Monday, May 30, 2011

To Be or Not

Silence is speaking
Stillness is traveling
Indecision is choosing
Staying is moving

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday Lyric- Mumford & Sons

There's a chip on your shoulder, girl
And by God it'll make you fall
If you let it take a part of your soul

I see the love in your brother's eyes
And the love in your mother's cries
Sister, don't test the ones you love

Sister, don't let go
Sister, don't let go of us

Cause your roots will rot away
And your fruit, it wont grow
Your bark will wear thin, body hollow

I see the love in your brother's eyes
And the love in your mother's cries
Sister, don't test the ones you love

Sister, don't let go
Sister, don't let go of us

Don't test the ones you love
It'll only tear us down
If you want to feel alive
Then learn to love your ground

Love your ground

Sister, don't let go
Sister, don't let go of us

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maps and me

I love travel. From my first airplane flights (age 6, a company trip to Mexico from Burbank), to my most recent trip (Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco for 3 days with my sister), I love packing late at night and early morning coffee and driving to the airport and the moment when the plane’s wheels leave the ground and you can relax entirely because you did it, you got away.

I love planning the trip, planning long travel days on Mondays because those are the days that the museums are closed. I like finding out the best ways to use the Roman subway and finding out how long people generally spend in Florence’s Uffizi museum, and where the nearest great lunch spot is, the one where local workmen line the curb outside with a glass of wine or beer in the left hand and a delicious sandwich in the right.

And I love the maps. There is something a little compulsive in me about knowing where we are. Maybe it was my dad who, on long road trips when I was little make me find out where we were on the map using the highway signs and the name of the last town we passed as clues, who passed on the love of seeing that (now-familiar, thanks to GPS technology) imaginary moving dot traverse the highway lines.

When my sister and I and two dear friends planned a trip to Italy, I pored over the maps, trying to get a mental image of Florence, my especial planning assignment. The Arno River and its bridges, splitting the city into the main old town and the OltreArno district became real entities in my mind, the coffee shops and restaurants we would try, the Uffizi Museum, the Medici Chapel, the ‘Cathedral in Pajamas’, the cloisters of Santa Maria Novello, the train station, and the Monastery of San Marco where Fra Angelico frescoed the walls of the monks’ cells with his masterpieces, and where Savonarola’s name seems to float through the halls like the ash of books burning.

The problem though, is that I found myself on my first big international travel expedition, often living in the map instead of the moment. The burden of knowing where we were and where we were going and all of the surrounding details pressed in on me. You can even see it in the pictures:

Recently, in San Francisco
Poring over road maps in Lucca

Il Campo di Miracoli, Pisa, sitting on the steps of the Baptistry with the guidebook.

me and my guidebook in Siena

Lap full of maps in Florence

planning out the next day in Florence.

Being in the map instead of the moment in Florence

Figuring out directions in the background

Florence was kind of confusing, map wise...

Guidebook firmly in hand.

Il Campo in Siena

map queens in Florence.

This would have been a better moment if I had actually
been reading something other than my guidebook.

Keeping map close at the Pantheon in Rome

In between wings of the Vatican

keeping the guidebook close in the Egyptian wing of the Vatican
I'm not so sure why I cling so much to my own knowledge when on the road. I know there are times for perspective and planning and thinking about where my little dot is on the road map. But I'm finding it ever more important to, as Mumford and Sons sings it, 'love my ground'. I need to learn more of that, and how to ask the wondering questions instead of the factual ones. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recommended Reading: Iwrotethisforyou

There is a great blog out there called I Wrote This For You. A friend linked to it once, and I've been following it ever since. It's beautiful, angry, and mysterious, evidence of a culture desperately seeking connection. And it involves killer photography.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Morning Coffee

I love coffee. 

When my sister and I bought our house, we moved in with my grandmother's old corelle-ware (in Harvest Gold) and three very good copper-bottomed pots inherited from her. With a gift card from our fantastic realtor, we were able to buy a set of really good knives. Other than that, we have cobbled together our kitchen with pieces from the likes of Ikea and a few key gifts from our parents. Roommates have filled in the gaps with their things.

So it was an absolutely lovely surprise when I won a prize drawing at a local store over Christmas last year. I went into the store on the day and was told to draw a number. I joined the crowd of lucky winners around a large, stainless steel rolling shelf piled with products, ranging in value from $20 to $120, but the first prize was a Kitchenaid mixer (which went to someone who already had one, as per usual with these things). I tried to settle on my order of preferences --If the wine glasses are gone, I'll take the big pan, if that's gone, maybe the knives--and so on. But really anything would have been a great addition. 

Most of the big-ticket items were gone by the time my ticket was drawn, but I circled the cart and spotted a french press. Bodum, double-walled, 32-oz french press. Original price, $90. 

Well, if I couldn't have something I absolutely needed, I thought this was a pretty usable luxury item. I would never have bought a $90 french press. EVER.

Jessi and I, and other friends, have shared much over cups of hot french press coffee, Stumptown or Tony's or Katz, a local favorite, and it's one of the items we use most.

A Windfall...something unexpected that has added joy to life. It reminds me to be grateful.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Something that makes me smile

Do you have those friends that just make you smile?

The ones who are your 'constants', for whom 
distance and time are just really a pause button
(only a little different because when you do meet again, 
you are enriched and ready to share
the new things you discovered on your little detour.) 

Jessi and Naomi in Grand Rapids, MI. Dancing to the music in their heads.

Friday, May 13, 2011

upon reflection, I know what I want

Your eyes were so busy
Seeing something else
That there wasn’t even
The slight reflection of myself
To be seen
To be known
As we all must be known.
I want to have friends that I can trust
That love me for the man I've become, not the man that I was
I want to have friends that let me be
All alone when being alone is all that I need

I want to fit in to the perfect space
Feel natural and safe in a volatile place
and I want to grow old without the pain
give my body back to the earth and not complain

Will you understand when I am too old of a man?
Will you forget, when we have paid our debt
Who did we borrow from? 
Who did we borrow from?

-from The Perfect Space, The Avett Brothers

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday Song: Bedouin Dress by Fleet Foxes (2011)

If to borrow is to take and not return/I have borrowed all my lonesome life.
And I can't, no I can't get through/The borrower's debt is the only regret of my youth

Seattle band Fleet Foxes' self titled first album quietly became one of those albums that gets better with time. 5 years down the road, the new album Helplessness Blues follows up their ethereal folk sound very nicely, punctuated by simply gorgeous lines like the ones above.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I'd always choose the real story. 
It's darker, but so much better.
The best thing is, the real story
is inspired by invention, not ruined by competition.
is informed by good knowledge, not distracted by it.
is directed by that one small, overlooked talent which

in the end, makes all the difference.

*props to Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events

Monday, May 9, 2011


I ask for one thing only.
Just a little thing, fragile,
and folded up in lace, white lace.
Pulling the ribbon I'll loose the wrapping to find
The most precious thing a friend can give a friend
When fear or failing has friendship tarnishéd:
The gift of doubt.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

"Here is my secret. It is very simple. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; What is essential is invisible to the eye."

-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Thursday Lyric- Branches

I've been enjoying two ep's released by a baby band out of California, 'Branches'. The first 'O Light' came out last fall, and the second, 'Cabin' was recently released. Their music is fun, alive, and whimsical, and if you follow their youtube channel, they've been releasing a 'cover of the month' video, covering the Beatles the Beach Boys, and more. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wax and Wane Photos

StudioStudiomy tableheat tools.Inspiration boardephemera
Studioview to the snowy woods from my workspacework in progressPaletteOur instructors
two of my pieceswip?cathedralcollage workshop_3260584.ORFVocabulary
surface of fused waxunfinished piece.sculpting/painting_3260579.ORFexperiments

Wax and Wane, a set on Flickr.
I promised I would share some thoughts from my Encaustic Retreat weekend. I am still composing my series of posts, but here are some photos from the weekend. Also, a poetry-prose-process post recently went up on Silhouette as a sort of sensory description about what the encaustic process embodies for me. Rich in metaphor and sense, the technique is a precious as the final product. I've finished a few pieces I started at the retreat and worked on a few new ones to gain experience and control with the medium.