Archive for March, 2010

Waste Free

March 31, 2010

We could all do with paring down and having less stuff in our lives.  Here’s where I’ve been turning for inspiration recently.  I came across the Zero Waste Home in this piece by Michelle Slatalla in her NYTimes column, WIFE/MOTHER/WORKER/SPY.  She describes the agony of paring down her families possessions to prepare for an upcoming move and her neighbor’s contrastingly pure white house filled with … not very much.  Said neighbor, Bea, recently started this blog to document her battle to keep waste out of the home.  She takes her quest to extremes I haven’t matched yet – bringing jars to the deli counter at the supermarket, having them tared off and then filled with meat and cheese, for instance – but I recognize her aims in my own life.  I especially appreciate the tag line:

Refuse, refuse, refuse.

Then Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

(and only in that order).


Then Winks

March 29, 2010

Everything is clapping today.

All movement.

A rabbit I pass pulls a cymbal
From a hidden pocket
Then winks.

This causes a few planets and I
To go nuts
And start grabbing each other.

Someone sees this,
Calls a

Tries to get me
Being too

Listen: this world is the lunatic’s sphere,
Don’t always agree it’s real,

Even with my feet upon it
And the postman knowing my door

My address is somewhere else.

– Hafiz via Daniel Ladinsky

Hatcheck Girl

March 28, 2010

Are there
So few in the court
Of a perfect

Every time you are near Him
You have to leave pieces
Of your

The hatcheck

Who won’t give them


– Haviz via Daniel Ladinsky

Even after all this time

March 27, 2010

All this time
The sun never says to the earth,

“You owe

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the

– Hafiz (via Daniel Ladinsky)

I just fell in love with this poet last night when introduced to it by friends in a three person poetry slam (best night ever!)  Here’s an example of his beautiful punchy stuff.  However when I looked it up on the internet this morning I also found this link which suggests that the book it came from is less a translation and more an interpretation or even original work by Ladinsky.  I don’t mind that much because the poems are beautiful!

What Type of Natural Builder Are You?

March 25, 2010

I’m in Darrington, WA today enjoying the small town life of my dear friend Catherine.  Last night we strolled to the local library and watched a documentary about building with Cob that was very intriguing.  The woman who presented the film also brought in her entire personal library of natural building including several issues of a private newsletter on the subject of cob called the Cob Web.  It contained a quiz to determine your style of natrual building which made me laugh out loud.  I’m reproducing it here:

1. When planning your structure, do you

a) draw it

b) model it

c) copy it

d) talk about it

2. When working on the foundation, do you

a) use a level

b) eyeball it

c) intuit it

d) not bother with a foundation

3. When mixing cob, do you like to

a) use your feet

b) use your whole body

c) use a cement mixer

d)what’s “cob” again? Read the rest of this entry »

And now Cobbling

March 21, 2010

I am Seattle this week on a delightful time traveling visit to late spring.  There are flowering trees all around me and the glorious weather is matched by an even more glorious farmers market yesterday bursting with bright flowers, gleaming produce and general happiness.  As I was mentally packing last week I hit a major snag when my trusty Keens (worn nearly every day since they replace my last pair about three years ago) had worn through in the soles and sprung an unfortunate leak.  This was a problem on the muddy paths around work at Whole Trees and looked to be similar issue when I took them to Seattle and to the hiking trails around Darrington where I’ll be visiting Catherine later this week.  I could have replaced them but wasn’t quite ready for the expense and the mental commitment to a new pair of shoes so close to summer and chaco season.

Then I hit on a wonderful solution – I could revive my old pair of Keens.  They were also pretty worn out but now probably in about the same condition as these ones and without the problematic leak which filled them with muddy water at every puddle.  Brilliant.  I dug them out of my storage unit and happily re-adjusted to them.  Then on the plane, Friday, I made an unpleasant discovery – these ones might not leak through their rubber sole but the leather work on the top was dangerously close to coming unstitched.  The secret black thread which really held the pieces together was broken and it was hanging together (barely) on its decorative top stitching.  Uh oh.  “That’s OK, I reassured myself.  These may be my only shoes for the week and I may plan to walk all over the entire city of Seattle in them – I will simply repair them myself.” Read the rest of this entry »

Unhappy Hipsters

March 15, 2010

This blog makes me snort milk out my nose.  The premise is extremely simple – it points out some of the ridiculous moments created by trendy modern architecture.  The blog is composed almost entirely of re-subtitled images from Dwell.  Each one individually is funny.  Taken together they are a pretty scathing indictment of architecture today.  For me its a strange coin flip reaction – each new post could make me laugh out loud and scorn all of architecture OR click on the dwell link to find out more about the really cool storage solution or artsy piece of furniture in the shot … or both.  Here’s a sampling but really you should go to the website.  I went through the first 8 pages in under a day.  I feel like it must have been created by a disgruntled architecture student but … I have no way to know.

Read the rest of this entry »

Friday In the Sun (metaphorically)

March 12, 2010

Thanks so much to design is mine for turning me on to Zoey Deschanel in her wonderful band She & Him with this music video!  It totally made my day and I’ve just been playing it over and over again with the window minimized.  I find that I bop around in my chair to this song much more often than I usually do.  Although we haven’t seen the sun here since Monday this song (and video) have brought a little bit of sun to Friday!


March 11, 2010

This was my last night’s cooking adventure.  The story is a little round-about because I was planning to make potatoes and my mom’s delicious “yeasty gravy” recipe and wanted a center dish to go with them.  I was also very aware of the large bag of spinach in my fridge which KJ brought up from Madison’s farmers market last weekend that needed to be used.  Quickly poking around online I found a bunch of gross-looking options for creamed spinach and one which seemed more appealing that incorporated it into a bread crumbs and cheese bake.  That sounded hearty and center piece-ish but somehow by the time I got home after work and was actually flipping through Mark Bittman I was thinking egg and cheese dishes with spinach in them.  And I hit on soufflé.  I’ve never made one before and don’t even own a baking dish to accommodate one but he said the recipe could be split into individual ramekins and I thought “pyrex!”  and was off to the races.  It turned out great beyond my wildest hopes.  Read the rest of this entry »

Further adventures in tailoring

March 9, 2010

So here’s the upshot of my latest adventure in pattern making.  It all started when I ventured into the Mall of America once more in February.**  I was trudging around trying to find the Verizon store when I walked past Burberry.  And then walked past again.  And then went in.  I felt a little awkward about even being in the store as I am so patently unable and unwilling to purchase anything within but I couldn’t help myself.  I was just finishing off my little plaid coat of last month and so I was inordinately interested in construction details.  My extended curiosity conveyed the wrong impression to one of the painfully stylish salespeople who mistook me for a serious customer and came over to talk.  “Try it,” she said, “that one is so cute on.”  So I set down my tote bag (keeping the display table between her and my dingy hiking boots) and picked up the coat in question, surreptitiously noting its price as I did: $650.  It was, in fact very cute ‘on,’ and it had a nice solid heft to it and the plaid wool lined up perfectly at every seam.  Impressive.  But of course it was totally unthinkable so I looked in the mirror from every angle and then shrugged it off.  “I think the sleeves are a little short on me.”  “Oh that’s no problem,” she replied, “we have a tailor who comes in regularly to make those little alterations.”  For $650 I’m not surprised.  I made a non-committal noise and left the store.

On my way out, though I snapped this picture of the shirt on the mannequin thinking that I could replicate it at home.  Certainly I won’t be able to get hold of the bold plaid that they probably have trademarked but I’ll mess around and see what I come up with.  Here’s my first stab.  I’m thinking that I’ll probably make a couple versions of this shirt since I really like it and it seems to be everywhere right now!  I’ve seen the same design, a tunic top with shirring across the front and sometimes in the sleeves, in J.Jill, Eddie Bauer, and on the street (even here in sleepy La X!).  This is made in a dark brown paisley pattern that my aunt sent me last year.  Its just a bit stretchy which is a little more forgiving for a first draft pattern. Read the rest of this entry »

To A Robin in Lent

March 5, 2010

You were the first one back,
the first one back.

You clung to a bare black branch,
your habit to choose Sundays in March,
wind whirling around you,
sky grey as a shroud, and wet,
to sing to the flowers, not there yet.

You were not loud.
No, not at all.
But you knew what you were doing.

–  Elizabeth Spires

Oh, how sad.

March 2, 2010

A good book dramatization is effortless. It tells the story you know from the book but the plot is the least of its importance.  Some dialogue will be missing, some new transitions tossed in but the spirit should feel consistent.  But it also adds: a silent glance between people conveying worlds of meaning, a landscape straight out of imagination, a swelling orchestral score at just the right moment.  They can all be magical.

A bad one, on the other hand, is painful. A Wrinkle in Time (2003) is cringe-worthily banal.  Its not at all surprising – I didn’t think it could possibly be good but in the end I couldn’t resist my own curiosity.  The handwriting was on the wall in the opening scene in which Meg stands outside the house flashing back on days with her father and neither of them is wearing glasses.  That actually puts it a rung or two below movies where the female lead is initially nerdy but then takes off her glasses in her miraculous transition into a babe.  Meg and Charles Wallace’s mother is reduced from beautiful and brilliant scientist soldiering on to raise four kids alone to a soccer mom.

Which is not to say that it doesn’t have its points.  I’m a sucker for the cliche – Meg and Calvin are going to be magical no matter how poorly executed.  And Calvin O’Keefe strongly resembles the boy I had a crush on from 7th grade until well into my college years.  On the whole, however its just horrid and I’m not even factoring in the terrible effects.  The acting is tepid, the dialogue thin and the plot continues to throw in random complications – when they find their father he has a broken leg tied up with a ripped shirt although he’s been there for a year.  It makes for an interesting role reversal – instead of father carrying Meg out of the crystal column while wearing the glasses, he limps out supported by his theoretically empowered daughter.  But actually it just seems wrong.  And they can’t resist throwing in their own pseudo philosophical additions: “all seen things are impermanent and all unseen things are eternal.”  A logical fallacy if ever I heard one.  In the end I guess I just have to wonder why they bothered to make it into a movie.  Either Disney callously chose it for its cult classic status in the hopes of selling little plastic disks (which is sad) or someone loved it enough to marshal all the necessary resources, people and time and then … created this (which is much sadder).  I just hope the new Alice in Wonderland will be a better specimen of the type.