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AE Inspirations | Early February 2011

READING | On Writing by Steven King: I've had people recommend this book to me in the past and I have to admit that I've dismissed them. I wouldn't call myself a Steven King fan - not really a fan of anything scary. But, but, but I have to say that I love this book. LOVE in all capitals.

ALSO READING | The Most Important Word For You To Learn This Year AND How You Really CAN Tell All Of Your Photo Stories both from Noell Hyman. Both these articles are really interesting - definitely some good ideas about different ways to approach your photos. I found them to be inspiring.

ALSO READING | Grow Great Grub as I look forward to spring and summer (more on my outdoor adventures below).

SITTING | My laptop computer sits on a desk-like spot along our kitchen counter. Lately I've been starting my day there and have found that it's the perfect spot to be greeted as the sun rises. It gets so bright that I have to close my eyes and at that moment usually take a deep breath and let the sunlight wash right over me.

LISTENING | In early December I bought a new bird feeder. I love it. Lots of little birds filling up at our feeder (I'd like to pick up a book about birds in our area so we could do some identifying).

One day last week I opened the windows as the sun was out and the temperature was approaching 60. I was surprised to hear so many birds chirping away. These aren't likely only the birds that were visiting our feeder - it sounded like so many more. I heard them again yesterday when I opened the door to let the dog out and was stopped in my tracks by their song.

CHECKING OUT | Crate Paper's new collection Portrait. Love.

EXPERIENCING | This is our first winter in this house and I'm patiently waiting to see what will come up in the yard. We moved here this past August and were able to experience the height of summer (oh so green). I'm excited for the next season to be knocking at our door. There's something so very cool about waiting to see what things have been sleeping under the earth since last spring.

Part of my light journey this year is to create a practice of spending more time outside. What I really want to do is make our backyard a living space rather than just a space we pass through or look out at from inside our house. I've also got big plans for some vegetable beds (hence I'm reading Grow Great Grub).


HELLO FEBRUARY | A new prompt is up in the One Little Word class at Big Picture Classes. There's still time to join if you're interested in a support system and simple monthly reminders related to keeping your word visible in 2011. If you're in class and didn't receive a welcome email for February please contact [email protected] to troubleshoot the issue.

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56 thoughts

  1. dawn says…
    02/01/2011

    I can relate to most of your items here and am loving them too. Now that we have a puppy who loves to be outside running I'm right along with him soaking in the few sunny days and all the pretty white snow and even the bare trees still seem magical. My husband is a huge huge fan of birds, the one reason he'd retire now is to just sit and watch the birds all day and night. He has said this many times, he only has Sundays off and you can find him up early by our back window watching them and bringing him joy. His other passion is his garden and you will have so much fun with yours especially with the kids. Just a tip is that every year your garden gets better once you understand the soil, the sun, etc. sometimes the first couple crops aren't as successful as you hope. Just keep trying and you will get it. I enjoyed reading what your enjoying now thanks for sharing.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. Monica says…
    02/01/2011

    Oh, what an exiting time you will have exploring your new garden as spring and summer comes! Lucky you!! Good luck on growing vegetables, that is so much fun, but not necesseraly easy.. But it is a wonderful feeling when you see that you can do it. I sure hope you will show us how it goes.

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  3. Kathy says…
    02/01/2011

    Love your post....one of my goals last year was to start a veggie garden (here in Brisbane, Australia). It was the best thing I did. My garden was small but manageable 2 wooden boxes with no bases 1.2 mt x 1.2 mt in length. I put weed matt down first to stop the grass growing and filled it with organic matter layered to have my "no dig garden". We grew lettuce, cucumber, chinese cabbage, corriander, schalotts,basil, thai basil, it was just fantastic. Because it was contained in the boxes so to speak there was no weeding required. It is fantastic for the kids to grow stuff. Look forward to reading some of the other articles you mentioned. Might even send you a photo of my little veggie garden by email. It makes me so happy my little veggie garden. Regards Kathy, Brisbane, Australia

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Deb says…
    02/01/2011

    so jealous of the view of your backyard. Mine won't look like that til April or gah! May...
    So cold here right now.
    Thanks for your inspiration, as always.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. Leslie A says…
    02/01/2011

    My husband is an aspiring writing and I purchased the King book for him for Christmas. Then before Christmas we were with friends discussing books and he was talking about how he wasn't really a King fan. Inside I was thinking oh great. There goes that gift! Well, he loves it!! I think it has really changed his opinion of Stephen King and I think he has just enjoyed it overall. I liked reading that you've had a similar experience.

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. Debbie P says…
    02/01/2011

    THe birdfeeder is fun! If you learn what birds you can get what type of seeds they like the most. This helps attract more. I think they tell the others where the good food is :) I love ours.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. Meghann says…
    02/01/2011

    Thanks for sharing these books! I always forget about "scrappy" books, and I've never really read one. I hope your backyard transformation goes well. We have a lot to do on ours too, as we just moved in last May.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. Sarah*H says…
    02/01/2011

    On Writing is one of my top five books of all time. I'm not a big Stephen King fan either but some of his short stories are exceptional. Different Seasons is a good book to try as it has the novella on which the movie Stand By Me was based.

    Oregon looks so wet and green and expectant in your photo. Spring seems a million miles away where I am but it looks like it's just around the corner for you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. kimmy says…
    02/01/2011

    It's funny how we assume a book by Steven King will be scary -- he has earned that reputation for sure... but so many of my favorite movies and books are by Steven King... I will pick this one up for sure. Thanks for the recommendation... ~ kim

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. Megan says…
    02/01/2011

    don't ask me why, but I was tickled to see you mention the dog. :) Also, since you are doing a veggie garden, you should get some chickens. They make great pets. Feed them flax seeds, and they will give you Omega-3 eggs. :)

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      02/01/2011

      I would love to have chickens - Chris says no :).

  11. Debbie S. says…
    02/01/2011

    You have a DOG??? How did I miss that? :D

    I too love the winter garden and the anticipation of Spring. In San Diego, winter is SHORT, but I like the look of everything asleep and waiting for spring. I can see from your photo that whatever that is draped over the fence, it's going to be vigorous. Do you know what it is? I just bought a bunch of seeds at the local nursery...that's fun to see what pops up, what works and what doesn't.

    Good luck with your garden! And dog!

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. Debbie S. says…
      02/02/2011

      Ooo, clematis! Lucky!!

    2. Ali says…
      02/01/2011

      Yep - Lily - she's nine ;).

      That's a very crazy wonderful clematis along the fence.

  12. Cinnibonbon says…
    02/01/2011

    Hey HI --did I ever mention that my hubs calls you "my enabler"!!! LOL

    I'm a huge SK fan and I just read a few editorials on the book you mentioned...umm. I'll have to go off and get it.

    I heard birds today..which was odd since we are freezing over here today. So much so that we knew since yesterday that getting to work was not going to be fun. I'm fortunate enough to get to telework today!! Shhh..on that I took a break to sneak over to read your blog!!! LOL

    Okay--you have a dog? I don't quite recall that either...lol

    Hope you have a nice day.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. Cinnibonbon says…
    02/01/2011

    PS..evertime. I say--oh well Ali said...so and so...and she suggests.....

    He just chuckles!!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. Stacia says…
    02/01/2011

    I listened to On Writing a few years back in the car, so heard it in Stephen King's voice too - fabulous! I've never read a single thing he has written :D but I love his writing *style* and the way he talks about writing. Thanks for reminding me what a great book that is!

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. Linda says…
    02/01/2011

    I've read and re-read both of Noelle Hyman's articles and enjoy them as well.

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. Amy Grendel says…
    02/01/2011

    Hey Ali - my hubby and I were also thinking of starting a veggie garden in our backyard - will you be sharing about your garden more on here? I hope so! I also loved those articles by Noelle Hyman ~ agree very much with them be inspiring!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      02/01/2011

      I hope to Amy - hoping to share the process :).

  17. barb in Edmonton says…
    02/01/2011

    Just have to add to the Stephen King discussion. Like you, I am not a fan of horror, so tended to shy away from Stephen King. Then somehow I heard about his book, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, about a 9-year old girl described as "his strongest kid character yet, wholly believable and achingly empathetic in her vulnerability and resourcefulness." It is fantastic, and I highly recommend it. I will never be a fan of horror, but since reading this book I am definitely a Stephen King fan.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      02/01/2011

      I'll have to look into that one -

  18. noell says…
    02/01/2011

    Thank you for talking about my articles, Ali! I'm so happy you got something out of them.

    Izzy and I read On Writing when it came out and loved it! I've been meaning to re-read it over the past month or two since I've been working a lot on my writing over the past couple of years. We have the hard back so I just need to grab it off my shelf. Now that I think about it, it's a good time right now since I just finished a novel and hadn't chosen the next book to start.

    Again, much appreciation for talking about my articles. This subject is really important to me.

    Reply 0 Replies
  19. sarah says…
    02/01/2011

    ali, this is an excellent bird book: http://www.amazon.com/Birds-Willamette-Valley-Region-Regional/dp/0964081040 they also have one for our whole state. both are awesome and so easy to use.

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      02/01/2011

      Oh cool - thanks Sarah!

  20. Courtney Walsh says…
    02/01/2011

    Love "On Writing." What a great book. I'm getting ready to read "Bird By Bird" by Anne Lamott, another great book my writer friends recommend!

    I so want to grow my own veggies. Something about it terrifies me! :) Can't wait to see how yours turn out!

    Reply 1 Reply
    1. Ali says…
      02/01/2011

      Loved Bird by Bird. She's a great writer.

  21. Cindy McDannold says…
    02/01/2011

    Isn't it wonderful to realize the life that goes on daily in your own back yard? I remember familiarizing myself with the squirrels that frequented my feeder that my husband put up when we first moved here. I recognized them and in time met there extended families. After forty years of watching them we had to have our "squirrel tree" cut down. I cried, much to the dismay of the men who were cutting it down. My squirrels were confused and had a hard time adjusting to there new surroundings, but all is well...the corn flows again.

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. amberca says…
    02/01/2011

    That photo is breathtaking!! I also am like you in that we moved into our new house in July, and I am curious about what Spring will bring. Please keep us updated on what you learn about vegetable beds, I am very excited to learn about different methods.

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. Nancy says…
    02/01/2011

    I love reading your posts. My favorite bird book is "Stokes Field Guide to Birds - Western Region". Now I'm interested in reading "On Writing"... thanks for the tip.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. Jackie Wood says…
    02/01/2011

    We signed up for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Project FeederWatch to help get us more familiar with birds in our area. It is a great family activity. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/pfw/

    Reply 0 Replies
  25. Kay Gregory-Clark says…
    02/01/2011

    Thinking of a garden is almost incomprehensible (but nice) as I sit here in the middle of a Kansas blizzard. Just took some pix through the windows. I'm not about to go outside! And thanks so much for the links to Noell's site. I wasn't familiar with her and have spent the past couple hours reading her informative articles. I have that King book someplace in the basement and not sure I ever read it——probably for the same reasons, though I've had it a long time. Maybe I'll try to find it.

    Reply 0 Replies

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