Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hello said the bowl.   
Come and visit me over at Vintage Simple.  
Yes, now.  
It will be fun.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

3 Simple Things

Chris + Salad* at Serpentine, 2010  
*Those beets are pickled and they are marvelously good!

I.    A  NOTE
Returning from a long weekend away and finding the following email in my inbox. 

Subject: my little fruit salad

hi dene,

i just thought of you as i sliced and diced one bosc pear, one gala apple, one banana, and squeezed an entire cara cara orange over the top... plain, simple, and delicious, and enough for two days for me, or one serving each for you and chris.

love you :)

II.    A  CALL
Just recently, my father was quite determined to find a poem he recalled from his childhood.  He called me to see if I could help him figure it out.  I was pretty quick, but Dad found it first.  

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost 

Tie between a long luxurious lunch with Chris (pictured above) and his reading an entire Annie Dillard book to me one day during a long weekend spent in Pescadero.   

Getting carded at Duarte's after ordering a Sierra Nevada almost made III. a 3-way tie, but I decided against it.

Share your 3?  

more here...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


There were nine doves on the wire.
As I neared I counted again.
Yes, nine.

One dove sat apart from the rest, but just slightly.
Was he waiting?
Had he lost her?

It was not for me to know.

After passing I looked back hopefully,
counting one last time,
and then once more.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I prefer books as pleasures.

(one of my favorite spaces)
I've made a decision.  I am going to decrease the stack of books on my bedside table.

This stack of books has slowly grown into an extensive collection.  Although collecting was not my original intention, at first it seemed somewhat comforting, all of my interests resting right there beside my bed.  Unfortunately, the comfort of my ever-growing tower of books has mischievously morphed into pressure.  Now it seems all of my books are looking up at me and saying I don't want to be judgmental, but might someone else be interested in us?  Must we sit here patiently, collecting dust?  Read me or let me go!

It is often difficult to resist the temptation of a new book brought to my attention.  For me, the description of a new book is much like the scent of chocolate chip cookies baking.  I read the description and I want the book.  I don't want to wait.  Just as fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies are always the best.

To exacerbate the pressure (and guilt), many of these books are borrowed from the San Francisco Public Library system.  I know it is not right to hoard these books while other library card holders await their return and keeping up with renewing each book before it expires seems a frivolous use of time.  My books were becoming more of a chore than a pleasure.  I prefer books as pleasures.

My solution?  I will keep one book of fiction, one book of non-fiction, and one book of poetry at any one time.  That is it.  Everything else will be returned to the library or book shelf.  This way I will fulfill my desire for variety, but will not take things too far.  Hmmm...  Do I have to include cooking and knitting books in this plan?  Structure is not easy for me.

Why focus on such a topic?  I know, it must seem silly, or perhaps even indulgent.  Must I structure my reading?  Let me explain.

I've just begun Twyla Tharp's book about creativity and habit.  It is our simple habits that make up our days.  Those days pile up on top of one another and become our lives.  Decreasing the books on my bedside table is just one small strategy for clearing away some of my mental clutter.  The new space will allow me to focus more clearly on what is important.

How many books are on your bedside table?  Do you have any strategies for clearing mental clutter that you'd like to share?

Friday, January 15, 2010


January, 2010

The construction and traffic that's so much louder when I turn off the radiator. I think I'll turn the radiator back on...

The salted caramel pot de creme at Serpentine. I believe it is the best dessert I have ever tasted.

Citrus. Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. I've been craving grapefruit, but today is not a market day, so I just stopped at a corner market and bought what they had. Texas Rio Star grapefruit. Unfortunately, not local...but they smelled so good as I was squeezing the juice.

A Man in North Beach. His name is Roy. He has some "issues" and often wanders the streets and pops in and out of cafes and shops shouting out his disgruntled thoughts. Sometimes it seems we have to conjure up all of our patience just to tolerate him. Today I saw him seated outside Victoria Pastry with a man who had the nicest way about him. They were having a real conversation and Roy was laughing. It brought a tear to my eye.

The new yarn I bought to make my friend, Joen, a scarf. I want to knit a huge blanket with this yarn and sleep beneath it every night. Dreamy, but I've never attempted a knitting project so large. Maybe I'll just knit Joen's scarf and dream about the blanket.

More here.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Butterfly Catcher

I'm either very calm or very antsy.  Today I'm feeling antsy.  I am ready to move on.  I'd like to fast forward to spring, please.  The sun is shining in a way that feels more like spring than winter and my mind is drifting in the direction of spring green rolling hills and long lines of cotyledons dancing on mounded-up rows of dark damp soil.  Why not take an even longer leap straight to summer...and beaches, Sicilian beaches, and granitas.  Oh yes...

Okay, I must stop.  I have dishes to do, laundry to wash, and a trip to the library that is due.  But it was nice to wander for a while.

I was recently told to ...stop posting pictures of all the beautiful scarves that you're knitting and keeping for yourself!  You're such a tease!  So this one is for you.  I just added it to my Etsy shop.  All set.

This scarf is very light weight (it reminds me of a butterfly catching net) and I see it as much more of an accessory than a keep-me-warm scarf.  Warm and cuddly is nice, but I needed a change of pace.  I photographed it with a simple white t-shirt and as you can see, they make a great pair.

It could be worn as a spring scarf, or perhaps a summer accessory.  You could even wear it during the winter, beneath your winter coat and keep-me-warm scarf.  Why not?  Think of it as a way to brighten things up on a dull grey winter day.

So, as promised, this one's for you...but I think I'm going to return to the yarn shop this afternoon and see if they have another skein of this yarn because I want one for myself too.  I hope you don't mind.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


September, 2009

She was practical.
To avoid passersby,
her bed was situated in the center of her apartment.

It did not solve the problem, but it did help.
The further from the walls the better,
especially when longing for sleep.

She would often wake, limbs stiffened,
body and blanket precisely where they had been
when she'd tucked in
the night before.

Stillness did not mean sleep.

I knew none of this,
back then,
when she first sat down in front of me
and smiled.

I did not know her name,
old like her soul.

My joy and my discomfort,
she felt them. There were no observations,
but sensations. They pulsed through her body,

I rested my needles
and she worried about what would never be.
I nodded off
and she breathed a sigh of relief.

She held it all, for everyone,
like that spot in the river
swirling with debris.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Psst. Come over here.

Distillation by Alembic, 1910

Where?  The Alembic Bar.  They are located at 1725 Haight Street in San Francisco.  I've been curious about this place since reading an Edible SF article about them in early 2008.  Luckily, my friend Joen had a birthday that required celebration during the same month The Alembic Bar began serving lunch.

Although rumor has it this place fills to capacity each evening, it seems most people are unaware of their new lunch service.  We practically had the bar to ourselves.  This was a pleasant surprise after reading a few unpleasant comments on yelp such as ...A small blonde waitress approached us and announced, "We don't pack 'em in here. It's not our style.  Leave and we can call you if we have room for you later." and ...the bartenders were aloof, yet gracious enough to eventually pour our drinks. I've noticed a lot more establishments in SF adopting this idea they seem to think is fashionable that the customers should be treated like garbage.

We did not experience anything of the sort.  Lately, I tend to feel a little hesitant when a bar or restaurant has recently surged in popularity, produced a tasteful website, and eloquently described all that they have to offer their clientele.  I just don't like being disappointed.  I wasn't.  Our lunch was fabulous.

My beverage, well, I actually drank two, was one of the best drinks I've ever tasted.  It was called a Southern Exposure.  When it arrived at our table, I just had to stop and look at it for a while.  It was a beautiful deep yet muted green color and served in a darling little glass.  The Southern Exposure combines junipero gin, fresh mint, lime juice, a touch of sugar and a little shot of celery juice.  Exquisite.

For lunch I ordered the Slow Poached Egg and oh my, it was heavenly!  The most beautiful yolk I've ever seen and it tasted as good as it looked.  This pristine poached egg rested on top of a nice thick slice of toasted brioche, a layer of thinly shredded Brussels sprouts, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and just a hint of bacon marmalade.  Seriously spectacular.

So don't tell everyone you know, but do make your way over to The Alembic Bar for lunch before word gets out.  You understand, I'd still like to be able to find a table when I return for my Southern Exposure + Slow Poached Egg fix.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

King me.

Gosh, isn't this texture and pattern great?  My first attempt at a checkerboard-type pattern.  100% Baby Alpaca.  Knitting with this soft snuggly yarn was a treat.  Yes, I believe it was well worth the time, even though I have yet to eat breakfast...  I'm keeping this one for myself.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Shape of a Smile

Looking Down, 2009

The bite,
it captured him.
I know it’s the truth.

It wasn’t your lipstick,
but your deep bottomless blue.

You floated above
and rested on shoulders,
like fog.

You dove down beneath,
twisting their heels,
until you felt their pain.

And you stood outside
in the sleet
and the sorrow,
with bare arms.

Your teeth grit tightly--
in the shape
of a smile.