Saturday, November 09, 2013

Grace + Bravery: Make the current system obsolete

I was happy to scribble notes in my little book this past week during two public programs. Lovely phrases, good reminders.

Thursday night at "Ties That Bind: The First 10 Years of StoryCorps," the founder of that public radio phenomenon, Dave Isay, reflected on the amazing acts of grace, kindness and forgiveness that have been revealed in the stories people have shared. In contrast to the portrait of humanity that frequently comes through in the news, entertainment media or political sphere, he pointed to the way these everyday people are making their own unique paths through life -- and said it's all happening "in plain sight." I love that emphasis, the reminder that if we turn off the white noise that is targeted at, aggregated for and delivered to us, and actually look at the people around us, we will see bold, generous choices.

Friday morning, we rose early for the Los Angeles edition of Creative Mornings (60 cities in 20 countries participating this month!) -- thrilled to be greeted with donuts + multiple coffee options from Stumptown Coffee Roasters: nice and hot, with fixin's; or cold pressed in a stylish bottle. Thank you, generous morning conveners of Angelenos! Anyhow -- the theme of the month was "bravery," and guest speaker Jim Gilliam (co-founder of Brave New Films, now founder and CEO of NationBuilder) talked about having the courage of your convictions to step out and create something new. I especially liked his response to a question about facing "gate keepers" or hitting a wall: create a solution that makes the current scenario or system obsolete. I appreciate the reminder to keep pushing up and out to meet your larger goal -- expand your vision, change your perspective, whatever is necessary. For me, it's a question of strategy in my daily work; but he is also speaking about the larger question of effecting social change. The quote he referenced offers fuel for weeks and months to come:
"You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."  Richard Buckminster Fuller

Friday, November 08, 2013

Yum: Double Chocolate Espresso Cookies

An offering made for a friend on the occasion of her birthday

These cookies are a game-changer for your personal culinary arsenal -- I highly recommend them. Another great find from one of my favorite recipe sources -- thank you, Food52! After crowd-sourcing two fantastic cookbooks, the site continues to cultivate and support a truly dynamic community of culinary mavens all around the world. 

Monday, November 04, 2013

Favorite Words: emotionable


Category: Inadvertent Invention / Verbal Flub

Source:  Bill Bentley, Lou Reed's publicist from 1988 - 2004, from the Fresh Air episode "Never Back Down: Fresh Air Remembers Lou Reed," first broadcast on October 29, 2013.   

Context:  Speaking about his experience watching the four surviving members of The Velvet Underground reunite to play for the first time since John Cale left the band in 1967, Bentley says: "To watch The Velvets come back together and finally see 'em play a song, I, I just, my - I was crying. It was so emotionable - emotional."

Adore it because: Rather than a cold, narrow adjective used to describe something pertaining to emotion, emotionable seems to express someone or something that attracts, induces, and is deserving of expansive, bold emotions! 

Other favorite parts of the interview with Bentley:

"When I think of Lou Reed, the first image that comes to mind is a rock 'n' roll warrior who would stake his ground and never back down."

(Speaking about Reed's song "Perfect Day") 
"There'd be some days in New York where we would just hang out in the park or do things that were so wonderful and just easy and enjoying life -- and then we'd go to the movies. And that song references that, but it also brings up that other side of Lou that he knew was always waiting to come out, too. And it's told in that line that said like, 'Such a perfect day, you made me forget myself. I thought I was someone else, someone good.' And that was a thing that Lou carried around too. Whether it was from his childhood or whatever, I think there was a lot of questions in his mind, you know -- how do you become a good person, and how do you fight off the demons and the devils that take you down the other road? And that was his life-long struggle, but I think that's also what made him such a great artist, 'cuz he never backed down from it; he acknowledged it..." 

(Speaking about Reed's demons)
"I think he might have come up in the era where being different was a really bad thing, and it probably gave him either some guilt or definitely some turmoil. I know there've been reports that he received shock treatments when he was a teenager and he was given medicine to try to control himself. I don't really know that any of that was ever true; I never talked with him about what happened when he was a teenager. But I think with Lou, he really saw the beauty of life and wanted to be a person who could live in that beauty as often as possible." 

A Return

Hello! I've been away. I'm back now. I hope the years have been good to you. I'm in fine form and still curious as ever.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Denial & Persuasion

The last few days I have been in denial, retreating from the world to read Jane Austen's final completed novel, Persuasion. I was familiar with the story via the movie -- which is one of my favorites, if only because it features the fabulous Fiona Shaw as glowing naval wife Mrs. Croft (perhaps even as a redhead?! Or did I invent that?). I snuck out of bed early Saturday morning and curled up on the couch with tooooo many cups of coffee, escaping into the love story of Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth (aka Ciaran Hinds!). Eventually, I realized that a tile I purchased a couple years ago at a going-out-of-business sale at a local art gallery perfectly captured the physical and emotional environment of the story. With its moody skies, towering ships, stoic hero and daydreamy heroine, it's like crawling directly into the action. I am again delighting in my good fortune finding such an enchanting piece.

Though the romantic intrigue hinges on Captain Wentworth's lovely, exciting, feverish epistolary declaration of his unyielding love for Anne, I was struck by the closing sentences of the novel, which shift perspective to the reality of war and the value of the Navy:

Anne was tenderness itself, and she had the full worth of it in Captain Wentworth's affection. His profession was all that could ever make her friends wish that tenderness less; the dread of a future war all that could dim her sunshine. She gloried in being a sailor's wife, but she must pay the tax of quick alarm for belonging to that profession which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its national importance.


Monday, May 11, 2009

The thought that counted

The thought that counted on Saturday was: Happy Birthday! After a trip to the favorite neighborhood cupcake pusher, a long wait in line, careful selection, and even more careful placement in a plastic bag to be settled atop lovely ice cubes in the cooler...the poor things were crushed by the beverages I squeezed into the mobile ice box. Unbelievable. But still quite good -- and nobody was too proud to pluck a cupcake from the box top or extricate one from the corner.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Strange Southern Relief

Yes, it does appear that things -- i.e. the economy, personal finances, etc. -- just might go all the way to Hell in a handbag. What a reprieve Tennessee Williams has offered in this odd, sad, hopeful little poem, which I recently stumbled upon in this volume. Cheers to the strange, the crazed and the queer.


I think the strange, the crazed, the queer
will have their holiday this year,
I think for just a little while
there will be pity for the wild.

I think in places known as gay,
in secret clubs and private bars,
the damned will serenade the damned
with frantic drums and wild guitars.

I think for some uncertain reason,
mercy will be shown this season
to the lovely and misfit,
to the brilliant and deformed --

I think they will be housed and warmed
And fed and comforted awhile before, with such a tender smile,
the earth destroys her crooked child.

Spring Surprise

Someone has built a nest in the Chinese lantern on the porch...

Fuzzy zoom on Mama Bird setting up house in the lantern


hungry babies.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

But can she bake a cherry pie?

We missed it in the theaters. We just get so busy! Despite the reminders that it is important to support female directors the first weekend... we missed it. And so it was that Margot and I planned a get-together to watch Waitress at my place on DVD. (Thank you, Netflix!) But not just a movie night -- we decided to make PIE in honor of the film, and the beloved writer/director who came to such a tragic end. What I loved about the film: Adrienne Shelly's Dawn was a great character; and those pies, those pies, those pies! I still daydream sometimes about the brie cheese pie.
Judging from the photos, it might have done us good to watch the film first -- then try to make a pie...