Monday, December 29, 2008

Imperfect yet magical. Like life itself.

Yesterday I was nerdily buried in the Sunday New York Times, reading and reflecting on my first Christmas away from my parents. Following this revere was (besides a fabulous pot of french pressed Stumptown coffee) a lightly philosophical article about the end of Polaroid film; about the end of a form of photography that was exceptional because it hinged on that element of surprise. This was contrasted with today's trusty digital cameras, where imperfection can be carelessly deleted in a split second - maybe, just maybe, missing a shot of unexplored genius.

This got my already sentimental (and over caffeinated) mind running. Is life these days that different? Sometimes I find myself editing out the past because it doesn't fit the narrative (I'd elaborate, but that's fodder for my fiction). Why?

It also got me thinking of my grandpa Swede, the only person I ever knew to religiously wield a Polaroid camera. As is with the holidays, you miss the people who have passed on. But I was comforted, and more than a little amused, to flip through my Polaroids from him. His loving, warm and imperfect gaze comes across in each shot. It really warms my heart to think about it, him, my family. And that's why I'll always have a soft spot for that clunkynoisyarmygreen camera... and imperfections.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stumptown Christmas

A bus stop, a skiing family and a bicycle.
Merry Christmas from Portland!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Birds of a Feather Shop Together

Don't venture beyond the pasta aisle when he's hungry
(photo from Dave Gorman's flickr page)

I just found out there's a bird living in a Safeway downtown*. He's been there since early summer and survives off the millet and grains that are spilled from the dry food bins. I watched him today, singing above the sale pomegranates.
*The exact location is being withheld, to protect the innocent (bird).

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A little closer to fine.

Things have taken a turn for the worse (but not yet worst) lately, so I'm cooking through it. Much like pushing through it, but with leeks, currents and monk fish. And cookies, my god, the cookies. Here's what the weekend looked like, in culinary creations:

1) Grilled butterflied monkfish with a sweet runner bean stew (from Jamie Oliver's Jamie at Home), with a side of rosemary and sea salt roasted Oregon Yukon potatoes (improv'd);
2) Norwegian pancakes (from Kitchen of Light) and a chard & shallot frittata (loosely based on Alice Water's frittata recipe in The Art of Simple Food);
3) Oatmeal and current cookies (The Art of Simple Food, Alice Water);
4) Leek Confit, on toast with goat cheese (Molly Wizenberg for Bon Appetit);
5) Cannellini and Butternut squash soup (The Art of Simple Food, Alice Water).

So far, so good. Obviously, I'll have left overs until 2009. But it's nice to remind myself that the kitchen is my own little kingdom, even if I'm not so lucky once I step out the door.

Monday, December 8, 2008

'Tis the season

There was the typical morning news. Landslides, fires and neighborhood robberies. Bush, nearing the sunset of his reign of terror, inarticulately apologized-but-not-really-apologized for one single harmful event of many, at Abu Ghraib (he was technically in charge - of course he wasn't there, but he should've (they've told him), take some responsibility, so he is. Taking responsibility. Sort of.) Me wearing one sock and yelling at the television screen.

And then the usually cheery guy at the coffee shop handed me my morning coffee and told me about kids in Africa who are crushing HIV anti-virus pills and smoking them mixed with pot for the high.

Later in the morning I got a google alert that the owner of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times was filing for corporate bankruptcy. I felt the grip tighten on my job, the jobs of friends finishing up MFA programs or looking for journalism jobs. I thought, "The sky is falling."

I skipped lunch and went to the gym to work out my worries. One, and then all four of the gym televisions flashed breaking news of a fighter jet crashing into a residential area of La Jolla, California. I left the gym. The sky was falling.

I haven't felt like writing. I've started four blog posts this month, but never made it far before giving up. I couldn't figure it out, couldn't begin to put my anxiety into words. Then I read this and this on Hezbollah Tofu (even the ridiculous name puts world events into perspective, right?) Basically, it's about us going to hell in a handbasket and how, if we're even slightly sensitive to that and at all greatful for the things we do have, we need to show compassion for all the peeps that have it worse than we do. And celebrate that we're all in this together.

Thanks to Hezbollah Tofu for making more sense than the world ever could at the moment.

And for clearing the blockage, so to speak.