Friday, July 29, 2011

•when up is down and down is up•

In spite of the relative bubble of wealth, education and privilege that insulates our little town of Davis, my son's preschool served Otterpops instead of afternoon snack last week. Yesterday, one of his teachers told my husband she believes raw cashews are poisonous (their shells are, but they don't make the raw nut toxic). I'm starting to get a little disheartened.

If you read no other blogpost for the rest of the year, please look at this brilliant one from KristenM at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

•the whole point•

"Whoa. I'm getting energy from this girl. The girl who is singing."

(We are listening to classical music on the radio. No singing.)
(I guess the musicians are singing. Through their instruments.)

"I'm a tiny snowflake. When I listen to this music, I turn--the tiny snowflake turns-- into a frog!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

•when are they going to come out?•

When you are an adult...
and you find someone you love very much...
like Mommy loves Daddy...
and Catrina loves Laurie...
and Michael loves Karl...
you might want to use your seeds, then, to make a baby...
to start a new family, your own family.

Friday, July 22, 2011


[This post is part of a tag-you're-it game, designed by Amanda Blake Soule. Check her out, and discover the beautiful world of the Soules!]

Thursday, July 21, 2011

•camping with a toddler•

This is not a "how to camp with a toddler" post, I swear. Rather, a list of suggestions. Our recent car-camping trip with the toddler to Yosemite's Tuolumne Meadows was full of discoveries. It was about 80 degrees in the sun, and just above freezing at night. (See above for pajamas worn all day.) At 8000 feet in the mountains, things tend to get hinky if you've not brought the right gear.

List after jump!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Rain

I've landed in a city of cool grey rain. Walking down unfamiliar streets, I can shrug into myself, anxiously trying to avoid getting wet, or I can relax into the weather, turn my face upward to a blanket of cloud. I choose the latter, and the raindrops hit me in greeting, gently finding their way through the loose weave of my sweater to sit comfortably on my skin.

•buzz rush•

Your life, in your own hands. How many more blinks of an eye?
"When will I die?"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Today, as I waited outside a coffee shop for a friend, a sparrow came within six inches of my foot. It never stopped moving: hopping, pecking, quivering, hopping again. Hop, peck, quiver, hop. I imagined its tiny, soft, round body perched in my palm, its head cocked so its bright eye could meet mine. It pecked coffee shop morsels for a minute, then flew off in a blur of brown and gray.

•if this were a photograph, it would be a bottle of pills•

Piles of drawings, unopened statements. Placemats and napkins, not yet dirty enough for the laundry. Colored pencils, in varying states of unsharp. A graveyard of curb-ables, another for Craigslist.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Begin Again

This morning is hot coffee with cream and sugar, house and skin still cool from the night air, the sound of birds singing, the brightest summer light filtered to a soothing glow through white curtains, and the possibility of new beginnings.


Generally, most of my projects fall by the wayside. Unless, of course, they come into their own. Hard and fast and on-top-of-one-another. I like it that way. (And that, says a small voice, is your downfall.)

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Sometimes, the glass makes the cocktail. In this case, it was both the glass and the rhubarb-raspberry gastrique (with a little help from rum, seltzer and tarragon). I have a weakness for shiny things. xox

Friday, July 8, 2011

Note to Self

To stay present, make something. In creating, there is only the act of creation. Moment. To moment. To moment.

•water cocktail•

Cantaloupe, tarragon, cucumber, ice. Air-conditioning in a glass.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


There's something about sunflowers: They're so easily personified--bright faces; broad leaves like flouncy dresses; a joyful, open attitude. They look as if they'd find beauty in everyone. You want to befriend them.


In every house, the sounds are different. This one: The tick-tock of the kitchen clock, the low hums of the refrigerator and the fan on my computer, the click of the coffee pot cooling down. At certain times of day, kids shouting to one another from their bicycles on the way home from school. Just enough sound to make the quiet peaceful rather than deafening.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sharing Space

Swarming on the walkway are hundreds of black bugs with red splashes on their sides. When I got here, the grown bugs were mating. Then tiny red babies were born. I've watched them these last months, the red on the babies slowly darkening to black, their bodies growing. I tiptoe through the masses, trying not to crush them.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

•in the all-together•

I have locked myself in the bathroom to write this. (Going on a full month without any toddler-free time, here.) But wait! I have news! Silvery, shimmery, glittery news! Today I achieved a personal dream. I turned on and used my outdoor shower. Twice. The conditions were perfect: toddler asleep, 103 degrees in the shade, and an apparatus so cobbled-together as to make my usual half-assedness look meticulous (the pictures don't exactly capture the hose-to-pipe-to-hose connections; they also elegantly hide the PVC aspect of the whole affair). I twisted our garden hose into place, turned on the spigot at the house, and scampered back to a little hummingbird brimming with promise. Then, wriggling out of clothes and giggling like an idiot, I turned that bird. And showered. It was so very short, but so very delightful. It was glorious, refreshing, and everything I'd hoped it would be. Finishing up, I peered out at the apartment complex behind our house and, well, I was not alone. Not sure exactly what I'd thought (that people wouldn't be home? that no one would notice me, naked and laughing on a Sunday afternoon?), but it was odd to be seen at that moment. I can't really say that I cared, but I felt some distant shade of indignation. "I can see you, you know," I called, as if pointing out that I could see the man would make him somehow less interested in seeing me. He did not move. Maybe he wasn't looking at me. Or maybe he didn't care, just as I didn't care, and was going to watch, damnit, in the same way I am going to continue to shower, damnit, outside. What might he have seen? Nothing porn-r-ific. Just a tired mom's bodkin, the color of cottonwood... a woman ablaze with satisfaction. I skittered away toward the spigot (off) and my clothes (on), skin prickling with joy. xox

Friday, July 1, 2011


If I tiptoe around, hush every chore, stifle even the thought of the toddler I've been begging to sleep, eventually I just sit. All that strain to keep a slumbering person slumbering. I stop, and burn through naptime in my head.

Put down accomplish; pick up rest. xox


Whether or not you choose it, it seems shattering a life is much like shattering anything else.

The initial breakage is utter chaos. Your feet are bare, and there you are, standing in the middle of shards, that cup of coffee you were so looking forward to splattered on the floor, the wall, the table and chair legs. Who knew liquid could travel so far propelled only by the force of a mug hitting the ground? Who knew the pieces of the mug could bury themselves in dark corners, under the china cabinet, in the next room over? Who knew a mug could break into so many individual pieces, each one a memory of the lovely thing you once had?

And that’s the tricky part—the way the mug’s pieces are suddenly so lovely to you. Suddenly, all you can see is the work and love that went into this handmade thing, the investment of time and energy at the wheel and hope in the firings, the beauty of the glaze.

Somehow, in your grief, you don’t remember the hairline fracture that ran through the whole thing—the flaw that meant it was simply a matter of time before the mug broke anyway.


When a favorite mug of mine broke a few years ago, I was devastated. I guess that’s a little odd, but my feelings about mugs run deep—I’ve made many of the mugs I own, and when I'm in my active pottery-making mode, I am, in fact, a little obsessed with the making of them. And while this particular one wasn’t made by me, it was one I loved dearly, and I’m sure most people won’t exactly be able to relate to the level of grief I felt about breaking it. I cried a good bit. I kind of hated myself for losing my grip on the poor thing. And I couldn’t bear to throw out the pieces. I had no idea what I would do with them—the mug was far beyond any hope of repair—but I gathered up as many pieces as I could, washed them carefully, and set them in a bowl on my kitchen counter, where they stayed for about a year and a half.

Over the next few days, I came across a shard or two of the worst kind—the little slivers that get stuck in feet or fingers and make them bleed. There weren’t many left at all—we did a pretty good job cleaning them up. But the ones I found hurt a lot, and they made me so sad all over again.

The other night, I was looking for a photo to use as a new blog header, and I kept opening photographs that were just like those little slivers of stoneware—painful reminders of something I’ve shattered. Unlike the mug, this shattering was done consciously. And somehow, that makes the shards feel that much sharper.

Eventually—just last fall—I had an epiphany about the shards of mug. It occurred to me that stoneware is fired well above the temperature at which I fire silver clay, which meant that I was easily able to incorporate those shards into my jewelry designs. I could create with this broken thing; I could transform the mug and my grief about it into something new and very beautiful.

Is grief always like that, on the other side? And is this what people mean when they say that you have to sit with grief? That you have to clean the shattered pieces, gather them into a bowl, and go about your life as best you can, taking whatever comfort you can manage in the knowledge that you needn’t throw out the pieces if you don’t want to?

And then one day, when you’ve seen that bowl so often that you’ve almost reached the point of no longer seeing it, you’ll glance in its direction, and you’ll see it as if for the first time, and with enormous joy, you’ll realize exactly what you saved those pieces for.