Monday, February 24, 2014

the present and the past

"how shall i trace the history, where seek the origin of what i then felt? oft in those moments such a holy calm did overspread my soul that i forgot that i had bodily eyes, and what i saw appeared like something in myself, a dream, a prospect in my mind." --the prelude, book 2

Saturday, February 22, 2014

to host

it's a lazy day today, going back through old journals and even blog posts, realizing i've been blogging for four years this month! primarily about words--because words are mainly how i see, understand and share the world--but also about many adventures, experiences, questions, movies and recipes along the way in an effort to connect us. many of my musings and conversations of late are around the idea of hosting others. that could be at a dinner party, over coffee or even just in quick few-minute interactions. even as i think of the approaching lenten and easter season, am i able to empty myself to truly make room for God, others? with what i keep inside, how might i offer that in a way they can best receive? am i willing to be on the receiving and not just the giving end of hospitality (receiving sometimes being trickier and requiring more grace)? what does hospitality truly mean? it could be as simple as a spontaneously cooked meal together or as elaborate as a five-course feast. most people's favorite experiences were when the host was relaxed (including if they were relaxed AS the host). a relaxed host plus beautiful food and surroundings seems like having the cake and eating it too. i thought i would celebrate my fourth year in the blogosphere by asking you, "what are some of your best memories either hosting or being hosted? what do you remember and why?"

in hot water

if you're a water baby like me or maybe even if you're not so much...a hot mineral soak can do the body and soul good! especially in the wintertime to soothe aches and colds, sore muscles or fight off the flu. local portlanders can get to the healing waters of bonneville hotsprings in just a little over an hour. it makes for a very nice sunday drive and for just $40 you can soak in and drink the water (which contains an impressive amount of good-for-you minerals) and be wrapped up in fresh linen blankets afterwards, like a little cocoon. oregon has a lot of natural hotspring areas, ranging from bagby to kah-nee-tah, where i would swim often as a child. whether you want to traipse out in the woods to soak at the source or don a spa's white robe, you too can find yourself in healing hot water.

winter + spring=sprinter

two weeks ago, we were snowed in...and today the crocuses are blooming which is none too soon for us in the NW! it's an in-between time for transitioning from winter to spring...paint your toenails one day, wear gloves outside and scrape your windshield the next; always those reminders that nature is in charge. shall i wear my sandals or my sweater today? maybe both! i keep one box of each season out here for a few weeks, just in case. you want to go outside and you can't so much because rain is hitting your roof at 30 miles per hour...other days you want to stay in and read but the sun is calling you to come out and play and you just can't resist! i'm starting to get a hankering (actually it never really left) for kayaking again and for the beach. i've always wanted to do the glass float search at lincoln city so that is a definite possibility for the outside world...that and baby chicks are coming soon (likely in april when it's "warmer"). i cannot wait for the weeks when i can bike to work every day and just leave my bike out and ready because i know the forecast will be clear skies and sun, sun, sun! i'm still reading even as my spring muscles twitch...i recommend "vaclav & lena" by haley tanner; an especially insightful work of fiction surrounding the main characters' special since-childhood friendship. i'm concurrently reading 3 books that are also about or set in new york: "a tree grows in brooklyn" by betty smith, "97 orchard" by jane ziegelman, and "stuffed" by patricia volk. one blends into the next with references to coney island or certain tenement apartments, giving me an historical feel for the city. all activities considered, i am sprinting into spring. what seasonal events are you looking forward to this year?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

woodpecker in february

i saw him before i heard him
red tuft against the post-snow grey
and melting landscape

tapping out his music in the way
he, created to, knows best

what are you making
at such persistence;

drilling to the heart of
the matter?

ls 2.14.14

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

mass of the children

i am fortunate enough to be able, by chance and circumstance, to be a second soprano in an upcoming performance of john rutter's "mass of the children".  to listen:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTI4TcY8qP0 if you live in the portland, oregon area and would like to join, i can give you details!

step into liquid

need another fun idea for when you get snowed in (or anytime, for that matter)?  a tropical stay-cation.  break out the little drink umbrellas, lots of lemons and limes and get your hula on!  start early in the day by marinating meat for fajitas and top them with peach-mango salsa and lots of cilantro.  then put the dvd "step into liquid" on and get swept away with the video footage of waves sometimes as big as 50 or 60 feet!  but don't stop there.  advance to the section of the movie that gives you surfing tips and tricks.  practice "popping up" from the floor, or if it's an old one, the couch (it gives a new meaning to the phrase 'couch surfing').  surf's up, dude!

i'm in love...

...with a cookbook!  it's time to catch up a bit here in blog land, but i really enjoyed the slow-down afforded by 5 days of being snowed in (or rather, out of my house.  endless thanks to my generous hosts--i owe you!).  nature reminds me in a really healthy way that i am not in charge and it is a good reminder to unplug and follow a more natural rhythm. if you have not yet discovered kinfolk by nathan williams, you must!  their magazine is all about things to cook, make and do.  and their first cookbook is, well, worth falling in love with (this is Valentine's week, afterall).  not only is the book itself beautiful, but so are the ideas and concepts inside.  they've featured people from all over the world and organized it into sections (brooklyn, denmark, portland!) and filled it with art-worthy photos, lots of relaxing white space and delicious recipes.  magazine edition nine is all about weekends, work/rest balance and the art of savoring the moment. for more links to their lifestyle pages, travel, work and play treat yourself to www.kinfolk.com

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

true confessions of a bibliophile

no surprise by now, if you've been following my blog for any amount of time, that i love books.  new, old, written in, dog-eared...i don't have a problem letting go of material possessions except when it comes to...books.  so this weekend i hit it hard; cleaned the shelves; did a brutal downsizing.  "do i love this book?  will i read it again?  is it beautiful or useful?  does it have special meaning?"  if the book did not get a resounding "yes" to all of those questions, it became part of the "donate" pile. (this took longer than projected due to all of the interesting findings that were inside the books, creating their own pile--receipts, ticket stubs, bookmarks, leaves, favorite quotes...such stuffings can reveal a lot about a person). at any rate,  i consoled myself with the fact that tomes that got even one "yes" got to stay forever.  the results?  my bookshelves are beautiful!  the resale value?  not so hot.  let's just say that two bursting bags of sentimentality scored me exactly $16.  it's always worth a try though, because you never know what a bookstore is going to want.  it's surprising.  they didn't want a beautiful barely-used hardcover about the life of dorothy sayers, for example, but "the tale of benjamin bunny" made it in.  who knew? so, since my love for and discovery of the public library's depth and width, i realize i can get most titles there and save my at-home shelf space for truly special pages.  there's always room for more...