Isa’s Journal

Design Inspiration: Endangered American Birds, California Condor

Original California Condor watercolor “The greatest danger to our future is apathy.”Jane Goodall California Condor After reading about the drastic decline in avian species last year, I subsequently started researching and sketching endangered American birds, and the California Condor was easy to fall for. The whole studio became enchanted by these new world vultures —…

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Something to Write “from” Home About

These days constant upheaval is our new normal. The daily data is grim and this COVID tsunami will only get worse. But all around us, there is a generosity of spirit. People are dropping off food. People are planting victory gardens to feed others. Our health providers are global heroes. People are sharing their own…

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Secretary of the Interior

In house model Fiona with one of her favorite pastimes. I was a newlywed when my husband and I watched the twin towers collapse in real-time from our loft building a mile north of the attack. We knew then that the world would never be the same and that our lives would be neatly demarcated…

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Double Twenty

Each year I pen a New Year’s letter to our kids. Here’s what I wrote heading into 2020. December 31 My dear hearts: Another year is filing out the door and it’s time for this letter. Two thousand nineteen saw great upheaval in our country, in our world, and 2020 will decide the fate of…

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The Night Before Christmas

The Holiday cards are done at last, and Christmas Eve is here. I adore the exchange of Holiday cards but always struggle with adding to the waste stream with one of our own. I do use an eco-friendly card, but it’s still a product, and odds are it will not be composted. But it brings…

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The World According to Jessica

My father liked lists and made one the morning after my mother died. He did not want to forget the quotidian, the smaller gestures and all those details that we take for granted about our beloveds. So he reached for a pen and paper to impose some order in his shattered world. And he wrote…

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Garden Variety

And then she asked why all serious gardeners, the ones who push beyond a basic marigold border, aren’t considered eco-artists. She pointed out that gardeners have a singular understanding of the climate crisis because they take note of subtle and dramatic changes in the weather, wildlife patterns, and soil.

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Old School

In the early seventies, my father accepted a post in the Nixon administration to represent the United States as its ambassador to El Salvador, and my siblings and I moved to a new country and a bilingual school. Half the day was in Spanish, the other in English. My father insisted that I would be fluent in Spanish in no time. Instead, I got a crash course in bullying.

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The Tyranny of Busyness

““How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days.” — Anne Dillard Day in and day out I hear how busy everyone is.…

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Gift in Kind

My mother was conflicted about the holidays. She was a spiritual soul and quiet Christian and was attached to the rhythms of the Christian calendar. She attended church if the architecture compelled her, or if it boasted a great choir, but was never drawn to the built in community of a congregation. My sister and…

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