Monday, September 29, 2008

Heading Home

I leave the land of sand and surf tomorrow morning and head back to the East Coast. It has been a wonderful month filled with new experiences and beautiful new friends and I am loathe to leave. I must stay positive, so I'm making a top 10 list of things I'm looking forward to returning to (in no particular order) that act as my consolation prize.

1. Play my violin.
Surprise, surprise. The non-violinist actually misses her instrument and looks forward to squeaking out a few notes on the old fiddle.

2. Eskimo kisses with Siegfried.
Siegfried is my Miniature Pinscher. Weighing in at a hefty 20lbs or so, he is less the dragon slayer that he was named after and more a shy, whimpering pup. One of my favorite features, however, is his nose, which isn't much different than others in the species, except that his likes to rub my own when I give the command, "Eskimo."

3. Go in search of the Dead.
Being in Los Angeles has meant that I haven't had the time to work on my quest of discovering my roots. While I may never be able to prove if I am indeed related to the infamous James Brothers or the Queen of England for that matter, I am eagerly filling out my family tree on I've made it back to the early 1800's on some of the line, but that's barely scraping the surface.

4. Time with the Sis (and other family). There's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home. Dorothy was on to something with this oft-repeated mantra: no matter where one goes, or what worlds one see, there's nothing that compares with home. Whether on the spiritual level, or just here in the day to day, both body and soul are only completely at rest when they're at home. And, for me, an integral part of being home is time with Ernst, the Moo, and the Poo.

5. The Greatest City on Earth. Being on that other coast line means that I'm near one of the world's greatest cities: New York City. Even though I like to claim that I'm scarred from my experiences there, you'll find me hunkered down there at least one week a month in the city that never sleeps. And why not? My best friends in the world live there, my favorite church is there, and no matter what, I seem to still be able to get work there.

6. Back to Church Life. While it was fun bouncing around to all the churches that Los Angeles has to offer, there's something to be said about going to a place where everyone knows your name. My church in Delaware, Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Newark, is kind of like that; I've been going there since I was 14, so the people there treat me like I'm part of the family. My other church, Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City, is where I have my membership, and is home to some of the best teachings on the Bible that I've ever heard. Visiting there is like seeing an old friend: I find refuge and comfort and know that I'm loved.

7. Miss Morgana la fey.
Much like the character in the Arthurian legend, I am utterly bewitched by my 14 year-old niece, Morgan. She's suddenly cool, and discovering better things (like boys), but I'd like to think that this old aunt still has a place in her life. She's a pet lover, so we like to take the pups to Middle Run Natural Area (where on a recent trip we rescued a raccoon!). She loves movies, MySpace, and photography (especially of herself. Sigh.), and I try to push a bit of books and culture into that teenage brain. All in all, we're a great twosome, even if she does think I'm a big loser:)

8. Back to the Grind.
The sewing machine grind that is. It's the hobby that I love to hate. I find it utterly consuming, with me chained to my sewing machine or patternmaking tools for hours at end. And yet, at the end of the day, the devotion is worth it as there is nothing in the world like creating something and being proud of it. I'm into vintage reproductions these days and my latest project has me making a late 1800s inspired military jacket. I'm also quite proud of the vintage-inspired apron that I recently made for a pregnant friend.

9. Catching up with Old Friends.
The old rhyme goes, "Make new friends but keep the old. One is silver and the other is gold." I made some amazing new friends in LA, but the ones on this coast have been here for the long haul. They've helped me move, picked up my pieces when I was falling apart, and been a good shoulder to lean on when I needed it. I'm thankful for these guys, and incredibly blessed in my friendships.

10. Back to Work. Believe it or not, I am looking forward to going back to work. Can't imagine why? Well, it means I get to put a little more money in the ol' bank account which means I can continue my travels-- and hopefully visit my new friends again.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light

I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

~William Butler Yeats

Why poetry? Why not? I need more posts involving poetry. I love this poem in particular and think that I should share my favorite poems. I first discovered this poem by watching one of my favorite movies, 84 Charing Cross Road, starring Anne Bancroft, Anthony Hopkins, and Dame Judi Dench. It is the true story of one book lover who corresponds with an antiquarian book seller in London and the amazing relationship that ensues. I highly recommend the movie, especially to fellow bookworms.

And if you stumble upon this post, feel free to share your own favorite poetry with me-- I'd love to read it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

If you love something, give it away

I loved you once, Atthis, long ago.

I have spent the past two days hanging out with my friend, Laura, with whom I find a gentle quiet. We are two souls at peace with one another. Having met five years ago, and then having lived together for probably a quarter of that time, we have our own rhythm. We parted in September 2007, both in search of love and adventure across the seas. Her journeys took her to Japan and Australia while my own presented me with glimpses of civilization in the east. All the while we lamented the absence of each other's company, yet we carried on, writing to one another across the great divide.

Now, a year later, we are reunited. I am in Los Angeles for a few more days, and she has just arrived to put down roots in Venice Beach. I love how easy this is: she sits across from me, furrowing her brow over school work, while I furrow my own over my dear Mac. We don't need words, just each other's presence. We have our wine (a delicious new discovery-- Sweet Pea which is preciously packaged in a cute bottle. It is a wine made from apples: crisp, sweet, and pale in color), music streaming from her iTunes, and a serenity in one another's company that comes from longstanding and comfortable friendship.

In our silences, we also catch up. What has transpired since we parted a year ago? What wayfarers have walked alongside of us? We talk of boys and I mention the most recent to scar my heart. Yes, Atthis, I did love you once. It was a long time ago. I have cut them off.  In my months at home I reorganized my life. I finally started to remove the clutter, both from my room and from my heart. I reread them, perhaps shed a tear, and then placed each letter in the recycling bin. Possibly it is my heart that is being recycled, used but starting its journey anew. What liberty it is to be set free!

I am reading a book entitled Smashed, by Koren Zailckas. She is a friend of a friend, a girl my own age who has written her first novel (which also happened to be a New York Times Bestseller) about her experiences growing up drunk. She discovered alcohol at a young age, and developed a love affair with it that spanned through her college years.

When I read, I like to highlight passages that catch my interest or speak to me in some way. I dog ear the pages, and later transcribe them if I am so motivated. This book has been short on those memorable passages, although I do think she speaks to our generation and more specifically of what it means to grow up girl. One thing she writes which caught my eye, is (on being what she calls Generation Safe Sex), "We've been taught to BYOC (bring your own condom) as we BYOB (bring your own beer). We fear HIV before the unplanned or nonconsensual sex through which it's contracted, which is like not listing injured troops among casualties: The number of battle deaths is tragic, but it's only part of the carnage." Koren herself is a victim of this mentality, not contracting HIV, but amassing the emotional wounds which comes from waking up next to men who are not her beloved. It's an observation that stops me and makes me think. It makes me wonder how much my mentality is a product of today's society, and moreover, I think tenderly of a fourteen year old niece who is entering a world that believes the former.

I never was very good at wrapping things up in English class. I do not tie things up, nor are they wrapped in a little bow. What do all these things have to do with one another? I'm not quite sure except to say that it involves my heart. I'm feeling good these days, unencumbered, moving forward. I have friends, am making strides in my personal growth, and am loved by the God of the universe. All in all, it feels pretty good.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Last Saturday night, after returning home from several days of camping, I dyed me hair back to its natural shade of brown. In a similar vein, I have decided to give my blog a new makeover. I found a fun little website at with all kinds of, yes, cute backgrounds from which to choose.

I've been a bit of a busy bee of late-- immensely enjoying Los Angeles and all she has to offer. I've visited a couple of cemeteries (see my blog entry on my love of cemeteries), been to two films which were screened outside (one of which was in the aforementioned cemetery and another at a drive-in). I've been to beaches spanning up and down the coastline, had one mini-surf lesson, enjoyed the glow of a camp fire. It's enough excitement to make a girl walk away from blogging forever if simply because she has better things to do. Moreover, my poor camera suffered the fate of many a camera taken to the beach: the shutter has become lodged with sand and will no longer open.

For the time being, you're stuck with my mutterings.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Made in Hollywood in Santa Barbara

Last Saturday I drove up to Santa Barbara with a friend to visit the city. We wandered around the wharf and enjoyed a lovely walking tour which highlighted the mission-style architecture and the ubiquitous red-tile roofs.

One of my favorite stops of the day was at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art on State Street. We saw both the Picasso on Paper exhibit as well as the sublime Made in Hollywood photography exhibit.

Clark Gable and Joan Crawford

If you go:

What: Made in Hollywood: Photographs from the John Kobal Foundation
Where: Santa Barbara Museum of Art
When: Now through October 5, 2008
Who: John Kobal was a fan of old Hollywood. He befriended stars and photographers and subsequently collected over a million photos documenting the golden age of film.

Alfred Hitchcock

Gloria Swanson

Marlene Dietrich

Louise Brooks

Rita Hayworth

Friday, September 12, 2008

Memories of India

So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.
~ Mark Twain

I just returned from an amazing two days spent swimming at the beach and eating delicious food with friends in Laguna Beach. The four of us have all been fortunate enough to travel vast amounts of the globe (at least cumulatively), and we took the opportunity to share some of our travel stories. My own tales largely featured India, so I thought I'd do a little retrospective here. Many of the pictures are culled from my travel blog and/or my Flickr account.

I've spent about three months in India. The first time I went, I was joining my Icelandic friend, Edda, there to model for two months in Mumbai (Bombay) India. The second trip was for the holidays, and was passed in Goa, Hampi, Mumbai, Udaipur, and Jodhpur.