Like the night was handed down and I walked in, all curve and pale of body as if violet was the color of everything. This is how darkness goes; to vow fearless, swear unafraid, while geese fly in formation overhead. Get on with the drunk. This is the heart exploded: open to every possibility and the whole month heavy with sunshine. Cement and hillside and windows tinged with rose; his boots on the trail, kicking up dust as evening turns to night and the ships come sailing in. If sand was underfoot, I’d bed down in it. If kindness could be one hand, reaching, I’d take it. And maudlin, so very perfect, the gulls barking, the echo of birds and horses, thundering.
Last night was the second installment of a now monthly dinner/dessert date with two dear friends. We had a Greek dinner at Troy followed by ice cream at Ici (good grief, I had pistachio-sour cherry and crunchy peanut butter topped with fudge; it was amazing), followed by a long sit on a bench spilling our guts about hard things in our past and how we hope to change as women going forward. Then my friend Amanda stood on the corner of Ashby and College Ave. and roared, this great growling kind of yell from the pit of her stomach—twice. And she said, “Now you do it. It makes you feel so powerful!” I managed a quieter kind of roar, and a few people turned to look at us but it wasn’t like we stopped traffic or anything. It’s good for me to have women like this in my life. I’ve come a long way in recent years on the path to my strongest self, but it helps to have reminders that it’s okay to let my “freak flag fly,” as someone else said to me in February.
So, that’s the report from mid-April, and other photos of late below. I’ve started the morning off dancing, hope you are too.
With winter on the way out and springtime rains most certainly here, I’d better post about this salad before the season has long expired. For several days back in February, I brought this chopped winter salad to work for lunch and people sorta flipped out about it. While I was assembling it in the kitchen two coworkers admitted to thoughts of stealing it while my back was turned. I also haven’t been this delighted by a salad in a while—it’s a pleasing range of ingredients, and the tart apple and salty feta are a great contrast to the dill, kalamata olives, and roasted squash.
In addition to the butternut squash, I also roasted zucchini, leek, and sweet potato, so my salad was even a bit heartier than the recipe found here. A mustard dressing might be another way to go, but the red wine vinaigrette suggested was also tasty; it allows the flavors of the salad to shine.
Salads like this have been my constant friend of late with the advent of a low- to no-carb sorta gluten-free diet I started last week. I’m also loving this website my friend turned me on to and I’m dying to make my own sriracha sauce next.
Arms become more than the act of enfolding. It’s too much to keep or ask for, the lean and bulk of him, all limbs and broad chest wrapped around the length of a woman, so contained can’t even explain it. Nor can held or close or kept; one cancels another. The compulsion to love continues to be a shock, as if the heart is an everlong muscle that can’t be beaten. Enfolded, tempered with metamorphisis;
to shed the skin and transform. Hibernating produces a form lovelier than what the figure started with or was. Process more timely than the creature become — layers dissolve to produce the jeweled wing as tools for flight ease from protective armor.
The 6’5″ wingspan of him is significantly beautiful.
Pink-tipped sky and winter breathe squarely toward spring, a study in unraveling: from earthly to airborne. A buckeye, a hawk, a flicker in time. The departure stuns as horizon becomes the habitat, and every branch and leaf and crack in sky and dirt and wood is loved.
Spring is full flush around these parts, and with the photos I take I’m able to track my obsessions-of-the-moment pretty well. I’ve transitioned from autumn leaves and pink sunsets to street art and spring blooms (and, let’s just go ahead and pinpoint the fact that I’m obsessed with sunsets year-round, actually).
A plum tree just outside my bedroom window is genuinely stunning. It’s laden with soft, powder-white blooms that make my heart flip. This tree has grown much taller over the years that I’ve lived here, so now this blush of activity, birds eating seed, bees floating by, the explosion of blossoms, it’s all happening less than a foot from my window. I’ve got a front-row seat to what makes this season so intoxicating.
And last night I took a walk at Cesar Chavez park just as the sun was dipping behind the Marin headlands. I climbed up this grassy knoll, the highest point in the park, and stood there for a while riveted by the view: the bay before me and the Berkeley hills behind me, all a-sparkle in the evening, and it was so beautiful and filling that I cried.
To be the violet mountain, the gull winging on evening air.
To climb the hill and think, I am this woman, and all points in my life are connected.
There could never be anything more beautiful than this.
Life is good here. Happy spring.
One year ago: Once in a forward leap, ya fool
Just a bit too late for Valentine’s day, I printed up some sweet heart bookmarks on the scraps from my card making. This was the first time I’d worked with a soft rubber stamp rather than a linoleum block — I have to say, it was amazing. I’ve only printed using linoleum blocks and this process of carving the image was so much faster! I can see that it might be harder to get the level of detail I can achieve with linoleum on a stamp, but for simple block prints or geometric shapes this is definitely the way to go.
I carved the howdy design last summer, but I’ve truly only made a few cards with it on the fly. So last week I printed my first bigger batch of howdy cards and I’m aiming to get them in the hawk&pigeon etsy shop soon. Soon, soon.
I also want to give a shout out to this paper press I picked up for a steal at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse—I think it was only $11. It’s technically a flower press, per the packaging, for drying and flattening flowers and leaves, but it works pretty darn great for pressing a stack of cards too.
One year ago: A trip out of town and big sky for my wandering heart.
It’s happening! I’m easing out of my winter slump and am feeling a sliver of motivation again, thanks to the advent of spring around these parts. Spring in February—it’s a fact. Most of the trees in the neighborhood are in bloom and we’re experiencing beautiful, warm sunny days replaced by a sharp chill at night; we’re not quite there yet, but Oakland is definitely rounding the bend out of this mild California winter.
Back in October, my dear friend Sarah sent me a hefty Whole Foods gift card for my birthday with the requirement that I use it to cook a meal to post about on my blog. Heeding her request, I tucked it away for later use and now have a few good meals on deck (thank you, SSL, xox).
Last night I tried this recipe for skirt steak with a balsamic mushroom sauce, served on a bed of buttery cauliflower puree. Since I try to incorporate greens or a veggie into every meal I make (yeah, I’m a nut like that), I paired the dish with a side of broccoli rabe and red pepper.
This is a very rich meal, and a genuine treat for me since I rarely buy steak. Skirt steak is one of my favorite cuts. You can marinate it and pan-sear it, and it cooks quickly. Not the most tender, but versatile—great in fajitas and tacos too.
Sarah also happened to come to Oakland a few weeks ago for a visit and we had a tremendous weekend filled with good food and silliness and the Superbowl, and I sent her home with a new love for Ethiopian food. Some shots from her visit below.
One year ago: Photos from the week: 02.17.12
Winter is a whole other kind of beautiful. Each year I’m able to appreciate more and more about this dormant season, which is not bereft of lovely at all. It’s just quieter, not so showy. The season plies me with the invitation to slow down, to settle, to linger. And when sunshine is not drenching every surface I have to stand still and look—look closely. And I’m seeing just as much to appreciate in the brittle leaf, the hot pink sunsets, the silver light in the woods…the ladybugs.
Your January short list, with love.
1. Night walks at the Berkeley marina
2. Perfecting the old fashioned cocktail at home
3. Toasting corn tortillas right over the gas flame and eating pork tacos in my kitchen, standing up
5. Tissue paper flowers for Amanda’s baby shower
8. My friend Adrienne, making life at work a little sweeter
9. The pizza crust and the banana pudding with salted caramel at Forge
10. The leaves, the light, the wind
Well, the holidays have come and gone and left me without a creative impulse in my body. I blame the cold weather for the absolute lack of motivation I feel. I’m not crafting, not drawing, hardly cooking. Not printing, not writing. What the beejesus is that gal doing then? Ok, I’m watching plenty of I Love Lucy episodes, staying cozy, seeing movies, trying new pubs, dancing on Friday nights. The only thing I can really share is the Hazelnut Ganache Tart I made just before Christmas for a coworker’s birthday.
Snatched from the pages of Real Simple years ago, it’s incredibly easy with something like five ingredients. Every place I take this tart, people melt, they ask for the recipe, they’re beside themselves. It looks deeply rich, yet the surprising thing is how light it is for being nothing but chocolate and heavy cream. Find the recipe here.
I’m hoping that this January haze leaves me soon. I welcome 2013 with great heart and vigor…but, for now, I’ll be here, quietly keeping warm. Cheers to you and yours, and some photos from the start of this new year.
One year ago: Photos from the week: 01.15.12 and A finished book, a reading booked, and a craft date with dears.
Boy, howdy, these cookies are everything you’ve ever wanted a cookie to be (and by you, I mean me). It’s that time of year again: baking treats for my company’s annual bakesale, which raises donations for the Alameda County Food Bank. And I take no credit whatsoever for this epic chocolate-oat-coconut-pecan creation. One of my favorite food bloggers, Brown Eyed Baker, whose website I drool and marvel over regularly, posted this recipe and I knew it was a match made in cookie heaven. I love cowboy cookies and this recipe promised to make giant cookies—even better.
Once I read the recipe over I realized I didn’t have a mixing bowl large enough for the amounts called for, so I cut the recipe by half and still ended up with 25 hefty cookies—they really do spread quite a bit. Mine are at least 4 inches diameter. For the whole scoop on these delicious cookies, please see the original post at Brown Eyed Baker.
The only tweak I made was adding about 3/4 cup raisins, because to me, a cowboy cookie ain’t a cowboy cookie without a currant of some kind. But maybe that’s a cowgirl cookie? What’s the difference?
One year ago: A little army of holiday prints