12.03.2013

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
 

11.20.2013

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.


11.18.2013

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.

Homeward.

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.

11.03.2013

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.



 


10.28.2013

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.

10.21.2013

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.

9.16.2013

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.



9.13.2013

thanks | a poem by w. s. merwin

Listen
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

9.04.2013

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

8.31.2013

a miracle that threatened ordinary

An old, thin, darkly-tanned man with striking blue eyes was playing the guitar at the bus stop today. I was holding groceries, hot and tired, with earbuds in. A small decision to stop my music so I could listen to his opened a beautiful, brief moment in time that now I am eternally grateful for.

He finished his song, and I cheered. He said he plays for people who haven't stopped to listen to the deep meanings of Johnny Cash's songs. Then he said, with eyes wide and passionate, "Now I'm going to play one that his mother-in-law wrote. It will change your life. Every person on the face of this earth needs to hear this song...just once." 'Keep On the Sunny Side' was the tune, optimistic and lion-hearted.

As he finished the song, he stood and gave a small bow before walking toward the street. I thanked him warmly and he responded: "Take those words with you. God bless you." He crossed the road, slung his instrument to the side, mounted his motorcycle, and puttered off in an easterly direction.

Happy holiday weekend, everyone.

8.28.2013

newport: a brief introduction

brightest green sea moss.
claiming coves like lost boys. 
deep kisses to the rhythm of waves. 
empire tea & coffee.
horchata chai.
scaling cliffs. 
tearing up.
history. 
wine. 
beer. 
silence. 
salt air.
spice.
gulls.
miles and miles.

full heart and braided hair this morning over an espresso breakfast. back to work today. loving life’s richness. overwhelmed by Love.



8.12.2013

on being dirty

insects in my hair. little jagged impressions on my calves from a good long sit in the grass. pink/red/white/beige/golden/brown skin, all at once. scrapes to the shins and arms from thorns climbed through in patches on steep creek ravines, a necessary sacrifice.

feet hardened and dark after so much barefooted glory, trekking through various territories. i never had those angelic-looking feet in the lotion commercials. if i have to wear summer shoes, it's sandals. that's a lot of exposure to the elements, which i'm cool with.

i hate this confinement to finery and polished appearance. why can't i sweat without being scornfully judged? why must i apologize when my body responds to the weather? this is oklahoma, for heavens' sake. if you don't know by now that our summers will get hot and humid, usually both at the same time, then i have nothing to say to you.

and what about that moon? what about her glory? she is a great conversationalist, you know...if you don't fear the night.

/ / / 

this raving and howling you're hearing, it's a craving for the wild. for my roots. we did not come from cement and plastic and chemical hair products. we came from the ground.

i miss when being a human was acceptable...beautiful, even. 

maybe it's just the culture i live in. there are other places that aren't so concerned with façades.

maybe this is what i was named for, where i was named for. it's all so clear now. 'eden' means more than just paradise. 'eden' means home.

René Magritte (1898-1967). The Blank Page, 1967.
(source unknown)

8.07.2013

gratefulness tonight

Rainer Maria Rilke.

Yoga with a lover.

Rainforest cadences.

Twig tea.

A late-night meal of homegrown cucumbers and 6-month aged white cheddar with adriatic fig spread.

//

These are 5 little things I find myself grateful for tonight.


Welcome August in all her wordly and sumptuous splendour, with all the courage to live that you can muster.

7.24.2013

observations of current blessings

breakfast

homemade strawberry jam

yoga

moon cycles

kahlil gibran

thunderstorms. hail so loud it made it into my dream. that was trippy.

candlelight

irish honey whiskey

eisley

whiny cat

nurtured houseplants

sleeping baby brother

shakespeare in the park

being dirty. yes, i crave it. how is one supposed to get clean when one never gets properly dirty?





sexy strawberry jam recipe

7.17.2013

it's a green, green, green july!

The unlikeliest of storm systems has stomped through our city over the past couple of days in a giant way. The effects include an all-around darker feel, ominous, mysterious. Hocus-pocus July drenchings, what? But I'll take it. RAIN.

The best effect by far is the blindingly green grass, trees, foliage of any and every kind. Guys, THIS NEVER HAPPENS. By this time we're brown and bitter and burnt and begging to be let free of the vicious heat that's humid but leaves no trace of being so - the earth has cracked, chapped lips, and isn't up for any kissing of any kind. But this July...this sweet, supple, verdant July is rife with life.

Moist.
Profuse.
Flourishing.

Teeming.
Rich.
Dewy.

I think of this lush greenness in terms of an optical illusion: When you put a kelly green plate on a dark surface, it appears brighter than when you put the same kelly green plate onto a light-colored surface. With all of these clouds hanging around and darkening the sidewalks and the skies, the greens are just beaming.




Not to mention the fantastic rainbow and pink skies on top of all the sultry, steamy days and nights.


7.11.2013

muscle awareness and the journey we're on

Tonight was about yoga. I've been daydreaming about it a lot lately, especially about doing it in exotic locales, or just somewhere devoid of human tampering. But since I haven't got the basics quite down yet, it seems better to practice in my studio apartment where I can quickly pull up a tutorial on which muscles to call on for the pigeon pose. (I keep waffling between extended leg support and folded leg support...still unsure.)

Regarding yoga, involves a good deal of breathing. And breathing steadily and deeply. That is much different from performing an exercise motion or pose for a set number of seconds or minutes. Instead of gritting your teeth and trying not to feel anything until the set time is up, you’re required and encouraged to feel everything happening to your body, in the moment in which it happens. You breathe the moments. Yoga makes you aware.

Beatrix tried to do the cobra, but she ended up more interested in chewing on my ankles. Not helpful.

About living in the moment… I have found that I spend a lot of time strategizing how not to waste my life. A lot of time. Honestly, so much time has been wasted trying not to waste time. It would be such a tragedy to let months, years, decades escape you while you’re spending your life on…whatever it is. Wasteful stuff, you know. Things that might not end up helping you toward your life goals…which are what, again?

Rush, hurry, skittering and scurrying about, trying to figure things out. Where does it lead? To another day, just as it always has and always will. We are in July of 2013. I left my first job, of four years, in October of 2010. In three months, it’ll have been three years since then. In exactly three months, it’ll have been exactly. three. years

I think I might understand now, a little bit, of how to look at life purpose. Everything I do is what I am supposed to do. The only way I can waste my life is to spend it entirely inside my head...to not be there, IN LIFE, when it happens. Give yourself to the universe and watch her spin her magic.

"The journey is the destination."


On a side note: I also made a blackberry plum chambord galette tonight. It is rustic and has character. 



7.09.2013

verdure everyday









Some of this resplendence I have the privilege of glorying in every day. The rest I see every other day. Look at the sheen on those hibiscus leaves! And those fluorescent petunias - they may as well be radioactive. The view from the top picture is my favorite. Tree canopy.

En route from the terminal to the office this morning, I found some over-sized purple-headed clover buds, growing substantially taller than clover buds usually grow. The little rebels had sprouted where they weren't welcome, and I knew it was only a matter of time before the museum gardener decided that they were weeds and would uproot and toss the little friends away to be crushed and forgotten. Armed with this understanding, I rescued them and gave them a place at my desk. I'm sure it's boring, watching me type and hang up on robot telephone advertisements, but it's got to be better than being crushed and forgotten, right?

6.29.2013

book titles. also, what happened to this planet?

Listed below are books purchased today from Aladdin Book Shoppe, which is closing, tragically. After 83 years, they are closing. The owner of the place said she had planned to simply move locations, since it was their rent being oddly and crazily increased that was the original motivation for change, but there are SEVENTY THOUSAND BOOKS. And it would cost around $20k just to move them, which is just insurmountable. Thus, they are closing for good. This world is pretty screwed up not to allow bookstores to live in peace with the rest of humanity. I am angry.

Just a couple of months ago, I had called them to see if they had a copy of Tremendous Trifles, since their website said they had a substantial G.K.C. collection. When the owner said they didn't have it and referred me to Barnes & Noble or Amazon, I told her that I wanted to search high and low for a locally-owned shop to purchase from, because I believe in bookstores and want them to stay alive as long as they possibly can. She understatedly said, "Me too, honey."

And now this. A sign of our times. No one cares about books anymore. I am angry.

//

The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

A Treasury of Kahlil Gibran: The Arabic Writings by the author of The Prophet

Antarctic Traveller, Poems by Katha Pollitt

Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

The Ides of March, by Thornton Wilder

The Scapegoat, by Daphne du Maurier

The Flight of the Falcon, by Daphne du Maurier

Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of Walt Whitman

Complete Poems, by E.E. Cummings

Tales of Ancient Egypt, by Charles Mozley (children's book)

The Nick Adams Stories, by Ernest Hemingway

The Ginger Man, by J.P. Donleavy

The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

The Hadj: An American's Pilgrimage to Mecca, by Michael Wolfe

Jungle down the Street, by Jack and Avril Grant White "...is a book by a husband and wife who left their home in south London, to find out for themselves what it is like to live on the banks of the Amazon, the greatest and perhaps the most mysterious river in the world. They traveled some 18,000 miles by plane, riverboat and canoe, making a color-film of the many fascinating aspects of life on the river and in the fabulous jungle cities where money flowed like water during the great rubber boom. Their expedition took them through Brazil, Colombia and Peru, where they met with wild Indian tribes. One of their most enthralling chapters deals with their investigation of Macumba, the strange white and black magic cult which has powerful roots beneath the surface of the everyday life of the Amazon dwellers. They also spent some time on the little known island of Marajó, where they filmed wild buffalo, giant storks and cannibal fish." [This title might be the most exciting.]

The Paradoxes of Mr. Pond, by G. K. Chesterton

Varied Types, by G. K. Chesterton

Stevenson, by G. K. Chesterton



6.26.2013

opera for lunch

I'm having opera for lunch, at the art museum. That is amazing and has me excited.

But all I can think about is the cliffs at Land's End, in Cornwall. Sunrises and cream teas and legends and Merlin's Cave and enough grass to cover my entire city. Cold Atlantic winds laden with salted spray. Woolen plaid. Painting with real greens and apricot blushes.
Bedruthan, Cornwall, U.K. (via)

Today is my day for quiet thought, though. Big-picture-contemplation. Sometimes you have to let go of something to find out how much it really means to you, to find your center, to find your footing. So there's no research today. Today, there is silence. And opera.

6.23.2013

silent story | 06.23.2013









6.20.2013

an invitation

I woke up Monday morning and found myself invited to the following event:

McNellie's
3$ Burgers + Beer(s) + Pipes / Cigars
Wednesday
6pm
Third Floor

It sounded celebratory, so I went, and it was lovely. My hair still smells of several newly-tried pipe tobacco blends. And I left a lavender stem in the giant table drawer. Maybe someone will find it.

This is my post-Knappogue Castle view. That happened on another pub night.

6.12.2013

that place between dreaming and waking up

i feel my body move
the haze start to lift
like waking from a crash
my instincts primitive
so full of gratefulness
in disbelief
at the connectedness
my eyes finally see

i cannot believe my eyes
i am alive
i survived
the accidental pioneer
oh, i can explain how i got to the ledge
the mystery is
how
i
got
here

~

soft light

a right mind
things you can become nostalgic for
full lungs
emotions
things i feel i've never felt before

a soft touch
a deep cut
things that can restore your sanity

now all my questions have found their answer

i closed my eyes
i felt no pain
i wished i could
be born again
to my surprise i woke to find it done


thank you, derek webb, for the precious elocution. today i know the glory of being awake, and tomorrow i will wake up again.

4.30.2013

aging with grace and panache | beatrix ost

Personal style and choosing an outfit for one's day or for an event completely changes one's attitude. It is also determined by one's attitude. The circle of life. You know.

That said, I find it quite distressing that people resign themselves to adopting a generationally-dictated style when they reach middle-age. Some even give up their stylistic preferences at the age of 26, citing "practicality" and "grown-up-ness". Outrageous. Also note: Comfort/movability and swimmingly good style are not mutually exclusive, despite all the evidence to the contrary on our sidewalks today.

Here I am to dash those standards to smithereens, and affirm my decision to take my own personality-reflective style to my grave. I'll also offer some inspiration for those who are discouraged by the societal norms for day-to-day senior-wear.

Today's topic is Beatrix Ost: author / visual artist / actress / film and theatre producer / designer. She is snazzy and wears turbans a lot.

via The Gold Book d'Odette
via Advanced Style
via Cult View
via Stylelikeu
via Miss Cavendish
via Advanced Style

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