Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I'm not a quote collector, although I think I could be. I'm drawn to beautiful lines that take your breath away. Like a recent snippet I found in V.W.'s "To the Lighthouse:"

...when the girl spoke, as, after a flight through the sunshine the wings of a bird fold themselves quietly and the blue of its plumage changes from bright steel to soft purple.

One of my favorite teachers from grad school assigned once that we make a list of quotes we found relevant and helpful to our poetry practice. I love this type of assignment and, student or not, it would be a good exercise for anyone. Sifting through poems, favorite novels, essays, criticism and Buddhist thought, I found a few gems. Ones that hit me upon reading and I underlined them, maybe I carelessly dog-eared their page, but most likely they were forgotten later. It's been over a year since the assignment. Upon revisiting this list, I discovered many of the quotes I found related to fearlessness, or learning to face fear, or dipping towards the depths (Lorca's duende, Notley's descent) as a final pit stop before clarity, ownership, freedom.

I thought I would share some of these quotes today on my blog. Over time I've found a few more, so I included those too. Maybe they can be as useful to you, readers, as they've been to me. (and please feel free to send me some of your favorite quotes!)

“We” “who are nature” “when nothing else is,” “we are all/trapped below” “We can only go” “down” “farther down—“/”Down” “is now the only way” “to rise” “come & wait with us”/“wait with us” “to descend”

- Alice Notley from "The Descent of Alette"

It is not true that the more you love, the better you understand; all that the action of love obtains from me is merely this wisdom: that the other is not to be known...I am then seized with that exaltation of loving someone unknown, someone who will remain so forever: a mystic impulse: I know what I do not know.

- Roland Barthes from his book "A Lover's Discourse"

It is terrible to survive
as consciousness
buried in the dark earth.

Then it was over: that which you fear, being
a soul and unable
to speak, ending abruptly, the stiff earth
bending a little. And what I took to be
birds darting in low shrubs.

You who do not remember
passage from the other world
I tell you I could speak again:

- Louise Glück from her poem The Wild Iris

Tigers above, tigers below. This is actually the predicament that we are always in, in terms of our birth and death. Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life, it might be the only strawberry we'll ever eat. We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the prociousness of every single moment of our life.

- Pema Chödrön from her book "The Wisdom of No Escape"

The appearance of the duende always presupposes a radical change of all forms based on old structures. It gives a sensation of freshness wholly unknown, having the quality of a newly created rose, of miracle, and produces in the end an almost religious enthusiasm.

The duende, on the other hand, does not appear if it sees no possibility of death, if it does not know that it will haunt death’s house, if it is not certain that it can move those branches we all carry, which neither enjoy nor ever will enjoy any solace.

- Federico García Lorca from his essay on the Duende

I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you.

- Elizabeth Gilbert from her book "Eat Pray Love"

and just for fun...

And I don't know how it gets better than this / You take my hand and drag me head first / Fearless / And I don't know why but with you I'd dance / In a storm in my best dress / Fearless

- Taylor Swift from her album "Fearless"

***photograph of Kate Winslet by Annie Leibovitz***

Monday, June 28, 2010

Proud City

This past weekend in San Francisco, we celebrated Pride. And as you can imagine, this city goes ALL OUT. One of the main reasons I love it here is because Pride is an outright expression of the city's high standards in regards to acceptance, openness and individuality. Be whoever you want to be, is the message I take away from Pride. This message works for me because it doesn't simply apply to orientation. It carries over to anyone in need of strength during times of soul searching or personal awakening. Many movements have begun in the Bay Area and I can't help but believe it's because of the incredible thinkers, poets, artists, naturalists and activists who flock to its open arms and are embraced within its gorgeous landscape.

Pride offers many festivities, parades, marches etc. but this year I was looking forward to attending one film in particular at the Frameline 34 film festival. On Pink Saturday I popped into the Victoria Theater to watch The Chorus, a documentary directed by Thierry Vivier. The film centers around the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus, and is in dialogue with a documentary made 18 years ago about the group. The stories of the men, though often hard to watch in their raw emotions, are both moving and inspirational. The film is a reminder of human resilience, as well as a person's ability to endure hardship through positive energy. The spirit evoked is through love and friendship, but also through song. Many of the songs from the film stayed in my head for the rest of the day, and even echo at this moment. ("Bring Him Home" from Les Misérables is one of the songs sung beautifully by the singers). Watching this film reminded me of how fulfilled I am by this fine town. Lately I've spent a lot of time enjoying SF on foot. Here are some photographs I've taken along the way:

Above we have, the Mission Dolores on a bright blue day, Twin Peaks fighting the fog and performers doing their annual dancin' in the street on Pride. They are not to be missed. And just outside the city, along Highway 1...

A magical beach called Devil's Slide. I love the city, but sometimes you have to get away to appreciate it even more. Within, among, around.

p.s. Did we just have an earthquake?
p.p.s. Yes we did! Gotta love SF...

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I am not Landon Donavon. (Before yesterday I didn't know who he was!) I did not score a winning goal at the end of yesterday's game during stoppage time. (Stoppage time...different than "over" time. I learned this too). I don't play for the U.S. "futball" team. (I made a fool of myself at a pub on Saturday when I asked, where was the Galaxy's David Beckham?) However, despite my lack of mind-bending footwork and my shameless ignorance in regards to soccer, I am, according to a group of macaroni-n-cheese tasting party-goers, The "Mac" Daddy.

Last night at Maggie's 2nd Annual Mag-a-roni and Cheese party, I baked and presented the Barefoot Contessa's mac-n-cheese recipe that I find to be the cheesiest, the richest, the best. Topped with tomatoes and bread crumbs, it's the nutmeg and the Gruyère that seal the deal on this one. Rather, won. After everyone's sampled and tried the array of dishes (I was quite taken with the "apple pie mac-n-cheese" as well as a "whole wheat spicy mac-n-cheese"), we vote for The Mac Daddy (overall best-in-show) and The Daddy Mac (most creative). Without voting for myself or any foul-play (minus one-or-two solicits), I managed to nail this one. Yes, it's really those small triumphs that get us through the day, am I right?

I didn't get a very good pic of my dish (which I renamed "Nut-Meg-a-Roni" -- sorry, Ina) but I did want to share the picture I took of Maggie's "Texas Style Pinwheels" -- or rather the evidence of how divinely good it was. All gone! Like I told her last night, it's all about the pinwheels and extra sharp cheddar. Muah!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Solstice Sunset on Baker Beach

quick note: the silhouetted figure on top was a runner who kept going back and forth and back and forth on the beach -- quite the exercising devotee. The other silhouette was a fiddler and her photographer. While the camera shot away, the player jumped up and down and up and down throughout the length of the sunset -- bow in hand and fiddle cradling chin.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Go Long

Today is the summer solstice
where we celebrate the light and the sky.

There is much to see in all this time we have
better find the highest height so nothing's missed.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Simple Footpath

One of the perks to my reunion weekend in Maine was catching up with my lovely friend Karen who, not only lives in Portland and is recently engaged to be married, but she spent 6 months last year hiking the entire Appalachian Trail! While living in Portland for a short while, I spent a lot of cozy times with Karen and, aside from watching re-runs of "Beverly Hills 90210" and eating copious amounts of Thai food (Bangkok Thai, anyone?), I remember her telling me her future plans of hiking the A.T.

At the time, I could barely imagine how anyone could accomplish such a feat. I mean, get a load of this mileage:

It's far, no? Anyway, I should have known that Karen would be that person. Her energy is boundless, as is her ability to inspire with an accomplishment such as tackling the 2,178 mile trail from start to finish. Here are a few fun facts:
  • The Appalachian trail is the first completed national scenic trail, designated in 1968.
  • It crosses six other units of the national park system.
  • The trail traverses eight national forests.
  • It touches 14 states and houses more than 2,000 occurrences of rare, threatened, endangered, and sensitive plant and animal species at about 535 sites.
  • Lowest elevation: 124 feet – near the Trailside Museum and Zoo at Bear Mountain, New York
  • Highest elevation: 6,625 feet – on Clingmans Dome in Tennessee
  • It takes approximately 5 million footsteps to walk the entire length of the Trail.
Fascinating, right??? Needless to say, I'm obsessed and Karen is a rock star! My first night in Maine I stole her away for a minute (or mo-o-re) to look at her photo albums documenting the trek, while simultaneously grilling her about this epic 6 month adventure. She began in March at Springer Mountain in Georgia and finished in September at Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine.

This picture of Karen was the one that gave me chills. She looks so happy and content. It's exactly how one should appear while they are following their path.

These photos were taken on Max Patch, an A.T. summit in North Carolina. I can say with certainty, I want to be on it.

Talking to Karen made me want to hike the A.T. (oh so badly) and now I have an itch that just won't go away (and it's not from the mosquitoes, I tell you, although they did have quite the lovefest with my right ankle).

Considering a go at the Appalachian Trail is definitely something I can safely think about in ways that are both goal-oriented and dream-like. I could really use the kinds of challenges and triumphs that come with such an emotional experience as setting out on an almost 3,000 adventure all on your own! How liberating! Just imagining the journey makes me feel alive...what more could you ask for? Seeing how Karen lit up talking about the trail, made me yearn for a similar zest, a lively rush! It will come, I know it will...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Up with the Lark

One summer (in Italy) I read Mrs. Dalloway, alongside The Hours - a pairing I highly recommend. This summer (in San Francisco) I will read To the Lighthouse. I started it tonight, waiting for Sarah at the Attic. I saw it on my shelf as I ran out the door to meet her. I thought, this is what I need. Right now. The blurb on the back (as if it's Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - the "other" book I'm reading - swaying me, read me!) says, "As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramseys face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and its greatest triumph - the human capacity for change." Walking down Bartlett Street, I thought, this is for me. However Virginia Woolf portrays the handling of change, I will abide by her approach. Green curry on the stove, sun just parting ways
with a street too low to catch up with it.

p.s. Having trouble with my Maine post...maybe I just need some time?

p.p.s. I'm sorry, but is V.W.'s swept back hair not the most effortlessly elegant thing you've ever seen?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hello in There

Ooooh, just a bit groggy after a weekend jaunt to Maine and back.
Not quite ready to enter back into the blog world
but after I upload my 500 pictures from my 5 year college reunion
I'll have something better to say!

For now, I feel safe just sitting tight with these photographs of Joan Baez,
whose portrayal on "American Masters" last Sunday night on PBS made me fall
in love with her again because she has a beautiful voice and she seems to be
a genuinely good person, so much so that I trust she'll keep poem, sweet poem cozy for now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

indie mart

San Francisco's skyline carved into a piece of wood. Now that's why I went to the indie mart! On Sunday I made the long walk over to Potrero to see what all our local artists are making and what all our local scavengers are finding. For example, I fell in love with these 2 vendors, Francesca and Jory. Together they created "Little Curiosities," a collection of vintage gems and antique home goods. Here was their space:

Although I was tempted by their selection of needlepoint pillows, I spent some time looking through their array of old photographs. I found some that dated back to 1911, 1948 and 1955. It reminded me of how enjoyable it is to go to a flea market or paper mart and sift through boxes of photos. In the moment, though, their pics were exactly what I wanted. As a summer project, I plan to customize greeting cards and thank-you notes with them.

Another vendor had a fabulous supply of "tiny" photographs. I didn't catch his name but he has a store located on Valencia, called Room 4. I pass it probably every day but there's just something special about the things he chose for the indie mart and it made me want to peer into his merchandise. When I got to the box of tiny photographs, I went a little nuts! They're just going to be so perfect for smaller cards. Room 4's vendor also had this blue phone for sale. It reminds me of the movie "The Parent Trap." That's something I would have loved about being a kid in the 50's and 60's - talking on clunky colorful telephones!

When I got home from the long sweaty outing, I splayed all my curios on the floor and put together collages with them. Without paper and glue, collages can just be spontaneous and momentary. No commitment. It reminded me of when I was younger and used to cut up old magazines and make collages for friends. Sometimes it's fun to forget all your woes and let loose through craft and creativity.

I love the woman in the car...on the go!

She might be my favorite!

I like them too! Camping trip in Yosemite perhaps?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Wouldn't It Be Nice

It isn't rare in the Bay Area for a beautiful, 80 degree Saturday to start off looking a little gray.
Early morning at Rodeo Beach, the waves broke. The surfers took a hit, or two. Now if only the fog would do as the waves do. Break away. We knew it just had to be. We saw the sun and blue peaking through.

Little did we know it was waiting for us, to carry on our merry way back over the bridge and into the city. And there among the headlands, things really took off.

The blue sky has a say, and so do we: It's going to be a great biking day!

Wouldn't it be nice if it could last forever?

So let it, we say. Hours later (but who tells time in times like these) in the Sunset, with the sunset on its way, it's hard not to get picture happy. Jess took this of me, laughing. These shell wind-chimes aren't going anywhere.

Daylight dinner at Outerlands after a hot, sun-kissed afternoon. It's the only way to go, really. Biscuits and duck gravy.

Seafood stew...

...and cauliflower soup. Another way to go,

home along the road. Wouldn't it be nice if the sun came back tomorrow

and left us just the same.