08 July 2010

hot fun in the city

Scan 3

What? You were expecting sunny skies and ocean views?

See you tomorrow!

fabric stores and photobooths,

07 July 2010

getting in the habit

The ladies at habit have thrown down the gauntlet. They have invited us all to be part of the reindeer games. They have started a flickr pool. They are getting more response than (maybe) they can reasonably manage. And why wouldn’t they? habit is a great blog (Do you all know how I feel about habit? I fruh-jeeking LOVE habit).

My first response to reading the open invitation was – I won’t lie – must! get on! habit! blog! Mostly because the opportunity to be part of it is a pretty exciting prospect. But also a little because these days I seem to run only on a hunger for blog traffic. (Don’t worry; it’ll pass.) But even in just these few days of playing along, I have found satisfactions with this habit that supersede all aspirations of glory and fame.

When I sit down at night to finally commit to my 30 words, I am sometimes a little surprised by what comes out.

For example, July 5th:
We laughed so much that my cheeks hurt.

All day I put the words in my head through acrobatics, trying to come up with just the way to poignantly summarize that Rick and I have been struggling with this idea of moving. That we have felt tugged by obligations – that sounds too severe – pulled by our love of family members who particularly need us right now, and, on other the end, by our surprising realization that we are, in fact, perfectly happy right where we are. But when I sat down to write, what I remembered most was that we laughed all day, and we played, and it was fun – a rare moment of lightness in the midst of all this heavy decision-making. This is a memory I will be glad to have. Only more so when I realize we are not nearly out of the woods on this should-we-stay-or-go dilemma.

This, to me, is the special genius behind the blog. It shares the smallest, most intimate moments. And many of them, all at once. habit's 30-word limit on posts seems only to coax careful observation, and the results are very often achingly beautiful. (It is this same celebration of the small that fuels my own blog, just maybe less adeptly.)

Anyway, please go check them out. While you're at it, take a look at their flickr pool. There are even more moments there to savor. I've started collecting my own in this flickr set. And maybe you will start one too?


p.s. The drawing in the picture is a portrait of me and Rick, made by a friend of ours. (We had it printed on our wedding invitations.)

06 July 2010


I have fantasies about being a homesteader. Primarily the gardening, the canning, and the chickens. Because really, how great would it be to pull a mason jar full of hibiscus-scented peaches that you canned during the scorching days of July from your fully stocked larder on, say, some gloomy day in January. Instant summer. (And maybe also a little instant smugness about your astute forethought, but you would be entitled to that. Hibiscus. Scented. Peaches. People.)

There are, however, a couple of things getting in the way of this:
  1. I rent. Which means no garden of my own, no larder (I'm not even sure where it would fit in such a tiny kitchen), and absolutely no on the chickens.

  2. I am completely, utterly lazy.

I had pretty much gotten over the sting of this reality – you know, I could probably buy someone else’s home-canned peaches and be perfectly happy and equally smug about my forethought – but then Rick, perhaps in a burst of Wheaties-induced fortitude, proclaimed, “I’m going to start doing things I never thought I’d do. One of them, every week.” And when you know Rick, you understand that when he starts talking like this, only good things to eat can follow. I am immediately on board with this plan.

First up: making butter. Ta-Da!

I would like to be able to tell you all that I was an exemplary assistant in this endeavor, that I admirably performed useful duties like scraping the whipping cream from the sides of the bowl, pre-chilling the ramekins, or setting out the sieve and colander to be conveniently ready when needed. Alas! My sole contribution was to exploit this unexpected photo opportunity by shoving nearly every camera I own into the mixing bowl in the hope of getting a good shot. Not only that, while the just-whipped (churned?) butter rested, I had the chutzpa the set the bowl, contents and all, on the floor.

Oh, just for the picture(s). Pinky swear. Please don't tell me if you spot a cat hair in the mix. (Also please don't notice that the fabric I used as a backdrop needs a bit of ironing. See “reasons I am not a homesteader,” above, number 2.)

So his first first is down. Mission accomplished. And I got more than a little excited about it. In fact, I felt a flood of motivation to take on a first of my own.


I present to you the first shot taken with my new Fuji Instax. (A surprise gift from Rick. And perhaps also a masterful ploy to get his digital camera back?)

It's ok; you can say it. It’s pretty much crap as a picture goes. Or at least as framing goes. (Oh well) So for my mission this week I have assigned myself some serious quality time with the Instax. That, and buttered toast every morning. (Don't worry. I'll let you know how that goes too.)

05 July 2010

the super-pyrotechnic recap

Hope you had a happy fourth, friends! I have a little surprise for you:

So yes. There were fireworks yesterday. And I got a chance to put the fireworks setting on Rick's camera through the paces. (Fireworks setting?! Thanks again, Mr. Kelby.)

But I realize that fireworks are not a particularly surprising find on a day like the fourth, and in answer to your question: no, they were not the surprise I'd been hinting at.

Enough suspense already? Ok, here you go. Scroll just a wee bit further...

That's right. Fire dancers. (fire! dancers!)

And this picture was taken, for any of you digital photography enthusiasts out there, in "aquarium mode." Which was the surprising best choice to get a portrait-style photo.

Oh, yes. Yes, I hear you. This is a moment that practically begs for a long shutter release.

I obliged.


02 July 2010

the crux

There is a conundrum here at the heart of this new-found (re-found?) urge to write and keep up a blog and try to convince you all that I am interesting, clever, crafty and talented (how’s that working, by the way?). I have hinted at it already, but haven’t yet been able to really let go and just fucking say it. But I think I am there now, so here goes.

My hands were meant for making.

Other conundrums include what dress I will make to wear on that very special day when I take home my new, lovely, we-will-be-bestest-friends-forever bike.

Scan 14

Oh, possibilities. But more on this later. Because I need to get back to the point of this digression, which is just to warn that I am prone to exaggeration.

But the hands conundrum is, I think, actually big. And maybe less for what it is, but more for what it means. This conundrum gets at the core of fittingness, and raises the scariest question of all: can I pull it off? Because, last time I checked, there are not a lot of financially viable options for a person (I will say woman throughout, because I happen to be) who wakes up one morning – or over the course of several mornings – and realizes that what she really wants to do is make things. You know, with her hands. Oh, and she wants to take pretty pictures of the process. Um, on film.

What’s that headhunters? You are not about ready to burst through my door and offer your unique brand of corporate security in exchange for me living out my dreams? Well…you know what you can do? You can just eff---

Crap! Wait. Scratch that. I need you. Because I pay rent and eat food and enjoy cocktails, and – good lord! – I go to fabric stores and yarn shops and let loose. Whew! Girl gone wild!!! So I need your money. Though I am shameless enough to also try this:

How about I stay home and fiddle with the sewing machine (or the Kitchen Aid, or whatever else catches my fancy) and you rig some kind of unfortunate oversight that allows me to still cash the checks? Um, email me for information on how to make this happen.

(heh, heh. What do you think, readers? Snowball’s chance?)

But seriously, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. Email me and we can work something out.

Short of that, though, I will need to find a balance. It’s just that the nine-to-five takes up so much time. Eight hours spent subjecting my hands to pecking at keyboards and shoveling chips, pretzels, cookies, donuts, or what have you into my mouth (to make the time go by faster), and by the end of it all they have lost any lingering memory of what they are supposed to do. Or maybe it’s just that my internal sloth drive kicks in and I am completely unable to shake off the sugar coma and just get to doing everything that I have dreamed of doing all day long. Great things like making quilts, kneading bread, knitting the great, simple cardigan that will be perfect with everything, or sewing an entire wardrobe (oh yes, the dreams get awfully big around here). And then by the time the weekend comes, I get so focused on the reality that I am not required to be doing anything that I simply don’t. Both days.

You can see where this is going: my own special brand of circular logic.

the wheel

Ok. But stop. Really. The going round and round in circles is dizzying. Anyway, it makes me a cranky (and probably also exceptionally boring) person.

So this new (and by new, I mean reinvented) internet place is one I am dreaming up as I go. But if there is a singular vision or purpose here, I think that’s pretty much it: forward motion.

Go progress! Sis-boom-bah!


And here are some completely unrelated happy things for you. You know, before you click away forever.

perfect strawberries
and all the colors of summer
a list for the ages
an irresistible challenge
and a chance to speak your mind


Happy weekend, folks! It's a good, long one.

01 July 2010

so this is the goal

via Keri Smith

What a noble aim this is. My feelers are out for the perfect sewing/knitting/picture taking/writing/bicycling gig. (What.)

I am hoping for a miracle.

July: not to put too much pressure on you, but let’s get started on this. Shall we? (I am so glad you are here.)

30 June 2010

what he sees


[I never think to take pictures of myself unless I am all dolled up. Which is (regrettably) not an everyday thing.]

Taking preventive steps against our inevitable summer doldrums, Rick and I got a start on queuing up our to-do lists for the next few months. For mine, I have ordered every baking notion conceivable: a pastry mat, hand-held blender, cookie sheet, silpat, and even a mixing bowl complete with handle and spout. Because, you know, nothing says summer like slaving away in close proximity to a hot oven.

In an exciting twist, Rick acquired a sort of how-to book for photography. Or – let me be precise – a how-to book for digital photography. (The excellent three-part collection by Scott Kelby, if you’re interested.)

My first job, of course, was to make fun of him a bit (ok, or maybe more than a bit – sorry, Rick) for ordering what is essentially the digital cameras for dummies series. Then I got down to the inevitable task of greedily perusing every page of volume 1 before he could get his hands on it.

Neat tricks I discovered include:
  • Adjusting the white balance to compensate for ambient light (a revelation!)
  • And I was inspired to bravely explore other cool settings on Rick’s Canon ELPH: vivid color and sepia, zoom blur, portrait mode

(Yes, for those of you keeping score, not only did I deign to look through his new books but, because of the over-abundance of magnanimity inside me, I also condescended to practice these techniques on his digital camera. No wonder he keeps me.)

These things alone would have kept me happily snapping digital photos for weeks, all besotted with a new sense of wonder. And then – behold! – I stumbled upon this sage advice:

One theme you'll see again and again throughout this book is to shoot from angles we don't see every day...If you want to create mountain shots that have real interest, give people a view they don't normally see -- shoot from up high...(This is the same theory as not shooting down on flowers. We don't shoot down on flowers because that's the view we normally have of them. In turn, we don't shoot up at mountains, because we always see them from that same view. It's boring, regular, and doesn't show your viewer something they haven't seen a hundred times before.)
[Scott Kelby's Digital Photography, Volume 1]

Now, let me clarify: I am not necessarily convinced of this theory when applied strictly as suggested. I have seen many a fine mountain shot taken from below, and have favorited (in flickr speak) several lovely flower shots taken from above. Though Mr. Kelby’s argument has its merits, it seems fairly useless to me as a hard-and-fast rule. It is pure genius, however, as a philosophy.

Taken as a general theory for life, this seeing from uncommon vantage points has real possibility. Occasionally I have moments where the possibility of my own appeal is lost on me — moments when I feel hopelessly fat, hopelessly unsexy, hopelessly uncreative and untalented. And it strikes me as such an extraordinary thing that there is even one person who is deluded enough to think otherwise. Remarkably, Rick does.

Whenever I am hormonally or emotionally tempted to completely underestimate my abilities or value, or when I succumb to an attack of unreasonably excessive humility, this is what I should remember. This is when I should take a minute to drop the magnifying glass I use to uncover every last weakness and fault, and look at myself through his rose-colored glasses instead.

(It feels like such a brave step, but really it is the only one that makes sense.)


P.S. Welcome to the grand re-opening of odd pear. Now with more writing!

25 June 2010

fridays are for photobooths

And there is this. Which I know has nothing at all do with him and me; nonetheless, parts of it feel strangely biographical.

23 June 2010

I am so ready to be the footloose half of this duo.

22 June 2010


My week at home allowed for plenty of time to think. Some of the mysteries lingering from half a lifetime ago finally feel resolved.

Let's hope I get better at sorting things out. It would be nice to make sense of the bits of life that are, um, a little more recent.


GS: I'm sorry. It never occurred to me that you really loved me too. I was so clammed up by my own feelings that I didn't see all the signs you gave.

KB: I was so certain that you always told me everything, so I didn't suspect there might be more to the story. I wish I could ask you what really happened all those years ago. Would you tell me now, I wonder, even if you could?

21 June 2010

we were here

One week away from the daily grind is a glorious thing.

I'm so relaxed now that I'm not even mad it's over.

10 June 2010

70/365: sunset shadows
Scan 7
Coming home starts the best part of my day.

09 June 2010

the long goodbye
It was nice to have you back again for our daily long goodbye.

08 June 2010

back to it
Last week, my bike made the jump from simple transport to pack mule. It was my everything: joy-rider, errand-runner, grocery-getter.

And we got along swimmingly.

04 June 2010

Scan 17
It's only been 3 days, but oh how I miss you.

01 June 2010

Michael Jackson fan or no, Billie Jean has an irresistible pull that makes you swagger in beat time.

28 May 2010


Photobooth. And Friday. Two of my favorite words. Now inextricably linked together.

(Hey Sacramentans: We now have a (film!) photobooth. Find it here.)

27 May 2010


She is an excellent nurse. She must have learned that from Rick.

26 May 2010

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

--Anthem, by Leonard Cohen

The words have seeped into my head and keep popping up today (if only my subconscious always spoke to me in Leonard Cohen). Clearly, I am trying to make sense of things. I just hadn't realized I was feeling so overwhelmed.

25 May 2010

Scan 8

Oh spring, I love you best when you linger.

And, um, thanks for the novelty of rain in May.

20 May 2010

Scan 10

It is all bicycles around here. Feels like the wheels never stop. (This is not exactly a complaint.)

19 February 2010

cello diptych polaroid
This amazing diptych is by This Is A Wakeup Call. I am devastatingly in love with it. Also, with cellos. In theory, at least.

I am slowly realizing that loving the sound of cellos, and loving the physical size and shape of cellos is not the same as loving learning to play the cello. Not really the same thing at all.

In fact, I kind of hate the learning. I think.

Secretly, I’ve been expecting to wake up one morning and suddenly be fully capable of knocking out any of the six Bach cello suites. As though Yo-Yo Ma and I, or Pablo Casals and I had done a complete skill swap in the middle of the night. And I could sit in my chair, all demure and unassuming, and ta-da! beautiful music will pour forth when my bow glides across strings. I have been expecting to master the instrument a la Chuck, whereby the database of the last four hundred years or so of mastery gets subliminally embedded into my brain.

I have been waiting for this instant transformation to cello virtuoso to happen – any day now – for the better part of a year. Here is what I’ve discovered: it’s not going to. Not ever.

And so, I was nearly on the verge of surrender. Resign, I consoled myself, and accept this as a lesson in my limitations. But then: a turnaround.

Here goes:

1. Accept it.

I have been a crap student, for quite a while already. I have been downright slothy about this process. Also, I have a nearly pathological aversion to push myself to succeed in something I am not naturally good at (French, I am thinking of you). As a saving grace, however, I have a deeply ingrained disgust at the thought of quitting something simply because it is hard. Usually, this is just the special way I torture myself. But maybe it could also be a tool for transformation. At any rate, a little chopping wood and carrying water could do me good.

2. This is about the cello for now, so let's work on the cello.

Alright. Ok. This will be hard. Especially on those nights when I have practiced the shift from second to third position a millionty times [or, you know, ten times] and my pinky still stubbornly refuses to find D from E. I will breathe and work through this [I will even remember to not let the frustration add tension to my bowing hand]. Also, I will not get bitchy and short-tempered if sound like crap the next night too. Or I won't let my disappointment that I still sound like crap the next night balloon into an all-out tantrum that puts the kabbash on practice the second a sour note is heard [baby steps].

3. But of course you do get results eventually.

Oh, I am ever hopeful, but let's not jump too far ahead.

Anyway, this about more than how I eventually sound when I play. This is about learning to be the kind of person who works for something. Works hard. Works long. Works patiently.

And yes, this is part prayer, part plea, part wishful thinking, and part hope. So it seems fitting, then, to end with this:


[And also maybe some wishes of luck from you wouldn't hurt either.]

15 February 2010

morning in two panels

I like mornings best when they are slow. Luckily, today's is right up my alley.

11 February 2010


41/365: view from the train


40/365: daybreak

(I guess it's easy to see where my head's been lately.)

09 February 2010

(This editor's heart could nearly burst.)

08 February 2010

honeybee_collage circles

08 January 2010

05 January 2010

Sunset pictures I've been hoarding. [I thought a little change of scene might be nice.]