“but a succession of brief, amazing movements / each one making possible the next”

“but a succession of brief, amazing movements / each one making possible the next” -Adrienne Rich, From a Survivor

drawing in progress. It’s gonna be a big one!

The day before Thanksgiving: we bundled Beast into the car and drove him to Carter’s parents’ in Merced. We then inched down route 99 to Los Angeles, where I witnessed many a truck filled with produce: onions, carrots…even chickens! The chickens made me feel bad and I contemplated vegetarianism for a good half hour. The ride was as it always is: slow, lots of flat landscapes and big skies.

We stayed in Carter’s sister’s guest house. Their home is small but sweet: old fashioned, with a big back yard and lots of greenery. There was a lemon tree that drooped over one of the guest house’s small windows. We’d gotten in late Wednesday night so we’d eaten dinner (In n’Out and Starbucks) on the road. But the next day, our hosts made brunch in grand style, by which I mean they made a massive Thanksgiving feast at about 2PM. Soon after Carter and I were off to visit some old family friends of mine in Palos Verdes, who fed us twice over. We waddled back.

The day after we headed to Griffith Observatory as a quick and easy jaunt, as we’d toted along Carter’s toddler nephew. It was surprisingly crowded, and there was even a bridal party taking photos there, but we enjoyed a few exhibits and the scenery–the nice thing about Griffith O is that it’s quite easy to sweep through there efficiently. We enjoyed Korean bbq for dinner, and I lay in bed that night contemplating my diet.

Saturday morning we had huevos rancheros (and horchata for me!) at a local tacqueria in West LA, and Carter and I got back on the road. We swung through Merced to pick up Beast, who’d apparently impressed Carter’s family with his sideways pooping skills and odoriferous emissions. Once we got into San Francisco I insisted that we go to the local noodle shop for beef noodles and dumplings: I was not about to cook after all that. Sunday was a blur of cleaning, cooking, and errands.

I’ve rather relished being back in San Francisco, and even enjoyed being back in the office. I am a creature of routine, habits, and comfortable grooves.

 

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“So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.”

My much-hated color wheel. Done in haste; sloppy but complete.

“To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life–like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.” -Cheryl Strayed, Wild

I’ve been on a reading bender, probably because I am not even close to hitting my reading goals for 2012. And with 2013 so close!

Wild was my most recent read, completed today, and so far it’s my favorite nonfiction work of the year. Nothing in the world would possess me to ever wish to do something like hike the Pacific Crest Trail, but reading Cheryl Strayed’s account of it–interwoven with her memories of her mother’s life and death–was entangling. I say entangling instead of fascinating or entrancing because some of those memories are deeply sad, but Strayed’s fluid prose swept me off my feet. And her honesty and essential goodness glow through the text.

Oddly enough I’d read the far less emotionally fraught memoir Kitchen Confidential and A Cook’s Tour in the same week, and struggled to get through them. It was easy to fly through Wild, and I’m not certain why: the singularity of Strayed’s story, maybe? I liked it very much, although I remain Mr. Bourdain’s ever faithful admirer, &c.

I’ve read a lot of memoirs in 2012. Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Tony Bourdain, Cheryl Strayed, and on and on. I’m assembling a preliminary reading list for 2013, and so far no memoirs. Will post the read 2012 list and the to-read 2013 when they are both more complete.

“We must travel in the direction of our fear.”

“We must travel in the direction of our fear.” -John Berryman, via Mikko Kuorinki

Halloween drawing! Pumpkinhead & creepy doll, charcoal. About 1 hour.

Hello November! Only two more months until 2013. Finished a book this weekend–finally, I have been so bad about keeping up with my reading–and read all of my back issues of Sunset that I hadn’t gotten to. Carter finished the bathroom renovation project, just about, and I tidied up the house, did laundry, and cooked. There was an IKEA trip, design class, Home Depot, Target, and Costco. I stayed up until midnight Friday constructing a color wheel for design class with acrylic paint. It was exhausting. I know I’ve told myself that I don’t need to try that hard in community college art classes since they are larks and not meant to be taken so seriously but it’s hard to shake old habits. It’s hard to not want to be perfect, even when perfection is unnecessary or a poor use of time.

When I was in middle school, I loved my English teacher. I (and a few friends) would crowd into her classroom during lunch to watch Pride & Prejudice (the Jane Austen version). My eighth grade was her last year teaching; she was leaving once we graduated to become a full time mother to her growing brood–I think she had 3 young children at the time and would have at least one more child. I remember her telling me, wistfully, that time seemed to speed up every year as she got older.

Smack dab in the midpoint of adolescence, I internally scoffed at the notion. For me, on that day, time stretched out slow and uneven, like kneading raw dough; college lingered in the distance both too close and far away; my friends too were caught somewhere between childhood and something else. My mind dismissed her observation, but I’ve never forgotten it.

And now, more and more, it feels true. The immediate impulse, then, is to shovel more experiences and feelings and thoughts into the day, to make use of the time before it sprints away. Of course this has the opposite intended effect: the more you do, the faster time goes by.

Still, the urge to do more and more is irresistible to me. There is so very much to learn and try and taste and I can’t slow down.