Spritzer Leyba Out and About Journal

A Perfect Thursday May 31, 2007

+ Audiobooks for the drive north
+ Beautiful hill-covered vineyards
+ Lunch with a dear friend
+ A walk around town
+ California sunshine
+ Captured on camera

++ Check this out: Women In Art, 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art, on YouTube.


Some people vacation in Mexico... May 30, 2007

We choose to learn how to build a house.

This summer David and I are forgoing the typical luxury vacation to take a course in alternative building techniques. A six-day intensive, we pay them to get ourselves covered in mud, stuck with straw, and up to our knees in alternative foundations. And even though the workshop is just 45 minutes away, we intend to camp on site for the whole week.

Trust me, this is so us.

Anytime we get annoyed with the California housing market, we talk about buying a little bit of land and erecting a yurt until we can afford to build a little cob house.

Our shared dream is to build a green-friendly home out of sustainable materials, off the grid, and with no septic system (opting instead for greywater reuse and composting toilets). I want to eat from our garden and orchards. I am so ready.

So, to David and I, this workshop as an important step in achieving our life goals.
We can't wait. It's going to be so fun!

(Above are Siobhan, Amanda, and David inside the cob cottage at the Kenyon College Environmental Center taken on our trip to Ohio earlier this month.)


I am so impressed and in awe of the environmental practices that you and David do and aspire to do. You are a role model! A true ecosexual. :)

Posted by Tyler on May 31, 2007


"This is so us" or more correctly, "this is so ON us "(like mud)!!




Posted by Daddy on May 31, 2007

I wonder sometimes whether building materials like adobe, cob, or rammed earth really are sustainable. I mean, they are all essentially soil, right? And so they require digging in the earth, which is pretty invasive, to acquire, plus soil doesn't replace itself anytime quickly. How is that different than a rock quarry or a gravel pit? Seems like something like straw bale housing might be more sustainable. It still has the soil on the outside, but most of the thickness is straw bales, which are easily replenishable. What do you think?

Posted by Nikki on June 2, 2007

Beautiful music May 29, 2007

I love listening to music. At home, in the car, on our iPod when walking around town... I frequently find myself humming. I often have songs stuck in my head and, as long as they are good songs, that makes me happy. I like surrounding myself with music.

Here are some female musicians that I am currently digging (with links to their sites and music samples).

Bebel Gilberto, Missy Higgins, Vienna Teng:

Imogen Heap, Colbie Caillat, Hope:

Tori Amos, Leela James, Regina Spektor:


Regina Spektor is one of my favorite artists of the last two years. Can't wait to see what she does next, and hope to catch her live at some point.

Posted by Tim on June 8, 2007

Treat yourself to a strawberry May 27, 2007

I am a strawberry fiend. I love them just about every way: in fruit salad, with ice cream, yogurt, short cake, pancakes, lemonade, and baked with rhubarb. I like them fresh, frozen, stewed, freeze-dried, and baked. We serve them at special occasions. Strawberry short cake is always my birthday treat. At our wedding we served strawberries in spinach salad and also dipped in chocolate. As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as too many strawberries.

David's grandmother is also a strawberry enthusiast and this is a huge bonding point for us. She has strawberry prints, strawberry light switch covers, strawberry pillows, and other strawberry items all over her house. I like to add to her collection -- we've gotten her strawberry decorated drinking glasses and, of course, chocolate covered strawberries. Whenever I get a new catalog in the mail or discover a great online shop, I always check for strawberry items. This is exactly my kind of quirky.

You can imagine my delight that strawberries are now in season. We buy them in bulk every Wednesday and Saturday at our local Farmers' Market. Organic, sweet, juicy, and so delicious.

Ah, I love springtime in California.


Desktop photos May 27, 2007

desktop image
Every couple of weeks I change my desktop image. Sometimes I download photos from National Geographic, post photos from my portfolio, make a collage of favorite images, or photos that friends have taken (from our wedding, for example). I try to pick images that elicit an emotional response: photos of the ocean when I feel hot and want to go swimming, photos of the mountains when I miss Boulder, photos of friends after we've talked on the phone. Above is my latest desktop image of artists/photos that inspire me (drop me an email if you'd like a copy for your desktop).

What sort of images do you post on your desktop?


Full circle May 26, 2007

When we moved here over a year ago, two ducks and their offspring were living in the water feature outside our apartment. This year, they are back. After weeks of waddling around, the mama duck has given birth. Look how cute her little ducklings are! I love that they follow her everywhere.
This was as close as I could get (the pictures are super zoomed in). Every time I would approach them the mother would turn everyone around and they would swim off in the opposite direction away from me (see picture on right).

I love having them here; I just hope the cats stay away. Last year, only a few ducklings survived.

Hang in there, guys!

Nature can be so heartbreaking.


She did it! May 21, 2007

My younger sister Laura graduated from college!

We had a fantastic long-weekend at Kenyon visiting with family and friends and celebrating my awesome sister! Congratulations, Laura! We are so proud of you.


How fantastic! It's nice to see pictures of Kenyon, looking beautiful as always.

I hope you are well. Would you believe that I am in New Jersey this week? =)

Posted by Matt on May 21, 2007

2 views May 15, 2007

I love this site: 2-views, where two artists interpret a word using photography and mixed-media. I've been a fan of Maditi's blog for a long time. Love those collaborative projects.

Oh, and I finally updated our about us page. Just little tweaks and a few photos:

above: our Boulder, Colorado wedding

and camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes in 2005


so happy you enjoy our project :)

Posted by Maditi on May 16, 2007

High school science May 10, 2007

The other day David and I bought a Home Test pH Kit on a whim at Whole Foods. You know how they put good stuff by the register to suck you in. And we are total suckers for science stuff. Especially when there are experiments involved.

So, we've tested our pH levels and evidently David and I are both too acidic. Who knew that was even possible?! And it's not like we are eating a diet of soda and pop-tarts over here. (Just too much dairy and processed grains, I guess.)

Right now I am drinking lemon-spiked water to alkalinize. Yes, I am drinking an acid to be more basic. Evidently lemons, when digested, have a very alkalizing effect. I know this sounds crazy. You're going to have to trust me on this one.


I drink lemon juice and water to alkalize all the time, it's great. Ever try Master Cleanser? It's lemon juice in water with cayenne pepper and maple syrup (to taste). You can google some searches on it, but its a good cleanse. I like to do it when I'm sick especially.

Posted by Aviva on May 13, 2007

Work-In-Progress (WIP) / The Queen May 7, 2007

Lately I've had a surge of creativity and it has been a blast. I've had such fun working on my ceramics homework. Yesterday and today I played around with using leaves to create different textures and patterns:

Clay and bits of leaf are now all over the house. So worth it.

Yesterday I finally saw The Queen (how fitting that her majesty visited the White House on the same day--total coincidence). Wow, the film was phenomenal. I was completely floored by Helen Mirren's performance, the breathtaking cinematography, and spectacular script. It was moving, interesting, and thought-provoking. I found my mind lingering over it hours afterwards and it was fresh on my mind this morning when I woke up. Now that is a good movie.

I find it interesting how certain memories are etched clearly in our minds. I remember exactly where I was the moment I learned of Princess Diana's car crash. Some things, often haunting things, really stay with us.


Car, the pottery is so beautiful! I want one of your leaf bowls!

Do you fire it? It's funny, my favorite piece that Laura did in pottery class was one with leaves pressed into it!

I didn't realize the pottery was so delicate -- I imagined it as heavy pots... What a wonderful surprise to see your work! It's just beautiful!


Posted by Mom on May 8, 2007

love those forms and pattern - beautiful!!

Posted by Maditi on May 16, 2007

Spritzer loves May 7, 2007

+ walking around barefoot
+ English breakfast tea with milk
+ blooming plants and deep greens
+ creating Japanese tea bowls:

+ pottery inspiration: 1, 2 & 3
+ hot summery days
+ coconut rice pudding as a Sunday treat
+ anticipation of trips to the beach
+ late night alumni on pandora
+ postcards from abroad from Kate-Robin!


Faux Boulder date May 6, 2007

When we lived in Boulder, we ate out several times a week and frequently met up with friends at local bars or restaurants. David and I used to go out on dates all the time. In our three years there, had tried nearly every restaurant in town and had our favorite places. The waiters knew us. The owners would stop by. Our friends would know where to find us.

Since moving here we haven't really gone to happy hour or eaten outside or found tons of fabulous restaurants. Yes, we live in California with beautiful weather, but we don't eat out that much because everything is so darn expensive, and most of our friends aren't around the corner and able to meet at a moments notice.

So, yesterday was a treat. After a lovely drive in the country (scouting towns to move to with absolutely no luck), we ended up in beautiful Healdsburg, a smaller, more expensive, and less hippy Boulder, but lovely nonetheless. We found the local brew pub, sat on the back patio, and savored the sunshine and yummy pub fare.

Sitting there we realized that we were having a Boulder date. It felt so normal. It felt so right. We had missed it so much. And now we know that we need to do this way more often... Happy hour, anyone?


Can I just say how happy your website makes me when I read it? You've been doing this for years, literally years since the moment I met you in 1995 and you've kept it up since. So proud of you and such a joy to read....what kind of French Lavender Lotion do you like? You're so funny

Posted by Christina on May 6, 2007

Here they come May 1, 2007

Where have I been? What have I been up to?

Gardening at our house (as opposed to Luther Burbank's house), making leaf plates for my ceramics class, paring down and throwing out and organizing our stuff that is taking over the apartment, cooking Thai food, reading (up to a couple hours a day now!), and doing some hard-core running. We seem to have finally developed a routine here in California: yoga, arts and crafts, garden, run, eat, read, sleep, and repeat. We've been here a year now.

p.s. Check out HepburnTribute.com -- that's been a real source of time suckage lately.
Still lots of things to adjust and tweak, but it's on its way.


Lovely blog you have here! A breath of fresh air (and that's the objective, right?) Lovely... (:


Posted by *Terramia* on May 5, 2007

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