Monday, May 18, 2009


New and triumphant green emerging on the resilient oregano--bravo!

The ashes (base of the plant) from which the healthy new green is emerging

I was wrong. My oregano is not dead. Like the Phoenix, it has emerged from the wreckage.

I returned from The Valley of the Sun, the Phoenix metropolitan area, yesterday evening. The heat in the Valley is intense. It holds you by the neck and makes great demands. It asks of you things you cannot give, but then you find yourself obeying, unaware of how you conjured up such strength.

Yesterday, as I ascended from the airless belly of the airport, I felt my slow shallow breaths halt as I sucked in my first sweet, full, and clean breath. I'd forgotten the beauty of the cool Bay Area air I'd left behind. I was back, and not just back, but back and better than I'd been before I left.

Today I feel strong, stable, alert, and focused. I've emerged anew.

Can we plan this sort of renewal or does it only work when it happens to us? It is a feeling of control derived from its absence. What does one do with such data?

Perhaps it is experiences such as these that embolden us to take risks, remain patient through struggle, and optimistically look for that light at the end of the tunnel--all the while, hoping to emerge with the strength and power of the Phoenix.

My 12 year old niece, Maizy
She was still in good spirits after waiting...and waiting
...and waiting in sweltering heat to hear Barack Obama
speak. People were passing out in line. It was quite crazy.
She did not complain once.

Me--Globe, AZ
This photo was taken by Chris during one of the two days we escaped
the Valley of the Sun to help my dad work on his project--what was once an
Italian brick oven bakery built during the turn of the century and what
appears to have been a boarding house for miners. Saying it needs a lot
of work is an understatement, but Dad has his vision and chips away,
bit by bit. Globe was about 10 degrees cooler than the Valley, not exactly
an escape, but a bit of relief.

The boys, Dad & Chris, at work in Globe, AZ

The graduate, my little brother, Alex (captured by his mom, Lynda)
He was the reason we visited the Valley of the Sun and the reason we were
able to see our president give an amazing speech during the ASU commencement
ceremony. Alex surrendered 5 of his 6 tickets to his family and we scored
two of those in-demand tickets. Thanks Alex!


  1. Last weekend your dad and I, while talking on the phone, were looking at your blog.(We went to high school together) I was in New York and he was in Az. The internet can make the world seem smaller for a short time but the reality of the physical world reappears once your off line. Later I went back and read a few entries that were about Chicago. Having grown up there it was nice to read someones observations that were similar to my own. I loved your photo of Lake Michigan. Chicago's lake front is at the top of my list of places in the world that make me feel at peace and excited at the same time. Being in Chicago, this summer, for the first time in about 10 years I found the missing poppy seeds to be a sad thing but I was saved by the lake. The city has really changed but I still love it. Having had a loft on Milwaukee Ave in the early 70's and to see Wicker Park as it is today is like day and night.
    It was great to see your family photos and your dad working on the old bakery. Your brother reminds me of your dad in h.s.
    It is a funny world we now live in, small and close yet vast and still far from familiar places we have left.
    Thanks for your posts.

  2. Roberta,

    Thank you for your note and for spending some time perusing Chez Danisse. It's funny to think of my father being a tour guide on my blog. I hope you two had fun. Yes, Chicago's lakefront is a magical space--my favorite. I've seen big changes in Wicker Park since I moved away from Chicago in 2000, so I'm sure the differences between now and the 1970s is vast. Most of my childhood was spent in Beverly. Surprisingly, when I returned to the neighborhood a year or two ago I found it looking quite the same as it did when I was a little girl. I was amazed. You never know what will change and what won't. Like you mentioned, it is a funny world, in oh so many ways. I hope you find some of those tasty steamed poppy seed buns when you return to Chicago.