late winter

the angle of the sun right now, as it sets. sends this great color into my south & east windows.

so, March starts tomorrow. goodbye unfortunately nasty February.

supposedly, Spring is on its way.

though, I have yet to walk outside without scowling at the cold wind.


beyond chairs

in, L.A., stopped at the Eames Gallery.
the three of us are particularly enamored of the Eames'. and one of us wanted to buy a gift for an Eames-obessessed someone.

Ray & Charles Eames are probably most famous, for the Eames chair. But their work in architecture & design influenced an era of design.

Molded plywood. A style light & modular. Or simply modern.
Their influence can be seen by going into EBay and typing in "eames" -- and you will pick up hits described as "eames-style" or "eames-era". From kitchenware to lamps to textile design.

The Gallery had an exhibition of Charles Eames' photos. 100 images. Of the things that inspired him. Took some more pictures-of-pictures. Something I've been having fun with. Because you get to see the photographs, through another lens.

A few more photos over on my Flickr page. Seem especially drawn to images of domesticity.


steve & oscar

the fact that I was in L.A. the same weekend of the Oscars, didn't connect with me, until our drive around Hollywood on Thursday, and K. points out that the red carpet is already set up. I turn, and there, like a huge prop standing on the street corner, is Mr. Oscar.
just like on tv.

that's the thing about L.A. Lots of it is just like TV. It is TV-land, after all. though what you'd never know from watching the Red Carpet pre-Oscar stuff, is that on the other side of the "wall" bulit for the red carpet glamour. is a pizzeria. and a tourist knick-knick shop. and a 24-hour photo. and a quick cash place.

So we walked around the high-security maze of red carpet set-up chaos. and wandered in front of the Grauman's Chinese theater. checking to see if our feet were bigger or smaller, than the footprints of the famous.

So, as Oscar hovered above. I found Steve's signature & imprints. My hand fit nicely in his. It also fit nicely in Matt Damon's. And my feet were the same size as Henry Fonda's.


colors and bits of other cultures

We took a stroll down Olvera Street in downtown LA.

Also, we missed the Chinese Lantern Festival that afternoon. (Chinatown neighbors Olvera Street). Loved the cross-cultural decorations around the park's bandstand. Red lanterns and papel picado banners.

Papel Picado banners. First, I always want to buy one. But I don't, because, what to do with it? Second, I remember in high school art class, Mrs. O., had us make paper cuts. But I can't remember how mined looked. Or, where it went. Seems fun, to try again.

It was cool & rainy, the sun setting fast. People milled about under umbrellas. We stopped in the Plaza Church, the interior bright white with an altar-wall of gold. Despite the inside shimmer, it seemed especially somber, with dark rain falling outside. People silently praying in pews. The altar outside the church door, lined in lit candles. A serene sight in the evening dark. And busy with kneelers, even in the rain. I wanted to photograph the scene. But, felt, again that internal conflict. Whether or not it is a sign of admiration, or an act of disrespect.

The street's marketplace, lined with little shops, & a middle corridor of stands. It looked like mercados in Mexico. Night fell, and the shops & stands glowed.

Of course, the colors caught my attention. And I left bearing little bits of Mexican art. Like big red & turquoise cloth flowers. And a pair of silver filigree earrings. With a peacock design.

Hopefully next time, I'll get to visit Chinatown too.


delicatessen & rugelach

something one misses, living in the small midwest, is the option to be able to eat at someplace, like Canter's in Los Angeles. A 24-hour jewish deli, opened in the 1920's.

A. & I spent a Friday afternoon walking about Hollywood.
(while K. was wowing at an interview for new job) we happened to
stop at Canter's. what caught our attention, simultaneously,
was the view from the front door--of a huge pastry case.
sights & smells of pastry goodness drew us in.

the possibility of eating a pink pastry box of rugelach for lunch was upon us,
until we glanced from the pastry case long enough to see that we were inside a deli. A very large one. And popular, it looked. So we sat. And narrowed-down our picks, from a jam-packed menu.
My turkey melt came on fresh-baked rye, crispy from the griddle. With melted velveeta. Caraway seeds crunched under my teeth. Our fries were golden chunks of potato. And an order of the "world-famous" pickles, were too sour for me. A. said they got better, the more of them you ate.

Above us was a ceiling glass-tiled in fall foliage. All around us were the cafeteria sounds. Bus boys dropping plates into plastic tubs. Water glasses being restocked, clanking around. Muffled kitchen sounds. People asking waiters questions like, How's the Pastrami today?

The longer we were there, and saw the photocopied, framed magazine articles on the walls,
we understood we were sitting someplace...famous. wondered about the movie "deals" that have been made there. or scenes from movies filmed there. famous people. drinking deli coffee, and eating fries.

We ate. And sat out a heavy rain outside.

Then we went back to the pastry case.
Ordered cinnamon rugelach, an almond horn (filled with marzipan and dipped in chocolate) and some chocolate "rolls". The russian chocolate coffee cake beckoned me, but scared me. As it was only sold by the pound. And it looked like something that might have changed my life. Down a road of dessert indulgence. The chocolate Babka was only sold in whole loaves. And I knew it would kill us with butter, if I took one back to K's apartment. (Babka has been fascinating me for awhile, I keep hoping to have an occasion to make one.)
And really, the options were so plentiful. Buttery, flaky, almond-y, chocolate-y goodness. It was overwhelming. And we left without macaroons, cream cheese rugelach, babka, coffee cake or fresh bagels. But what we left with. Made us swoon, nonetheless.

Our pink box sat on K's kitchen table all weekend. And we'd walk by, open it and pick at the goodies.

A. and I, after a weekend of eating, wondered where all the "california" cuisine was. Because nothing we ate in Los Angeles, would keep us a California-size Zero.


starting next week...

seed starting can begin.
plans for planting, have already begun.

from my notes, first the Gomphrena "Strawberry Fields"
and then, the basils. Genovese & Siam Queen. (so far)
(I'm wondering how fun it would be to also grow cinnamon basil, or lemon basil--might have to try that at mom's, since I've got limited growing space)

I simply can't wait. for the whole process to begin again.

little pots of dirt, soaking in sun on windowsills. sprouting.


butterflies found the blanket

the butterflies are getting attached.

only five-ish weeks left before I give it away.


cold nights

the sunsetting that hit my trees, from over my neighbor's house. seems like the only color nature has to give. lately. and it was so fiery brilliant.

from icy cold rains, to snow and frozen rain. our winter has succeeded in its seasonal duties. and as it lingers, we continue our exhausted wait, to see signs of Spring again.

seems like a good time to take a trip to southern California.



the seed catalog.
full of promises.
of spring & summer. of the warm sun. and wearing flip-flops. of insects buzzing.

the standard, has been Burpee. probably b/c it was always around Mom's house.

though I've begun to feel lately, that I should be a better citizen/gardener, and begin to focus on the more organic, heritage, exchange seeds. Like Seed Savers.

But a few weeks ago, when the colorful Burpee arrived. On a horridly cold day. And I ordered some of these. And they've already arrived.

("Fordhook" nasturtiums)

("State Fair" zinnias)

So many options. Basil. Rudbeckia. Cosmos. Daisies. Sweetpeas. Moonflowers. Hollyhocks. Need to get a garden plan on paper. And order more seeds.


being winter positive, as a last resort

time to not dwell so much on the dregs of winter.

as my dear friend Q., up in Montana, has reminded me. there are good things about winter. so I've come up with a little list.
-- having reasons to drink hot chocolate or hot spicy tea
-- baking bread doesn't turn my house into an oven
--wool socks & sweaters, so cozy
--the cute factor of my nephew when all bundled up, stomping around in his little winter boots
--lots of time to read, since there is nothing to do outside
--garden planning & seed ordering
--Spring feels like a big present in the mail, when it finally arrives

Spring photo, last year, March 21 2007. (Almost there!)


more winter fell

i've run out of things to say, about,



tonight, I went to a caucus. my plan to volunteer & vote, and hoped that our turnout would be good--despite the oncoming snow storm.

tonight, I stood in a room of 600 people, from my little senate district, and watched them count themselves off. starting in one corner, a person said "one" and we went around the room, through the crowd, until every person had a chance to yell the next number. I am #328.
and in the next room, went the count for the other candidates.

they expected no more than 300. They got 846. And the lines were long. And some people complained. But most people joked about how of course, no one expected such a turnout.

I didn't take a picture, I was too busy helping people get registered. But I did stand up on a chair, during the "count," I was standing, because I wanted to see each face as they yelled out a number.

I felt like I was really taking part in a Democratic process. There we all stood, each person with a voice & a vote. And in the end, despite the hours of standing & waiting, we were done, and we all cheered & applauded. Because we did it. Because like Obama says, "ordinary people can still do extraordinary things"

We are ordinary people. Ordinary people who live, and take part in, our democracy. And we did an extraordinary thing tonight. Even right here, in Kansas.


great things list #6, voting

it is a big day for Democracy. this Super Tuesday.

so tonight, I'll be voting. As a Kansan, that
means, I'll be heading to a caucus.
Where I've also volunteered to help with registration
and counting heads.

I'm actually calm today. November 4th, will likely be the day o' emotional moments.
(usually election days give me surges of choked-up emotions. because of pride, fear, thankfulness, community, hope and, the Constitution.)

because, though sometimes a flawed process, a Democracy it is still
a great process.

of the people, by the people, for the people.


February is a harsh month.

I think of February as a trial, we have to go through, to deserve Spring.

It feels like the worst month. The weary daylight filtered
by winter air. My skin dry & blotchy & lifelessly pale.

In the middle of it, sits this "holiday" of pink & red & candy hearts,
diamond commercials & the antique idea of romance.

But at the end of it, March shows up. With nights not always below-freezing.
Starting of little green things, to poke up from under frozen layers.


when photos came from film

so, as my friends will think to themselves, "it's about freakin' time"-- but, I finally purchased a backup hard drive. for how long it took me, you'd think I'd been contemplating buying a summer home. so, now, the next time my laptop goes black and loses my hard drive--I'll actually have it backed up.

this leads me to comment, that I've not yet put together my list of things-to-do-2008, but when I do, I think one of them will be to start archiving all of my photos taken before the digital age.

scanning these will be important. but a fun way, is to also, just take a photo of them with my camera. the true integrity of the photo is lost, but also, the photos themselves become...photos. and in a sense, a new art form. as I've been playing around with this technique, I've learned that how I represent the photo in a new photograph, changes the image. I don't suppose I'm explaining this correctly. but I'm having fun with it, regardless. (this is where my "Turkey" photos down below, came from)

the image above include two of my great-aunts, and a bushel of kids. my mother being the cutie, 2nd from the right. it was likely taken on my great-grandparent's front porch, the big old white house in town. I have two memories of that house. the glass doors opening into a living room, with a big old christmas tree. and the bright kitchen, that smelled of almonds & vanilla.