Saturday, February 7, 2009

a rainy day at home

this is a poem by spencer. i thought of it today as i had our windows open while it rained and a lady in high heels walked past, making clicking sounds on the wet pavement.

The poetry of the city is
women with sharp minds and pointy noses
with voices beautifully raspy
walking through the smoke from their cigarettes
cheeks blushing from the teasing wind
that conjures up the smoke from an underground beast that makes frequent stops to fill its belly with men who swallow pain for their power fixation,
spits them out once more for another helping

all the busy people with nowhere to go
and all the fashionable people with no one to impress
it has no rhyme
and It does not reason

~spencer smith

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 in review

for christmas, spencer and i made a playlist for our cousins or some favourite songs over the last year. i wanted to share here because most, if not all, of you have received cds or playlists from me over the years. here is one more. happy listening.


KT Tunstall : Hold On
Rachael Yamagata : Sidedish Friend
Vampire Weekend : The Kids Don't Stand A Chance
Gravity Show : Aching
Kings of Leon : On Call
Death Cab for Cutie : Cath
U2 : Ultraviolet (Light My Way)
Radiohead : All I Need
Violet Burning : Lillian Gish
Ingrid Michaelson : The Way I Am
Rolling Stones : Beast of Burden
Kt Tunstall : Someday Soon

download songs here:

Sunday, January 4, 2009

resolutely so

i know it is cheesy and probably not actually helpful, but i can't help feeling invigorated at the beginning of each new year. this year in particular, for some odd reason. i also was more excited this year for christmas than ever before. i have been thinking of all the possibilities that 2009 may hold and it keeps me up at night- like right now. what i am hoping for this year is:

going back to school- though still unsure exactly where, how and what for. the idea of buying books and school supplies come august makes me so happy. kita, i know you understand. actually, anyone reading this blog probably feels the same slightly-unhealthy fondness for school that i do.

spencer finishing his first album, hopefully followed by more shows- thank you molly for the debut- and the excitement of releasing it and seeing where God takes it. and us.

a possible trip to dc in april for spencer's birthday. hooray for travel! maybe also a summer vacation of driving the 55 up PCH and camping along the way.

growing more and more in seeing how God uses us when we relinquish everything to Him. one way is finances, but not only that.

reading through the bible with my book club. we are reading chronologically, so Job is in the midst of Genesis, and the psalms are with the events about which David -or whomever- wrote them. diagram that.

here are my resolutions. and by resolutions, i mean goals in general, not strict rules. i want to live my life this way, not be confined by my own legalism.

1. run a half marathon. this might be early next year, with this year devoted mostly to training for it. and hopefully some 8 and 10k's thrown in for fun.

2. donate blood again. or at least go and get rejected on a regular basis again.

3. eat something healthy at night when i come home starving from work, rather than a giant bowl of popcorn, a glass of wine, a bag of skittles, or all three like last night.

4. finish reading Moby Dick with spencer. its so good and i really want to finish it.

5. write more letters. i love letter writing and receiving letters, and i have gotten sadly out of practice. also, journal more. i have so many pages of me longing for spencer and relatively few about actually being married to the man. not the legacy i want to leave behind.

6. learn to cook healthy but tasty things. like quinoa, which is actually pronounced 'KEEN-wa' go figure.

7. this is the most important and the only one i am considering an actual 'resolution:' to pray every day for spencer and for our marriage. if there is any really worthy use of my time and benefit to my husband and my life, it must be prayer. more than any other thing i could do of my own strength, i want to see what happens when i go to God first and often.

8. wear my lingerie more often. i have a whole drawer full and it hardly gets used.

9. complain less. no one likes a whiner and i do it an awful lot. and though working in a restaurant is fodder for sarcasm, i don't want to be that person. i want to be gracious. no gossip either.

10. hmmmm.... i know im forgetting something, but i can't think. probably 'eat less junk' or something cliche. play guitar. we'll go with that. especially since we are about to buy a resonator which i have wanted for a long time. i guess i will put 'do something creative everyday.' that is a good thing- be it practice french, play piano, paint, knit or dance.

the end.

the beginning.

please respond with your hopes for 2009

Sunday, November 30, 2008

at last!

today after unloading spencer and his musical equipment at church, i eagerly snuck away from the obligatory pre-church cordialities to go to the new farmer's market in old town la quinta. this is the best thing that could have happened to me culinarily speaking in the desert, short of le cordon bleu opening a new branch. i felt like giada, wandering around like a kid on christmas morning, asking questions and trying to befriend every vendor i met. i wandered through each and every stall, smelling, tasting, touching everything. Some enormous light green grapefruits, called oroblancos. they were sweeter than any grapefruit i'd ever tasted, and milder, too. that same vendor, from redlands (most of them travelled an hour or more to be here), let me try persimmon. it looks like a tomato but tastes something like a tart plum, and can be made into cookies. next was a very friendly and chatty lady selling herbs and potted lavender, along with produce, which she grows using little volcanic stones. she says they keep away fungi better than normal dirt, and allow her to be pesticide free in her farming. she had a photo album to show me all of this. bells rang, not from a church, but sounded cheery and european, and if i closed my eyes, i could be back in praha, wandering down cobblestoned streets to school across the vlatava river. i wandered past flower growers, wondering how many times a month i could come home with flowers before spencer would say something. at a stall selling flavoured honey and cheeses, i tasted 12 month aged gouda that was amazing- crumbly, salty, sweet and earthy. i resisted the nearly ten dollar price tag but am determined to go back and get some with a baguette and wine for a small simple dinner. i tasted many other perfectly ripe fruits, regretting that i had eaten breakfast before i came. suddenly an hour had gone by and i had to go to church, nearly escaping without buying anything, but i couldn't resist a rustic baguette and two muffins for tomorrow-blueberry and cranberry orange. this is going to be my new hobby and reason not to dread waking up at seven am on sunday mornings.

Monday, November 24, 2008

bethany does this count?

i am answering a prompt from kita's blog. because i am greedy and materialistic and can always rattle off a wishlist...

3 things i want for christmas.

1. a $10,000 giftcard to anthropologie. and that would go so quickly...

2. to get to go with spencer if he gets to go to nashville for work in january. i have always wanted to go there to see the bluegrass/country homeland and the culture. and by 'always' i mean at least five years, so that's always right?

3. a resonator guitar. specifically, this one:

so much for a short blog. dang it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé !

today is the third thursday in november... no not thanksgiving... it is like the french thanksgiving in a way, because tonight at midnight the beaujolais nouveau is released all over the world!! this wine, similar to a pinot noir, is harvested this year and only fermented for about 7-8 weeks. it is light-bodied and fruity and considered by wine snobs to be not a real wine, or of lesser quality because it should not be cellared. (it should be enjoyed immediately!) forget those stuffy connoisseurs and join the millions of people all over the world celebrating tonight. you should try and find some at a store near you- the most prevalent probably being georges debouef, who was a leading figure in making this genre of wine so popular. the best part is, it is cheap!!! and it goes great with thanksgiving dinner. so buy a couple bottles and take them wherever you are going next week. your friends and family will thank you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

it's the economy stupid!

i am currently slaughtering the last century of literary criticism into horrendously overly-simplified quips and phrases in order to cram them into my brain for the gre. the princeton review told me to think of this test as a 'cocktail party' of name-dropping, inside joke telling and no real in-depth knowledge. in my efforts to train myself under their guidance, i have hereby renamed the major Modern schools of Literary Criticism as follows:

Marxist Criticism: 'it's the economy stupid!' or, 'existential criticism,' dealing with the individual in his historical context and not universal themes that are common to all mankind. funny how Marx wanted to apply his theories to everyone, though. 

New Historicism : ideology of class, 'let them eat cake' criticism. the ideologies of a class are encoded on all the rest. the 'struggling voice of the oppressed' is competing with the dominant class. 

Feminist, Black and Post-Colonial Criticism: these are all lumped together - to their chagrin- as responses to the new-historicist school. they are the voices of the 'marginalized others' who are trampled on or overlooked by the 'phallocratic hegemony' of the aforementioned white, wealthy, men. i just want to quote that scene of Ten Things I Hate About You where Kat is complaining that they never read sylvia plath... 'i know it must have been hard for you to overcome all those years of white, upper-middle class suburban oppression- must be tough!' 

Psychological Criticism. 'subconscious yearnings' theory. just look for the words ID, EGO, SUPEREGO, and you're set. anyone who has seen Complete Works of William Shakespeare Abridged will think of the audience participation part of Hamlet where ophelia goes insane. 

Freudian Criticism: Basically the above, with the additional interesting note that Harold Bloom is a Freudian Critic. that makes me want to reread all the parts of his shakespeare book i read just to find hints of this. basically, he thinks all poets/authors are reacting against earlier 'strong-poets' much as a rebellious teenager fights their parents and ends up becoming just like them. the horror! the horror!

Archetype or Myth Criticism: "I need a hero! I'm holding out for a hero til the end of the night!' 
basically, there are repeated themes and characters in all of literature which expresses humanity's needs in our 'collective subconscious' it can be superman comics, King Arthur, Beowulf, or T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland. how'd you like to write a dissertation on a comic book?

Linguistic Criticism: "the grammar class of literary theory" takes these forms:

Formalist: think of dissecting a frog, but the frog is Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and you are a nerdy professor of linguistics who wears a toupee and sweater vest. deals with the 'underlying laws that "makes literature literature" 

New Criticism: think trendy. T.S.Eliot, among others, is part of this school. (isn't that like letting someone on American Idol be on the judge panel?) Very popular in U.S. and England in 20th century. I like it because its the 'don't look too deep into things' school, where if the meaning isn't right there in the words, then you are making it up. i wonder if Bonca knew that as we dissected the hell out of J. Alfred Prufrock and his identity crisis... 

Structuralist Criticism: aka Semiotic Criticism. "Meaning is in the eye of the beholder" Meaning is not intrinsic, it comes from Structure. likes to put things in reference to other things- periphery, axis, center, etc. 

Post-Structuralist: guess what this is reacting against? this is the most esoteric of all of them, basically the book says just look for lingo- dissemination, logocentrism, bracketing, alterity (i've never even heard of that word), slippage, mimesis, blah blah blah. its like that scene in Good Will Hunting where he makes a jackass out of the guy trying to hit on Minnie Driver and insults his entire education. 

Reader-Response Criticism: LAST ONE!  this is the paris hilton of literary theories- its all about the reader. forget what Shakespeare or Ibsen or Dostoevsky actually meant when they wrote their greatest works- no, its all about the reader's experience of the work. That reinforces my theory that The Scarlet Letter and Ethan Frome were indeed a complete waste of time then. i want those hours back, Mrs. Salazar. 

Can i skip grad school now molly?