Doniga Markegard’s Fall/Winter 2019 Schedule

Doniga Markegard—regenerative rancher, conservationist, and author of the memoir Dawn Again, has lots of events and appearances planned for the second half of 2019. Join her (and sometimes Katy Bowman, as well!) for these exciting events concerning her book, sustainable farming, food, and movement.

August 10–16, Montana. Doniga will be a guest instructor at a few Women in Ranching Gatherings at various ranches in Montana. These are invite-only events.

August 28, 6:00–8:45 pm, Redwood City, CA. Join Doniga and the San Mateo Chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation for a potluck, discussion, and signing of Dawn Again at the Redwood City Library.

September 22, 9:00 am–1:30 pm, Ojai, CA. Doniga and Katy Bowman will do a joint dynamic lecture on “Wilderness Moves: Food and Farming Movements” at Poco Farms. The $100 ticket price includes lunch.

September 22, 5:45–7:30 pm, Ventura, CA. Both Doniga and Katy will give a lecture on “Movement Matters: The Missing Piece from our Sustainability Model” at Patagonia’s flagship store. More information coming soon.

October 3, The Netherlands. Doniga will be a speaker at the Food Inspiration Trendsummit 2019 in The Netherlands for the “Shaping the Future of Food” panel.

October 21, 8:00 am–3:00 pm, Occidental, CA. Doniga will be a speaker at the Bioneers Post-Conference Workshop “Water and Agriculture: Strategies to Create Resilience and Avert a Crisis” at the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

November 29–December 1, Scotts Valley, CA. Join Doniga and co-instructor Laura Fraser for a writing retreat on “Tracking and Writing the Wild” at 1440 Multiversity.


Where are the Denzels?

You might have heard that Roland & Galina Denzel, co-authors of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, have recently moved from California to a new home in Colorado. Want to know more about what they’ve been up to? Hear it from Galina herself below.

authors Galina & Roland Denzel in front of a "Welcome to Colorful Colorado" sign

We’ve been writing together for 11 years and living together as a family for eight. During that time, I had a full-time job as a movement teacher and trauma healing specialist, and Roland worked as a print analyst for a large corporation, with evenings and weekends dedicated to writing and health coaching. We had very full and demanding lives, and we tried to maximize our self-care in the little time we had.

During these eight years together, we took greater and greater strides towards modifying our environment—we were always aware that a real food diet and exercise were not enough to offset the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, a noise-polluted environment, and a nature- and community-deficient life. So we moved from an apartment that had little light and plant growing space, where we literally grew our greens with a grow light, to a larger space with more light and room to teach cooking classes. Then we moved to a townhome with more growing space for veggies and edible flowers and a gathering space for friends that was closer to my studio so I could walk instead of bike, and much closer to wilderness trails than before. We were aware of how changing our living space created more opportunities for movement, for nature, for better food, for connection. We even had a quieter space to record our podcast! Yet, we felt that long workdays indoors, and some of our new dreams—relationship, creative and professional—were asking for yet another change in environment.

In May, we moved from California to Colorado. For me, it was a love at first sight experience, since I grew up next to mountains and have always felt so at home around peaks, trees, and snow-surrounded valleys. Roland, a California native, is still learning that weather is fun—and having four seasons in one day is totally a Colorado experience. Also, hail hurts!!

We’ve been blessed with wonderful friends and community here, as so many of our Nutritious Movement colleagues and friends live close by. We’ve also discovered that three of families we know and love are moving here later this year, independent of each other, and our hearts are so full!

Roland stands in a field with the Rockies as a backdrop.

Of course, not owning my movement studio and working more online with clients has created a whole new flow of the day—we are being conscious of more screen time, and truly dedicated to bookending our days outside in natural light. We’ve also found that gardening and badminton make incredible movement breaks outside! We were lucky to find a neighborhood with established old trees and native plant gardens, so each walk is truly a healing balm for the eyes. We have bunnies, squirrels, and even foxes here in Fox Hill, Longmont. The Rockies are just a short drive away, and there are plenty of people to hike with!

We’re finding that more outdoor time in natural light, more time to be with friends, and a community that supports care for the environment are truly nourishing us. Even something as simple as being able to compost 90% of our trash and dedicating ourselves to be as single-use and plastic-free as possible is making a huge difference in our mood and mental health. People are asking if we miss the ocean—who wouldn’t miss the ocean? Or the friends we have in California?! You have to grow your heart to hold everything you love and everything you are stepping into! We have many sweet memories of it and we know we will visit for long walks and swims soon!

Roland looks out over water.

What are we working on now that we are not in our 10-12 hour day full-time jobs? I am working on bringing new movement courses and workshops, as well as coaching offers, to our online school on eatmovelive52.com, and have been growing a beautiful and compassionate curriculum around emotional eating and conscious eating. In fact, I just finished a new free book called Peace with Self Peace with Food, which will be available for free for a short while, as readers become familiar with a nervous system approach to healing from the pain of emotional eating.

Roland took the big plunge out of the corporate world last year, and if you’ve ever done anything like that you know it’s scary as hell. Yet, he’s been consistent and passionate about helping others and he’s growing a wonderful community of people who are interested in losing weight in a kind and compassionate way through a real food lifestyle. He has a new program coming up, called Weight Loss Now. He’s also leading several Breakthrough coaching groups for people who are serious about making a change in their health trajectory. He’s also working actively on his urban fantasy novel and is helping out writers in his Indestructible author community live healthy and happy lives as they write long hours each day to make their book ideas reality!

Roland & Galina sit outside and eat with friends.

Life has been good to us. We’ve said yes to our vision for a new season of life, and we are so blessed to be supported by beautiful nature, a home that can hold our work and life, and be a base for local learning and retreats, and a community of people who need nature and love it as much as we do. Many of you know that we chose Colorado because I want to go back to school here, and I can’t wait to tell you more about it next time.

For now, from us, the Denzels, happy reading and we hope that the tools, tips, and life we share inspire you to grow your dreams and make them happen wherever you are.


Doniga Markegard with Patagonia

Do you know that Doniga Markegard, author of Dawn Again, was featured in a promotion with Patagonia recently? If you missed it, watch it below now!

Doniga is a regenerative farmer who provides grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork and chicken to their community in Half Moon Bay, California from her and her husband’s ranch, Markegard Family Grass-Fed. Their practices of regenerative farming, holistic planned grazing, and watershed stewardship helps to make their farm as environmentally-friendly as possible! Go, Doniga!


Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well Cracker Recipe for National Bake for Family Fun Month

Galina Denzel, co-author of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, knows a lot about nutritious eating. She creates fresh recipes for each month’s unique theme through their program at eatmovelive365.com! February is National Bake for Family Fun Month, so we have a cracker recipe from Galina to share that is both nutritious and fun to make.

Perfect Crackers
It may sound less than humble, but these have crunch, flavor, and protein and provide a solid base for a spread or mini hipster toasts—who wouldn’t call these perfect?

In the pictures we have served them with avocado, hummus and cashew cheese, ricotta and sprouts, but please make them your own and make your own stunning delicious display! These also work great to take to work as snacks and are easily portable for hikes and outings.

For 4-8 servings
1/2 cup flax seeds, ground
1/2 cup flax seeds
1 cup water
1 cup unbleached almond meal
1/2 cup hemp seed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp dry oregano
1 tsp dry thyme
Substitute your own choice of herbs for different flavors

Directions
Start by mixing the flax and water and let it sit a while—an hour minimum, but overnight is best. The flax will soak up the water perfectly. Combine the other dry ingredients: hemp, almond, sea salt, and dry spices, and add olive oil. Use your fingers to work the ingredients
together into a thick paste. Combine with the two kinds flax, soaked from before. Once you have your mixture, spread and press into a non-stick baking dish or cookie sheet and cook at 360F for 25-30 minutes or until golden. The thickness should not be more than 5 mm. When you pull them out of the oven let them rest until cooled and cut carefully so they don’t
crumble. Enjoy the lovely crisp end pieces! You can serve these as they are or with dips and spreads on top. I imagine they last long in a cool dry place, but we never let them sit around more than a couple of days.


National Green Juice Day

Emily Hagenburger January 25, 2019 No Comments

January 26 is National Green Juice Day! Get the most from the day with this advice from Galina & Roland Denzel, authors of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well.

We see more and more of our readers and students opt for a green drink in the morning. The reason? Convenience for most! It’s much easier to tip back a delicious liquid while putting one shoe on and sending a child out the door to school than sitting with a crunchy spinach and kale salad, isn’t it? While there is nothing inherently “bad” in a green drink, here is how to ensure you make the most of your green habit:

  1. A green drink is not a complete meal. While electrolytes and water abound in green drinks, sodium and potassium will only get your body going so far. A complete meal for an average size female may contain 500-700 calories with a combination of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, including fiber. A green drink, even when large, will provide mostly carbohydrate in the form of simple sugars, no fiber and none of the other macronutrients. Consider having your juice and still adding protein, healthy fats, and fiber to create a complete meal.
  2. Remember to chew. Juice is extracted from an actual plant, and before juicers came around, we relied on our teeth to get the liquid from inside the plant cells. This allowed time to mix the food with saliva, and since carbohydrate digestion starts in the mouth, the process of carbohydrate breakdown could begin properly. When we drink juice, there isn’t enough time for saliva and carbohydrate to mix, so it’s key to remember to “chew” your juice. Hold and swish it in your mouth for a while before swallowing.
  3. Chew other food. Chewing is key for keeping your teeth and jaw healthy, mineralizing bone and exercising your facial muscles. If you drink all your vegetables, you are missing on the natural movement of chewing –often wanting to catch up with crunchy foods like chips and pretzels – which make the loud noises you are missing, too! Believe it or not, making noise is a part of the food experience and we do miss it! If you don’t want to have one of those days that starts off with a green drink and ends with a bag of chips, remember to have enough raw and cooked veggies at your other meals and keep juice as a special occasion a few times a week or when you are really in a hurry.
  4. Make your own juice if you can. It takes effort and time to select, wash and juice your own veggies: I like to mix kale, spinach, green apple, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, turmeric, and a bit of pineapple. There are several benefits of doing this. First, you have complete control of the quality of the veggies, how they are grown and washed. This keeps your juice clean and free from contaminants, as well as parasites and viruses that can hop on food when it’s not properly handled. Washing, chopping and juicing gets you to
    touch and get in contact with your food – leading to better digestion, connection with the food, and satiety. The process of mindful eating starts well before we’ve taken the first drink. Last but not least, the physical work that it takes to wash and cut the veggies and fruit is movement our bodies need and can use – so many of us feel the effects of a sedentary lifestyle, and outsourcing juicing to someone else means missing out on a great movement opportunity.
  5. Discard of your pulp in a smart way. I have friends who work it back into meatloaf or creamy soup in order to increase their fiber content or even make dog treats. We use juice pulp to feed our worms in the worm compost outside. They say they love it!

Practice What You Publish: How to Start a Walking Book Club (and Why You Might Want To)

STEPHANIE DOMET January 9, 2018 2 Comments

This special guest “practice what you publish” edition of the Propriometrics Press blog is written by our publisher and best-selling author, Katy Bowman. Keen on getting us all moving more, here’s one idea to help you #stackyourlife for more movement.

 

A walking book club allows us to address multiple needs—movement, community, idea development, and the exchange of perspectives—all at once (#stackyourlife). If you work as a movement teacher, it’s also an excellent way to connect with more students and expand the types of movement you’re offering. Starting one is simple–there are so many ways to go about creating one!

  1. Choose a book that’s going to be accessible to a wide range of people. Make sure it’s at the local library, for example, and consider checking if it’s available as an audiobook or ebook (giving font size options) too.
  2. Contact the author or publisher and see if you might be able to obtain a discount code for a bulk purchase.
  3. Announce the book to the people you’re inviting to join, giving people about a month of lead time to read it, and include the discount code if you received one.
  4. Choose your route. You want to have about two or three hours of time to properly discuss a book, so choose the route accordingly.

Note: I suggest having your first walking book club route be over quite simple and accessible terrain, so that all bodies feel comfortable joining. Once you have your club established and have an idea of the varied abilities of those involved, you can decide if you want to increase the complexity of your route, with inclines, natural terrain, etc. Ideally you could make the walk a bit harder over the course of the book club (so over six months, for example).

  1. About two weeks before, send out another note about the book club, detailing the route and asking for RSVPs. Also ask those interested to flag sections of the book they’d like to discuss more.
  2. On the day of the walking book club, facilitate the discussion in a way that gives space for all voices. Hearing different perspectives and ideas is the best part of a book club! Our editor Penelope Jackson (who’s participated in tons of book club sessions) suggests: “Make sure to create space for people who hated the book but might be too shy to say so. An easy way to facilitate this is with an ‘I see most of us loved the book! Were there any criticisms? I personally felt that the book was a little X.’ You can formalize the discussion by taking turns, or you can ask everyone to start by giving the book a star rating and a quick explanation.”

 

There are countless books out there—and we want to read most of them! You don’t have to read books about movement for a dynamic book club (I’m currently reading sci-fi in preparation for an upcoming walk and talk), but if you’re trying this idea out because you’re in a movement mindset, a book about movement might be a good choice.

We really love #indiebooks, so below here are some you might not have heard of, as well as some compilations of books on trekking long distances and books that make you feel like being and moving in nature! Do you have a book you’d suggest? Please leave it in the comments below!

10 Great Outdoor Adventure Books for Hikers

National Outdoor Leadership Skills “Favorite Books About Leadership by Women”

Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit

The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

Off Trail by Jane Parnell

Yak Girl by Dorje Dolma

Honouring High Places by Junko Tabei

Dawn Again by Doniga Markegard

 

 

 


#practicewhatyoupublish and other tips for holiday season happiness from our authors

For the last several months, I’ve been participating in a challenge to walk a hundred kilometres in a month, alongside two of my siblings, and a bunch of our childhood friends. This month, the online group in which we report our progress and egg each other on, is called “100 km in Crazy December…We Got This!!”—a nod to the way December seems to zip by in a cloud of twinkle lights and shortbread cookies, with one’s best intentions scattered like so much shredded wrapping paper after a gift-exchange frenzy. Without that kind of external motivation and accountability, I know it’s easy for me to forget I live in a body at all. My month is shaping up to include lots of time at my desk (book rewrites are coming my way this week, plus there’s the work I do here at Propriometrics Press and on Katy Says, the bi-weekly podcast from our author Katy Bowman), lots of time at my sewing machine (making Christmas presents for family and friends, and yes, for myself!), and lots of time in the car (my husband and I drive eighteen hours to see my family at Christmas).

All of this, plus the usual hustle and bustle of the season, could set me up for a stressed out, sedentary month. But I’ve been thinking about the hashtag we use on social media: #practicewhatyoupublish, and I’ve asked some of our authors to share with me—and with you—their best tips. We hope you’ll find some inspiration for your own life here!

 

Galina Denzel, the co-author of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, writes about meditation in that book’s chapter “Meditate on This.” But, she notes, “sitting meditation comes easier in those times when I have relative peace, life is in flow and I am not facing huge challenges. But with the holidays, there is more stress, more expenses, more travel, more preparations in our home. On top of it, we have a special holiday program, and our students need our attention, so technically, we put a lot on our plates.” So here’s how Galina embodies #practicewhatyoupublish:

While our life is rich with many amazing holiday experiences, it becomes harder to wake up and pull my cushion, sit and just drop into what’s in my body. And herein lies the paradox: the times when I most need to attend to my inner world is the time when I am least wanting to do it, because…there is stuff to do. Around this time of year I choose to do walking meditations instead of sitting meditations. It’s a way for me to combine two of my favorite ways to stay connected with myself at a time when walking comes easier than sitting. This way my walk to the store can become an opportunity to drop in and be with myself and attend to emotions, thoughts, sensations, connections that are tugging at my heart. I can do it on my way to or from work. I can do it while walking with my partner.

I usually choose one of three anchors for my walks. On some walks, I choose to attend to my breath, as I walk and become aware of certain thoughts, events, sensations, emotions or connections, I keep my awareness on my breath. This way I have a line connecting my attention to my breath and my whole experience organizes around it. A second anchor may be the ground. As I walk, I feel my contact with the ground—right, left, right, left—aware of the textures under my feet. A third anchor may be the colors around me—as my attention drifts I always come back to the colors and notice here is red, here is yellow. You can choose your own way to organize your walking meditations, and make this idea your own.

Practicing walking meditation is all about setting the right intention and can really transform how you feel through the holidays. To make it easier, I am sharing one of the walking meditations from our holiday program. Have a listen. (http://eatmovelive52.com/walking-meditation/)

Joan Virginia Allen is a co-author of Dynamic Aging:

During the holiday season, I am in the car a lot. Great opportunity to practice head ramping as explained in Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility. For more information on head ramping, check out our blog entry “As Long as You Breathe, Change is Possible” at www.dynamicaging4life.com.

 

 

Doniga Markegard is the author of Dawn Again:

Winter brings time to breathe. Winter brings people together to sit around the fire and talk about the season, talk about our dreams, reflect, and imagine the future. I have been thinking a lot about the future. When you have kids it is hard not to. The changing climate, political system, and the rapid pace of tech growth are all subjects to talk about around the fire. There is something about sitting around the fire with other people that brings about a depth of honest conversation that is difficult to achieve in everyday passing.

I recently had the chance to sit around the fire at Wilderness Awareness School while I was on my book tour in Washington. This was the same fire I wrote about in Dawn Again. That was 20 years ago. It has been burning nearly daily since that time. Each year a new group of youth comes to gather around that fire and talk, cry, dance, dream, and imagine the future.

Pictured here, Doniga Markegard and her son Larry teaching Holistic Context-Setting to the Wilderness Awareness School apprentices

Katy Bowman, author of eight books, including Movement Matters:

My books are always about movement—specifically natural movement, transitioning your body to handle more natural movement, and where movement can fit back into your life. When it comes to movement, the holidays can be stressful because with the addition of so many extra “things to do,” the bout of daily exercise is the first to go. For many, it’s the least connected thing to other elements of life and so is the easiest thing to set aside when all the other plans come in.

Katy’s Hiking Advent invitation from 2016

The way I #PracticeWhatYouPublish is to, obviously, keep moving. I choose less convenient methods (read lots of things by hand!) of processing raw or foraged ingredients. I also like to celebrate with movement—to infuse the holiday with movement—so that we can move together (yay Vitamin Community!). I create exercise advents for my social media followers, giving them one exercise each day. I send out a “Week Before Christmas Hiking Countdown” letting our friends know where we’ll be hiking and at what time, and that they (or even just their kids) are invited. We hold a holiday-eve brunch for all our friends, often eating outside and then heading out for long walk down a local trail. In short, I’ve worked to make the holidays ABOUT moving. Movement is not only a great way through which to celebrate, movement should be celebrated. Movement is the gift!

Shelah Wilgus is a co-author of Dynamic Aging:

During the holiday season and any other time, I make sure to calf stretch several times a day. I leave a half foam roller in front of my sink in the bathroom. That way I can do a double calf stretch while brushing my teeth or just washing up. Detailed instruction for doing the calf stretch can be found in Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility.

Alison Bernhoft is the author of Entropy Academy: How to Succeed at Homeschooling Even if You Don’t Homeschool:

I have a couple of Entropy-Busting Ideas which helped me keep the chaos at bay, at least as regards Christmas stockings:  early in the year, I hung up plastic grocery bags, one per child, on a rail in my closet kept exclusively for that purpose. (It’s a short rail, and we have six kids, in case you were wondering.)  As the months passed, the bags filled with odd items that I found on sale, with mementos of some of the trips we had made, maybe a CD from a concert we had particularly enjoyed. Then it was a simple matter to add the traditional English piece of silver money, apple and satsuma in the toe, then fill it up chocolates, brain puzzles, and a giant plastic candy cane filled with M&Ms.

Warning! Once wrapped, small presents become impossible to tell apart! THE ONLY WAY TO FILL STOCKINGS AND STAY SANE is to use different paper for each  child, (but the same paper for all that child’s presents.)

And Alison’s daughter Lorna adds:
The distinctive thing we did that comes to mind is extending the season and acknowledging the Magi by exchanging books on January 6, the Epiphany. Strong emphasis on extending the season!

As for me, I’m excited to apply some of these tips to my December, and I hope you are, too! In my family, we called January 6 Little Christmas, and there was always a special meal, and a small gift for everyone around the table. I loved the way it brought forward the warmth of the season into the new year. From everyone here at Propriometrics Press, may that warmth be your companion long after the last gift is unwrapped and the twinkle lights are packed away.

 

 


Nature school rules

As kids and parents everywhere get ready to get back to school—whatever that might mean in households and communities across the continent and beyond—we’re getting ready to publish Dawn Again, by Doniga Markegard. As well as being a memoir of Doniga’s time as a wildlife tracker and regenerative rancher, it is also a love letter to a nature-based education.

 

Doniga was fifteen years old and rebelling hard when she finally found her way to the Wilderness Awareness School near her home in Washington State. Attending high school through WAS changed Doniga’s life for the better (you can read more about that here), and the experience continues to ripple and reverberate through her adult life, and into the lives of her children, all of whom are also students at their local nature school in San Mateo County, California. And Doniga has kept her hand in, too. She’s an instructor at Riekes Center for Human Enhancement, bringing what she learned in nature school to a new generation of students.

Because Doniga is passionate about nature education, she’s looking forward to celebrating the launch of Dawn Again with an interactive Facebook Live event on Wednesday, November 1. We’re inviting nature school administrators and parents to take part, as well as anyone who’s curious about a nature-based education and whether it’s right for their family. The event is called What Comes After Nature School?, and it’s free and open to all who are interested.

The details:

What: An interactive Facebook Live event called What Comes After Nature School?

Who: Doniga Markegard, regenerative rancher, nature school graduate, author of forthcoming memoir Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild

When: Wednesday, November 1 at 4pm-5pm PST 

Where: Online, wherever you are! It’s all happening on our Facebook page

Why: To hear about Doniga’s nature school experience, the ways in which it prepared her for college and her adult life, and why she chooses it for her own children now, and to have your own questions about nature education answered

We look forward to seeing you there!


Golden days

I’ve written before about how we celebrate good news, here at Propriometrics Press. Well, the emoji strings were flying thick and fast Saturday night, as news broke that we had won not one but TWO gold medals at the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards.

Three of our books were nominated for Health Book of the Year: Diastasis Recti and Movement Matters, both by Katy Bowman, and Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, by Galina Denzel and Roland Denzel. Movement Matters was also nominated in the Essays category. Much to our delight, Movement Matters won the gold medal for Essays, and Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well picked up gold for Health.

Here’s how that news was received in our virtual office on Saturday:

 

Once we’d cleaned up after the confetti cannon, frolicked for a while in nature, and consumed all the virtual champagne and tacos, I had a chance to ask our winning authors what it meant to them to win a Foreword Indie.

“Although I’ve written many books, I still think of myself as a sort of blogger-turned-author,” says Katy Bowman. “Most of what I write is on the internet—in short bursts on social media or in the occasional article. And even though I write about the importance of movement to our physiological, social, and ecological models, my books have always been relegated to FITNESS categories, making it challenging to spread the idea that movement is critical to our bodies, lives, and planet to anyone but exercisers. Movement Matters won Best Essays! In a contest open to essays on all topics, with judges who are into books, and who are not necessarily into movement or exercise or fitness or even health! I’m excited because it means Movement Matters is accessible—interesting, even—to those outside of fitness, which is the most critical step in bringing the idea that movement matters to the world.”

Roland Denzel echoes that sentiment. “We’re honored and thrilled to have been nominated,” he says, “but overjoyed to have won. It’s wonderful to be recognized for our hard work, and when it’s by people outside of the health and fitness industries, it’s even better. This is the audience we’ve always wanted to reach and help, so when they appreciate our work, we know we’ve succeeded.”

And finally, I asked our editor in chief, Penelope Jackson, what went through her mind when she heard the news two of our books had won gold—especially in light of how new this company is, and how small our list is. She resisted the urge to reply in emoji strings and celebratory gifs (for once), and instead told me: “What I thought of first was all of the hours Roland, Galina, and Katy put into writing their magnificent books; all the time I and our other editors spent working with the text; the time Zsofi spent designing and laying them out; all the time you, Steph, have spent managing distribution and sales and printing. So much of the work that goes into a book travelling from an author’s mind to a reader’s hands is invisible, and that’s why these awards are meaningful. They are a recognition of all that uncelebrated labour. We know how special and brilliant our authors are, and we know that every minute of our work has been more than worth it—I’m so glad other people see it too.”

Emoji tacos and champagne for all!


Mother of all gardens

My mother has always been a gardener. Together, she and my father turned our suburban corner lot into a glorious green place, where we grew most of the vegetables our family of six ate in the summer, where we composted our organic kitchen waste (long, long before composting was trendy, or even understood by our friends and neighbors), and where we kids spent summer evenings picking stones out of the soil, and summer mornings harvesting endless rows of beans, cucumbers, and tomatoes so my parents could pickle, can, and otherwise preserve them.

Years passed, and our yard went through many phases, growing and changing as our family did. The huge garden gave way to a swimming pool and my parents continued to grow a few tomatoes and other favorites in raised beds my dad made. After he died, those went fallow, and then gave way to grass.

But this year, my almost-seventy-year-old mother decided she’s ready to grow some tomatoes again. There’s a decently sunny patch just off the deck in the backyard, but it was terribly unkempt, filled with raspberry canes and spring onions that had gone rogue from other parts of the garden, and a rhizome-spreading visitor from next door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mom wanted three planting boxes, and a stone pathway she could use to get among them to do her work. So, on a recent visit in advance of Mother’s Day, my spouse knocked together three nice planters, and Mom and I got busy with shovels, rakes, and brute strength. We pulled out an old planter, dug out bags and bags of that invader from next door, harvested some spring onions and some nearby rhubarb, dug out and moved rocks that were in our way, and got the area ready to become a new garden.

This made for two day’s worth of bending, pulling, pushing, grasping, squatting, single leg squatting, reaching, and twisting, lots of barefoot-on-dirt time, and tons of fresh air. Not to mention the time spent hanging out with each other, working side by side, or resting on the deck, drinking water and congratulating ourselves on our hard work.

Mom wanted a path she could feel comfortable stepping down onto, and walking over, while she goes about her planting and weeding. Something that would provide both stability for her less-sure moments, and enough texture that she can continue to challenge her balance and give her bare feet some lumps and bumps to navigate.

My mom has just started reading Dynamic Aging, and while she doesn’t see herself climbing trees like Joan, Joyce, Shelah, and Lora, she is absolutely interested in aging well, maintaining the mobility she does have, and even gaining more if she can. She’s even getting back to her composting roots, albeit on a smaller scale than our garden’s earliest days.

I’ve been working to #stackmylife more consistently, and this project really lent itself to that philosophy: I moved more, and moved more of me, racked up some barefoot time, spent time with my mother, took care of a little patch of the Earth, enabled my mom to move more, and move more of her, and to divert some organic waste to her own backyard to feed the soil that will eventually feed her (and me, if I’m lucky!). Also, that’s Mother’s Day gift-giving done and dusted. A pretty efficient use of two mornings, I must say.

If you’re still looking for a gift for your mom, or for one you know, we’ve sorted some of our recent books into helpful piles for you! Find what you’re looking for at your favorite online or bricks and mortar book retailer, and Happy Mother’s Day to all who mark it!