Friday, June 21, 2013

Dance Girl

This week Mabel has been doing her first-ever thing entirely away from her parents (or grandparents)--a week-long dance camp several hours each morning. What we did not realize until the last minute (or actually a bit after the last minute, if the truth be known) is that for this camp she would need to own and wear what she refers to as Dance Girl Clothes. So Monday while she was dancing in her own little dress and pants, Bill scooted off to the very traditional dance clothes shop to buy her the above get-up. Of course that evening we had to try it all on, and she was enchanted, as were we. I managed to catch the above photo while she was lost in a moment of abstraction, and I do love it so. As an astute Instagram commenter pointed out, she seems to be channeling something of the spirit of Dega's girls:

Mabel has a previous history of unintentionally emulating the Old Masters so I suppose it should come as no surprise, but nevertheless it did stop me in my tracks a bit. We were both quite fascinated by the whole experience. Since we don't really go in that much for the whole girly girl thing, this week of ballet has been a bit like a touristical venture to an exotic locale.

The Cabinet will be going on summer vacation hiatus for the next couple of weeks. See you in July!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

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

February 10, 2006
For one reason and another

I ended up sitting
and waiting for a train
for about fifteen minutes last night
on the platform in front of SF State
just as the stars were coming out

I put on my glasses to see them better
and counted them
eighteen all together
eleven in the vicinity of Orion
over in the rightmost corner of my piece of sky
and seven others scattered
around the rest of the expanse

And the thing about these stars

other than the fact that
come to think of it
they were the first ones I’ve seen in ages

was that they twinkled

They actually did
What always seemed before
to be more or less just a figure of speech
was really happening

And then too
there were billions of other stars
that I could somehow almost see
But only out of the corner of my eye
when I tried to take them out of the peripheral
they disappeared
But when I focused on a bright star
there they were
faint as faint yet clearly present
everywhere else

An almost solid wash
I sometimes thought
of the faintest white light

source for image (which by the way looks nothing like that night in 06) is here

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Launching Spring 2014

I've talked at some length before, here and here, about the publishing ritual known as Launch, where all us editors get up and give presentations about all our new books to all the sales people. Suffice it to say a huge amount of preparation goes into it and when the day arrives, as it did yesterday for our Spring 2014 books, coming into work carries with it a bit of a heightened sense of drama.

And this is what it looks like. My lovely colleague Peter took the above photo of my other lovely colleague Kate presenting (I'm the tiny blonde blob to Kate's left).

And after it was all over we had a much-deserved glass of wine. Photo credit for this one goes to Lia, yet another lovely coworker of mine. (If it seems like I have an almost unlimited supply of lovely coworkers, that's because I really do). 

And when I got home, feeling celebratory but simultaneously wiped-out, what should I discover but that Bill had made June's pie from the Pie Almanac (as part of the pie-a-month project I discussed here on Monday). Cherry! One of my favorites.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Extra Malty

The other weekend Mabel discovered the milkshake, a delicacy she took to with gusto (see below). One of the ancillary benefits of having a kid is that you get to try and raise them up to enjoy your own weirdo tastes and pleasures in life. Hence this girl is not drinking vanilla milkshakes, oh no. She is drinking extra malty vanilla malts. Because one of the myriad things Bill and I agree on is that this is the best type of milkshake known to man. And how much do I love the notation the guys at the takeout place we frequent (Pearl's Deluxe Burger to the masses, known privately to Mabel as The Pickle Store) made on the cup above? Oh so very, very much.

Photo credit for top image: Benjamin Watson (with thanks)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mmmm... Pie

As mentioned here way back in the winter, I got this book, Pie: A Hand Drawn Almanac by Emily Hilliard, illustrated by Elizabeth Graeber, for Bill for Christmas. In true almanac style it features a pie for each month of the year. And, fantastically enough, Bill has been making each one in its own allotted month ever since January. All have been delicious. And I'm excited to realize that June's pie will be landing in our lives this week! Here Mable admires April's pie which I think was Lemon Chess.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Photo Fabulousity

Maybe I'm a weirdo, but I organize my Pinterest boards by color. And lately I've been finding some brilliantly hued photographs that make me very happy indeed. Above a photo by Rakesh JV of a girl having her face painted prior to the Maha Shivaratri festival in India, as seen on Colossal.

Photo by Kimberly Rhodes Roberts as seen on Design Love Fest.

Self-portrait of Kellie B. as seen on Wear Color.

Steve Back's aerial photo of a Beta Carotene farm as seen on Beautiful Decay.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

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

February 9, 2006
Here’s what I like

about listening to
movie soundtrack music
on the way to work

It’s emotional
full of sadness mixed with hope
Or hope in the face of sadness

And the songs’ cinematic qualities
make you feel
like you’re in a movie yourself

your every step and glance
suddenly turned visually arresting
and filled with portent

Cheap sentiment perhaps but
combined with the pale blue weather
it impacts how you see things

everything looks
sort of fresh
and possible

image source is here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Take That, Sexism!

This is so awesome. Fiction author Maureen Johnson got sick of the chick lit covers her publisher kept putting on her books and started a protest project called Coverflip. Users create new covers for (mostly very famous) novels by men, showing how they might be packaged today if they were by a woman writer or targeted at female (particularly young female) readers. Of course part of the point here is that those two things (1. by a woman and 2. marketed exclusively to women) often mean the exact same thing. I still don't understand how the world we live in seems to be getting more and more sexist, rather than less so, but at least we can be encouraged by the fact that more and more often people are noticing and commenting and not taking it sitting down. Our bra-burning moms would be proud. Of course one of the main differences about feminism today (and make no mistake, that's what this is) is that it comes with a sense of humor. Personally, I find these covers hilarious (if also quite chilling). See for yourself:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hyde Street Pier

Over the weekend Mabel and I went to clamber around on the historic boats at the Hyde Street Pier. I have the sense that most San Franciscans never set foot near the place, due to its proximity to Fisherman's Wharf, but in truth it's one of my favorite spots in the city (ok, admitedly, I have a lot of favorite spots in this town--but still, this is one of them for sure!).  

The Pier is basically a floating maritime museum run by the National Park Service and one of the best things about it, in these days of overly-mediated experiences, is that you are able to just wander around on all these amazing old ships at your leisure--letting your curiosity and your toddler guide you.

This is the interior of the same boat in the above two photos--the ferryboat Eureka. Huge and beautiful, you can run seemingly for miles up and down  those polished floors on your very short legs and no one tells you to stop or slow down. There's a lower level full of vintage cars, and adults can amuse themselves imagining what it must have been like back in the days when this whole huge space was full of myriad passengers in formal clothing.

My other favorite boat is the three-masted sailing ship, the Balclutha. I've been coming to visit this ship since I was a little kid myself, but this was the first time Mabel was old enough to go on it--the rails around the deck are minimal at best and in places downright non-existent, so a kid as to be old enough to understand and follow the "you have to hold my hand up here" direction.

Mabel's favorite ship was the stocky modest tugboat Hercules. Perhaps this is because she has a toy tugboat in her bath at home, or perhaps because of the little "platforms" (her word) that you could stand on to peek into the various sleeping cabins, galley kitchen, engine room, and so forth. Her verdict on these platforms was that they were: "really good for little childs." I think we could say the same about the whole darn place.

Running around with a wee one is not so conducive to picture-taking. So though the top photo is (obviously) mine, the image sources for the others can be found here, here, here, and here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

With Two Grandmas

The odds of taking a Polaroid of two women and a small child where all three people are both in-focus and looking at the camera? Slim to none. But that's part of what I love so much about this medium: factors of essential importance in conventional photography--focus, composition, exposure--become minor details of limited significance. Instead, we see the world reflected back in its emotional rather than its physical reality--full of light and warmth and color and movement.What a relief.

(In case you're wondering, that black object in the foreground is the sole of one of my red fuzzy bedroom slippers which Mabel, for arcane reasons of her own, saw fit to wear during this picture-taking occasion). 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Ta-Ta For Now, SFMOMA!

Mabel and I joined the fray on Sunday to hang around inside the SFMOMA on its very last afternoon open to the public until 2016. I showed her the long line to get into the building and told her we didn't have to wait in it if she didn't want to, but she was excited to join the queue (clearly a true San Francisco child, gearing up for two-hour long brunch waits and so forth). I'd intimated that we would have a farewell slice of Mondrian Cake which, alas turned out not to be possible, but we still had a grand time wandering about, saying bye-bye to our favorite paintings (mine is the Rothko above, hers are the room full of Clyfford Stills and the big pink and red Andy Warhol faces), rubbing shoulders with what seemed like half the town, and marveling one last time over the central atrium and staircase (which, rumor has it, may or may not still be in place when the vastly expanded museum reopens in three years--though I very much hope rumor in this case is wrong as the stairway is fantastically beautiful and grand and its absence really would be a sad loss for the city). We both sure had a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Next in the Series of Poems About the Winter of 2006 (Though Spring is Increasingly Apparent)

February 8, 2006
Last night it was suddenly Spring

Just like that
like going over a bump in the road
abruptly almost uncannily
balmy and warm and still
the sky lovely and bluish purple and
though I’d left the office quite late
staying light all the way home

It will go away again I know
but once it’s been here
however briefly
it’s never quite the same winter again

Then when I walked in the door
I caught the scents of
cooking garlic and laundry soap
perhaps the two smells I associate most in the world
with home

image source is here

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Birthday Gift Wrap

One thing about working at a visual book publisher is that there is a lot of paper lying around. And not just any old paper. Attractive paper! Galleys, proof-sheets, magazines, or, in the case of the above, the back page of the utterly fabulous Marimekko newspaper. And, why yes, I do have a supply of strings and twines and ribbons in my desk drawer, why do you ask? All of which meant that when my Mama's birthday gift arrived in the mail here at my office I could just wrap it up at my desk with ease and delight.

And then when she and the fam picked me up from work yesterday so we could take her out for a birthday dinner, what should I find but that she and Mabel had both unintentionally, presciently, color coordinated their outfits with the gift-wrap!

My mother turned 70 yesterday. Here is one of my favorite old photos of her, from her high school graduation (to compare and contrast this with my own graduation photo, see here). Happy birthday Mama!!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nature Where You Don't Expect It

Came upon this synchronicitous pair of images yesterday, both featuring bountiful plants unexpectedly residing inside of vehicles. Above a surprise "flower bomb" of a loved one's car on Design Love Fest. Below, a photo by Andy Brill of the 102-year-old ship the SS Ayrfield in Homebush Bay, Sydney, Australia, where it has apparently floated, abandoned, for decades and, in that time, been populated by its own little mini forest (as see on This Is Colossal). So alike, these two stories, and yet also so very unalike. What one loves about the internet.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Riding the Carousel

Sometimes I think Mabel's avocation in life (at least during this, her third year of it) is riding carousels. The intent quiet joy, the serious focus combined with deep satisfaction, that she displays during this activity is not the giddy whirligig glee we associate with childish amusement, but rather the profound happiness we believe (and hope) comes with doing one's right and proper work in the world.