Friday, July 30, 2010

five senses friday*

  • the abundance of gorgeous juicy july tomatoes
  • with the ayurvedic diet, you eat according to your dosha.  i'm pitta, so that means foods that are sweet, bitter, astringent.  turns out, the tastes i love the most--bold and spicy--are the ones i should be moderating.  not sure how i feel about this...
  • if you are a regular listener of speaking of faith, you know that the music accompanying the talk penetrates your soul.  when you visit each show's page, you can stream the entire soundtrack for that episode.  beautiful.
  • in the mood for some silence.  my own, particularly.  sometimes, the words clog up the flow and i need a break from my own rambling.  i'm participating in susannah conway's august break...for the entire month of august, it's photos only here.  every day.
  • a lavender field
  • just when i'm trying to be more spiritual, the autumn catalogs start arriving and the beast of a material girl stirs inside.  it's war.  i'm talking to you boden and j.crew.
  • but wait...the boots, the coats, the cardigans...a polkadot coat for pete's sake.  i'm a goner...
  • yesterday afternoon, i was sitting in the purple adirondak when a quick and dirty thunderstorm came through.  i closed my eyes and felt the progress from hot stickiness to gentle wind to soft rain to pounding shower.  i rode the whole ride.
happy weekend beautiful souls.

*fsf inspired by abby.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

it's all good

open and trusting with a good beat.

{many thanks to you, my friends.}

Sunday, July 25, 2010

picnic {№7}

my weekend was spent in (voluntary) solitary confinement after the worst week ever. i had enough of people and their issues and how they freely fling them my way, as if my way with the catcher's mit makes me fair game for the force of their crap. (my apologies for using the word 'crap' in a picnic post; while honest, it's ugliness seems out of place.)  i intended a short little lunch al fresco, in the privacy and silence of my own backyard.  i needed rest and quiet and clearing.

i made a healthy little meal of dill tuna salad scooped into one of jessica's amazing heirlooms and ventured out early to beat the sun's scheduled plan to validate the heat advisory.  despite it being just after eleven, beads of sweat instantly appeared on my iced tea glass.  and yet i was oddly comforted by the warmth as if it was a rogue sunny day smack dab in the middle of february.

the backyard is loyal that way.

since returning home from california, i've been on a total health kick and have found it surprisingly easy to eat seasonal and organic produce.  i'm even toying with an ayurveda diet.  while my body feels light and clean, my spirit is heavy and gray.  today i realized that it is not only my physical health that is in need of a reboot.

i savoured my lunch then lazed about a bit in the hammock, one foot dangling off, staring up at the almost-white sky, pressing the cold glass to my face while being serenaded by lazy chirpy birds and the tinkling of the fountain.

then i cracked open 'lit'.  by page 37, i knew that while i could lose myself reading the brilliant prose depicting childhood emotional hell, i no longer want to muck around in the real-life versions making fruitless attempts at change in a system that is often as screwed up as the families it professes to serve.  i am weary and beat and bitter in this field where at every conference and in every newsletter, the only inspiration they have to offer the soldiers is that corny ubiquitous starfish story.  the soul investment has become too risky.   just like that, the decision was made.

picnic number seven, you are the picnic that changed my life.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


in this moment you are divested of the pretty facade that buoyantly carries you through your world.  the fancy frock you wore to the party is stained and has fallen to the ground.  your engaging smile, witty repartee, brilliant answers, ambition and drive and dance moves all jumped the last train to the coast.

and you, in this moment, are still so beautiful.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

oh hi there universe

was that you who recently moved from a whisper to a scream?  i realize that often i'm not the best listener.  especially when things get busy and chaotic and i find myself navigating through this fog of disception and distortion like a princess warrior.  i know, i know...this is when my heart and soul should be most in tune with your messages.  but you see, i get a little cocky from time to time and behave as if i have all the answers and totally know what to do without any help from anyone.  i catch bits and snippets from you here and there that make such sense to me but i'm so involved with fighting the good fight and winning the game that i tuck them away for another time.  and then there's that whole trust issue...

today, i am hitting pause and rewind in order to review your increasingly clear and obvious messages.  you know what's good for me.  i hear you.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

the curious case of the disappearing imaginary friend

a curious thing happened earlier this summer that still has me thinking about my relationship with my camera.  i love to plan trips.  so much so that sometimes the planning is more exciting to me than the actual trip.  i adore the research, the compiling, the sorting of locales, spots, eateries, the itinerary production and reproduction.  i read stories that are set in my intended destination so that i can put myself into the story once i arrive.  i clip magazine articles, photos, maps, brochures, menus.  people, i make a binder.  with tabs. 

being joined at the hip with the canon is relatively new to me.  san francisco was my first longer-than-a-weekend destination where i really planned out which experiences, scenes and images i wanted to capture.  this list, appropriately named, "things i want to photograph in san francisco", was nestled behind the second tab in the binder, only slightly less important than the flight schedules and information.  i figured i had time to immerse myself in tiny pieces of culture and click away, giving myself space and opportunity to get some really beautiful photos that held all the magic of those moments and allowed me to explore things that i'm curious about.  i thought that this is what really good travel photographers must do.  you have to have the time and you have to let yourself see and be in the moment, right?   this is quite different from the spontaneous method of photography that is my typical modus operandi.

the list included things like "line of kids waiting for ice cream cones outside of bi-rite", "a transvestite in full dress and makeup", "taco truck", and lots of other things that hold my interest in addition to "make touristy/landmarky shots creative and individual".  i wanted to return with my own visual story of san francisco.

although i returned with some lovely images (and many more lovely memories) of san francisco, i didn't get most of the shots on the list.  even though i stood in line at bi-rite and a taco truck and had a quick and fun conversation with a beautiful transvestite who would have been over-the-moon if asked for a portrait.  i didn't even take a plate shot at zuni.  i mean, how many food shots from everyday restaurants have you seen on this blog?  and then nothing when it comes to culinary perfection!  one early morning, i passed a person asleep on the sidewalk, covered head-to-toe in a cornflower blue sleeping bag.  a sweet puppy's face looked out from underneath the field of blue.  the moment took my breath away.  i stood awestruck at the tenderness and loyalty.  instead of a photo, i smiled and said a little wish for safety and better times ahead and walked away.

in the days that i've been home, i find myself looking at the list and wondering what happened.  i had the time and the equipment and san francisco gave me more than it's share of beauty, humanity, life and color to capture.  i think back to the reason i picked up the canon in the first place.  my life had become so dull to me and i wasn't seeing the beauty of it at all.  my camera taught me to see, really see, the absolute gorgeousness of everyday life.  it is my constant companion, like an imaginary friend.  this relationship was altered when i was in san francisco and i'm exploring the possible reasons behind the disconnect. 

it's still a mystery to me.

Friday, July 16, 2010

happy weekend

this ginormous sunflower screams and waves to me from the side of the road each morning on my drive to work.  he insists that i be joyful, stay upbeat, indulge in the bright side.

what reminds you to be happy?

Monday, July 12, 2010


let's do something sweet and sparkly, shall we? 

Sunday, July 11, 2010


a jolt of something is in order to push me out of this post-california funk i've found myself in.  do you get that persistent blah feeling when you return to real life after a vacation/event/milestone?  part of me is tempted to mill around in the fog a bit to see if i can determine the secret formula for getting my real life closer to the life that thrills and inspires me.  the lines are open friends....any and all advice happily accepted.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

speaking of bookstores

in north beach, at the corner of columbus and broadway, a flock of books descends on the city like spirits of the words and ideas and blue moods and voices of a generation.

city lights sits nexts to vesuvio, separated by kerouac alley.  there is history here.  and you can feel it.

inside you will not find hordes of students taking up browsing and reading space with free wifi and lattes.  you will find a poetry section beyond imagination that invites exploration of the soul written down. 

it's tiny and cramped and old.  the wood and paper and tile and glass hold subtle energy of years of seekers of knowlege, inspiration, respite from a world moving too fast and too slow.

i could have stayed here for hours.  every single book seemed important and worth a look.  there was nothing here that betrayed the spirit of the written word and its true intention.  {there is actually a 'muckraking' section.}

if you find yourself in san francisco and you love books and history and ideas and a part of you holds on to a youthful memory of struggle and a desire to make a difference, you must come here.

{also, the beat museum is right around the corner.}

Friday, July 9, 2010

one hundred things i love {11-20}

11.  hamburgers (and most especially, in-n-out burgers.  i swear sometimes i'm tempted to hop on a plane to cali for this reason alone.)
12.  groups of women in saris
13.  mojitos
14.  picnics
15.  disney classics (esp. lady and the tramp, i was amazed when i watched it as a mom and still knew all the songs by heart from childhood)
16.  stargazing
17.  diner pancakes
18.  riding the odd animal on the the rooster or the ostrich or the giant goat
19.  manners
20.  how walking in a bookstore or library makes me feel instantly smarter

Monday, July 5, 2010

in search of equanimity

i'm stalled at a place of transition between vacation and real life.  each time i journey home to california, it becomes more difficult to reintegrate into the life i have here in virginia.  i've been thinking about this for the last few days.  it's not that i truly want to move back to california, there are just so many things that california represents for me that are mostly absent (or hidden) here.  things like openmindedness, diversity, wholeness, health, adventure, limitlessness, truth.  while i appreciate the gentleness of the south, the overall culture wears on me and i walk through each day with the awareness of how different and separate i am.  it can get lonely.  it felt good to walk with californians for a few days. 

somehow i have to find a way to blend who i am as a native californian with the brighter characteristics of this small southern town.  strength with grace.  expansiveness with comfort.  truth with kindness.  equanimity.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


a girl can get lost in your color and language and touristy crowds.  sometimes that's just what a girl needs to do:  get lost.  there is a frenetic sadness in your air that is oddly comforting.  i squeeze in to the standing-room-only muni.  in the midst of the clamor of a busload of chinese, i find a safe and lonely place to let go.  as we pull away from each stop, i am packed in tight and close with mothers and grandmothers and babies and old men.  the bodies, while individually small and foreign, collectively provide a cushion of security and familiarity.  each time our bus lurches forward from a stop, the recorded voice politely implores me in english, "please hold on."  and each time i do the opposite.  as we rush past the blur of your red lanterns, ancient neon signs, kitschy souvenir fronts and vegetable stands, my heart simultaneously breaks and inches toward wholeness.

Friday, July 2, 2010

five senses friday {san francisco edition}

  • a thousand red silk lanterns blowing in the westerly wind
  • california sunsets.  i miss them.
  • the giant full moon over the city
  • an entire city decorated with rainbows

  • the clank and bells of the trolleys
  • barking sea lions at pier 39
  • packed in tight on the 8x through chinatown
  • the weird silence of a suddenly empty trolley

  • apricot and fig samples at the ferry building farmers market
  • even with all the foodie options the city offers, i must have clam chowder in a boudin sourdough bowl and an anchor steam at least once per visit
  • chrysamthemum and red rose tea
  • the perfection of the carne asada taco with avocado at la taqueria in the mission
  • the zuni burger.  sweet jesus on market st.  the zuni burger.

  • roasting duck and brewing tea
  • salted air
  • it may be my imagination, but i think coffee smells even better while sitting on a park bench at the edge of the city in the cold wind waiting for the sunset

  • the cold pacific rushing in to say hello, welcome back
  • mia (all 104 lbs of her) instinctively putting a protective arm through mine and confidently navigating me through a dodgy section of sidewalk in the tenderloin.  it was total role reversal.  in a good way.
happy weekend friends.  more san francisco memories to come.  there are many.