Greetings From Utopia Park.

51VevgN9+YL._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_I once had a short but hilariously life altering romance with a guy who practiced Transcendental Meditation. Not only was he a twice per day practitioner, but he had grown up in Fairfield Iowa among thousands of like-minded individuals and families. His stories about growing up there fascinated me. He was a truly unique person and I felt drawn to discover how he came to be that way – a large part of which was his growing up in a town that was part rural, part cult, part hippie and part townie. Now that I’m raising my own child and thinking of how people get to be how they are, I think about people like him that I have met along the way.

So I was very enthusiastic to read the new book Greetings From Utopia Park, written by a woman who had also grown up in that same small town. Her mother, a single parent, moved there with her two kids in effort to have a more peaceful life. It cuts me to the core reading about how hard her mother worked and how she made many mistakes – but how loving she was and what a close relationship they ultimately have as mother and child. The author now has children of her own and is able to reflect a bit on her mother’s experience as a single mom. I only wish I could have read a little more of that in the book. It’s really a page turner. And it may make you want to do a little meditating…



Single mama self-care on a shoestring


Self care, schmelf care. It gets so much talk and makes perfect sense – except that it feels impossible to have as a single parent. Especially one on a budget. A friend recommended this book almost a year ago and I finally got around to reading it… Low and behold it’s full of really helpful tips – 101 to be exact. I’m taking a lot of them to heart. One of the tips included a list of free to very inexpensive ways we can take care of ourselves. I thought I’d list five from the book here…

  1. Go to a museum (on a free day!) and get inspired by some great art.
  2. Grab a hot or cold drink and sit…on the beach, by a river, or in your backyard for 20 minutes.
  3. (If your child is with their other parent for the weekend) take a weekend retreat to a monastery where they don’t charge you much to stay.
  4. Stargaze. (Something you can even do on your way to take out the trash at night).
  5. Make yourself some popcorn and watch a movie.

There are so many more ideas on the book. And you can even get a used copy of it for 1 cent here!

Getting our PhD in parenting: links to look at


Michelle Williams on single motherhood.

The Continuum Concept is  the root of modern “attachment parenting.”

On how hard we struggle in the absence of the village.

I’m making a “stop-doing list.

Every parent needs the good reminder that there are a thousand ways to meditate.



Intentions / June version



Eating / French lentil and farro stew with spinach.

Drinking / Water. Water. And more water.

Practicing / How to be the best parent I can be. Every. Single. Day.

Thinking / About a haircut.

(Still) Learning / To trust my intuition about people.

Trying / To keep writing here. Even when I’m busy and overwhelmed. Because it helps a little.

Playing / Episodes of Ask This Old House. I love that my kid and I both like watching this.

Loving / My unique, caring, determined, clever, hilarious child.

Reading, me / Orchard House

Reading, toddler / The Skin You Live In

Remembering / My 17 year old self. She was a bad-ass. I liked her.

Wearing / These sandals.

Cooking / Stocking the fridge for the week. Hard-boiled eggs, three bean salad, carrot/cucumber/edamame salad, salmon cakes, quinoa cakes, crock-pot beet hummus, granola.

Working / Out. Thanks to seemingly endless Groupon deals.

Traveling / Sardine Lake here we come!

Wanting / To never worry about money again.

My Inside Out Brain


image via

Ok, I know I’m late to this bandwagon, but we just saw the movie “Inside Out.” And it was pretty awesome – was thought provoking for both a 3 year old and a 34 year old and also provided great future talking points about emotions. A week later, I’m still pondering over what my Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust all look like at this point in time. Who is asleep at the wheel in there? Who is overactive? Who is getting their fingerprints all over things? Who is taking an early retirement? Who do I need to call on more? Who is taking the blame? Who is showing up all day every day? A lot to think about…

I do know that after we watched it – and for the rest of the day – my 3 year old called me Joy and himself the imaginary pink elephant. I think that is all I need to know right now. 😉