Saturday, December 31, 2011

was it all a dream

from the upstairs window, 2011

I just woke up and I'm wondering ...wait, was it all a dream?

Beginning the day with a walk on a beautiful empty beach, the bobcat, the fox, the Dungeness crab on our brunch table, the midday nap.

Either way, I figure it is worth writing down and saving.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Shifting Gears

Winter, 2011

So, we've officially entered winter. I hope you are enjoying it. It feels good over here.

I just walked up the hill with this mound of my favorite citrus, Rio Star grapefruits and satsumas. Stella Pastry is baking the panettone I will pick up this afternoon. I've learned that I will have a small plot for gardening this summer and my beloved Kitazawa Seed Co. catalog has arrived. I feel a shift.

All I need is a novel, one that is light, perhaps funny, but is still good. Does it exist? I don't want trash, unless it happens to be good trash, then please tell me about it. All I seem to adore in the literary world is the beautiful writing that almost inevitably involves an underlying sadness. I still love this work. I'll always love this work, but I need a small break, to shift gears for a brief period of time. Can you help?

I know most of you are busy with the holiday season and all, but if you have a moment and can think of anything old or new that might suit my mood, please offer your suggestion. Just type it in the comments section quickly, don't worry about typos or links, I'll figure it out.

Thank you, kind readers.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


The bus to Rodeo Beach, 2011

Rodeo Beach, 2011

He meant doing things not because we were expected to do them or had always done them or should do them but because we wanted to do them. He meant wanting. He meant living.

- Joan Didion The Year of Magical Thinking

Monday, December 19, 2011

New Traditions

Christmas Whale, 2011

We've added a small tree, clearly inspired by Charlie Brown, complete with felted acorn and papier-mâché whale, to our holiday spirit collection. I also made some cookies. Chris mistakenly bought a mint chocolate bar versus simple dark chocolate, so we just went with it. These cookies are so good and super simple. And almost gone.

Oatmeal Chocolate Mint Cookies
makes about 24 cookies

Preheat oven to 350°F and gather your ingredients.

1/4 pound (1 stick) softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fleurs de sel
1 1/2 cups whole grain oats
1 3/4 ounces (half 3.5 oz bar) dark mint chocolate bar rough cut into 1/2 inch pieces

In a medium bowl mix softened butter and sugar with a fork until creamy.

Add egg to butter and sugar
and mix well.

pour flour, baking soda, and fleurs de sel on top of butter sugar egg mixture, without blending the dry ingredients into the wet.

Stir the flour mixture very gently as it sits atop the butter, sugar, egg mixture. The goal is to combine and evenly distribute the dry ingredients before mixing them into the wet ingredients (no need to wash a second bowl).

Combine flour mixture with butter, sugar, egg mixture, evenly distributing all ingredients.

Stir in oats.

Stir in chocolate pieces.

Place tablespoon size rounds of dough onto cookie sheet.

Bake for about 8 minutes and then keep a close eye on your cookies. You want them to just start to dry on top and be light brown on the bottom.

Cool on cookie sheet for a couple of minutes and move to wire rack.

They are really good warm.


These cookies made me miss you, Marshall Field & Company. I miss your Christmas tree in your Walnut Room and your Frango Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies and your animated Christmas window displays on State Street. Those cold winter trips downtown I began adoring as a little girl just aren't the same without you. Thank you for the memories...

Marshall Field was famous for his slogan "Give the lady what she wants." A wise man.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

It's like someone's pinched me.

Solo Trip, 2011

I cannot stop thinking about a sentence I read a few weeks ago.
"Women live longer than men because they really haven't been living."
It was something Diane Keaton's mother noted in one of her journals. She read it in a Tom Robbins novel.

I know it was fiction, so why am I so irked? All I keep thinking is what ridiculous crap.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

when I truly pay attention

dust and cupcake, 2011

I thought I was a creator, but when I truly pay attention I realize I'm more of an archaeologist, simply digging to find what already exists, dusting it off, and looking at it in a new way.

Monday, December 12, 2011

One day I brought home a big fat red peony.

December, 2011

It's been good to me so far.

What's new with you?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Joan Didion Notes / 24:

Life, 2011

When I saw Joan Didion in conversation with Vendela Vida I was listening so intently I only made a few notes.

November 15, 2011

Joan Didion

24 - Her mother told her it was her favorite year.

24 - She reads a passage she has written about being a little girl and describing what her life will be like when she is 24. She is wearing a sable coat and dark sunglasses. She will be on the front steps of a South American public building. She will be getting a divorce.

24 - After her husband died she no longer felt 24 because he was the last person who'd known her when she was 24.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Some things just stay with you.

While getting dressed I thought of the conversation last night and how it exemplified the little pockets of
beauty hidden throughout our lives, even beneath the heavy folds of sadness.

I made this photograph and wrote the accompanying words on November 16, 2011. Someone commented on it today, the first Monday in December 2011, and prompted me to return to it and study its contents. It has me thinking back to words that originally moved me in August 2003. Those words were first published in 1974, as part of a nonfiction narrative by Annie Dillard. You glimpse a few of those words in the photograph. I wrote briefly about the words in September 2009.

Some things just stay with you.

The world's spiritual geniuses seem to discover universally that the mind's muddy river, this ceaseless flow of trivia and trash, cannot be dammed, and that trying to dam it is a waste of effort that might lead to madness. Instead you must allow the muddy river to flow unheeded in the dim channels of consciousness; you raise your sights; you look along it, mildly, acknowledging its presence without interest and gazing beyond it into the realm of the real where subjects and objects act and rest purely, without utterance. "Launch into the deep," says Jacques Ellul, "and you shall see."

excerpt from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard