reinterpreting 'luxury'

This concept has always been different to me than it is portrayed by large companies and dramatic commercials to be. Diamond rings...sure. Aston Martin...ok. But as this new year is budding open, I am slowing down. I mean physically slowing my movements and speech. I want to notice each tiny twitch, enjoy each slight intonation. Having all of my senses intact is a luxury.

At this more leisurely pace, and with this renewed focus, some things are becoming clearer than ever in my life. Luxury lies where you deem it to.

- oysters
- vibrantest citrus fruit
- real whipped cream
- artisan bread
- aged, stinky cheese
- wine, whiskey, scotch, gin
- almond extract, rose water
- fresh kale
- a fiery stove
- a fiery hearth
- poetry
- pleasure reading
- free time
- lengthy meals
- lazy mornings
- breakfast in bed
- large windows
- soft skin
- clear skin
- long, naturally-curly hair
- an immune system of steel
- legs that take you places
- a flattering dress
- a single saltwater pearl
- woolen blankets
- red candles
- a hot water bottle
- a steady job, steady pay
- car-sharing (definitely luxurious)
- floral-scented gum
- buying flowers and greenery
- a home with space for yoga
- a neighborhood to feel safe in
- a balcony
- traveling the globe

Privileged, grateful, watchful I step into this fresher skin, more raw now, more vulnerable. A little bit of luxury is to be had every singular day, if you know what luxury is.



because envy will never fill us up. or, RADICAL SELF-LOVE.

Please, please stop coming up with sugary words to replace “skinny”. If you’re actually going to comment on someone’s weight (as if that were ever appropriate in the first place), just be direct about it.

It grieves me to read women commenting on other women’s pictures: “You are so tiny!” “Such slenderness!” “Your delicate frame is gorgeous!” “Look at how small your waist is!” I honestly want to comment back, “Who gives a shit?” or “Why are you making this picture about her weight? This woman is a beautiful creature in so many ways, and all you see are the pounds she doesn’t carry, as if that’s what makes up an admirable enough quality to be worthy of your praise?”

But no, really…who gives a shit?

I wish someone would tell me that my eyes have a rich and earthy shade of brown. I was born with these eyes, you know. Or that they like the sound my voice makes, or that my comfortableness in my own skin is emboldening, or that they can hear hope on the tip of my tongue.

Or what about looking in the mirror at our own cells and saying, "That is one damn fine specimen." Slip out of your body for a moment and step aside. Look at what glory you hold.

What about the songs we carry in our throats that stay under lock-down for their own "protection"? There will always be someone waiting to shoot you to the ground. Always. Your songs are stronger than brittle, insecure plastic pellets. Sing them. Sing them strong and loud. Thrust that haunting, chill-inducing voice of yours, that wildling call, into the air, out to the ocean. Someone is waiting to hear it and come home.

Be home in your body, in your voice. Welcome your whole self home.

“What would it take to welcome your whole self home?” A magical woman named Maeve who I met in Scotland said that to me once. What would it take? What stops us from welcoming our whole selves home? Think about what is stopping you, begin to understand and push on those walls. Self love is a muscle that we must work to strengthen every day. Those walls will give more easily as you grow stronger. Dance them down. 
- Phoebe Wahl


because the skies will just keep falling.

this is why we breathe. this is why we lift our heads. this is why we rage against despair and push onward, shaky yet doggedly fierce, unstoppable, bent on nothing less than an exuberant resolution.


fire & reflection | 8th of november

This one's been in the works for a while now. First in a series of several. Use your imagination for the imagery, because you'll have to.

Starting in August of 2012, the idea of meeting/visiting Megan in Kansas City has had a steady spot in my travel considerations. The conversation began around cocktails and KC's glorious scene for them, but ultimately and over time and online chats, it boiled down to a simple "I've got to meet this girl." After 15 months and several failed attempts at arranging my schedule, we finally made it happen.

FRIDAY | A delayed flight had me in a frenzy. I typically do not function properly under pressure involving connecting flights. (It's because of the time in 2008 when I literally fell through the Atlanta airport after going through security AGAIN, unnecessarily. Almost missed my connecting flight to Washington, D.C., and that would have been a disaster on my very first time flying on my own.) After risking stranding myself at the airport, I heard the lady at the check-in counter assure me I'd be taken care of. I wept, quite abruptly, with joy...mostly with relief.

Did you know they offer crystallized lemon for hot tea on Southwest flights?

Only a slight delay in arrival. Megan showed up with that spunky little gem of a car and we whipped over to the Green Lady Lounge.

This. Place.  Pervasive Reds. Blacks. Golds. Excellently-curated light fixture collection. A perfect amber glow. Mark Lowry and his sultry way of playing that piano...I couldn't take my eyes away from it. Then the cocktail! *drums rolling*...Blood & Sand. The obvious choice because SCOTCH. Also, the name reminded me of a dashing and daring Persian Prince, and that was a nice mental image.

Grandly enjoyable conversation, peppered with moments of silence to take in this therapeutic night. The natural flow of things. Picking up and leaving off, thoroughly soaking up everything happening around. Practically perfect.

Winstead's for a post-jazz meal. Reliable. Onion rings on burgers. To-go.


Now, I can't even begin to tell you just how endearing that gorgeous home was. Believe me when I say that Wes Anderson would be happy here. I basically created my own scene complete with inner monologue in the bathroom brushing my teeth. It was completely believable. Margot-Tenenbaum-esque.

Megan offered me her room during my stay, which I was blown away by (both the kindness and the room). LAMPS. Again with the excellently-curated light fixtures. Central Park resides over the headboard. Carefully-placed linens, with a cigar AND matches tucked inside. Opulent robe at the ready. I was completely blown away.

/ / /

I feel I should stop here for fear of cheapening the richness and vastness of the weekend with paltry descriptions and recountings... Perhaps some snippets on the way along will suffice, in the form of future posts. I still haven't grasped the entirety of it myself.

/ / /

full. An accurate summation of the weekend's effect on me.

Megan is a gem and you would be remiss not to peruse her blog for a deep, always-poignant, and dazzlingly elegant perspective on life and the world at large.


magic days

outfit // loose charcoal grey tee, black leggings, and turkish kilim slippers with a messy topknot

cleaning the apartment
natural light
new black shelf
neatly stacked flours
counter space
fresh eucalyptus in the kitchen and in the shower
making a gorgeous brunchy casserole
cooking up a storm with my lover
cardamom coffee
windows open
fresh air / changing winds
toots thielemans. jazz harmonica. ne me quitte pas.
modern film rendition of shakespeare in black and white (it was much ado about nothing)
small (huge) revelation regarding happiness with one's body and being

all of these small joys eclipsed by a lofty yet completely encompassing sense of belonging. however long the stint here ends up being...

this is home.



3 emotionally-traumatizing things in 1 morning

This morning was just too much. Waking up emotionally-charged and on edge, whether from last night's dream or from some happenings earlier in the week, the following three experiences fairly sent me hurtling toward despondency. They made me want to bury myself into my blanket and cry. How alarming.

1. The stove blew up. There was a flash like lightning in the room and a sizzling sound, followed by electrical smoke and opened windows. Someone nearly got killed by a tired kitchen appliance.
2. I spilled my favorite coffee all over the bus floor. I hadn't even gotten to take a sip yet. Tragical.
3. Writhing slowly on the sidewalk was a bat, wings outstretched and shivering. It was dying, I assumed. Tears flowed quite promptly. L moved the poor thing to a nearby bush branch and out of the way of careless steps. It barked. Probably in fear at first, but then in gratefulness.

So much pain and danger in the world... it's enough to make one dizzy. Times like these make me glad for steadiness, a beating heart's rhythm, and a petite flask of honey whiskey.


hunter's moon

October the 18th | It is the night of the Full Hunter's Moon. There's a party to attend this evening.

Shannon is in town. It had been her birthday on the 9th, so she decided to pay Oklahoma a visit. She is radiant and I see her and don't know what to say. What do you say upon seeing a friend from your on fire days, that you haven't truly spoken with in over two and a half years? You say that you don't know what to say, and you look into her beaming eyes and soak up the happiness that has flooded the room. I say it. We'd both had the same idea to plant kisses on each others' cheeks; she beats me to it. She hugs me and holds my hand. A prayer begins the potluck meal.

Familiar faces abound and I am overwhelmed with indecisiveness. A few persons seem to vaguely imply that they have no interest in conversation with me, which I brush off and move on from, trying not to be hurt. [Looking back now, it very well could have been {and likely was} I who pushed them away with my downcast eyes and apparent disinterest. In my classic and klutzy way I communicate introversion with my body language and gaze, all motivated by the fact that I can't bear to see their eyes when they {will?} lose interest in me. Preposterous fears, but they haunt me still.] I realize I am being ridiculous and that no one is out to conspire against me. I make effort to engage, stumbling through re-introductions and catchings-up with old acquaintances. People are generally nice.

Dessert was not on the invitation as an option to bring (instead only main dishes and sides), but I managed to miss that and have prepared a Salted Rose & Honey Pie. Too late to turn back. I notice several other dessert items on the counter and breathe relief.

A gentleman approaches my seat upon finding out that the pie was my fault, and proceeds to rave about it and ask questions about the crust and the pink Himalayan sea salt. I am amused and flattered and grateful; this was my first pie to make, ever. His wife joins him and we talk about the complexity of the flavors of coffees and about magnesium. Mr. Dillingham (that's his name, I learn) steps away and returns with yet another slice of pie, saying he wants his son (who is an avid pie-maker, as it turns out) to try it. I realize that he's talking about Kyle Dillingham and am flabbergasted. I've loved Kyle's fiddle-stylings since I first heard him at Shannon's wedding in 2008. HE LIKES PIE, TOO. This is exciting. [I later learned that the slice was unable to make it to Kyle, but there is time and second chances for that.]

Oddly and magically, Shannon and I get a private moment or seven to talk about real things. Topics that permeate the conversation include:
- church
- awe
- worship
- gratefulness
- pressure
- the truth
- relief
- awakening
- focus
- repetition
- ritual
- passion
- when we were on fire
- why fire is still reachable

Time feels like it stops for us there (I know it's still moving because there are people graciously waiting for me during this wide-eyed and tear-studded encounter). I am crying and listening and processing and being filled with epiphany about trying to fix things and why that hasn't worked. This powwow is a healing balm. I force my heart to open and receive it.

Divinely-set, this reunion was. I believe it, and I accept it. Coincidence is a convenient and lazy credit, so I set my heart against it here. Shannon and I are keeping in closer touch.

A summation of my new spiritual mantra, via Brunch with Darling.


scotch eggs and punsch, what?

On the 24th of last month, I took a very last-minute flight up to New York City to see my Lawrence, who was in the area for work.

We went to The Dead Rabbit. Great story behind that place. They're a grocery and a grog, which is twice as nice.

Scotch eggs had been on my list for almost a year, so when I saw them on the Taproom's menu, my decision required no thought. It came with its own mini jar of Colman's Mustard, which is a lot of Colman's mustard, I would quickly learn. You don't know what real mustard is until you've tried it. And that's no lie.

I paired the egg with Swedish Punsch, which was probably highly irregular. Most Brits probably order beer with theirs. But cocktails are my weakness, so I couldn't resist this concoction:

Batavia Arrack Van Oosten, lemon sherbet, lemon juice, ginger, Lapsang Souchong tea.

Scotch eggs remind me of The River Thames, because at some point I wrote a bucket list item that involved both the eggs and the river. Then that got me thinking about The Man Who Was Thursday, because The River Thames plays a decent role in the story - it's part of the backdrop for an incredibly intense conversation about philosophy and the nature of man. So these were recurring streams of consciousness as I ate and drank, interrupted violently by spicy mustard shocks.

I forgot my pipe. BLAST.


thanks | a poem by w. s. merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Thanks  ~W. S. Merwin


varietal fruits

Here is some bounty I picked up this weekend, at two different light levels and sources:

indirect morning sunlight

late afternoon backlight, aided by yellow kitchen light in front

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