What is Masculinity?

Everyday we are bombarded with ads, TV shows and comments from friends and strangers about how women should present themselves. I checked out of that conversation when I was 11 as it was tiresome and offensive. Thirty some years later, I’m still disgusted that people think they have the right to decide how women should look. I’m often told that I should wear make up and dresses, with the exhortation to “be more feminine”. Personally, femininity takes time and money I don’t want to spend. I can’t justify doing my nails when I’m going to spend my time digging in the dirt or building something. Some women can do both and more power to them.

However, somewhere along the way we neglected to mention that policing men’s bodies is also wrong. Just as there’s not one kind of woman, there is not one kind of man. We all have our styles and preferences. I find beards, hairy backs, and ill-fitting clothes on men to be highly unattractive. But if you’re a bearded dude in saggy pants and a stretched out t-shirt, I’m not going to run up on a dude and say, “Be more sexy!”

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Container Gardening at The Brewery

The Brewery is one of those reclaimed spaces given over to lofts. As the names says, it used to be a brewery and almost 35  years ago, it was renovated and now is an artists complex–in fact, the world’s largest artist’s residence. The site sits next to a freeway, trainyard and parcel distribution center. Needless to say, the ground isn’t in the best shape to grow anything.

Most of the places have patios and those are full of great container gardening. There are a lot of succulents and cactus, to be sure, but these artists have also created whimsical planters and amazing trellises to grow fruits and vegetables. There are a few Master Gardeners on site and their spaces are pretty amazing, too. Below are just a few of the plants we saw at the most recent event at The Brewery.
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Lunar New Year at the Korean Cultural Center

새 해 복 많이 받으세요! (Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!)

새 해 복 많이 받으세요! (Saehae Bok Mani Badeuseyo!)

Yesterday marked the beginning of the Year of the Sheep/Goat/Ram and there have been celebrations going on all over the Los Angeles for the past couple of weeks, with most wrapping up this weekend. On Tuesday, the Korean Cultural Center of Los Angeles cancelled classes and hosted an event to ring in the new year. This was my first time attending a Korean even for Lunar New Year. That may seem odd in a city like Los Angeles, but 설날 (Seollal) is a time for family in Korean culture.

Just from watching TV, I learned that on Seollal Koreans visit family and pay respect to ancestors, play folk games and eat. The food is very important. Not only the food that is eaten by the family, but also the food prepared for the ancestral table. The first thing done on the morning of Seollal, placing the food on the ancestral table and eating ritual foods. We didn’t have an ancestral table at the Korean Cultural Center, but there was definitely food and games. I tried to get my kids to give me a deep bow, but they wanted money and I only had 67¢ on me. There were other interesting things we were told, but you can learn more about Seollal on Korea.net.

My family had a great time at the event. My son really liked the yutnori game. I can’t believe that after 3 years of trying to explain the game to him, he finally understood it within minutes. You can see our fun in the photos below:

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World Floral Expo is Coming Soon & I Want To Be There

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The World Floral Expo is in March 2015 and it’s happening right in my backyard! A little hyperbolic, but it’s a short train ride away from me, so I’m very excited about this. Just the idea of having flower growers from all over the world in my city is making me giddy. One of my biggest joys is going the Flower District in DTLA (or this one) and just taking in all the sights, talking to the vendors and learning. Always learning.

As a child in Kansas City, I used to love going to the flower mart with my grandmother. I visit the Flower District here in Los Angeles sometimes to buy, sometimes to people watch. The vendors are so friendly and helpful. As a home gardener, I’ve received tips on the flowers I grow, from seed to the vase. One thing I love the most is that you can hear dozens upon dozens of different languages, but the expressions on people’s faces are always the same: Smiles and sheer delight.

As I work on building up the Start With a Seed site and store, I’m posting things here and writing articles for future use. What a great opportunity it would be to be able to meet actual growers!