Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wrapping it up

Can't believe the last day of August is already here! Thanks for coming along for the ride! I've really enjoyed participating in the August Break this month and spending more time capturing my world with my funny little camera. It's also been striking to me what a different month August was from July. July really was the month of savoring. Right off the bat August felt different - a little more jittery, a little more anxious, a little more angry, a little more "cooking". But this has been a nice project to bring me back to what does give me joy, what adds to my sense of ease and comfort in the world. Hope you've enjoyed it, too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

They have it all...

May not be a surprise to learn that I've never actually been to Finch's Country Store, although their signage has delighted me for years.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Magical disappearing - and reappearing - house

For some reason I consistently get these two local corner lots confused:

I'm sure I shouldn't be admitting this. I make this drive practically every day and have for over a decade. But even after having stopped to take these pictures today, I still find myself struggling over which one I would see first in my drive, what they're across from, etc. This is not a common problem for me, but there's just something about these two particular corners. And what's been interesting to me is how depending on what corner I actually notice in my drive, in the back of my mind I'll think, "Oh, that's too bad that they tore that pretty old house down." Or, "Well, there's that house again. That's weird." Do I really think life is so magical?

Apparently so, because earlier this summer I had a total love affair with our local toads. Every night, when I was putting our bird feeders away (anti-raccoon maneuver) I would stop and look around for toads and then crouch down near them and send them all kinds of loving energy. Like some kind of crazy maitri practice: "Oh, cute little toad, I hope that only good things happen to you and you stay safe and nothing bad ever happens to you. Oh, you are the cutest, most wonderful toad in the world!" Well, after another impassioned toad blessing, this happened:

Only not so fast and not so bright. Just that all of a sudden his heart lit up, like in E.T. And honestly, I really did think for a second or two that it was an expression of the toad's love for me, too. But of course, he had only eaten a firefly. Still, that's kind of magical, or at least it is to me.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Grilled fish tacos

Hooray for a delicious lunch with wonderful friends! Love Chili Burrito!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Desk time

I gain so much inspiration from the blogs I read, and these days it's nice to have a desk covered with pop-up pals to keep me company. Anyone recognize Brene Brown's wonderful Ordinary Courage in the background?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"Last Night as I was Sleeping"

I've fallen totally in love with this poem by Antonio Machado, translated and read here by Robert Bly. 4SeasonsProductions did a gorgeous job on this!

My bliss

"In the words of the late Joseph Campbell, we have to 'follow our bliss,' find something that wholly involves and enthralls us, even if it seems hopelessly unfashionable and unproductive, and throw ourselves into this, heart and soul. As the foundress of my religious order used to say: 'Do what you are doing!' My 'bliss' has been the study of theology. For other people it may be a career in law or politics, a marriage, a love affair, or the raising of children. But that bliss provides us with a clue: if we follow it to the end, it will take us to the heart of life."
~ Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness

My bliss these days is losing myself in thoughtful spiritual memoirs. And yours?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Provence Breads & Cafe

"Most discussions on TV news shows involve so-called experts shouting simplistic opinions at each other. They may provide some meager entertainment value, but are rarely enlightening. In contrast to these paltry spectacles were the salons at Paris's Cafe Guerbois in 1869. A group of hard-working artists and writers gathered there to inspire each other. The painter Claude Monet wrote that their discussions 'sharpened one's wits, encouraged frank and impartial inquiry, and provided enthusiasm that kept us going for weeks . . . One always came away feeling more involved, more determined, and thinking more clearly and distinctly.' That's the kind of dynamic interaction you should seek out in abundance, Scorpio."
~ Rob Brezsny's weekly horoscope

OK, so this isn't the Cafe Guerbois, but I've certainly had my share of inspiring conversations in the Provence Cafe.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I set myself a goal to make 50 pop-up pals for the Squam Art Fair next month and totally surprised myself by somehow managing to hit that number this past weekend. So anything past this is gravy:) I'm looking forward to taking these little guys on the road.

Monday, August 23, 2010


When I lived in my first solo apartment in Boston I loved to climb out one of the windows and sit on the fire escape and take in the scene. One of my favorite landmarks was the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square. Now this is my gas station of choice. Not surprising.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wood Thrush Shop

This is another favorite place of mine. They've supplied all my birding needs for at least a decade. I love this wonderful place and the friendly folks who run it, especially the owner, John.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Bonus post

I adore Nina Simone, having discovered her via Before Sunset and that amazing last scene. When this song showed up on Jen Gray's playlist over on Gypsy Girl's Guide last week I knew I'd have to share it with you all. Hope you enjoy this fun surprise!

The Spiral Staircase

"When I entered my convent, I thought I had embarked on a mystical adventure like that of Percival and the other knights of the Grail, but instead of finding my own path, I had to follow somebody else's. Instead of striking out on my own, I had conformed to a way of life and modes of thought that had often seemed alien. As a result, I found myself in a wasteland, an inauthentic existence, in which I struggled mightily but fruitlessly to do what I was told. Even after I left the convent, I continued to follow goals that were not right for me, 'desiring this man's gift and that man's scope.' I had too clear a preconceived idea of what I was supposed to be, and was not open to new possibilities. So again I got lost in the wasteland. I had been repeatedly warned, for example, that I was not suited to the academic life, yet I had plowed stubbornly on. I longed to be like everybody else, with a warm family life and a successful career. But I was no more suited to university or school teaching then to the glitzy lifestyle of the television personality. No wonder each of these enterprises had ended in disaster. These were professions that brought fulfillment to other people, but they were not for me. Now circumstances had forced me to find my own track and enter the forest at a point that I myself had chosen, where there was no established path."

~ Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness

I started The Spiral Staircase during my bus ride to work on Monday morning and it had me from the first paragraph of the preface. I have no recollection of how I found this memoir, but it has been a thoroughly nourishing read, reminding me of the intense pleasure of being absorbed in a good book and the honor of being invited into an author's life, shared with honesty and vulnerability. In response to this experience, a section from Mary Oliver's "Wild Geese" has been running through my head this week:

"Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pakistan Flood Disaster Relief

Photo credit: Majeed/Getty

After our troubles in May, the news from Pakistan is heartbreaking. Should you feel moved to help, there are great resources on this page, including a super easy way to text your donation.


Everyone who knows me well knows that I inherited my love of my neighborhood grocery store from my mom. But instead of Food Town Town (or were there three "Towns"?), my store of choice is Publix. I love everything about it, from the mellow parking lot and crepe myrtles to the friendly, helpful staff. Publix is my home away from home.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Contributor vendors

The Contributor newspaper describes itself as: "Nashville's street newspaper. We strive to print a monthly paper that provides both a diversity of perspectives on homelessness and a source of income for homeless and formerly homeless individuals while creating community between vendors and customers."

Because of my work, I'm already friends with a lot of the vendors. I agree that The Contributor provides a wonderful opportunity for people to have a relationship with people they might not otherwise interact with and to read good, thoughtful writing about a complex situation. I love our Contributor vendors!

Update: I just discovered a powerful project, documenting the faces of homelessness, Invisible People. These videos break my heart. I know some of the faces of homelessness. I also know the sense of helplessness to make a difference. What can we do? For now, the best I can do is keep asking the question with an open heart and love for my brothers and sisters who are struggling, helping in the small ways I am able.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Unintended beauty

There are two things in my workplace that delight me with their unintended beauty:

The fact that these bulbs have been changed at different times, with different brands I'm guessing, means that the lights have different hues. One day I looked up and I thought Dan Flavin!

And I love seeing the different images that peek out from the holes in the bookends. So fun the way the images get cropped and how it's kind of like a Memory game, where similar themes will run from shelf to shelf:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lounging materials

How I love lounging with my recent loot!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


"The key seems to be to find a restful yet attentive presence in the midst of our work, to open up a spaciousness even in the center of our responsibility. To find some source of energy other than our constant applications of effort and will."
~ David Whyte
Crossing the Unknown Sea: Work as a Pilgrimage of Identity

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My other car is the Nashville MTA

Hooray for the Nashville MTA! Not the biggest transit system, but I love the limited service it does offer me. I feel so grateful to the mostly friendly drivers who allow me to arrive at work and home unstressed and well-read.

Monday, August 9, 2010

My golden palomino, my magic broomstick

Who knew when I kept postponing getting my driver's license as a teen, that one day I would come to love driving the back roads of Tennessee? I love my little car, I love these back roads, I love this place.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The best company

Does it get better than a plate of delicious food with guacamole on it and my handsome husband sitting across from me? I love our dinner conversations. You never know what we'll talk about - art, music, politics, underpants gnomes...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Our New Favorite Toy

I love the display on our new amp. For some reason it reminds me of Wong Kar Wai's 2046. I keep picturing a big round window... Am I making this up, David?:)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Nonie's Teacups

Just finished Laura Munson's memoir about her atypical response to a troubled time in her marriage: This Is Not The Story You Think It Is... A Season of Unlikely Happiness. I was really drawn in by the book - couldn't put it down. Today's picture reminds me of a section describing care and family and home and comfort, things that served her well in this difficult period.

"...the women in our family prized their fragile things. Like I said, they took care of them and passed them on, and they've lasted. They whisper, one generation to the next, that a family existed. In some level of comfort. Some level of safety. A long time ago. And when pulled from that china cabinet and arranged around a table, that family and all its toiled-after and inherited comfort exists now, if only in the new family, paying homage to tradition."

You can read more about her story here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Extra post for today

Thanks to Susannah and Mati Rose, you get an extra post for today with a completely magical video. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Farm Flowers

Happy Birthday, Katie!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Super Savorer

So, as you may have read in my post last week, I’ve recently re-opened my dialogue with… I guess… life? It’s hard for me to put into a word. I think other people would call it God, probably. For me, it’s silence, the deep, rich, wise silence of the life that we are all a part of. As I mentioned, David Whyte and Trish Ryan really inspired me to come back into relationship with this. And I’ve been listening really carefully to see if there’s anything I’ve been missing, any wrong path I might have headed down, anything my life wants from me that I haven’t been attending to. And in that listening and that silence I’ve become deeply aware of how beautiful my life is just as it is. And maybe it’s also partly the sultry summer weather in the South, but I find myself just savoring my life. During this August Break I’ll be sharing some of the things I find myself savoring these days. How is your life currently bringing you joy?