a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...

she likes: making kites, dancing in the rain, adventures, little-while friends, letters, whole-leaf tea, crayons, bare feet, jumping in rivers/streams/creeks/waterfalls, language, catching the clock as it changes numbers, sleepovers, trains (big or small), cuddling & waking up before the sun rises, among other random things.

oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.

Friday, January 21, 2011


It has been seven days since I have eaten any solid food. SEVEN. DAYS.

I am cleansing my body and it feels holy.

I have wanted to do a deep detox/fast for a very very long time. When I was in college I did a water-only fast. I wanted to make it to ten days, but I only made it to seven. I probably could have made it to ten days, but one of the things you don't realize until you stop eating is how much of our lives revolve around food. Meals are a time to eat, yes, but more importantly they are a time to socialize. It is where we tell stories, where we share pieces of ourselves, where we open up and where we let others in.

Most of the day we spend working away to make money, and then at the end of the day (or at the beginning of the day, or in the middle of the day, or in the afternoon on our breaks) what do we spend that money on? Rent and clothes a bit, for sure, but we spend most of it on... you guessed it, food.

Before we created this monetary system for ourselves, people worked in the fields. To cultivate what? Food. Either for themselves, or for their kings and queens and fellow serfs, or for their community. All their energy, all of their work was spent in efforts to cultivate food. Castles were surrounded by acres and acres of furtile fields, without which they would not have survived as royalty very long.

And before agriculture, what do you think hunter/gatherers spent the majority of their time doing? Changing the facebook status on their cave walls? I doubt it. Well, they spent it hunting and gathering food.

While we are much much more removed from our food than those generations before us (how many children these days know when foods are in season? Hell, how many of you know when a tomato is in season or what a potato plant looks like?), most of our social lives still revolve around food and food traditions. Pick any holiday. Is there any way to celebrate without sharing food or drink? Think about any time you get together with friends or family. How often is it not based around going out to eat, or making food together or getting coffee or tea or dessert? Almost never. We don't know how to be happy without food.

Now I'm not saying that's a bad thing. Food is a very vital component of our existence. There is a reason our lives are centered around it. It gives us life. It is our life force. Without it we would not survive.

Which is why taking this time apart, taking this time to focus on healing my body and opening my mind has made me realize how truly sacred food is. And made me see how sacrilegious our modern eating habits are. We scarf down a bite of processed food real quick on our ten minute lunch break, we down a liter of soda in a day for an energy kick and we absolutely abuse alcohol. Good wine takes years to get from the vine to the bottle and yet we don't even take the time to savour it anymore. And we don't even know where our food comes from anymore!!!

Fast food might be the most hypocritical idea we have ever come up with. Food is not fast and should not be fast. It is not fast to grow, it is not fast to harvest, it is certainly not fast to digest and it should not be prepared or consumed with too much haste. And we wonder why our children are obese and our family and friends are sick and weak? Maybe instead of focusing on "the magic cure" we should focus on prevention and pay more attention to what we are putting in our bodies in the first place.

I have three days to go, and when I start reintroducing solid foods into my diet I am going to cherish every moment of the process. I will do my best to buy produce directly from the farmers so I know who's been caring for my food. I will do my best to only eat organic and preferably locally grown food so that I know I am not poisoning my body, my family and friends and our planet. I will do my best to take the time to plan, prepare and savour every life-giving bite of my meals. And I will not forget that what I put into my body makes me. We truly are what we eat. And what we eat eats, too.

Friday, January 7, 2011

a new life

I've always felt that New Year celebrations are a bit overexaggerated and I've never quite understood all the hype. People and their resolutions they never keep, their promises to themselves and to others that they will somehow magically change into something better when the clock strikes twelve (or rather when they wake up hung-over the next morning). Most people know they won't make it to February, meaning we all start each new year lying to ourselves. How sad.

I've heard for twenty-five years that where you are at midnight is symbolic of where you'll be for the rest of the year, and trust me, in the race to be somewhere amazing I always seem to find myself somewhere no one would ever want to be (peeing in Safeway parking lots, cleaning up my husband's best friend's face after I accidentally smashed it open on a plate full of glass, projectile vomiting red wine on my own bathroom floor; you get the idea). And the first day of each new year always seems to be spent grumpy, more because I feel let down than because of the splitting headache and constant nausea or the fact that I am cleaning up my own vomit.

I just never got it. In January it's dark and it's the beginning of winter and it's cold and rainy and I still want to stay in my pajamas most days and eat copious amounts of dark chocolate and play board games and read books. I'm not ready for a new beginning because I'm still in hibernation mode and there's still six months of school or work or whatever until the weather gets nice and I start itching for new horizons. I want a fresh start come spring.

Which is why this last day of December as I was drifting off to sleep well before midnight, perfectly sober and perfectly exhausted from the final day of moving out of our apartment in Chamalières, I was completely caught off guard by my overwhelming sense of renewal and bliss. It was simple; I was curled up against my husband, toasty warm under a giant comforter, sleepy from the delicious meal we had just eaten, physically worn out from a day of moving and cleaning and stressing, and perfectly content listening to my partner's even (if not rather loud) breathing and the purring of our cat curled up at our feet. We were technically homeless (crashing at his parents' house), very poor (neither of us had gotten our last pay check yet) and absolutely unsure of our future (no definitive plans for housing, occupations or way of life for 2011). It was perfect.

And for once I got it. I understood the New Year. It is a fresh start. It is symbolic. It represents what you will be doing for the next year just as much as, as an ancient Tibetan teaching suggests, "If you want to know your future, look at what you are doing at this very moment."

At this very moment I am immigrating to the United States with my French husband. At this very moment I am learning as much as I can about instructing a language so that I can become the best French teacher I can be. At this very moment I am detoxifyng my body and nurturing myself with as much local, fresh and organic food as possible. At this very moment I am preparing myself and my family to bring children into this beautiful world. At this very moment I am learning, I am growing, I am loving and I am loved, and I could not ask for a better way to jump into a new life.