Today I'm thinking about the small things, how I forget that they're all around me, ready for the taking.

Lately it seems like I've been so caught up in the bigger stuff, in stressing and analyzing over what really doesn't matter (or shouldn't matter) that I haven't had any quiet moments to myself. There hasn't been enough room in my daily life for silence, because if there were I'd already be listening.

Maybe it's the season, when summer is soon approaching and I feel the need to slow my pace down, step out of my routine and search out an adventure (or two). Whatever the reason, I woke up this morning with that familiar sense of longing, reminding me of my need to carve away a space in my life for the little things, for the little moments of wonder.



Last week, I celebrated my birthday. There was a birthday brunch, hosted by two of my sweet friends, and I left feeling humbled, grateful and loved. I am continually amazed by the wonderful people in my life, both new and old, and feel blessed to know each and every one of them.

The following day- my actual birthday- John and I loaded up the car (our labrador retriever included) and headed east for a camping trip to Oregon's high desert.

There's something about this landscape that never fails to take my breath away. I don't know if it's the pungent smell of sage that constantly permeates the air, or the caramel colored rolling hills and perpetual blue skies- but the minute the tall trees of the deep forest turn into dusty roads and tumbleweeds, I feel instantly at home.

Although it was partly sunny and warm during the day, we were prepared for some cold night's in the tent (it was early March, after all). We had lots and lots of firewood, and a stack of cozy wool blankets along with our sleeping bags to snuggle under.

Nestled into a canyon where we'd set up camp, we watched as the sun made it's final path for the day, where it eventually disappeared behind the hills. I looked to the east just in time to spot a shooting star streak across the darkening sky, which to me felt like the ultimate birthday gift. As the temperature dropped, we layered on plenty of clothing and sipped hot toddy's by the fire until we were ready for bed. Besides the pack of coyote's that we heard howling close by for most of the night, we slept pretty soundly.

   In the morning, it was coffee and breakfast. I don't believe that camping equates to mediocre tasting food; it's just a matter of some planning beforehand and the right ingredients. We eat as well as we would any morning at home, the only difference being that everything just takes more time when you're cooking with minimal tools and a blazing fire. But it's nice; it slows things down a bit, makes you really appreciate that steaming cup of hot coffee when you've worked that hard for it.

With no real schedule or place to be, we spent the days meandering through old towns and popping into antique shops, driving down dirt roads that lead to nowhere whenever we felt like it. Eventually we arrived at the Painted Hills, which I had previously been to but knew I wanted to take John on this trip. Part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, the Painted Hills are an unbelievable sight to behold; a grouping of hills made up of layers of colorful strata, each representing a different geological era. The first time I saw them, I couldn't help but think how other worldly they seemed; like I had just landed on the the Moon, or even Mars. Looking out at them this last time, I felt the same way all over again.

It was my kind of road trip, with my ideal traveling partner. I suppose that's one of the advantages of being married to someone who is also your best friend; everything is more fun when you're together, even the really simple things- like driving in the car and staring out the window at the cows and juniper bush.

In the end, we returned to Portland with a pang in our hearts for what could only be summer and all of its glory. On our last day, we stopped to take in the great expanse of Lake Billy Chinook, where we found ourselves wishing it was hot enough to jump in and go for a swim. We passed an empty ice cream shack, boarded up with a sign that read 'closed for the season', and made mental notes of places we would return to when the weather permitted. We dreamed up future adventures, scheming all the way until we'd made it back home, back to the trees and the rain.



Dreaming of summer on this rainy day in Portland...

An old photograph from last July, which I recently unearthed from a pile on my desk.

Also, this ethereal poem by Margaret Atwood:

             Late August

This is the plum season, the nights
blue and distended, the moon
hazed, this is the season of peaches

with their lush lobed bulbs
that glow in the dusk, apples
that drop and rot
sweetly, their brown skins veined as glands

No more the shrill voices
that cried Need Need 
from the cold pond, bladed
and urgent as new grass

Now it is the crickets
that say Ripe Ripe 
slurred in the darkness, while the plums

dripping on the lawn outside
our window, burst
with a sound like thick syrup
muffled and slow

The air is still
warm, flesh moves over
flesh, there is no




My grandmother, Gertrude Ross, was beautiful. She was glamorous, in an old Hollywood sort of way. She had skin so luminous that even now, after all the time that has passed since her death, I can still remember it clearly. She had a smell, a very specific one that I only recognized one other time in my life- at the Barney's department store in Manhattan. I was in front of the Chanel counter- staring at a sample of the same lotion she had lathered on daily for years. 

She was just that kind of a woman; the kind who wore red lipstick until her very last day on this earth. She was dying of cancer. I was fifteen at the time. 

I remember writing her a letter right before she died; my mother told me later that she'd kept it by her bedside in a drawer. For years, I imagined what else could be found in that drawer. Her lipstick tube (probably Yves Saint Laurent)? A prayer book? A photo of my grandfather?

Although I couldn't be with her in those last few days, I like to think that I was, in a way, since she kept my letter so close to her. 

Now that I'm married, I find myself thinking about her a lot. How different her life was then mine at this age- and yet how similar we are. I'm much more independent than she was. I graduated from college and although I want to have children, I also want to have a career- something that she didn't have herself, but I wonder often if she ever wanted to.
I have her fearlessness; her love for singing Patsy Cline in the car; her wanderlust, too. She traveled all over the world, her Louis Vuitton bags in hand, with her reddish blond hair and the most incredible smile that she passed down to my mother. My mother also inherited my grandmother's love affair with red lipstick- in fact we both did.
I spent the last weekend looking through some old family photos, thinking about Trudy, which is what she went by. Thinking about the importance of our past, how it shapes the future but also helps us make sense of the present. 



My reading list as of late.

I can't seem to get enough of The History of Love, however. I suppose it's just the right book at the right time. Either way it's had me thinking a lot about the idea of preservation, something I re-visited time and time again while studying Studio Art in college.

As I write this, actually, I can't help but laugh- one of the last projects I completed during my final semester was a handmade book, filled with photos I'd taken as well as old family photos of my Mother and Grandmother. The title of that book was, indeed, Preservation. Its focus was on our connection- three women spanning across three generations.

That body of work was inspired by the themes of nostalgia, heritage, tradition. Most importantly, from the love I have for my Grandmother, who is no longer living, but is still very much a part of my life (as well as my Mother's).

While reading The History of Love, I'm reminded of those same themes once again. How much they drive not only the way I think creatively but also how I live; how they influence even the smaller details, such as how I curate my home and my love of the old and worn. For the first time in a long while, I am inspired to begin new projects, and it feels like the beginning of something- even if I can't quite articulate what that may be just yet.

So here we are. New year (2013!) and already I'm looking forward. It's going to be a very good one, my friends.



This time of year, when the frenzy of Christmas is over but spring seems far away, it's hard to keep up the good spirits.

The holidays have passed, but the dark days of winter are still here- for awhile, anyway. As someone who needs (and greatly appreciates) a good dose of solitude, I find myself hibernating at home quite often during this season.

It's not that I don't enjoy being with friends; in fact, I consider myself to be strongly relational and the friendships I have are very important to me. It's just that I need my quiet, alone time, too- time with myself. It's something I value and protect fiercely.

I recently was gifted a beautiful book from my sweet friend Julie, Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. Much of Rilke's thoughts on the importance of solitude have stuck with me:

What is necessary, after all, is only this: solitude, vast inner solitude. 
To walk inside yourself and meet no one for hours — 
that is what you must be able to attain.


You should not let yourself be confused in your solitude by the fact
 that there is something in you that wants to move out of it. This 
very wish, if you use it calmly and prudently and like a tool, will 
help you spread out your solitude over a great distance. Most 
people have (with the help of conventions) turned their solutions
 toward what is easy and toward the easiest side of the easy; but
 it is clear that we must trust in what is difficult; everything alive
 trusts in it, everything in Nature grows and defends itself any 
way it can and is spontaneously itself, tries to be itself at all costs
 and against all opposition. We know little, but that we must trust
 in what is difficult is a certainty that will never abandon us; it is
 good to be solitary, for solitude is difficult; that something is 
difficult must be one more reason for us to do it.

For me, I cannot be creative, inspired or content unless I give into being solitary every once and awhile. If I don't give in, I become exhausted.

Over the years, as I've come to recognize this cycle in my life, I welcome it gladly- even if at times, it is difficult (as Rilke so beautifully describes above). Although it comes in various times of the year, winter is usually when I feel it the most.

As the cold sets in, I know what to do. I hunker down. I read more. Write more. Analyze more. Create more. It can be a bit intense at times, but when I'm ready to make a shift, I'm always grateful for that time alone with my thoughts.

For solitude.



Hello and welcome to the new blog!

It's more or less the same as before...except now I can post high-res images, which, believe it or not, is reason enough for me to spend countless hours switching from tumblr to blogspot.

So. Here we are. Hope you'll join me over in this corner from now on.

More soon!

side note: The above photo was shot at sunset, while driving back from a little trip to Seattle that we took for John's birthday recently. I just love how the colors and trees blurred together- kind of like a painting, don't you think?