Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Salad Days


Dear Diners,

It's time for a salad manifesto.  Deal with it.  

1.  It must be composed of less than you think.  If you have 8 different things in the bowl, beyond what is making up the dressing, you should take half of them out.

2.  It must have salt.  You could skip pepper, but you cannot skip salt.

3.  It must also have oil, and unless you love your salads, you should begin by doubling what you currently put in.

4.  It must NOT taste so much of acid that your eyes water.  Begin by cutting the vinegar or lemon juice that you use by at least half, and probably you want about 1/4 of what you currently use.

5.  You may put sweet things in it, but only two at the absolute most!  You may have apples, and honey, but not dried cherries also!  That is WAY too much- see the first rule.

6.  You should be able to taste all the things you have put in, which means your dressing should not be so strong that you cannot taste the lettuce or greens.

Additionally, you may put kale or other cruciferous vegetables in your salad, but they are pretty tough, so consider always when you make a salad that your goal is a kind of almost delicacy.  Cheese and nuts are fine in salad, tortilla chips are not.  Crisped up bread in all forms is welcome in salad, beans are okay in moderation.  Minced shallots are perfect in salad.  Dried fruit is acceptable, but not if you have already poured a cup of candied nuts in!  Candied nuts plus dried fruit makes your salad into a Clif Bar.

Lastly, these are not the rules for slaws, these are strictly salad rules, and they do not apply to pasta salad, bean salad, rice salad, jello salad, tuna salad, ham salad, or broccoli salad.  If you don't like these rules, make your own!  

 :  Many thanks to Judy Rogers, whose salad rules have guided me for years, and are much of the inspiration for the manifesto.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

a rain of stitches


Embroidered coat by Lisa Smirnova

Dear Penciled,

I really enjoy an accumulation of line segments.  It's what makes a drawing a drawing, and these lovely drawings are made of thread segments!  It has me running to my needles, threads, and my closet.  I think there isn't anything in there that wouldn't look better with a bit of embroidery inspired by Lisa Smirnova on it.  Let the connecting power of stitches be our project for today!

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Me gusta.


Queridos Amigos que patina,

¡Esto es muy bueno!

Missing Joy?


Dear Whom it May Concern,

Did someone take your joy?  Do you want it back?  A friend of mine, a woman I have great admiration for, suggested that it might be subversive to be cheerful, to be joyful, at this time.  Another artist I know, made this film about her search and subsequent reclamation of joy in times of trouble.  I think it qualifies beautifully as cheerful subversion and subverting cheerfully.

If watching the film doesn't help you find a little joy or cheer, send 50 cents to an address in Boulder, Colo., and see if they can't mail you a replacement. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

A double.


Dear Autumn,

Today, for you, and your efflorescences of yellow gold in the cottonwoods and your hazy still skies, a double: this is both your song of the day and your delight of the day.  Enjoy your season!

Monday, September 21, 2020

That ain't Jack.


Dear John,

This is, though, and it is also your song of the day.  I adore these short, simple, and declarative Tom Petty songs.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

What nests within?

Dear Radio Listeners,

This is your song for the day, but just like the Matryoshka doll, it also contains many songs.  Additionally, it is the delight of the day, because it's a real pleasure to watch these two performers ham it all up eight ways to Sunday.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Why & How


Dear Readers,

Do you know why I am here?  Did I ever tell you why I write to you?  It might be a good time to remind you, even if I did tell you before.  I write here because of time.  I saw so many things evaporating; things like bowling alleys, telephones with cords, film cameras, all kinds of stuff that maybe isn't very meaningful actually, but it seemed like a lot of good stuff was going the way of the dodo, so I thought I'd make a little list, a little collection, and give it to you, here.  But, I didn't really do that.  I started on it, and sometimes it seeps in, but I thought it was kind of sorrowful to just send you lament after lament.  So that was what I planned to do here, but that isn't what I do, and this leaves my purpose here intentionally ambiguous.  How about you?  Why do you come by?

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

poem, print


Woodcut print by Bryan Nash Gill.

Dear Ones,

I bought a case, to put my odd objects into, because I felt sad that they were in boxes, and if I am not making these things for me, then who?  As an audience of one, I wanted these things presented in a vitrine, and so they are going into a cabinet.  However, some things are not going to be kept any longer.  

A shoebox of leaf skeletons, although it might be the best thing I own, will be documented and then, tossed onto the wind.  Photographing these things will have to suffice.

Also, a chocolate box filled with fabric snips.  A box of rocks.  Many boxes of shells, coral.  A stack of stamps cut from the RSVP's of my wedding invitations.  A box of conkers.  Seeds and pods.  Winged leaves.  Stems of dried bulbs.

These are the collections that are going, many more are staying: the birds' nests, more boxes of rocks.  Cut scraps of yarn.

All of this saving seems to be what gives me meaning, and that brings me to poem, which I think you should save, in a box, in a collection of poems that bring you meaning.

Tree Rings

There's no choice
near the end
but to curl in
on yourself.

That's all that
remains, but for
that around
which you curl.

- Todd Young.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

fast fwd.

Dear Concerned,

I don't actually think they were simpler times; I think we just forgot all the myriad complications.  Once in a while, I get a glimpse of it, out of the corner of my eye; a kind of 'true memory' and it is pretty awful: there is doubt in abundance, and confusion; worry & sorrow are there too.

I am suggesting a kind of fast forward, no, not to the end of the pandemic, I mean something more utilitarian than that even:  I mean, what does it feel like to tell about now in a year or a week?  Let me try:

Everyday, with regularity, I searched for good news.  All I ever found were more reasons to worry.  From the people I knew, I received comfort of all kinds- I tried to send it in return.  I wrote, I called, I sent messages and packages.  I made things to give.  Making masks depressed me, not because I didn't want to wear one, but because it felt like such a tiny little blow against the enormity of the danger.  I did not like the virtual ways we used to connect.  Looking at myself felt silly and it sapped all my confidence and energy.  It turned me into a self-conscious 12 year old, which is something I did not want to be again.  The phrases and language that blossomed annoyed me- 'at the end of the day,' 'pivoting to the new reality,' 'the new normal.'  Why wouldn't people use a language of honesty, of candor?  Why did they hide behind these rubbishy jingles?  I studied daily the numbers and data- it was like a kind of ritual, a kind of penance and a way to bear witness.  People actually took to the streets, but things seemed mired in absolute endless repetition.  Everything fell apart, but it was all just barely taped together anyway.  What was hardest, was trying not to inflict suffering on others.  This is always so, but it seemed even harder than usual: why the hell were we even trying to work 'online?'  None of this make-work mattered much.  The real scare lay in what we were going to do with ourselves if nothing was required of us- it was alternately scintillating and frightening.  There was no reason to do much of anything.  I discovered that I communicate with words, but that isn't even half of the information in a conversation.  The flattening of interactions revealed how our culture and society obscures the elemental levels on which we actually function:  smell, small tells of movement, infinite and invisible physical cues.

And that, is some of what I will have learned, later, in the future.  Back in the olden times.