Out of the Blue (and Sprouted Buckwheat Sunshine Burgers to celebrate)

by Maria Theresa Maggi on April 6, 2014

house in snow Dec 24 2012

This is the house I’ve lived in and loved for 20 years. I’ve owned it outright almost 8 years. I first noticed it when I was renting across the street. Instead of grading my student papers, I would find myself staring out the window wondering about it. When I couldn’t sleep at night, unsure if I should stay in the relationship I was in, I’d get up and go sit in the chair at the window and stare at it through the trees. One day during one of these reveries, I heard myself saying out loud, “That’s such a cute little house. I wish that house was for sale.” I had no plans to buy a house, or money saved to do so. But I had said this out loud, involuntarily, as naturally as if it were a breath.

Three days later, there was a “for sale” sign on the lawn of the house. I knew I had to buy it. I bluffed my way through a conversation with the listing agent for an appointment the following Monday. Over the weekend, I got my income tax return. The minute I walked into the house, I just knew. I used my income tax return for earnest money, and asked my parents to co-sign with me. Before I knew it, the little blue house was mine.

Evidently there were others who wanted it for a rental, or office space, but somehow I was the one who got it. Michael had always asked me when we could have our own house, and now I was giving that to him. Not long after we moved in one summer evening, he was gone to the movies with a friend and his family, and I sat down in a lawn chair at the back of my long yard to look at the house. And I saw a big checkmark go off in some ethereal list of things I was meant to accomplish in this life, right after “buy an old two story house.”

When I was nine, the same age as Mike was that summer, I used to be in the car with my Mom when she would go looking at other houses. I got into the habit of saying “how about that one?” when we’d drive by one that appealed to me with a for sale sign in front of it. They were always older, and they were often two-story, and sometimes they were blue. But she always dismissed these. I still remember one in particular very clearly that I loved. “Why don’t you want a two story house?” I asked, perplexed that we had such different taste. “Too hard to vacuum,” she said. And that was that.

Even though it IS hard to haul the vacuum up and down the stairs (I certainly can’t do it anymore, and haven’t been able to for a long time), this blue house has been good to me and my boy. I raised him here. We raised a dog and a cat and a newt here, and helped to get a skate park built in our town. I learned to garden. I had the masonry stove built. I learned how to accept that my life had changed with the diagnosis of MS and this house became my healing center when I couldn’t teach anymore. It’s sheltered friends after a fire, and hosted many a meeting, consultation and celebration. So it’s been very good to me, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to leave it.

But I am. I’ve actually found another house here in town, every bit as magical in its own way, but smaller, all on one level, less to take care of–and–with a little artist studio out in back. Like this one I now own, the opportunity to see it came out of the blue. And before I knew it I was making an offer. And the offer was accepted. Some day I’ll tell that whole story but for now I’ll say that one day the activity of wondering if I’d ever stumble onto something else that would work was only an intermittent daydream, something I often dismissed out of hand. The next it became a real possibility that was practically being handed to me. All I had to do was say yes to the invitation. So I did.

Change always has layers to it that are invisible, or hard to recognize. They can be wound around something invisible that produces the green shoot of something new, wrapped in mystery. When I was trying to think of a way to describe the process of how this change dawned on me, I thought of a scene in one of my favorite movies, Life As A House. It’s a pretty intense scene between father and son, but what Kevin Klein’s character says at the end of it is exactly the way I think change works in my life. So I hope you’ll take a minute to watch it here.

Or maybe it’s as simple as one of my favorite children’s books, The Carrot Seed. As I listened to this being read out loud again in this little video after all the years I read it to Mike when he was small, it made me smile to think of the last 3 years when nothing seemed to “come up” from the seed of wondering what the best next step might be for me and my home. And now, the carrot has come up.

To celebrate, I’d like to share with you a healthy burger made with sprouted seeds and carrots. Tasty, easy to digest, and full of the promise of new beginnings. It makes me want to keep seeds sprouting on my counter all the time.


If all goes as scheduled, I’ll close on my new house in early June. In the meantime, I am on a unique kind of adventure in the process of selling my own lovely blue house. I discovered that although 20 years ago I received a residential loan for it, the world has changed since then. I recently learned it’s been zoned motor business since 1956, the year I was born, and now banks won’t grant residential loans for a home in a motor business district. The grand irony is it’s the only home on the whole block zoned motor business–and it’s the most charming and best preserved home of all. It will be 117 this summer. It’s survived and avoided fire and flood for over a century, arbitrarily being drawn into and then back out of the flood plain, and sloppily mis-zoned as motor business, which means it could not be rebuilt as a residence if it should burn down. My going-away present to it will be to rezone it back to its rightful designation–Multiple Family Residential. And understanding what I understand now, even if I wasn’t going, I’d still do it. I don’t expect that to be controversial. I believe it’s charming staying power adds to the vibrancy of the Legacy Crossing Urban Renewal District it’s now a part of, but you never know. So hold a good thought and prayer.

And if all this were not enough to make the month of June jump, I just found out that a hypothetical conversation I had with the head librarian at Latah County Library District, Moscow Branch about me being the artist for their very first hosting of Art Walk, is not hypothetical at all. So I will be the first featured artist ever at the library this year, including the grand festivities on the Friday evening of June 13, where the whole downtown is open and full of art, music, food and fun. The library has both of my books, so I think I’ll include the original art for the covers and we can do something like “from art to book cover” as part of it. I couldn’t be more honored and pleased.

And just for good measure, my rezoning request should go before the zoning and planning commission sometime in mid-June too. So this year June is definitely way more than it’s lovely designation as the month of the barefoot  moon.

I’ve long been active to make sure green spaces and what’s left of historical neighborhood in the Legacy Crossing Urban Renewal District are preserved. I’ve stood nearly alone against the commercial rezoning of the east side of the next block. I’ve waxed eloquent at public hearings about the need for trees and real plants to landscape what has now become a series of parking lots. I’ve campaigned with a neighbor to get a small pocket park designated and a tiny creek next to it daylighted–and we won the day–and I wrote and commented to both opposing parties when the school district wanted to purchase the one grand old park in the district from the city. I donated two trees to it in honor of my parents after old ones were lost to lightning. Rezoning my house will be the culmination of that activism perhaps.

So wish me luck. And understand what I’m up to if I don’t post as often. I’ll be back, I promise. Maybe even sooner than later. 

Maria (moonwatcher)



Leave a Comment

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole O'Shea April 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Wow, Maria! Big changes. 🙂

Sending you smooth sailing vibes 😀 It’s all very exciting!!




2 moonwatcher April 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm

Thanks for the smooth sailing vibes, Nicole. You’re a sweetheart! xo


3 Rochelle Arvizo April 6, 2014 at 6:44 pm

So happy for you. Sounds like good karma to me!


4 moonwatcher April 6, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Thanks Rochelle! 🙂


5 Deborah April 6, 2014 at 8:56 pm

So the houses in the photo aren’t there any more? I’m trying to picture a beautiful house and garden in an industrial area???

I loved seeing the movie clip and book reading and remembering the book from my childhood and reflecting on your words.

I love the feeling of hope that is ever-present in your writings.

I wish you well on your mission.

All blessings to you Maria.


6 moonwatcher April 6, 2014 at 9:47 pm

Picture a charming house and garden, Deborah, in a diverse mixed business and residential area, with old grain towers to boot, equidistant in both north and south directions, and you’ve got my house, the blue house in the picture. It’s still here, but many others are gone, or are not in good shape, turned into rentals that don’t get kept up. A few have been refurbished, made into offices. Even more few are kept up and lived in by owners, like mine is. I hope mine will carry on with a new owner who’s respectful of it for a long time, which is why I’m applying to get it rezoned. It’s already made it this long (117 years), so why not shoot for another good long time? Thanks ever so much for your lovely words about how you find the feeling of hope ever present in my writings, and for your well wishes for my mission. 🙂


7 Veronica April 7, 2014 at 8:31 am

Congratulations on the new house! Looks like we’re going through a house buying/selling transition at the same time. 🙂 It’s hard to part with somewhere that’s been home for so long, but it’s exciting to find a fresh start, too. The picture of the little blue house is great! It reminds me of something in a Pixar or Disney movie. I can’t wait to hear the story of this new place! The art studio sounds like something you might possibly take advantage of…

I hope the re-zoning works out, and the house remains a beautiful blue landmark. Your activism is a good and needed thing in an age of people who’d rather stay quiet than stir the pot. All my best to you with fingers crossed as you start a new chapter!!

Oh – and the burgers look delish! Something easy to tote around and get ready is definitely needed in times of transition.

Good luck!!! 🙂


8 moonwatcher April 7, 2014 at 9:09 am

Yes, Veronica, it looks like all of a sudden we’re house buying/selling “twins”!! 🙂 I have actually been excited for you to know. Thanks for your great feedback and understanding–you know from direct experience right now–and really appreciate the solidarity on the rezoning. How can things go anything but right when I have such great support?

Glad you like the look of the burgers. They ARE delish, and easy, and easy to digest. I think I’ll be making them again for a third time this week. 🙂 All the best back to you in your transition as well! xo


9 nyginko April 27, 2014 at 1:48 pm

Thank you for this inspiring website, Maria, MOONWATCHER! Best wishes to you during your move and for securing the status of the BLUE HOUSE, and the ART WALKS! I, too, enjoy sprouting buckwheat. Tell me, please, are the other grains (rice and quinoa) in the “burger” recipe pre – cooked?


10 moonwatcher April 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm

HI nyginko and welcome! So glad you are inspired by what you read here! Thanks for all the good wishes, too. To answer your question, the rice and quinoa are pre-cooked in this recipe. I cook the quinoa and rice together. 3 parts brown rice, 1 part quinoa, with a 2 to 1 ration of water. So, 1 1/2 cups brown rice, 1/2 cup red quinoa and 4 cups of water. It’s easy. Cook just like brown rice.


11 Marge Evans April 7, 2014 at 9:01 am

Maria, I don’t always comment but I never miss the opportunity to read your lovely, well thought out words. Good luck on your efforts to get your lovely home rezoned.


12 moonwatcher April 7, 2014 at 9:10 am

Hi Marge–always nice to hear from you when you comment, and I love knowing you are following along when you don’t comment. Thanks for your kind words about my words, too and your best wishes for the rezone. It’s just great to have such supportive readers. I am blessed. 🙂


13 Sherril April 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm

What a wonderful story, Maria. Lucky are they who get your well-loved blue house with garden in place. Post a picture of the new house, too, so we can visualize you happy there.

Sherril Twithchell


14 moonwatcher April 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Thank you so much, Sherrill, for these lovely positive sentiments and visualizations. And yes, you can bet I’ll share a picture of the new house when the time comes.


15 Charleen April 9, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Wonderful to find you are being looked after when it has become too hard for you to carry the vacuum up the stairs. May the new move be a smooth and happy one. Congratulations on accepting change, Marie.


16 moonwatcher April 9, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Thanks, Charleen!! It’s wonderful what doors open up when we accept change. Things are going well, and I just know all these well wishes are helping that along.


17 oceanfrontcabin April 10, 2014 at 2:39 pm

Hi Maria: The house you’re leaving looks wonderful. Perfect! in fact. It’s exactly what I’d want if I were looking in your area. I’m glad you’ve found new beginnings in a place you’ll love as much. Best wishes to you on your move. Jill


18 moonwatcher April 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Aw, thanks, oceanfrontcabin!! You’re just the kind of buyer I’m hoping for! (fingers crossed 🙂 ) I really appreciate the well wishes and good thoughts for both the old and the new.


19 Michelle April 10, 2014 at 3:49 pm


I am so very happy for all your fabulous news: new house, new show and new zoning for your wee, blue, historic two-story. I don’t just wish you luck – I wish you success in all of it!

Love and hugs – Michelle


20 moonwatcher April 10, 2014 at 4:13 pm

Hi Michelle! Thanks so much for your happiness about my news!! It’s just great to have your wishes for success with all of it. love and hugs back to you!!


21 Corrin Radd May 7, 2014 at 5:43 pm

I made these burgers tonight, except I used cooked instead of sprouted buckwheat and I used all quinoa instead of a rice mix. They were great!


22 moonwatcher May 7, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Thank you, Corrin, I am so happy to read this! Your version sounds quite yummy. 🙂


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