January 15, 2015
…Happy New Year!
As usual, as with each hiatus, I don’t know how to get back in.
I looked back at my posts celebrating the beginning of 2014, and despite being put off with their wordiness, for lack of a better word, I was excited all over again by the energy and how 2014 just was–through and through and start to finish.
I’m not going to play catch-up with the undocumented second half. The favorite songs, the pretty weather, the photogenic recipes and the personal episodes that I’d let spill into a public space, all these things might recycle themselves. But I’m not going to make it a conscious effort.
Right now!, I’m still in Maine. Salt Water Farm wrapped up a wonderful year and is now closed for winter break until A pril 1st. I’ve been hit with considerable work-withdrawal, quite unexpectedly. I was so excited at the prospect of free time until like day 2 when it dawned on me that having nothing to do meant, to some degree, having everything to do.
(There should be a technical term for the type of paralysis rooted in overwhelming freedom.)
So, here I am–two weeks in and I’ve gotten the proverbial ball rolling in a few different directions. A course at Maine Media Workshops; a pile of savory, actual meal(!) recipes/ideas to tackle; a stack of books to read and re-read (as if nothing could be better than Moby Dick in the middle of a Maine winter); and an ebay bid on a pair of snowboarding boots.
Traveling is of course never far from my mind, and I’m anxious to see more of this beautiful state, dart down to Boston, and to dip south and west home to Kansas City. However, today I’m in the Camden coffee shop that I first visited on a sunny morning last April. It’s no exaggeration to say that my love affair with this whole area began then, over toast and coffee in the still-wintry ghost town that it was. And 9 months later there’s nowhere I’d rather be.
I’m still painting, though I’ve strayed from oil and acrylic to using food. Yep. I decided to quite literally do something with my interest in the abstract/aesthetic qualities of raw ingredients. Feedback has been mixed–my boyfriend(!) was startled I think when he opened the refrigerator and found yogurt splashed on canvas where the beer usually is; I texted some images to far-away friends who offered support and emoticons suggesting amusement; and finally, my photos of said “paintings” were…decidedly different from the dramatic black and white images put forth by my workshop peers.
I’m not going to drone on about it, though, because there are other things (photos) I want to cover today. I’ve already let approximately 2.5 days be consumed with food art insanity, and I’m not going to let it usurp my post!
Going to let pictures wrap it up, with all their 1,000+ words worth, hopefully before my computer dies.
When indecision strikes and computer is at 3% battery, recent download playlist saves the day:
August 24, 2014
It’s been such a long time since I’ve posted a recipe! This pie, a lunch dessert staple, has garnered a fan base at Salt Water Farm, and I’ve just emailed it to two inquiring guests. One woman said to me on her way out, “oh, but aren’t you young to have such a stash of recipes up your sleeve! email this one to me asap!” and the other called me tonight at the restaurant.
(work goes, is going, has gone, very well)
It’s deceptively simple looking, no colors besides caramel, tan and brown. Texturally and taste-wise though, it’s a bit more involved. Start with a basic all-butter pie crust that becomes crisp, dark and almost fried in the pan. Then a brown butter custard that’s salty and deeply sweet. All kinds of science drama goes on when fat, sugar, protein, and liquid get together in the oven. Essentially, density gets real and sugar shows its true colors. The filling will end up being two layers, with a flan-like base and a sweeter, chewier top. It’s not chewy per se, just chewier (sugar heavy) than the creamy base. I’d pretend like I knew the molecular situation, but I’m a horrible liar. I’m a person who often prefers the gist of things, especially when it comes to splitting hairs in science class. (which is why I majored in English and learned how to bake by trial and error)
I serve it with a swoosh of caramel, sprinkle of sea salt, and dollop of whipped cream. This pie! basically took over from day 1, back in June, when someone told me it was the best pie they’d ever had. Plus the name is so catchy, and there’s that terrible Beatles song to prove it.
My adaptations to the original recipe are centered on taste; I use a vanilla bean instead of extract, I omit citrus and increase salt for balance, and…I use half Lyle’s Golden Syrup for the full honey quantity (if I have it! it slightly tames the honey, which can be a bit strong, without altering the product texturally. actually, come to think of it, my first run through included some molasses too. I’ll try that again and get back to this tangent–)
Brown-Butter Honey Pie
– Ingredients –
1 3/4 c (245 g) AP flour
1 T sugar
1 1/4 t salt
1 c (2 sticks, 228 g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1/2″ cubes
3 cold egg yolks
3 T cold milk
2 egg yolks + 2 T milk for egg wash
3/4 c (170 g) unsalted butter
3/4 c (255 g) honey (or…swap in up to 1/2 c Lyle’s Golden Syrup and round out the rest of the 3/4ths with honey)
1 vanilla bean’s seeds
1 c (200 g) sugar
2 T (15 g) AP flour
3/4 t salt (I use about 1 full t)
1 c (235 ml) heavy cream
Flaky sea salt for topping
– Directions –
1) Make the crust: Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, paddle together the flour, sugar, and salt; add the cubed butter. Work it in on low speed until the flour holds together when you clump it, and there are still lumps of butter the size of a pecan throughout, (about 2 minutes). Meanwhile, whisk together the yolks and milk, then add to the flour-butter mix. Paddle briefly, until the dough just starts to come together (about 30 seconds). It’ll look like a shaggy mess!
2) Dump the dough onto an unfloured surface, the form it into a mound. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mount, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top of the mound and then sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface, until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough, moving throughout the mound until the whole mess has been smeared into a cohesive dough with streaks of butter. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.
3) When ready, roll dough into a circle large enough to line a 9″ pie pan. Press the dough gently into the bottom and up the sides of the pan and cut the overhanging edges so that there is a 1/4 to 1/2 lip, and crimp. Refrigerate the pie shell for at least 30 minutes (or tightly wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 2 weeks–bake directly from the refrigerator or freezer).
4) Finally bake the shell: heat the oven to 350°F. Line the pie shell with parchment paper or several overlapping coffee filters and fill with pie weights. Blind bake for about 20 minutes, bring it out, and brush the base with egg wash. Return to the oven and bake until the entire shell is light brown, about 7-10 minutes. Take out and let cool completely before filling.
5) Make the filling: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat; allow to simmer and foam. As the foam subsides, stir the butter constantly and watch for it to turn golden and then brown, about 10 minutes. Once it turns brown, it’s moments away from black–so, quickly take off the heat, add the honey and vanilla seeds, and stir until it’s dissolved. Let cool slightly, about 10 minutes.
6) Whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the brown butter and whisk until thoroughly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Whisk in the heavy cream. Pour into the prepared pie crust. Bake for 60-75 minutes, rotating the pie halfway through baking. It’s done when it turns deep golden brown on top; it’ll be puffed up and set around the edges but still shake slightly in the center. Let rest and cool to room temperature before cutting into it! And then top it with flaky sea salt and cream. Maybe some fresh fruit. Caramel!
Man oh man. How I used to type all of those recipes out, all the time, is beyond me. That was rough!
I’m going to refrain from a full update tonight–I’ve realized how unbelievably undisciplined I’ve been this summer in regards to post content! Not to say that I’ll stop myself from rambling here and there, but I’m definitely going to try and keep it a little more food oriented…
Which brings me to work. Work! Has been my summer. Salt Water Farm is a busy, busy place!! I went in early this morning to bake off for breakfast, worked through lunch, left to run and clean and do laundry, and went back for dinner service. We’re open every day besides Tuesday, which has become my favorite day of the week. Well, I say that, but really…all the other days are great too. I love what I do! There’s something to be said for balance, moderation, sleep, all that–but. If you’re going to do a thing, say, run a pastry department, do it. Be there as much as it takes, push it and yourself further than you think you can. Set absurd, totally absurd expectations for yourself.
Most importantly though, look beyond the task. While in summer survival mode, which was particularly acute in July, it was easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. I started to get preoccupied with all that I wasn’t doing, because of all that I was literally doing at work. And so rather than feeling creatively in tune with my job, I was a little restless and semi-stir crazy–mostly exhausted. All it takes though, all that it took, was an exciting new menu change here and there, and the increasing realization that the rhythms and systems I’d gotten into place were actually something. By “actually something,” I mean, wheels in motion. I’ve become–or have I always been?–all about wheels in motion.
I like that phrase became it seems vaguely out of control, limitless, but maintains a grip on some kind of focus. It’s like an unbound train on an upward track, perpetually on a brink.
Right so! Here is where my stint as a motivational speech writer gets interrupted by the reality of a very fat cat, my new sidekick! I’m sitting on the floor with my legs stretched out and my computer in my lap, so she’s been curled up on my shins this whole time. And, it’s time for me to follow my foot to sleep.
I’ve recently been turning this on and up, up up up, every morning; fairly up up up for the Pixies–
August 3, 2014
I wrote poetry in the airport yesterday, well actually I felt quite passive throughout the whole affair, it just started happening–when the woman sitting next to me began noisily consuming a sucker, and it was like, okay so, I’m either going to literally and absolutely freak out or here why don’t I just start a word document.
It was ridiculous and constructive–a good combination.
Since I got home from work tonight, I’m afraid that I’ve only succeeded in being ridiculous and destructive. You see, I mentally organized a beautiful post in the shower last night. It was perfect. But before I could sit down and write, my clarity got swept up into a quick night’s sleep, and then got trampled by a long active day. I’ve been sitting here trying to recover some kind of coherence, but I truly can’t remember a single thing I wanted to say. That’s not true. I just don’t know how to say a single thing.
I had points! Unlike now apparently. That’s not true. The point is this. My grandmother died last weekend. And since then I’ve been on a bit of a creative/destructive merri-go-round. And I can’t make out whether I’m riding, or if I’m literally, the animal going up and down in a circle.
Regardless-I’ve wondered how I’d approach writing about this…obviously contingent on timing. During my eloquent shower hour, I focused on the life part of death. You know, how it underscores what has been, or is, instead of what is not. A different mindset from last weekend, when I drove after work for awhile despite the late hour, stopping to fill up my car at a rural gas station and weeping with total abandonment. I briefly wondered, is this even safe? And then decided that my tears were a definite social repellant. I was feeling everything bad that I’d ever felt and was dealing with it very badly–I’m fairly positive that no one in their right or wrong mind would have approached me.
I’ve been afraid of this kind of thing happening, this clusterf*ck of articulation. Especially the other day at the funeral. I was sitting there in the pew, my focus alternating obsessively between a Pepsi Cola floral arrangement and the words spoken by a few family members. Then suddenly my inner consciousness attacked and said wait! wait everyone. there’s more to say. I have more to say.
I didn’t say anything. I thought too much about my thoughts and my heart began to race and my mind short-circuited; stage fright descended prematurely, as if to nip the inevitable awkwardness in the bud. I would have gone to the podium in a surprise move and what? Seen a packed church before me, and my spontaneous expressions of love might’ve fallen flat into the microphone, and maybe I’d have repeated a main good point and finally felt absurd and returned to my seat.
Fear–that worst of feelings, of concepts, kept me from effectively opening and offering myself in that moment. It’s strange to me, that public speaking on so lovely a subject as my grandmother should scare me more than a deserted road at night.
A matter of justice, I suppose, the worry that one’s outward devotion is meager compared with what is merited; that justice is ill-served by an expression not fully encompassing the love intended, and yet, and yet. to be fair, love so often outstrips what is communicable. But it is in the act of trying–the million differing ways in which people show their affections, great and small–it is in the trying to express so great a thing. So great a thing should trump fear, and yet–it is by nature intimidating. Intimidating to feel, much less show…
I’m getting off track.
The thing is, my grandmother was just so much fun. She had a timelessness about her that connected her with everyone and everything; quite randomly I can’t help but keep thinking about the ladies at the place in Norfolk where she got her hair done, and how they’ll undoubtedly feel a pang when they learn (/learned) that she’ll not be back. She wasn’t just good company and she wasn’t just the best story teller, but she made you feel like you were good company, too, and she made you feel like you were part of something very particularly special with every laugh or wide eyed look you’d make when she told and retold you about that one time. Her pauses and the nuances of her accent were highly dramatic and so demonstrative of a feeling; and that is what she did. She demonstrated feelings, and never had a shortage of them… I’m amused now, remembering her fascination with people. Everyone. Literally everyone–whether they were here or hereafter, a friend or a stranger, real or a character in a novel she couldn’t put down.
Books. And driving. Like my mom and like me. Books and driving. She was still driving up until the end, which was questionable because her eye-sight was questionable. In retrospect, because there was never any incident, it’s fantastically funny to me that she would secretly zip off to Norfolk on her own. Or not so secretly, as is the nature of Elizabeth City.
My road trip last spring was productive in a number of ways. Quite obviously it changed the course of my life plans, but it’s also drastically alleviated my current grief. I hate and will always hate that I don’t know my mom as an adult, that we haven’t had, and won’t have, the fun to be had after childish restlessness plateaus. It’s emotionally searing. This past March, though. I spent a full week having that kind of fun with my grandmother; rambling the Outer Banks and opening wine way too late at night, and baking an outrageous amount of pie (Lemon Buttermilk Chess! Butternut Squash!)–while talking inexhaustibly about simply everything. Best week of the trip.
And on that note it is most certainly time to go to bed; a better mood is a good stopping point.
This song reminds me of a dog released after having been cooped up, or when seized suddenly and randomly by an insane amount of uncontrollable excitement, and it sprints itself stupid and happily. How I felt on Wednesday night, driving the hour from the airport to my cousin’s house, jumping from bad radio station to bad radio station and loving it completely.
Photography!: I’m going to do a Maine/food related post soon. I just didn’t really take many pictures during my trip this week–thanks to a nighttime arrival on Wednesday, and Thursday, well, it’s much more delightful to hold a 2-year old’s hand than a camera!
The clouds out the plane windows were fascinating though–sleek vague Rothko divisions of atmosphere, or else chunky like over-whipped cream (decidedly not my preference). Then there was a sunset that almost killed me while landing in Portland, the lines were so clean and it was so perfectly eye-level and colorful. And not on my side of the plane. But if there’s one thing I won’t do it’s wake someone up so I can take a picture on a plane.
July 23, 2014
Today has been my Saturday as well as Sunday, though the logistics of time dictate that by “today” I mean yesterday, since I’m technically one hour and fifteen minutes into Monday. Monday Monday.
I’m still up because, frankly, I never hit the point where I was ready to say goodbye to the “weekend.” I really didn’t do all the things I needed to do, or wanted to do for that matter. It’s hard to turn the page on a day that wasn’t long enough. If this sounds like a vicious cycle, it’s because it is one. Sometimes the busy part of your life becomes the boring part of your life, and its frenetic stagnancy steals energy and time for anything else. Variation of “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
I’ll possibly re-read this very blunt post in December and be all like what?!, I have nothing but fond memories for the busy summer season! (hahaha not), but until then. I’m going to keep on keeping on with killer playlists and inappropriately late painting sessions.
And so this post won’t have been a complete waste of your time, how about a recipe or two? Or four: I’ve recently paired this almond brown-butter cake with whipped mascarpone and beaaaaaautiful fresh raspberries. I also had this gateau basque on the menu for bit, with blueberries as the fruit component. This strawberry buttermilk cake has become a quick go-to lunch dessert staple. Also, voila: the best pizza crust, in the event that you’re called upon to contribute to a staff family meal–it’s magical and fail proof.
So many other restaurant favorites! That I’ll get around to sharing at some point. For now I really just care about the following.
This song, that movie-
The Pixies, mellowed out-
Actually, I did have the pleasure of catching the supermoon–I went for a drive, wound up in Acadia, and joined two nice guys and their tripods on the side of the road for this particular view. I only had my macro lens, so was unable to get a good shot of the reflection as it was without some tilting etc. but-
Other piano favorites!–these two by Yann Tiersen, the first of which I recently repeated at full volume at work, prepping solo on a day off. Nonstop all day and I think that the meat delivery woman thought I was a bit crazy; she had to shout to say “THIS IS BEAUTIFUL,!” I was like “ISN’T IT THOUGH.?! HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!!”
Annnnnnnd it might be time to re-read some Eliot.
July 10, 2014
Today; today I worked and I worked, and then I left and I drove and I drove until I got so near Biddeford, to Target, that it made no sense for me not to go to Target. Curtains and a fan, a shopping list formed in between and inside of music that was actually inside of me, more so than every feeling and every thought I’d had previously this day.
I’ve not manually chosen the music on my phone, and somehow the randomness that’s tripped its way there is hardly random. Out of context yes yet specific and poignant, at a given moment.
Music, traversing time, reverberates not only air waves–but also rides a stream of sub-consciousness that you neglect, though it stays in tune with you. It keeps up and remembers, and when you hear that song by Cat Stevens, or Rage Against the Machine, or ABBA, your old self says hello. And you recall the great and the small things that your existence hinged upon, and either recoil or have a joyful resurgence, like of that time you passed the St. Louis arch on a road-trip with your mom and were discussing Cat Stevens, which triggers standing in Barnes and Noble, all the time, Friday nights first half of freshmen year of high school even, until they closed, with mom, choosing CDs to scan and listen to, for hours. You’d split up and accumulate a huge stack and then share. (somehow and somewhere along the lines of 8th grade Nirvana became a huge presence, which I think she may have regretted)
And then in the car together, grade through middle school, you’d quiz her on 90’s bands that her older children listened to, too, and regardless of if she knew it was REM or Counting Crows or whatever, it was a dialogue. And now you have that dialogue with yourself, as you drive to Target on a Wednesday night that’s really your Monday night of a 6 day work week, for the curtains and the fan that you half-way need that will go in your messy living space.
The living space that has u-haul pods in the driveway, a phenomenon of possessions that you don’t necessarily care to deal with; you came home one night last week and were greeted by their orange-ness and then, that is when it hit you that you just didn’t even care. But sometimes after you’ve been moving for 14 hours, it’s easier to keep moving than it is to sit down. So you ripped open the velcro and were met with a padlock, which awoke the stress from your inner core that you’d been suppressing all day, and the nerves surged into your head en route to your hands, as you upended every conceivable vessel wherein a set of keys could rest. They surfaced and you couldn’t not open a damn pod. And then you couldn’t not bring in the things. The things. The things. So many things. Five boxes of kitchen things, to be precise, when a single box of sentimental trinkets or books was all you wanted.
You wrote a light-hearted blog post about it in excruciating detail, but passed out from sheer exhaustion before publishing. This happens a lot actually.
Target. In the same strip mall as the B’s–Best Buy and Bed Bath & Beyond, and then there’s the equally catchy Panera, Starbucks, et cetera. And similarly to how you felt in Tennessee, while also living in a beautiful secluded part of America, it was nice to reunite with the country at large, including the brands people love to hate. The ones people blame for the downfall of so much. Not actually going to go there right now–simply… This. It’s quite simple. You walked into the place, thinking you were doing it right, but the glass didn’t open, and suddenly you caught your reflection in the exit doors and despite the huge circles with red slashes through them you saw yourself, and registered what you’d presented to the world. You were not thinking about presenting yourself to the world this morning; you were practically still asleep and hadn’t retrieved your laundry. So you’re sporting an inside-out Flour Bakery t-shirt and cargo khakis, and kitchen shoes. A messy hair situation and altogether it’s a bit of a wake-up call! You truly have been asleep at the wheel, mis-navigating doors and laundromat hours and what not. Regardless. Thankfully Target has clothes, articles that would be better than what you’re currently wearing, but the pods! You remember the pods!, and really the last thing you need to do is purchase superfluous clothing, things, et cetera. So why are you there?
A fan, yes, so you won’t might-as-well-have-gone-for-a-run when in fact, you’d only taken a shower. It got hot. Kind of. Maine hot, and in closed spaces, that’s still hot. Ish. It’s not bad.
You’re walking the plastic clad aisles in a hurry, because you realize you need to get to the laundromat in Camden by 9:00. You’re booking it and juggling a million things because you didn’t grab a basket (because you weren’t going to buy many things@!!) and feeling all kinds of ridiculous when, suddenly, an old couple walking toward you is just beaming. Just absolutely beaming right at you. And it’s like, hi, why, and hi? do I know you? And there’s nothing to do but beam back. Like hey, we’re just loving Target right now, aren’t we? I’m good, how are you??
It was nice. Those interactions! Are crucial! And are what keep you un-isolated in the world at large. I think the loneliest thing could be, to not be part of the world at large.
I got home and plugged in the fan and instead of folding laundry, I did what I do every single day. I lit a candle (I’ve gone through four since I’ve lived here) and put on music, grabbed a bottle of wine and did some yoga. This is usually an afternoon/early evening ritual, and I missed seeing sun shadows on the walls. They set a particularly pleasant atmosphere, and I know that while the actual sunset it gorgeous, its beams through the blinds projected onto my walls are equally so, in their own way.
Sunsets. I kicked my driving photography back into gear today, as I came across one of the best sunsets I’d ever seen. I even stopped, turned around to get better pictures. And then did that again. And then panicked because I needed to get to the laundromat and I was doing laps on route 1 to take pictures of the sunset. It made the entire trip worth it…as did the music, the old couple, the inspiration at large to be taken and had by the world around you, when you take time to actually see it.
High school discoveries, that are twice as powerful now (today.) for having been so then-
(when the levee breaks = summer + pressure + heat)
And this. I fell in love with it in 2012, but it resurrected itself this week. The first minute thirty or so sounds exactly the way that light looks. When it’s in and out of focus and too bright, really, to see clearly. But it’s there and you register the overwhelming pleasantry.
I thought about finding an instrumental version to share, but then realized that the raw petulance going on here is part of its greatness.
June 24, 2014
The thing is, is that no matter what time I go to bed, how I’ll feel the next day hinges so much more on what I did with pre-bedtime time than whatever the clock said.
That’s my lesson learned as a night owl with an opening shift schedule. It’s no stretch to say that I’m literally exhausted these days, but it couldn’t be further from how I consciously feel (usually. until I hit that air mattress). Because sleep doesn’t eradicate restlessness as totally as a fulfilling endeavor. Which brings me to…
The things that make you tick! The things you brush off as indulgences, or wouldn’t actually spell out on a to-do list, no matter how badly you want to do them.
I didn’t do these things for the first few weeks after I moved, and tonight(!) is the first night I actually opened my paints. Hence the ensuing 4 hour time lapse, and wee hour bedtime post.
Things! I’ve repeated that vague dumb word to encompass the very tangible activities we do, situations we embrace. The ‘things’ that keep us rooted and centered in ourselves. The lights that flicker at the back of your brain when the front grows dull, whether by routine or shade. The things that give us enough focused energy to lose track of time for awhile. Favorite things.
These are a few of my recent favorite things.
chamomile pannacotta! + strawberries + shortbread + candied chamomile flowers–
Faulkner, despite overwhelming Sewanee nostalgia. “When the shadow of the sash appeared on the curtains it was between seven and eight o’ clock and then I was in time again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s rather excruciating-ly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father’s. I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” (the sound and the fury)
sylvan esso still, loudly anywhere and anytime. preferably where/when I can sing along.
brown-butter honey pie + sea salt. one of those sweetheart desserts that strikes you as a real nice, if plain, situation [person]. until you taste the sea salt and like it so much better for the bit of sass.
it is the laziest of errands,
but suddenly you’re there, where
louis armstrong and trumpets
charge the atmosphere
above the rhythmic drum of dryers–
lullabies in rounds, cycles in circuit.
clothes tumble against each other
with reckless abandon; dancing like
popping popcorn, spastic and surprising
motions at large in contained spaces.
the detached somersaulting towel
is especially lovely, if lonely…
an ant crosses the floor in a zig zag,
on warmth and cleanliness–
the scent of fabric softeners
is the gentle purple of the sky outside,
backlit by a disappearing sun
the trees are dark against it
as they wave goodbyes
the drier stops.
everything is too vivid then–the small
tasks of people overwhelm the space.
flip flops shuffle loudly, and, there suddenly,
the gum ball machine’s gross colors–!
it is time to go.
June 14, 2014
It’s happening! I’m doing it! I’m posting!
Nothing demands instantaneous action like a dying computer (probably false but), and I figure that I’m on a roll after catapulting myself up the ladder to the loft where my charger resides.
Right, so I’ve moved into a cottage! A small structure with one main room–basically a studio–with a bedroom loft. It is no less and no more than I’ve ever wanted–it’s perfect. It’s in the heart of Camden, but has a tree-house feel to it. There are windows along every wall, though the only thing to be seen through them is green. No matter the weather, just green. Which is fantastic because it’s my favorite color (much to my niece’s everlasting surprise–she knows, but I think chooses to believe that I have better taste in the heat of color conversation. pink, for example, is superior). But! then there’s a skylight above the air mattress, that my landlord (/next door neighbor) has generously supplied. So, when I wake early early in the morning, the weather is a multi-sensory ordeal. It’s literally in my face. I see it, I hear it, I feel it. Either pattering hello with rain or else inviting me into sunshine. To be honest, it’s been a rainier and colder summer than I’m used to. You may find that something worth a condolence or several. But I love it! How else could this green be so green–the surroundings so verdant. Rain. Like now!
I’ve been keeping the skylight open, despite the various guests that find their way inside. Of the insect variety–wasps specifically. I’ve never been stung, but at this point kind of want to be. I figure it’ll either confirm or counter my lack of fear of these creatures, and either course will be a healthy development. Until then I can just feel lucky. But luck doesn’t teach you anything. I had a weird standoff with the first one; we played hide and seek for awhile, until way past my bedtime, and I was at the very height of aggravation when I finally saw it, still, on the wall, above my pillow. I was armed with a broom (a final weapon decision), and instead of automatically killing it I just. I couldn’t stop looking at it. They’re insane. They’re so grotesque and so beautiful. Powerfully detailed and so very foreign–what is this thing? I didn’t want to sleep with it so I killed it (Tori Amos was playing, it was creepy–almost necessarily), and then I somehow lost the body. I know. How does that happen? I don’t even know. I spazzed when I attacked–I really didn’t want to kill it, though I meant to do so firmly and responsibly, and it like semi-lived, I guess, and crawled between floorboards. I figured it was a goner, but I actually woke up with it in my bed. Thoroughly alarming, but also, whatever! That was the first. There was/is another, buzzing overhead when I woke needlessly early on a day off this week. I threw covers overhead and went back to sleep. Consequently I’ve lost it and can’t help but look for it whenever I climb the ladder, increasingly cavalierly. It’s fine. If it’s still here, I suppose we’re friends now.
Here! Maine! Some of you have inquired as to whether or not I’m still taking pictures. I am, kind of. When I can. It’s not my focus right now. I’m making breakfast. And desserts for lunch and dinner. For an increasingly exciting restaurant–was featured in the Wall Street Journal a few weekends ago! New England goodness! So. There’s lots to do, lots to think about; lots to do and plan on doing. Always! Always in motion. This is what I wanted and didn’t have last year; this has erased the void that I’d previously filled with art. My spirit is decidedly satiated, though I have to admit that I do miss that corner of my old apartment. And there are afternoons/evenings after work where all I want to do is open a bottle of wine and paint on the floor.
It’s important, I’ve realized, to recognize the marriage between need and want to a certain degree. It’s hard when you enjoy what you do for a living, for then, what you must do is also what you want to do. And it’s hard to stop doing what you want to do, even if you need to rest. Almost especially if you need to rest. And then, time off isn’t really time off–work masquerading as fun, or fun masquerading as work will always be on your mind. So instead of being perpetually carefree, you’re actually the opposite–the wheels of work will spin nonstop. And even if and even though it’s enjoyable, it’s overwhelming. I’m really good at overwhelming. Like, really really good. I do it to myself and to other people on a daily basis, possibly even you! right now with this weird post.
There’s so much! So much that’s happened that would have spurred long and numerous posts but months before. I’ve thought about posting several times, specifically about my favorite desserts that I’ve concocted. And some savory excitement breakfast-side. But that’s a lot of coordination for a tired brain with an early alarm…
The take-aways are these. These things: I can’t believe I was so close to abandoning pastry, the kitchen in general. I love it. And I can’t believe I’m here; I wonder if I’ll ever get used to it. I left work the other night and saw slivers of yellow above mountaintops, the sun’s parting words. I followed it! I drove around trying to find a picture to take of it. I didn’t, but don’t care. That’s how it is here. You don’t have to snatch at beautiful opportunities. There’ll be more, you more know than hope, and everyday is an affirmation of this newfound faith.
Faith; my faith is energy, the give and take between action and consequence, the befuddlement of which comes first. The good decision or the lucky outcome? The latter defines the former, but the former dictates the latter. So, a null question in my mind. More constructive to think circularly–however vaguely, relatively, it renders an answer–instead of linearly. Energy recycles, it doesn’t start and stop. I believe. Lest I get too intensely pseudo-anything and amateur everything, I’ll stop there. Happy Friday the 13th and full moon! …which came first?!: the crazy energy or the societal admonition of these mood-swinging factors?! I certainly knew something was up when I got entrenched (ensnared?) by the darkest of the darkest of Massive Attack the other day. Powerful song, which seems good in moments of relative weakness. But not Good. If you know what I mean… Hopefully you don’t?
Pictures and music; music and pictures.
I don’t have all my furniture and household THINGS shipped and moved in yet. What I have here is what I brought in my car. A few kitchen gadgets (like, my ice cream machine bowl but not the actual machine?! what is that all about?!?!), way too many clothes that are fit specifically for a non-Maine summer, and…sigh of relief, my record player. Recently I’ve been seriously zoning out with Vangelis. Instrumentals in general, actually. Aside from the occasional Massive Attack attack.
This is my favorite from Opera Sauvage (Vangelis). Working 10-ish hours on your feet will make this and the floor, post-yoga, the best thing that has ever happened at the end of a day. And yeah, I don’t really get the album cover–something to google:
I’ve also been hooked on an old Chieftains album I just bought in Boston, though unfortunately I’ve been unable to find a lot of my favorite songs online. This though, is just always the best:
And back to the present day–Sylvan Esso‘s debut album. Is unreal. A nice way to break the instrumental silence–