Friday, February 16, 2007

I love Louv

Last night I took my older daughter to an event at the Phoenix Zoo (I am not a fan of zoos in general, but this was where it was being held) to see Richard Louv give a lecture. He is the author of Last Child in the Woods, which I have not actually read yet. My dad, who is a biologist and teacher, recently read this book and was moved greatly by what Louv writes, pertaining to how this current generation of children are no longer taking part in nature, and how this may affect their health and happiness. Their sense of wonder is removed when nature is taken out of their daily equation.

I grew up in Virginia with a huge backyard which led into some woods, and spent many countless hours roaming freely, full of adventure. I was able to be alone all day, rolling around in the grass and watching ladybugs without my parents fearing the worst. My dad would take me out on hikes to go bird watching and to look for salamanders underneath logs. I had a great nature oriented childhood, and I realize now that my children have not had the same freedom I had. My husband and I have bought into the fear of the unknown, and unfortunately, the fear of nature. This fear is so pervasive that we do not let our kids outside alone even in our own backyard, which like most yards in Mesa, is surrounded by a giant cinder block wall. We are fearful of bad men jumping over the wall and stealing or hurting our kids. We are scared of everything and nothing.

Going to this lecture has opened my eyes to the need to bring nature back to our kids. I teach my children reverence for the outdoors and respect of all living beings, but I have forgotten to let them be kids, free to be wild and free to discover the world without constant supervision. There will always be a chance that something will happen to my children, be it a scraped knee or a broken bone, or maybe even worse, but I can't let the fear of these things stop me from opening up the world to them and allowing them to explore it, on their own as well as with us. It will be gradual, as I am sure it will be hard for us to break from the fears that surround us as parents. We will always be hawks, watching them with sharp eyes, but we also need to let go a bit, and give them back that sense of wonder that has been lost.

When my dad finished the book, he read the last paragraph over the phone to me, and wept. It was a powerful moment for both of us, as he understands the fears of today, but is thankful that he provided me with a chance to grow up with a sense of nature and the world.

"We have such a brief opportunity to pass on to our children our love for this Earth, and to tell our stories. These are the moments when the world is made whole. In my children's memories, the adventures we've had together in nature will always exist. These will be their turtle tales."

I bought the book at the lecture and had Louv sign the title page. He is a sweet and gracious man, and he seemed genuinely affected when I told him how my dad reacted to the book. I imagine reading this book will really enlighten me, just as his lecture did. I hope you all get a chance to read it or see his lecture, and take something positive away, too.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Some days I hate being a human....

Big Buck Hunter

Monday, February 05, 2007

Sunday, Sunday, SUNday!

Yesterday was absolutely gorgeous outside, sunny and warm...a perfect day to take in some culture as well as enjoying the weather before it gets unbearably hot, which will happen all too soon. We decided to go to The Heard Museum in Phoenix to see the Hoop Dance Contest. What a fascinating competition it was, with such graceful, talented and agile dancers! My kids were in awe of all the amazing feats the dancers could perform with the hoops, and I was just flabbergasted on how they can spin around for 5 minutes straight without keeling over with dizziness.After a wonderful afternoon taking in the warm sunshine, it was time to race back home to watch the SuperBowl. I am normally the kind of wife that glares at her husband as he sits in front of the tv watching copius amounts of football all day, eating chips and growing a beer belly, but yesterday I actually felt a desire to watch an entire game of football. Maybe it has to do with Peyton Manning, maybe not. Who knows. Heh heh. I think I saw stars in John's eyes as I conversed in football-speak with him, and yelled at the tv during great plays. Don't get used to it, honey.

I also had an excuse to make horribly unhealthy snacky food! Yippee! John got to eat his favorite swiss cheese fondue with veggies, apples and fresh bread (hey, at least he gets excited about eating caulifower!), while I made roasted curry flowers, agave barbeque fried seitan, buffalo seitan wings and fried artichoke hearts with a dill vegenaise dip. I was wallowing in fried, oily goodness! I was hoping John would share some of my food, but since he ate an entire fondue pot full of gooey cheese, he was a bit too full, so I had to eat it all by myself. And now I think I gained 5 pounds. Crap!I don't have a good picture of the buffalo wings, sorry! But they were excellent. I think I like the cauliflower and the bbq seitan the best, though. I don't think I will make the fried artichokes stomach is turning at the thought of them right now. They absorb wayyyy too much oil as they are frying, even after considerable draining on paper towels, and were mushy in the middle. I did add some vegan parmesan to the coating mix, and eliminated the egg. Still not the greatest recipe ever.

Here's some food porn from last week:Tofutti cream cheese alfredo with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and veg parmesan over capellini. Megan the Vegan gave me the idea for this, from one of her posts that I can't find now.

Black Bean, Corn and Spinach Verde Enchiladas. Mmmmmmm.

Mac-n-Cheeze, with way too much breadcrumb topping (I like the crunch). But my kids actually liked this one, minus the breadcrumb overload.

Chocolate Almond pudding with cookie crumbs in Fillo Cups. The kids ate these in about 2.7 seconds.

Wow, I just noticed that all of my food is brown, light brown or dark brown. I am pretty sure I had some green food last week, too.....

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