Friday, September 28, 2007

The flavor of the month is slowly melting in your mouth.

Friday favorites:
Friday faves.

I'm finding that I enjoy pictures of the following:
1. Complementary colors.
2. Weird/interesting textures.
3. Graffiti and signage.
4. Extreme close-ups of plant life.
5. Old stuff.
6. Cats.

Not so much:
1. Portraits of children I don't know (feels exploitive).
2. Misty portraits of pregnant people I don't know (ditto).
3. National Geographic-style portraits of "ethnic" people I don't know (ditto).
4. Most landscapes (usually too much to take in).
5. Stuff with hackneyed captions. There should be a whole flickr group for this.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Just a soul whose intentions are good.

Here's a dumb thing about me: I love bike riding and I never do it. I maintain that bike commuting is not a viable option for me because I am so gotdamn sweaty, but joyriding certainly is a viable option, especially with all the trails and bike paths in this here city. So today on my self-imposed lunch break, I decided to figure out how to ride down into Fort Snelling State Park and then do it. It was either that or go running. I should probably say "running" instead of running, but let's just establish right now that I mean a slow jog.

Anyway, I rode. It was delightful. The weather is perfect perfect today. 65 and sunny with the faint scent of crisping leaves in the air. I rode down into the park, under the flight path, onto land that Zebulon Pike secured by trading about $200 worth of gifts and booze to the Dakota who were living there. I hadn't been there in years, which is just plain stupid. The Brit and I have had a lot of discussions lately about the perks of living here and how infrequently we help ourselves to those perks and how much better we would feel if we did. Sitting around is very very easy for me to do. I would like to do it less. In the last 24 days I have only missed 3 days of exercise, but I haven't done as many culturally invigorating things as I might have. Getting close to the Mississippi is a start.

Under the bridge.
ALSO. This will be of little interest to anyone except Susan Cooper fans, but did you know that the "Dark is Rising" books are coming out as a movie like, next week? With Ian McShane as Merriman Lyon? which makes no sense but on the other hand I love Ian McShane, and same goes for Frances Conroy playing what looks like an amalgamation of two characters. I had no idea about this. I guess YA fantasy is trendy right now, duh.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Yeesh.

I want to be Helen Mirren when I grow up.

Damn.

I wanna learn how to fly (high).

I was sitting around watching TV for only part of the day yesterday, but in that time I managed to have several remote encounters with people I know. Granted, most of them were because of a show about our chamber orchestra's tour earlier this year, but still I was like Hey I worked with that guy! And that one! The best, though, was watching the new Ken Burns joint and hearing my friend's song performed by Norah Jones as part of the soundtrack. I didn't know the song was going to be featured, and I surely didn't know Norah Jones was going to sing it. And then I emailed my friend to say HOLY CRAP and he writes back and says he's getting married. So that was all nice and good.

I really like enjoying the recognition that other people are getting. It makes me feel good. When I was younger and more heavily into the opera world (or whatever you want to call it), large helpings of sour grapes were served up, passed around, and relished for all of their empty calories, and just about everyone had bitter juice dripping down his or her chin. It's still irritating when assholes are getting work and deserving and talented people are not, but that is always going to be true and there is nothing I can do about it. So it is very lovely to feel uncomplicated pride about what friends are doing.

Yesterday I had my mind blown by a piece of a fresco from Pompeii at the art institute. You know how you know that things are old and have meant many things to many people over the centuries, and then sometimes you really know this and it is amazing? That's what happened. A thing that was central to a family's daily life wound up in a place that none of them could ever have imagined after a catastrophic demise they never deserved (probably). Shortly after the fresco, we saw a 7000 year old vessel and I truly freaked out.

I don't understand how anyone can think that art is a luxury when it has been so basic to human existence for thousands of years.

Fall has officially been marked on the calendar, but we're having another weird day of warm, heavy weather and I'm wearing the last of the summer's Hawaiian sundresses. I hope to be blogging at you in boots next time.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Worth thousands of butt-shakes.

I dislike embedded videos, I do. But here (via Electrolicious) is a joy-inspiring video of a 25 year old Irish chick breaking it down for all of us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

More poetry corner.

Did you know that my boyfriend is a poet? I did, but he doesn't write as often as he might because he is stuck writing other stuff for a living. He read me this the other day, and after I got weep-eyed and launched myself at him on the couch, I immediately decided that he should have some real estate on my blog if he would consent to being published on the internets. I proposed this and he said yes like "wow really?", like it wasn't a total no-brainer on my part. So here is the first installment of what I hope will be a continuing series for the rest of my life, the Brit's Poetry Corner. Best read aloud, I think. Like most poetry.

The Elm Out Front
Sep.10th, 2007

As with all
The trunk emerges, diverges, divides

Into random paths of permanence
Thicker with time

And solid with slow life
That’s soft by the rain

Hardened invisibly, days outside
Our calendar’s material core

Roots rendering ring, each equinox
Leaves

Wind worn, bark borne up in rustles
By fickle quips of weather, cold crisping quickly

The wry green smile swayed smooth in sun
With no matter, beyond metal

Or an orange ring around one morning
Massive in ailing

Until then
It curls boughs around the air

Learning where it is
And how to be there

Filling up my senses.

I haven't been very forthcoming with the original content this week, have I? I still really don't feel like contenting your asses, either. I feel like posting more pictures of kitties, or of peeling paint, or sidewalk graffiti, or tree branches.

I've been walking down alleyways a lot lately. This is something I have always liked to do, but now I'm walking with my camera and photographing small things. I like to see what people are putting out as trash: computers, bikes, furniture. I am also consistently charmed by people who plant flowers out behind the garage. It seems like such a magnanimous gesture, to wedge your zinnias between a retaining wall and the pavement, so that your neighbors will see something beautiful before they park their cars.

I wouldn't say that having a digital camera has made me a better photographer--I still haven't learned how to use 70 percent of its functions, for example--but it certainly has made me more attentive to color and texture and juxtaposition. Carrying a camera around encourages seeing in a particular way, one with which you are probably already familiar because you like art and you thrift shop and do crafty shit. There are plenty of amazing things I don't bother to photograph because there is no adequate way to contain the experience. Maybe that's why I've been taking pictures of manageable vignettes.

Hmm. Hmmm, hmm. "Manageable vignettes" is probably how I should organize my days. Too much big picture is paralyzing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Worth thousands of pictures.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Worth thousands of words.

Lately when I have downtime I've been bopping around on flickr and finding images to love. I found a group called "Sidewalk Aphorisms" that is right up my alley because it documents things like this:


Then I thought "what if someone has been taking pictures at my brother's shows? I will search for his band" and voila, I found this picture by Julia of Knitterly Things:


Also I've just really been enjoying the fact that you can mark photos as favorites--here are mine--and make collages etc with any images you like, e.g.:
I am having a collage problem.

Thank you, interweb, for all the eye candy.

I've also been hearting prints over at etsy, for that day when I finally decide to buy some wall art. See for example:

Heart Attack
by magicjelly


Cooper No. 1 by margin


Pink Dandelions by AzureGrackle


Fall by mLee


Charlie Bird by matteart


Chatter on the Line by birdnerd


(All pics are obviously property of the artists and clicking on the pictures will take you to the artist's etsy shop.)

And here, for good measure, are some pictures I took yesterday on my birthday photohunt:
Favorite of the day.

Another fave.

I am eating leftover apple crisp for my midmorning meal. I think it's the first one I've ever made. And I could eat this stuff all day long.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Meow, again.

Do you want to squeak, squeal, and coo? Please to visit the "kitten" search on flickr. I'm dying over here. Because of things like this:

Today is her birthday, they are smoking cigars.

I'm 33 today and all set to have a really good birthday. Yesterday I got a rad haircut. Then we had cake at Mol's and my nephews showed off their new hip-hop skills (they are taking classes). Em and I then did what we call "butt dances," which Henry and Jude loved and BIL and the Brit found difficult to watch. Today I woke up and giggled with the Brit for about a half hour before getting out of bed. He does this thing where he pinches the apples of my cheeks and talks about wanting to eat them, which sounds weird but is actually a cherished morning ritual. I just finished my breakfast of faux sausage and hashbrowns and yellow tomatoes, and I am lingering over my coffee with the help of some cake left over from last night's celebration. My sister Em turned 25 yesterday, so there were actually two (homemade) cakes: a lemon poppyseed thing drenched in citrus glaze with gobs of cream cheese frosting, and a very adult chocolate sponge with mousse and ganache layers. I have a slice of each right in front of me. In a little while I am going to go for a walk around the lake with my camera, and then I'm going to do some, y'know, work. It is a Wednesday, after all.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Meow.

Often when I look down at the cat, I have the fleeting but distinct impression that he is just a small person who happens to be wearing a furry muzzle.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ready, aim, fire.

Lately I have been compelled by two things about which I am just slightly embarrassed: my horoscope and a personal development website. Let's talk about the former first, because it's worse in the grand scheme of hooha. I get an email horoscope every day from tarot.com, likely because I signed up for it while I was dinking around in my internet dating days and trying to answer life's great questions in some way other than facing reality. I'm sure I have excused my reasons for enjoying tarot readings and horoscopes in some earlier entry, but I'll recap: anything that provokes contemplation is okay by me, as long as people realize it ain't a prescription.

Here are the things I have liked the most in my astrological missives: A) shoot an arrow and then follow it and in light of that, B) the universe is a safe and friendly place. (I know, only an American would think that.)

The personal development website is also something I have linked before, StevePavlina.com. If you are a regular reader chez moi, you possibly followed the link to his borderline crazy account of getting two degrees in three semesters, and maybe you surfed around the site, or maybe not. I'd surf around the site if I were you. I mean unless you're not really interested in personal friggin growth like I am.

So last week I did one of the exercises Pavlina recommends in How to discover your life purpose in about 20 minutes. It is essentially a brainstorming exercise that you keep doing until one of your answers to the question "what is my true purpose in life" makes you cry. For an emotional reactor and garbage writer like me, this is a totally workable method and what I came up with wasn't a total surprise, but I sort of wasn't expecting it, either.

I don't think I have a lot of the usual hangups about purpose, especially in the ways that "purpose" and "career path" are often confounded in people's minds. But neither have I, historically, had a particularly strong sense of purpose other than the generic ones about love your friends and family and be nice to people and do a good job, all of which are valid. I've never really sat down and imagined my ideal life so that I can start acting in ways that will manifest my vision. I'm still not really sure what that ideal life looks like--and I'm still not really sure that imagining your ideal life is even a valuable exercise, because of that thing about how focusing on your ideal life prevents you from actually experiencing the life you're currently living.

Anyway, with all of this at the back, I brainstormed. And a few themes kept coming up:
1. Meaningful work. I know I'm not unique in this, but I am not a jobby-job person who is content to put in 40 hours in order to have money to do the things I am actually interested in doing. Real life does not begin at 5 PM and bloom into full glory on the weekends and end Monday morning.
2. An integrated life, meaning that my vocation isn't separate from my home and family life, or maybe that my purpose encompasses home and family life without making family the sole purpose. You dig? And then:
3. Mind-body work and healing. Who knew?

I also kept writing about music because that's obvious, because I have all this training and experience on top of my basic talents, but music wasn't the thing that punched my gut. What socked it to me was, ultimately, the mind-body thing. Here in all its wordy glory is the last thing on my brainstorm list:

to explore and deepen my understanding of the connection between the body and the mind, to understand that connection’s impact on my health and the health of the universe, to use that understanding to help people in some way, whether it is through helping them learn to meditate, to strengthen that connection, to draw on reserves they didn’t know they had, to unblock whatever has been blocking them, and thereby to leave this world a stronger and more compassionate place, to increase my own compassion toward others, to open myself up to more and greater experiences, to unblock myself first and foremost.

Well actually that isn't the last thing I wrote. The last thing I wrote was WHERE DO I START.

And here is where shooting an arrow is probably a good idea.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Going to the chapel.

C-Mo and the BFS got married yesterday and thanks to their reception, I spent my morning feeling like a complete rookie. Last night I wasn't, though. Last night I was the master of the microphone. One good thing about me is that I will help anyone sing just about anything at karaoke. I also tried a new song, "Walk on By," which is maybe not appropriate for a wedding reception, but if you think about it at least half of all pop songs are not appropriate for wedding receptions. I also did "Love Shack." This was important to me because I have been perturbed for two years, every time it comes up, about the way "Love Shack" was disrespected at the last karaoke wedding reception I attended. Now I can let the healing begin.

My prom date.So that stuff was all good. The wedding was good. The "party potatoes" served at the reception were good ("ohhhh, this is bad for me," my dad said, after his first taste). We took a lot of prom-style photographs, and that, to me, was hilarious, as you can see at left. BCSM squired me around, which was nice not only because the Brit was at another wedding in a different state, but also because I hadn't seen him in months. I drunk-dialed Dom, which was maybe good, maybe not. He didn't pick up the phone, and that was a solid move on his part.

What was not good is how all the booze-sampling I did led to a really heinous hangover. That in itself might have been manageable with sleep, water, and some me-time on the turlet, but I had to get up fairly early to get in someone else's car with four other people and ride 4+ hours back home. Haha. Hahahaha. You can see where this is going, right? We actually had to pull over on the interstate so I could yak a tiny bit of water out the door. See what I mean about rookie shit?

I left my rookie shit on the side of the highway.

In happier news, Marigoldie tipped me off about some more Wardrobe Remix-related props I have received on the internets: the Wardrobe Remix post at Mightygirl links a couple of my photos. Like her tagline says: famous among dozens.