things I like this week, vol. 38

Faux sherling-lined velvet mouse slippers, which I would find a way to wear everywhere.

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Hell yes, Amanda Palmer. Hell yes.
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Could be useful.

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A NY Times article entitled "Battle of the Somm," which explained a good deal of jargon as well as some interesting tidbits, my favorite of which was:
Although the cheapest wines ANCHOR prices on a list, Somms are anxious to offer good wines at every PRICE POINT and often take pride in finding excellent wines for the shallow end of the list. However, many diners are embarrassed to order the cheapest wine on offer and erroneously suppose there is some magic inherent in the second-cheapest bottle.
The bolded, capped vocab words got a bit obnoxious, though.

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Found it while looking for a good stock photo of blues dancers.

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Ode to Broken Things
Things get broken 
at home 
like they were pushed 
by an invisible, deliberate smasher. 
It's not my hands 
or yours 
It wasn't the girls 
with their hard fingernails 
or the motion of the planet. 
It wasn't anything or anybody 
It wasn't the wind 
It wasn't the orange-colored noontime 
Or night over the earth 
It wasn't even the nose or the elbow 
Or the hips getting bigger 
or the ankle 
or the air. 
The plate broke, the lamp fell 
All the flower pots tumbled over 
one by one. That pot 
which overflowed with scarlet 
in the middle of October, 
it got tired from all the violets 
and another empty one 
rolled round and round and round 
all through winter 
until it was only the powder 
of a flowerpot, 
a broken memory, shining dust.

And that clock 
whose sound 
the voice of our lives, 
the secret 
thread of our weeks, 
which released 
one by one, so many hours 
for honey and silence 
for so many births and jobs, 
that clock also 
and its delicate blue guts 
among the broken glass 
its wide heart 

Life goes on grinding up 
glass, wearing out clothes 
making fragments 
breaking down 
and what lasts through time 
is like an island on a ship in the sea, 
surrounded by dangerous fragility 
by merciless waters and threats.

Let's put all our treasures together 
-- the clocks, plates, cups cracked by the cold -- 
into a sack and carry them 
to the sea 
and let our possessions sink 
into one alarming breaker 
that sounds like a river. 
May whatever breaks 
be reconstructed by the sea 
with the long labor of its tides. 
So many useless things 
which nobody broke 
but which got broken anyway.
 - Pablo Neruda (of course), trans. Jodey Bateman

. . .

It's not so much to ask for a huge library with vaulted ceilings, is it?


Christmas is here (and gone) again

I meant to make this post Christmas day - and I meant to take pictures with a camera better than my iPhone - but neither happened, and I'm posting them anyway. I always love seeing other people's holiday traditions, and I am naively assuming you do, too.

The tree, complete with presents.

Always a real tree.

A relic from the 70's - my parents had the album on cassette and it defined the holidays for me as a child.

Rather spring-timey for Christmas Eve dinner, but I enjoyed it anyway - this is the first time I've actually used my grandmother's china, despite being in possession of it for several years. It was my first year making the traditional French-Canadian tourtière,too, but I didn't take any pictures of that, for though it was delicious, the top crust broke.

Eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, chocolate croissant, coffee that soon had Bailey's and peppermint schnapps in it, and a mimosa. Heaven.

The cat in Christmas-cheer mode.

And the final Christmas tradition: White Christmas.


thoughts on the end of the world

On this now apparently post-apocalyptic Friday evening, I thought a poetic reflection on doomsday might be refreshing (especially after all those incessant Facebook memes). 

Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
- Robert Frost

I am particularly amused by this poem when you factor in the possible implications of the author's last name.


things I like this week, vol. 37

James Franco's Ideal Bookshelf.

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. . .

Machu Picchu in 16 Gigapixels.

. . .

Life is transitory.

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First, when you're developing a custom fragrance, it’s about really listening to the client. I ask about their past, where they are, where they want to be—so that I can really try to distill their story down to its essence. Then I select, and we explore oils with histories and stories that might resonate with this essence of the client, really bring out its beauty, its complexity. I mean, you can't have reverence if there's no history, no intention. You may like vanilla, for example—but why, how? Ultimately, I look for a real context and concept for the fragrance composition in the layers of these relationships between the plants’ essences and the client’s essence. so that the fragrance becomes the way they all connect. This connection is so layered and meaningful that when the client smells or wears it, they really feel something special, something no longer ordinary . . .
- Haley Alexander Von Oosten, as told to ITG

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"The Last Smoke," available as a poster, which I want.

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 And other smoky cocktail, this one easy enough that I might try, from here:

Hazy Whiskey Cocktail by Gather Journal
A couple of whole cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon, broken into pieces
2 oz rye whiskey
1/2 oz B+B liquer
1 dash Angostura bitters
1 strip orange zest
1. Chill a snifter or tumbler in the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. Place the cloves an cinnamon on a small heatproof plate. Using a kitchen torch or a butane lighter, burn the spices until they begin to smoke. Invert the chilled glass over the spices to trap the smoke.
3. Combine the whiskey, B+B and bitters in a separate ice filled glass. Stir. Flip over the smoky glass and strain the mixture into it. Add the orange zest. Drink. Enjoy. Repeat.

 , , ,

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Another 20x200: The White Oaks.
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Iman on the subjects of her hairdresser and parenting:
But he does my daughter’s hair also, because she’s the same as me. Actually, he came in and gave her a few fuchsia streaks in her hair. I’m cool with the fuchsia streaks. And my husband [David Bowie] can’t say anything! Once, my daughter saw the pictures of Ziggy Stardust and she said, ‘Why are you wearing makeup?’ And he was like, ‘Why didn’t she say anything about my hair?’ [Laughs] He just said, ‘It was the ‘70s.’ We all tell her, ‘Oh, it was the ‘70s!’—we tell her that for anything! She’ll say, ‘Oh, you smoked,’ and we say, ‘It was the ‘70s.’ [Laughs]
. . .

Christmas decorating of all kinds.
. . .

When I am working on a book or a story I write every morning as soon after first light as possible. There is no one to disturb you and it is cool or cold and you come to your work and warm as you write. You read what you have written and, as you always stop when you know what is going to happen next, you go on from there. You write until you come to a place where you still have your juice and know what will happen next and you stop and try to live through until the next day when you hit it again. You have started at six in the morning, say, and may go on until noon or be through before that. When you stop you are as empty, and at the same time never empty but filling, as when you have made love to someone you love. Nothing can hurt you, nothing can happen, nothing means anything until the next day when you do it again. It is the wait until the next day that is hard to get through.
- Hemingway on writing, quoted in a fantastic post entitled "The Daily Routines of Famous Writers."

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I was going to post a different excerpt from this page, but given the events of this past weekend, this one seemed more appropriate instead.

"All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten," by Robert Fulgham
All of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned…

Share everything.
Play fair.
Don't hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don't take things that aren't yours.
Say sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Give them to someone who feels sad.
Live a balanced life.
Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day.
Take a nap every afternoon.
Be aware of wonder.

Remember the little seed in the plastic cup? The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Everything you need to know is in there somewhere.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.