skills and improved eating habits. I’ve volunteered with them and have seen first hand the impact they’ve had, especially with at-risk youth, here in Portland.

EcoGrrl-icious

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Thursday we had our first backyard barbecue - not bad for late March!!

Thursday we had our first backyard barbecue – not bad for late March!! Pictured above, wild Alaskan sockeye salmon burgers from our annual Iliamna Fish Co share, with green onions and spinach from the garden, cucumber pickles made last fall from last year’s harvest, and delish vegan soy-free mayo.  YUM.

What a crazy up and down week. Great news, strange news, tough news, exciting news, and every sort of weather from downpours to tank top weather while it all transpired. As April nears, I’ve been thinking about what is happening all over the world – something that’s important to do when we find ourselves a bit too wrapped up in our own tiny universes…stay alert, get educated, share what you’ve learned. When we know better, we do better…

* Buy fish from Walmart, Safeway, Albertsons, and/or Kroger? Many of their fish are slave caught. Your purchases determine what you support. Do your homework. Make the time to know where your food comes from and how it gets there. Here’s more info on the impact of Iceland’s whaling that also affects seafood. Here are 10 Ways to help make smart, decisions about what fish to eat. (As for us? Beyond our annual wild Alaskan salmon share, we only buy fish out of the green column on the watch guide).

* Recently I learned about the Women Under Siege project and have been following closely the work they are doing, including this recent story about women in the Congo raped for slave wages. Think about this when you hear about electronics and where they source their minerals used to make their products, and what, if anything, they are doing about these horrors suffered by thousands, if not millions, of Africans.

* On this side of the planet, I thought it was exceptionally cool to learn that year to date, Costa Rica has only used renewable energy. “Costa Rica has been consistently ranked in the top five eco-friendly countries worldwide.” USA, take note. Oh wait, the Republicans want to take away everything, including the EPA. What an embarrassment.

* Here in Oregon, I was never a princess for Halloween and never had any interest in being one. While you may think it’s harmless, please think about how Cinderella and other Disney stories enforce gender roles before you act like it’s no big deal. Not only is this princess culture bad for girls, it’s bad for boys. Furthermore, while not discussed in the links I’ve included, I’ve always thought princess role playing as super creepy. These are not democracies these characters live in – these are dictatorships passed down each generation. A princess is defined as a “daughter of a monarch,” often next in line to be the monarch. A monarch is defined as “a sole and absolute ruler”. There’s not a hell of a lot of democracy shown in these movies. I think this is why I liked Song of the South – not a damn ounce of “royalty” involved, just a story about a kid going through a divorce learning important lessons from a nice old man who keeps him safe and tells him stories about animals. (I have a copy of it at home and have watched it over and over, and still think the racist accusations are total bullshit – this explains the movie and the origins of the stories).

* Finally, on a super inspiring note, France decrees new rooftops must be covered in plants or solar panels. We see it a wee bit here via a few living rooftops and walls around here in Portland (including a new highly overpriced apartment building in my neighborhood), but there is nothing even close to this happening here.

“I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority.”
~Elwyn Brooks White

Workin’ 9 to 5 (…and remembering why you do what you do)

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“I love what I do, but I don’t do it for the love of it.”
~ Bruno Maag

This past weekend, I watched Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk, and it brought me back to two old memories in my career.

The first, where I was when her story broke in 1998, watching the newfangled internet’s explosion timed with the government’s and media’s complete and utter focus on destroying a young woman, and being dumbfounded at why people would a) care about something politicians do all the time, and b) why this kind of information was provided for public consumption.

The second was 10 years later, where a recruiter I know had let me know Ms Lewinsky was looking in my area of the country for a job, and was very interested in the industry I worked in. So of course, like I did for other job seekers, I did my best to get her an informational interview with a department head, who proceeded to laugh out loud, talk about how she’d draw undue attention to the company, and claim that i just “wouldn’t be fair to her” walking her through our office (one that I had perceived at the time to be one of the nicest, most come-as-you-are cultures out there). He wouldn’t even sit down with her for coffee. Yet he or one of his team would meet with just about anyone else curious about the company.

I was appalled and embarrassed by this reaction and having to go back and report that I couldn’t even get a coffee set up. Lewinsky had paid the price far above what any woman should ever have to pay, and ten years later, was still paying the price. Lots of us, men and women, have gotten involved with the wrong people and made choices that still make us wonder “what was I thinking?!” But we don’t become the laughingstock of the country.

But that’s what happens to women, and like she said, this was before the terms “cyberbullying” and “trolling” were created. Ashley Judd just spoke at SXSW about the sick names and threats of rape and other forms of violence that she’s received by men online, and baseball legend Curt Schilling spoke in his blog about the threats to his daughter after congratulating her online, and of course there is #GamerGate which bleeds into everything tech. The people in power rarely do a damn thing to change it.

In my last full time job before going out on my own, one manager liked to talk about his penis to other employees and was known for sudden fits of rage (which I was subject to on a number of occasions), and another had verbally sexually harassed a female employee, neither which had any consequences. The first situation was uncomfortably laughed off or had managers trying to find a way to blame the other person (my manager, a member of the executive team, told me afterwards I should have just “told him to fuck off”, even though she sat there and watched him the whole time and saw me frozen from his verbal attack, and his manager simply ignored the outburst and tried to find a way to blame me for “causing it”). The second situation was never documented by HR even though I brought it up as a recruiter, and my executive boss said that it could not get out to the CEO as the perpetrator might – gasp! – get fired. There was no investigation, there was no documentation, there was nothing but a verbal slap on the hand by my boss, and a “oh he seemed really embarrassed and didn’t realize what he did” so that made it somehow okay to not hold him accountable.  The victim later quietly left the company. Oh did I mention her boss, another executive, came to HR saying the women on his team “needed to grow some balls”? Yeah, awesome.

And I haven’t even dealt with the worst environments out there. Because of the situations in the tech community, I don’t engage anymore in networking events. Because of the recent rape cases involving leaders, I do a thorough check of the connections and business involvement of those individuals to make sure my new clients aren’t connected to those creeps. Because of the women who think that “reclaiming” derogatory terms about women is somehow empowering and don’t care how many it offends in the community, I no longer volunteer or speak at events of organizations with names that are offensive to me.

In no way does it mean I am silenced. I have found ways to deal with the trollers online by not responding or posting even more about what I believe in. And if I can find a way to hold the abusive ones accountable, I will. A few months ago, an engineering job applicant at a local tech firm emailed me to go fuck myself along with some other choice expletives about the female anatomy and the like. Did I mention this was in response to my explanation of why the hiring team wanted some more information from him? Well, let’s just say I know the director at the company had just contracted at, and she made sure his staffing agency was alerted. “Regular” rudeness I’m used to unfortunately, but this level I refuse to sit and take it and will make sure I’ve not rolled over and played dead.

We see all kinds of stuff in the workplace, some things that end up becoming fodder for happy hour, others that create hell on earth for those experiencing it who don’t have the tools or the bravery to call those people out, or who simply don’t feel they’ve got a backup plan when they’ve got people relying on them financially. But remember – everything WILL work out, and no job is worth being shamed, intimidated, bullied, threatened, or worse. You WILL emerge stronger if you treat yourself as someone who is worthy of respect, and do not allow others to make your life a living hell. Set an example for all the others out there, those who look up to you, and give them hope through our own courage to demand a work environment where no one feels humiliated, where no one is dragged through the mud, where even if you have to make a change to make it better, you are standing up for everyone who’s been through what you’ve been through.

What will you regret if you stay silent?

Self respect knows no considerations.
~ Mahatma Gandhi

 

Weekend in Pictures

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A mostly rainy weekend but managed to capture what’s going on in our world (beyond my much belated marathon session of “Dexter” on Netflix, heehee)…

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Our smokebush has added a ton of leaves!

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Our new marionberry plant has gone from looking like a stick in the ground to something alive, yay!

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Tulips are in full bloom in the back, escaping the squirrels attempts to eat the bulbs last fall!

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oh yeah baby, arugula (lots of thinning will need to happen!) is happenin’ this year…love the near-instant gratification of planting these by seed!

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oh my GOD this carbonara I made was amazing – using up the rest of the orecchiette pasta and cooking up some bacon, egg yolks, olive oil, and fresh parsley from the garden (it survived our mild winter in a pot by the back door covered with a plastic cloche)…YUM!

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with some rare thunderstorms coming through, I captured the awesome clouds that lit up the sky afterwards in these upcoming shots taken in our backyard

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SandyRD3

…and a li’l memory of our sunny mid-week escape to the Sandy River where my honey got to try out his new travel binoculars :)