this is a reflection/refraction

table of contents




A February Saturday: I had woken up flustered at how late it was (10 am), ate leftover Chinese takeout while standing in front of the fridge, and ran down to the coffee shop for a cappuccino to calm myself down, to chat with Rita and Emma and Dena and Hector about the flowers on the counter and my distress and the grey skies. In the early afternoon, Crystal and I headed out of the city, to another city, floating from one train to another, perfectly content in the in-betweens, in the waiting. We were reading the same book. Bearing the first rainfall of the season. We bought pastries from a Korean bakery and got lost on the Berkeley campus. With enough time and distance, college life seemed charming again. When we arrived at the Berkeley Art Museum, we were triumphant, and the receptionist told us, "You guys look so happy to be here!" We were.

THE POSSIBLE correspondence.

Anzfer Farm constructions.

Natalie So, rug deputy
"Domestic Integrities rug deputies (Caroline Walters, Francesca Ferreira-Caruana, Valentina Castro, Rumi Koshino, Natalie Palms, and Natalie So) specially trained in the crochet technique will periodically be working on expanding the rug with locally donated clothes and textiles. They will also train museum visitors who want to help work on the rug." 

"I knew that if I didn't create a structure for seeing people in a stimulating, meaningful way, I might lose touch completely."
-Fritz Haeg, on living and making art in L.A.

Someone recently asked me, "What motivates you and what doesn't?" I replied, "I am motivated by the common good, by people I love and my accountability to them, by art and self-expression, by self-discovery and growth, by what's right and honorable and true. I am not motivated by jealousy, ambition, or money."

These days, the energy I give to the people and places and occupations of my life is in proportion to my priorities, which should be obvious, or revealing, or convicting. For me, this is relieving. I have been spending my time gathering around the table with the ones I love, mostly in, once in awhile out. One night, we ate in the backseat of a car on the way to the movie theatre. Most of the time, the food seems secondary, a transient delight that moves through the mouth into the stomach, but a blessing nonetheless, a reason we lean on to gather, a means to an extraordinary communion. Here's to the company I've been keeping, to the ones I love. 

A little New York fire escape moment at Kirsten's charming studio in Nob Hill. Eggs, berries, chocolate chip banana bread. I could stay here forever.

Beating the brunch line by taking advantage of weekday breakfast, at Plow. Korin and I plan to eat our way through all the breakfast nooks in the city. No waiting for brunch, ever.

Dave Lomas' book came out and we celebrated at a quirky Victorian house in the Lower Haight.

Chinese New Year was properly celebrated with takeout from Mission Chinese and Big Lantern, by candle light, in an empty apartment.

Chess mates. 

"Yet you could feel a vibration in the air, a sense of hastening. It had started with the moon, inaccessible poem that it was. Now men had walked upon it, rubber treads on a pearl of the gods. Perhaps it was an awareness of time passing, the last summer of the decade. Sometimes I just wanted to raise my hands and stop. But stop what? Maybe just growing up."
-Patti Smith, Just Kids

I have had a long history with granola. From the days of eating a big bowl of it with Puffins, banana, and almond milk when I came home from school to summers at home testing recipe after recipe, granola has become an easy comfort. Making it is a familiar rhythm, in which I can build any permutation using a basic methodology. My affinity for granola also comes from its many possibilities: the classic and novel flavor profiles, the infinite ingredient combinations, the variety of never-agreed-upon recipes. 

This Oakland house--and my two very good friends in it--were in dire need of some granola.

And so it was made: oats, black sesame seeds, pecans, pepitas, maple syrup, extra fruity olive oil, extra salt, and brown sugar. We were going to add in dried cherries too but they looked like little turds and ruined the aesthetics of the granola. No can do.

I am rarely impressed by store-bought granola, but ate this breakfast granola bowl (with Damn Fine Granola, Straus Creamery yogurt, persimmons, and pears) recently at Craftsman and Wolves and loved it. Inspiration for the next batch of granola. Pistachios, cornflakes, cocoa nibs, cinnamon, curry powder, coconut, vanilla bean, and honey. Yes please.

"I can't say much more, except that it all happened in silence and peaceful simplicity, and something that felt like the bliss of a certainty and a life lived in accordance with that certainty. I must remember this, I thought, as we fly back to America. Pray God I remember this." -Mary Oliver, "Varanasi"

After a long day at work, I have very little energy to exert, or to entertain, or to make small talk. I want to be at home. On my couch. Or at my dining table. Or at Josh and Carlos' house in Oakland, which I've made a second home. These people are my people--the best people. They are creating a handcrafted space that will be both living quarters as well as a wood shop for our community. I have been fortunate enough to see this place get moved into and furnished from the very beginning, and it's inspiring to see how much love and labor they have put into this place--both in concept and in practice.

Every meal here, thus far, has been a christening. And we followed suit with a first fire and a late-night dinner of roasted cabbage, sweet potatoes, onions, and chorizo, first wrapped in hobo packets and thrown into the fire, then laid atop the logs for a perfect, smoky char--my favorite flavor..


"The quietest way to reach the sun and the light of day is not to run west chasing after it but to head east into the darkness until you finally reach the sunrise."
-Peter Scazzero, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality

On Wednesday, January 22, after a morning of rabble-rousing photo shoots at work, I felt faint and took an early train home. As a precaution, I carried toilet paper in my purse. A heavy dose of Nyquil induced 18 hours of intermittent sleep. On Thursday, January 23, I did not speak to anyone. I am generally pleased with the strength of my immune system, but like a spoiled child thrown into pauperdom, I was shocked by how difficult it was to bear a mild affliction--of body, mind, and spirit. The forced rest did me good though--that was when I began writing about the desert. 

Sick person's view.

Every place a home.


"An attachment, certainly, though I was never sure it was love. But what did it mean to be in love? Maybe all the things people said about falling in love, about the initial torrent of joy, were a lie. And then there was the matter of how my days and weeks and months had become so unexceptional, they were nearly indistinguishable from one another--marked only by my job at a second-rate law firm and the occasional date and watching the weather shift through my apartment windows." 

-Laura Van Den Berg, The Isle of Youth


February flowers:

On 18th Street.

At Dean & Shelbey's wedding.

At my parents' house.

From McCall's Book of Handicrafts, which I checked out from the library. You can make flower-head vases like these.

"The most beautiful still lifes are never pristine, and herein lies one of their secrets. The lemon has been half-peeled, the wine tasted, the bread broken ... These objects are in use, in dialogue, a part of, implicated. They refuse perfection, or rather, they assert that this is perfection, this state of being consumed, used up, enjoyed, existing in time."
-Mark Doty, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon


Gallimaufry, from the French word galimafree, which was a kind of sauce or stew, meaning:
A hodgepodge; jumble; confused medley.

Typical & accurate.

Typical & accurate.

Linea almond milk cappuccino & this book. Only the best.


Sir Prize Avocados, Cara Cara Oranges, Josey Baker toast with cream cheese. Crystal Jones. JD Stark. I live a pretty good life here.

This is the first sandwich I have bought in two years. 

Fractal planet.

"I know I must be dying (Death draw nears)I know I must be dying, for I crave
Life--life, strong life, and think not of the grave,
And turf-bound silence, in the frosty year."
-Edith Thomas, "Winter Sleep"

"Why can't I write something that would awake the dead? That pursuit is what burns most deeply. I got over the loss of his desk and chair, but never the desire to produce a string of words more precious than the emeralds of Cortes. Yet I have a lock of his hair, a handful of his ashes, a box of his letters, a goatskin tambourine. And in the folds of faded violet tissue a necklace, two violet plaques etched in Arabic, strung with black and silver threads, given to me by the boy who loved Michelangelo."-Patti Smith, Just Kids

February: jarring movements. big pivots. getting deeper. moving forward. 


Post a Comment