Monday, November 30, 2009

One More Thing

Unless you've got Tim Booth all wrapped up for me in a pretty purple bow (in which case you are my hero), no gifts are necessary for the 50th Birthday Bash & Extravaganza part of the Non-Con weekend. Just having you all here will be enough of a gift for me.*

(*Dear god I sound like my mother. Except for wanting a gift-wrapped Tim Booth. I don't
think she ever said that. But you never know.)

Non-Con Update

There is now a Non-Con page on the blog with information about the upcoming event. Details will be added as we plan them, so check back every now and then for updates. You can access the page from the nifty new button on the sidebar.

I just added some UPDATED LODGING INFO, courtesy of the lovely Shonna Morgan and Gillian Mayer. Click away for the latest scoop.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

James is Touring!

You remember James, right?

They're finally doing another concert tour! (Happy dance!)

Next April.
( Too close to LIFE is Good. Must. Resist. )

In the UK. (Of course. Because I just got back from a trip to Europe and now have no apparent means to get back there in the near future. That's how these things happen apparently.)

Anyone want to buy some jewelry to help me add to my UK concert fund? I should only need to sell about a million 100 pairs of earrings by Monday when the tickets go on sale. (A girl can dream...)

At least they've also got a new mini-album coming out as well. I suppose I'll have to make do with that until they get their act together to tour the US again. Time to get my
(bacon-wrapped) James Tractor Beam tuned up and ready to pull them on over here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins


1. Wait! Wait, don't forget to buy handmade and/or local this holiday season
. There's lots of great stuff over at Etsy. Go have a look and support your favorite artists!

2. My dog's farts are followed at once by her running away frightened by the noise.

3. The trouble is
she never does learn where the noise is coming from. How is that possible?

Conor was many miles away, but now he's home again.

5. With a faint pop
my knees announce my intention to sit down.

A good arch nemesis is shadowy and ominous.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to buying nothing
, tomorrow my plans include stocking the shelves with my jewelry designs for sale and Sunday, I want to meet some folks for brunch!

Want to play along? Get your own Friday Fill-Ins here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Special

I am so very grateful for so many things today. My life is blessed and my cup is full to the brim with a sense of wonder at all that is, all that has been and all that is yet to be.

I am so thankful that my family is together today. We've had trips up and down and all around the globe these past few months. Our adventures were vast and our time away from each other was well spent. But now we're back at home, together under the same roof, and I couldn't be happier.

And I am thankful for you, my dear friend.

Yes, YOU.

Whether we've known each other for years or only days or maybe have yet to meet up "in real life," I am thankful for what you bring to my experience of this world. Because YOU are the best part what makes my world a better place.

The rest is just details.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Tales From the Cafe

It's time for another episode of...

Not Really "Extreme" But Actually Very Cool Makeover: Cafe Edition

Featuring fresh new paint...

with cool new details...

and cool new lighting...


Don't cha agree?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

At the sound of the tone, please leave your message.

Hello. You have reached the home of Zenmomma's Garden. Zenmomma is not available to blog right now. But if you'll leave your name and comment at the beep, she'll get back to blogging as soon as possible. Thanks.


(Check it out, Zenmomma's actual answering machine.
Did she mention how old she'll be in January? Oy!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

1. The last band I saw live was Paolo Nutini, a singer/songwriter from Scotland (yes, Scotland). I went with Diana and Carolyn for a Girl's Night Out. We had entirely too much fun.
It was a seriously good time.

The band is kick-ass-good and Paolo has a full rich voice and wide range of musical styles. He's none too hard on the eyes either.

See? Damn the boy is cute!

My friend
MJ, who first gave me Paolo's CD, Sunnyside Up (for obvious reasons) corrects me that he's not cute, he's HOT. theory. But let's face it, I'm old enough to be his mother, so cute it will have to stay. sigh

2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is
good food, good friends and time to enjoy them both. And pie. I really look forward to pie.

3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is not something I'm ready to think about yet thankyouverymuch

4. Thoughts of the Sunnyside Up makeover
fill my head. More on that, with pictures, to follow soon.

5. I wish I could wear my heart a little further up my sleeve

6. Bagpipes
make me sad. I'm always reminded of a funeral.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to
resting up for the big work weekend ahead, tomorrow my plans include working Dad's Weekend at the cafe and Sunday, I want to get through the day!

Want to play along? Get your own Friday Fill-Ins here.



Thursday, November 12, 2009

One more from Japan

"Deer are fucking cute...right up until they eat your rail pass." ~Conor*

*Today's Facebook update.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Emails from the World of Tomorrow

In case you didn't know, Conor is in the middle of a three week tour of Japan with Eli Gerzon's Worldschool Travel Tours. Amazingly, he's actually been in touch to let me know his general whereabouts. Not surprisingly his messages are short and to the point. So very "Conor" in their succinct and no nonsense format. He probably would have loved the old telegrams of yesteryear.

But emails are free, so I actually got a couple of extra words. And lucky for me there are some bloggers in the group so I can get a few details and lift some pictures.

So here they are, my Hello from The World of Tomorrow emails. (That was actually the subject line of the first email.)

I'm doing fine, Japan is amazing. I would have called but I can't get a signal and it would have been about midnight for you anyways. I'll try for daily emails but we both know that won't happen. (zenmomma's note: LOVE the honesty!)

Doing fine. We've just arrived in Kyoto, I really hate this keyboard and yeah I think that's about it. (zenmomma's note: I'm not sure where this picture was taken, but apparently he's rubbing the Buddha's head for luck.)

Really tired. Lots of trains and moving. But yes I am having fun. (zenmomma's note: Don't let the lack of smiles fool you, he almost never smiles in pictures. But, yup, they sure do look tired.)

We'll be spending the rest of the trip here in Kyoto, We're staying in a traditional Japanese house home like thing complete with one bathroom and two beds and yeah doing fine. A bit home sick but good. (zenmomma's note: There's a smile! They must have threatened bribed him.)

So that's what I've got, four emails from the other side of the world, filled with wonderful stories and interesting details short and sweet and true to the nature of my son. Pretty amazing actually. Almost as amazing as the fact that MY KID IS IN JAPAN PEOPLE!

You can see more photos and read other people's blog posts about the trip
here and here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Jesus and the Dinosaurs

Because Jesus was awesome like that!

Isn't this just too perfect for words? Check out the coloring hints. This isn't a real coloring page. It's the brainchild of artist Derek Chatwood. But from what I've seen about the Creation Museum, this could definitely be in the gift shop because "Biblical history is the key to understanding dinosaurs."

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Look what just got added to the LIFE is Good webpage!

Family Concert

It's a LIFE is Good tradition! We are once again fortunate enough to have Amy Steinberg on hand to rock the house with a family friendly, unschooling loving and absolutely awe inspiring concert. If you haven't yet heard Amy's music, you can check out her MySpace page and have a listen. Her music is fun, inspirational, irreverent, funny, zen, quirky, sweet and thought provoking. Her voice is powerful and her spirit is filled with joy. Her concerts just sweep you up and take you along for a wonderful ride.

Friday, November 06, 2009

What happened to Non-Con?

I'm glad you asked. Because it's time to announce:

Zenmomma's Non-Con and 50th Birthday Bash Extravaganza!

Who: YOU!

What: The 4th annual (if a few months late) Corvallis Non-Con
Where: Corvallis, OR
When: We'll start gathering at Sunnyside Up on Friday, January 29 in the afternoon. We'll hang out, talk, laugh, plan and get into general mischief. The main event will be Saturday evening, exact details to be announced.

For lodging I would recommend the Holiday Inn Express (right on the river and close to downtown) or Motel 6 (nice enough and really good rates).

Non-Con: Not a CONference; a gathering of some cool unschooling families looking to hang out, chat, sip good NW coffee, share, laugh, play, bond and celebrate life just a wee bit.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

25 Reasons You Should Drink More Coffee

Think coffee is bad for you? Think again. Here are 25 excuses reasons to down more java.

Disclaimer: This information is being shared as a Public Service Announcement only and in no way indicates an attempt on the part of this blog's author to lure people into Sunnyside Up for a cup of the most excellent organic, fair trade coffee in town.

From the website The Health Nut:

Are you aware of the debates over that wonderful smelling cup of java you have in the morning? More than 50 percent of Americans drink coffee every day, up to three to four cups each, which adds up to more than 330 million cups per day. While some researchers have claimed that coffee is not good for some people (and it isn’t — especially for pregnant women), other studies show there may be some merit in that coffee pot’s ingredients.

The following list points to positive aspects about coffee and your health and the health of the environment. All links, which lead to articles that support the argument, are listed in alphabetical order within each category. Some articles also warn that coffee may harm some individuals, so be aware that all the points made below are not made-to-order for everyone. Some links will provide alternatives for those who cannot drink coffee, so enjoy (without cream and sugar, please).

Health and Well-Being

  1. Antioxidant Boost: Caffeinated and decaffeinated coffees contain an antioxidant called trigonelline. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that fight free radicals, which, if allowed to grow, will attack our body and cause disease, most commonly cancer. Chemical analysis shows that freshly brewed coffee contains the same amount of antioxidants as three oranges.
  2. Prevent Cavities: While coffee can stain your teeth, a cup of java made from roasted beans has antibacterial activities against certain microorganisms, including Streptococcus mutans, a major cause of dental caries.
  3. Dietary Fiber: Brewed coffee contains a significantly higher amount of soluble dietary fiber than other common beverages.
  4. Energy Boost: Caffeine does not have specific nutritional value, but it does demonstrate medicinal properties. It is particularly helpful in keeping the mind alert and the body action-ready. In fact, the International Olympic Committee calls caffeine a powerful “ergogenic agent,” meaning it promotes the ability of muscles to work.
  5. Headache Buster: While people have complained of caffeine-withdrawal headaches, other people swear by caffeine to eliminate migraine headaches. Cafergot, a mixture of ergotamine tartrate and caffeine, is used to treat or prevent vascular headaches such as migraine and cluster headaches. Side effects, however, may be serious for some.
  6. Weight Loss: Harvard School of Public Health in Boston doesn’t say you’ll lose weight by drinking coffee, but you will gain weight if you continue to spike that coffee with cream, whipped cream, chocolate and more additives. Black coffee contains caffeine, which is an appetite suppressant, it may stimulate thermogensis (body generating heat from food digestion) and it is a diuretic — but diet and exercise are better weight-loss tools.
  7. Pain Killer: Two cups of brewed coffee may reduce post-exercise muscle pain by up to forty-eight percent.
  8. Reduce Suicide Risk: A ten-year study of 86,000 female nurses showed a strong link between coffee intake and lower suicide risk.
  9. Increases Sexual Drive (Rats): Scientists from Southwestern University found caffeine increased the female libido in experiments on rats. Further research is needed before anyone knows whether it works as a sexual stimulant on humans.

Disease Reduction

  1. Alzheimer’s Disease: A case-control study was used with 54 patients with probable AD fulfilling the National Institute of Neurologic and Communicative Disorders and Stroke and the AD and Related Disorders Association criteria, and caffeine intake was associated with a significantly lower risk for AD (independently of other possible confounding variables).
  2. Bladder Cancer (Smokers): A study published in the January 2001 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community suggested that non-coffee drinking smokers were seven times more likely to develop bladder cancer as non-smokers. Coffee-drinking smokers were only three times more at risk.
  3. Cirrhosis of the Liver (Alcoholic Drinkers): A study published in 2008 showed — out of 125,000 coffee drinkers — that one cup of coffee per day cut the risk of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver by twenty percent. Four cups per day reduced the risk by eighty percent.
  4. Colon Cancer:
  5. Diabetes: In a report that combined statistical data from many studies, researchers found that people who drank four to six cups of coffee a day had a 28 percent reduced risk compared with people who drank two or fewer. Those who drank more than six had a 35 percent risk reduction.
  6. Gallstones: Men who drink at least 2 cups of coffee a day may reduce their risk of developing gallstones by 40 percent, and women showed a twenty-five percent lower risk of gallstone development.
  7. Gout (Men): Men who drink four or more cups of coffee per day reduce their chance of developing gout by 59 percent.
  8. Heart Disease (women): Out of 27,312 postmenopausal women who took part in an Iowa Women’s Health study, the women who reported drinking one to three daily cups of coffee at the study’s start were 24 percent less likely to die of heart disease during the study, compared with those who didn’t drink coffee.
  9. Ovarian Cancer: A study found that caffeine may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in women by a fifth. The risk is even less for women who do not take the Pill or do not use hormone replacement therapy.
  10. Parkinson’s Disease: At least six studies indicate that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are up to 80 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
  11. Stroke: In an observational study, scientists at UCLA discovered that of people who reported drinking one to two cups of coffee per day, five percent reported a history of stroke, compared to three and one-half percent of people who reported drinking three to five daily cups of coffee and about three percent of people who said they drink six or more cups of coffee per day.


  1. Biofuel Source: Coffee grounds — currently wasted or used as garden compost (see below) — could become a cheap and environmentally friendly source of biodiesel and fuel pellets, says a study from SciDev.Net, a member of the Guardian Environment Network. Scientists at the US-based University of Nevada, Reno, used an inexpensive process to extract oil from the leftovers of making espressos, cappuccinos and other coffee preparations from a multinational coffeehouse chain. This oil was then converted into biodiesel, which could be used to fuel cars and trucks.
  2. Cleaning Grounds: Coffee grounds are abrasive and acidic, providing them with an edge in cleaning pots, pans and stainless steel sinks. Plus, rinsing coffee grounds down the drain can help eliminate drain odors.
  3. Great for Mushrooms: Mushroom expert Paul Stamets discovered that oyster mushrooms grow great in coffee grounds. Once you’re through with the coffee grounds, go to #24.
  4. Natural Fertilizer: When coffee grounds to into the landfill, they create methane, a greenhouse gas. But, if you take those grounds and mix them with a little soil, you can produce a healthy fertilizer and/or compost for your home garden that worms love. And, a healthy garden loves worms.
  5. Repel Slugs: Don’t use chemicals, which can harm other wildlife and humans, to eliminate slugs in your garden. Instead, use coffee grounds sprinkled around on the ground. Caffeine has been found to be more effective than the chemical metaldehyde in killing slugs.