2017—A Summary

2017—What can I say? In a lot of ways 2017 kicked my ass. I’ve despaired more times than I can count. I’ve also rolled up my sleeves and done more political activism than ever before. I’ve challenged myself in innumerable ways, through work, personal relationships, and parenting. I’ve also thrown up my hands lots of times, had too much booze, gained weight, watched a ton of TV, curled up and licked my wounds. Staying informed and engaged this year has been a matter of taking a daily barrage of gut-punches.

I am frequently exhausted by the mental and physical requirements of my job; it leaves me feeling depleted and out of gas at the end of many days. Nevertheless, and despite the fact that I edit for a living, I embarked on a fun personal challenge to read broader and more challenging categories/genres of books for pleasure. Filling up my mind is always one of my highest priorities, and I’ve stretched into reading fiction and nonfiction about contemporary issues and people who are living lives that are a vastly different from my own. Rock!

I’ve also allowed myself a lot of time to change slowly. I see this as a kind of self-care in a year that by any measure surely required it. Win some, lose some. I barely painted at all, and I miss it every day. I still dream about painting at night. I struggle with finding the perfect cocktail of opportunity, free time, emotional wherewithal to face the complex feelings of ambition/desire/failure/striving/laziness/etc that well up when I approach a canvas. I barely exercise. I barely blog. These are things that have always given me joy or emotional and health benefits, and they have fallen by the wayside. Because I can only exist in this moment, not in all moments at once.

I’ve parented through a few doozies, and advocated for my boys a number of times in assorted settings such as school and health care. I’ve watched my children both maturing beautifully and in sometimes shocking and sudden spurts throughout the year. Learning to let go is a daily lesson, and I believe a quintessential quality of being a parent. As much as I want out of life for myself—and believe me that’s a long and glorious list—I want even more and better for them. But I am not them and they are not me, and ultimately we all walk our own paths. Nevertheless, I often feel like I am not one but three people, because there’s nary a moment when their needs are not at the top of my mind and factored into just about every decision I make. I’ve had to pull back from school activities and volunteering. I have feelings about this, but I’m learning to say no. Saying no can save you. And letting go, in measured increments, with love is the name of this parenting game, from that first Beltane dawn in 2002.

I am blessed to have found meaningful employment in a place I can grow and develop my career. I already said it’s taxing. It’s also truly wonderful to have friends and colleagues again—talented people with passion for what they do and amazingly clever minds solving enormous problems and working from value positions I can respect. My company has a slogan: We make big things possible—in areas that matter for humans and our environment. That I have a part to play, a contribution to make, in projects that will affect our state for the next 50-100 years is somewhat staggering and a source of considerable pride. What’s more, I learn about a dozen new things every day in subjects that were largely previously unknown to me: hydrology, cultural anthropology, historical architecture, air quality, noise and vibration, native California species I’ve never seen before, environmental justice, hazardous materials … the list goes on and on and on. What’s more, I can tell you with great confidence: big infrastructure projects and development are not done cavalierly in California! We live in the best state.

I maintained my freelance business this year, too, working joyfully with Sacramento Magazine monthly and taking on special freelance projects for fun. There’s one project that came to me this year that is very close to my heart because I get to work with two brilliant friends. I’m honored and delighted by this.

This year I’ve proven to myself that I can handle more than I thought. I’ve done a gazillion new things, sometimes clumsily, sometimes with grace. I’m on a board of directors. I’ve worked hard to maintain all my relationships. I try to make contact with three or four people every day. That’s called kin-keeping and I’m a badass at it. My friendships nourish me and fulfill me and I know it’s goofy when I say it on Facebook but I truly love you. I witness your heartaches, your striving. I sit with you when you’re depressed, and I celebrate your accomplishments every day. I am here for you. It’s who I am. Thank you for being in my life. Thank you for loving.

My love, Ian, is my rock and my best friend. We are sometimes gasping for air in the grind of all this work-family stuff, but we’re connected and in it together. He’s my heartbeat, my song. In 2017, we’ve managed to put a new roof on our home and fix it up really nice. It’s water-tight, just right, and the place I love best of all. In. The. Whole. World. And 2018 is going to be grand in a whole bunch of important ways.

My family is good. My parents are well. My brother is doing great. My uncle survived not one but two open heart surgeries in 2017. One cousin had a beautiful baby girl. Another cousin got married to a wonderful woman. My aunt and uncle returned to Sacramento after five years in Geneva. My folks are in my life almost daily, and I feel their love and support as a constant, no matter what.

My Asher is sick. My Lucas has two good friends over tonight, for NYE (ethernet!) gaming. And though Ian and I had the opportunity to spend tonight with shiny friends and loves, cooler (sicker) heads prevailed.

In just about 36 hours we’ll be on a plane all together—Mom, Dad, Jonathan, Ian, the boys and me—heading for Maui where we will celebrate the new year and soak up some rays! Hello, 2018!

Probably all of this should be on my blog instead of here. But it’s down again for an unknown reason. I’ll deal with that later. One thing at a time.

Anyway, I love you. May this coming year be gentler, more peaceful and just, and more connected. May we find our courage and stand together. May we hold close our values and loved ones, extend a hand to a stranger, shine out our brilliance, and let our resilience be our strength. Happy New Year!

Visit to Strawberry


What do you love about summer? Moments like this one? Yeah, me too.

These are shots from a weekend in late July; we went up to Mimi and Grandpa’s beautiful cabin in Strawberry. We try to go every summer. This year we spent some time at this beautiful little swimming hole formed where Strawberry Creek joins the South fork of the American River to head down to the Valley.

Swimming hole at Sciots

A crystal pool, hot baked boulders …



… and roaring rapids.

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As usual we enjoyed delicious meals together and had a wonderful hike on the Lyons Trail at the edge of Desolation Wilderness. This is a great trail for all ages because although it’s at altitude it’s really very flat.


Creek time with Mimi

We played in the little creek there and had a picnic. As always, we are grateful to our hostess and host for the five-star rustic accommodations!

Magical moments

We fit as much free and easy time into that weekend as possible!

Easter Fun

New-to-me technique

We had big Easter fun on both Saturday and Sunday. We visited Ian’s parents’ home on Saturday and celebrated with family.


The boys love hunting eggs at grandma and grandpa’s house because they have a very big yard; the egg hunt can last a long time while they range far and wide to look for eggs. They were really well hidden this year. The boys are growing up after all.




It was fun playing with our newest cousin, Jack. He is a very lucky baby indeed! So cherished. So loved.

Grandma fixed us a great lunch and the day was warm and beautiful.

Bunny bun dough Bunnies!

That night Ian and I were up late preparing Easter baskets and baking. I make these fun bunny buns for breakfast. They turned out really well, and I recommend the recipe. That night we had an amazing thunderstorm, and two very sodden Easter bunnies visited our yard to hide eggs at 5:45 a.m in the dark. The bunnies had to, for the children around here wake exceptionally early on holidays.



On Sunday morning, bright and early, my parents, brother, and my brother’s girlfriend, Fabiana, and her children came to our home for an Easter breakfast. We had extra kids to hunt for eggs in our garden, and that was fun! (It made my boys a little extra competitive, it seemed.)



Aren’t they sweet? Unfortunately, I didn’t get a nice shot of Fabiana’s oldest daughter. They are such great kids; it was nice to have some girl energy around here! (And it was neat to collaborate with my brother and Fabiana about Easter basket goodies: sidewalk chalk and bubble wands and hair clips and Star Wars ring pops and more!)


Afterward, we enjoy a relaxing, low-key day. The kids played with neighbors and I tried to nap. (A neighbor’s dog kept barking.)

A few hours later, we received a surprise invitation and left home for a wonderful impromptu Easter party, complete with a feast and board games and Minecraft and an egg hunt. It was the perfect end to a perfect holiday weekend spent with loved ones.

Today is easy-breezy. Daddy has the day off work. A good friend of our boys is coming to play. I hope to do some writing and some gardening. Life is good. I hope you had a happy Easter, or Passover, or Holi, Ostara, or weekend! xo

Some Gifts

This is a stuff post. The holidays have a way of flooding our home with new stuff, and that’s quite exciting no matter how old you are. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the wonderful gifts we received this Christmas.

I’ll start with some backstory. Last fall, the boys and I hit on the perfect remedy for Transition Blues, that awkward and cantankerous time between school or preschool and home. Companions change, place changes, even some rules change and all that uncomfortable adjustment must be made. Transitions tend to be hard on Lucas, especially, so when I started making After-School Smoothies of Love immediately on our arrival at home in the afternoon, things improved—for all of us! We had several smooth, sweet weeks’ worth of healthy, yummy afternoon drinks until the unthinkable happened—my blender gave up the ghost.

Afterschool Smoothies of Love Are Back ON

We were bereft. Until now. Thanks to my mama and daddy and their gift of this gorgeous lady, my magical smoothie tradition is back ON!

Sweater My Mother Made for Me

My mama also gave me this handmade wool sweater, which is soft and almost too warm to wear inside, but perfect outside. (That quilt in the photo is the wedding quilt she made for Ian and me in 1995.)

My Gift from Snow (Age 10): She Dyed the Yarn Herself

I also received this amazing scarf, knitted by some friends’ daughter, Snow, who is 10—almost 11—years old. Frankly, her knitting is amazing. Waldorf kids rock!

Lucas's New Handwork Basket

And speaking of competent Waldorf kids and handwork, this is the handwork basket that Ian and I gave to Lucas for Christmas. It contains two rainbow yarns handspun by our friends at Syrendell (already balled) and a new wood crochet hook. I also added a couple of store-bought yarns and a bit of yarn from my own stash. Since Christmas, Lucas has added in his knitting needles that he made in first grade at school. Now he can go to this basket whenever he’s feeling creative.

Customized Organizers from Grandma VoVo

Grandma VoVo gave our boys these customized shelf organizers to hold their notebooks and papers. They were filled with notebooks, folders, pens, pencils, erasers and all that good stuff. Open-ended gifts like this are so nice!

Sodastream Gadget

Finally, since I began this stuff post with a sexy red kitchen gadget, I’ll end with another. Ian’s dad and Mimi gave us this awesome Sodastream gizmo that carbonates your tap water and makes soda or flavored water, too. We go through a lot of bubbly water around here, and we are loving this thing!

We are grateful for all these goodies and many, many more!


Today is a very full day. We are attending Lucas’s third-grade Eurythmy performance of The Firebird this afternoon. We are also attending a Martinmas potluck and lantern walk with Asher’s preschool this evening. Both of these events are happy and exciting. Both are dampened by my grief over Nana’s death yesterday.

Part of me would like for everything to feel normal. A part of me thinks it’s crazy to be normal—working on freelance projects, worrying about deadlines, arranging babysitting, and attending school functions—at a time like this. But, of course, life goes on.

And isn’t that a miracle?

In the midst of a busy and rich life, we pause to grieve. In the midst of a sad time, we snatch moments of elation and joy, pride and comfort to buoy us up. There is a symmetry there, a balance.

Both darkness and light.

Lantern for Lucas

I don’t know what to think or feel, but lighting a candle seemed right.



Farewell, Nana. I love you.

One Summer’s Day

Lucas off to camp, Daddy off to work. Me and Asher with all kinds of time for …

Asher Loves the Chalk

chalk drawings on the patio,

African Daisies

inspection of garden flowers,

Cana Leaves and Shadows

and the study of sun and shadow, curves and lines and points …


for free-ranging hens, like Avalanche here,


and for growing pumpkins, green and ghostly white,

Purple Morning Glories

for purple morning glories, cana seed pods,

Corn in Morning Sun

and corn in the morning light. How do we know when it’s ripe?

Red Crepe Myrtle

It’s August, so the crepe myrtles are blooming, bursting!

We’re busy, so the playroom needs sweeping. A million precious things scattered a million different places.

And then the blocks simply must come out to play,

and Mommy simply MUST work a tad.

“Bob the Builder” is fun for Asher. Chapter 8 is not so fun for Mommy.

The leftover Ciro’s pizza simply MUST be Lunch.

“I will take my nap on the couch. For ONE minute. And then you wake me up and say, ‘Asher, it’s time to wake up to play!'”

Mia’s Apple Tree

Cameleon Was A Spy

I’ll be damned! He is asleep on the couch, just like he promised.

More of Chapter 8 in the hush of the sleeping preschooler, who,

miracle of miracles!

awakes with a smile and gentle

pat, pat, pat footfalls,

bear in hand.

We fetch Lucas from summer camp, where he wove a tiny rug.

“When can I go to big-boy summer camp?” Asher asks. Again.

“Buckle up, boys. We’re going to the library,”

Charmichael Library

where they cannot see the books for the computer that has kid games and a candy-colored keyboard.

Charmichael Library Rotunda

But the Carmichael Library is newly remodeled and lovely, as is evident in the rotunda. Mommy wants to take more pictures, but then feels too much like a weirdo.

There’s also too much bickering between Asher and Lucas over the computer, so Mommy decides to check out.

Three books for boys, three books for Daddy.

We visit Great-Grandma and Great-Aunt, who are fine and old and loving and mysterious and bored until we arrive.

They don’t believe we have chickens.

Green, White, and Brown

Home again, we collect the day’s eggs. The green ones are lucky, don’t ya know.

They Called It "Toy City"

And “Toy City” grows and grows some more.

For dinner, tasty snapper, spinach, snap peas, garden tomatoes, à la Daddy.


There’s still time for chicken ranging, feeding, and holding,

for watering the garden,

for watering the boys, giddy and nekkid, screeching and laughing.

“MY FOOT! I stepped in chicken poop!”


Shower. Teeth. Jammies. Stories. Lotion for eczema. Songs. Cuddles.

“You check on us?”

“Oh yes.”

Cloth Napkins

Mom gave me some old calico scraps from her fabric stash a while back. They are so old-fashioned she didn’t want them anymore. They moved into my house and sat on my desk for weeks. I thought I’d make some new cloth napkins for our mealtimes, as our old ones are getting kind of ratty from everyday use.

Eventually, Mom asked me what I was going to do with these calicoes and I told her. “Oh, give it all back to me. I’ll make them for you. I have the time and you don’t.”

And so she did it in a jiffy with her super-fancy serger that she won’t even let me touch. See how she still takes care of me? They’re pretty, aren’t they? This is about the only place for flowers in my all-boy household.

Mom Made Us New Cloth Napkins

Oh, Easter!

No doubt about it. Ours was a bounteous, Easter-filled weekend.

We hosted a wonderful gathering of friends on Saturday—one of our famous, all-day brunches. Our home was warmed by many dear ones and terrific food. We had an egg hunt for the kiddos and lots of chill time for the grown ups.

Sunday morning, on Easter, we woke very early to find the Easter bunny had come to our house and nibbled up almost all of the carrots we left out for him. He left us flowers and strawberries, and baskets of goodies for Lucas and Asher.

The Bunny also brought fun Easter books for the boys. The Easter Egg by Jan Brett for Asher, and The Story of the Butterfly Children by Sibylle von Olfers for Lucas. We love both of these author/illustrators very much! And we’d highly recommend either of these books to other children.

The baskets contained small toys, like needle-felted chicks inside colorful wet-felted Easter eggs. Asher received a wonderful wooden family of four bunnies with three bushes for them to play among. He got wrist ribbons for when he needs to fly like a bird or a butterfly, or perhaps even a yellow dragon. And there were some soy crayon “rocks,” but I think they look a lot like jelly beans.

Lucas received a big-boy felting needle with an egg-shaped handle, a wooden biplane model kit, a super-fancy stone egg, and some springtime note cards, in case he would like to write to his friends, whom he has been missing while on spring break.

We had a wonderful breakfast at VoVo and DiDi’s house, visited with Auntie Kelly and Matt and hunted even more eggs! Grandma had Easter baskets for them there, too.

We hunted again later in the day at RoRo and Nana’s house. (That’s a lot of egg hunts for two small boys, but they enjoyed each of them.) By the end of the day, Asher was hunting eggs like he’d been doing it every day of his life! He was dropping very few by the end. Lucas and Asher each got another book (can’t wait to read Stuart Little with Lucas) and more candy there. Two tiny babies were there, Alice and Travis. (And Asher hardly recognized them as humans.)

By the afternoon, the cold had turned to heavy rain showers and we were glad to get home, safe and snug that night. It was a marvelous two-day holiday for us and we are still enjoying our new goodies. Alas, Asher isn’t too keen on eating the hard-boiled eggs.

Spring in February

It’s teacher in-service week around here, which means my kids have the week off school and daycare. I’m getting help from grandma and some friends here and there, which is great because I have a big meeting to prepare for. Next week I’m flying to New Jersey for two days of meetings. I’m excited and nervous. It’s my longest trip away from my kids ever—three days!

The weather has turned so exquisitely springlike it’s making me feel a little drunk. Crocuses and daffodils are blooming. The quinces in the neighborhood are bursting out coral blossoms. Today I noticed my flowering plum tree has its first blossoms. Hallelujah! I know more rainy, cold weather is ahead. It’s OK. I’m just glorying in our false spring and enjoying the moment. The sun on my face feels spectacular. Yesterday we enjoyed some late afternoon time at our local schoolyard.

Today, Lucas and I left the house in short-sleeved T-shirts. Out of habit and a belief that Asher still doesn’t regulate his own temperature all that well, I made him wear two long-sleeve shirts. At about 1:30 this afternoon he turned to me and stammered something I couldn’t make out. Then he gathered his thoughts and said, quite clearly, “I’m so sweaty!” Oh! Sorry kid. Let’s take off a shirt.

The boys and I visited Great Grandmother RoRo and Great Grandaunt Nana today. It was good to see them, but also strange. My children don’t relate well to Ro at all, which makes me sad because she was such fun when I was a child. These sweet ladies look pretty well and we sat outside in the sunshine together and watched the boys play.

Later at home I gave the kids haircuts. Asher really hates this procedure. He cries and says I’m hurting him, and freaks out whenever the shorn hairs touch his skin. To get him to stay in the chair so I could do the job, I had to give him a Valentine chocolate cut into four pieces. It took a lot of patience on both our parts, but we ended up with an OK cut.

This is one of Lucas’s shots from yesterday evening. I like the color.

Life is good. We are fine. Hope you are too!

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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