Saturday, September 13, 2008

Take a break

I found this mug at my first living space in Austin, last fall. And I kind of took it when I left. I love drinking tea from this cup because it holds enough hot water to actually use up a whole teabag. So, then I don't feel as if I'm wasting half a tea bag like I do with most mugs. I also like that the lettering can be felt, that it is not printed on and that the message won't chip off. The mug is heavy duty too. The thick rim feels especially nice when drinking hot cocoa with marshmallows because the wider edge tricks me into believing the cocoa is made with whole milk.

Most of all, I love this cup because of the meaning its "TAKE A BREAK" message holds for me. Take a Break is the wonderful place to eat at my undergrad College of the Atlantic. There have been many observations on Take a break and much nostalgia felt for this place by alumni. Take a break is not only a place to eat some of the best food in a college cafeteria. Food that is organic and locally grown at College of the Atlantic's farm. During meal time or in between time, Take a break was/is a place to meet friends and teachers, a great hangout, a community base so to speak. Windows overlook the Maine coastline. Coffee houses hosted here tuesday nights offer free coffee, tea, organic and vegan treats, which disappeared well before the musicians paused for intermission. 

I guess, the TAKE A BREAK mug stirs memories of a place which surfaces easily this time of year anyway. COA's first trimester starts mid september - simultaneous with the subtle but noticeable shift from summer to fall. 

Friday, September 12, 2008

From trees and cows

There is the book itself and there is the story unfolding inside the covers. Already, there are two stories. The book, metaphorically and literally, is one story inside the other. With a book, most people assume there is a story inside. Readers more than likely open a book expecting to read a story.

Steven brought up an interesting observation in the studio the other day: The reality that many people, including his nephew, connect milk with grocery stores more than they connect milk with cows. The grocery, rather than the cow, becomes the bigger story which milk fits into. 

Where does the book come from? Trees...

...more indirectly, however, than milk from cow.

Leonard Koren describes one of his most enduring lessons in creating books is that the more neutral, objective style of writing, as opposed to any slant of personal voice, gains more authority. Readers grant greater credibility and respect to research topics written in objectified voice. 

This lesson does not apply to personal experiences. 
Sometimes authenticity needs an "I."

I observe. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I just realized I've been writing with the First National Bank of Santa Fe pen. I don't really know how that particular pen ended up in my possession since I never even opened an account. 

It took me the longest time to find the books I was looking for in the fine arts library today. I guess I am just pokey and I get caught up in reading the books as I'm looking for them. I gave up finding two books I was intending to find. Partly this was because I had my arms full already and I needed to leave the library. I felt okay about abandoning the quest for those two books since I randomly found 5 books I was not intentionally looking for. What if there was a device where you could just put in the catalogue number and the device would turn green when you were hot and red when you were cold? 

Books remind me of learning, and learning reminds me of a quote my yoga instructor read yesterday. It went something to the effect that: Those who learn most are humble. Often, we overestimate how much we know. If we think of ourselves as knowing very little...we are open to learning more and working harder and we are free of expectations. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Pretty fascinating how a scanned feather becomes a formulation of pixels. When the feather enlarges on the screen, it could easily be the black and white threads on a piece of fabric.

What do you call the individual "threads" on the feather? The strands that a bird can keep so in order, but that a human hand can spread apart and fail to realign perfectly again?

Holding the feather, I can feel these "threads" want to stay together. They elastically resist being pulled apart. Bending as far as possible before splitting with a softness and a lightness equivalent to a moth's wing brushing a lampshade. Once the "threads" separate, the feather takes on a ragged quality that makes it seems dirty or wet even though it isn't.

Then, the splits in the feather can be arranged evenly and intentionally and the feather can become a design, a pattern, a leaf, or a pine tree.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

purple flowers and dirty water

I walked to and through Pease Park this morning. I smelled how stinky/stagnant the water is. Some lovely, purple flowers grow along the banks though. I looked at these flowers over the railing of a bridge. Bottles and plastic wrappers and dirty water, but still these pretty flowers. Looking back over the day, which was not a very observant one, I remember these flowers most of all.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Bulldozers and workers have been building a sort of mote in front of my house for the past week. The trench, as it were, goes down four or five feet. On Saturday, construction blocades and a "road closed" sign officially blocked our normal path out. 

Now, I start and end my commute biking past an old B&B. The cobblestone driveway is lit with white lights at night, which twine around all the trees and railings. Pretty magical in stark contrast to the mess around the corner.

The construction goes on even on Saturdays. I especially treasure Sundays now for the peace and quiet. No hammering, drilling, metal on metal clanging, droning machinery then. I guess the city needs new water pipes put in, but jeez, I hope they finish soon. This morning at 7am sharp, the noise began and the house was even shaking. Now that I have no choice but to wake up at 7am every day, but sunday, I need to go to bed earlier. 

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Since last spring

I have not been to Barton Springs since last spring. The place seems the same since then, except the water looks lower and feels warmer. I dry off fast and have to go in frequently. In the down time, I am part of the audience watching a non-stop line-up of people jump of the diving board. Some participants take running leaps, while others cautiously walk to the end, plug their noses and simply walk off the plank. Belly flops, canon balls, double twists, back flips, pencil dives, sleek dolphin dives hardly causing a splash, 3 somersalts in the air before hitting the surface head first. Cart wheels. Wistle blows. "Hey, no cart-wheeling off the diving board."

People clapping for the little ones. And for the older ones who do a risky trick. Noisy surges of water quickly gone to bubbles. Sometimes, the board reverberates forcefully. So many voices layer together that I can only distinguish those conversations nearest me - and, then, only if I want to. Un-focusing comes easily.