Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Ongoing Poem Cycle About The Winter of 2006 Continues Like This

January 17, 2006
On Martin Luther King Day we slept late

went to the grocery store
took a long walk
I had a bath
then we cooked dinner
and curled up early in bed

We’ve been doing a lot of cooking
and going to bed early lately
due to the dark days
the shortness and wetness and coldness of them

beef stir fry a couple of times
in the last couple of weeks
and brussels sprouts
and several soups
and a lot of leeks

making our grocery list we realized we’d run out of all kinds of staples
buying things like mayonnaise and nuts and rice
always makes me feel like a grown up
like a family
we filled the market cart all the way to the top
lots of dairy
the red hot sauce with the rooster on the bottle and the pointy green lid
I’ve always wanted that stuff

Our afternoon walk was straight out Larkin
all the way to Lombard
and back on Hyde
talking about the books we’re reading as we strolled along

I’ve got Persuasion for
I believe
the fourth time
one of only about three books I ever do re-read
and have been noticing this time around
the little things
like how Anne likes the melancholy of autumn at Kelinch
and Lady Russell likes the wet winter street noises of Bath

image by Elizabeth Graeber

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vionnet, Past and Present

A while back I created these image pairings for the blog of the fine publisher for whom I work. They bring together vintage images of original Vionnet gowns from a book I worked on, Madeleine Vionnet, with recent runway shots from the House of Vionnet's latest demi-couture collection. The other day something came up in conversation which reminded me how much I love the similarities and visual through-lines (as well as the departures and differences) of these duos, and thought I'd share them with you here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dreaming of Desks

At our house we have two tiny desks--one in the closet we see fit to call "the office" for Bill, and one in our bedroom, for me. Each is basically big enough to hold a laptop, a pen cup, maybe a book or two. I dream about someday having a bigger desk. Not a huge desk, mind you, just something with a bit of surface to spread out on, and maybe even--gasp!--drawers! So it's no surprise that, when trolling Design Sponge and other stylish sites, I scoop up images of awesome desks nobody's business. Here are a few that speak to the desk receptors in my brain (click on images for links back to sources).

Monday, January 28, 2013

With Her First Watercolors

Lately Mabel has gotten really into painting.We cover the dining table with newspapers and put her in an old tee-shirt and she goes to town, producing a painting about every three minutes for as long as we'll leave her to it. Up till now we've been using tempera paints, but the other day we decided to try out the new watercolors her grandmother gave her for Christmas. She loved them, and the paintings are awesome. Perhaps I'll show them here some other time, since they sure as heck don't show up at all in the above polaroid. Nevertheless I do think you get some sense of her feeling pleased as punch with herself and her bountiful art accomplishments.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Collage Valentines

I discussed, last year, the thirty-plus-year-long tradition in my family of making collage valentines. So the other day my mom and dad came over for the recurring treat of the annual valentine making day. I've just picked one representative sample of each person's oeuvre to share with you here.

Above, one of Mabel's.





Thursday, January 24, 2013

Next Installment in the Ongoing Poem Series About the Winter of 2006

January 13, 2006
There was

a pale pale sky
this morning

lightest of blues at the top
and faded whitish yellow
all along around the bottom

with the faintest
barely there streaks
of light white cloud

image source is here

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Putting the Pub[lic Speaking] into Publishing

This morning at the fine publisher where I work we have our Fall 2013 Launch. This means I--along with every other editor in the joint--must get up and give a big spiel about all my Fall books. We've all been working furiously on our powerpoint slides for the last week, and this morning I got up super early, put on some nice duds, and took a cab to work in the dark so as to arrive early enough to sit down and practice the whole thing out loud before I actually "go on" at nine. So you'll excuse me if I cut this short to go do that now.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Home Improvement

Of the many things we did in the break between xmas and new year's, two of the most long-term satisfying were house-y projects. I wish I was better about remembering to take "before" photos--but suffice it to say that both of these areas were those sorts of cluttered corners of shame that you try and just ignore and pretend aren't there. Until one day you finally tackle them and, oh! the joy that ensues. Above, my previously crappy bedside table, now spray painted blue and decluttered by a factor of about a million. Below, the cabinet under the bar--which previously held a non-working 90s era TV and VCR--now repurposed as a toddler-accessible toy cupboard. I really cannot tell you how happy these two things make me, each and every time I look at them. Yay!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Baby in an Ottoman

I had so much fun winkling out a really old baby polaroid for last week's birthday post that I couldn't resist digging into the archive again this week. And look what I came up with! So tiny! And yet with just the same nice face. This image struck me as especially funny because lately Mabel has take to discussing how, when she was a "teeny tiny baby" we used to put her in the storage ottoman. Now, as this photo shows, this is indeed quite true, but the mysterious part is how does she know this? Did we mention it in passing recently, and then forget doing so? Or does she actually have memories of being six months old? No idea. Just one of the many reasons the small-child-brain remains a profound mystery.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Art Discovered Yesterday

When things are running smoothly I try to spend a little time each morning zipping through my google reader of interesting blogs. Many (though by no means all) of the blogs I follow feature art on them. Some days I don't see anything that particularly excites me. But other days the stars align and post after post on site after site offers art for which I have personal affinity--images that just zap themselves into my brain in a pleasing way. Yesterday was one of those days. And so, herewith, a few highlights.

Above, a painting (yes, painting!) by Carly Waito as seen on The Artful Desperado.

Bubbles installation by Luka Fineisen as seen on The Jealous Curator.

Cast acrylic sculpture by Vasa Mihich as seen on Beautiful Decay.

There's pretty clearly some sort of common theme or trope going on amongst these pieces, having to do with structures in nature, which perhaps appeals to me because of my ongoing fascination with the intersection of art and science.

Or maybe I just like how they look.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Long-Running Poem Series About the Winter of 2006 Continues Like This

January 12, 2006
Can’t believe I haven’t mentioned the warm bag

before now

For my birthday
Bill got me
a miniature
hot water bottle
in a lamb’s wool cover
of pale yellow
pale green
and pale blue

we call it the warm bag
and it is fantastic
I don’t know why hot water bottles aren’t sweeping the nation

if we’re being honest
it doesn’t even really ever get all that cold around here
and yet your little feet sure can be darn chilly
by the time you put them into your bed at night

And it is beyond delightful
to rest them on or near the bag
and have them all heated up
for you

image source is here

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Books as Presents

As you've likely already surmised, mine is a book loving family. So naturally enough we give and receive lots of books for Christmas and birthdays. The tradition of piling them all up in a great big heap and surveying their bounty goes back to my own childhood. Here are all the gifts of books that have come into our home this holiday season--both from one another, and from friends and family near and far. 

Treasure Island!!! by Sara Levine, Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel, Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan, Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon.

Pie: A Hand Drawn Almanac by Emily Hilliard, illustrated by Elizabeth Graeber, The Handy Book of Knots by Randy Penn, Around the Year by Elsa Beskow, Darth Vader and Son by Jeffrey Brown, Pecans by Kathleen Purvis, More Baths Less Talking by Nick Hornby (I've alrady devoured this one, it's great), How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (Bill's already finished this one and I'm in the middle of it right now and am running around recommending it to every female I know), Catherine the Great by Robert Massie.

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers, Whistle for Willie, A Letter to Amy, and Peter's Chair all by Ezra Jack Keats, Alphasaurus by Megan Bryant, illustrated by Luciana Navarro Powell, Ganesha's Sweet Tooth by Emily Haynes and Sanjay Patel, Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff, Madeline in London by Ludwig Bemelmans, The Art Book for Children, Tree Houses by Phillip Jodidio.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Birthday Weekend Away

Had an absolutely delightful birthday weekend these past few days with the man and the girl up the coast at Mar Vista Cottages (highly recommend. really. cannot recommend enough). Truly one of those times filled with such peace and love and quite rejoicing that I hardly know what to say about it. So will just let these images speak for themselves.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mamma's Two Favorite People on her Birthday

Today is my birthday. Two years ago today I took the above Polaroid of nearly-five-month-old Mabel and her Daddy. Aren't they good looking? I had to dig deep into the (then-daily, now-weekly) Polaroid archive maintained by the child's adoring Grandpa to find this one, and I must admit I don't remember that shirt Mabel is wearing at all. Which fact I find quite shocking, and a little sad. But I am reassured to find the same recurrent birthday gift, year after year--my love for them and theirs for me. Hooray!