Monday, May 20, 2013
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Green Street, 2013
Do you notice those people? Do they stand out for you as they do for me? Those who quietly knock on the restaurant restroom door and pause before turning the doorknob. The drivers who slow when they see a pedestrian in the crosswalk. The people who let commuters off the bus before attempting to board. And those who are kind to flight attendants, cashiers, and janitorial staff--even when it is a one-time encounter and they have no more to gain than perhaps a relieved smile
They live intentionally. They make this world softer, more inhabitable. They allow us to let our stiff defenses rest for a moment, and this space reminds us just how good the rest feels, like sunlight on cold skin.
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Dust, Wood, Books, Light, 2013
Yesterday during an appointment with a hair stylist I experienced the indulgence of having my hair washed by someone other than myself and contemplated the creation of a hair shampooing robot.
Books. They've contributed to my life in so many ways. How will electronic publishing change this contribution? I've tried reading from an iPad mini. It was okay, it didn't kill me, but there was something a little sad about it. The reading felt less intimate.
Often my workouts take place in an old theatre transformed into a gym. It's a unique space, but this isn't my point. Today while on the second floor looking down at people sweating on various pieces of gym equipment I thought of body shape. Imagine all of the physical labor involved in a pre-industrial society. Body shape for many must have been determined by profession. A plowman most likely had well-developed leg muscles due to his maneuvering on foot throughout the day while a seated coachman probably had weaker leg muscles. Today most of the work we do doesn't require muscle, we have more control over our shape.
The unusual May heat here this morning reminds me of Salina.
Kathleen Jamie has me wandering around the Bergen Natural History Museum's Hvalsalen, in my mind, contemplating enormous whale skeletons.
Cut peonies fade too quickly.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
One of Two, 2013
Two little rustic mats (6" x 7 1/4") for hot plates, bowls, ramekins, or even small pots.
If you'd like to make your own, it won't take much time. You might even have the materials on hand.
I used a ball of twine, two size 13/9.0mm knitting needles, and scissors.
Cast on 16 stitches and knit, purl, knit, purl each row until you reach about 7 inches (or your desired length) and cast off. Weave in ends.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
New Landscape, 2013
I prepared a slice of toast that rivaled the memory I have of my mother's toast. This was something I believed out of my reach. And then today it happened.
Light brown, just to the point where the face of the bread is crisp enough to create a solid sound when tapped with a fingernail. Then a thin layer of salted butter to seep into the crispness and soften it, slightly.
A bite at this point is lovely, and a corner dipped into warm maple syrup sweetened oatmeal is heaven.
It feels funny, like this is a threshold I was not supposed to cross, and the universe will lean slightly off-kilter until I trip and fall.
Monday, April 22, 2013
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Today I woke an hour and a half earlier than usual. I'm between things. Current work must rest. After the initial thud felt upon completing a project phase there is new energy. The mind is more active, more free to wander. I've busied myself in other ways, ways that occupy the body and keep the mind free.
My thoughts continue to return to the senseless pain and sadness in Boston. A reminder that things can change so quickly. We are not always in control. I look around and appreciate my now.
We've had sun and wind here. A choppy bay. So much is in bloom. I found out I'll have a poem in Taproot this June. We have strawberries. I've finished reading one book and have selected another.
If you are in the mood for peaceful music, you might enjoy this soothing song mix. I did.
What have you been up to lately?
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
|Kitchen Light I, 2013|
|Kitchen Light II, 2013|
Change isn't always better, sometimes it's just different.
Sometimes change makes things better and sometimes it just makes things different.
Sometimes change is better and sometimes it's just different.
Change is always different, sometimes it's better.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
I've never seen things in a linear fashion. I have to pull back, circle the task at hand as if it is prey, and then pounce on it sort of haphazardly.
There is repetition of what resembles a cycle, but it varies enough to avoid the classification. Irregularity makes analysis difficult. The process leaves me, its host, pricked with anxiety and the feeling someone else is pulling the strings.
Logical steps or equal sections are not visible to me before I take a nice long look at the whole. I'll zoom in quickly for a detail, losing focus on the way, pull back through the blur, and reach the whole again. Necessary patches of blank quiet space are randomly pressed into the process. Mealtimes and bedtimes are sometimes forgotten. There can be waking in the fog of night with a plan. Some groggy mornings, some good.
I'll turn it inside out, then back to right. I'll hang it outside to absorb the sun and allow the breeze to move through it. Give it a curt shake, as with a giant bed sheet, just to rid it of any dust that might have settled. Look at it with a tilted head, a squint. Then it is done.
And I cannot know if it is what others will desire, only that it is done, and is somehow a portrait of who I am at this moment in my life.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
My Chair, 2013
I've eaten my lunch and although it was quite good I did not pay it much attention because I was perched on the edge of my bed pruning my reading list (it now holds 117 books) while eating. A terrible idea.
Tomorrow I will enjoy my lunch as Charles Arrowby does in The Sea, The Sea, seated in a proper chair, a cloth napkin draped across my lap.
But for now I must get back to work. I'd rather rent Oma & Bella, or return to The Sea, The Sea, or sleep for a bit. No, work first. Hmph. I know in the end it is what will most please me. Right after reading this excerpt one more time...
“It is after lunch and I shall now describe the house. For lunch, I may say, I ate and greatly enjoyed the following: anchovy paste on hot buttered toast, then baked beans and kidney beans with chopped celery, tomatoes, lemon juice and olive oil. (Really good olive oil is essential, the kind with a taste, I have brought a supply from London.) Green peppers would have been a happy addition only the village shop (about two miles pleasant walk) could not provide them. (No one delivers to far-off Shruff End, so I fetch everything, including milk, from the village.) Then bananas and cream with white sugar. (Bananas should be cut, never mashed, and the cream should be thin.) The hard water-biscuits with New Zealand butter and Wensleydale cheese. Of course I never touch foreign cheeses. Our cheeses are the best in the world. With this feast I drank most of a bottle of Muscadet out of my modest “cellar.” I ate and drank slowly as one should (cook fast, eat slowly) and without distractions such as (thank heavens) conversation or reading. Indeed eating is so pleasant one should even try to suppress thought. Of course reading and thinking are important but, my God, food is important too. How fortunate we are to be food consuming animals. Every meal should be a treat and one ought to bless every day which brings with it a good digestion and the precious gift of hunger.”
-- Iris Murdoch's The Sea, The Sea
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Open and Closed, 2013
Do you ever look into that tiny camera lens at the top of your laptop and wonder if it could be controlled from a remote location? Do you then ponder how what you formerly believed to be your private indiscretions might be television or data collected for marketing purposes?
Your Lucky Charms. Your unmade bed. Your Lion Cat hair. They could be recording each phone call you make, every snack you smear with peanut butter, and your looking in the hall mirror as you dance alone to the songs that require it.
I went down this path recently. I knew it was ridiculous, but then I didn't. So I stuck a small blue post-it note over the lens in question.
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
After 5:00, 2013
Looked at again and again half consciously by a mind thinking of something else, any object mixes itself so profoundly with the stuff of thought that it loses its actual form and recomposes itself a little differently in an ideal shape which haunts the brain when we least expect it.
-excerpt from Virginia Woolf's short story, Solid Objects
Near Noon, 2013
I'm becoming interested in the way my energy shifts throughout the day and trying to figure out how it links to food, exercise, sleep, etc. My goal is to organize a more steady and efficient structure to my days. If you've read any interesting books or articles on these subjects, please share.
I've recently become quite addicted to Müesli, made my own particular way. It powers me through a morning like no other breakfast. My recipe is inspired by Sarah's recipe, and I've just begun adding ginger based on Megan's recipe. It is all very flexible. Play around with it.
Use a wide-mouth 1 pint jar with lid, or something similar, and begin by adding the dry ingredients to the jar.
6 ounces rolled oats
1 tablespoon raisins (I've tried dried pluots too--tasty!)
2 tablespoons chopped nuts (I use walnuts or almonds)
1 teaspoon sesame seeds (black, brown, or white)
1 teaspoon roasted pumpkin seeds (sunflower seeds work too)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Add sugar and spices to suit your taste.
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (I've also used dark brown)
a couple pinches ground ginger (or maybe allspice)
a couple pinches fresh ground cinnamon (anise seed is nice too)
a couple pinches fresh ground nutmeg
a pinch of fleur de sel
Top jar with lid and shake up the dry ingredients.
Open jar again and add milk, leaving about 1 - 1 1/2 inches space at the top of the jar. Shake or stir all ingredients in jar to wet and combine. Leave jar in your refrigerator overnight.
Take your jar out of your refrigerator in the morning and allow some of the chill to leave your jar, about 15-20 minutes.
Eat as-is or dump in a bowl and add fruit (I've tried Sarah's strawberries, and recently 1/2 fresh banana--both were great!) and have excellent energy that lasts until lunchtime.
The body sometimes does what it pleases, my afternoon slump might be something I simply learn to endure, but I'd like to do some investigating. I'd like to believe we have at least a little control over such things. It would be so cool to say goodbye to that drooping part of the day.
Thick fog, lots of it. A wide shallow bowl of bright citrus, and one Bosc pear (Dad's favorite). Pink and gold tulips, limp yesterday evening and standing firmly at attention today. A soon-to-bloom cactus flower rising up from a little cactus I've had for years, a cactus that has never bloomed before.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Writing Room, 2013
Poetry's only obligation is to the truth. Whether this truth is widely popular or not is irrelevant. It should be the best truth possible and that is the only quality that gives it any hope of survival.
On the other hand I have no belief in the notion that only a few poems are valuable and that only a few people thought to be valuable are fit to tell us which poems these are. Before you can have a cleansing of the temple you must have a temple which people should feel it is their natural right to enter. Old-boy networks are loathsome. I am delighted that Bloodaxe publish as many poets as they do. I am glad that there should be poetry in abundance. There wouldn't be if some had their way. No other poet is in my sun. It is not my sun.
The last two lines of this quote have stopped me this morning. I believe what they state translates far beyond poet.
The poets speak
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Don't laugh. I know their loft is comical, but I'm here seeking empathy.
Somehow I didn't imagine 3" would stand so tall. I took my time in ordering these cushions, I was very detailed. Purchasing a good quality product was my objective and these cushions are of excellent quality. They just look a bit different than anticipated, more like beautiful layers for a large cake than kitchen chair cushions.
They are custom. No returns. So for now we'll just have to hunch a bit during meals and focus on the positive aspects of feeling elevated.
They should mellow out after a while, right? I do love the red gingham, and my husband's legs still fit beneath the table as long as he doesn't move around too much. Maybe they'll settle to 2 1/2" by this time next year.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
I closed Radial Symmetry, quieting Katherine's squid, her lime dust, and her tequila, and sharpened my pencil on the bottom of the table, hoping no one with white pants would cross their legs and rub against the marks I'd made.
And thought about some things.
Humiliation. Well, I should be more specific. Mild humiliation. The type that humbles, but does not disgrace. It is not futile, but clearly better when experienced in small doses. An emotion that moves an invisible marker forward and helps one grow, in hopes of avoiding future encounters.
Can something taste like youth? What do you think? It tasted like youth. Does it work?
But it was Rachael's comment that stayed with me. The possibility of our memories wandering. I imagined them traveling, visiting one mind after another, extending their stays with those they favored most, and returning to us like adult children visiting the first place they called home, their parents blinded by their new facets, focused on the comfort of their original form.
Radial Symmetry by Katherine Larson
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Late February in Olema, 2012
Much of a truly gratifying experience rests in the remembering. Possibly fifty percent. Perhaps more.
These experiences, the best of them, cannot reach full potential before they are luxuriously looked back upon. And the most special keep giving. I return to them as I would a favorite painting in a museum. I drink them in again and again.
Sometimes I notice myself in the moment, tracing every line of what I see, hear, and feel. Drawing a picture I can return to later.
Nightmares are different. I know I want to leave them behind and I ignore them in hopes of their evaporating, but they beg to be shared. Sleepy and caught off guard, I often accommodate. Sharing the grief upon waking does not help it dissipate, even if the sharing is only with myself. Avoid any form of repetition. It deepens the scar.
But these discomforting dreams, they are persistent. I wake and they demand my attention. They toss colorful pieces of themselves up into the air and taunt my curiosity. Put me together. Make sense of me.
Monday, February 4, 2013
Saturday, February 2, 2013
Yesterday evening I found myself unexpectedly sitting across from a photograph of my 10 or 11 year old self. I wondered what she thought of me and then what I might tell her about moving forward and navigating her world.
Good olive oil and good salt. They make most things better. Also plain white t-shirts, well-fit jeans, and comfortable panties (I'm confused by the distaste some have for this word. It doesn't bother me.) Bras, socks, and shoes matter too, but you won't need a bra for a while.
These essentials should rest upon a safe home, self-confidence, and at least a small group of people who believe in you. You have this already. You are lucky.
You'll want to prioritize a good education and experiences that broaden your horizons. If you stop and think about it you'll recognize both.
And money. There should be enough to eat well, dress for the weather, and procure the education and experiences noted above, but not so much that managing it becomes too big of an experience in itself.
You'll have to care about some guys that aren't right for you, but it's okay, it's better than being closed off. You will meet someone who makes your life better and inspires you to do the same for him.
You will be happy and it will annoy some people, but you'll be sad too. You'll notice the juxtaposition of the two actually adds depth to your life.
Rise above it all every once in a while and look down. It's good stuff.
Don't forget the olive oil.
Monday, January 28, 2013
Block Island, 2007
If I could travel through time I'd hop back into the day shown above, an autumn day on Block Island. San Francisco just isn't doing it for me today. I want some space. I want some quiet. I want some fresh and smoke-free air.
growl (definition #2)
This too shall pass... I hope, or I might need a dose of Enchanted April. Maybe some barbeque potato chips.
Friday, January 25, 2013
Golden Gate, 2012
What are you up to this weekend?
I don't have specific plans, but I know I'll be crossing the bridge. I know I'll be looking out over the ocean toward the horizon. I'll be smelling sea air.
First, the simple perception of natural forms is a delight. The influence of the forms and actions in nature, is so needful to man, that, in its lowest functions, it seems to lie on the confines of commodity and beauty. To the body and mind which have been cramped by noxious work or company, nature is medicinal and restores their tone. The tradesman, the attorney comes out of the din and craft of the street, and sees the sky and the woods, and is a man again. In their eternal calm, he finds himself. The health of the eye seems to demand a horizon. We are never tired, so long as we can see far enough.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson from Nature, published as part of Nature; Addresses and Lectures
Monday, January 14, 2013
January Reading, 2013
Although Marie Chaix is breaking my heart with her novel, Silences, or a Woman's Life, she also has me reflecting on myself and my relationship with my own mother. There is work involved in reading these words as well as there is deep satisfaction in the beauty of such well articulated emotions. As I turn these pages and sink further into her story I begin to see my world through her lens. I feel the shift in perspective that increases my ability to understand others. It is why I read.
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
I stumbled upon the real California.
Yes, I live in San Francisco, but it's different. It is a great place, but it is not the California I dreamed of when I was in my teens, the California I hoped to make my home one day.
The discrepancy between San Francisco and my original vision of California is so vast, for years after moving to San Francisco it had me slipping up and telling people any trip I made to Southern California was a trip to California, as if I wasn't aware I already resided in the state.
The land of tiny pastel beach cottages standing shoulder to shoulder, so close, packed tight like tinned sardines, was what I originally imagined, and recently found. I found the California where surfers ride their bicycles barefoot while toting their boards, low key neighborhood spots crank out spectacular fish tacos, and cramped little cafes with mismatched mugs serve buckwheat pancakes. A place where you can walk beside the ocean for miles, even at night along a well-lit pedestrian path, no cars, the only wheels are on cruisers meandering past, locals resting their rumps on fat seats.
In the midst of family visits, gift giving, monopoly, and ginger pudding, I snuck off early one morning and took my café au lait to the beach. I headed toward the first lifeguard watch tower I spotted, climbed up the ladder, and sat on a shallow deck surrounding a small empty hut, wrapped my arms around my knees, and watched an array of wetsuit clad men of all shapes and sizes arrive, stretch, surf, and head home.
I became transfixed by the scene and decided to settle in for a while. The sun was bright and sharp, but it was winter sun and there was a definite chill in the air. I was scooting around the side of the hut, positioning myself so I could shield just my face from the sun while keeping my legs and feet beneath its warmth, when one of the wetsuit clad leaned his board against a leg of the tower beneath me and began to stretch. I looked down.
He nodded and said "I'm mentally preparing to freeze."
I responded with a grin and "I'll feel sorry for you when you surf Bolinas in December"
"Where's that?" he asked.
"Just north of San Francisco" I said.
"Oh…brrr…and sharks too" he said as he walked toward the waves, with his long curly sun streaked hair, appreciating his length of beach just a little more.
I wanted to be out there, duck diving, getting tossed around by the white water, and maybe even popping up a time or two. The rush of adrenaline I'd experienced just one time before, I wanted it again. I started pondering how good I might be if I'd started in my teens or 20s. And why didn't I? I have good balance.
Regret is useless unless you use it to move forward. Both the waves and I are still here. Mastery might be a little far fetched, but the rush, the one you feel with your entire being, I think it's still out there waiting for me.
Monday, January 7, 2013
Amongst the Cypress, 2012
I desperately wanted to see her, but her story was not available in our country, nor was it for sale. So I let someone find it for me. His means were questionable. It was a long process. We waited. And then devoured it greedily. I knew I was not innocent, but I was completely satisfied.
Desperado by the The Eagles
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
I'm not sure why, but it just started feeling like Christmas today. There is enough chill in the air for knit hats and scarves, and the sky is bright blue.
I'm taken back to my time in the Midwest, where I spent my best childhood winters. Especially the first snow of the season. Waking up to a neighborhood blanketed in white, all sounds hushed. Oh, I miss it.
But even without snow, I feel lucky. I have those memories, today, and tomorrow. This isn't the case for everyone.
I hope this season is all you want it to be.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
What She Eats, 2012
When I returned home last week I took a quick look at what I'd missed on Twitter and was stopped by this tweet.
I've accidentally come into town dressed as a 45yo and I'm getting "madam"-ed left right and centre.
I thought of replying to ask what she had worn. My birthday this month had just let me into this year of my life and I wondered if there were certain garments I should be wearing. Then I recalled a rule my friends and I had when we were in our mid-twenties.
Once you see a fashion reach the 35 year old moms, cease wearing it immediately. It's over.
Oh my. I've exceeded this grim and tragic age by ten years now. I felt a little jab in my heart. Time does pass quickly.
I momentarily longed for those mid-twenties, and my invincibility, but quickly remembered I was even more fragile and susceptible to such little jabs in the heart back then. Wisdom is strength.
I looked down at my jeans and my fresh-from-the-wash unironed oxford, and then into the mirror at my subtly glossed lips and my ponytail. No need for guidance. I like what I wear.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Much has transpired since my last entry. A quiet week--little technology, not even a camera. A birthday. Thanksgiving has come and gone.
Sometimes having so much at my fingertips tricks me into believing the world is small. Stepping away reminds me of its vastness, its range of fears and possibilities.
I believe that's it, for now. Am I done? Yes. And I still have half a latte.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Hotel Huntington, 2012
There are days like today when I'll walk along the streets of my neighborhood and see items such as a perfectly intact rattan basket in a trash bin and I'll think why not Goodwill? And I'll see a piece of luggage in a recycle bin and gasp seriously! Then I will think of the clinking of bottles I hear moving down the trash chute in my building, the bottles that could easily be deposited into the recycle bin right here beside our building. This will lead me to the junk mail dropped into the waste bin in our building entryway. Come on people! And I'll start to wonder about this place I call home. I'll forget all I love about it.
Then I'll get to this corner and I'll remember.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Photograph by Christopher Parsons, 2011
"Crossing to Safety is a love story, not in the sense of titillating dialogue and actions, but in the sense that it explores private lives. No outsider ever knows the interior landscape of a marriage. It is one of the great secrets kept between couples."
-From the Introduction by Terry Tempest Williams to Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
Miss you, CJP.
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Ice Cream Parlor Chair, 2012
Dad bought me this chair, the other one too, but not the shadow.
Today is Sunday. It's still morning, but almost not. I comb tangles from my wet hair while listening to the radio. Garrison Keillor sings about farmers. I glimpse a bright blue sky through the slats in the blinds. The forecast for today is sunny with a high of 75 degrees.
Yesterday the cafe played good music while I waited, so I stayed a while. There was a show of sorts, at the park near the library. I was the only person there, something unheard of in most of the San Francisco parks I know, particularly this park, especially on a Saturday, late morning. Helicopter insects hovered in the sunshine between two evergreen trees. A tiny yellow-bellied bird flitted around making the sweetest sounds. Then I spotted a perfect spider's web complete with a petite hairy brown spider at its center. Just before I departed I watched a hummingbird poke his needle nose into slim red trumpet-like flowers, one after another, patiently visiting each one.
There is good in this world.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
pretty cotton, 2012
I'm not sure what it is yet. The pattern tells me it is a dishcloth, but it's just too pretty. Washcloth? I thought it might be a trivet, but Merriam-Webster says trivets have legs or feet and are typically made of metal. A place to rest a hot pot? A place mat? Oh, I know. How about a doily? But what does one do with a doily? And must they be circular?
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
Friday, October 19, 2012
The pale yellow leaves of October were everywhere but there. I drank cappuccino while perched on a stool in a cafe just off Clark on Belmont. My old neighborhood. Angry youth howled from the corner speaker above my head. I looked through the white coffee cup, doughnut, and small red dollar sign into my past. Mom always wondered how it would feel to travel home without telling anyone. I did too.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
"Naked Lady" flowers, 2012
Have I told you about Windows On The World? It is a wonderful series. Writers from around the world share what they see from their windows and Matteo Pericoli draws those windows.
Take a look.
Posted by Denise | Chez Danisse at 5:17 PM