Sunday, March 29, 2009

the time has come...


I have reenacted this scene about 20 times today.

grad school visit: Minnesota

This week I visited University of Minnesota's program. I don't think that I could stand the weather or the accents, but it was nice to rub elbows with some real pro-America Americans. And actually Minneapolis is cool and full of grain elevators.

And I saw Minnehaha Falls:

And, just for Joy, a picture of St Anthony Falls Dam (or is it a lock?):

Monday, March 23, 2009

Anais Nin

I have been reading Anais Nin's work off-and-on for a year, since first seeing her mentioned in Judy Chicago's autobiographies. Since then, I have been kicking around this idea of a "matron of the arts" - powerful women in arts movements who were forced into "motherhood" rolls. Figures like Nin, Sylvia Beach, and Beatrice Wood.

It took me eight months to get around to it, but I finally plowed through Nin's Diary 1931-1934. I think that it was a mistake to read "Henry and June" first, because it is a jucier version of what is in the diary. Or I wish that someone would publish the two together.

One passage I especially like:

Man must fear the effort woman is making to create herself, not to be born of Adam's rib. It revives his old fears of her power. What he forgets is that dependency does not create love, and to control nature is not a greater achievement than to control woman, for there will always be the revolts of instinct, the earthquakes and the tidal waves. With control one also killed the rich natural resources of both nature and woman. It was woman who reacted against the great dehumanization of man by industry, the machine. Man reacted by mutiny, or crime. Woman sought other ways. Mutiny is not in her nature. (p 276)

happy accidents

EDIT: I just had to eat the leftovers of this, and I take it ALL back. DO NOT COOK THIS.

Today I decided to ignore the multitude of post-it notes and Google Calendar reminders stating that I have a dentist appointment on Tuesday, March 24 and showed up a day early and read Rachel Ray Every Day magazine until the receptionist finally pointed out my stupidity and sent me home.

Normally, the fact that I wasted an hour and STILL have to go to the dentist would piss me off, but tonight I wound up making a 30 Minute Meal (tm) so delicious that I cannot complain.

RR called this "Caeser Salad Soup", which sounds stupid, and also isn't a very accurate descriptor since I ignored her instructions to make croutons and use romaine lettuce. Instead I

-cooked a bag of mixed greens (chard and kale) in vegetable broth with green olives
-cooked a can of anchovies and can of chickpeas and a few garlic cloves in olive oil
-ate them together with toast

My breath/hands/kitchen/everything will probably stink for days, but this is one of the best beans-and-greens variations that I have eaten in a while.*

*I eat beans-and-greens almost exclusively October through November and March through April. I am embarrassed to admit that I have been so busy that I got started a little late this year.** Nutrition! I have missed it.

**I also feel like I am missing the narrow window for spring onions and asparagus, because I have missed and will miss the farmer's market every damn Saturday this spring.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

moss terraria update

My moss terraria have made it almost a month since my last post, and some are faring better than others.

The terraria using plastic bottles and jars, with potting soil only (ie, no marble chips and therefore no drainage) are doing very well.

It is difficult to photograph, but there is a really great, very delicate moss in my 2 liter bottle terrarium.

The moss terraria with drainage media are a little disappointing, and this one has some kind of mold. In retrospect, I guess that this is a no-brainer, since moss doesn't typically grow in well-drained areas. But the internet told me to do it.

This is the long moss that I had such high hopes for. It really isn't doing well. I am hoping to find time this afternoon to do some emergency surgery and take the stone out and save the moss. We'll see.

grad school visit: Michigan

On Friday I went to Michigan's Landscape Architecture department open house. The department is in the School of Natural Resources (as opposed to in the design school), which I see as both a major strength and weakness. It is probably the most technical, ecologically-minded program that I am looking at (good), but also the least Design-minded program (bad). So, now I am trying to figure out what I am supposed to learn in grad school, and whether it even matters, since I will graduate with an MLA and wind up in an entry-level job regardless.

I am also realizing that no matter where I go, I will just have to be self-motivated to accomplish what I want to. Still, I would rather not feel like I am beating my head against a wall every day, and I worry that no one would back me up if I said that I think that good landscape architecture looks like this:

and this:

and this:

because they are too busy being good stewards of the earth.

Kettle Corn

Last night I got home from my big trip to Ann Arbor and made this delicious bowl of popcorn:

Yes, it was seriously as burnt as it looks (and that blurry, too). I would like to tell you that I threw it away and sat down to a nutritious dinner of lentil soup, but that would be lying. Instead, I reminded myself that burnt caramel is a hot yuppie flavor, and if I ever want to be cool, I will have to learn how to eat it without grimacing (sort of like how I have to learn how to drink sake without gagging).

I am on this mission to make kettle corn at home because I have gotten hooked on this stupid high-end brand that sells for OVER TWO DOLLARS a bag at the convenience store downstairs from my office. It is infuriating to imagine that I could probably make the same product for pennies, and that the massive food conglomerate that probably owns (or will probably soon own) this stupid high-end brand probably makes it for even less.

But this effort seriously sucked.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Waiting for the mail
Waiting for validation
Waiting for good news
Waiting for bad news

Waiting for the economy to change
Waiting for something to do
Waiting for good news
Waiting for bad news

Waiting for my famed biological clock to tick
Waiting for validation
Waiting for good news
Waiting for bad news

Last weekend was rough. So I bought myself an expensive sketch book and opened a bottle of wine. I guess I didn't need a new sketch book, or one this nice at that. Especially not for contour line drawings in ink.

My room has mirrored closet doors, which are great for self portraits. Blind contours are hard, though, because I start looking at my drawing upside down and trying to cheat. But maybe that is another drawing exercise in-and-of itself.

Also, I have started laying out my outfits each night before bed. If my pants wouldn't wrinkle, I would put them over my shoes like a firefighter. I find it impossible to wake up. I've messed up two days in a row trying to make coffee...and all I have to do is put in a pod and push a button!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

waiting/faith wilding

I have a lot of big decisions to make in the next five or six weeks. I really like to think things through/obsess for a while before drawing any conclusions. But, for now, I don't even have all of the facts.

It keeps reminding me of the Faith Wilding piece, "Waiting".

Of course, I was discussing it the other night, and I never have a plan. I couldn't even decide between Landscape Architecture and Architecture programs, so I applied to some of each (and some of both). In some sense, since I never have much of an expectation, I am never doing much "waiting".

Except for right now. I am waiting.

Maybe I will write my own poem called, "Dreading".

Monday, March 9, 2009

mess of mezze

I still have not mastered the art of preparing food that looks lovely and appetizing. Or of taking a picture of food that makes it look lovely and appetizing. Or of remembering to take said picture before eating half of my dinner. But . . .

Here we have proof positive that yesterday, with the assistance of my very patient sous chef, I prepared a Mediterranean feast of epic proportions (at least for me). There was hummus! And falafel, which mostly did not fall apart in the frying pan! And pita bread, which actually just turned out like tiny pizza crusts! And couscous (unpictured). Sure, the meal consisted of nothing but carbohydrates...I finally made falafel that worked!

-falafel recipe

-pita recipe

-hummus recipe (based on Cooks Illustrated):
juice of one lemon
1/4 c water
6 tbsp tahini
1 can chickpeas
garlic, salt, and spices to taste (I like a teaspoon or two of Garam Masala)

Process chickpeas and spices until almost fully ground.
Comine water and lemon juice in measuring cup. Add to running food processor. Let it run for a minute. Give your finger a break from the pulse button and combine tahini and olive oil in measuring cup. Add to running food processor. Let it run for half a minute.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


I was noticing this week how old and worn out my hands look. I feel like they have aged more quickly than the rest of my body. But, maybe I have a skewed perception as to how old the rest of my body looks.

I feel like spring is finally here, and I took a few walks and spied all kinds of tiny flowers. There is something about spring that always makes me feel very relieved.

At the same time, there is something about spring that causes me to collapse time in my mind. It feels like every spring is the same spring. Something that happened 3 years ago happened yesterday.

It is the same confused feeling that I get when I wake up. I have to piece together what is real and what is a dream. Why I am waking up. Where I am. What I am doing. This sounds much more dramatic that what I am trying to convey. I guess I just feel groggy.

As if I am coming out of hibernation.

I feel like I do spend most of winter asleep. If not hiding under the covers, I am bundled up and very blind to the tiny things happening all around me.

It makes me feel small and young again.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

new leaves

In 2009, I have been trying to develop better habits.

The "better habit" demonstrated herein is making and eating breakfast every day. Hopefully, keeping my kitchen and table clean will eventually work their way in there too.

Ironically I am posting this on a day when I did not make and eat breakfast at home.

I was really ready for spring, and this snow has put me in a really foul mood. Fortunately, my mom got a new camera and I have these hilarious pictures of the heinously cute Zero the Dog to cheer us up.