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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Fruit friends

  The economy has inspired a lot of neighbor-to-neighbor activity, and (more visibly) media awareness of community activities that already exist, and the way those communities are innovating solutions for their needs themselves.

Foraging for Fruit Gains Popularity (, 6/10/09, shared by a Facebook friend) is an article about looking around you, seeing what you have to offer, and giving or trading it with others. As one participant remarks, A fruit tree is really made for sharing with your neighborhood.

It's a sweet article about all sorts of little personal projects that have blossomed into larger organizations of people picking fruit for food banks, harvesting and pruning orchards for elderly neighbors, and working out elaborate social networks of ripe fruit reporting so people can trade when the fruit on their trees is at its best. The idea expands beyond the community/victory garden in which apartment dwellers may garden for their own table, to discuss how neighbors with private gardens can better share their surplus.

These sorts of exchanges have always occurred: I think very fondly of the coworkers who have brought in baskets of ripe lemons, apricots, plums, and avocados to the office. There are also jokes about how, in certain neighborhoods, you have to lock your car doors and roll up the windows, or in the morning you'll find your car filled with baskets of zucchini and string beans dumped by rogue urban farmers.

The novelty, I suppose, is that technology is playing a slightly increased organizing role in these exchanges, allowing more people to participate than the ordinary do-gooder neighbor could otherwise handle. Another novelty angle may be that the major media, ever seeking stories about impending doom, remained stunned that people are capable of self-organizing for positive reasons. (I half-expected to read articles about 'unregulated and dangerous fruit anarchy.')

If you have more bounty from your yard than you can handle, this article is a reminder to share it, regardless of whether you do that through a Facebook group or by ringing your neighbor's doorbell and offering a sack of lemons.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:50 PM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Forbidden Tomato Love!

  It is one thing to make a film of the Oedious myth. It is another to cast it entirely with... animated vegetables. Oedipus The Movie ( is one of those things that, even with my vivid imagination, I am unlikely to have come up with. For this, I am thrilled... and strangely relieved.

It must be seen. To be believed, or otherwise.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)9:40 PM

Monday, February 23, 2009

Radio Silence

  No, I'm not going weeks without posting because I'm on an(other) exotic trip abroad to a glamorous-yet-WiFi-free city, nor am I backpacking in my beloved Sierra Nevada range, whose polished granite valleys are quickly, finally, filling with much-needed snow. (How I would wish that were the case... though really, I don't like sleeping outdoors in sub-zero temperatures. That was one of the lessons I brought home from Nepal. Sierra summers are much better for the high elevation trips that absorb me with otherworldly beauty. Even in July and August there can be snow in the corners of the dramatic valleys that I so love to hike through...)

Without going into great detail, I can say that I've been to hell (hold the hand basket), and that I wanted to send you a postcard from there, but the vistas are painfully ugly, the postage is overpriced, and anything I could have written would have seemed garbled, negative, and out-of-context. (Matthew Sweet: "And every word I say, has a way of turning evil in you...")

At a slightly higher level of detail: as a result of a relationship breakup that I initiated last October, followed by subsequent months of estranged days and argument-filled nights, I am a pale shadow of myself. When I try to write here, it barely sounds like me. When I try to write elsewhere, I am either interrupted or I fall asleep, and the words just pile up, waiting impatiently for their turn to escape my head and pen, like fish in a really bad spawning season analogy involving some piss ant river you've never heard of. And an environmentally unsound dam that no one wants to pay to remove, which is an obstacle to the fish. And hungry bears. And federally subsidized farmers diverting water to grow crops that aren't worth the cash value of the water that irrigates them...

That almost sounds like me.

News: I'm living on my own; I am making few compromises; I am trying to take care of myself and start fresh.

Thank you to everyone who has been supportive of me during this time period, whether I wouldn't tell you anything, or whether I dumped nearly everything on you. Your patience, encouragement, light-hearted interrogations, and cheerful support have kept me walking upright. It has meant a lot to me. Thank you.


posted by Arlene (Beth)9:04 PM

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


  [He reaches for my toes as if to pull on them. I remove toes from his reach.]

Me: I am not a toy!
Him: Says who? Does this mean I don't get to play with you later?
Me: Not like you would play with a toy, since [playing with toys] is only for your own enjoyment. Like when you stick your finger in my bellybutton. That is only for YOUR enjoyment.
Him: I can't help it if you don't know how to enjoy these things!!


posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

Saturday, August 30, 2008



This morning:
Him: [puts a CD on in the living room, cranks it so he can hear it across several rooms]
Me: I hope you don't mind if I shut myself up in the study, so I can have some peace while working on [deadline art project for review by people in the outside world].
Him: Because music is so terrible.
Minor revelations today: my sabbatical was so outrageously productive because I had about 9 hours daily to work in silence, and to consider what I'd learned/accomplished each day before stopping to make dinner (and not necessarily for myself); my sabbatical was not as productive on weekends.


I am REALLY starting to understand the "art studio separate from where you live" concept.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)12:23 PM

Monday, June 02, 2008


On the subject of my lasagna

This comment from Steven:
Even if you couldn't cook this well, I would still love you. I just wouldn't love you as much. [laughter]

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:00 PM

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