Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Tights: Julie/Lara Final


At this blog's beginning--Dec 31, 2011, to be precise--I had thought that our year of consistent blogging might magically conjure up money/success/beauty/all good things along the "new agey" lines of The Secret.  And maybe someone got those things--someone remotely connected to this blog--but I didn't.  That night a year ago--I was almost frantically Fb chatting with Lara--and I felt a tad desperate and little bit hopeful.

But while I didn't get the big results I was hoping for, I did get the following:


1.  An articulate year.  I know that sounds weird, but for the first time that I can remember, the days were articulated.  I remembered a lot more about my 2012 then I remember remembering about previous years.  One of our goals for this blogging year was to make each day count, even in a small way.  And I think we succeeded.

2.  More writing.  I seem to have gotten the courage to send stories out this year in a way that was more consistent than a decade preceding.  And while I got no publications, I got some gracious rejections.

3.  More work.  One of my goals was to make more money and I did.  That was just dumb luck, most likely--but I do feel like my contributions at work are valued.

4.  A metaphor.  It kind of blew my mind to work with Lara on the same metaphor a year:  tight places, tightness.

5.  Tights.  Indulging my insatiable love for and addiction to form fitting elasticized legwear.

6.  Worthy tight place girls.  Working our four questions over and over again to highlight the work and lives of amazing women.  Doing this always very moving for me.  Having contact with the peeps who guest blogged made me feel like I've lived a rich life.

7.  Lara.  I was so lucky to have almost consistent contact all year with one of my best friends and favorite people on the planet.   Sometimes Lara and I would have similar days, 2000 miles apart.   This alone, made all the time and effort I put into the blog totally worth it.

Needs Improvement:

1.  Blogging took up a lot of time.  At times it seemed like a chore.  At times I was blogging instead of writing (for fun and profit).  This face, especially, made me but a lot of pressure on the blog to DO SOMETHING to us, already!

2.  Blogging kept me on the computer and online a lot more than I wanted to do.  Given that all my work is computer based, this was a drag and contributed to my carpel tunnel.  :-(

What I've learned:  

1.   I may toil away forever in obscurity.
2.   I may have to work for many more years to get the kind of success I envision.
3.   I can't give up--no matter how stupid and/or pointless it feels to keep going.

This Year's Model (is Super Boring):
It's still a little nebulous, but I want '13 GITP iteration to be very practical.  I want it to be a working blog where I set publish weekly goals--mostly writing goals (resolutions?)--and then post about how I accomplished them--or not.  I know this sounds super boring for readers, but I never got that many readers anyway.  And I'm not bitter.  It was what it was, and I was and am deeply grateful for those who took the time to read me.   One takeaway as the year closes, is that I need to accomplish a lot more in 2013.   I have big dreams, Charlie Brown!  And I need the pressure of putting what I want to do online to help me accomplish at least one of these.   Of course, tights will be HUGE.

new year's eve outfit & tights.


like julie, i didn't have the massive "secret-esque" magical breakthrough that i wished for, but, what does that song say again?

it's not about getting what you want, it's  about wanting what you got.

or something.

damn her.

i hate her,

but she's right.

i've already written my assessment of 2012 goals, some of the things i learned from the artist's way,  and about my 2013 goals, so i won't go into that again, but here are the top four things i got from daily blogging:

1) i learned to stop whining and to start appreciating.  i'm ashamed now of how sorry i've felt for myself in the past for no reason whatsoever.  blogging every day made me open my eyes every day to my life as it "authentically is" (john cage!) and stop wishing for a different life.

2) articulation--julie's right on about this.  i gained a new boldness (some may say an embarrassing amount of boldness) and a new ability to confidently state what i mean and what i want. like tonight we're going out for new year's eve for the first time in many, many years.  every year i want to go out, but i haven't made it happen for one reason or another.  this year, i felt newly empowered to say what i want and to make it happen.

3)  i learned to finish something.  i have a long history of quitting or giving up.  i  feel proud that we finished the project of blogging every day for a year.

4)  i learned to love my materials more.  working with them every day in a more consistent way has made me want to do it more, not less.  and i think that's the most important thing in earthly life--to love your mater.

what next year will look like:

1) posting a few times a week.  a guest blogger once a month.  i don't know what next year's posts will be like--i just plan to free-form it, and i really hope i will still be in nearly daily contact with julie.  getting to commune with her from a distance is something i hope to keep up in 2013.

2) i'll be blogging about poetry and writing on my author's website, which should be ready in the next few days.

3) wearing more/cooler tights.  until there are no more and we have to wait for the next tights fashion cycle.

happy new years, dear GITP readers, and i humbly thank you for reading and indulging my love of words, food, children, dresses, tights, and julie!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Penultimate: Journey to the End . . .

New Mus window artist with phone gazer in leather.  Please note the book on the table.
I did everything I wanted to do today (given the fact that I woke up quite sick)--including visiting the New Museum for the last day of the Bowery art and artists show.  The show included adorable little pen and marker drawings by members of the Ramones (Dee and Joey, respecitively) that I badly wanted to photograph.

So tomorrow is the last post of our GITP year.   I can't tell you what a privilege it has been to blog with Lara all year.  As I've said before, I merely ride on her coat tails.  

Btw:  this is our 666th post.  

Tights:  black with polka dots
Inspiration:  Ramones-inspired biker jackets, Bowery street art
Looking forward to:  blogging with Lara tomorrow for the last time in 2012

The view from the street
Keith Haring's old red door.  Don't touch.
Someday you might be famous enough the museum goers will only be allowed to look--not touch--your door.
A touchable door near the Yippie Museum
Christmas is now today's trash.  Sad

celebrity crush

in a nod to the salty-sweet trend, i sprinkled a little coarse sea salt on top.  luckily, misshapen rusticity is part of the charm of this galette.
jacques pepin has the bearing of a true artist.  when he shows you you how to fold your dish towel just so and tuck it into your apron, or when he demonstrates a tomato rosette, or swans made from pate au choux floating in a pond of raspberry coulis, his loving brown eyes look straight into yours and he tells you:

i love you so much i have show you how to make this in your own kitchen.  how to caress your knife, how to supreme an orange, how to love the materials of my life's work as much as i do.

to me, a true artist is passionately in love with her materials--words, paper, bindings, brushes, knives, fabrics, water, pastels, needles--a true artist is obsessed with her materials, and so the final product and its reception is entirely secondary.

of course, the true artist loves her materials, and so she really, really wants them to be welcomed by an audience.  but, if the audience rejects the product, she loves the materials still, can't wait to get back to them, but work them again, to make them into a new form once again.

that is the true artist.

and that is why i think jacques is a true artist.  he has devoted a very long life to his materials, and he has a beautiful relationship with them.  you can see it.  even on the screen.

and that is why i must recommend this beautiful, simple recipe using spare ingredients and simple but perfect techniques.  it seems a perfect example of french cooking--elegant but practical and efficient with no waste.  and just a very few delicious ingredients.

this is what i'm taking to sunday dinner.  if you need to make a dessert in the near future, give this one a shot.  i have very few recipes i make over and over again, and i really hate following recipes, so this is one of only about a half-dozen that i actually follow repeatedly.

Makes 8 servings

1/2 recipe pate brisée (see recipe)
5 large apples
1/4-cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 tablespoon Calvados or Cognac (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. Make pâte brisée. Roll out the dough 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick, in a shape that fits roughly on a cookie sheet—approximately 16 X 14 inches. (The best cookie sheets are made of heavy aluminum that is not too shiny.) If the dough is not thin enough after you lay it on the cookie sheet, roll it some more, directly on the sheet.

2. Peel and cut the apples in half, core them, and slice each half into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside the large center slices of the same size and chop the end slices coarsely. Sprinkle the chopped apple over the dough.

3. Arrange the large slices on the dough beginning at the outside, approximately 1 1/2 inches from the edge. Stagger and overlap the slices to imitate the petals of a flower. Cover the dough completely with a single layer of apples, except for the border. Place smaller slices in the center to resemble the heart of a flower. 

4. Bring up the border of the dough | and fold it over the apples.

5. Sprinkle the apples with the sugar and pieces of butter, and bake in a 400-degree oven for 65 to 75 minutes, until the galette is really well browned and crusty. Do not remove the galette from the oven too soon; it should be very well cooked. It should be very crusty, thin, and soft inside. Do not worry about the discoloration of the apples after you peel and arrange them on the dough. The discoloration will not be apparent after cooking. 

6. Slide it onto a board. Dilute the apricot preserves with the alcohol (or use 1 tablespoon of water if the jam is thick and you prefer not to use spirits) and spread it on top of the apples with the back of a spoon. Some can also be spread on the top edge of the crust. Follow the design so that you do not disturb the little pieces of apple.

Serve the galette lukewarm, cut into wedges. 

Pate Brisee
Recipe From: Jacques Pepin 
“Everyday Cooking”

Makes Enough for 2 Galettes

3 cups all-purpose flour (dip the measuring cup
into the flour, fill it, and level it with your hand)

1 cup (2 sticks) sweet butter, cold, and cut with a knife into thin slices or shavings

1/2 teaspoon salt

Approximately 3/4 cup very cold water

“In a well-made pâte brisée the pieces of butter are visible throughout the dough. If the pieces of butter get completely blended with the flour so that they melt during cooking, the pastry will be tough. The flour and butter must be worked and the water added as fast as possible to obtain a flaky pastry. If you work the dough too much after adding the water, it will be elastic and chewy. If you use too much butter and not enough water, it will resemble sweet pastry dough and will be hard to roll thin and pick up from the table; it will be very brittle before and after cooking, sandy, and with no flakiness.

This is deceptively simple dough. You may get excellent results one time and an ordinary pastry the next. Try it a few times to get a feel for it. Wrapped properly, it can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days, or it can be frozen.”

1. Mix the flour, butter, and salt together very lightly, so that the pieces of butter remain visible throughout the flour.

2. Add the ice-cold water and mix very fast with your hand just enough that the dough coheres.

3. Cut the dough in half. The pieces of butter should still be visible. Refrigerate for 1 or 2 hours or use it right away. If you use it right away, the butter will be a bit soft, so you may need a little extra flour in the rolling process to absorb it.

For one galette, roll half the dough between 1/8 and 1/16 of an inch thick, using flour underneath and on top so that it doesn't stick to the table or the rolling pin. When the dough is the desired shape and thickness, roll it onto the rolling pin and unroll it on the pie plate, tart form, or cookie sheet that you plan to use. Repeat with the other half or reserve for later use. Bake according to the instructions for the particular recipe.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Glory Basking, Old School

Kid #2 had been longing to bask in the glory that is the Palm Court of The Plaza Hotel.  We went for breakfast, when the menu was a little less tight.  

The Plaza is still highly decked out for Christmas--the Gatsby-inspired lobby tree still revolves.

There are places in New York where the waitstaff are old-school:  gracious middle aged men in suits with French accents.   This Palm Court is one of those places

We were on our best behavior--very un-Eloise-like and not as charming.  I only spilled a little.

The Plaza has a long and storied history.  The Stones have stayed there and the Beatles.   The Great Gatsby was made there.  Truman Capote had his '60s-era legendary black-and-white ball there.  (Look at Frank and Mia below.)

Lara, let's have tea in the Algonquin lobby when you come here next.  I can't, I can't believe it's been nearly a year since we had the idea for this blog.  More on this soon.

Speaking of Lara, ave you read Lara's fabulous vision board post below this one?
Frank and Mia, in cognito

Look at us being fancy.
The Plaza called for hot pink.

vision 2013

screenplay related.  but i can't talk about the details yet.

emily dickinson book, dark and light sides, luxury snowflake.

i spent the day with two daughters and d.j. and some rad teachers making vision boards for 2013.  it's not new year's eve yet, but i have a super definite idea of what i want to do this year.

an apartment in n.y.c.

or more like a ton of ideas that i tried to reign in, but then decided relinquish restraint (what's the point? it's not in my skill set to do things in a logical or sensible order or with any kind of inclination towards reasonable expectations.)

singing times.

so i went ahead and put them all out there.

learn to relax.

they're kind of embarrassing, people!

luxury snowflake cut by eva.  one side is from a tiffany ad, one from a fur coat ad.  but it's not about things, but about a feeling of luxury and an appreciation of everything that's so intense i can hardly stand it.

they're kind of like a list a seven-year old might have when asked what she wants to be when she grows up:  a professional ballerina, a doctor, an olympic swimmer and a teacher.  all at the same time.

well, i decided to stop fighting the urge to do everything all at once and just embrace it.

dietrich.  big time hollywood.

we'll see how it goes.

i wasn't going to show them publicly, but i changed my mind.  because if i'm going to do any of the things on this list, it's going to require allowing a lot of embarrassment, overcoming shyness (the internet is so beautiful for shy persons), acknowledging what my real goals are, and putting "it" all out there.

"it"?  what are you?  where are you?  

and, to be frank, a year of blogging has brought out the exhibitionist in me.  for better of for worse, it's the truth.

2013 new year's resolutions:

1. complete all of the requirements for my ph.d.

2. find publisher for my book of poems, the gentian weaves her fringes, poems written over the past five years using words form emily dickinson's poetic lexicon.

3. complete new screenplay.  and win academy award for screen writing in a subsequent year.

4. learn to truly relax when i have down time.

5. continue yoga practice.

6.  get shoulders fixed.

7.  wrap the year in a feeling of luxury--i.e. love everything so much that it is more beautiful and more luxurious than a tiffany ring or a fur coat.

8.  sing in a choir or band.

9.  only do things that are in concert with my values or roots.

10.  find a job that will allow me to spend half my time in n.y.c.  have residence in n.y.c. and utah.


that was embarrassing.

go ahead and laugh.

because laughing makes you feel better, i've heard.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Searching for the End

Even after almost a year of consistent blogging, blogging hasn't become any easier.

I have no idea of what to say tonight.

Mostly, I'm tired . . . and sick.  As I type, my nose is running.  Throat hurts.  Coughing.

How boring.

What has made me happy today:

Making another phyllo-dough apple-thingy for a dinner party tonight.

Listening to (New Jersey's) WFMU streaming.

Listening to (Salt Lake City's) KRCL streaming.

Listening to the holiday Bach Fest on (New York City's)  WKCR streaming.

Finding out that the band of a good friend of ours was the download of the day pick on Rolling Stone's website.

Easting satsuma tangerines.

Buying a big plastic bear of New York state honey.

Buying marshmallows for the fondue I'm going to make on New Year's Eve.

Working on a story set on Christmas Eve inspired by a friend who was born on 12/12/66.  He died unexpectedly a few weeks after 9/11/01.

The downside is I didn't take a single photo today.

Here's a little indie Xmas song I found randomly in my search for a way to end this post:

treat queen

every day is a surprise with ingy home.

one of the best things about christmas is having ingrid home.  she makes everything more fun, sparkly, festive, and happy.  she really seems to have a handle on happiness.

and on the fact that cake makes everything better.

i haven't been to seattle's icon grill for years, but i remember the towering texas sheet cake with the frosty little bottle of whole milk on the side.  now they have a new towering cake, the candy cane cake, and ingrid suggested we make it over the holidays.

so she put on her fluffy apron and baked it up for us & served it at the locust salon.  thanks ingy, for cake, ruffles, lipstick, hilarious quips, and helping me keep perspective through baking.

no plans for new year's eve?  bake up a towering cake to serve to someone you love.

icon grill's candy cane cake.

Icon Grill Candy Cane Cake

You will need to make each element of the cake before putting it all together.

White Chocolate Cake

2 oz white chocolate

2 egg whites
1/3 cup plus 2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
Melt white chocolate in a small glass or metal bowl over a pan of slow boiling water. Set aside to cool. Whip butter with sugar until fluffy with an electric mixer. Add vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift together flour, baking power and salt in another bowl. Mix egg and combine on slow speed. Add half the milk mixture and combine on slow speed. Scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Add the remaining dry and wet ingredients separately. Do not over mix. Slowly add in the melted white chocolate while the mixture is running. Place the batter into one 9" buttered and floured cake pan. Bake in a 300° oven for 25-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack.

Red Velvet Cake
1 cup buttermilk
1-1/4 cup sifted cake flour
3 tbsp red food coloring
1 tsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp white vinegar
Mix vinegar and baking soda and let settle. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl thoroughly. Add one egg at a time, allowing each addition to mix completely before adding the next. Add cocoa, salt and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Alternately beat in flour and buttermilk. Fold in vinegar mixture at the end. Pour batter into one 9" buttered and floured cake pan and bake at 300° for 40-45 minutes. Rotate cake as necessary, cooking until a cake tester can be removed clean.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb cream cheese
1/2 lb unsalted butter
2 lb powdered sugar
Beat butter and cream cheese in an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl well. Begin adding the powered sugar on low speed, mixing thoroughly before the next addition. Finish by adding the peppermint extract and whipping for 10 minutes on high speed.

Peppermint Simple Syrup
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup peppermint schnapps
Pour boiling water over sugar and schnapps and mix until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.

Putting it all together
1/2 cup crushed peppermint candies
Mint leaves
Maraschino cherries
Cool both cake layers thoroughly and cut each horizontally into 3 equal sized plates, for a total of six layers. (If this seems daunting, try cutting each layer in half to make two equal-sized plates for a total of four. A finished four-layer cake will still look great.) Place a layer on a serving platter and lightly brush with the peppermint simple syrup. Frost, repeat for all layers and frost the outside of the cake. Garnish with mint leaf and stemmed maraschino cherries for a holly-like effect.


holiday family & friends time:

georgia buchert made this beautiful crown for me.  i was so touched.  this pic doesn't do it justice.  i'll try to get a better one.

1) omg.  food.  out of control food.

2) prime rib & brussels sprout, nativity, very sketchy pick-up rendition (omg.  out of control melismas) of "for unto us a child is born,"  buche de noel, and christmas crackers on christmas eve.

3) matching swiss nightgowns for me and all the girls.

4) thoughtful "experience" gift certificates (dim sum, play lists, shopping expeditions, pedicures, thrifting and vintage store shopping), cool, creative gift-wrapping jobs & hand embroidered cards.

5) turkey dinner at bam's on christmas day.

6) christmas day migraine.

7) pitch perfect with my sis at the dollars.  yes!  see it.

8) boxing day locust salon featuring:  candy cane cake by ingrid, baked brie with fig and cranberry by kathryn, carrot-jicama salad AND hand made crown by georgia, cheese ball and last minute table arranging by bonnie, olives, cheese and nuts from the belnap-jensens, lots of baking and cleaning by amelia, magical drum solo by greg, stylophone virtuosity by steve, and prepared piano by christian.

el gallo giro is one of my favorite provo restaurants.  check out their molcajete.
9) over-the-top take out from el gallo giro for lunch today--handmade guacamole, molcajete, pollo with pickled pink onions, 29 handmade corn tortillas, nopales, mole rojo, sangria, and, yeah.

10) the hobbit--loved having moses' running commentary, as he sat on my lap for most of the movie, and obviously it was his favorite movie he'd ever seen since it looked exactly like a video game, but, dude, i hate cgi.  it seriously looks like a piece of crap.  sorry fans.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Avoiding Tight Places

This morning I called the info desk at the Museum of Modern Art and was told "we are extraordinarily crowded."

One of my Facebook friends status updated that the line for the Met was "around the block."

You think that "Christmas Week" in New York will be idyllic, but it's teeming.  Frothing with tourists.

That's why, when you visit NY during Xmas Week, you should head for the New York Public Library main building on 5th Avenue and 40th Street.

That's what we did.

Free.  No lines.

A Dickens' exhibit.

An exhibit about the history of lunch of New York City.  (Do you know that the NYPL archives literally hundreds of vintage restaurant menus?)  The online exhibition is here.

And look at the library's lobby tree:


two rad 92 year-olds, grandma beth and grandpa woody on christmas day 2012.
a strand of thought that emerged over the holidays:

why are the 90-ish year-olds so cool?

i had the good fortune of spending time with a handful of ninety-plus year-olds in the past week, including my amazing grandma beth, and i always marvel at the special-ness of this particular demographic.  i don't think it's just generic wisdom obtained by a long life.  i do think there is something unique about that generation, and the economic hardships, the wars, the sea-change in technology, medicine, and nature that these people have witnessed.

there's a humanity, and a privileging of people over things, that seems especially present in my 90 year-old-ish family members and friends.

one of my aspirations this holiday season was to learn how to make the plum pudding i've heard so much about from my grandma beth's recipe box.  last night, aunt bonnie dug out her recipe box and found the crumbling newspaper clipping with the recipe.

i vow to make it before new year's, (i need to find citron and suet--will probably have to go to salt lake for it) and i vow, in 2013, to spend a lot more time with my favorite generation of people.

vintage plum pudding recipe:  cannon plum pudding

when served mrs. lewis telle cannon's famous plum pudding for dessert, guests are happy.  santa claus could do no more.  this is how:

4 lbs. raisins
3/4 lbs. citron
2 lbs. pecan meats
2 pints light molasses
2 pints ground suet
10 c. flour
2 level t. soda dissolved in 1/4 c. boiling water
1 T. salt
1 1/2 t. each of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg

add soda water to molasses.  gradually mix in suet, milk, flour, spices, and lastly fruit dredged in part of the flour.  steam 3 1/2 hours.  serve with lemon sauce.

many utah recipes stem from foreign lands, handed down from mother to daughter.  take sparkling mrs. effie evans of  665 e. 1st s., whose home is seventen miles north of edinburgh, in the village of kelty, over here on the exchange-teacher program.  

"i'm amazed," she said, "at the amount of salads americans eat and the size of the steaks.  and we have chicken only on very special occasions."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Let's Keep It Going for My Inner Child

It's still the Xmas season, yes?

 I keep trying to convince my melancholy kid of that:    It's not over! It's not over!

(But I relate:  I remember feeling quite melancholy on Christmas night as a kid--disconsolately watching tv in my visiting grandparents' motel room on the main drag in Yuma.)

So  you can still listen to holiday songs like "Christmas Unicorn!"

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dark and Fuzzy Xmas

Just two dark and fuzzy images taken with my old Android camera.  (Does anyone know why these photos are much darker on Fb and hence, here than they were on my phone?)

Not enough sleep, although the children did not wake until almost 10:00 am.

Lots of paper and my recycled fabric ribbons.  I love tying up packages with fabric ribbons.

Too many frosted sugar cookies ingested.

And this afternoon--I worked with phyllo dough sheets--something I'd been afraid of handling for a very long time--for the very first time.  And it turned out . . . really well, Lara.

Our host's favorite carol is "O Holy Night" which A played on the uke.
Here's a nice Christmas song:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Maker Extraordinaire and Christmas Birthday Girl, Luisa Caldwell

Luisa Caldwell has been a New York City artist for over 20 years.  She was among the first artists to colonize the Brooklyn neighborhood of Williamsburg.  I've long been impressed by Luisa's drive--not only her compulsion to create, but for her ability to support herself through her art.  Luisa is not only a working artist, but a mom and gal who takes full advantage of New York City's arts, culture and entertainment scene.  (One of my best nights in New York was dancing with her at TV on the Radio's Prospect Park gig, several years ago.)

Luisa's work is extensive and varied.  She works small and large in a variety of media--most notably non-traditional, like the detritus of our culture--fruit stickers and candy wrappers.  She's done a plethora of site-specific installations locally here in New York:  the subway system, Randall's Island, The Sculpture Center, DUMBO and in Europe and as far away as Siberia (not even kidding).  She always seems to be working, always thinking.  She is one of the most vibrant and interesting people I've ever met.   Read more about her work here.

GITP wishes Luisa a very happy birthday (yesterday, December 23rd)!

Are you in a tight place? If so, what are you doing about it?
My jeans are too tight, my apartment is tight, and my purse strings are tight. Am I in a tight spot? Hell no! Not that I haven’t ever been. But right now all the imperfections of my life hardly bother me. I'm constantly having to make modifications and compromises in my life in order to keep working as an artist. I moved to a smaller less expensive apartment (now I love my new neighborhood even better than my previous one).

I was beginning to stress over not making enough money through my artwork following the completion of a large public commission, so I got a job (and now I have new friends in my coworkers). The way I look at it, even a day job (that I like) that takes up way too much of my week, contributes to paying my studio rent and materials. So whatever keeps me in the long term focused on my work is an asset. Things have become easier for me and I don’t procrastinate nearly as much, which contributed to making things seem difficult. Too much thinking about stuff rather that "just do it."

Last Call, 2010, fruit stickers, acrylic paint on paper
What inspires you?
Right now I am finding old hippy music, the music from when I was a kid so inspiring Crosby Stills and Nash, Carol King and Joni Mitchell : "Well maybe it is just the time of year, Or maybe it's the time of man. I don't know who I am, But you know life is for learning." Who writes lyrics like that anymore! I haven’t seen the Matisse show at The Met but am excited about going, knowing I will be blown away, because I always am by Matisse. I like some rainy days, my son practicing the guitar, a glance from an attractive man…And you know what else inspires me? The unexpected- When I like something I thought I didn’t like, Like bromances, I love those kind of stupid funny movies now! I never did!

What do you want to get done this year?  (Or next?)
I really want to take singing lessons, but I am self conscious and afraid. I really cannot carry a tune and I feel I am missing out, so I guess I am in a bit of a tight spot about that one. Can anyone recommend a voice teacher?

What's your favorite legwear?
Gotta say I am so happy they invented the legging, not as ugly as sweats, and as fun as tights, but can be worn on their own unlike the true tight. I am wearing my new American Apparel deep blue velour leggings, holiday festive and oh so comfy!

Running Fence:  Scenic Route 10' x 44' x 6'

Umbrella Organization, 2011, 500 umbrellas, zip ties

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Brushes with (Holiday) Glamour

Kid #1 at the Plaza in front of The Great Gatsby-inspired tree.
 We spent the afternoon in midtown being tourists.

We went to Le Parker Meriden hotel where there was a gingerbread extravaganza.  Click here to see what we saw.

From there we headed to Bergdorf's museum quality windows.  For more, click here:
From there we went to the Plaza Hotel and looked longingly at gentry having tea in the Palm Courty.  A real live pianist played holiday tunes Liberace style.  

Where do you go after that but Tiffany's?  Kid #2 really wanted to go.  I don't think I'd ever gone in an leaned over the cases, but that's what we did and picked out our favorite jewels.  And then Kid #2 got too sad that this wasn't her real life.  So we left.

We arduously made our way down 5th Avenue.  Of course, it was getting very crowded.  Of course, we were silly to visit the weekend before Christmas, but we pressed on and got close to the Rock Center tree.
A lot of bickering in front of the iconic Rock Center tree.  Liz Lemon was mentioned.
I could have gone further.  I could have gone to Saks, then Lord and Taylor then over to Macy's but the kids wanted to go home.

We did have one more brush with glamor before repairing to our tight little tenement.  We stopped at the new shop Beurre & Sel, and examined the cookies Tiffany's style.

locust dal

the always rad alex caldeiro.

the jazzers.

reading from my emily dickinson manuscript.  7 days to have it completed by the end of 2012.
here's a little tour of the last locust salon, featuring QNMA, the inimitable alex caldeiro, poet (and utah state poet laureate) lance larsen, and some lentil dal.

also, i finally got around to writing down my lentil dal recipe.  a few people have asked for it, so it's found at the bottom of the post.

so many candles #firehazardous.

more tights.

locust salon spread.
fashionistas lula & anna.  also, martha stewart ladies.
true artist & sonospher alex caldeiro.

a not very appetizing shot of the dal.

lance larsen reading a rad poem about pablo cassals.

locust salon tights:  grape, dove grey, black lace.

QNMA, killing it.

Locust Salon Dal

Christian makes this killer black-eyed pea chilli that used to be our Locust Salon standard, but since we have so many vegetarians in attendance, we’ve moved towards lentil dal.  Also, since I get a little fierce when someone else is in my kitchen, I must have unthinkingly edged Christian out of my territory.  Sorry, hon!

So, given that this is my “serving at least 25 people” dish, you may wish to cut the recipe in half.  If you have enough for 12, you’ll be happy with the leftovers, as this dal develops killer second day swag in the fridge.  I make it in a 6.5 quart crock pot.  It will work just as well on the stove-top.  Bring to a high simmer and then turn down the heat to medium low for an hour or so, or until the dal gets creamy and fairly smooth.

The recipe emerged over a couple of years, and is, I’m pretty sure, a mis-match of north and south Indian cuisine.  I use a pick n’ choose method when developing my recipes, in concert with a high level of improvisation, so I can’t vouch for the perfection of the written down form here.  You all will have to use your tasting skills to get it to your liking.

If you’re the kind of cook who needs exact instructions, know this:  the key to getting your dishes as delicious as you want them to be is the adjustment of salt and acid levels.  For this dish, start with a smaller amount of salt and lemon juice and keep adding, stirring and tasting until you are happy. If you don’t taste as you cook, then I really can’t help you.  Sorry.

Also, depending on the level of heat you like, you can go with a hotter curry paste and more or less curry paste.  (I’m super embarrassed to admit that I use curry paste.  Sometimes I do actually take the time to make a paste of fresh ground spices, garlic and ginger, but more often than not I’m too pinched for time and not well-outfitted enough with all of the spices to make that happen.)


1 medium bunch of cilantro
2 medium yellow onions
4 tomatoes
2 lemons
2 big spoonfuls of curry paste (I use Patak’s mild curry paste.  You can use a hotter paste if you prefer.
1 T. salt (adjust to taste)
2 16 oz. cans coconut milk
2 c. red lentils
2 c. yellow lentils
1 stick unsalted butter

1.     Wash and finely chop the stems only of the cilantro.  Set aside the leaves for the raita.
2.     Roughly chop onions and tomatoes.
3.     Juice lemons.
4.     Add onions, cilantro, tomatoes, curry paste, salt and coconut milk to crock pot.  Stir until curry paste and salt are dissolved into the coconut milk.
5.     Add lentils and enough water to nearly fill crock-pot.
6.     Place stick of butter on top of lentils to dissolve throughout cooking.
7.     Stir twice during cooking time, adding water if lentils get too thick or dry.
8.     Right before serving adjust salt level and add half of lemon juice.  Increase amount of lemon juice if needed.
9.     Serve with basmati rice, raita, and crispy brown onions.