Wednesday, December 23, 2009

winter solstice

The city streets, lined with hundred year old trees, lights shining, freshly fallen snow on all of it. Everything is illuminated and so peaceful at the same time.

Driving to a friend's house where you know there is going to be warmth and laughter

Reaching the solstice, where the days start growing longer

The quiet and the still, outside, except the crisp, white crunch underneath your boot

That is what winter is all about

Monday, December 14, 2009

tree love


i was driving out of a ramp late this morning when i happened upon this scene.
for me, it was zen moment.
perhaps it doesn't do quite the same for you.
and maybe you had to be there.

i do wish i could have had a few more moments there. an hour would have been perfect.
to sit by my little piece of inspiration and enjoy life.
unfortunately, that time doesn't fit into the succinct rhythm that my day is structured around right now.
it really should be though.

and then i also realized that when the cars started whirring past me it wouldn't be quite as sublime. i wouldn't continue to have it all to myself if i stayed.

is my tree love silly?
forcing me to stop in parking ramps and open my eyes really wide with excitement

we all have to have our little quirks.
so, here is one of mine.
it started on my *first trip to france and has been here ever since.
tree love.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

45 minutes?




Yes, that's my morning commute.

Mornings are undeniably beautiful, especially if the morning begins before the sun rises. It is perhaps the best time of day if your eyes want to stay open more than your brain wants to sleep, which is something I am working on. I would not have seen any of this loveliness if I did not make my morning commute. Make no mistake, it still isn't utopia waking up in the wee hours of the morning and weaving in and out of traffic, but my eyes are always open to new forms of inspiration.

Monday, December 7, 2009

one little tree

Awww...

Ain't he a beaut?! ; )

Not really. But he's mine and I love 'em all the same.

The lights go on and there's magic
The scent floats by and earth has been invited into my home

It's amazing the power of one little tree.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

gratitude:


Today, I am grateful for art.

I am grateful for the the artist Stanislaw Zagajewski to be more specific.

On my last full day in Lausanne, Switzerland I visited L'Art Brut. It took me on quite a journey. If Lausanne doesn't take your breath away (which is half of a joke because of the 90 degree hills) then this museum will.

I stood before Zagajewski's sculpture of masked faces and heard people singing in all different tones.

I kid you not.

I was in awe, enthralled and all of the other words that a thesaurus can throw at you in that arena.

Each face sings a different note and as you look from person to person you hear the note that he or she is singing, along with all of the notes sung by the surrounding souls. It will captivate you too, to be sure.

I am still convinced that it is necessary for two people in this world to make it there at some point in their lives. BDP and Yuri, you must, if you haven't already.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

sitting under a tree: eating a tangerine:

One of the books that I just began reading is about mindfulness, in fact it's call The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh. It's a small book, but I am trying to be as mindful as possible while I read it and savor every word. I have been meaning to read it since a friend loaned it to me a few weeks ago, but have not found the necessary brain power that I wanted to give to it until I decided that I was just going to take the time to start today.

Tonight, I wanted to stop and take a breath after work, before going home, so I took myself to a coffee shop first. I had started the book this afternoon while simultaneously giving a break to the person at the front desk of our office. As I would set the book down, along with the concentration of my breath, to answer the phone or greet someone, I chuckled a bit at how opposing I thought that these two activities were. Yet in actuality, this book seems to resonate in each area of life. It's about reminding yourself to be alive and be aware of what you are doing while you are doing it. Here is my favorite section so far, though I am really at the very beginning as I mentioned before.

"Eating a tangerine: I remember a number of years ago, when Jim and I were first traveling together in the United States, we sat under a tree and shared a tangerine. He began to talk about what we would be doing in the future. Whenever we thought about a project that seemed attractive or inspiring, Jim became so immersed in it that he literally forgot about what he was doing in the present. He popped a section of tangerine in his mouth and, before he had begun chewing it, had another slice ready to pop into his mouth again. He was hardly aware he was eating a tangerine. All I had to say was, "You ought to eat the tangerine section you've already taken." Jim was started into realizing what he was doing. It was as if he hadn't been eating the tangerine at all. If he had been eating anything, he was "eating" his future plans. A tangerine has sections. If you can eat just one section, you can probably eat the entire tangerine. But if you can't eat a single section you cannot eat the tangerine."

A. I want to be a in career that makes me just as excited as Jim! Oh wait, that's not the point to this? Not completely. And I have actually experienced that excitement when I prepare for an art show. That is very important to me and something I am working on achieving, but equally as important and more to the point, I want to apply that mindfulness.

Some of us do not even stop to take a breath and a break from our work to eat, to nourish our bodies and our minds. I do try and stop for my meals every day, though I'm not solely focused on sticking each morsel of food into my mouth. Sometimes I'm reading or in conversation. And sure, we are not all monks who clear our lives to gain peace and simplicity, which is not to say that that is not a life of rich complexity, and in fact is quite the contrary. But, most of us do lead complex and often times complicated lives.

I just want to know mindfulness and balance. In an evening where I had a strong call to just stop and breathe, this book was so good for me. Thought I'd share it with you as well, in case you're looking for a bit of the same in your life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

pommes frites


as with everything french, there's something a little bit better about ordering pommes frites as opposed to ordering french fries.

had a frenchie night.

drove around the block to try and get a good shot of the outside of my favorite restaurant. it was just sitting there asking for its photo to be taken when the light turned green. i had to turn back around and give it another go. the second time did not work either. alas, taking photos out of my car does not always produce stellar photos.

so, i ended up with this. that and trip down memory lane and a belly full of good food.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

...and now back to our regularly scheduled program...

there ya have it. that's my 9 to 5 view. i'll take it.

and just in case you do not think that that grass on the other side is greener, here is just a small list of things that i wanted to do instead of being at work today:
(format style adapted from the lovely Heather)

read: the magic of provence

eat: ice cream with Heather at the best ice cream shop in Cannes

watch: frida

call: katie to tell her about my funny story on my drive into work

create: jAm sacs with Mel

go: drive and drive and drive...and dream and dream and dream...

make: jessie's birthday dessert:::

:: happy birthday, mizz jessica! thank you for your friendship, your boldness, your creativity, your strength, your humor and your zest for life! who needs a map?! ; ) ::

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

things that make me smile...

making raclette and pumpkins at the same time. a good combination of two very good worlds.


herbs on a balcony overlooking an adorable little city with colorful, whimsical homes. and castles across the street.

red balloons. especially when they say "oui"

bowling pins in living rooms


bathtubs in kitchens. (side note: i'm clothed)

friends who did not agree to have me put their photos on my blog, but am taking advantage since the distance is thousands of miles...

Monday, October 26, 2009

900+

i took over 900 photos.
not enough.
way too many.
it will take me awhile to paint my story.
it's a beauty.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

they live here...


This is Gruyeres, Switzerland.

This is why Gruyere Swiss cheese tastes so good.

They live here: the cows, the people.

They are all very happy.

Food for thought : )

Friday, October 23, 2009

this is why


I drove home from work today
looked around
and saw
The kaleidoscope of colors that is Autumn in Minnesota

This is what I was worried about missing while I was in a land faraway

This is also why I work in a land far away
from my home in the cities

After a painful return to the U.S. it's slowly coming back to me why this is home...

...for now

More colors than I can even begin to name

And all the while Nick Drake plays to me gently
telling me that life is beautiful here as well

Thursday, October 15, 2009

à suisse et france...

bonjour from the french part of switzerland!

getting my french fix.

no photos to go along with this yet, but they will follow soon!

be well, my friends!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

dragonboating:::

the summer days are waning.

this ferocious little beast didn't get to see the light very much, but soon back into hibernation he'll go. first, we had to bring him out at least once more to see if he could try and scare anyone again. it worked didn't it?! you're afraid. grrr...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

guacamole is not the new black...


do me a favor will you?

when my shirt is unbuttoned, let me know that my shirt is unbuttoned
and when i have guacamole in my hair, let me know that i have guacamole in my hair

i'm leaving in 15 days. i will get there in 16. and then i'll be back in 29.

it'll be a blink. but one of those extra long blinks where you point your head up to the sky, feel the warmth on your skin, take a deep breath and feel as free as a bird...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

coffee or tea...


So, you'd think the simple thing to do is to replace the coffee once you've run out of it. It seems only logical. Except for the fact that it runs out before you've had your first cup of the day. You are not thinking clearly. You are only thinking of how good that first sip of coffee is going to taste.

I ran out of coffee yesterday morning and so I am drinking tea this morning instead. After I poured the last of the coffee into the filter and peeled off the label from the coffee can, I thought, "Yes! Now I have a new water container for my paintbrushes!" I completely forgot that a trip to the store should have been on my priority list. That actually may explain a little bit about my lack of success so far in life.

What's sort of funny is that it is my favorite tea that I'm drinking. Right. Poor me. I have to drink my favorite tea. I mean I really do love tea. But, tea is more of an afternoon or evening treat, for me. It doesn't have quite the same *POW* that coffee has for the mornings. Fellow coffee enthusiasts will agree. So, as I was frantically trying to decide how to get coffee into my system this morning: walk to Mill City or the Matchbox (both short term solutions) or Sentyrz (more of a long term solution) I realized I should just buck up and use what I have, which is actually one of the points of this post.

For many reasons and some extremely necessary, I have really been trying to do that with many of my meals lately, use what I have first before going to buy anything else. This is something that is also very logical and true to my roots, but not easy and not always accomplished. Sometimes that means using very few fresh ingredients, which is not bad in the dead of winter, but specifically in the end of summer/beginning of autumn is just not as cool. I would also say that less than half of the ingredients are local, which is also not something that I'm proud of, but it is probably my true food ratio right now in life. And bottom line is that I'm greatful that I have food to cook with.

I do have grains, honey and things for baking left in the cupboard and eggs and butter in the fridge, but that's about it. I will be using some of those with the fresh produce that I will retrieve on a trek to the farmer's market this morning. So, this post really wasn't all about coffee and tea, but you get the point. Use what you have first, even if it isn't your first choice. Chances are that you have to somewhat like what you already have if you bought it in the first place. One of my friends father's like to say, "You can have anything you want, just not everything you want." It's a great philosophy that I've been trying to heed since I heard it. Don't limit your options, just try to choose them wisely.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Saturday, September 12, 2009

traveling justification #26:

Good foreign relations.

I don't know how well I will be able to communicate in French, even though I am trying, or the unknown Swiss German, however, one thing is certain. I will proudly be representing America well while I am there. Because of this man, I am now proud to call myself an American while traveling abroad.

I am "fired up" after getting to see and hear Obama today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I left at 10:45, biked down to 1st Ave, parked my bike in front of Cafe Brenda and decided I'd just see how far I'd get. I was swooped right in, went through security and then stopped in a line for 1/2 hour to an hour. My seat was not phenomenal, but this experience was. I am so greatful for this!

And so today was born another justification for my trip! My good 'ol Midwestern guilt is forcing me come up with a vast list of reasons why this trip is not only important, but absolutely vital to my existence. I will come back stronger, wiser and more certain of my convictions. I will be a better informed citizen of the United States and more importantly, the world. How can that be bad? ; )

Sunday, September 6, 2009

:before : after:

My heart is swollen and I'm overjoyed with anticipation of my trip. I thought I'd share some of the pieces that I'm working on from that particular well of inspiration:

:::32:::

Saturday, September 5, 2009

gluttony:


this is the fair
this fair is gluttony, but in a good-once-a-year sense of the word
there ya have it
another random thought/connection

Friday, September 4, 2009

morning :



i woke at 2
and rose at 5

this was one of the spectacular views i got to behold

the light and the fog were brilliant this morning

warm layers of honey spread out all over the land

Thursday, September 3, 2009

35 Days!

35 days until I step foot onto European soil!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

hello autumn:::


My beloved autumn is here.

Or, mere moments away at least.

I'm starting to admit that I'm happy about it. I've been stifling my eager anticipation of this alluring season, because it felt like I was cheating on summer. That and the fact that we all know what rears its ugly head after autumn. Yes, that beast is right around the corner as well.

The truth is, I adore this season.

As if the title of my blog isn't obvious enough ; )

It's the most nostalgic season. It creeps into my bones, consumes me and gives me warmth even when the cool wind starts to blow. Or, in the case of this summer, continues to blow.

So, make yourself at home, dear autumn. You are here to stay for a short while. Decorate with the exquisite touch that only you are capable of creating. I'll embrace your company, set a spot for you at the dinner table and savor every moment that I have with you.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

portraits

a study

of the eye

for one of the lovely portraits that i am working on at the moment.

wonder if you can tell who it is?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

the calm before the storm:::


Last Night

:::The Calm:::

Gentle breezes floating through the window

Lulling me to sleep

The chirping of crickets

The sound of the fan softly humming

The scent of a waning summer night




This Morning

:::The Storm:::

Thunder cracking violently

Daring me to stay cowering under my covers but

Telling me to wake up now or I'm going to sleep through the best part of the day

Rain falling steadily

Giving off the fragrance that only it can create




:::And all the while I sip my coffee and tell my story:::

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday, August 7, 2009

::: ghost house :::


This is most certainly not the whole of "Ghost House" that I created as part of the body of work for my Matchbox art show this past May, however, my amateur photography and photoshop skills do not allow for a perfect whole picture. So, I give you a fair cross-section of the piece. On this rainy day, this piece calls to me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Sweet Grams:::


Today my Sweet Grams would be:
~84~
~Quatre Vingt Quatre~

:::

It felt like such an occasion should have a poem!

Her Longing

by: Theodore Roethke

Before this longing,
I lived serene as a fish,
At one with the plants in the pond,
The mare's tail, the floating frogbit,
Among my eight-legged friends,
Open like a pool, a lesser parsnip,
Like a leech, looping myself along,
A bug-eyed edible one,
A mouth like a sickleback,-
A thing quiescent!

But now-
The wild stream, the sea itself cannot contain me:
I dive with the black hag, the cormorant,
Or walk the pebbly shore with the humpbacked heron,
Shaking out my catch in the morning sunlight,
Or rise with the gar-eagle, the great-winged condor.
Floating over the mountains,
Pitting my breast against the rushing air,
A phoenix, sure of my body,
Perpetually rising out of myself,
My wings hovering over the shorebirds,
Or beating against the black clouds of the storm,
Protecting the sea-cliffs.

:::

Remembering you: your beauty, your wisdom
and missing you like mad, Sweet Grams

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

summer lovin'

mmm. naked veggies. brought to you by the farmers of minneapolis. although, the surrounding areas should probably get the credit. this is most of the ingredients for tomorrow evening's dinner for some friends.






sorry to go from critters to cuisine, but i needed to change focus. i tried to add a little space so as not to offend too much...





...did it help?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

ode to another spider:::

Shall I weave another tale?

I'll just tell you. This one ends happily.

Or maybe I'll suffice it to say that this time Charlotte got relocated to the back patio. I hope she found it to her liking, what with most of the bugs hanging out there and all. I think she was just a little confused about her true place in life. Luckily for her she had a guiding hand that brought her back to where she belongs.

Perhaps someone will come along, place a glass over my head and a firm piece of paper under my rear and gently guide me to a newly and better suited locale? So much for metaphors. Anyone else thinking airplane to France? Airplanes are pretty suffocating and I'm convinced I was really born in France and somehow got way off course.

It is funny though, that with so many other little moments in every day life that I've managed to pick stories about spiders twice already. They obviously inspire something within. But, why do I feel the need to draw parallel lines to them? Perhaps that's where this blog ends and the psychoanalysis begins...

...but really, who doesn't want to get swept off of their feet and carried away to somewhere new and and yet strangely and nostalgically familiar? A show of hands?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

a ha...

...want to also shout out to a fabulous friend who was born on this day 27 years ago. Thank you for the many ways that your friendship inspires. Cheers to you, my friend!!!

a ha!


sometimes pleasures aren't simple.

i had another breakthrough evening, right before i was about to throw in the towel and close-up shop. thank goodness, because i've been working through ideas on and off the canvas and paper all day. well, when am i not, really? i've been swirling them around, trying them on for size, you name it. admittedly, most of my ideas remain in my head, or in my journals, on scraps of paper, in the back pages of my planner, most of them. today, since i had one of my artist days, i was trying to force more of them out of me.

on a bike ride with a fabulous friend this eve, we stopped in to purchase some cheese. thirsty, we both purchased a beverage as well. mine instantly brought me back to the days of yore and a favorite drink of mine: sundance. remember it? if you do, you probably loved it as well. (i'd like to give the rights to the name, but can't find a link to what i think is the right spot.) anyways, this particular drink got us reminiscing about old favorites, but neither of us could remember the name of this one in particular.

in my moment of "a ha" tonight, the name came to me in the same moment as a breakthrough for a piece of artwork, the likes of which will be seen through to the end, it's just that good. but, that was it. they both came a la meme seconde! and so it is with my brain, an explosion of a million little things all at once. welcome to my world. it's a bumpy ride, but i try to make it as comfortable as possible.

which brings me to: simple pleasures. thinking of simple pleasures brings me relief tonight and makes me smile. on a day and a night where nothing can please. when all of the demons are telling me that i am down the wrong road, it's good to be able to step back and smile about simple pleasures. sometimes it is only possible after i've pushed my way through the tough moments and make my way into a clearing so that they are easily visible.

"a ha" life is not all serious...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

afternoon thunderstorm:::


{last week}:::

Is there anything better than a summer thunderstorm in the middle of the afternoon? Ok, I confess that a few other things have added up to make this day an extremely good one so far, but really, thunderstorms in the middle of the day are an unexpected treat. I had my French lesson this afternoon, which I am extremely grateful to have someone working with me one on one. A few other little pieces of goodness have gone my way, but this rain is like a really sexy layer of icing on the cake.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

pairs of red chairs::


love both of these rooms::

the top is in the casket arts building, with the green light glowing through the doorway. the bottom is a scene that has been silently waiting to become a painting for well over a year now, taken in a previous home. when i stood alone in both of these rooms they felt warm and eery all at once. the top photo was snapped a couple of weeks ago and it's funny how it already seems old, but when i think back to the days shot solely in film, two weeks would still be on a newly processed roll. i wasn't even thinking of the photo below it, which was taken sometime last year. a synapse in my brain finally connected the two as i was gazing at the green light oozing from the doorway.

i wonder how many other red chaired duos are out there just waiting to be captured? perhaps they too are sitting in mysterious looking venues, listening to a girl click by on her high heels as she's snapping a photo, or watching a girl quickly run down to change her laundry and back up again to where it is truly safe.

who really knows what's lurking around the corner?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

old man ears



In the photos they do not look like old man ears. But trust me, in real life they do. They are dangling on a tree outside of the lovely Mill City Cafe that a friend and I went to for brunch this past weekend. Immediately we both thought "ears"!

From what I can untangle, it may be the "Kentucky coffeetree". Not sure. But it's another new tree to love and tree-loving is something I do best!

To be fair, because I am nothing if not diplomatic, old ladies too can have large, droopy ears. Ears never stop growing, which is sort of unfortunate for some of us. I think I may be in the running for such a case. But I will try hard not to fight it like my beautiful Grams did. It is considered a thing of great beauty for some cultures to have long ears. The bodhisattva is a prime example. I will try to focus on that when the time draws nearer.

Whether large ears are beautiful to you or not is not really the point. The point is that there are so many little new wonders in nature that I find all of the time. I have gone to this restaurant a handful of times. In fact, I live near to its location. I have never noticed that particular characteristic.

I for one will never stop examining and exploring this great big world, including my own backyard, using all of my senses. And if I have large ears? The better to listen with, right clever fox?