Previous month:
July 2008
Next month:
September 2008

Posts from August 2008

Dance of the crickets


Back porch music / New Jersey / August 2008

“Why are the crickets always on when we get here?”

~ four-year-old Riley upon arriving from Seattle
(where they don't have the summertime song and dance of the crickets)

Indian summer, 3


Summer Project #6: a hand-sewn above-knee dress made with two traditional cotton batik fabrics from Batiks by Design with lace trim at the sleeves and front seam where I joined the two fabrics; McCalls 8108 / August 2008

Washingtonian (Betsey Lowther): How does a woman start achieving a more fashionable life?

Simon Doonan (author of Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You): A piece of advice that I do give women recklessly, though I think there’s an underpinning of truth to it, is go home and sort your clothes into your “work clothes” and your “special party clothes” and then get rid of all the work clothes. It’s the equivalent of putting plastic on your couch and your lampshades. You should wear clothes everyday that make you feel fabulous.


Love the questions


Experience everything / New Jersey / July 2008

“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.”

~ German poet Rainer Maria Rilke

Steps like a smooth dance floor


A city that sits on the edge of the sea filled with steps like a smooth dance floor / Dubrovnik, Croatia / June 2001

“The city stopped at the point of my pen. And power multiplied like steps on a smooth dance floor. And the evening’s necklace, like eyes strung on the track of the dark, began to rustle.
    Meshed summers behind the doors of houses and inhabitants from quiet shadows sensed this prismatic joy in the bready warmth of the sun and deaf peace of the rain.
    It happened at a troubled hour when all that is red pales, when all that is yellow quiets, when every shadow rests on the oars and sails, and when a darkened track hovers over all, for no clear reason.
    And I recognised at once that condensation of violet. Of course I did: in place of the edge of the sky a city had stopped at the point of my pen.
    And I watch it, and I watch myself, standing here at the edge of the table, and my gaze is a border of lights and of angles, intricate and lazy, because it belongs to me; while  roofs and towers come down the darkened corridor, islands and seas come, sounds and city-squares come. While I go by.”

~ Stairway by Croatian poet Gordana Benic

Heat is commotion


A warm August afternoon seems like the right time to think about hot vs. cold / Plodding ice crystals on the windowpane Feb. 2007

“When we put food in the refrigerator or the freezer, we're not adding cold to the food, we're subtracting heat. Heat is essentially commotion, and temperature is a sign of how energetically a material's atoms and molecules are jostling around. Hot molecules really hop, and cold ones plod. Cooling a food sucks energy out of it so that its molecules move more slowly.”

~ from In the Summer Kitchen, The Thrill of the Chill by Harold McGee

Does this explain why we feel hot-and-bothered in the summer ... because we're in a state of commotion?

On my path


Does the Hoodle-Doodle Jersey Devil really live in there? Maybe he vacations at the shore, too / Wildwood, NJ / Jun 2008

“Paths cannot be taught,
they can only be taken.”

~ Zen saying

Hoodle-Doodle Blue


Look! Is it the Jersey Devil masquerading as a horse on the carousel? Look at the double-pointed tail! And the wings on the back! Hoodle-Doodle, Hoodle-Doodle! / Wildwood, NJ / June 2008

“We must have a beginner's mind, free from possessing anything, a mind that knows everything is in flowing change. Nothing exists but momentarily in its present form and color. One thing flows into another and cannot be grasped.”

~ Sōtō Zen priest Shunryu Suzuki

Difference has come alive


Summer Project #5: another handsewn variation of Simplicity 2892; spicy-brown-mustard-yellow batik fabric with bubble sleeves and rickrack trim at neckline / August 2008

“Amidst the infinite diversity of creation, no thing stands out like the human being. Nothing else here is quite as surprising and strange. Because we belong to the human fold we become prisoners of our own familiarity. There is nothing in the world as intense as a human person: each one of us is inevitably and helplessly intense. An individual is a creature in whom difference has come alive. In him difference is everything.”

~ John O'Donohue, from Beauty the Invisible Embrace

Continue reading "Difference has come alive" »

I go out walking


Walk your shoes off / Mountain House / Aug. 2007

How “walkable” is your neighborhood? Visit to get the score (mine rated a 54 out of 100 — i.e., somewhat-walkable). The site rates how close basic services are such as stores, schools, parks, libraries. My nearest “service” is a 7-11 store (how very American). Unfortunately the walkable grocery store moved out of town several years ago (so they could build a superstore) and the bakery left this year (put out of business by the superstore's in-store bakery). Oh, to be in a walkers' paradise and have so much so close!

What makes a neighborhood walkable?

  • A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a discernible center, whether it's a shopping district, a main street, or a public space.
  • Density: The neighborhood is compact enough for local businesses to flourish and for public transportation to run frequently.
  • Mixed income, mixed use: Housing is provided for everyone who works in the neighborhood: young and old, singles and families, rich and poor. Businesses and residences are located near each other.
  • Parks and public space: There are plenty of public places to gather and play.
  • Pedestrian-centric design: Buildings are placed close to the street to cater to foot traffic, with parking lots relegated to the back.
  • Nearby schools and workplaces: Schools and workplaces are close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.

(from Walk Score's Walkable Neighborhoods)