the forest you did not plant


I think the epitome of home-ness is sitting on the kitchen countertops in the morning with teacups of steaming coffee and Simon and Garfunkel (Dad's choice, always) playing in the background.

Three things:
01. This excellent documentary.

Also: made this Wednesday night . . . I kind of just threw everything in the pot, so the recipe is mostly approximations, but it was quite yummy and I want to be able to make it again, so thus I record it here.
Barley Vegetable Soup with White Wine and Lemon

1 small onion, chopped
a handful of chopped leeks
3 large carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
5 large mushrooms, chopped
3/4 cup peas
a handful of spinach or kale
fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup white cooking wine
juice from one lemon
3/4 cup cooked pearl barley

Cook all vegetables except peas and greens in a saucepan over medium heat with olive oil and salt and pepper. Cook until soft and onions are translucent. Add fresh herbs and cook for three minutes. Add broth, white wine, lemon, peas, and greens. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add precooked barley and let simmer for 10-15 more minutes. I like to serve it with a little goat cheese and freshly ground pepper on top.
[picture of maybe-someday-my-house, or a house a few blocks away from school whose porch I visit often]


ten good things


The more I live the more I am convinced that gratefulness is a very good thing.

01. salted caramel gelato slathered between whole wheat oatmeal cranberry cookies
02. torunn's hospitality and kindness and dinner tonight at her apartment
03. anticipation for going home (oh how slow this week has been)
04. after-church conversations with people not in my age group
05. my lovely roommates and this cozy attic-space we call home
06. big parties, loud music, and quiet corners to watch and observe
07. friends who are not like me at all
08. people who ask questions and remove attention from themselves
09. warmer air and no coats today
10. sundays and bread and wine and grace that is not my own (which is, after all, all of it)

[picture of my great-grandmother bernadine pratt - isn't that a lovely name?]


the space of a body

 sun on the wall.
(Excuse my Tuesday evening brain release.)

Do we know our bodies? What is the shape of your earlobe? Is pain the only thing that keeps us in touch with them? What does it mean to be trapped in skin?

"It is ironic that at the most superficial layer of the skin's intelligence network, dead cells organize to present our body image to the world." [Greenstein.]

What is the difference between a core and a container? Oh, Brancusi.

Marigold moons.

To-Do List of My Sanity:
1. Sleep.
2. Write.
3. Pray.
4. Create.
5. Love.

Things to Remember:
1. Remember the essential things.
2. Love materials.
3. Buy a thermos.

We the living are the dead.
We the dead are the living.
We are our mothers.
We will become our mothers.
We will die as mothers.
We will live as mothers.

This man makes good music.

If God had eyes, I think they would be purple.

[iPhone picture of the sun on the wall in my room]


scream and melancholy

For a class project recently, we had to create five different artist personas unlike ourselves and create a work of art as if we were them. These photos are the result of one of my "artists" from this project. Meet Cecilia Swarr, a photographer who specializes in psychoanalytical self-portraits and is inspired by William Blake and Edvard Munch. [And thanks to Torunn for willing to get cold and wet for me.]

This is the TED talk that inspired my professor's idea for this project. It is worth a watch.


smell the air in small town


Song of today, because it is gray and cold and sad, and because I miss my brother, and because Belle & Sebastian always makes me think of him.


all that i hope to say

If I wanted a tattoo, I'd want something like this. Clean and simple lines and shapes.

Other things tonight:

This weekend was full of lovely things. A candlelight Taize service at Ascension Catholic Church in Oak Park. Saturday ginger tea and cranberry scones with Mrs. J. Toast with goat cheese and a French film in Torunn's apartment. Nursery duty and holding wee ones at church. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Our favorite coffee shop in Geneva. Time to read for pleasure for once. The first bitterly cold weekend. Borrowing a hand-knitted scarf from my roommate. A new project.

Prayer for these next few weeks before Thanksgiving break: that I might be hopeful and generous, Lord. It is always a struggle this time of year.

And this from E.B. White: "All that I hope to say in books, all that I hope to ever say, is that I love the world."