Saturday, June 30, 2012

Blogging as a Guest on a Borrowed Computer

1.  I am a guest in someone's home upstate and am using their computer a little nervously.

2.  My finger is still bleeding.

3.  There was a little library at the city pool.  The only book in the racks I could remotely relate to was the collected plays of Joe Orton.  I read them poolside.  Joe Orton is a pretty amazing dead person.   Sad about Joe.

4.  Speaking of death, tonight we stayed up late to watch The Descendants on a very large tv screen.

an amano day & my amazing dead people



(here's probably my favorite hildegard piece.  long, but worth it.)

julie, here are the dead people i'd like to meet:

1. hildegard von bingen

2. gertrude stein

3. jesus

4. sojourner truth

5. charlotte corday

& here's a list of my day:

1.  lunch at black sheep cafe with our former guest blogger and resident GITP bio-ethicist teresa blankmeyer burke.

2. laundry.

3.  ice cream from homemade ice cream stand on the corner, from the amano chocolatier's 12 year-old son, with amano chocolate chips. (he's been out there practically every day this summer.  yesterday he made cinnamon ice cream, today sour cream strawberry and amano chocolate chip.)

4. dinner with visiting pianist keith kirchoff and composer & musicologist michael hicks at pizzeria 712.

5. "more than dessert amano chocolate cake", thus proclaimed by chocolate connoissuer/fanatic m. hicks.

6. late-night chat on front lawn with teresa.

7. just starting american version of girl with the dragon tattoo.  i think i won't make it very far into the film before nodding off. . . .

8. (graded for online class). (wildfires still raging, it seems like it might be the end of the world.  hard to breathe.)

9. thought about, but didn't write, new poem.

10. answered interview questions for a blog i'll be appearing on next week (stay tuned!)






Friday, June 29, 2012

Cut Finger Blogging

1. In Saratoga, NY, which is mentioned in the Carly Simon's "You're So Vain."

2. Had dinner at famed Hattie's.  Waited an hour to get in.

3.  Cut my finger badly; can barely type.  Plus, don't want to bleed on keyboard.

birthday cake

my favorite cake, cream meringue tart cockaigne



julie, our birthdays are coming up.  what kind of cake are you craving this year?

have you read this week's horoscope from rob brezsny?  do you follow him?  

everyone, if you don't get your horoscope from brezsny sent to your inbox every week, do it now! he's my favorite.

here it is:  

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Every 10,000 years or so, reports the
*Weekly World News,* hell actually does freeze over. A rare storm brings
a massive amount of snow and ice to the infernal regions, and even the
Lake of Fire looks like a glacier. "Satan himself was seen wearing earmuffs
and making a snowman," the story says about the last time it happened. I
foresee a hell-freezes-over type of event happening for you in the coming
months, Cancerian -- and I mean that in a good way. The seemingly
impossible will become possible; what's lost will be found and what's bent
will be made straight; the lion will lie down not only with the lamb but also
with the sasquatch. For best results, be ready to shed your expectations
at a moment's notice.

well, i love being a cancer, and having a birthday in july.  even though it's june, and my birthday isn't until next week, i began celebrating tonight at dinner at sundance, with a piece of fresh blueberry pie.

julie, we both know that birthdays can bring a lot of mixed feelings, but this year i'm gonna do it up, even if it just means letting go of ambivalence.  i'm sick of ambivalence.  

maybe the upside of getting older can be a greater ability to enjoy what life has to offer and letting go of some of my hang ups about all that.

sorry for the premature birthday celebrating, but sorry i'm not sorry.  i'm looking for a big break through this year.  

this year i can't get enough poetry.  i'm reading and writing a lot of it every single day.  today i read alice notley, a favorite & wise poet.  also an old friend's story which, though not a poem, was poetic.  so that already made today a good one.


30th Birthday

by alice notley

May I never be afraid

                     especially of myself   
                                                      but
Muhammed Ali are you telling
the truth?      
                     Well you’re being true aren’t you and   
you talk so wonderfully in your body
                     that protects you with physique of voice   
      raps within dance
                              May I never be afraid


                     rocked and quaked         
                                                      the mantilla is lace   
                                                      whose black is oak   
But if I’m dark I’m strong
                                       as my own darkness
my strength the universe      
                                       whose blackness is air
                                       only starry
                                       lace
But if I’m alive I’m strong   
                                           as life
Strong as the violets
in Marlon Brando’s fist   
                                  his dissemblance flourished into truth   
                                                                                              She   
took them
I’d take me too      
                           I do
                  and my Ali I see you      
                                                   a hard bright speck of me   
the savage formalist   
                               authentic deed of gossip
                   a kind body

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Truly Amazing Dead People

Troost had a garden I did not visit.
After work, I spent a big chunk of my day in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn waiting to pick up a kid from her graduation party. I don't want to seem like a broken record, or a member of a cult, but I had The Artist Way with me so decided to catch up on the homework in both of these cafes.

I rarely visit Greenpoint so I was delighted to be in two brand new coffee shops in one afternoon. (I'm old enough now to be able to use words like "delighted.") I don't know if I'm supposed to--is The Artist Way akin to therapy sessions that you're not supposed to talk about?--but I wanted to share some of my homework here.

Maybe it doesn't matter out of context, but here's a piece of it:  Dead people you wish you'd met(off the top of my head at the time): Jimi Hendrix, Alice Neel, Andy Warhol, Vic Chestnutt, Gram Parsons, Joey Ramone, Emily Dickinson, Alexander McQueen, Harriet Beecher Stowe (I thought of more than five.)

Traits people you admire have (including the dead people): creativity, courage in the face of criticism, audacious acts, beauty, originality, intelligence, enthusiasm, charisma

Well, that's all for now. I liked both of the cafes I visited today. In the first, Troost, I had a pickled beet/goat cheese/arugula a ciabatta and an iced coffee with a soundtrack that included the Jesus and Mary Chain and Stevie Wonder. In the second, Milk and Roses (which has a grand piano that no one was playing at the time), I had an iced tea while listening to Tina Turner do "River Deep, Mountain High."
Whoa, right?  @ Milk and Roses

summer: a sweet disorder

summer hiking leg wear

hiking in big springs

new for summer:

1) hiking is my new, shoulderless yoga.  since i have a shoulder injury and have to take it super easy in yoga, i'm doing more hiking instead, and i'm learning how much ego and competitiveness is still left in me, though i had fooled myself into thinking i was uber-enlightened.

2) bare legs are the new tights.  i'm not sure what to do with all this liberation & freedom.  i miss my, as it were, corsets for the leg.  my scarves, jackets, tights, leggings, and so on.  minimalist summer dressing can feel boring after a while, and gives you nothing to hide behind, to disarrange.

3) cherries are the new strawberries.  i don't love strawberries.  the best fruit in the world is now in season.  making a clafoutis this weekend.  had a salad last weekend with fresh cherry. eating cold cherries while i write

4) city of provo summer adventure camp is the new summer school.  i decided to let my elementary kids off the hook this time and not make them go to june summer school.  shout out the the wonderful counselors and fun activities the kids are doing with them this summer, and to the city for providing affordable activities and recreation for its citizens.  i really, really like the city of provo more with each passing year.

5) herrick is the new herbert.

jk.

herrick could never, ever replace herbert.  never.  but herrick makes me happy.  herbert makes me float.  herrick makes me smile.  i love the abandon and lack of censor in this poem, and, i just happened to run across it while i was thinking of how much i hate not wearing structured clothing for three months of the year.



Delight in Disorder


BY ROBERT HERRICK
A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness;
A lawn about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction;
An erring lace, which here and there
Enthrals the crimson stomacher;
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribands to flow confusedly;
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat;
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me, than when art
Is too precise in every part.

Home Sweet Home



1. Just got back from karaoke with my writing group (plus, honorary members). It was my first time at a real Japanese karaoke place and the first song I plugged in was the one above. The generic video that accompanied the karaoke soundtrack featured a generic blonde woman tossing around an acoustic guitar in rustic jeans. And guess what? The images were taped in . . . St. George, Utah!

2. Before that, I was doing my last bit of volunteering for Kid #2's elementary school, helping right thank-you letters in the backyard of a fellow parent's house in Wmsburg.

 3. Before that, Kid #2 and I were at home combing through her massive portfolio she took home today from school. It contained teachers' hand selections of the best of her last seven years of elementary school.

4. Before that, Kid #2, kid's friends, and their moms and I had lunch in the East Village. You will meet one of those moms on the blog soon.

5. Before that, I picked up Kid #2 in the elementary school lobby. I hugged her teachers goodbye. I hugged the security guard goodbye. I hugged the school secretary and other parents goodbye. I cried while saying goodbye.

6. Before that, I graded papers at a cafe while Kid #2 attended her last (half) day of elementary school.

7. Before that, Kid #2 and I walked to elementary school together for the very last time.

8. As you can see I've had a very full day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Don't Know What to Wear

Courtney Love looking unusually pulled together at her recent art opening.
 For the past few days my morning/afternoon pages for our Artist's Way experiment have been about clothes.  I've written about skirts, slips, seams, over-stitching, fabric, trimmings, bodices and shapes.  I can't seem to stop, which is ironic, because I don't know what to wear as a middle-aged Girl in a Tight Place.

I seem to be in a profound fashion crisis.  Yes, that's what it is.

So please tell me what you are wearing?

The thing I'm most afraid of right now is dressing too young for my age, which I could do very VERY easily.  But what does that mean?  Skinny jeans?--which is what I'm wearing right now? Tank tops and tee shirts, which my drawers are full of?  Dresses which I still pick up at stores that girls young enough to be my daughter shop at?

When I think of what I might want to look like I think of the following gals:  Courtney Love (who is ten days older than me), Kim Gordon from the now defunct(?) Sonic Youth (who is 11 years older than me), and maybe even Michelle Obama (who is seven months older than me, although she's a little mainstream).  They all look really super great, right?  Right?  (Although, Courtney often appears in public looking disappointingly matronly.)

Of course, they all have access to designers that I don't have access to (although Shelley and I did watch Kim Gordon try on coats once in the lower Broadway H&M).  How do I compete with Mrs. O?

So I'm not sure what to do as a gal on a budget.  What's totally inappropriate for me to wear?

What are you wearing again?
No minis over 35??  But here's Kim Gordon in 2009!

Michelle O in Michael Kors
I especially the flamboyance of these two:  the rainbow ribbing, short seersucker shorts.  The lime tie.

recovery: the first fruits of them that sleep




in week three of the artist's way, cameron asks "blocked creatives" to recall themselves as children as a way of recovering the early artist who might have been ashamed of her creativity.  this is something i did NOT want to do.  i wasn't a carefree child, but a child full of cares and anxieties with no idea how to handle them.  i really didn't want to dredge up memories from childhood.  but today i realized that, despite my proclivity towards darkness and worry, i also experienced a lot of joy when i was very young, especially joy in music.

one thing i always imagined myself doing as a child was being a concert violinist.  i started studying violin when i was four, and can't even remember not knowing how to play.  i also loved singing and longed to perform more, but i was too shy to sing in public.

it's funny that quite a few of cameron's suggestions are things i had started doing in the past few months, before even thinking about working on the artist's way program.  several months ago i started studying voice again.  i was singing a lot with a choir i loved in seattle, and was with them for more than seven years. when we left seattle, losing the choir left a pretty big hole in my life.  i realized a few months ago that i needed to do more music, and that i needed to connect with my classical music roots from childhood.

yesterday in lessons, we worked on two handel pieces:  i know that my redeemer liveth  from the messiah and where're you walk from semele.

i got choked up during these lines:  "and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall i see god."

really, i have no idea who god is, but i do have an idea that for sure bodies decay and then come alive again in one form or another.  that makes me so happy.  it sounds crazy, but i love worms and little underground creatures.  i have no desire to fly, like c., but i do imagine being buried.  i know.  it's macabre.  but i'm just gonna put it out there anyway.

so, something i'm doing for my recovery is spending more time on music.  even though i've been feeling pretty bad for the past couple of weeks, i've been trying to open up my voice and externalize rather than withdraw.  hard to do, but good, i think, for artistic reasons, spiritual reasons, personal reasons and being a human reasons.

julie, have you gotten to week three?  what good things will you recover from your childhood?

is anyone else willing to go there, to put it out there?

if so, you might wanna tell me about it, and also check this out.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Where We Are at Six Months

Julie:


Both Lara and I had bad mornings, so I wrote my morning pages in the afternoon.  I don't know about Lara.  I look forward to writing the morning pages (I'm referencing one of The Artist's Way assignments here), although I never get to write them in the manner of the book's author:  sitting alone in a quiet house, starting out the window at mountain in resorty New Mexico.  Aside from this, there are many homework pieces that I haven't done in the Artist's Way program which is now in Week Three.  So I hope this will work for me.

This morning, I had another fall, wiping out on my bike after it hit a metal grating cover, slick with rain.  I came down on the metal with my arm and slid across it.  I didn't get up immediately.  Just stayed there on the wet pavement and wept, my bike partially under me, my computer bag falling from its basket.  Strangers helped me pick up my things.  I got myself up.  For some reason, it was important for me to get up myself.  I was in pain, and I'm still in pain as I write.

Maybe what the morning pages are teaching me (and this is just coming to me now) is anything good that I want to happen to me in my life will come from making it happen myself.  I spent the past several days with a relative who seems to engage in a lot of magical thinking.  And while this can be helpful and fun, it means that one is always living in a the future and not the present.  That's all I can come up with for now.

Guest blogger returns next Monday!

Lara:


i, too, am hitting a mid-year slump.  or a summer slump.  i'm weird because i really dislike summer and always have.  i tend to get depressed.

i tend to do many things in an opposite way, not to be defiant or anything, but something in my brain, seriously, is backwards.

but i continue to try to do small things every day, even when i don't want to & when i feel uninspired.  so i'm pretty sure i'll come out of the tunnel soon.

so many things that julia cameron says seem so right on.  a lot of it resonates with me deeply.

i've been writing my morning pages at 6.30 a.m. each day.  i wake up suddenly at that moment almost every day.  then moses comes and sits next to me.  we're both early birds. i've been writing faithfully, but skeptically.  really?  this is going to change my life?  i'm doing it even though my faith is weak, and it does seem to clear my head.  i'm only in week 3 of twelve weeks, and julia cameron says we can feel angry, confused, and skeptical.  that's where i'm at today.

where are you at today?

& do you want to join us in the artist's way?


if so, you should enter our giveaway by leaving a comment on this post for your very own copy.



Sunday, June 24, 2012

vivid: a weekend

dining al fresco at tommy's burger: burgers & chili cheese fries
1. friday night:  dinner outside at tommy's burger.  i wore all red--dress, sandals, nail polish, purse & lipstick. i'm worried (excited!!!) i might look like some eccentric lady on advanced style.

2. watched miss representation.

3. slept in on saturday morning.

4. hiked stewart falls.

5.  dinner at my tied-for-first-place favorite utah valley restaurant pizzeria 712 (tied with communal).  ate braised short rib on grilled polenta with horseradish cream, ricotta gnocchi with lemon thyme cream sauce, fresh limeade, and a salad of la ney ferme greens, farro, cherry, and house made ricotta.  every single thing was simple and delicious.  i wanted to order the panne cotta with rhubarb compote, but was too full.

6.  church.

7. crepes with your choice of: lemon and sugar, nutella, or ham, cheese & dijon.

8. made dal, rice and raita.

9.  took it up south fork to eat at andi's cabin with peacocks and forest fire sky.

10.  saying good-bye to eva as she moves to a co-op in slc.  sounds super cool and i'm jealous, but sad.
you need to check in with tommy's burger every so often

I Love a (LGBTQ) Parade


As per my usual Pride Day schedule, I attended my church meetings and then strolled with pride over the Pride March on 5th Avenue--the biggest, oldest LGBTQ Pride Parade in the world. 

The Pride Parade is held at this time of year because in 1969 in late June there was a riot at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village.  Judy Garland had just died and everyone was in a bad mood.   So when the police made their usual arrests at the bar, the patrons fought back.  They refused to take it anymore.  The first pride march was in 1970.  By the '80s in New York and San Francisco, they were huge and had corporate sponsorship.  Today's was the first Pride March held after last summer passage of laws here in New York state allowing same-sex couples to marry.  It held particular resonance for me, as the law took effect on Utah's Pioneer Day, July 24th.  (I think there were cosmic reasons for this.) 

I watched the Parade for hours and hours today.  My oldest kid met a friend of hers (out in 8th grade) at the march.  The crowds were so massive, that I spent a good part of the March in a French coffee shop, gnawing on acai vegan muffins (I know.  Weird, right?) while watching the Parade through the window.  

My favorite groups include the one pictured here.  (They did stunning covers of tunes by Lady Gaga, Men Without Hats, and James Brown.  They are seriously good, not to mention the flag corp and male baton twirler.)  Straight Mormons also marched with Affirmation--the LGBTQ Mormon Support Group.  I missed them, unfortunately. 

Lara, do you ever think the Mormon Church will loosen up and welcome their Mormon brothers and sisters as they are with full equality?  Many LGBTQ Mormons have experienced such tightness because of the church's policies.  Just saying, as I try to get out of my own tight place and live each day with more love. 

too much gravity

why is there so much gravity here?

today we hiked to stewart falls, a trail in provo canyon adjacent to sundance resort.  it's alpen, with a large grove of aspens

(purportedly the largest living organism on earth "For two dimensional area, the largest known clonal flowering plant, and indeed largest plant and organism, is a grove of male Aspen in Utah, nicknamed Pando (Populus tremuloides). The grove is connected by a single root system, and each stem above the ground is genetically identical. It is estimated to weigh approximately 6,000,000 kg,[6] and covers 0.43 km² (106 acres"),

stunning rocky peaks holding summer snow fields nestled in their declivities, meadows, diverse vistas at every turn, and of course the icy falls.

it's a hike of medium difficulty for  a kid, and on the inclines, moses kept saying "why is there so much gravity here?"  i knew, and i know, what he meant.  some things feel really hard even when they're beautiful and true.

moses loved the hike, but it was hard for him.  i love my life and recognize how lucky i am to have it, but it's still really hard for me at times.

lately there has definitely been too much gravity.  i don't know what's making it feel so hard when it really isn't.

christian got under the falls and came out with brain freeze.  i wasn't brave enough to go in.

on the way down the trail,

a butterfly landed on my arm and just stayed there.

does it mean something good?  is it a magical omen?

i hope so.


butterfly sat very still on my arm for about sixty seconds.

i kind of know what james wright says when he writes, "i have wasted my life."

when you sit and look at a butterfly, you might think, at least for a moment, that nothing else matters.

actually, i have no idea what james wright means.

but to me it means that when a butterfly lands on you, and you stop and wait for it to fly away, you might realize you had been working too hard at the wrong things, and instead should be effortlessly beautiful and still.

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota


BY JAMES WRIGHT
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,   
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.   
Down the ravine behind the empty house,   
The cowbells follow one another   
Into the distances of the afternoon.   
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,   
The droppings of last year’s horses   
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.   
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.




p.s. right now we're watching glenn gould playing the bach brandenburg #5.  c. just said, "how could anyone listening to this believe there's not a god?"  i love his faith, and wish i could experience it for even one second.  i know what he means about the brandenburg #5, though.




Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tight Places: All Too Real and On Screen


I spent the day, a beautiful summer day, a PERFECT summer day, in the graveyard of St. Mark's Church for Lilyfest, which is a local benefit for children with brain tumors.

I knew the parents who organized it. Their daughter, Lily, has a brain tumor that gets no bigger and gets no smaller. She's doing great, though. And every summer attends a camp with other children with brain tumors. The fundraiser helps pay the camp tuitions.

The post punk revival band The Virgins were the final band that played at Lilyfest. They played among the tombstones and family vaults, containing bodies buried since the 18th century.  It's pretty dang cool that The Virgins played at Lilyfest.

 Soon I'm going up to see this movie in Tompkins Square Park about a man who takes drastic measures   for getting out of his tight place.  Don't speak French?  Read it about it here.
  

Want to try to get out of your tight place without egregious law breaking? Leave a comment here to win a copy of The Artist's Way. I'm kind of counting on it "working."

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Night List

1.  Kid #2's graduation was so moving that I started sobbing during the tributes teachers gave to other kids--kids I have no attachment to.  I was sitting her thinking how important it was to hear their teachers laud them in these really specific and thoughtful ways.  One kid, Joey, had tears streaming down his cheeks while listening to his tribute.  All of the kids were so beautiful.  Today's event made me realize again that kids are the best species of humans on the planet. 

2.  Last night while walking into a local bar/cafe to hear live music, I missed the initial step-down step and fell swiftly forward into the bodies at the bar.  My fall even affected some young women at an adjacent table.  My fall caused drink spillage and glass breakage.  It was incredibly mortifying.  I stood there for awhile in my wreckage trying to safe face by being wry and self-ironizing, and also offering to pay for all the damage I did.

3.  This fall came just after I'd been thinking about my mother who was recently diagnosed with "severe Asperger's."  I am not surprised by this diagnosis.  It explains my entire life.  But I was wondering if I fell so egregiously in some sort of dramatic, sympathetic tribute to her.  One of the symptoms of Asperger's is physical clumsiness. 

4.  Kid #2 decided to stay at the school with her teachers after her graduation and reception on tar beach.  Only my kid and one other kid decided to stay.  So the teachers had them help dismantle the room and them took them out for smoothies.  Sometimes being an elementary-school teacher seems like the coolest job ever.

5.  After Kid #2's graduation dinner, we ran into the Drag March, which is the annual kick-off to Pride Week. 

black sheep cafe: what's right in provo

i don't know what we're doing for tonight's date night, but here's a recap of last friday night, which was pretty awesome.

first of all, we ate at the black sheep cafe.  i had been longing for dinner al fresco on the sidewalks of new york or seattle.  a close third was dining outside on the sidewalks of provo on university avenue.  it was a gorgeous evening, and we had a view of Y mountain and a couple at the justin hackworth studio across the street from where we were sitting posing near the window of a second floor walk-up for their wedding photos.

it was very ny/provo.  eating on the street, mixing food with the fumes (ny--i love food & fumes!!!) while watching a very young & surely prematurely engaged couple prepare to marry (provo).  (driving around downtown provo, we saw no fewer than three couples doing outside "urban" engagement photo shoots--against peeling brick walls, rusty chain-link fences, etc.)

but i digress.
chile verde navajo taco
what i really want to say is go eat at the black sheep cafe, a newish restaurant on university avenue's 100 block featuring navajo-inspired southwestern cuisine.

seriously, people.

this place is fun (there's a silver smith working in an open studio) and the cuisine is interesting but also crowd-pleasing.  i think even the pickiest eaters i know (or should i say unadventurous?) would still like it.  the first time i ate there i brought ten teen-aged students and everyone of them loved it.  but i was happy with it, too.

also, this is a classy joint, and it's a home-grown joint at the same time.

my students think i'm a weirdo because i won't eat at national chains.  they simply don't get it.  but i won't for lots of reasons. turns out i'm not the only one in provo who feels this way.  check out what la ney ferme, our local community supported agriculture farm (provo's first and only one!), has to say about it.

1) i like to spend my money to support people who live in my community.

2) i want downtown provo to have as much vibrancy and diversity as possible.

3) if you eat in a local restaurant, you have an increased chance of not getting a microwave dinner from the commissary kitchen of, say, the olive garden.

4) i want to know who's making my food and why.  turns out i'm not the only one in provo who has these crazy ideas.

but i keep digressing.  here's a run-down on black sheep.

1) the service is warm and you can tell that someone who knew what she was doing took the trouble to train the staff.  in a college town where servers are prone to be students in first serving jobs, this is refreshing.  they were able to talk about the food and give detail oriented service.  one or two little gaffs, like stacking the plates in front of the diners, could easily be polished up.

2) they use real linen on the tables.  i love this.  it just feels good.

3) and (this is most important next to the service.  i hate bad service as much as i hate bad food.) : they make all of their sauces, breads, desserts, chips, etc. in-house.  this is hard to do and most restaurants cut corners by using cans or prepared sauces or factory made breads and (heaven forbid) i've even been served costco desserts at some joints.

we had a green chile navajo taco, the bleu burger, their blue corn chips and salsa, and an orange creme brulee.  every item was good.  (on my previous visit, i had the pork chop sandwich, which i loved.)

the fry bread was light as a cloud with a very tender-crisp skin on the outside.  the green chile was also quite good.  the chips were light and crispy, the salsa smoky and nice, and the oil was fresh (nothing ruins a meal faster than rancid frying oil).  the bleu burger was actually cooked medium rare, as we had requested, and the melty pockets of blue cheese mixed into the burger, the fantastically crispy hog's jowl, the caramelized onions, the reduction sauce, and then the fresh navajo naniskadi flat- bread it was wrapped in elevated this burger.  c. is a real burger connoisseur and he pronounced it to be one of the best burgers he'd ever eaten.  i concurred.  the habanero orange creme brulee was subtly-flavored and well-prepared.  the sensation of the habanero on your tongue added interest to what can be a run-of-the mill dessert and the orange essence was not too overpowering, as orange flavoring tends to be.

so you should seriously take your family to eat here when the come to town for the fourth of july/stadium of fire/freedom festival/family reunion week.  they'll love it.  all of them.  i promise.  and you'll be doing your part to keep a really well-done, made-by-hand restaurant in our community.

this is byu campus

after eating at black sheep cafe, we went to byu to see the art opening of eight bit by michael whiting, who did a pixel-inspired show of big, metal pac-manesque sculptures.

the stag
most of the pieces were in the byu sculpture garden, a space populated by a lot of realistic bronzes.  it was so great to see this big minimalist & kind of post (or post-post?) modern sculptures in juxtaposition to the gorgeous gardens and the much more traditional sculptures in the permanent installation.

refreshments consisted of multi-colored blocks of rice krispie treats
ingrid is interning at the byu museum of art and was working at the reception.  she hit the nail on the head when she said that  the reception could only have been pulled off by relief society-trained women.
it was truly coordinated in every detail.  see that food sign? that's what i'm talking about.  did we need a sign telling us that food was on the table?  no.  but was it more fun that way?  of course.

sexy rice krispie treat close-up
also, no offense, relief society sisters, but the food looked awesome, but wasn't as delicious as it could have been.  you know i love you!  don't take it personally, relief society sisters.  it's just that you sometimes care more about how things look than how they taste.  i'm probably just jealous because i lack the crafting gene.  my food looks bad but tastes great.

also, there were short-shorts and cool tights on campus.  you don't see that frequently.

one of my favorite pieces
did i say you should visit this show?  you should.  after you take your family to black sheep cafe.  it's very kid friendly, and the garden is lovely, and shown off in a whole new way with this instillation.

note the sculpture behind the cat head.  that's typical of the other sculptures in the garden.

a lotta leg was showing that night.  i loved the stripe on stripe action.
cecily went around looking for fashionable attendees to photograph.  thanks cecily!

dj working the reception
all the kids attended the reception and loved it.  the rice krispie treats, the sculptures, the dj, the beautiful evening.

cecily loved this look, and snapped the photo for me
we stayed until closing time.  it was that fun.

it's kinda hard to see, but heather as polka-dot on polka-dot action going on.
art historian heather belnap jensen (and former GITP guest blogger).

these flower centerpieces also echoed the pixelated theme, and were hand crewel embroidered.
the gals also embroidered hair bows/bow-ties for the staff.

ingrid and all the staff wore pixellated ms. pacman bows.  the dudes wore them as bow-ties or boutonniere.
ingrid, another art historian and former GITP guest blogger. . . .

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Dresses, Graduation Dresses

Young combo at Culturefix
Today is Make Music New York, lots of free music all over the city (indoors and out) in celebration of the summer's advent.  I strolled into Culturefix and saw this jazzy Joni Mitchellesque combo.  And then I went back later and saw a duo:  a gal playing violin and a dude playing electric guitar together.  They did an experimental version of Waylon Jennings.  I'm going to go back again in a minute.

I was excited about this all day despite the fact NYC is under the pall of a heat wave, which is why I'm enjoying everyone's summer dresses.  This morning, I saw this woman in a pink dress with ruffles.  The ruffles were almost too hot for the day.
Tomorrow, is my second kid's elementary school graduation, and she will put on a new dress that has been hanging on a hanger on a mic stand in the living area for the past couple of weeks.

All this talk of graduation and dresses makes me think of my own 8th grade graduation and graduation dress.  I was a tiny 8th grader, the second tiniest kid in the school (only one boy from Mexico was tinier).  I was as big as a fifth grader, and couldn't find a thing to wear in my low-desert town.  Nothing I tried on at the one small fit me.  My dad ended up driving me to the old part of town where I found a Mexican peasant dress in heavy cotton in an import store that was actually kind of groovy, except that my peers did not understand my dress, which was long and beige with Mayan-inspired embroidery in shades of blue making a pyramid on the skirt.   I was already very shy and awkward with a bad ersatz Dorothy Hamill haircut and a handful of friends (my fellow Mormon girls, who weren't particularly nice), and so showing up in this dress did me no favors. 

All of the other girls were in Gunne Sax, you see, or dresses inspired by the Gunne Sax company, Victorian inspired, romantic, off the shoulder or with sexy straps, eyelet and satin ribbon trim.  They were nascent, full bodied Steve Nicks' goddesses in these cool dresses on a hot, dusty graduation day.  Hour later, I stood alone at the graduation dance.  I stood and stood in my rustic southwestern frock, and I'm not sure I talked to one person.  :-(

That said, my 5th grader graduates tomorrow in a dress from Lord and Taylor (where, oddly, she insisted on going) and  I'll post tomorrow.  I'm glad my girls are having far less traumatic childhoods than I did, but in the process, have I deprived them of anything to write about?

deep breath

tonight in my (all female) book club we're reading the conflict: how modern motherhood undermines the status of women by elisabeth badinter.

i'm taking a deep breath.

reading this book was extremely trying.

sometimes i felt affirmed because badinter makes a good point:  the expectations placed on bourgeois mothers can seem (needlessly) herculean (asking us to go well beyond our biological imperative of procreating and surviving), and when the outcomes of your efforts don't match the (herculean) efforts you put forth, you're left wondering

what?

i breastfed!

i used cloth diapers!

i didn't put my kid in childcare!

i hated every minute of doing puzzles on the floor/pushing them on the swings, but i did it anyway.

& now that i have raised a couple of kids, i wonder how much anything i ever did mattered anyway.

was i right to forego a full career?  was that to their benefit or detriment?  would they have benefitted more from seeing me happier and more empowered?

would i have been happier/more empowered with a full time career?

& how about some of the incredibly demeaning experiences i had trying to work and breastfeed, or trying to work in (many!!!) workplaces where bosses and co-workers thought i would be uncommitted/flaky because i had (too many!!!!) children.

oh the tales i could tell.  maybe i will when i'm not feeling so bruised.

(and also guilty for feeling bruised--after all, i have a lot less to complain about than most mothers who have ever walked the earth.)

so, i'm really interested to hear what my peers have to say about this book.  they're all mothers, and several of them have high-powered careers while others have done beautiful full-time work creating homes and being great parents.

(i've done part-time, semi-crappy work both at home and in the work-place.)

and one of them is french, so she can give insight about badinter's assertions that french women have a legacy of separating maternity from motherhood that makes them less prone to be oppressed by cultural expectations of motherhood (as evidenced, in large part, by their low breastfeeding rates in spite of the large presence of la leche league ((those "ayatollahs of breastfeeding", as badinter calls them)) in france.)

so i'm interested.  i really am.

but i'm also a little scared, a little reluctant, and a little nauseated, frankly, by the lacuna--the void--the realization that there seems to be no answer, no solution, at all.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

that sweet golden clime

of the moon, not the sun

i'm more inclined towards the moon than the sun, very, very inclined and content to spend long periods in my dark little cave, but i tried to take a cue from julie's excellent sense of celebration and festivity and open myself to the sun this solstice week.  first, hiking in big springs up south fork canyon.  at every turn you have to gasp a little at the drama of the uintahs--aspen groves, meadows, snowy peaks, crevicing mosses and streams.  often i feel like i'm anticipating the end of whatever i'm doing, but on this particular hike, i felt a rare and true sense of union with

i don't know.

something.

lula's homemade spinach pesto soltice grilled cheese sandwiches

 tonight lula created a special dinner for the family.  somehow she knew it was what we needed.  she's precocious in the kitchen, and has very good and specific taste.  then the three big girls and i went to yoga

where


a sunny bowl of lula's roasted tomato basil soup
 we were taught by the wise &  lovely celia at 3 b yoga in a gentle session that gently referenced solstice ("just do a baby cobra here.  it's too hot out, so don't put your head too far out of the hole.")  it was almost 8 p.m. when the sun was at the top of the windows in the studios and i really felt

again

some sort of

openness and

unity

that is not usually there.  i hate too much light, but it really filled my whole body during yoga tonight and i almost felt a sense of levitation.

there's a line from a kabir poem that's been running through my head since that moment i have become the melody.


i realized tonight i need to do a lot more gentle/restorative yoga, plus the meditation.

i've been too frantic, too consumed with trying to go faster.


lula is my sunny shero

and finally, i will take any excuse to read and share this blake poem.  j'adore!  


it's solsticey enough, no?

what's so helpful in this poem is to remember that the sunflower will follow the sun to its very peak and then lay it's head down on the ground along with it's doppelganger sunflower in the sky.

and then start all over again!

and then start all over again!


but you don't need my take!

get william blake's!


Ah! Sun-flower!
by William Blake

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done;


Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow
Arise from their graves and aspire
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

p.s.--i'm wondering if two instances of very strong moments of transcendence in a single week have any relationship to my recent work on the artist's way?

don't forget you can win your own copy by leaving a comment on this post.