Monday, September 9

Farewell to Blogger.

It's been less than two weeks since I had major surgery (which you can read more about in my latest post). I'm healing more easily than I could have ever dreamed. I know that so many of you were rallying behind me and the enormous amouts of love, the bucket loads of well wishes, have really helped to lift me up and make this a very positive experience. Thank you for that. Thank you for being so lovely and so careing and so free with your warmth. 
As most of you know, I've been writing on Kunst der Kuh for nearly 5 years! You have been with me through some enormous changes;  a life abroad, pregnancy after infertility, an unexpected birth experience, many, many trips across the world, including this latest one back to our home in the United States, and now a life-changing surgery. Not to mention page after page after page of art, history, food, friends, fun, and love.
Ever since being back, I have not been able to quite fit the blog into our new life here. Something feels amiss, as if maybe that chapter needs to close in order to allow for a new one to begin. I am so ready to begin. I feel cleaned out and re-energized. I know that the future holds promise for me, and I want to seize that and move forward. 
I do still want to blog, I need to blog. So I am closing the door on the old blog and renewing the spirit here. Don't worry! All the old posts will stay! 
Thank you, to each and every one of you, for the support you have lent me over the past few years. This is has, so far, been one of the most amazing experiences of my life... I look forward to many more years to come!

Wednesday, August 21

In which my Lady Bits leave the building.

Next Wednesday I am checking into the surgery ward down the street and Thursday I will be wheeled out with a few less organs. I have been trying to think of a way to 'announce' that, I guess the blog is the best place really. I've talked a lot about endometriosis here, and that's what this boils down to. 

The pain began 12 years ago during my first and only semester of college, in a split second that lands me in the hospital in fear of an unknown miscarriage; a scary moment for the *very* young couple Chris and I are at the time. It's not a baby, thanks to the actual cause of pain. 

Four years and many missed days of work, bottles of pain killers, and long, sad nights later, I sit in my doctor's office facing my first surgery to diagnose what he thinks it may be. I awake from anesthesia to sad news, things I didn't even know could happen. A clubbed tube. Attached ovaries. Scar tissue spider-webbing throughout my abdomen. Bleeding cells wreaking havoc having gone unchecked for years. News that I better try to get pregnant now, within six months, before I lose my chances forever. 

Save my uterus. That's all I ask of the doctor. He does. I don't get pregnant. And I don't. And I don't. And I don't. The pain comes and goes, but never as severe. Diet can do wonders for how endo makes you feel. On a feeding regimen of bread, soda, and coffee, hell on Earth can be felt. Take those away for only one month and life can feel normal again. Mostly. 

It still grows. It still spreads. 

Another four years. Another surgery. Clear the tubes. Cut the scar tissue once more. And then...


Surprised by this organ that I've hated for years, that I've coddled and despised and treated with the utmost respect and disdain simultaneously... this little pocket of tissue fulfills my deepest desires in an instant. Now I love it.  I celebrate it! It makes me woman! It makes me mother! It creates the most incredible being I've ever seen, ever imagined. 

As I watch him grow, the damn bloody cells grow too. Unseen, another four years. I always imagined the first pains that night in the hospital to  have felt as if laboring a child would feel. Now I know. They do. One long tearful night later and I am lost. I can't keep doing this. Love and hate. Pain and pleasure. I've held on to my uterus long enough. 

I need to let it go. It needs to let me go. 

Fear grips me.... but the pain no longer will. 


I found this a little bit ago and it kind of makes me feel better: 

"What I realized though is that your uterus may be leaving – but your You-terus is fully intact.
  • Your You-terus is the most fertile part of you – the part that is always pregnant with ideas.
  • Your You-terus provides a structural, moral integrity to the systems that surround it – your ideas, wishes, hopes and dreams – they are irrevocably connected.
  • Your You-terus provides a warm, safe, nurturing environment for your creativity.
  • Your You-terus will always be able to contract, expand, and give birth — as you are an unstoppable creator.
  • And Your You-terus, which learned a lot from your uterus by the way, can never, ever, be removed." (from My Uterus, My Choice)

Friday, August 16

A place for art!

I want to finally show off our home art studio! 
I somehow don't have a before photo, but imagine a (brown) carpeted den with a random assortment of seating, desks, shelves, toys, and electronics. 
We tore up the carpet, painted the concrete, bought enough furniture to outfit a small classroom, added some more permanent shelving, and hung the rest of our art collection. This is the result: 

A few things have been added, because it is now also my sewing room/classroom, but I managed to keep that to a minimum. And of course, these photos where from when it was brand-spnking-new-sparling-clean... it's a bit more lived in now. ;)

And this is our first kids' art morning! They are going to be a bi-weekly event, and I'm super excited to keep them going! I'm so thankful for the group I've met here that is just as enthusiastic about them. (hearts!!)

I have *many* hopes and dreams for this room!

Thursday, August 15

Comfort food.

We left Germany a year ago this week, on the 9th I think.
I miss many parts about it, that's for sure.
One thing (one of the biggest things) is the Indian restaurant, Taj Mahal, in Bernkastle. This is where we celebrated every birthday, every accomplishment, and where we brought almost every single person that visited us in the seven years we lived there. So much love, such delicious food, all under the lovely shadow of a centuries-old castle atop a hill, and with a hand-made Italian gelato joint right across the walkplatz that we thoroughly enjoyed every summer.
My favorite dish to order was Aloo Matar, or potatoes and peas in tomato cream sauce.
Once we got to the U.S. I scoured the area for a good replica of this dish. I found a really decent one, but everyone else in the house is not so keen on that particular restaurant (not to mention we are all a little broke now and don't want to spend so much on dinner!). So it's for *really* special occasions. In the meantime, I learned to make this delicious dish just to my liking. I hope that if I ever made if for the family in Bernkastle that they would be proud! I make it about once a week now, and it warms my belly and my heart each time! I thought I'd share the recipe with you, in case you are ever feeling adventurous and want a little taste of *my* home. ;)

Aloo Matar (this is adapted from a recipe at

2 small potatoes, cubed and boiled
2 cups frozen peas
1 medium white onion, diced
2 teaspoons crushed and chopped garlic
2 teaspoons crushed and chopped ginger
2 cups stewed or crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons cumin seeds1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Salt to taste
Water to add to make thinner if desired

  1. Heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add cumin and fenugreek seeds and bay leaves.
  3. When seeds begin to splutter, add onion, garlic, and ginger and saute until oil separates.
  4. Add half the tomato sauce, tumeric, garam masala, and corriander powder.
  5. Stir fry until the oil separates.
  6. Add peas, potatoes, and the rest of the tomato sauce and heat through.
  7. Take out the bay leaves, add salt to taste.
  8. Add the coconut cream and cilantro, stir, then add some water if it is too thick for your tastes. 

I make this really mild so that J can eat it with no issues, but I always keep hot chili powder handy to add to my plate. 

This should be eaten atop rice, which I make with some saffron and caraway seeds, I add a little of each to the water with the rice right in the beginning. 

Man, so good. Enjoy! :) 

Wednesday, August 14


I have a story to tell you. I am going to try and get it all out in a cohesive manner before putting it on the blog, though. For now there is this, a piece I put together the other night in conjunction with an art project I'm working on, as well as the story:

I will write more soon, for now I'll be sifting through things before they sneak up on me! 

Monday, June 17

Eating well, sleeping and trees.

If you have read back in this blog at all, you know that I like good, healthy food. And not so healthy from time-to-time, but almost never what I would consider 'junk' food. I've also preached the importance of eating well for health quite a lot in the past. That holds true to me even more today than it ever has. 
I started eating vegan and gluten free almost two months ago. I won't go into the details of why, that's a whole 'nother post, but I have had fun cooking since then so I will share a bit of food stuffs. Vegan has been easy PEASy (see what I did there? lol), but gluten free... phew, that was hard! I say 'was' because I've gotten over the hump and don't have any cravings anymore, except for the determined need for a tortilla once in awhile. But the way I feel without gluten wins over the few minutes of deliciousness I could have with it. I think the choice I made to go vegan, give up wheat, coffee, and most processed foods in all the same day is really what made it most difficult. Baby steps, folks, baby steps. 

Anyway, a few things I've learned:
  • Beans are amazing. I already knew this but now I use them even more.
  • Nuts are a miracle food. Seriously. 
  • Alternative sources of sugar are far better than the white bagged stuff. 
  • A little fore-thought can take you a loooooonnnnnggggg way.
  • The simpler we keep things, the easier they are, and the happier this mama-cook is. 
I now make A LOT from scratch. I did quite a bit back in Germany, but this is a new level. A lot of vegan foods are not gluten free, and a lot of gluten free foods are not vegan, including most of the bread. This makes it so that I can't just whip up a grilled cheese sandwich on a whim, I have to get my cheese/carb fix elsewhere, or make my own bread (which is much more complicated in the gf realm, and I've already mentioned how much I dislike gf breads). Add to that J hating nutritional yeast cheezy sauce and we've got a problem. But I'm slowly weaning him into it, and I'll feel better when I can get the boxed mac & cheese crap out of our house altogether. I'm not really into making more than one meal, so I have to come up with stuff that the whole family will eat, hopefully, *fingers crossed*.

So, no fancy ingredients, no complicated recipes... just good, wholesome food. Sometimes things seem a bit 'rustic' but I don't mind that at all. 

Like black bean burgers: 

Adapted from this recipe: Home-made black bean veggie burgers.

1 (16 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed, laid out to dry for a little while
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 an onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped well
1 tbsp. flax meal
3 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 c. gluten free bread crumbs
pinch of sea salt

In a medium bowl, mash black beans with a flat objet (bottom of a glass, flat potato masher) until thick and pasty. Mix in bell pepper, onion, and garlic, flax, water, chili powder, and cumin. Mash and mix well with your hands.
Divide mixture into four patties.
If grilling, place patties on foil, and grill about 8 minutes on each side. If baking, place patties on baking sheet, and bake about 10 minutes on each side.

I served it with avocado and spinach... soooo good :) 

I've already used almonds and cashews for a while in cheese and milk and meal making. I make our almond milk for the most part because of cost and carageenan. I just almonds and water, no sweeteners or thickeners since I use it in all kinds of things, and sweet vanilla almond milk in gravy is not so tasty.

It only takes me a few minutes these days, although I was always intimidated thinking that it would be time consuming. 
I just soak a cup of almonds in a jar of water overnight, then drain them and toss them in the blender. I add another 3-3 1/2 cups of water and blend the crap out of it all (maybe about a minute or so). Then I take a strainer and line it with a regular thin dish towel (or an old flat-fold diaper that I used to use for J's burp cloth) and pour the milk/pulp  in. Next all there is to do is grab the corners of the towel, twist the whole thing up and squeeze out all the 'milk'! It lasts three days in the fridge and is great on cereal or for sauces.

The best part about making my own milk is the excess of almond meal I have left-over! It's great for baking and I even make a mock-parmesean cheese from it. To get the meal I just spread the wet granules onto a cookie sheet and cook it for a few hours at 200˚ F, stirring it up once or twice. The time it takes to dehydrate will depend on how much liquid you squeezed out in the first place, about 2-3 hours. Then I run it through the food processor until it's as fine as I'd like and keep it in a ziplock in the freezer. That stuff can get expensive, so it's a nice break to our grocery bill.  

Although I've been working with milks and meals and rudimentary cheeses (like a faker ricotta), I've never ventured into using nuts for whole dishes.... until yesterday! I made this cheesecake for a swim party we had, and it was so very, very good.

J likes his with honey.

I used this recipe for the crust: Gluten free almond tart or pie crust.

And this for the cheesecake part:  Raw, vegan cashew cheesecake.
I didn't have dates, walnuts, or coconut, and didn't care too much about it being raw or not, so I just had to be sure to pre-bake and cool the crust all the way, before adding the cheese.

This food adventure is getting more and more adventure-y while, at the same time, becoming more stream-lined. I definitely know to look for very simple recipes with minimal ingredients... unless I'm making Indian food, in which case the more the merrier!


I have to share this, too. Yesterday I got J to take a nap with me, which is super rare. He's so, so beautiful. 

He also sleeps a lot and still naps about two hours a day! Go Johnny, go! 


And since you missed so much in my blog silence over the past few months, I will be sharing moments here and there from our adventures (we had a few!). 

J and I inside a giant Sequoia tree in California on April 14:

We are actually in a burn scar inside the tree. The lighter brown on the outside will eventually grow around the tree and close it off. I learned that Sequoias only grow so tall, but will grow out for just about ever- a totally cool way of adapting to the fires that occur up there!

Thursday, June 13


I found this and feel that it relates to my last post well:

Tuesday, June 11

Hellllloooo out there!

Hey there ol' blog (and all you guys who read it!). I think I'm back, I'm going to try to write more anyway, I'm missing it an awful lot. 

I spend a lot of time dreaming of the things I want to do. Lots of planning, lots of thinking, lots of aspirations that most people don't even know about because I never get to them. I feel kind of crappy about that most days, and I don't fully enjoy something when I feel like I can't keep up with the people who do these things really well... like blogging. And tattooing. And being a housewife. Thankfully not being a mother, I love that and don't care how others do it. ;) 

I procrastinate... a lot. And I feel bad about it, even though no one ever seems to have much of a problem with it but me. I have so many things I want to learn, a whole back-log of classes I'd like to take or books I'd like to read, but there is always so much in front of those priorities that I rarely get to them. 
I have very good intentions. Not such great follow-through. All these things pile up and I get pretty overwhelmed, and then wind up doing not much of anything at all. 

The issue here is that when I do get it together, maybe for a week out of each month, I feel like I'm faking it. I do well, I make appointments, do some freelance work, keep a budget and a food plan. We make it to the library more often and I get to yoga class during the evenings. I get plans made for the future and feel really good about my follow-through. But the whole time I'm doing this, although I feel good, I just don't ever feel like 'me'. 

Last week, before my first group sewing class, I spent the entire evening before preparing information folders and testing out my class on a friend. I was rushed, and a little disorganized, and very, very nervous... But also very happy and optimistic, and, as usual, I got it all done... and it all went better than I could have imagined. And I was elated, not because I didn't think I could get it all done, but because it had all gone as I had planned. I realized that that is me. I stew and think and put things off, and then I rush around (feeling *extremely* productive and alive) and pull things off just fine, usually better than fine. I apparently work really well under pressure, and I think that's okay. It's just who I am. I'm not type A, that's for sure. Not even type B, I have a hard time truly relaxing... 

So anyway, as I was feeling bad for putting everything off again (even though it all got done) I thought, "Wait a minute. This works for me. Why am I feeling bad?" And so I won't feel bad anymore. I won't let it drag me down and suffocate me. I'll just do what I want as it needs to be done, not as I think it *should* be done. 
I feel about a thousand times lighter already. Why has this taken me 31 years to figure out? This isn't any different from how I already operate, except that now I will feel less guilty and probably will get more done in the long run. That's my theory, anyway. ;)

Let's just call it spontaneity. 


Speaking of spontaneity, we managed to go on our first family camping trip this weekend! We went down to Patagonia Lake state park near the Mexico border. Totally beautiful and totally needed. Chris and I barely bickered (which we tend to do a lot while traveling) and J did amazing. I let him come out to look at the starry sky around 10 p.m. and he was literally aghast. He slept all night in the tent in his own little bed and had a lot of fun exploring and swimming. We are definitely going back down there soon, and I am not even a little afraid to camp with J by myself now! 

 Our tent, next to the lake.

Patagonia lake, with some buzzards I startled. 


One other thing I wanted to write down was just about this blog in general. My life is very different than it was in Germany. Of course nature was a huge part of it there, here it's a bit more difficult to get out and enjoy with the summer heat (and my deathly fear of poisonous snakes/scorpions/spiders). That hasn't stopped us per se, but it has drastically changed the way we spend our time outdoors and the way I've been able to document it. I'm much less inclined to just stop and take photos while letting J wander through the brush. Also, my camera lenses have been broken since we moved here, so I've been stuck with my phone camera, which is less than stellar since it's a Blackberry. 
So things have been a little weird for me when it comes to writing here, my focus has been blurry I guess. Not sure where to channel my energies...
For now I'm going to just use my phone photos and edit them in ridiculously 'creative' ways, (who cares if they don't look 'professional'!) and write about what's important to me now. Johnny, of course, and my musings on parenting and Buddhism. Food, as always (if not more! I'm gluten free and vegan now!) and nature every chance I get. Also some work thrown in... sewing and art. :) I also will make an effort to start labeling posts, for easier searching. 


Well, you've read this far, so I'll share a treat with you! This is my absolutely favourite thing to eat/drink at the moment. Usually it's a chocolate peanut butter smoothy, but today I added a huge scoop of raspberry jam and made it magical! I've been gluten free for almost 6 weeks and have been seriously craving a pb&j sandwich, but I hate all the gf bread out there. I often substitute this for a whole meal, so I add coconut oil since I'm not worried about fat content, but you can leave that out, obviously. I do think oils such as coconut are essential to a healthy diet though! I make this thin and ice cold and J gulps it down.

  • one banana
  • 3-4 cubes of frozen, pureed spinach (I do these in ice cube trays and keep them in a ziplock in the freezer.)
  • 2-3 tbsp. organic peanut butter
  • 2-3 tbsp. jam of your choice
  • 2-3 tbsp. cocoa powder 
  • 1-2 tsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • alt milk (almond, coconut, soy, ect.) to just cover all ingredients in the blender
  • a small handful of ice cubes
  • dates, maple syrup or agave to sweeten to taste (the jam does a pretty good job of this)

Just toss all of this into a good blender and blend until smooth. I usually add the ice cubes after everything is blended and then blend again, that keeps it nice and cold. This makes easily 2 servings. I've kept it in the fridge overnight and it was just as good the next day.

So there ya go, a little of everything! Glad you're still here. ;)

Thursday, March 21

On being the change.

Stream of consciousness writing is a goal I am striving for in my artistic process.

I usually don't do it, but it opens the gates for more ideas, for sure. 

Anyway, here are some thoughts I've been sitting on for a few weeks. 

my place is becoming clear. be the change. teach the change. become without fearing. create a beautiful world. intentions, love, freedom. take the old thoughts and destroy them. tear them down until they are just rubble and sand. piece by piece build bits together, create a new reality. stand in the face of hate, greed, ignorance. build in the shadows of those that want to destroy humanity. build the walls higher and higher, until all anyone can see... is love.
make acceptance the only idea that needs understanding. reject ideas that tear people down... accept ideas that tear fears down. become a fighter for those that can't fight, and stand beside those that can. become togetherness and drive. drive to keep this world beautiful for our children. teach them to believe in the beauty, above all else. teach them to see pieces of themselves in each other. we are not alone, our place is together.
together we can love. we need not close our eyes and erase differences. we need to embrace and celebrate what makes us unique. the uniqueness in each of us is our drive to live, to survive. what makes us become part of a whole? it is not all being the same, it is bringing differences and appreciating  them in others. we can lend to each other the courage, the strength, to love ourselves. we love ourselves- we love each other. it is okay to stand out. we must in order to teach. who will listen if we sit back and fade into the crowd? who will believe in our voices if they are meek and scared?? who will take the time to notice, if we ourselves don't make an effort to make it be known that we are HERE?! ... and we will fight for what's right and good. we will fight for equality, peace, love, acceptance. and we will use our hands, our voices, our hearts.
we will not be afraid to be the change.

Tuesday, February 12

This boy.

I haven't written much about J in months.... today I feel the need to write some stuff down.

Over the winter holidays we drove thousands of miles to visit family 'back East' and this kid didn't bat an eyelash. I'd like to brag for a second and mention that we don't have a DVD player and he doesn't have an iPod. Just us, the road, some plastic dinosaurs, and a coloring book. I was terrified, and he proved to be just as good at traveling as my sister and I were at that age- before there were DVD players and iPods...

That's not all. He *loves* hiking... for hours and hours. 

He begs for haircuts and sits perfectly still for the buzzers. 

He is SO independent and can make his own PB sandwiches and even -carefully- pour his own OJ. He can put on his own unders, socks, pants, and coat. 

He hasn't eaten a veggie (knowingly) since before Christmas. 

Luckie is his best friend, they play chase and catch everyday.

He loves vintage Spiderman cartoons, and anything train, robot, or dinosaurs. 

He can build a Lincoln-log house all by himself, slat roof and all. 

He sings a song when he's playing with his trains that goes, "train tracks, train tracks... train tracks, train tracks..."

He is in constant motion. All. The. Time. Unless he's asleep, but then he's in motion again the second he's awake. He wakes me up in the morning and tells me I have nice hair, then asks if I'm awake and tells me it's time to eat. And then we hit the ground running. He's the energizer bunny reincarnate... Which is why I'm not worried that he hasn't had a veggie in months... He's obviously healthy (right? is that how it works? haha...)

He naps like a champ, like 2 hours a day, seriously. Man, I love that about him. 

I love everything about him.
Yup. 3 1/2 year old Johnny. He is just what I needed in my life. 

P.s. Last week he told me his feet were on fire because he was a rocket and it helped him fly. Today he asked me to fix his scraped knee. When I said I couldn't fix it, that it would heal in time, he asked me if he would grow a new knee, which totally, *totally* makes me grin.

P.p.s. Those two photos were taken like three days apart. Arizona is turning out to be a kind of strange place.

Saturday, February 9


I had a birthday a few days ago. This was taken that night. 

I feel like I'm finally growing into the woman I want to be. Here's to another year of growth and change.

Tuesday, January 29


I am staying in Vegas helping out my 'bestie' again and today as I was cleaning up and going through some of her daughter's school papers from last week, I found this!

How sweet is that!? I think that painting (see my most recent previous post) is much better as a seven year old's drawing. Also, it ties right into Illustration Friday's theme of 'wings' so here it is!

Monday, January 28


....Lots of dreaming going on around here. Lots of real life, too, however good or bad. Writing and sharing life has taken a back seat to just being in life, and taking it day by day... and doing art in any spare moment there is. 
I'll be back to check in when this life allows. 

(P.s. You can buy a print of the little bird above here, if you are so inclined.) :D