Sunday, December 20, 2009

Merry Cozy Day!

I love Christmas. The anticipation, the warmth, the home-ness of it. I feel blessed to be spending a joyful cozy day with family. I only wish I could be with all of you, dear family and friends, sharing the delights of gift-giving and sharing food.

This year, all our gifts were handmade. We didn't make them all ourselves (though we made a pretty good crack at it). We supplemented with Etsy and the Portland Holiday Market. But I'm proud to have contributed very little to mass consumerism and the production of yet more plastic.

And still have given and received many lovely little love tokens. The pinecones above and felted rocks below were a few stocking stuffers I created. Something about felt expresses the hearth-feel of the season.

Happy day and love to you all!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Variation on a (Poofy) Theme

I love the crown and tutu combo! You remember Olive in her little woodland fairy version? Here's my sassy niece in her incarnation as Princess Bluebell. Apparently that's me talking. Funny how foreign one's voice always sounds.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Marigold Mystery

(Forgive the terrible cell phone photography!)

I like to walk along this deserted stretch of creosotey beach between my house and the St. Johns Bridge, where I've never seen anyone else except for occasionally one of the quiet hermity types who live in driftwood and tarp houses here and there. And about thirty feet of this beach is regularly strewn, at the high water mark, with flowers. At first it was always marigolds. I imagined Monsoon Wedding taking place on a raft drifting toward the Columbia. Thousands of marigolds, whirling saffron-colored silk, and yellow light from paper lanterns lighting up a September midnight.

Now it is October, and not one weekend walk has found this stretch without fading blossoms. Today it was mostly carnations.

Clearly, all possible explanations are romantic, strange, a little sad, and a testament to the tendency of the human heart toward quirk and beauty.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Water, water everywhere...

I need books. No, seriously.

It's been nine months since I taught my last college class. And let me reiterate: I feel really good about that. I'm loving what I'm doing and I don't miss the adjunct lifestyle in any way. But. Recently I've noticed that I go around proposing to my friends that we gather for movie nights. And read all the current criticism on said movies. And give presentations on said criticism. Maybe we could write some papers too... I'm missing shared reading.

And there's this: About a year ago, with the unfinished draft of Edwin Drood, I finished the final word of Dickens's writing. Austen succumbed long before, of course, and the Brontes. And George Elliot. What have I got left? I've been rereading, and god knows that's worthwhile, but I need something more. I can't spend the next fifty years rereading.

Tell me what to read.

Make me reading lists, dear friends and family. I don't care what's on them. I'm not necessarily looking for literary merit. And if I've already read them, no problem, then we can talk about them. Your five favorite books, or five books you think I'd like, or five books you would make everyone read if you had control of the human curriculum. Mom and Dad, you are not exempt from this. It's a few years since you've given me any homework.

Come on guys. It's only you between me and a lifetime of slipping further and further away from the 21st century. (Although, of course, if you have any recommendations from the 18th and 19th, I'm really stoked.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Refurbished Bins Find

I have a thing about footstools and ottomans. I don't really like to use them but I am always deeply charmed by them. I found this sweet but mangled piece at The Bins. For you non-Portlanders, The Bins are a place of pure chaos and potential, the Goodwill outlet stores. The myriad items rejected by Goodwill as simply too tatty or mysterious in function end up being sold at The Bins by the pound. Its name refers to the giant wheeled carts full of miscellany that are periodically brought up to the starting line where shoppers gather, ready to pounce. This guy cost $5. It took a few minutes to recover, and I'm pleased with the results.

The top? There's just something about ticking and doilies.

So now we have this lovely little ottoman to go with our wonderful couch (and cat).

PS: The corners are not really lumpy. It's a trick of the light. I swear. Here's proof.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary

This day was two years ago. Remember everybody? We got married. You were there. It was everything I had imagined it would be, which is saying something.

For some reason I can no longer recall, I was absolutely terrified all the way up to the altar. Scott, too, I think. It seems so wildly brash to attempt this project together. Lifelong. That's saying something. But as soon as we were wed, all of my fear evaporated. It has felt absolutely right ever since. Not that it doesn't still take a certain amount of courage, this thing that is love.

And now it's been two years of waking up together married. It is different from the five years of waking up together unmarried that came before. Better. Closer. I didn't know what it would mean, but I can feel it now, outside of words, in our bodies and in that other ineffable soul place.

I love working near Scott. I am constantly inspired and baffled by the breadth of his knowledge and interest. My artistic vision is wider than some, perhaps, but the varied nature of his is something altogether different. He gathers facts, images, buildings, words, and they are archived neatly in the spaces my different magpie habits leave. We are still, always, working on our project of a life together. It is one of my greatest joys to work in the next room from him, wondering through occasionally to discover how our projects overlap. We find beauty in such different places that together our dose is doubled.

One day we were brainstorming for a cityscape tattoo that has long been in the works. We were discussing what should be included, a bridge, a cathedral, a train... And then I got a little carried away suggesting raccoons painting in the alleys, giant dandelions breaking out through the windows, morning glory crushing the rooftops, swallows nesting in the debris, snippets of poetry spray-painted on each wall. "Well, that's the city you live in," he said. And then he began to dreamily describe the freeway he would include. My raccoon has been invited into his alleys, and my swallow onto his telephone wires, and they find more nooks to explore and love every day. We live in overlapping cities, my love, and I am privileged to see into and through yours.

Thank you for collaborating with me. And for bearing up under all the bits of thread. Let's make more!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Summer tastes like crocodiles,"

said a child in my care today. So we wrote some poems.

by a 4 year old girl

Summer is fun to me.
Summer smells like pickles.
Summer feels like pickles.
Summer sounds like pickles.
Summer looks like pickles.
I like pickles.
Blue and pink and purple pickles!
But not pickle ice cream.
Pickles only.
Pickles, pickles, pickles!

By a 4 year old girl

Summer smells like candy canes.
It tastes like chocolate.
It sounds like an airplane.
It looks like a castle.
It feels like hot wind.
Summertime feels like a sunburn.
I do like summertime.
And it feels like I have a sunburn.
And my body peels.

by a 3 year old girl

Summer feels like soccer camp.
It smells like jerseys.
It tastes like Gatorade.
It looks like cotton candy.
It smells like Strawberry Short Cake.
I only go to soccer camp at summertime.

by the alpha 4 year old boy in our class

I get to go swimming so much.
Hot hot like a hot hot oven
in the hot hot sun
with hot hot fire.
Summer smells like blooming flowers.
It looks like pink and red and purple flowers.
It sounds like hooooooooo.
It tastes like nectar of flowers.
And I get to go swimming!

by a 3 year old girl

I love when I go in my swimming pool,
and I love when I water my flowers,
and I love when my dad does that too.
I love when he waters the grass.

by a 3 year old boy who has spoken English for a short time.

Summertime makes the sun come out.
It sounds like the sun coming out.
It tastes like clouds going bye bye.
It looks like raining sometimes.
It smells like no fog.
It feels of not raining and the sun come out.