Monday, September 27

...leavin' on a jet plane...

As you read this, I am on my way to Portland, Oregon, to do some camping and attend the Be Present Retreat on Puget Sound.

Needless to say, I am beyond excited. :) See you when I get back in about a week and a half!

Oh, and look at these ~ One Two Three Four Five

and yes!

xo brooke

Sunday, September 26

the catnap

...looks like she fell asleep during her weekend yoga.

Saturday, September 25

hops harvesting

It's harvest time for our hops ~ the whole house smells like sweet pine as they dry out on the screens upstairs in the spare room, soon to be added to homebrews. (I love growing fun stuff.)

Friday, September 24

5 things

1. I wear earplugs at the movies

2. I often stop and smell the roses, and then laugh, because it's so cliche

3. For a long time I collected kneeling, praying figures, and I thought they were very romantic and unusual until last year ~ at Christmas ~ when I figured out they were all Josephs, lost from their Nativity scenes

4. I can imitate a plethora of foreign accents and actually spend a lot of time joking with Tim using one or another of them

5. Some days I wake up and think, thank fortune it's a new day and I can't wait to start eating today's chocolate

Thursday, September 23

my life these days

...a sip of tea, flip the record over,
a spritz of vetiver, a short break...

...and back to work


Wednesday, September 22

an afternoon of haiku

We went to the park and watched dozens of dragonflies hover and dance over the lawn, while Lucy, alert on her leash, longed to be set free to run after squirrels. A single monarch butterfly drifted by motionless high overhead and caught the late light, perfectly detailed and glowing like a flame against the blue. Tim laid on his back and read, one arm shading his face, and I also read silently from a book of haiku ~ here are some of my favorites ~

here is the dark tree
denuded now
of leafage...
but a million stars

~ shiki

in lantern-light
my yellow
lost all their color

~ buson

after moon-viewing
my companionable
walked along with me

~ sodo

Tuesday, September 21

a bit of pablo

I am the one who keeps turning out dreams,
and in my house of feather and stone,
with a knife and a watch,
I cut up clouds and waves,
and with all these elements
I shape my own handwriting;
and I make these beings grow quietly
who could not have been born till now.

~ pablo neruda

Monday, September 20

a measure of slow

Nature, poetic, silent, balmy, the bright moon,
the calm, silvery sea spoke of beauty and of rest...

~ from The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy

Last evening I sat on the upstairs porch with a stack of my recent journals, flipping through to find old nuggets of wisdom, pages of quotes, descriptions of travels, the lists of books I was reading, the odd feather taped in ~ seeing how I used to think and feel and how some of it had changed; though some is the same. (my to-do lists are curiously similar) Often I find little events I had forgotten, and my past seems more streamlined; more concise and deliberate and concentrated seen through the filtered pages of my journals.

I've been so busy lately I'm finding it difficult to pause, to slow. It seems foreign to me, like there's a shortage of time for that. Kind of ironic, I know. I am very much looking forward to my trip to Portland and Seattle next week. Some stone-collecting on the beaches, some road tripping through the forests, a little chilly camping and then the company of a community of like-minded women will put me to rights. This quote is applicable to me right now: man can hope to be completely free who lingers
within reach of familiar habits and urgencies.*

I am looking forward to a change of scene. A little adventure, a shift of perspective.

Last night I sat in the backyard watching a few flickering stars above pink acid-washed clouds in an indigo sky ~ the moon shimmered in the heat from the chiminea, a pale cutout moon dim and then bright behind the drifting clouds. I found a measure of slow, a piece of peace in my mental busy-ness.

What things are helpful for you to do when your very-much-liked way of living-your-days loses a little of its luster ~ seems a little lacking in energy?

* US Admiral Richard Byrd, who spent a winter alone in the
Antarctic, from A Book of Silence, by Sara Maitland

Sunday, September 19

a tiny sunday story

I was just watching this when I sneezed ~ I'm inside my house with the windows open ~ and my neighbor, in his yard, called out bless you!

Saturday, September 18


I'm taking the day off.

Today is about:

~ enjoying the perfectly stunning weather

~ hitting the garage sales

~ ironing out the candle wax from the hand-dyed indigo Ghanian scarf I got at the garage sales

~ a pot of tea, of course

~ going through some of our record collection and donating some of those "maybe's"

~ dusting our indoor tree while listening to a book on cd

~ rehanging some of my collection of handmade ceramic tiles

~ general happiness and book browsing on my bookshelf

~ maybe just a little embroidering, later, in the back garden

What is your weekend about? :)

Friday, September 17

what the nun wrote

{on a train with tim, italy, 2006}

Four years ago, when Tim and I were traveling on a train inbound to Rome, a quiet, middle-aged nun sat across the aisle from me and I saw her write, in a little book stapled together of paper scraps,

act ~ be aware ~ eat ~ drink ~ rest ~ think
take class in ---
open the door // open the wind
class in ---
breathe ~ talk ~ drink ~ look

She then turned to the conductor and spoke in the kind of guttural, idiomatic Italian that is perfectly known from the inside out and as worn in as an old leather glove.

Since then, I have often thought about her, and wondered what her story was. Sometimes the littlest moments can form the deepest impressions.

Thursday, September 16

a little peace and quiet

I am convinced that as a whole society we are losing something precious in our increasingly silence-avoiding culture and that somehow, whatever this silence might be, it needs holding, nourishing and unpacking.
~ from A Book of Silence, by Sara Maitland

Silence is a beautiful thing. Oddly enough, I don't consider that things like birdcalls, wind, falling rain, or even thunder detract from a quiet day. I can go for a walk in the woods and hear birds, the rustling of branches, breezes pushing fields, and still feel that there is a deep silence.

It is when I hear cars, airplanes, weedwackers, lawnmowers, chainsaws and the like, that a silent or quiet place loses its peace. So often it is out of my control ~ sometimes I did not realize I had silence until it was taken from me by a noisy leafblower or lawn mower. So many of the items we use to make our chores easier are louder than if we did them by hand. (But who wants to saw through a tree by hand?)

I do understand the pleasure and ease of these things ~ I use a food processor and a blender and a vacuum. During my days I often listen to books on cd, or put on a film at night, or listen to jazz at breakfast. I love traveling, therefore I fly and drive. I try to find a balance, and I do not ask for complete silence all the time. I don't think most of us try to be noisy, it's that generally, living has gotten louder ~ this seems a normal way of life. But I am concerned that many times, silence is not an available choice ~ and I wonder at the eventual effects of that.

I am looking forward to the day when I will live in a place with more natural silence. When the time is right, I see Tim and I in a house where we will open the back door and walk out into woods, and the majority of sounds we will hear outside will be natural, not manmade. I think there is real value in listening to natural silence, and cultivating it. I understand that everyone has their comfortable noise levels, and mine seems particularly sensitive. It's important to me to have peace and quiet.

...aaand, in preparation for fall coming and cozy quiet evenings, we are getting one of these (and I am so excited!) Curled up reading or sewing collages in front of crackling fires all winter ~ that's my kind of quiet. I can embrace crackle.

Wednesday, September 15

Sunday, September 12

a moment in the rainy garden

a moment in the rainy garden, originally uploaded by flypeterfly.

Awakened to hear rainfall gentle at the windows. It's been so parched lately, and this rain is very welcome.

A solitary breakfast this morning ~ nutmeg-cinnamon pancakes with loads of hot sliced bananas, strawberries and mango pieces, drizzled with warm pure maple syrup from our trip to Vermont.


This afternoon ~ a three-hour round trip drive (with book on cd, of course) to an art opening I have a sculpture in, then back to enjoy the rainy garden and this gorgeous Sunday weather. I hope it continues to rain.

Right now I'm sipping blue tea from my San Francisco trip this past spring ~ I love purchasing special things while traveling, and using them later, imbued with thoughts and memories of the places they came from.

It is a chilly day, and I welcome wearing a sweater, feeling all bundled up and ready for fall to really arrive. Last night I curled up on the couch in an afghan and watched some more of my current addiction, the BBC series Wives & Daughters. (Before that, I watched all of Cranford.) Reading-wise, I've just begun A Book of Silence, by Sara Maitland ~ very good. I feel myself slowing down and turning inward in these cooler days, and longing more for slower, deeper books with a bit of food for thought to them.

What do you find yourself reading and doing as fall begins?

Saturday, September 11

the bees' knees

mimi is the bees' knees, originally uploaded by flypeterfly.

There are so many bees and butterflies and little flying critters of all sorts in our garden lately, expecially at the seedum and the meadow sage.

It is pretty amazing to just stand and watch them.

it's saturday

The way in which water seeks its own level, levels itself off in an adjustment that is an authentic expression of its very nature, is analgous to a way in which we can live our lives if we are willing to persevere consistently in attentive loyalty to our own individuality. By keeping on being what we most intimately are, we can continually redefine ourselves so that we become what we have not before been able to be. If we live this way, we surprise ourselves.

~ from Turn: Journal of an Artist, by Anne Truitt

It's taken me a while to finish that book, which I found unexpectedly in a thrift shop stack. It's very thin and each day's entry is like a gem to be treasured and absorbed slowly, like reading the Tao Te Ching, or Pablo Neruda's poems, or the journals of the poet May Sarton. Finding passages that ring inside of me, clarifying, comforting and confirming.

This morning the sun shines, the cat has come in from the garden with cobwebs on her whiskers and I look forward to a little hand-sewing. Later ~ brunch with Tim at our favorite little place.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, September 9


She's like sugar in the coffee of our days.

Tuesday, September 7

an unexpected morning

This weather just makes me want to jump all over.

I woke up in the sunshine yesterday, wandered yawning down the stairs, and looked down into the room in which we had housed a 10-person potluck the night before. I expected to see chairs scattered here and there, plates and glasses and watermelon rinds. But it was spotless. I discovered that Tim had cleaned it all up long after I had drifted up to bed at 11. Our wooden table, which triples as dining area, desk and my backup studio table, was clean and clear ~ gone were all traces of the shepherd's pie and a stunning strawberry & spinach salad that I had had two helpings of.

It was magical. The house seemed made of layers: how I had last seen it and what I saw in front of me. Which is another thing I like about parties ~ the satisfactory quiet of the following day. I sat right down in the unexpected tidiness and began working:

And made these. You can find them here.

And these ~ you can find them here.

It was a wonderful morning. Unexpected and very special.

I went for a stroll later and found a red cardinal feather, checked out the neighbor's heirloom tomatoes, and watched a corgi crash a baseball game. She ran all over the field and even popped by to give hellos at the stands, while her owner hallooed without effect from up the hill.

Then I wandered home again under cerulean skies, pondered bees in the garden and took the Polaroid at the top of this post. I love holidays spent at home.

What have you been enjoying this past weekend?

Monday, September 6

the summer's waning

{taken by Tim, this summer at the beach}

I've been spending time outside on these invigoratingly cool days, trying to slow down and see the richness of all that is happening in the garden. The hummingbird, Pebble, is visiting very often ~ seemingly there each time I walk outside. She sits on the little stick I've affixed to the feeder, which hangs over the daisies. Pebble's impossibly still, with an occasional complete ruffling of her feathers ~ a shimmy in miniature. She awaits rivals, and becomes devastatingly swift and crisp in the defense of her feeder, returning victorious from an air battle to fluff her tummy feathers and wipe her bill.

My heart is full of deep summer, waning now into autumn. I make bread every few days, a small simple loaf with flexible ingredients, tossing whatever I feel like into the dough ~ flaxseed or rosemary, oats, honey. I've been making a lot of piecrusts for various things.

A part of me feels, in my bones, that I want to literally fly ~ to go somewhere, to follow this breeze that invites, excites, carries. In a few weeks I'll be heading out to Portland and Seattle for this retreat, a perfect parallel to how I feel. I have some free time before and after to explore the area, which is all new to me.

I also found this a couple of days ago and am now setting myself to memorizing it. Check out this shop ~ and these Polaroids! One Two Three Four Five

Saturday, September 4

in the garden

wishes float by, out of reach,

floury against the blue

and finally one careens in at top speed

takes a swift low swoop, and

I catch it.

the hummingbird visits,

confused that I have moved the feeder

I let unknown seedlings grow too big,

and today have pulled them up so

all my favorite deliberates show -

the daisy, the meadow sage, the echinacea,

the lavender, the aster, the herbs low in front

with the dark peppers growing up amongst them like trees.

the seedum like a strange australian forest,

the purple salvia regal, the sunflowers peeking,

the rosemary sweeping, the lariope joyous.

it feels like my garden again, just as I like it

molded by my hands,

risen like bread into this seeded shape

I spring among the stones

between the bees, trying not to hit their blooms

with my hips.

Thursday, September 2

frugal but fantastic

{our basil is huge!}

Our garden this year has been frugal but fantastic. The extreme heats and droughts have really put a dent into unchecked, lush growth, but the heat-loving plants ~ the tomato, the basil, rosemary and all my other herbs ~ have grown large and delicately brawny. I love growing mediterranean plants, feeling I'm getting a slice of that sunny, sea island life.

Oh, and Tim cut his hair. It is now as short as when we were first together. I love long hair on men, and miss his a little now. Last night while watching a movie I cut some little braids to save, perhaps to use in an altered book sometime.

But he's happy, so I'm happy.

Wednesday, September 1

a special morning

home-made mango-banana pancakes
and Earl Gray tea