Monday, January 31, 2011

Holly & Hef

Watch this clip, and you will see two people who are still in love...

  Holly & Hef

Heff: I've lived in fantasy too long, I don't know what to do....Holly: I love you, but you really hurt me

 (((That's what I think their eyes are saying)))

I admit it: I really enjoyed watching "The Girls Next Door." It was fun, sexy, young, and full of girl debauchery. I just thought it was cute. I loved watching the dynamics between the women, being inspired by their cute outfits, and just joining them on their adventures (to Alaska, Europe, California!)

 I thought the relationship between Holly and Heff was a little fake at times, but at others, it seemed as though they did really love each other.

Watching this snippet made me sad...I hope things work out for them.

I know this is so RANDOM! But I do write about my random thoughts and things I like too. :)


ps. Big news on the home-front! Hope you're ready!

Friday, January 28, 2011

I like watching my husband shower....

It's blatant voyeurism, and I admit it freely.

He doesn't seem to mind, he actually basks in his nakedness, finding a freedom and a glory that is just impossible when he's fully clothed. Even if I'm not watching him, he takes pleasure in running out of the shower or bedroom, buck-naked and doing some sort of primal "man dance" he's created in order for me to squeal in delight.

I watch him openly...coming into the bathroom while he showers...under the pretense of telling him something that can't wait till he's done. But he just smiles and soaps up slowly and does a careful rendition of his "man-dance" so he doesn't fall and bust his head in our slippery shower.

And I stare and smile, since my husband is quite beautiful, and quite different than me: with his muscular form and his smooth, milk-white skin that is so different than my chestnut brown.  Perhaps, most of all I love his "you're looking at me!" water soaked smile.

I also like watching him covertly...when he doesn't realize I'm there. 
I like hearing him sing...hearing him make up little songs...made up entirely of my name...and I like hearing him beatbox...which is the twitch-like hobby he engages in whenever he's transitioning from one activity to another. It's very cute to hear him, and I wonder: Where did he learn this?

It gives me a secret thrill to peek through the slightly cracked door, that I know he leaves open, hoping I'll take a peek. It's not like Marcel Duchamp's "Etant donne"...with it's suggested violence....even though I did like that piece.  Seeing someone else naked...just isn't the's like porn. Porn has it's adolescence...or when you want something spicy, or when you want to learn more love moves...

But watching my husband shower is intimate beyond words...that I'm allowed in his steam filled bubble, while he's at his most vulnerable...where he's comfortable to just let me very special to me.

Last night he called, in the middle of one of his made up songs: "Why don't you come in? You know I miss you most when I shower...."

I came in and kissed him, then went into the kitchen.

Gotta keep him guessing (wink)


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Enchanted Garden: Our Spring 2011

Alright, so I've planned our Enchanted Garden!

It was a bit of hard work and it took a LOT of imagination, but I think it's done. It was also quite fun! Watching my little Chia garden grow, I've learned that it does take a while for things to grow. But maybe that makes you appreciate them all the more. I also bit into an apple we bought from the grocery store...and it tasted like some identifiable was promptly chucked into the garden and reaffirmed my desire to have a homestead.

Something that really helped me plan our garden was a resource over at Mother Earth News!

The great people over at have developed a garden planner! And let me tell you, it was ever so helpful in conceptualizing our little space! I input the dimensions of our patio....then selected the plants I wanted (after prodding my Sicilian for his input), and presto-changeo, my garden appeared.

The program seems to be a very garden-y excel, but better. It's also full of helpful info, so go ahead and try it out! It's free for 30 days.

Mother Earth News Garden Planner

Here's what my garden looks like, using the Mother Earth News planner:

Mother Earth News Garden Planner
We're planning on having:

Green Beans
and some Herbs!

I was going to add Mint, but we have enough Mint tea bags to last a year or more....

As you can see, we don't have very much room for our enchanted, so things look a bit cramped.

(Oh! hopefully I'll be able to add a few statues: I'd really love it to be Secret Garden-esque!)

But the garden planner was REALLY helpful because I don't know much about gardening, and when you choose a fruit or vegetable to plant, a little screen pops up and tells you all about that particular plant.

It was QUITE Helpful.

So here's my artist's rendering of what our garden will look like to a passerby:

We'll have to use containers since we don't have any actual soil.  My husband built us two wooden containers, so we'll probably use those for something. Then we may but buy some plastic tubs, or go to a couple thrift stores and find things that can be re-purposed. 


I'm actually thinking of starting some of the plants FROM SEED right now. Things are going really well with my Chia Herb Garden. I'm so happy! So I'm thinking: why not get started! 

But I think I'll hold off a bit. I need to finish re-decorating our flat...

We moved right before our wedding. My husband was then away for a week doing research. We painted the bedroom an erotic dark purple (so we slept in the living room for awhile since it took FOREVER to paint). Then we got married. Then we went to Europe for a couple weeks. Then it was Christmas and we were away visiting. It's just been one thing after another. 

So now we have time enough to finish transitioning from our kind of "college style" to the more elegant gilded shabby chic, genuine European, eccentric library love nest of our dreams. It's taken quite awhile to get my Sicilian to let go of his milkcrate bookshelves and other such stuff. And I'm also downsizing quite a bit. Just throwing out lots of old papers and such. Our home is really coming together, it's just taking FOREVER. But I don't  mind...better to do it right.

I think that's why I won't start from seed right now...need to finish polishing our home's organizational capacity. Plus we grew from seed last year...and I think buying plant-lings will be really fun!

Super tangent....

But there's our garden, in all it's hypothetical glory!

I'm getting to that homestead! One seedling at a time!


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sprouting Pods!


These look kinda gross


"o my g'ness!"- Shirley Temple

My plants have sprouted!!!!! Or shoots! Or whatever these amorphous lil stalks are called!

They're beautiful! ahem...I'd noticed 2 days ago, that one of the pots had little sprouts coming out of a slimy mass of plant-eggs (seeds) on the top of the chia-soil. They looked WAY GROSS, but boy was I excited! I ran over to them, and opened the blinds a bit, and talked to them a bit, then tried to give them a bit of water, but in my excitement ended up pouring water all over my table...nice....

But today I noticed that ALL THREE POTS have little shoots growing out of them! I'm so happy and so proud! Even though I really didn't do anything, it's the seeds and God and Nature or Nature-God! I'm so happy (smiley face). I feel good because I gave the little seeds and environment in which to grow and I didn't do anything super-wrong so they are thriving.

I keep them each covered in a plastic baggie, as per the suggestion of the Chia Pet authorities. But today, I was so happy and proud of them, I took their baggies off and breathed on them a bit. I hope I didn't have death-breath or anything like that...I hope they won't shrivel up now. They did seem a little out of it when I put the baggies back on. I hope they're ok.....(now I'm thinking of running to check on my little shoots).

We keep the heat kind of low in our flat (68-when we're not home & at night; 70-73 when we're awake and at home). That's as low as I can go, even though my Sicilian Man keeps telling me to turn it down further; he grew up in the northern hemisphere and his father kept the house at 50 during the No way dude. I seriously like cry when he tries to lower it, I'm a bit of a weather wuss...

So anyways, since our heat is low, I get worried about my little guys. This must be what a parent feels like...maybe....probably not.

So there's my Victory Garden! Hooray! I'm really happy! I hope they'll keep thriving.

I'll post my garden plans next!


Painting: 5th Draft

Here's the 5th Draft of my painting.

© 2011 Imogen Begins (this means just look, don't copy or save it)

Still 1,572 drafts left.

It's a process.

I don't mind, because I'm learning; with each stroke I'm learning what works for me and what doesn't. I'm learning how to apply paint, mix color, and how to create depth. I want the technical skills: how to turn a form, render realistic light, make skin soft, make my picture-plane not flat; but a livable space...I also want my painted people to emote.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Lykke Li & Bon Iver doing 'Dance Dance Dance' in L.A from Lykke Li on Vimeo.

After such a huffy, pro-homesteading, anti-corporate post, I thought I should share one of the happiest videos/songs that really makes me... happy. Sorry for the poor quality, but it's the only version I've been able to find! But just let the happy music wash over you...


Monday, January 24, 2011

Why "homesteading"? Is that a cult?

Ramsayer Farms
 (Ramsayer provided pumpkins for our Wedding Decor)

What is Homesteading?

No, Homesteading isn't a cult.

It does have a historical definition*...

But to me, "Homesteading" is a return to simple living:

*Depending on my personal relationship to the land, in order to have food;

*Having a more sustainable lifestyle;

*Not depending on corporations for my happiness/livelihood.

*Being a good neighbor, heck! being a good person! Not only being civil and coexisting, but being friendly and loving to my fellow Humans and fellow creatures. (I'm not a vegetarian...)

*Having the center of my life be my home, my family, God, and myself...and not getting wrapped up in the stressful minutia of corporate life, where deadlines rule the world and where stress ends the happiness and the basic potential of so many wonderful people.   
("homesteading" as defined by Imogen's Dictionary of Truth)

So maybe homesteading IS a cult....but only if it's the "Cult of Awesomeness."
(this is a joke, don't be fooled; homesteading is NOT a cult...)

My personal journey to become a homesteader has come out of many different experiences: my childhood, my personal interests, my disinterest in popular culture, and all consuming desire to read and learn.  But it really was a JOURNEY...that encompassed an Amish influenced childhood, living in the unadorned beauty of France's countryside, years of reflection, and a very eco-groovy boyfriend-turned-husband (who's also a Scientist turned spiritualist) and my deep need to reunite with the Earth, spirituality and the sacred feminine.

Whoa! And that's not even the whole of it!

Why I want to Homestead:

I want to become a homesteader because I'm tired of being dependent on different corporations. 

I'm tired of having to go to the grocery store for food and then finding out after I get home that the fruit I just bought is actually rotten inside, or is mushy/stringy because it had been frozen, or that the produce in question doesn't even taste like fruit! but tastes like what a hospital floor would probably taste like!

I want to be able to taste fruit that is fragrant and juicy and tasty, not have to worry so much about pesticides and genetically engineered monstrosities, like the weird strawberries we got from the grocery store yesterday...that appear to have arms and legs.

Husband holding the Strawberry Monsters

I'm also tired of having to rely on stores for clothes that don't are not fitted for a woman with an ample bosom, small waist, and curvaceous hips.  I'm tired of clothes that don't flatter my hourglass figure and just aren't the style that I like. I hate having to swim through spandex and pleather and other artificial materials only to find, hours later, natural fiber clothes that are either too small, ill-fitted, poorly sewn, or cost over $400!   I want quality clothing and shoes, that'll last at least 5 years, and clothes that are my unique style of empowered, self-aware, "I am my own sex kitten", 18th century a la mode, modern chic woman.  Yeah, try finding THAT in a store, under $200, made of natural fibers, and not produced in an off shore sweatshop....GOOD LUCK!

I'm ALSO frustrated by having to pay an arm and a leg for goods that aren't what I need or their just so crappily made! We needed a laundry basket, a quality, non-plastic laundry we went to Target and had to spend $50! On a Laundry basket! And that was after months of research! (Tell me if you know where the lower priced quality laundry baskets hang out)

All of this frustration has just culminated into the conclusion that I don't want to be dependent upon corporations for my livelihood & well-being anymore. I long ago tired of corporations bursting into my house (through tv ads) and telling me what I need (to be thin, white, young, lip-glossed, swishy-haired, rich, apathetic and doped up on the various pharmaceutical wonder pills).  And then, when I actually NEED to buy something, I'm charged an arm and a leg for garbage that'll break, be useless, or out of style exactly 10 seconds later.

So for the most part, I HAVE started to wean myself off of "corporate dependence." I shop at smaller stores, I browse for gifts, heck, I usually make my own gifts.

Don't get me wrong, there are some luxury brands I DO like and may continue to buy: Tiffany or Louis Vuitton.  I am willing to pay extra for quality (my friend's mom has had her LV for 25 years! Talk about quality! Sign me up!) I don't like buying purses that I can't depend on, where the "leather" rubs off, where the straps break after 2 months. No thank you. I'd rather pay more, and have a bag that'll last a couple decades.

And I'll be honest, I don't mind paying a bit more, (once every couple decades) for the fantasy of a luxury good, for the prestige of the brand, but for me, there is  NO PRESTIGE in a $50 laundry basket or a $10 apple, After buying it, I just feel conned..or like something's wrong with society. I CHOOSE to spend money on a luxury good, after weighing my finances and such. But I NEED fruit! Healthy, inexpensive fruit! Something's wrong when you can't afford non-poisonous food. 

Every time I come from a grocery store, a clothing store, the gas pump, I just feel like I'm getting swindled! I feel we all are!  I routinely see overpriced pieces of crap in stores and I say to myself: I could do better! I could make something of quality that people would love and it wouldn't be cardboard held together by two pieces of gum a paperclip and some glue!

Huff huff huff! (hiccuping for breath as I type out my rage!)

I'm just tired of being swindled.

I just want to build my own things.

I want to learn to depend on myself and the earth.

I want to make contacts with my friends and neighbors who have more experience than me in their respective fields and pay them for helping me! I want to buy local! I'm just tired of this corporate hampster wheel.

I'm one of many hampsters who have  finally flown off the wheel and yelled: "ENOUGH!"

Now, I'm not saying it won't be tough. I know it will be. I'm spoiled. I've been spoon-fed by corporations my whole life. But don't feel like they did me any favors, they were sucking my lifeblood while I was lapping at their consumerist spoon, drinking down and repeating all the "i wants" and "gimmes" and "i deserves."

So yes, it will be hard. I've never really depended on myself for food or clothing, but I know it's possible because I grew up with Old People, Elders, who came from a different time and lived off the work of their own hands.

My Grandmother: As a highly talented seamstress and pattern maker, made the clothes for the entire family. Hung the sheets out to dry. Made things from scratch.

My Grandfather: Built the furniture or tools we needed from wheelbarrows to bookcases. My grandfather also grew up on a farm in the Southern United States, riding horses and raising animals.

But there are things that they didn't do that I would very much like to, like: pickle, preserve and jam. I want to make my own soaps and candles and perfumes; make my own art; raise a few pet chickens so my husband and I can have fresh eggs. Raise a cow so we can have our own milk and farm the land so we can glory the bounty of our harvest.

Wow, such big words for someone with a Chia Pet garden. But....

"Out of dreams come reality" --Imogen
(if you use this quote, you better cite me!)

Our Spring 2011 patio garden is all planned and drawn up, so I will be posting that soon!

Best wishes to you!


QUESTION:  Do you ever get tired of "corporate control" and long for a simpler life?

*The definition of homesteading,  I'm guessing originated in the 1800s when White American-immigrants were encouraged to move into the Western part of the United States (to settle "The Wild West").  So the standard definition of homesteading seems to be,  "to move onto government land and farm it" (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Becoming a Homesteader: Step 1 Growing My Own Food

I figure I need to start small.

My Mother bought me the cute...odd present you see above, for Christmas.

At the time, I just thought it was a sort of funny last minute gift, which is quintessentially my mom's style. But with this gift, she (perhaps unknowingly) supported my desire to homestead and to live closer with the earth...

Talk about synchronicity! I think it was the Universe, speaking through my mom's odd gift, saying..."Go Imogen! Go after your homestead dreams! You can do it!" And since I'm always up for receiving encouragement and mystical signs from the heavens...I accept the challenge & responsibility of this Chia Garden!!!

<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3(I need dividers, I'm very visual)<3<3<3<3<3<3<3>

So I'm currently in the process of creating a step-by-step plan that will allow my Husband and I to actually buy our a couple of years. This sort of venture takes lots of planning and commitment. I don't just want to drag my husband on the bandwagon with me, so I HAVE needed to make sure that this was his dream too...And I'm happy to report it certainly is! But after doing some research, I've found out that the best "from city to country" plan includes learning & honing homesteading skills NOW, before moving to our homestead of dreams

So what can I do now in a small flat? I can't raise chickens or keep a cow!

But there are loads of things I can do! My ultimate goal would be for us to even produce our own electricity. Solar panels, wind turbines, and live completely off the grid, borrowing from no one and only buying from whom we wish! But that's a ways off.

As a beginning homesteader, I will hone my skills in:

cooking and baking from scratch (I'm already pretty good)
(but meal planning and eating locally are very important when you want to be budget and I need to work on those things)
making homemade candies and granolas (awesome)
pickling (cool, but I'm scared of Botulism! )
canning (Botulism again)
preserving (and again!)
growing our own food!

(There's plenty more that I want to learn how to do, in my quest to become self-sufficient, from making butter to making clothing....but I'm sticking with my Food theme for today)

So, that's where I'm starting: Growing my Own Food!
And I'm starting with an herb garden. My Husband and I tried to do some container gardening this past summer; and since neither of us had ever grown ANYTHING was definitely a learning experience! My Husband gathered his gumption and built 2 wooden containers for our plants. And we planted peppers, tomatoes, and green beans from seed! AND THEY GREW!!! It was such an amazingly SATISFYING experience: watching green buds burst from the soil, watching the VERY FUZZY unripened veggies form! It was such a miracle. The sweet, simple miracle of growing.

So I'm currently in the process of planning our patio garden for the upcoming spring and I'm very excited! I hope to lay it out with lush, fruit and veggie sprouting plants!

And since I don't plant till Spring, I thought it would be wonderful to start my small herb garden today. Eventually, when we have our homestead (our homestead is my dearest wish. To have a home with my Husband, and to live a long & healthy life with him, is truly my dearest and only wish. If I could just have anything, it would be that. And I'm so grateful I even get to DREAM of such a thing.)

So yes, Eventually, on our homestead, I would like us to have 3 gardens:
A medicinal herb garden
A culinary herb garden
A rose garden...I'd like roses all over really!
A vegetable garden
A fruit orchard

Ok, that's really 5 gardens.

I'd also like to have:
1 or 2 sweet tempered dairy cows
a few beautiful brown buxom hens
3 or so sheep
and much more.
but while my Husband and I do research on these animals and scout out for our farmland, I'll begin buffing my homesteading skills so they'll shine!

So starting with my Chia Pet Herb garden is a wonderful first step.
one of the basic tenants for being a homesteader, is growing your own food.

So Let's get started!

As I took out the Chia pods, I noticed condensation on bags. Maybe something's Awesomely alive!

So this is everything that came with the kit: seed packets, clay pots and holders, plant tags, and Chia dirt pods. And lots of literature! cool!

And through the magic of blogging, I'm done! seeds are planted, pots are covered to create a "greenhouse atmosphere" and I'm excited to see what pops up! (in 5-14 days).

Do the Chia pods have chemicals in them? I hope not!

So we'll check in on my herb seedlings in a couple days! Hope they sprout!

What's your dearest wish? To homestead as well?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I admire these strong women

Since I can't find batteries for my camera, I have to push back my first installment of "Becoming a Super Awesome Homesteader." And instead I'll tell you about two women who I truly admire.

Ok, you might disagree with me, and think I'm a bit strange. And that's totally fine.

But I love these two women:

Mrs. Michelle Duggar! and Victoria Beckham

"Weird!" I hear you shout to your computer!

"How?! They're so different!" I hear you call out incredulously!

"No Way!" ...well, you get the idea.

But yes, these are two women in the popular media who I really like and whose adventures I really enjoy reading about or watching.

They may, at first glance, appear to be total opposites,
with one being a former international pop star and the other being a homeschooling mom in Arkansas.
But they do share a few similarities.

Michelle Duggar and Victoria Beckham..."They've got something in common!"

1. They both adore their children
Yes, Victoria has 4 while Mrs. Duggar has 19
But through their many interviews and articles, you can see that both women love the fruit of their looms...loins.

2. They both adore their husbands
Victoria and Michelle BOTH GUSH over their husbands:
Victoria...over David's sexiness and how well they suit each other
Michelle...over Jim Bob's humble godliness and how he's the spiritual leader of their home.

(I can respect both feelings, and I feel the same way about my Sicilian! I absolutely adore him. Even when we quarrel, I usually forget like 2 minutes later, and seek him out so we can play scrabble, or so he'll read to us or kiss me. )

3. They both love fashion
It may not be apparent for Mrs. Duggar at first glance, but she DOES enjoy fashion, she's just not dedicated to it. And it's BABY fashion she favors, especially baby hair bands with GIANT FLOWERS attached, and leopard print baby carriers.
Victoria...well, we all know she's becoming a fashion icon in her own right, not only wearing haute couture creations of fashion house legends, but also creating her own lines.

4. They're both relatively financially set and self-sufficient.
With this one, I have to include their families, since their wealth is not singular, but familial. And being "self-sufficient" doesn't mean that you're an island onto yourself. When both you and your spouse can publicly lean on each other for love and me that shows you understand something bigger than your ego: the human need for companionship.

But I think both women (and their families) DO show amazing self-reliance:
Mrs. Duggar's family's motto is: "buy used, save the difference." This enables them to live in a luxuriously grand home they not only paid for, but built to their own specifications. They live debt free. They have income from their TLC show and also the many real estate ventures in which they participate. They Duggars also garden so they can harvest fresh produce and they even make their own laundry detergent!
I have to say that I like Mrs. Duggar's approach a bit more, since it's sustainable...they grow, they save, they flourish. (Yes, they need to recycle a bit more though! I wish one of the many people who complain about this family's carbon footprint would actually offer them some assistance in becoming more eco-knowledgeable!)

Victoria and her family are also self-reliant when it comes to money:
Her husband is a multimillion dollar earning sports star. But Posh (Victoria's nickname) also has her own funds: she was a very popular popstar in the 90s, with international success. Remember "Girl Power?" But now, Victoria has taken the fashion world by storm, with her own self-named label, producing dresses worn by stars and dignitaries all over the world. She also recently debuted a handbag collection, to accompany her jeans and eyewear lines.

So both Victoria Beckham and Michelle Duggar are doing well in their finances.

And while I really respect both women, for their differences, as well as their similarities...I'd have to say there is one thing I really appreciate about Mrs. Michelle Duggar: her outright love of God.

It's not too often that people talk about God in the media, without being put in the crazy catagory. The only other person that I can think of who has talked about God in recent years, was Kanye West, with his "Jesus Walks" song. If you don't know it, or immediately cringe because of the name "Kanye West" google the lyrics, and just read them, as you would any other text. Dissect them and see what you get out of it.
I'd be very curious to know your take on it.


I feel that Mrs. Duggars vocal appreciation for all her blessings and her dedication to learning and developing spiritually, puts her a bit ahead of Posh for me. I just feel like, I would LOVE to be as elegant and funny as Victoria Beckham, but I would LOVE even more, to be as sweet and kind and gracious as Michelle Duggar.

AHHHH! I really can't choose! I love them both!

Who do you favor?

(I say they are "strong" because they both stand up to adversity and slander and don't stray from what they believe in. They are both dedicated to family. And they just exude different types of strength at different times: quiet, humble, motherly, daring, exuberant, protective, attractive, feminine. )

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Amish...and my long awaited decision

(above image is the property of Bill Coleman, of

You most likely don't know this...and probably would never guess...but

I LOVE Amish culture.

I love their sustainable lifestyles, their familial communities, their spiritual dedication, and in my most private thoughts, I often fantasize about living in an Amish Community.

Is that odd? For an urban Brown-skinned girl to want to give up the trappings of modernity to return to the land, bake bread, pickle, darn & spin yarn? I don't rightly know since I haven't REALLY shared my love of Amish culture with anyone besides my Husband...who does find my infatuation a bit cute, if not totally off the wall.

But when I talk to my family about the Amish and how I admire their ability to work the land and live simply...I begin to get the look I've gotten since childhood...a look that basically says...
"You're really strange...aren't you?"

Then I'm belittled AGAIN for the fact that I don't have a television. And they talk about what they cannot live without: televisions, xbox, wii, etc. It's as if the trappings of popular culture have stopped up their ears so completely that they can't see past the newest item of get at what really matters: family,love, spirituality & peace.

But my love for Amish Culture and (and really my love for)the Culture of Simplicity has been steadily growing.

I've been enchanted by the Amish since I was a child. I remember my grandparents took me to Amish country once. It wasn't far away, but I'm sure they thought a "Modern Child" wouldn't want to go and see such simple things, so they only took me once or twice. But I was enamored with that magical place, time seemed to have been gentler to...where buggies bounced down roads to the "clip, clop" of horse hooves, where shops were friendly...but didn't practically twist your arm to buy. Where the produce was fresh and bountiful.

The first time I encountered Amish people close-up, was when I was very young and I went to a local amusement park with my family. I was a wee little thing and so we spent a fair amount of time at the petting zoo. There I saw a man, woman, and children dressed in dark clothes. They stuck out a bit, not because they were mean or odd;...they just had an air about them that said the only things that were visible to them were the baby animals on display.
Years later, in college I remember being hysterically happy to see the rare buggy trot past.

It hadn't occurred to me that I was enamored by the Amish, dazzled by their simple garb and...their simple, quiet ways.
Their quiet, spoke to something inside of awoke some unknown desire within me for peace, open spaces, community, spirituality and love. Although, it's just now that I'm able to see that.

Within the last 5 years...I've sensed a change in myself, moving from wanting to be in Paris...ALL THE TIME to wanting a place of my own.

I want to dive my hands into fertile Mother Earth and plant roots.

WOW. That's a big step for me. Actually getting my intention out into the make it real more real.


With my Husband, I would like:

A fairly large piece of LAND

A large yet cozy HOME for our large family (we hope!)

I also want a few COWS

A couple of SHEEP

Two or three CHICKENS

I want to GROW our own food

MAKE all our meals (except when I want something fancy)

and make some of our clothes.

I want to be thrifty (already accomplished)

Fashionable (check there too! Most of the time)

And independent (working on it)

I still want to be chic and informed and dress nicely...after I've milked our cows, fixed breakfast, ect. I still want to be a hot classy wife....

My Husband and I think a lot of people are feeling this pull to go back to nature...not to "go back to simpler times" but to become a simpler, more wholesome people.

Many MANY things have influenced this decision: from the horrors in the news, poor food at the grocery store, high prices for produce, and just feeling distant from the land. I've been influenced by visiting local farms, and locally owned/produced markets, small towns, and reading Mother Earth News,'s everyday adventures and also going back to Amish country to feel such a wholeness settle into my bones...a deep-sung happiness that I've never found within the confines of the city.

And while my Husband and I both enjoy the pleasures the city has to offer...we do feel as though it separates us from our Humanity sometimes... ceaseless traffic, lung-clogging pollution, petty crimes, violent crimes, uncaring neighbors, fast-food with no indication of the actual animals and vegetables it comes from, the indescribable rudeness of strangers, the abject poverty, the proudly insensitive...

I have been preparing myself, slowly but surely for this huge change...designing a food garden for our flat's small patio, which will hopefully supplement, if not provide all our fruits and vegetables this autumn (fingers crossed).

And since last year I've been honing my skills at making homemade, hand-kneaded bread...loving the work and artistry that goes into every loaf.

:) I'll be the first to admit I have a long way to go.

But In the words of one of my favorite songs:

"Hey come along and join the fun...."

Question: Do you ever think about leaving the city behind and homesteading?

I freely admit, I have a wonderful rose colored view of Amish life, and I know there are many hardships in that community, as in every other; from domestic violence to abuse. I just wanted to say I do really enjoy reading about Amish Culture and visiting Amish country, and I appreciate and admire their sustainable way of living with the Earth.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Insulting Racial Compliment

Basically what I wore today

Bonjour Mes Chères,

I'd just like to share with you what happened today:

My husband and I went to an environmental conference today, which was very inspiring and actually helped solidify what I want to actually talk about in my blog (in addition to my everyday adventures and such)!

But before I get to that: at the end of the conference, we left the center, which was held in the downtown of our area and proceeded to cross the street. We were very happy, since my husband had just asked to carry my books, and I'd asked him to marry me again.

We then paused at the curb, hand-in-hand, as we saw two young Black men on a bike, coming down the street. We both smiled slightly and were going to go about our way, when one of the young men said:

"Don't ya got any friends your OWN complexion?! With cha cute ass..."

And proceeded to pedal away.

My husband and I were both a little stunned... gave each other the expression of "Huhhh?" And laughed out of shock. I said something, but then noticed that my Sicilian had taken on a stony expression behind his aviators and now had a very angry red face. He was also smiling...but there was nothing funny about his smile.

Then I blurted to my husband..."well, I AM cute!" and we proceeded to cross the street.

I have to admit, I was a bit scared my husband would run after the guys, but I'm glad he didn't.

I also have to say, I have conflicting feelings:

It was flattering that the offensive young man thought me cute: because it shows women don't need to dress trampy to look very attractive. I was completely covered from head to toe in my outfit, and with my black wool coat on: I was even more conservative, wearing a light blue 50s's style dress with black stockings underneath. I also wore loose, black, calf boots that are more country than city slicker. My hair was down and curly (not the socially normal/expected relaxed hair) with a chic scarf and I had on my little white gloves. And I also had a smile...that is, until boy-wonder on the bike spoke.

Now for the offensive part.

I was very upset and STUNNED that this youth felt he had the right to insult both me, my husband, and our sacred relationship. Not that he could tell that we're married, but whatever happened to respecting your elders? Or minding your own business? Or "If you don't have anything nice to say: keep it to yourself?"

What should we have done?
Yelled after him? And yelled what?
(no super macho or dummy comments like: "I would have knocked him off his bike!" My husband doesn't believe in violence, unless it's for defense. He wants to be Jesus' Homeboy)

What COULD we have done?
(We're adults. We're not in the same culture of "low class" where it's ok to hurl insults to strangers...and in my opinion...people of ANY race or income bracket can be a card-carrying member of the "culture of low/no class")

I guess I could have yelled: "Yes, but he's my husband!" Or "yes, they're called family!" But to be honest, I was stunned, and I'm not very quick with comebacks unfortunately.

You MAY be surprised to hear, but after almost 10 years together...this is our first confrontation with blatant verbal interracial dating criticism/bashing.

And we've lived in the Northeast AND the Midwest.

In the Midwest, people are mostly just curious to see us together.

While in the Northeast, I have to say that while the people weren't outright hostile, they did make vile assumptions behind our backs. While my Sicilian worked at a boarding school in the Northeast, I would come to visit, I sometimes got knowing--condescending smirks from the teachers and insinuating comments from the students; as if I were some sort of slutty woman, when in fact:


(And damn proud of it, considering how hot my husband is and how often I want him!)

So I was UNFAIRLY bashed/labeled by stuck up, (most likely) sexually-deprived, very wealthy Yuppies AND the rich, spoiled delinquents/ sexual promiscuous adolescents who were put in that school by their parents, because they were unbearable! (I'm still mad. I cherish my honor and had spent my life building a reputation I could be proud of, and being unfairly judged and condemned by such people...was infuriating!!!)

What was I saying????? I hear the blood flowing though my ears and I feel a certain bloodlust that comes with fury! (I kid on the "bloodlust")

Hum, after reading this post, I find an interesting correlation:

In the Northeast, I was unjustly, and non-verbally/underhandedly accused of being some sort of sex vixen.

While today, I was blatantly questioned on whether I had any friends who are "my own complexion."

(It's interesting how today's incident brought up my experience at my Husband's boarding school....)

Unsaid accusations....A question demanding an answer

Both are wrong, and put me in a defensive position.

Both are invasions of privacy.

Both are assumptions.

And both are coming from people of completely different backgrounds...but I think what connects both the snotty, filth-minded wealthy of that school...and the demeaning inquisition of the Black youth, was a lack of understanding about LOVE.

In BOTH situations, instead of immediately thinking: WOW! Those two much love each other, to face the everyday obstacles that come with an interracial relationship.....
They instead pervert our relationship
: assuming I'm a "booty-call" instead of a virginal girl of strong morals...or they assume I shun those of "my own complexion" preferring the company of whites.

Although I still feel anger...for both of these situations...I also feel pity for these sorry creatures. Those blinded by greed and consumerism, so even their own offspring take a backseat...and those indefinably and perhaps irreversibly shaped by poverty and neglect, that they imprison themselves in a world with no hope of love.

I doubt neither will know the richness of a love that surpasses made-up borders.

Maybe my anger will wane with time...and I'll pray for them.

Maybe you can pray for me, to give me the strength to not be petty, but forgiving to those less fortunate, not having the riches of love.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Do you ever feel depressed?

I hope the answer is yes.

And purely for selfish reasons....because I'm feeling a little down myself and it's nice to know I'm not alone.

I can impart a little wisdom I've earned: depression is totally normal. Don't fear it or abuse yourself just because you feel down. Don't say: why am I this way!? Why can't I be normal!

Just go with it. Embrace your sadness.

I'm not saying WALLOW in it...just accept that you are a bit down and there's nothing wrong with that. You don't have to hide it. You don't even have to "put on your happy face," if you don't want to.

Just take your own personal mental health day/s and be with yourself.

Just let yourself work out whatever is bothering you. Go to the gym...get those endorphins flowing. Paint or do whatever makes you passionate. Read. Lay in bed an extra hour. Call off work! Bask in the silence. And accept that your body and mind are telling you that you need some "me time". Treat yourself, be extra kind to yourself when you feel down, you deserve it.

(ps. the picture is the 2nd draft of my painting. It takes hundreds of get to the final painting)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Oil Paint and Kdramas

(My studio and desk, currently busied by my dollmaking supplies and my oil painting is in the lower right of the picture)

I wanted to talk about my ideas of the sacred feminine and also machismo in American society....

But after spending my entire day organizing our flat and scraping dried paint from my palette for nearly an hour...I'm tired!

So instead I'll tell you about my guilty pleasure....

Watching Korean Dramas!!!!

It could be said that:

America makes the best Blockbusters... (ie: the films of Spielberg, Will Smith, etc)

Japan makes the best Anime... (ie: films of hayao miyazaki)

And Korea, makes the best Television Dramas! (ie: bad family, stars falling from the sky, etc)

From "My Name is Kim Sam Soon" to "My Girlfriend the Nine-tailed Fox" Korea knows how to make good television.

And one of the things that I like best besides the creative plots, gorgeous actors, and really good acting, is the fact that in my 6 years of watching Kdramas, I haven't been subjected to heavy makeout sessions, excessive cleavage, or gaggles of horny teenagers or middle aged losers dry-humping each other!

Not to say that Korea doesn't show a bit of long female leg, or have gratuitous showings of glistening nude MALE chests (which I find quite interesting)...but the fact is that I have a CHOICE! "Ay There's the rub" (to quote Shakespeare) I have a choice if I want to watch an almost completely wholesome show that focuses on family values, hardwork, determination, innocence & virginity, and true love, while being funny, dramatic and entertaining or I can watch something a bit more "scandalous/gritty" dealing with themes of violence, affairs, betrayal or showing more skin or risque situations.

And it's not that I don't like seeing skin.

But in the States, it makes me uncomfortable to see a woman uncovered. Not for religious reasons or anything like that. It's just that...
it seems we've lost our collective idea of a Strong Sensual Woman. It's as if that figure does not emerge in American Society. If an everyday woman, or a starlet who has not established herself as "elegant," shows a fair amount of skin:, American Society thinks that she is basically "selling her wares" and we are free to ogle her...not discretely admire.

And it's also as if the majority of women have forgotten it doesn't have to be all or nothing: strutting around with hotpants and see-through shirts. It's as if we are all buying into this degraded notion of womanhood and a cheap version of sensuality.

(strong sensual woman, empowered with her GAZE on you. pinup

All artists know that "the gaze" in paintings is a very big I like that this model is gazing at us, boldly stating her sensuality and refusing to back down.

With that said, there does seem to be a small, but growing underground movement of women who want to reclaim their sensuality, in a world where the feminine has been degraded into almost non-existence...more on that later!

Ha ha! I said I wasn't going to talk about womenhood, but I just did! My thoughts my still be a little unbaked, but I'm sure they'll come together as we go along. I do feel quite strongly about this subject and have since I was a little girl.

But yes, quickly back to my Korean Dramas vs. American Television:

In the States, I don't feel as though I have much of a choice between family friendly and basically-pornographic ( which toots bad morals to boot!). Yes, there are the Hallmark Channels and Disney and Family Channels (I enjoyed "Holiday in Handcuffs" and "My Fake Fiance").

But degrading the feminine can pop up even into channels like these...

I started watching an American fantasy television show last year and became dissatisfied with the stale plot and poor dialogue. Apparently others did too because the ratings began to drop...and so did the female character's neckline, until she was barely contained in her bodice. It was so bad that it became laughable...with viewers writing online about how she was falling out of her costume.

This "less female clothes = more ratings" is a small thing, but one of many that contributes to America's warping of womenhood and femininity and lowers women's intrinsic value in our society. While I feel very passionate on this issue, I'm tired and I'd like to lay in bed with my husband and read The Hobbit now! So, more on this issue another day!


ps. this is not to say that other countries don't produce good dramas, I just wanted to show my love for Kdramas.

pps. I do like a few Thai Dramas such as "Kaew Tae Pee" and Taiwanese Dramas such as "Fated to Love You" and the most wonderful "It Started with a Kiss" series...but those are the only ones I've followed. And I also find Japanese dramas to have a LOT of poor acting and stale storylines.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

On Being a Painter

Hello Dear One,

yes, here's another tidbit, I'm an oil-painter. A full fledged, slightly neurotic, basically obsessed, classically trained oil painter (I feel like I'm in AA).

But in all honesty, painting is sort of an addiction. It's something that I'm drawn to do...pulled to do by compulsion, sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it... while I'm loving it. Painting brings me such joy and despair that sometimes I feel that only another artist could possibly understand such self-inflicted, bless'ed torture.

Why do I bring this up? I'm feeling the desire to paint again. I've felt it for awhile...I've just needed to get my studio in order at home. My apartment is quite a mess right now! From moving, to marrying, to 1/2 month-long Euro honeymoon, to Christmas with relatives... our apartment's sanctity has suffered. I'm only now getting to organizing our place.

My husband bought me a beautiful roll-top desk, upon which sits an amazing antique doll we bought for 5euros in Paris' march aux puces (historic world site flea market!) (Picture to be included after organization).

I love my husband dearly. We both love luxury and beautiful things; things that are gilded and ornate and speak of a bygone past or the fairytale past we are creating with each other.

So later today, I'll be painting...welcoming the seductive tortuous pleasurable pain. I guess for me, oil painting could be likened to a much delayed orgasm...I paint for days, months... but at the end of each day, I'm always JUST on the verge of satisfaction... needing to adjust depth here, add more intense color there. I know that I must continue...struggling, stepping back, leaning in's such an intimate dance; until the last session, when I can look at my work and be satisfied, the ecstasy of creation.

So painting does have a very seductive call, but at the same time, in the back of my mind, I know that fulfillment is a far way off.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Curly Headed Imogen....and her swishy-haired past

Hello Cherished Guest,

I'd like to declare today that I have curly hair!

(me, this morning, delicately shielding my face with an envelope )

("wow" you exclaim sarcastically...very exciting)

But this actually is very exciting news!

I've always worn my hair very long and very straight; coveting and basking in the glory of my long swishy locks that blew in the breeze...softly whispering of my Native American heritage. (I'm Metisse you see, which in the US, just means homogeneous"Black or African American"--which denotes a people who have the same racial heritage. But to me "Black" means very mixed, having the most diverse cultural and racial heritage ever).

Back to topic: I DID love my swishy hair... I loved being able to watch a Pantene commercial and then swish my hair around like the models. I loved the silky feel of my long ponytails and being able to whip them about me. But my hair wasn't unusual to me it was just a part of my life... all the women in my family have swishy hair...accept theirs is natural.

Growing up in all Black neighborhood, where swishy hair was not very common, I wasn't taught that I was "better" than my peers because of my swishy hair...but I WAS treated differently. As a child it was very odd and confusing to be treated differently because of my hair texture and length, it was almost as if I didn't belong.

Another thing that separated me from the other children was their curiosity concerning my Grandmother, who would often come up for Grandparents' Day or other functions. I was confused about why the children of my very urban elementary school called my Grandmother "Indian" and asked if I were Indian too..trying desperately to fit me, this chestnut colored girl with the long straight black hair, into a little box. Since it was the norm for me, my Grandmother's looks weren't unusual. My mother's very fair skin and silky waves of amber were more attributes that made me and my family stick out as a bit unusual.

During that time, I was sometimes I was adored...with girls wanting to comb and braid my hair...

Other times I was ostracized, intentionally: You're a Barbie! You've got Barbie Hair! Bet it smells plastic-y! Bet it's a weave! God! You're such a liar! that is not your real hair! Maybe I'll cut it! Let's pull it!

or unintentionally : "ooo, look at her! her hair just falls straight when she takes out her scrunchy! instead of being stiff! wow!"

But little did they know I actually had a head of very thick....very CURLY hair, that my immediate family had no idea how to handle...

All the women in my family have long, naturally straight or slightly waving hair. I attribute this to my various White and Native American grandparents and great grandparents. I, however, having a Creole grandmother or perhaps it was my glorious African heritage emerging... popped out bald, but later grew an unruly mass of curls on my little hazelnut head.

Instead of conditioning and then allowing them to coil and twist down my back, I think my female relatives were just a bit horrified, or at least at a complete loss on what to do with hair that poofed and curled, that snared buttons and pulled at rings.

So, they brushed, raked, oiled and straightened my curls. I suffered hot combs, hot irons, hot rollers, then later perms/relaxers. And for some reason, my hair did very well with these methods (minus the occasional bald period, when all the mirrors in my house mysteriously disappeared).

I grew to learn how to care for this elbow length swishy hair...never knowing the luxurious curls that were my inheritance.

After my marriage 3 months ago, I decided to chop off the rest of my relaxer (5 inches) and finally see what my curls looked like.

I was VERY surprised to see all the little curls, coils, and curly-Qs that framed my face like some sort of afro-angelic halo!

I have to say I love my curls. And my Sicilian loves them too...little does my family know, he prefers dark, curly hair...finds it mysterious and seductive.

Just last night I said playfully asked my husband:

"What if I said, I'm thinking of straightening my hair?"

Sicilian: "I'd say no, you are forbidden."

(Artistic Rendering of my Husband) ... (the Godfather by Paramount Pictures)

Me: "Why? ((pause)) But why?"

Sicilian: "Your hair looks healthier, naturally silky, and free. I like it"

Me: ((slow seductive smile and ready to take my Sicilian home and show him what comes of such sweet talk))--instead I give him a wink and finish our very delish, very expensive anniversary dinner <3

My family however, has said that my husband is just "humoring me, because he doesn't want to hurt my feelings..."

Yet it's THEIR sentiments that are hurtful! The fact that my FAMILY thinks my god-given hair is "wrong" and should be bound and tamed, just because it's different than theirs is hurtful... and can we say "Internalized racism" much? or is it something else????

I know my family is against my new found curly tresses, preferring the straight swishy hair I've had for so long. But Why? Maybe they want to proclaim our mixed heritage, maybe they want to say, through hair: we're just as good! we can have swishy hair too!

Or maybe through the years they've been brainwashed to think that curly hair is bad, unruly, too seductive, too ethnic, too voluminous....

To all the above I say: Pish Posh!

I love my curly hair! I'm tired of "fitting in"! And I see lots of Black women with tortured hair that's stiff, greasy, horrible looking, and just basically un-natural. And I think their hair would look so much better if it were set free! I begin to think how glorious Black Women would look with their natural hair, how majestic and seductive. (yes, seductive is one of my favorite words)

I think Black hair, is so very unique and versatile. And so many of us curly heads (white, black, korean, hispanic, whoever) are afraid to embrace it. You can do it! Your hair is beautiful and so are you!

Love, Imogen <3