“I help professional and entrepreneurial women excel, and women who seek elective office win. I help them to step up and move up, by being the leader they know lives inside, while keeping their integrity, and to build a tremendous tribe of dedicated followers.”
Do you know other women in Denton who deserve recognition?
How are you being bold for change, today and every day?
There is a lot of greenery in holiday decorations, but not a lot of green.
Our neighbors have left their Christmas lights on all night long since before December.
UPS has been bringing a package to the neighbors nearly every day since Black Friday. Inefficient deliveries means online shopping isn’t more environmentally friendly than driving once to the mall. (How about a discount if you opt to lump all your household’s purchases spread out over several weeks into a single monthly delivery?)
Single-serve aluminum baking pans and disposable champagne glasses are designed for holiday office parties or hosts who can’t bother to cook and then wash dishes afterwards too.
After the flurry of unwrapping, the mounds of paper, ribbons, bows, and probably a little kid’s already lost new toy, are whisked up in a pile for the garbage.
Unwanted gifts, notably the ugly-on-purpose white elephants, are given for a chuckle, then tossed.
The everyone-must-have-it-and-so-shall-I item is purchased at all cost, only to be relegated to the back of a closet stuffed with last season’s trends. A lady paid $300 for a Hatchimal in an online auction! That much money can buy a whole chicken coop set-up with a flock that will lay edible eggs every day all through next Christmas.
This year, our first living in the United States, we wanted to make at least a two-person dent in America’s Christmas-time consumption. We went for a hike in the forest while everyone was stuffing themselves silly at Thanksgiving, and the next day picked up free pecans straight from the trees while everyone was shopping on Black Friday, purportedly to help bring businesses out of the red. For the greenery, I didn’t need to spend green; I just had to look outside.
I hadn’t had a proper backyard garden since we lived in Jardín, Colombia, where every vividly painted balcony had a little old lady stooped over with a watering can. It didn’t matter if the pot was an empty pop bottle, as long as you grew pretty flowers in it. And everyone did. Gardening in Jardín was effortless: year-round mild temperatures, fertile soil, abundant water.
Texas is a whole different beast. It’s like riding a bronco. I really, really, wanted to see at least one bright red tomato popping out of that tangle of green branches, like Rudolph’s nose if he ran into a pine tree, and so I hung on as big ol’ Texas weather bucked with all it’s got: a drought in June, 100-degree days in July, a rainstorm-a-day that brought fungus in August, aphids in September, daily tickling sessions to help pollinate in October, nightly tucking the plant to sleep under sheets for frost just at fruit-set in early November, and numbly stripping the branches of any tomato bigger than my pinky fingernail before the hard frost in the teens in December.
I missed my Rudolph moment, but green ripened into red in the dark cabinets and exploded with homegrown flavor. After that first juicy bite of lost summer, I made my peace with winter’s closure of the growing season and yanked off the tomato cage. I guess I wasn’t entirely at peace looking at unopened flowers and still had the bronco-buckin’ grip that can snap metal. That broken cage released my creativity, and with a little redneck ingenuity (duct tape) the upturned trellis became an upcycled tree.
Tinto in two forms helped with the rest of the decorations.
1.) Tinto as black coffee: Empty espresso capsules became dangly bells that let out a dainty ring against the sides of the tomato cage. This is our fifth year of hanging the same Nespresso capsules (and hanging the same hand-sewn stockings) on a miniature Christmas tree, which back in Colombia was made out of fresh bamboo branches each year. We rescued the capsules from the trash bin of an office that worked with and drank a lot of Nespresso.
2.) Tinto as red wine: Empty bottles will spell out J-O-Y to my visiting nephews and nieces learning to read (it’s my middle name too). The letters were cut out from the cardboard of a cracker box. The twine had held up pole beans in the backyard. The red marker and gold ribbon were discarded by previous tenants. Three evergreen clippings came from branches that overhung a nearby walking path and were due for a trim. The wine came at a cost, but we’re happy to be still celebrating monthly anniversaries.
Thank you to the coffee and wine growers for contributing to our year-round enjoyment of these beverages and our year-end holiday decoration.
Thank you to the tomato growers who will sustain us until next summer’s crop.
Thank you to those who also choose to find peace and beauty in the simplicity of a more sustainable seasonal celebration.
Thank you to my readers and fellow writers for nourishing my mind with your inspiring ideas and encouraging words.
Now bring on the holiday desserts! (Thank you to the cocoa growers, the vanilla growers, the almond growers…)
Hace un mes y medio, me madrugué y prendí camino loma arriba. Pasamos por la neblina que abrazaba las montañas frías a las tres de la mañana, una hora espantosamente solitaria. Temí que allí, solitos, el carrito no aguantaría el peso de las maletas que cargaban una cantidad risible de mis diccionarios, suficiente café para por lo menos tres meses, y todas las herramientas básicas para arrancar una nueva vida, menos el machete—no por su inutilidad, sino sus sobredimensiones.
Llegamos al aeropuerto intactos, respiramos profundo al pasar todas las maletas, y pedimos unos tintos en Pergamino.
¿Qué otra manera de despedirnos de Colombia?
En Junio 2016, con mi esposo colombiano y su alucinante sello de visa de residencia, empezamos el siguiente capítulo de vida en los Estados Unidos.
Razón suficiente para perdonar la marcada ausencia últimamente en ese blog, espero.
Llegamos en pleno verano a los llanos planos de Texas. Venimos de un país tropical que goza del calor ecuatoriano todo el año. No tuvimos ni el menor idea que nos esperaba. Soy de Minnesota, donde el verano es como un hipo que llega inesperadamente entre el abrir y cerrar del congelador.
Hace tanto calor que solo tomo café una vez al día, a las 6 de la mañana, cuando pasa una brisa fresca y todavía no alcanza los 84 grados Fahrenheit, o sea la temperatura máxima en Medellín. Para las 10 de la mañana ya marca 92 grados. ¿Tinto mediomañanero? No gracias.
Pero me encanta el nuevo lugar y su transformación en hogar.
Tengo unas ganas de sembrar maíz y frijoles en el patio trasero y cultivar mero jardín colombiano, una réplica de lo que tuvimos en el pueblo bellísimo de Jardín, Colombia.
Ahora estamos en la ciudad de Denton, la gente de dientes grandes, donde nos gusta comer. No tanto como conejitos dentudos y su pasto, sino como caballeros con su bistec.
Lastimosamente no pudimos alimentar ni conejo ni cabra con el océano de césped largo en el backyard. Sudamos la gota gorda cortándolo manualmente (¿dónde está el bendito machete ahora?), fertilizando el suelo de paso con buenas intenciones de cultivar la tierra.