Monday, March 21, 2011

Away from Home

Well he's off.

He is off for the first time without his mother, his father, his sister, without anyone who knows or loves him.

He is all alone in the world.

Alright, that may be an exageration.

This morning my 15 year old freshman left on a three day trip with his varsity baseball team.

He is so little, they just don't know him like I do.

Who will make him warm milk and honey and read him Goodnight Moon?

I told him that I had a call in to his coach with a list of all things that he would need to remember to do for Kai.  Cut his meat, tie his shoes, tuck in his shirt, feed him a snack when he gets grouchy and make sure he gets a good nights sleep.

Kai just looked at me, shook his head and rolled his eyes.  "Yeah right Mom!"

Truth be told, I feel like this is just what I have been preparing my kid for these last 15 years.  I have been preparing him to make his way into the world and find adventure.  I have been preparing him to walk his path solo, so that he need never rely on others to make it happen for him.  I have been preparing him to observe the world first, then act.  I have been loving him with my whole heart so that he knows what unconditional love is.   I have taught him to stop, drop and roll.

But let's be real here, he is a 15 year old boy.  Not much common sense rattles around the old mellon these days.  But above and beyond what I have already provided...I guess there ain't nothin' I can do now.  He is out there in the world with a whole team of older kids who drive, have beards, and possibly do unsavory things that I do not approve of.   

I guess that is all for him to navigate now.

 I wish I had put a GPS tracking device on his phone, or sewn into his jacket pocket!

All I know is that I have done the best I know how,  I have to trust.  I have to trust in him, in me, in the world.

I am certain everything will be just fine.

Right after I call his coach.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's that time of year again...

It's the time of year when my life is full of diamonds.

Not the sparkly kind...the dirty brown and green kind that don't come out of clothing very well.

I speak of baseball diamonds...and softball diamonds.

It's the time of year when the notion of a family meal is lovely dream and a distant memory.

It's the time of year that I pick up and drop off and bring snacks to my children no less than 12 times a day.

And weekend getaways...funny joke!

It is also the time of year when my whole family can have a conversation for twenty minutes and I have no idea what they are talking about.

I have no idea what they are talking about because I was never a ball player.  Honestly I found the whole sport kinda boring growing up.  I went to Giants games and A's games in California with my family, but I had no idea what was going on down on the field, only that the guy with cotton candy was making his way towards my seat.  Cracker Jacks and Hot dogs...I get that.  Batting averages and free agency not so much.

My husband and kids...they are ball players.  All of them.  They play other sports too, but it is the life in the diamond that is in their proverbial wheel house.

My kids are coordinated athletes...a quality they did not get from me.

"Mom...why do you run so slow?"  

"Becasuse my legs are short."

"No...that's not true...that can't be right."

"Yes it is and don't talk back to your mother!"

For a while I played indoor soccer with a woman's over 30 leauge.  For two weeks before my first game I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.  Durning my first game I ran out on to the pitch and fell down...there was no one around me...I wasn't near the ball.

I am no athlete.

But even though I'm not coordinated and I live in a family of coordinated athletes and it's humbling almost every day...I can and do find great joy from watching my kids do something they really love.

If you really love to do something with your whole entire being like my kids enjoy playing ball...there is nothing so beautiful, graceful or wonderful.

And it's totally appropriate to eat and yell while watching a ball game...two things that are in my wheel house!

Everyone needs to have something they love to do and something they are good at.
Those two things usually go hand in hand.
Isn't life miraculous that way?
 Play ball!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Contrasts and Compliments

I won't be at the lecture tonight that my family will be giving in CA, in lieu of my attendance I have written this...

Contrasts and Compliments
A theory of life in a Creative Family
Nalii Padilla-DeLap
It is thought in some circles that artists bridge the gap between the earth and the ethers of the universe.
 Artists facilitate the connection between these two seemingly distant worlds.
It is the job and objective of an artist to not only remind human beings of whence they came and where they will inevitably return, but to find the pulse of human consciousness and social relevance of the time in which they live. 
On top of that, they must seek to challenge, comment on, bring light to, and work to evolve these ideas towards and into the physical world.   
 The artist is in constant dialogue between two realms.  They must live in that place of vision and inspiration and then also inhabit the world of canvas, lighting, paints, brushes, dinner, laundry, bills and family.
In my family,  as in many creative families, there is not one artist, but many.  
At the helm of our creative family, my father Stan Padilla has been fulfilling his life’s work methodically while simultaneously raising a family.  A task made possible in part by my mother Roz Padilla, an artist in her own right.  With the love and practical support of my mother, my father was able to practice, hone, and envision his art and bring it to life.  As a sounding board, critic, friend, peer, and partner my mothers role of balance in my fathers work was a steadfast pillar of comfort, trust and respect.
From a place of great strength, his art and his work has evolved and continues to evolve in a bold, bright, and clearly  envisioned fashion.  As if arising from a deep sense of purpose, his work is revealed to the world in an assertively powerful display of crisp color, strong form, and enigmatic themes.
The work my father has done throughout his life has been varied and eclectic.  From teaching, public speaking, artistic collaborations, writing and illustrating books, to mentoring youth,  he has consistently been involved in his community in an attempt to help art permeate not only frames and walls, but every aspect of our lives.
Continually working to discover new frontiers and ideas, he can be found at the forefront  of cultural, social, and educational ideas.  He is always driven by a thirst for new, different and alternative ways of living and being in the world.  His art reflects these interests and his ever evolving quest for new, outside of the box ideas.
Just as my father worked to build a community through his work in the arts, his artistic ideals were at the forefront of our family life growing up.  My mothers work, our education orbiting his ideals for us as a family.  Through observation and exposure to art, culture and aesthetics, growing up, each of us in turn found our own outlet for living our life in a creative and artistic way.  
 As the parent to three creative, strong willed children, my father may not have guessed the joys and pitfalls of what his life within our family would encompass.   With a family of willful individuals, the dinner conversations were lively, the laughter abundant, the ideas ever flowing and the butting of heads inevitable. 
Many of my fathers ideas and much of his wisdom have been planted within the lives we each live today.  I clearly recall my father telling me,  that art isn’t just something hanging on the is all around us, it is in the way we live our lives.   
Art can sometimes be a messy process with spills, drips, rips, breaks, cracks and the ever present “mistake” culminating in a beauty and eloquence that sometimes only we can see. Similarly, our family has always been and continues to be...a work of art.  
As a piece of a creative whole, each member of our family stands apart as an individual yet also contributes an essential element to who and what we are collectively and individually.  And as is often the case when we take a moment to reflect, we see that it is no accident that we are in this life with these people.  We have much to learn from them and they have much to learn from us.  And as is also often the case, what we see as contrast in relationships and in life....really turns out to be complements. If we let them.
As my own personal creative piece, I live the life of an artist and mother in Eugene Oregon with my husband Marcus and our children Kai, 15 and Sophia, 13.  I work in a multitude of mediums, most prominent in my life currently are my work with wool, and silversmithing.  I also teach art to 7th and 8th graders at a local Waldorf inspired charter school.  In addition, I am  the the author of a blog entitled The Art Filled Life which can be found at 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hippie Granola

When I was a kid, my class went of a field trip to Yosemite.  It was 3rd grade.  Many things happened on this trip.  A bear broke into our camp and ate our chocolate. It poured rain one night and all the water pooled under the girls tent, right under my sleeping bag.  We had to pack all of our stuff over a river balancing on a log and some kid...I don't remember who...dropped their sleeping bag in the water.

 But what really stands out for me is that we had Granola.

Now...I remember there being a big kafuffle because for one of the breakfasts we were going to have on this field trip was Granola with Milk.  I distinctly remember one child actually being angry that we had to eat granola.  I think he was hoping for Froot Loops.   I remember thinking to myself, I LOVE granola. (I also love Froot Loops, but I was only ever allowed to have those at my Grandma Padilla's house.  She would buy us Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, and Coco Puffs and make us bacon and eggs and waffles every time we spent the night at her house.  She felt bad for us because my parents fed us granola and brown bread and we were hippie kids.)

I can even remember that though it was a cold, wet morning and I was still wet from my wet sleeping bag debacle, that granola was the best thing EVER!  It had almonds and coconut and the milk was whole.  Be still my beating heart...

I still love granola to this day.  I can't remember the last time I ate it with milk, let alone Whole milk.  Oh the luxury...

When my kids were little, I would buy the stuff in bulk and we ate it all the time.

These days...I make my own.  I will never go back.  Never Ever I tell you!

Why would I ever go back?  This is so easy...and yummy and simple...and healthy!

Gather up some of this stuff, I forgot to put my coconut out for the picture and I had no sesame seeds.

Mix everything up..spread it on a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper...

Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes...stir...pop back in the oven for another 15 minures.

Stir in dried fruit...I used turkish apricots because sometimes they lead me to tears of joy and redemption.

And these days, I don't do much milk, especially whole.  So I eat my granola just like this.

But my kids eat it with milk, on yogurt and even on ice cream.   Sometimes I make it into granola bars  for an easy lunch box snack.  It is a great energy fix for active kids!

I hope you like granola, and I hope you like this recipe.  

If not, there is something clearly wrong with you.

Hippie Granola
3 Cups rolled oats
1/2 Cup flaked coconut
1/2-1 Cup chopped nuts (like almond and pecan personally)
1/2 shelled sunflower seeds
1/4 sesame seeds/pumpkin seeds
1 Cup dried fruit
1/4 Cup maple syrup
1/4 Cup molasses 
1/3 Cup oil, not olive

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
Mix maple syrup, molasses and oil together.
Pour maple syrup mixture over oats and nuts and seeds, mix thoroughly.
Spread out evenly onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in 300 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Stir granola and spread out again.
Bake for another 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and stir in dried fruit.
Let cool.

I store mine in quart glass jars with screw on lids. The Granola can be frozen between uses. I suggest it actually because of the oil and all the oils in the nuts and seeds, it will keep it from going bad.  Oil goes rancid easily.  Rancid oil in no good for you, even if it comes from delicious granola.  I keep all my nuts and seeds in the freezer and my oil (not olive) in the fridge.

Remember that this is just a basic recipe...change it up if you like to suit your likes and dislikes.

Combos I like...Almond/Cherry
                        Bacon/Froot Loop