February 24, 2008

I’m sorry, this is not a political blog but I just read this article on Nader’s decision to run for president. Having lived in New Hampshire during the 2000 primary and watched close friends throw their vote away, I harbor some serious grudges against the man. He needs a serious talking to. Perhaps I should take him to my yoga class.


Too many words

February 23, 2008

Maybe it’s because I make my living with words, but lately I’m feeling bombarded with words in places where I don’t want them.

Yoga is a good example. I look forward to my weekly Jivamukti class with something close to reverence.  After a long day of people and meetings, focusing on yoga sutras and breathing is a welcome relief. It’s also dedicated time to just “be” and I have to work hard not to plan the next day’s class or wonder what’s for dinner when I get home.

But lately this little bubble of being is in danger of bursting because my teacher (who, granted, is new) is a bit too enamored of the word.  I’m all for passion, politics, and civic action.  I’m all for practicing yoga both on and off the mat. And yes,  I too was horrified and sickened by the beef recall.  But I really, really don’t go to yoga for that. I don’t want to listen to more words, I just want to breathe.  I don’t want to go to yoga for a lecture.

To escape from the didactic nature of my yoga teacher, I went home to soak in a hot bubble bath. And that’s when I noticed all the words on my organic lavender liquid soap. Dr. Bonner is all about God and morality. Who knew?  Words were everywhere.

So when I saw the picture in the recent Country Home where the decorators had opted for turning the books backwards on the shelves (it appeared less “cluttered” and more neutral to only have the parchment visible), I was momentarily delighted.  Quiet! Wordless! Pretty!

And then I realized that my books were words I’d chosen and sought out. These were words I needed and craved.  How ridiculous to subsume books under some kind of pale decorator’s palette. If I can just figure out how to quiet the other words in my head–in yoga, in the tub–then I’ll be fine.

Other Pursuits

February 13, 2008

When I’m not busy training Pasha or conferencing with students about their memoir projects, I like to go all Betty in the kitchen. Here’s a shot of a recent Butternut Squash galette that I made courtesy of Deborah Madison’s uber cookbook.  I’m the first to admit that I’m no Smitten Kitchen (her food pictures are AMAZING), but it did taste really, really good.


Domestic Disciplinarian

February 13, 2008

I’ve always considered myself a bit of a softy. Okay, some might disagree with me on that, but in general I don’t think I’m super tied to rules. When it comes to sleeping, however, I am downright fascistic. Take, for example, cats on my bed.

With Pierre out of town, I’m having to lay down the law with his cat, Pasha. Momma’s gone all badass because damn, she needs her sleep. After one night of constant bed-jumping (8 times that night) and insanely loud purring, I’m now throwing him off the bed and hissing “No!” It’s not that I don’t love him, I do. I just don’t want to sleep with him.

I’ve made him a nice little bed in the guest room and love him up first thing in the morning. Who says you can’t train cats?


Lighting on the Brain

February 11, 2008

In my ongoing but half-assed search for a dining room light fixture, I’m now paying attention to lights everywhere. So, at my parents’ house this week-end, I noticed that they had white track lights above their stove (Home Depot). An interesting and appealing solution to my task-lighting problem.

Then, watching “In Treatment” (the folks get HBO–lucky!), I found myself less concerned with Gabriel Byrne’s negotiation of erotic transference and more interested in the sconces with tiny shades that light up his office. These, I think, would look great framing my fireplace.

Reading Vermont Life only led to me clipping out an ad from Conant Custom Brass featuring the most delectable light ever. Forget about the great articles on kayaking around the state or new restaurants.

Yes, I xc-skied with the dogs and knit with my mom, but my quest for lights now forms the backdrop of my life.


February 3, 2008

Given the enormity of dealing with my damp basement walls and a sloping cement situation, I’ve taken refuge in small do-able task.  Yesterday found me moping along until Pierre convinced me to take a run out to Home Depot.  Somewhere between the lighting aisles and coming back home to put on new chair pads, I got a lot perkier.  (The dark chocolate Toblerone bar might’ve played a role in this as well.)

We dedicated a few hours to concrete and specific house tasks: vacuuming the basement stairs, gluing the ancient dining room chairs back together, putting up an aluminum shower rod in  preparation of hanging curtains over the basement door (don’t ask), and even prepping for our upcoming insulation fiesta.  The peace of mind that came with action and completion was delicious.

So here’s to achieving that delicate balance between the “now” of a finished task and the long-distance future vision.   We need both to move forward with excitement and purpose. I, for one, clearly need to have both or I succumb to morose fantasies that involve  bulldozers and relocation.

Understanding Drainage or Why I Need to Listen to “Delta Dawn”

February 2, 2008

Here’s a scene: Pierre and I return from seeing Atonement last night and are in the kitchen talking about the lush cinematography and how they turned McEwan’s novel into a visual experience when I hear the sound of running water. Inside. And, because I now know my house intimately, I recognize this sound as the source of past basement sogginess.

Sure enough, with the weirdly warm temperature, the sleet had turned to rain and was now pouring in around the edges of the west-facing basement window. We stood there for a moment in silence watching leak after leak spring through the flaking plaster. We moved the carpets and the drying rack out of the water’s way as it flowed towards the crusty floor drain. But really there was nothing else we could do, so we went to bed and I dreampt about Kate Winslet swimming through the corridors of the Titanic.

This morning I’m pondering the problems created by cement that slopes in to the basement all around the house. What’s the definition of a “sink-hole”? Who thought that cement was a good idea? Who were these people?

What’s a girl to do?

Which takes me to Delta Dawn and the escapism of my headphones. What water? What drainage?