Wednesday, March 30, 2011

sponsored by the number 3

waffle, 2011
Like Alice

The water is very hot,
so I drain the bathtub.

I turn to the side
and cross my legs,
fitting myself perfectly
into the width of the tub.

I look down at myself and think, I am

I focus on this for
a while, until I remember,
what you focus on expands.

So will my focusing on
this thought of being smaller
cause me to expand, grow larger?

Or will my focus expand
my thought of being smaller
and prompt me to shrink?



Mary knows there will always be birds, but she plans to broaden out a little bit, or maybe a lot, this is what she tells Maria. Her poems will change. I write of waffles and of bathtubs and plan to draw again. Kim gives away her fence, for Japan. I stop more often to jot it down, whatever it may be. Does it make me look anxious? I'm not. Shari dons a new hat, feather sewn into the side. She is taking herself less seriously. I decide to follow suit. Maizy wears perfume that smells of warm strawberry jello and Little Mary draws my portrait. Lisa eats a small bag of cheetos, while in her hospital bed. I revisit the line but you'll never see the end of the road while you're traveling with me, and know it is true. Mom saves me with fresh air and a banana. Rachael writes of raindrops and loneliness. And two other Rachel's return. I meet a little guy in a stroller, he dances without music. A father and daughter in Germany make a pendant for Japan. Chris sheds his consulting clothes and escapes on a ferry. I learn brisling sardines are the small ones I like. They are young sprats, an important Latvian export, but mine are Scottish. Dad finishes my chocolate cake. You smile as I walk by, and I smile too.


I Always Order a Waffle

They focus on inconsistency,
so I never get bored.
Dependable predictability
lives across the street.

Today my buckwheat waffle is eggy,
not a hint of buckwheat.

The syrup has an
odd molasses taste, but
there is always a
mound of butter.

Their one fault in the
system, the butter,
it is always the same.

Dependable butter and
inconsistent wheat,
one table with a view.

sponsored by the number 3
what Mary tells Maria
Kim's fence
Shari finds her hat
Rachael's raindrops
Rachel & Rachel
Help Japan Necklace
brisling sardines
chocolate cake

Sunday, March 27, 2011

springtime manifesto

bloom, 2011

This is where I will be, this springtime.

Revisiting drawing through Betty Edwards.

Beginning a new program that prioritizes feeling good over the ideas of work and discipline.

Focusing on Heidi Swanson's recipes for inspiration.

Where will you be?

Spring Song Felix Mendelssohn

+ Inspired by Shari and The Art of Seeing Things +

Monday, March 21, 2011

Try to Catch the Deluge in a Paper Cup

door, 2011

Today I woke up in another decade. Don't Dream It's Over played quietly in the background. We wrote letters, spoke on landlines, and wore our hair like Madonna's. We listened to records and didn't call them vinyl. MTV showed music videos and we wanted no more. The 80s were actually the 80s before they were retro.

The mockery or loving reenactment of a time and space will never truly bring it back. What was cannot be again, not even in memory, but the memory is all we have, so we hold on to it tightly.

Some of the past is brought back again and again through story or photograph, but most disappears, until the day you wake swimming in a pool of it. It is elating. It is all there, and like a dream, you are afraid to move or think for fear it will vanish and never return. So you tell someone, or you write it down, as quickly as possible, while you have it there in your hand.

Dad called me one day to share a story. Just the telling was exciting for him. Without warning, a completely forgotten part of his life was returned to him.
So I chop up some garlic and toss it into a pan with olive oil, the scent wafts up, and I'm six years old again. (long pause for effect -- I sense he's smiling) I've done this a million times, but today I'm six years old again. (another pause, not as long) I'm in my family's apartment on the South Side. It's all so real. I'm actually standing there, in our old apartment, and I'm smelling the garlic. A Jewish family lived beneath us and when they cooked, the smell of whatever they were cooking came up through the vent. I hated the smell of garlic back then. I guess we didn't cook with it. I couldn't imagine what horrible food they were preparing down there. (You have to understand he is relaying the hated and the horrible with great glee and animation -- he is six years old again) I couldn't believe it. It's like I was actually there. Has anything like that ever happened to you? (Of course he's speaking too quickly for me to answer) So I call Al (his big brother) and I tell him the whole story in Latvian (they grew up speaking Latvian). I felt that it had to be told in Latvian. I asked him if he remembered the apartment, that family, the garlic. He said No, not really.
Don't Dream It's Over Crowded House

Monday, March 14, 2011

He Never Asks

Known, 2011

As the scene comes into view I am looking down at my small feet, they are tan, bare. It must be summer. Carly Simon's No Secrets was released in 1972, so I am 4 years old. We are in our new home, a bungalow in a tidy little neighborhood with tree lined streets and small square lawns. We are still a family.

There are women in my living room, they are young, slim, and tan. Yes, it's definitely summer. They are whispering and giggling, about me. Mom wants to know what it is about this Carly song that brings me to tears. I don't want to discuss it, it's too hard. She's enlisted their help. Mom rests the needle and it begins. They all look at me. They are a little worried, but also find my quivering lip adorable. Mom stops the music and they question me. I'm silent. These are my feelings and I don't want to share them.

I quietly think of Grandpa. The lyrics speak of someone named Robin and Carly sings until we're old. The music is sad and haunting, but draws me in with its beauty. I imagine Robin has died or will die soon. Getting old means dying and I don't like it, I don't like it at all. Grandpa is the only person I know with grey hair. I know he is old. My other grandpa is already gone and I fear this one is going to go too. I don't want him to go. We belong together, we always have. He takes me to the park. He soft boils eggs for me, places them on toast, and cuts the toast into little squares. He understands me and never asks for more than I can give.

Friday, March 11, 2011


reflection, 2011

We were watching
tales of origami.

He thought it would
slow us down, ground us.

It worked,
but he closed his eyes
too soon.

Between the Folds

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Outside the Octagon House

March, 2011

This tree has me speechless.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

notes to myself

single frame, 2011

I’d been putting off the task for too long, so I dumped the pile onto my sofa and began to sift. There were several months of receipts, notes to myself, grocery lists, baggage claim checks, and ticket stubs. I felt my life passing before my eyes, and it was moving too quickly. We live inside a moving picture and rarely see the single frames, the stills. I had to stop. And then I had to cry, but just for a little bit. It is beautiful, this life. It is difficult to look back on it all and realize that even if it were possible to be completely present in each and every moment, there would be no way to hold on to it all. So much had been accumulated in just a few months. Too much, and all of the years before, and it just keeps growing. I wouldn’t want it any other way, but where will I keep it all? I started feeling sentimental about train tickets and lists on small pieces of torn paper. They are my triggers, they take me back in time.

As I read Just Kids and accompanied Patti Smith on her walk through the last forty or so years of her life I knew I was being moved in ways not yet clear to me. This must be part one.

In all the world one may always hope to recapture something lost. But sometimes we are obliged to set the memory of certain things in a dresser of small regrets. Yet occasionally we discover in the folds of an old handkerchief a shell or insignificant stone that had once embodied our happiest of afternoons.
-Patti Smith Just Kids

Thanks, Shae.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


a few of my favorite things, 2011


How are you? Enjoying your weekend? We actually have sunshine here in San Francisco today, so I am having a wonderful time.

I'd like to ask you a couple of housekeeping questions. You know, not dusting or window washing, but housekeeping as in Merriam-Webster's third definition: the routine tasks that must be done in order for a system to function or to function efficiently. I hope you won't mind.

1) Do you link to interesting tidbits out there in our world via twitter? If so, please leave me your twitter username in the comments section below. I'd like to see what you've been up to lately.

2) Are you collecting visual inspiration via Pinterest? If so, please leave me your Pinterest username in the comments section below. I'd love to take peek.

If you are a little more private and would rather keep your usernames just between you and me, you can send me an email.

Okay, that's it. Back to the sunshine.

Thank you!


P.S. Housekeeping is also the title of a fabulous novel written by Marilynne Robinson.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


still, 2011

Somewhere, I miss it today. It's nice to think of sunny Southern California on this day of grey and puddles. When I remember the film I feel adrift, lost in a dream state where simple moments become magnified and days can disappear. I think of the people who touch our lives and see more in us than we are able to see in ourselves. Without trying or even knowing they've done so, they quietly press possibility and hope into our palm.

directed by Sofia Coppola