Thursday, January 31, 2013

irony abounds

I made a new etsy treasury, Wandering with Thoreau, (here). Thoreau via objects for sale. Is that weird? I'm sure he would think so. Of course the Thoreau Society store has a t-shirt bearing the quote "beware all enterprises requiring new clothes" as well as keychains, mugs, etc. commemorating the man known for "Simplify, simplify". 

When I visited Walden Pond I was moved to buy the "In Wilderness is the Preservation of the World" bumper sticker, but I can't bring myself to put it on my car. 

Source: via country on Pinterest

Monday, January 28, 2013

as I flounder along

I periodically check in with this 1897 book of daily quotations--it makes me feel connected to the past. In 1897 there were no radios, televisions, computers, or cars. Women couldn't vote. But January (then as now) was cold and the trees were leafless. Weeds rose above the snow.

I've only been to the Catskills a couple times this winter, because of the mess of construction of the new kitchen and much of the work being done on weekends. I ache with missing it--arriving Friday night, getting out of the car stiff from the long drive, to the cold sharp smell of the air, the pounding waterfall, the crisp stars. The worst of the kitchen work will be done in a couple weeks, and I look forward to returning, to making new discoveries, to getting back that deep connection to nature I seem to need.

Whenever I have time this winter, I've been burrowing with books, making nests of blankets, reading materials, cats, mugs of tea and the occasional oatmeal raisin or ginger cookie. (okay, more than occasional.)  I recently stayed up all night reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, a vast novel about India from the 1947 era of partition and independence through the 1970's state of emergency. It follows the intersecting lives of four characters with fascinating, heartbreaking realism, through small daily acts  and enduring ones. It is both panoramic and wonderfully detailed, exploring family and friendship; cruelty and corruption; heroism and sacrifice.

Currently I'm reading Perfume, recommended by Shelley, and all I can say is Holy Cow, what an intense, strange and mesmerizing book. Next is The Round House, by Louise Erdrich. I also have some non-fiction going, but I'll save that for another post. Yesterday I saw Silver Linings Playbook. It was poignant and funny. There was dancing, crazy football fans, mental illness, an Italian family, and great characters/actors. I loved it.

Any good books or movies in your life recently?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

soul food

It's 5 degrees outside, but inside I have summer beauty from Bow Street Flowers, via my husband. 
(I posted about the shop here.)

 I love the subtle shades of pink, and how the arrangement is 
simultaneously sophisticated and wild.
The singular touches. 
Peonies! Sweet peas! (getting a little giddy)

They are lovely and beyond... (intoxicating)

The yellow vase is unexpected and exactly right.

I've been moving them from room to room--keeping them close.
Right now I'm in that chair, with a quilt and a cat, and
when I finish this, a book.
Flowers + cat + book = happiness.

Bread feeds the body, indeed, but flowers feed the soul.  ~ The Koran

Thursday, January 17, 2013

the light that tied too tight escapes*

The way snow settles on branches,

the glorious, startling red of a cardinal,

how the fragrance of hyacinths fill a room.

I commit them to memory, with the hope that when I am overwhelmed, they will revive me.

Meanwhile... There are whale alive today who were born before Moby Dick was written. here (and check out their link to the Moby Dick big read); 

You can view Emily Dickinson's letters, manuscripts and fragments here (click guest);

Ninety-four years ago in Boston a "Giant Wave of 2,300,000 Gallons of Molasses, 50 Feet High, Sweeps Everything Before It—100 Men, Women and Children Caught In Sticky Stream—Buildings, Vehicles, and L Structure Crushed.” from The Boston Post, January 15 1919; read more here.

*Emily Dickinson

Monday, January 14, 2013

simplify, simplify

It's 55 degrees in January. Aji and I have spring fever.

Time to stop being such a dilettante. I am cleaning house, getting rid of a lot of stuff including collage materials. If you know anyone who could use some, have them email me: jen (at) countryweekend [dot] net.

Friday, January 11, 2013

book hoarding

Book piles form organically around my house. Usually I try to shelve books that have been read and just let the to read or re-read piles form. They never get smaller though. It makes me think of food hoarders, who, even though the cupboards are full, keep a stash under the bed. And in the closet. And beneath the sink.

Even though there are a thousand books on my shelves, it's as though I will die if I don't have a pile of books close at hand. And never in my life have I been starved of or denied books.  The first four pictures were taken in my bedroom, where I don't have a book shelf, so there are extra piles. (At least two in the fourth were recommended by you guys. Petra? Shelley?) The last one is in the kitchen--the contrast of Healthy in a Hurry with Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen (mixed in with vegetarian and baking books) sums me up pretty well.

I am looking forward to a weekend of reading and football. Hope yours is filled with things you love!


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

short days, fat lava

Because of the kitchen demolition/renovation our Catskills house is filled with plaster dust, insulation, loose wires, etc. and so I haven't been up for a while. I miss the ice formations around the waterfall, and my country friends and places. Meanwhile I have plenty of work, and books, and cats.

 I've been researching the vases I wrote about here, and have gotten drawn into the world of mid-century modern. It's not quite my thing, but it's a lot of fun. Most of them are from Germany, Finland or Denmark.

This kind of glaze is known as fat lava, and the vase is en route to a collector in Istanbul!

Hope January is treating you kindly. I hate the short days, but am coping.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

bookstore cats


Bookstores and cats: two of my favorite things, and they go so well together. The first picture is Ginger, who lives at a bookstore in Orinda, California, a town I used to live in. The second picture is Hampton, who lives at one of my favorites, The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan. The kittens in the third picture live in a bookstore in Bangalore, India. See more bookstore cats here, here, and here. Do you have a favorite bookstore cat?

Now I'm going to look for more flower shop bunnies.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

toddys and slams

Hello friends,

Icy days here, but the cats are keeping me warm. Resolution is a scary word, but come the new year I try to come up with one or two things to work on. Last year is was be brave and be a better friend. I'm sticking with those and adding be kind and try new things.

On New Years Eve at First Night Boston I tried a few things that weren't completely new, but close enough. I drank a hot toddy, went to a Japanese anime film and a poetry slam.

I don't ever need to have another toddy, except for the fact that I get to say the word toddy, but I am intrigued by anime. My only previous experience was Princess Mononoke, a wonderful film, featuring the brave princess of the forests, but there's much more to anime, and I may check out Anime Boston this spring.

As for poetry slams.  I've been to many poetry readings, but never a live slam until Monday. A year or two ago, on Luke's recommendation I watched Brave (there's that word again) New Voices, a documentary about the national Youth Poetry Slam Competition

and was enthralled, moved and inspired. (A powerful poem from it in this video, and you can see this year's finals here),  The one I attended on First Night was a  blast. The National Poetry Slam is in Boston this summer and I'm going to find a way to get involved.

Now I need to try some completely new things. If I do, I promise I'll tell you. How's the new year treating you?