Friday, February 28, 2014

Anne Patterson at Grace Cathedral

The other day Mabel and I trekked up the hill to check out artist-in-residence Anne Patterson's installation inside Grace Cathedral. Composed of hundreds of ribbons in different colors suspended from the ceiling, this is one of those things that is much more than the sum of its parts. Although I could not stop taking pictures of it, its real magic cannot be captured in a still photo. See, the thing is, there are enough little breezes wafting about inside the big cavernous space of the cathedral at all times that the ribbons are constantly gently fluttering, and when the light hits their moving surfaces it (the light) seems to pour down their lengths like silent rain. And it is mesmerizingly beautiful.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Next Up in the Long-Running Series of Poems About The Spring of 2006 We Have This One

March 24, 2006
One thing I love

is to write down
the titles of books I read
after finishing them
in the notebook I keep
for the purpose
by my bedside
I can’t explain exactly
why I like it so much
On one level I guess
it makes me feel like I am
accomplishing something
with my life to see the list
unfolding longer and longer
But on another level it is
the writing down of each title
the moment of recording
and the way it puts paid to
the whole experience
of having read that book
in some obscure
but very satisfying way

image source is here

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wed to the Serial Comma

The above newsfeed image was, I believe, originally tweeted by one @rogerwhite86 and then posted and reposted by various folks until it made its way into my own feed under the caption: "This is why the Oxford comma exists."

As a book editor at a publisher that includes the Oxford comma--or serial comma as it is more commonly known in the US--in its house style guidelines, I find myself frequently needing to defend this comma's essential nature to people who were taught in high school that it could be omitted. A defense that, since I happen to agree that its usage is indeed essential, I am more than happy to leap to; but which can often be hard to back up with good examples off the top of one's head.

Which is why you can bet your buttons I'll be saving the above forever. Because the difference between:

"...Mandela tribute, Obama-Castro handshake, and same-sex marriage..."


"...Mandela tribute, Obama-Castro handshake and same-sex marriage..."

is the difference between am eventful but essentially normal news day, and what would be the news day of the year, if not the decade.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A Year of Pies

A year ago Christmas I bought Bill the book you can spy in the photo just below--
Pie: An Hand Drawn Almanac by Emily Hilliard, illustrated by Elizabeth Graeber. And he, dear man that he is, undertook to make each of the twelve pies in the book in its allotted month in 2013. And can I just say? Damn! These are some good recipes, and he is a great maker of pies. So here, in its entirety, is the complete collection, with massive kudos to author, illustrator, and pie-baker alike:

(above) January: dark chocolate and salted caramel pie

 February: shaker lemon pie
peculoos Cookie Icebox Pie with an Oreo crust and dark chocolate ganache

 March: banana cream pie with peanut crust and salty bourbon caramel sauce

April: lemon chess pie

May: rhubarb meringue pie

June: cherry pie

July: mixed berry pie

August: blueberry icebox pie

September: late-season peach with a pecan streusel topping

October: apple pie

November: drunken bourbon pumpkin pie (mascarpone whipped cream to come)

December: speculoos cookie butter icebox pie with oreo crust & chocolate ganache

Monday, February 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Dress

Last year was the first year we popped for a real Christmas party dress for the girl, which she wore for our traditional brunch at the Palace Hotel.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Joel Penkman

I am adoring Joel Penkman's illustrations of food packaging and produce, introduced to me via the Jealous Curator and, it emerges, published in the recent book The Taste of America.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Next Up in the Ongoing Poem Series About the Spring of 2006 Comes This Installment

March 23, 2006
Have I mentioned

how they gutted Louie’s
the bodega two doors down from us?
Never very good to begin with
it had been going steadily downhill
and eventually seemed almost to collapse
under its own weight
leaving only a hopeless drooping
dirty red and white striped awning behind

I am tantalized now
when I walk past
to peek in and see
what they are doing

Once not much more than a dingy cubby
it is these days a surprisingly large and cavernous space
dark and filled with debris
but with windows at the back
and exposed brick walls
that bode well for some future nicer market or restaurant

And the other day as I approached
the sun was slanting crosswise down the street
the way it does at that time of day
at this time of year
and out of the door flowed this fine curtain of smoke
When I passed I could see that it was only a man
standing inside the doorway smoking  a cigarette
but for a second in the golden late afternoon light
there had been this mysterious miasma

It’s been getting a bit warmer lately
but not so warm that I can’t still see
my breath first thing in the morning
Only after sipping coffee granted
but still whenever I see it now
I think of that nice monk Bill told me about who said
that seeing was all you actually needed to be happy
Which would be a completely obnoxious sentiment
if there wasn’t such grain of truth lodged in it

And the cracks in the street
caught my eye crossing Market
The wide stripe of the crosswalk
being broken and broken again
both by crevices and by the streetcar tracks
almost into discreet little boxes
or lozenges of grubby white paint

image source is here

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Comforts come and comforts go, but for my money the most consistently comforting thing will always be a book and an afghan and a mug of something hot.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

US That Could Have Been

Geographer Andrew Shears has created a map that compiles all the proposals for new US states--some dead serious some crack-brained, several no doubt both--that have ever been made that he could fine, and combines them into an imagined alternative national patchwork. It is fun. To see it full-size (ie big enough to actually read all the often-amusing imagined state names) go here.

At the Ocean!

This holiday weekend just past we spent at home, and enjoyed long lazy days together as a family. Last month's holiday weekend we spent away--where the days were also quite long and rather lazy, but all in all rather more adventurous, as seen above for instance. Both kinds are good.

Friday, February 14, 2014


With New York Fashion Week just having come to a close the websites I frequent have been joyfully awash with stylish looks. I owe the most to Wear Color, Design Milk, and Wolf Eyebrows--sites with whom my own taste shares great affinity--and where I almost daily find something I love. Of course, to some people (the same people who gripe about fashion exhibitions at major museums) putting my latest fashion picks here on Art Friday, rather than on Inspiration Tuesday, might seem a controversial or even erroneous act. But, I mean, really? Come on. If the above Oscar Carvallo couture gown ain't art, I dunno what is.


Rosie Assoulin


Kate Spade