My week in pictures.

Road trip!

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First Stop: San Francisco

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Central coast. I could get used to this view.

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Home sweet home.

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Oh, those kooky creative types…

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This could be my New Orleans style coffee talking BUT today I applied for the most wonderful job. At least, I think it’s a job. The call for inquires was so broad that I may have missed something.  Well, either way, the application process was wholly satisfying.

Because of the unstructured application, when I was done and finally hit the “send” button I felt a little like I was sending my baby off into the world. I’m not someone that ever feels that way. Ever. Actually just writing that sentence made me mildly uncomfortable. However, I had the thought that my feelings might be similar to what a writer or artist feels when they mail off a manuscript or reveal their latest piece. Do I hope the intended audience will like what I have to say? Sure. I’d love it to be well received and get my rock star job. More importantly though, I felt good my submission and the exercise of applying in and of itself was valuable. So, does the response I receive it REALLY matter? Nope. I love what I submitted and strangely (and quite surprisingly!) that’s enough. Huh. What?!

As someone living in Los Angeles but not in a “creative” field, I’ve always marveled at how writers here can retain their inner fortitude in the face of so many dead-ends and flat out rejections. I’m consistently impressed by the discipline and ability of friends and family (yes, those writer people are everywhere!) to navigate the competitiveness of the industry. There is vulnerability in creating something-anything- new. Continually creating and putting yourself out there again and again must be…well, hard.

I could not do what these people do. Really. However, this afternoon I think I caught just a tiny glimpse into how they do it. They keep going because they believe in what they do. They believe in their voice and the value of their poem, short story or script. This is a simple concept but as someone in an entirely different field, this is a brand new experience for me.

My sense that the unwavering ability to persevere as an artist/ creative person is because at your core, you know what you are doing is (for you) quality “work” which fuels you intrinsically and that gives the work  inherent value. I love what I submitted today and Ithink ultimately, this is how is has to be. The world likely won’t give you validation, at least not when seeking it or needing it to move forward. I find that kind of thing comes at the most unlikely moments, typically when it is least necessary. Additionally, it was a pleasure to write a few pages for such an unorthodox job application. A pleasure to apply to be part of something meaningful, creative and innovative.

When “work” becomes a relative term I know I’m on the right track. I’ll let you know how it goes. To be continued…

Poem for a Monday

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Kindness

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.

As promised here is the cherry pie recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/06/sweet-cherry-pie/ from Smitten Kitchen. I love that site. She’s makes every recipe so manageable. Pie, tarts, bread- Easy! That woman is a genius and I wholeheartedly recommend her site. This was (thankfully) really delicious, beautiful and SO easy to make. I felt like a superhero when I pulled it out of the oven.

Enjoy!!

Before and after photos of my pie:

 

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Then spring turned into summer…

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I have been meaning to post. I have missed writing. It keeps me observant and awake in the world. More importantly, it keeps me connected to myself.

I have not written because I’ve been doing wonderfully summery activities like outdoor concerts, beach picnics and  fruit picking. Yes, June has just barely arrived but summer in Southern California is in full swing. It comes in fits and starts. Sometimes it shows up for a week in October.  Or surprises us with shorts and tank tops sunset walks on Christmas. Really, it’s sort of an eternal summer here.

So, the fruit picking. This is something I’ve only recently stumbled into but I love it.  It’s beautiful, relaxing and desperately makes me want a yard for gardening. It’s fun to get out of the city and get a little dirty. I also love knowing where my food comes from….the more I cook, the better I want to understand the source of my ingredients.

The fruit picking has lead to baking and lazy weekends conjuring up delicious recipes. First, came the strawberries. The strawberry field, in the summer heat, smelled like strawberry pie. Truly. I wanted to take a nap in these strawberry pie fields. Later in the day after picking, I made my own strawberry summer cake. This scent from the fields followed me home and filled my apartment. That’s half the fun of baking. The smells! The smells and that first out of the oven too hot for your mouth but you take a bit anyway moment. Delicious. Here’s a photo of just many of the many baskets I filled…

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Next time I’ll post about the cherries and include the easiest and most delicious pie recipe.

A suitcase full of cheese and a head full of tulips… Part II

“Denmark is like a secret little place with its own special language.” H. Christensen

This is true. It’s a funny slippery little language. It makes you feel like you can almost understand it, and then in the next moment you are completely lost. It’s fun trying to follow along though. Delightfully confusing. The language just sounds happy. It sounds like a language that children made up to amuse themselves and confuse the adults in the room.

I loved my 24 hours in Copenhagen. It was just enough time to get a quick taste of the city and know that I need to return. The architecture and aesthetics of the city were captivating. Each little cafe we passed had the most incredible furniture and decor. It’s like the whole city was thoughtfully curated…modern, simple, warm and beautiful.

The pastries and danishes were the best I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously. I don’t particularly like cinnamon rolls in the states but our first morning in Copenhagen quickly turned into a delicious bakery crawl. I may have even bought a few extra danishes to enjoy on the plane ride home and again on my first morning back in LA. I couldn’t help but bring home food. I won’t mention how many pounds of cheese were stuffed into my carry-on bag.

Amsterdam felt like a sister city to Copenhagen. It was incredibly picturesque. Canals everywhere. All of the streets are winding, divided by water and linked by dozens of small bridges. Incredible. The people were very direct but not rude. Much like Paris, everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful. The man we rented bicycles from actually gave us directions to where we were staying. The food was good here too-especially the chocolate. It’s tulips and cheese and beer….everything you’d expect from Amsterdam. Only so much prettier and more vivid in person. It reminded me a little of San Francisco and it would have been great to have had an extra few days to explore the different neighborhoods, museums etc.

Tips for Copenhagen and Amsterdam

  • Rent a bicycle. Bicycles are the preferred mode of transportation for the locals. For us it was a great way to cover a lot of ground in a short time. Plus, it felt like being a part of the local culture. Biking in Amsterdam is not for the faint of heart BUT cars do yield to bicycles. However, you do need to throw yourself into it and just go with the traffic (bike and car traffic). It would be unsafe to be too timid on a bike here. So, close your eyes, take a deep breath and pedal like a local with a purpose. It’s exhilarating!
  • As always, eat the local food. The cheese, salmon, danishes and chocolate were my favorites
  • Public transportant in both cities is excellent. Don’t worry about staying in the city center. We stayed a little outside of the more crowded areas of the city and had no trouble with the metro systems. Hotels and rentals also tend to be cheaper when you are outside of the touristy areas.
  • If you are there in the spring, go see the tulips in Amsterdam. It is a must do and a short train ride from the city. They are stunning.

Happy travels and happy eating. xo

 

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The tulip fields in Keukenhof outside of Amsterdam