Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Heart's Desire

And just like that
you will get your heart's desire


you'll swap Doug Firs for Ponderosas
Hemlocks for Lodgepoles
rain for snow
roses for desert dust...


Running wild and free.
It wasn't exactly planned, but in the quest to have my heart's desire (a property of my own) and for my child to have hers (a spot on a competitive soccer team), the Universe conspired to push us out of our comfortable nest once again -- flinging us far from our City of Roses, up the mountains and over the crest of the Cascades, where we'll watch Mt. Hood from the other side.

I woke up this morning in my bed in NE Portland; I will go to sleep tonight in my new city of Bend, OR. I have become the Editor of the local alt weekly... and for this bold move my heart's desire will be earned.

Meanwhile, nothing is gained without something lost.

My old girl Libre went with me on a recent trip to my new city, where we camped on the shores of a blue-green lake and she mostly hid in the tent. In the Ponderosa forest, under the bright stars, half-dreaming, I realized she needed to be at peace.

So much like ripping all the Band-Aids off at once, i knew i had to set her free before we moved. Yesterday myself and her other beloved humans Sammy and Marnie held her and talked to her as she slid from this life of old-girl pain to the place where she is running free, chasing deer with her brother and mom. Ironically, i see that otherworldly place being also shaded by pointy Ponderosas.

And your heart's desire was always freedom
So try now to find it... 

Thursday, May 19, 2016


The rebelangel, round about the time i started this blog.
For the past six years or so, Raising a Revolutionary has been home to all my mad ramblings about parenthood, travel, self-sufficiency, single parenting, and of course, this rebelangel and her rebellious ways.

It was created with her in mind, but as i've been told at least a few times, the revolutionary is perhaps not so much her as it is me.

This blog has fed me (literally and figuratively), saved me, and spared me from the uncertain doom of obscurity. This blog has been my muse, and where i've teased the muse. I love her.

And i need to let her go.

Not because i am going to stop writing -- and writing about some of the same stuff... but RAR and i are ready for a change.

So stay tuned as i get my biznass handled and revamp this blog at a new URL, with a new look and more curation of posts. Hasta pronto!

Monday, April 11, 2016

More Portland than Portland

There are times when things get so Portlandia around here it's almost too incredible to believe. I think there's a hashtag for this, but here's mine:

Riding on a vintage cruiser bike with a six-pack of kale in the front basket this weekend, i encountered this pop-up concert -- just three opera singers, performing for an audience of almost no one, but loving every minute. Ah, Portland...



Need some great revolutionary reading material for your little ones? Check out Malala's Mission for the World on Amazon.

Want to teach your kids the benefits of quality breathing? Check out the Breathing Games website for ideas -- perfect for a day in the park or anywhere you might be...

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Summer Travel Wishlist

The world has so much to offer in terms of travel, but this summer, chances are i'll be sticking a bit closer to home.

I heart Summer Lake Hot Springs.
Still, the glorious Northwest doesn't ever disappoint, so here are a few of the places on my summer bucket list:

- Oneonta Gorge. One of the most gorgeous hikes in Oregon. Wading through a creek required.
- Eastern Oregon hot springs. When the weather turns grey here, you can always count on sun in the desert.
- The San Juan Islands
- Vancouver, B.C. -- to see my beloved Canadian friend.
- As many Cascade lakes as i can muster, to get good at using the tandem kayak i just got.

...that isn't all that much, but when the frenzy of summer comes, it will be a miracle if i get it all done. Is it summer yet?


Road tripping? Need roadside assistance without the high fees? Check out the new Urgent.ly app!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Sun's Out, Smiles Out

There is a phenomena in the Pacific Northwest that doesn't become apparent until the first real week of sun.
What is this glowing orb in the sky?!!

We've all been going along during the winter months, thinking our lives haven't changed much, but in reality, we've all been sorely devoid of Vitamin D. When we start to get a little back, we're like different people.

This week was a gloriously sunny week, and i found myself being the classic Northwest person... often grumpy otherwise, but in the glow of the sun, suddenly cheerful and productive.

I actually smiled at people and meant it. I actually felt like doing something besides just getting through the daily grind of the day. I did projects! I worked out hard! And i laughed at my tween's snarky behavior!

When the sun's out, the smiles come out -- which is a great thing...

Except today, the clouds are back...


Need some indoor diversions? Check out the Now I Know My ABC's Wii U game.

Don't want to provide your email address for that new account you just opened? Email on Deck makes it easy to create a new email so you can keep your personal email private.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Why to Live in the NW

When you live in a city as well-known and increasingly popular as Portland is, it's easy to start thinking that the only reason you live here is for its progressive politics, its great food and the many, many bike lanes that make riding around a lot less dangerous.

But there's really one reason why i originally moved here, and it doesn't really have anything to do with any of those other perks.

I took a hike this weekend to the Columbia River Gorge, and it reminded me that that real reason is this:

Image courtesy Ian Sane, Flickr

Gorgeous waterfalls and deep green forests, all covered with slippery moss. Like the beloved home of the woodland fairies, everywhere you look.

With rents rising, traffic getting crazier by the minute and Portlandia putting a sometimes not-so-funny spin on our fair city, i needed the reminder that this is why i'm REALLY here...


Want the deets on mountaineering in Asia and other places around the globe? Check out the Mountain Sports site.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Put a Bern On It

Bernie Sanders came to my town today. I wanted to go, but to be perfectly honest, when you live in one of the most liberal towns in the nation, getting into a rally like that takes serious perseverance.

And i need to work.

Still, knowing that a bird visited his podium made the whole thing a lot more memorable.

#PutaBirdOnIt #Portlandia #BernieforPresident

I can't embed the video for some reason, but check it out here:

Put a Bern on it (aka Feel the Bird)The moment Portland put a bird on Bernie Sanders' podium. Real life, straight out of Portlandia


Concerned about rumors about Bernie's tax plan? This Bernie post on Fact and Myth will set you straight. 

In the market for a new phone? Check out the post on Smart Mobiles and the best Android phones right here.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Breaaaakkk!

As of 3 pm today the rebelangel is off school for the next 10 days...
Wind and clouds and grimaces. The typical Oregon coast.

Which means many whiny moments of asking me to break from work to do her bidding...

even more moments of her spending too much time on her idevice...

and lots of mama guilt that i can't simultaneously provide for her financially and at the same time regale her with all the fun things there are to do in the beautiful Northwest. There may be a night or two spent at the hot springs of eastern Oregon, but there are no crazy shopping sprees, road trips to Canada, flights to Mexico, or visits to somewhere equally warm and sunny in the mix. (Have you seen how much it costs to fly to Mexico during spring break? Just wow.)

Thankfully, my child is 12 and has her own notions of what's entertaining -- but it's always "fun" to be part of the epic battle for who gets to work and who gets to play and when...


Need some tutoring help this spring break? Check out Bee Academic Tutoring in Long Beach, serving kids ages K-12.

Or maybe something a bit more active? Visit IMB Academy, where you and the kids get martial arts training taught by a Bruce Lee student.

Or how about learning about dogs -- their breeds, behavior, etcetera? Check out 2puppies.com.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

It's sunny! But you have the flu...

Ah, the humanity...

The weather outside is finally bright and inviting, but all i wanna do is stay inside under the covers.

For those single parents, solo riders, and anyone else who doesn't necessarily have someone to nurse them back to health full-time, i am bringing back one of my favorite posts:

2 Ways to Heal Yourself When You're Sick

I had to make my own soup this time because there wasn't any in the freezer, but i did save half to freeze for next time!


Speaking of self-healing -- check out the diffusers and aromatherapies at Aromabotanical. Mmmm...

I just heard about someone who 3D printed his own braces. I want to do that for the rebelangel! For the latest info on 3D printing, visit 3D Printers Central. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Little Time Away

When you go to the Oregon coast for a little time away,

you simply must ride a mechanical shark.

 Or have your tween do it,

so your near-40 body doesn't suffer from some new ache or pain...

Need a little guidance on love, happiness, or where to go on your next adventure? Check out the astrological readings at AstrologerLove.com.

Ready to teach your kids how to become a computer programmer? Then you need this kit from Digital Play.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Granada Sunset

Nights in Granada always looked like this...

the sun setting over the cathedral, and everyone delighting in its beauty yet glad that ball of fire has gone down so they can get some relief from the heat.

This was a familiar scene... us strolling up this avenue for yet another dose of delicious pizza from the Italians up the road. If money were no issue, i'd go for the pizza alone.

If only tickets weren't so dang expensive this time of year...


Speaking of traveling - the Captain Encouragement team is raising funds to travel the country, teaching youth how to break the chain of violence by meeting violent acts with non-violence. Support their campaign!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Motivation? Check.

Instant camera selfie in the mirror.
This morning the kiddo begged and pleaded to stay home, just because.

She was feeling a little icky and unmotivated, and wanted me to turn that into an excuse to take a "mental health day." The mental health day is a little trick i learned from a friend, who in her diligent commitment to her job, also still manages some "me" time by cashing in her sick days for mental health. To me, it's not really lying, and most people rack up a lot of sick days they never use anyway.

But today, i had to deny my kiddo the honor, because she'd just taken one not too recently. They're meant to be a rare treat, not a common occurrence.

Then again, as a freelancer and work-from-homer, it's a bit of hypocrisy, because i take a mental health hour, mental health afternoon, or an entire mental health day any time i dang well please.

But hey, i guess she has to graduate high school and college before she can get the privilege...


Have a business that allows you to create handmade items or sell vintage ones? Check out Kate and Bean -- a new site that will make you your own custom storefront and help you sell your goods online.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Staying in place

Here it is again,

that old familiar feeling of wanting to just get away.

Someone on a movie i was watching was packing their bags in a hurry, about to take a trip, and it was enough for me to feel what someone in that situation usually feels -- that feeling of exhilaration and promise that comes before every trip.

I want it back -- but right now i have to think about the end game.

Coming back home from such an exhilarating adventure, this time, meant a lot of stress and dealing and uncertainty. I can't bear that again.

So instead of packing my bags for yet another adventure where palm trees are the tallest things in view, i have to stay put... for now...


Traveling to Berlin? Here's a Berlin locksmith that can get you out of a jam.

Staying in, or stuck in a hotel room? Check out these easy exercises you can do wherever you happen to be.

And I'm a guest blogger on the Party Planner for Kids site this week... 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Most of us are immigrants

I was riding on the bus one day recently when a bedraggled oldish white man looked me in the eye.

People around us were speaking a world of languages -- Somali, Vietnamese, Spanish... and he and i were the sole Caucasians to be seen. The bus was crammed full of recent immigrants, first and second and third-generation peoples going about their business using public transportation. A crew of old Vietnamese ladies crowed and laughed loudly over their inside jokes. Two Somali women seemed to be coaching each other about the geography of the urban landscape on 82nd Avenue, and the Spanish speakers were talking about getting off the bus (i understood that conversation...).

Just then the oldish white guy looked to me.

"No one speaks American anymore," he said, continuing to look at me.

I felt the fire bubble up. Two generations ago my great-grandmother left the farm in Sweden as a young teen. Her father had been here and back, but her mother refused to leave their homeland. My great-grandmother, however, learned English as she traveled around the U.S., from east to west to middle. She didn't teach her son Swedish, besides a few prayers.

"There's no such thing as American," I replied, trying to stay calm.

This is usually how i react to this type of impromptu bigotry. Some offhand remark, so easily misconstrued and not at all what i really wanted to say.

This one fellow white person on the bus could have taken what i said as a lament for the fact that indeed, few people were speaking English on the bus. But what i meant was the fact that 1. "American" is not a language, and 2. our nation is one of immigrants, and while English is what is commonly spoken, we don't have an official language, and that's just fine with me.

Unless that man was the whitest native person i have ever seen, his family too likely came to this country speaking some other language than English. His family members probably grouped up according to country or race, just to have someone else to relate to while they navigated this wild country, full of possibility and overwhelming variety. Very likely, it took a generation or so for everyone in his family to speak great English.

I wanted to scream to him that he looked like he'd wasted his chance at the American Dream, what with his scraggly facial hair and breath that stunk of booze, mid-day.

How could i tell him, in a moment on the bus, that just because we shared a skin color, we did not share this particular mindset of otherness? That otherness should be celebrated, because it is what our country was founded on, and what we should all embrace? That it's beneficial to speak more than one language, and that a part of keeping heritage alive is speaking your native tongue? Indeed, i wish my family spoke Swedish as well as English.

It was a lost moment when all i could manage was to say "there's no such thing as American." Yes, it might not be a language, but what "American" really is, is a group of Vietnamese old women cackling together. It's a Somali woman coaching another on where to get Halal meat on 82nd Avenue. It's a group of Spanish speakers, joking around on the bus as they get off.

And sadly, it's the white guy, fighting it all in his mind, and looking for a fellow Caucasian to commiserate with...

Need a Spanish tutor, or a tutor in anything else in Los Angeles County? Check out the private in-home tutors at Bee Academic Tutoring.

And for martial arts training that brings together students from all over the world, check out the training offered by a student of Bruce Lee at IMB Academy

Live a healthier life! If you need help, check out the health coaching services over at A Well Run Life.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The first cold in...

I'm sure people do get colds and flus in the tropics, but i didn't.

That said, it's been about two years since i felt that annoying twinge in the back of my throat, or felt my body disobeying me and asking to go back to bed because everything ached. Sure, Dengue fever took me down a while back -- but not the good old fashioned family cold.

It's raging around our house and leaving the tween begging to stay home. I am certainly a proponent of the mental health day once in a while, but seeing as how the kiddo just had one in recent weeks, i had to say no this time, and sent her to school sniffling.

We've been back in temperate North America for quite some time, but it's still things like colds and flus that remind me there's another way to live, that i've lived it, and that if i lived it again i probably wouldn't have to deal with the mild wretchedness that comes with winter ailments...

Did you know that blowing your nose one nostril at a time can help you get rid of the sickies better? That's one of the tips in this post about Home Remedies for Coughs and Colds, on the UK Medix blog...

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Well-Rounded Kids

This is the kiddo's team, after their victory in double overtime. Believe me when i say this was a victory that was definitely hard-won, because 1. they don't win that much and 2. it came after one of the girls scored a three-pointer.

When the final score is 13-14, you know you're dealing with a league of kids who have a long way to go to master the game -- and winning always feels good!

I love taking my kiddo to her sports events, but i'm having a hard time convincing her that she needs to be more well-rounded and to bring back art or music or dance into her regular routine. Am i the helicopter parent already thinking about college scholarships? Probably. But forgive me for wanting everything for her.

So what's your take? Push your kids upward and to being more busy for the sake of their futures, or let them say when enough is enough?


For parents looking to find music lessons for their kids, check out My Music Lesson, featuring tutors from the best conservatories teaching all across London.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Spanish Immersion in Middle School

My kiddo started in a dual-immersion Spanish elementary school in kindergarten in the U.S.

She went up to fifth grade, when she switched to a bilingual international school in Nicaragua for one school year.

Kinder graduation.
Now we're back at that same place we started -- but it's been a while since i talked about the differences that seem to exist now in middle school compared to the same school in elementary.

She's in the middle school portion of her K-8 school (which might change at any moment, thanks to Portland Public Schools' tendency to switch gears often), where she's still speaking Spanish in an academic and age-appropriate level, but it's a little different.

People asked a lot of questions during the younger years about why or why not to send your kid to an immersion program -- and i can attest that for myself, i didn't think much about the older grades back then either.

Like how rigorously the school district would adhere to the 50-50 split between languages we were told would start in fourth grade. (Before that, it was 90 percent Spanish in kindergarten, 80 percent in 1st, and so on) The answer: Not very. My daughter now has two classes in Spanish.

Like how many native speakers they'd be taught by. The answer: Thus far, her first three teachers were native speakers, but she hasn't had one since second grade. That is not a knock to the wonderful teachers who my kiddo has had. They've definitely gone above and beyond time and again. It's just something to note and a question to ask when you're considering immersion.

I also note the fact that there seem to be less and less participation among the middle school in culturally-focused or language-focused activities for both the kids in the immersion program and their peers who also attend the English-only program. 

It's also interesting to note how many native speakers have stuck around in the program, after these six or seven years. My kiddo's class definitely has a lot fewer native Spanish speakers than it used to -- likely because once they leave or move, other native speakers don't always know they can replace the ones who left. The district described the program as a 50-50 split between native speakers of English and Spanish, but when those numbers get skewed, the makeup of the classes -- and the support touted for non-native speakers of English -- gets lost in the shuffle too. Just another note about these programs.

I am still proud to say that my daughter is academically proficient in a second language. No doubt. But it's interesting to see how the concept has evolved over time in my mind, and how there are always ways to get better...


Late to the second-language game? It's not too late to learn from a native speaker, and get good fast. Check out the Native Speaker Challenge and get started right away!

Amazing Parents

Every day i am astounded by how many motivated, wonderful people -- and parents -- there are out there. They come to me through my gigs on Fiverr, asking me to help promote their businesses and their ventures.

They appear on the street, in our local classrooms, and nearly everywhere i look. They amaze me and remind me that to really make change and get things done in this one life we have, we have to push the envelope and do more than commit ourselves to the 9 to 5 lifestyle where we plop down in front of the TV at 5:15.

I admit, i have been prone to doing just that this winter. After spending a winter where it's never cold, the grey skies and cold air has gotten to me.

But i'm thankful for this blog, where people creep in and find me even when i wasn't looking to be found...


Today i want to introduce you to Angela, who changed her life and was able to get pregnant after doctors told her she couldn't -- simply by changing her unhealthy lifestyle. She's hosting a free health webinar soon, helping people uncover the root of problems such as being overweight, having trouble sleeping, diabetes, heart disease, infertility issues, chronic pain, skin disorders or any other chronic degenerative illness or disease. It's free -- so why not attend?

And then there's Johnnie, who's created Yellowbrick.me -- a wonderful resource for parents to come together, get advice, or sound off on their latest struggle. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tween Discipline Strategy?

When you have a tween, just about the only ammo you have in your arsenal is to take something away when they don't comply with your demands.

Right now it's taking away the beloved iPod or not allowing her to go on an excursion with friends.

But this article talks about how timeouts, reward charts and taking the toys away can backfire, because it's all about exclusion and isolating the kid instead of creating a connection that can help them understand your side better.

So far, taking away things is what works. It really makes her shape up and do the dishes, walk the dog and just generally be an active human instead of someone who is sewed to her mattress.

So what do you think? What works for you for your tweens and teens in terms of motivation?


Or maybe you're waaaayy back in the pregnancy phase and you're looking for the best advice for your stage of parenting. If so, check out this list of good books to read while you're pregnant.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Losing Team

I haven't been a sports parent all that long, but thus far, the rebelangel has always tended to be on the winning teams.
You can't always get a medal. But keep trying!

In basketball the year before Nicaragua, her team took 2nd in the city.

In soccer this fall, again, 2nd in the all-city tournament.

Not too bad.

And even on those winning teams, the rebelangel has managed to be a standout player who shows loads of hustle and heart -- two things all coaches want to see, no matter what.

Now onto this year's basketball team.

The team is a new one with a new -- and young -- coach. They're in the feeder program for their high school, so allegedly all of these girls will be playing together and going to school together through high school. But for now, they're all spread out, coming from different middle schools or K8's and hardly knowing each other at all. Some of them haven't ever played basketball. Some of them haven't ever played sports at all.

As the world-traveling feminist parent that i am, i'm cheered to see so many Latinas and girls of all colors joining the team, because it means we're making headway in overcoming the gender bias and barriers that have kept girls on the sidelines worldwide. (See my posts about girls soccer in Nicaragua for more rants on that.)

Still, a new team with a young coach and new players has resulted in one thing: We suck.

Like really bad.

Like so bad that the rebelangel told me that she couldn't remember the last time they won a game. (It was last week, but who could remember the score, when there was a fight between parents of opposing teams, that stole the spotlight?)

It's painful to watch sometimes, and to tell you the truth i often question why i didn't scout out a better team for her before the season began.

But then i stop myself. You can't be on a winning team all the time, or you're never going to know how it feels to lose. You're going to miss out on things like the joy of a victory hard-fought, the grit of learning to overcome challenges, the plain truth of the fact that life isn't fair and that even good shots get missed. I never wanted to hear my parents say "this will build character," but that's exactly what it's doing.

The rebelangel still goes out hard at every game, so for her i know it's not all about winning.

So maybe the biggest lesson here is the one i am learning.

If at first you don't succeed...try, try, try...


Not having luck with your hair treatments? Get all the facts on the costs of Laser Hair Removal with this handy infographic.

Don't lose out on the potty training game either! This mom's Kickstarter campaign for an infant potty can help you get ahead of the game.