Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Will Not Make Any More Boring Art

Remember how I want the story of my life to be narrated by Mr. Tom Waits?  Looks like I shouldn’t have advertised that wish, because someone stole it.

The artist, John Baldessari, that’s who.

Filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA if you are a cool kid,  recently made a great short (5 minutes, 55 seconds) film about the conceptual artist, narrated by Tom Waits.

Tom Waits does have a great voice.
John Baldessari does do some great art. (I’m  a big modern art fan)
So I guess I’m ok it.
It’s not like I have Tom Wait’s voice on retainer.  
That would just be selfish.

(Thanks to Ms. M for passing the link to the film to me)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Song of the Week: Cover Songs

I’ve been listening to a lot of cover songs lately. I have no problem with bands covering other bands or musicians work, if done properly.  Beneath all songs and music are the same stories of us humans with our hearts and heads rambling and roaming around our little marble in the universe. So I see covers songs as just the retelling of these familiar stories, like the troubadours of the past moving from city to city sharing old stories mixed in with their own stories, which in turn are passed down too.

Forever Young (org. Bob Dylan) sung by Pete Seeger. This cover song is off the Chimes of Freedom cd benefiting Amnesty International, and just makes me so happy, it’s really beyond words. And the video, I mean how can seeing Pete Seeger, not make you smile until your face hurts, and the second he pulled out his famous banjo (“This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender”), I do believe my  heart swelled out of my body.

Billie Jean (org. Michael Jackson) sung by  The Civil Wars. First all, yes, John Paul White does look like Johnny Depp. Now that we have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about this cover, it’s brilliant.  When a cover is done properly, it pays respect to the original, without making it a parody, and adds a little bit of a new voice that just adds to the lastly properties of that story of the song.

 Sound of Silence (org. Simon and Garfunkel) sung by Bryan John Appleby. True story: when I was in high school, the local Oldies radio station run a contest where they asked listeners to send in their top ten playlist. They would pick one each week and play it on the radio and give that listener a free t-shirt. One week they choose my playlist, and at the top of that this list: The Sound of Silence.  I still have the t-shirt.

 Ruby Soho (org. Rancid) sung by Jimmy Cliff.  Rancid is a punk rock band that I listened to a lot during my high school days, believe you me, many days I needed something loud and fast to get through those horrid years. And Rancid is still a band I play when I need extra energy to push through life. Ska, reggae, punk rock, in the terms of music history are very much related, so it is so gleefully fitting that a ska/reggae legend covers a punk rock song. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Remembering and Letting Go

Somehow picnics and BBQs didn't feel right for me today. 
My dad is, was, (still not use to past tense) retired US Army, a veteran of both the Vietnam and first Persian Gulf wars. He is buried in a National Cemetery, on a hill, where all the white headstones are lined up in neat little rows, always in formation for their country.

So I didn't go to any parties or parades today, but don't think I am going to get all pious. I didn't do anything. Not one productive thing.  I spent most of the day as a crumpled mass of bones and limbs on my bed. At 8:15 pm, I decided that I was hungry, and remembered that I was out of milk and I had some bills I had get ready to post tomorrow. So I got up and dressed. My hunger has been met, my fridge full of dairy products, and here I am. Again on my bed, but this time in an upright position.

Yesterday, my sister and I were talking about different things that we could do to honor our dad's life and memory. We discussed big things like finishing the book that the was writing. But as I was driving to  the store tonight, something even more important came to mind. 

Let the bitterness go.

My dad's passing has created and fueled some intense emotions in me, both positive, and well, let's say, not so positive. 

I'm bitter and hurt that some of dad's siblings didn't reach out to us.
I'm bitter and hurt that some people that I thought I was close to, still haven't acknowledge my dad's passing. *
I'm bitter and hurt that I feel that I have to stay here, when I would rather be closer to family. 
I'm bitter and hurt that they are horrible, mean, bad people living and breathing and doing horrible, mean and bad things in the world, when my dad, who did nothing but help everyone around him, was taken.

Let the bitterness go.

This is exactly what my dad would want. His own family was torn from bitterness and hurt feelings, and misunderstandings and grudges.  He grew up living the consequences of all these terrible words and actions. He wouldn't want to me live with them now. He, along with my mom, taught us to be strong and independent, but also smart, and kind to others, to ourselves. If I am honest in my desire to honor my dad's life, then I must live the things that he taught me. 

Bitterness, in a perverse way, is easy to living with. It gives you a high and mighty feeling of "I am right and they are wrong." But in reality, all these ugly feelings are parasites eating away at your high and mighty soul. And while bitterness and hurt can be at times comfortable, they are hardly that to get rid of. I wish that I could be one of those people that all of a sudden has an awakening and turns their lives around in the snap of their fingers. I wish I could change that quick. But after all these years, I know myself a little better. I know that small steps are lasting steps. I know that I need time. I know that I need to be patient and honest with myself. I know that I will have bad days and fall, and lash out. But I also know that tomorrow will always come, and I can try again. And again. 

So, maybe, now that it is almost over, this Memorial Day wasn't that horrible, terrible (it was still hard).  I learned that it can be much more than a day all about dying and funerals. It can be about remembering those that we loved and lost, and what they taught us, and how they touched our lives, and maybe just as important, what we are doing with all that now. 

All this sounds nice and lovely, but living it, well, that's going to be the hard part. But most meaningful things in life are.


*I know that this may come off as a tad passive aggressive, but I really don't even know if any of these people read my blog, so it isn't meant to be, or maybe it is, bitterness can do that. But if  you ever know someone that is going through difficult times, whether it is the death of loved one, or another hard thing, I implore you to say something, write a note, send a text or Facebook message. Even if it is terribly awkward and you don't know what to say. I testify that even the simplest kind word, even "I care that you are hurting and I care that you get through this," can make all the difference. I haven't always been the best with compassionate words in the past, but I'm trying to be better about that, since I now know of the comfort that they can be. Tragedy and trials often bring this overwhelming sense of loneliness, and well meaning words can help chip away at that weight. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer Dreaming

The calendar may say that summer is still a couple of weeks away, but the weather lately says it is already here. My childhood was spent in Southern California where we really didn’t have seasons. Since moving to the Midwest and eventually the East Coast, I have come to appreciate this new beginning we get every few months.  Whether it’s new snow or flowers poking their heads up through the ground, or the warmest sunshine, or the leaves changing colors, we can always count on Mother Nature to teach us about the cycle and change of life. 

Other seasons might have a sense of responsibility, winter, I’m looking at you and all your snow shovels,  but summer still invokes a time of fun and freedom, even if I no longer get a summer break.

This year has been so very different than I could of planned or expected. And to be honest, because of this, making long term plans these days makes me a little anxious. And by long term I mean more than a week. But this week I took a deep breath, sharpened a brand new #2 pencil and got out a clean sheet of paper and started to make some summer plans:

Clive. Clive is the camera that I got myself for my birthday/Christmas. I love him dearly, but he is the biggest camera I have ever own. And he isn't that big. But I have gotten used to my point and click or my iPhone, both of which I can slip in my pocket and pull out whenever the perfect moment comes around. But with Clive I feel there is so much more planning involved.    I'm still trying to find a camera bag that protects the camera but doesn't scream, "I have an expensive camera in here."  Somehow in my head I think a fancy camera needs fancy things to take pictures of. And there are so many new settings and superpowers to learn, it can get a little overwhelming. But I think I  just need to spend more time with him, even if it means taking pictures of not so fancy random things (see below).

Pickles. I love pickles, always have. This year I am hoping to support my briny habit by learning to make my own. And then eat them all. Hopefully, not all in one day. This may be a test in will power.

My herb garden. Speaking of eating things, I want and need to spend more time with my little herb garden. I planted it a couple days before I left to go home for the hardest day. When I returned to DC, I sadly discovered that some of plants didn't survive my absence. So I've been trying to cheer up my survivors Yes, I'm of those that talk to my plants, "Good job little dill plant, good job!" You can count on more updates to follow.
One of my tomato plants and a couple of basil plants, and lots of weeds I need to pull. 

Backyard Parties. Speaking of things in my backyard, when I was cleaning out my kitchen cupboards last weekend I found  a box of red and white stripped straws, it was like an omen and the party planning ideas have been filling my head. My house has a great backyard and we just happen to have 2 grills and lots of picnic blankets.

Good times.

Big summer concerts. Don’t get me wrong, I am ok with going to concerts by myself. I like to get there insanely early to get the right spot and if I know the words, I sing really loud to the songs. But I also love talking friends into coming too or having friends talk me into going to see their favorite bands! And years from now we can all sit on a porch sipping lemonade and talk about the one time we saw that one band.
(P.S.:  Mumford & Sons is releasing their summer US tour details next week. )

The beach. This summer I’ll be dipping my toes in both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Don’t worry, I don’t play favorites.

Summer love.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Dylan!

You will always be one of my favorites.

May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

"Forever Young," from Bob Dylan's 1974 album Planet Waves.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

10 Random Thoughts Because I'm Not On Twitter

Peanut Butter M&Ms to the rescue! Of most things. I mean, when wouldn’t they help a situation?

When my life story is turned into an audio book, I want the chapters to be read by Ira Glass and Tom Waits.  

I’ve become  one of those library patrons that I hated when I worked at a public library. The kind that put holds on books, online from home, that are on the shelf, instead on just going to the library and taking them off the shelves themselves. Maybe I should get an e-reader so I can be even lazier.

My sister and I have similar digestive issues and she has been researching a new diet.  When I saw that chickpeas are on the “foods to avoid,” list, I instantly thought, Hell to the No.  

The next time someone asked me if there is anything they can do for me, I’m going say, “Yeah, this cake.” This will test their sincerity.  I would just have a fancy brunch and make it, but I am terrified of making crepes  myself. I'm not good with delicate things.  And that is why I frequent the crepiere stand at the farmer's market. And go to France. And usually just make pancakes. 

Huh. You can negotiate your rent. As in, you want me to pay that? I don't want to pay that, how about this? And I win. 

First hot car of the summer. DC, sometimes you make it so hard to love you. (hot car = subway train car with no AC)

Idea for a band name: Sea vs. Ocean. I had a discussion tonight about the difference between a sea and an ocean. Short answer: a sea is the part of the ocean that touches/is partially surrounded by land. Long answer: look it up. Also, I'm not starting a band, but if the opportunity arises, I like to be prepared. 

I need to stop blaming the movie Signs for me almost always having 2 or 3 or 6 half empty (or full, if you are one of those types) glasses of water hanging around the house. Aliens aren't coming. And even if they are, it's not like they are going to destroy this planet because of our housekeeping habits. It will somehow be related to the popularity of dating reality shows. Duh. 

I am finding that living through a tradegy either makes one more compassionate towards those around them, or completely self absorbed and blind to the suffering around them. I hope I go the compassionate route. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Song of the Week: The Milk Carton Kids

From the time that I wake up in the morning my world is pretty loud and fast. I have to have talk radio playing while I get ready, telling me the time every 5 minutes to keep me focused. The trains are loud with their metal and steel, on top of that add the guy that sings, the loudmouth on the cellphone, the loudmouth bragging how important they are to humanity and the chatty train conductor, and you have my morning callithumpian.*

At work, we have an open floor plan, meaning everyone can hear everything and everyone.  We have several TVs on with newscasters and talking heads with their wailing and gnashing of teeth. Just once, I would love one of them to say, “Whatever happens, we are going to be just fine.”  Computers, printers, copy machines hum, again the loudmouths share their importance to humanity, fingers taping on the keyboards and blackberries echo through the fake hallways made by the fake walls of our cubicles. Maybe there will be a protestor telling me I’m going to hell, or maybe some tourists ask me to take their picture or for directions.  And now, like a plague of locust coming to the destroy the fruits of my labors, the summer interns are starting to swarm and fill every inch of the city with their chatterings about whatever 18-23 year olds talk about these days.

Then back on the train.

Than back home to catch up on televisions shows, chat with friends, chat with myself.

There just seems to be so much, so much of the time. 

Music seems to be one of my anchors to help me not lose myself in all of this. I have lately found myself listening to The Milk Carton Kids on repeat during my work days. There is a beautiful juxtaposition in the peacefulness of their music against the fastness of thousands of people moving their way, all at the same time, through the city.  Something that stills the little part of me that doesn’t know if it can run for one more train, ride one more stuffed elevator,  sit through one more staff meeting. We all need these little anchors, whether it's music or a good book or running or sitting under a tree.
 The Milk Carton Kids is made up of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, and their guitars. That’s it. But sometimes that is all you need.   You can download their album, Prologue, for free on their website, I highly recommend you do that right now. And then the next time you find yourself in the middle of “too much”, you have will the perfect thing to listen too.

*Word of the Week: Callithumpian:  U.S. colloquial, probably a fanciful construction at one time designating a society of social reformers, then in reference to "noisy disturbers of elections and meetings," and most commonly "a band of discordant instruments."

[Update: The Milk Carton Kids will be touring with the always amazing Old Crow Medicine Show this summer. They hit the 9:30 club in DC on August 2&3. The August 3 (Friday) night is already sold out, but tickets for the Thursday show are still available. Full tour dates here. The Lumineers are also on the bill on other cities. ]

Monday, May 21, 2012

I Know Your Face

I'm just going to say it. I come from a good lookin' family:

We like hats. 

(Top three are my dad's family, bottom three my mom's. )

My bedroom at  my parents' house has become known as the family archive. Boxes of photos, scrapbooks, journals, baby clothes all seem to find their way to the room at the end of the hall. So many hours have been spent sitting on the floor connecting to all the lives that make up me. It is amazing to see that our lives, how we live, what we do with our family name, can help heal past generations. 

People can get intimidated by family history. Where do start? What do you? Start where you are at and do what you can. Sort pictures, identify people and places in those picture (please, please!).  This includes the gobs of digital photos sitting on your computer right now. Record family stories, write your own story. Type out grandma's old recipes. All those annoying things your forefathers did or didn't do that is frustrating your family research; don't do those same things to frustrate future generations. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Go See This: Wilco

I don't want to be bossy, but I'll just go ahead and make some summer plans for you.

 First, go the beach and read a book (or a gossip rag, I don't judge), and wiggle your toes deep into the warm sand.

Second, go see Wilco. They are a playing two nights, July 17-18, at Wolf Trap.  They are one of my very favorite bands to see live, Jeff Tweedy has the best stage banter, but I say that a lot, so I may understand that you might need another second opinion. NPR has called them "The best live band in America."And since they are playing at Wolf Trap, an outdoor amphitheater, you can eat brie and apples and clap and sing under the stars ALL AT THE SAME TIME. So magical. 

If you aren't familiar with Wilco (are we even friends?), here is is short play list:

From the 1998 album Mermaid Avenue, "At My Window Sad and Lonely," This album is a collection of previously unpublished Woody Guthrie lyrics put to music by Wilco and British singer/songwriter Billy Bragg. It's probably one of my top 10 most played albums. And this song, in particular, breaks my heart every time I listen to it. 

From their 1999 album Summerteeth:" I'm Always in Love"

From their 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot: Heavy Metal Drummer:

From their 2007 album Sky Blue Sky: "Either Way"

From their  2011 album The Whole Love: "Dawned On Me"

And Wilco playing with the great Levon Helm, "The Weight"

Their NPR Tiny Desk Concert can be seen here, it's just under 20 fabulous minutes. 

Full Wilco Tour details here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Grilled Cheese Kind of Week

What a hard week.  I had a dear friend warn me that while grieving is hard everyone, it can be especially hard for us single folk.  It made sense at the time, but this week, away from my Ma and Sis, has taught me that it is indeed true with a capital T.

So tonight I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich. Another good friend and I have this philosophy that when you care about someone you make them a grilled cheese. (Side note: we both independently had this philosophy and then one day on the way to the beach we discovered we shared it, which kinda means it is a true idea and can lead to world peace.) So tonight I decided to care for myself. 

On the way home from work I stopped at the store (it has been 5 days since I returned to DC and I still had no food at home, well, except for A TON of puff pastry in the freezer. ), and got some good bread (sourdough), good cheese (Gruyere), and a couple of onions.

I was painstaking patient as I let the onion cook down and caramelized with a little salt and pepper and fresh thyme from my little kitchen garden.

And then the magic of the sandwich:  buttered bread (don’t worry Julia Child, it was real butter), that beautiful cheese, and those sweet onions, all smoshed together and grilled.
Yes, I cut the bread super thick, but it was good bread.

Did it solve all my problems?  No. But it did remind me, in an –everything in my life is a metaphor—kind of way, that good things in life (amazing sandwiches and/or healing) take time and patience and small steps, and  quiet moments . . .and maybe a little good cheese.

Sounds: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros @ 9:30 Club

When I tell people about Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros I usually find myself using the word, "hippies." Some people are totally fine with just that, others I have to follow up with "and they are  fantastic." If I started a band with a bunch of random friends playing lots of random instruments I am sure this is what we would sound like. At the show on Tuesday, I counted 12 people on stage, all the time. 2 singers, 2 guitars (electric and acoustic, one also played the banjo), 2 drummers, each with there own complete drum kit, 1 horn/keyboard, 1 accordion/keyboard player,  1 bass player (electric and stand up), 1 piano player (real piano, not electric keyboard, they already have 2 of those), 1 fiddler, and 1 percussionist. Everyone had their own tambourine. Their energy on stage is fantastic to say the least.  Edward Sharpe, is really  Alex Ebert, and he wanders around the stage barefoot and doesn't have a set play list (um. . .how 'bout we play this song?) and interacts with crowd and along with the rest of the band really does spread peace and love and all that other hippie stuff.

Notes on the pictures. I felt like they should be in B&W. For once, I felt like I was too close to the stage, everyone's feet are cut off.  A microphone stand got in the way of too many shots. And there was no way that I could get all members of the band in. But I sang with my eyes closed and really, isn't that all that really matters at concerts?

I feel that I should post one of their songs, from the new album, Here, which is due for release at the end of the month (May 29), but I just love their 2009 debut album, Up From Below, and well, my blog. That album features probably their most popular song "Home." Although I usually prefer to post live videos, especially for concert posts, I just (also) love the "Home" video too much, and Jade's voice in it, and them marching in the desert, and the whistling. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Words: Wisdom

“What you are is a complicated girl with simple needs. You need your books and time to read, and you need a few friends and you need someone-not to take care of you, but to care for you. If you have all those things, you’ll always be alright.”
--Brian Morton, Breakable You

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Song of the Week: The Wedding Band

Don’t mention to me that Mumford & Sons still hasn’t released a follow up to their 2010 album, Sigh No More.

Don’t mention to me that The Wedding Band has Mumford and all his sons in it + couple of friends.

Don’t mention to me they apparently have enough free time, not recording as Mumford & Sons, to record under a different name.

Because if you do mention all this to me, I will have to, for the second time today, shake my fist in air and yell, with a slight feeling of despair, “Oh those Brits!”

Monday, May 14, 2012


I pride myself with having pretty mad packing skills and traveling the world with just a carry-on. I usually never check a bag unless forced, I'm looking at you Dublin, Ireland Airport, or well,  I decide that I need to bring back to the east coast not 1, not 2, but 3 bottles of my favorite KC BBQ sauce*:
The $25 checked bag fee, the standing in the baggage line behind the way too cheery for 5AM Chiefs cheerleaders, the dragging the bag up and down all the broken Metro escalators . . . .so, so worth it.

Dear Summer BBQ Season,
I am ready for you.

*from my favorite BBQ joint, the Summit Hickory Pit. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to my favorite Donut Queen

And the coolest mom in sunglasses 
I'm the barefoot one, naturally.

And the strongest woman I know.

 I love you.

One Week Later

For the record, the last song I sang to my dad was Amazing Grace, not a Beastie Boys song.

My dad passed away a week ago yesterday. May 5th will never be a day of celebration for me, sorry Mexico. 

It's been hard trying to write about my life lately. The fact is, the last couple weeks have been some of the hardest times of my life, no, make that the absolute hardest time of my life, but also some of the most meaningful times too. I'm trying, but written words seem too hard right now, I'm ok talking about it, it helps with the healing and it is now a part of who I am, but it is something about the finality of the written word that just makes it hard. I return to DC tomorrow with the new label as the "girl whose father just died." My life, my outlook, my priorities are completely different than they were just a couple of  months ago. It's all about finding out what my new normal is.

I asked my mom last night when I can start doing happy things again. I am so naive about mourning protocol. We decided that my dad won't want us to go around in sackcloth and ashes. The best way to remember and honor my dad is to live a happy life. He will always be in every corny joke I tell. He will always be around whenever I go to the UK and retrace the footprints our ancestors. He will always be at every concert I go to with a bag piper and/or banjo player.   He will alway be there. Period. Death may end a mortal life, but it never ends a relationship. My dad will always be my dad. Period. 

I also have the most amazing friends. I am working on answering every email, every FB message, every card. I have read them all. They have made me cry and feel blessed and have meant the world to me. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Make Some Noise

Tonight I asked my dad if he wanted me to sing him a Beastie Boys song. There was no reply, so I took that as a yes.


So rest assure that if you are ever sick, even with just the sniffles,  I will sit by your bedside and sing you classic hip hop hits of the 80s and 90s.

RIP Adam Yauch and thank you for music that I listened to even through I was told I shouldn't.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Song the Week: The River and The Road

First, listen to this song, "Straw, Brick, & Wood," By The River and The Road.  I feel that I am going to get off topic really fast and I don't want you to miss this:

Quite a lovely song, right? And those drums  . . .fantastic. I love when songs tell your heart how to beat. Their debut album was released earlier this month. Man, April was such a great month for new music.

And now I start to wander . . . 

True Conversation:
Me barging into the room with some important news:
Me: I found a new banjo song. It is from a band from Canada. Who knew they had banjo players in Canada? 
Sister: Well, they have mountains and trees.
Me: And plaid shirts! I feel banjo players wear a lot plaid shirts. 
Sister: And beards.
Me: Oh, and beards. Sigh.

Conversation notes/translation:

No matter how many or whatever other instruments are in a song, if a banjo is played, it is a banjo song.

I have in fact, been to Canada, and it was lovely and it was also Quebec. I feel that the Quebecois go out of their way to prove that they are not Canadians. I felt more like I was in Europe than what I picture Canada to be.  But maybe that was just the poutine talking.  What is poutine? French fries covered in gravy and cheese, and I am super duper surprised that the US hasn't stole this idea, we do love things covered in gravy and cheese.

Note to self: open a poutine food truck in DC

I have no problem with guys in beards and/or plaid shirts. Thank you, my years in MO. 

I fully acknowledge that my idea of Canada maybe be a little mythical, so maybe I just need to take a road trip to the North and listen to more Canadian banjo players in plaids shirts and beards. (And maybe see a moose playing hockey?)

Oh yes, I need to do that. posthaste. 

(p.s. this little blog broke the 10,000 page view mark yesterday! High fives all around!)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

She Collected Dictionaries

April was Poetry Month. I had been looking for a nice little poem to post and show how literate I am all month, and then April was over. It's a good thing that poetry isn't time sensitive. 

She Collected Dictionaries
as other women take up men
and shelve them:
manuals, grammars, Teach Yourself
German, Malay, Italian, Swahili, Welsh,
like a passion for clothes that would hang
unworn in the dark,
for peridots, garnets, amethysts, pearls
in a shut case, nouns declined.
Each unknown word shone with delicious fire
and the alien phrases silked her skin
with their genders and connotations.
She might have been the end house
on the waterfront of Macau
welcoming every sailor in.
But the longing for many tongues
to part her lips – si, igen, ja,
ah oui, yes, yes –
was departure’s smile,
a leaning to the wind
that sweeps a glitter of light
across the sea and sets a silvery chill
at the neck. Quick, to those books
guarding the mantelpiece,
ISBNs snug as a span of days;
to bread and fruit and sparkling wine.

Jan Owen, The Return

Extra points for using ISBN in a poem. Fantastic

Pie, Oh Beautiful Pie

“It could solve all the problems of the world, that pie… it’s a thing of beauty — how each flavor opens itself one by one, like a chapter in a book. First the flavor of an exotic spice hits you, just the hint of it. And then you’re flooded with chocolate, dark and bittersweet, like an old love affair. And finally strawberry, the way strawberry was always supposed to taste but never knew how.”

The other day I told my mom that I needed to make a pie. She replied that we had a cherry pie in the freezer. We are the type of the family that always has a pie in the freezer. "No, I need to MAKE a pie."  When I saw  on a beloved food blog, the above quote (from the movie Waitress) and recipe for a something called Chocolate Strawberry Oasis Pie, I knew needed to make THIS pie.

Double chocolate crust with strawberries (I sliced the berries instead of halved, because I can't read)
Topped with a homemade chocolate pudding (which means you are at the stove stirring and working on your upper body strength. Whatever Popeye, making pie totally gives you muscles.)
With a hint of ginger and nutmeg that makes you want to fall head first into the pie. Yeah, we ate the whole thing in like 2 days. 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Today I woke up with the thought that my dad needs to know that I will be ok after he leaves.  And maybe I need a little convincing too. So for the first time in days, I got dressed in real clothes, well, jeans and a t-shirt real clothes. Months from now, I am sure that I will be embarrassed by how many people have seen me in yoga pants and with messy hair over the last couple weeks.  But today, along with real pants, I straighten my hair, I put in my contacts, a little bit of mascara, a touch of chapstick. All these things seem so simple,  almost too simple to be writing a whole blog post about. but as little as they are, I haven't been able to do them the last couple days, for they are part of a normal life, and my life is far from normal these days.  But I know life will be normal after he leaves, well, a new type of normal. I will go the store and stand lovingly and longingly at the cheese counter. I will ride the Metro and get stuck in the inside seat with people that fall asleep.  I will curse people at work that "reply all" when they shouldn't. In fact, I will probably still curse a lot at work in general.  I will still talk through movies and accidentally leave my house without shoes on at least once a week. I will still use every single pot and pan and measuring cup and dish towel in the kitchen when I bake at 2 in the morning.  I will go to concerts where I  clap my hands raw and eat pancakes with real maple syrup and and run away to the beach and laugh at my own jokes because I know I am pretty hilarious. I will still be. Life will still be.  And though I feel a hole in my heart starting to form that I don't know will ever be completely healed, I also feel that there are plenty of happy days and moments ahead of me still. And I think my dad knows that too. 

As I sat and talked with my dad today (he is sleeping as I type this), I let him know of all my plans for the future, just to let him know I will be ok. I want to take photography classes and cooking classes and maybe food photography classes, so I can stop taking picture of cupcakes with my iPhone. I told him of all the places that I want to visit and that for real I will learn cowboy songs on the guitar that has been siting up in my room for years now.  And maybe some other secret plans just between the two of us. I told him, I told myself, that I will be ok.