Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I'll Be What I Am



When a storm rolls in, my first instinct is to go out into it, let the wind push me and pull me and try carry me away. I want to ride on its back like a bird and hide under its rolling waves. My second instinct is to crawl into some crevice under a rock, or inside a tree-trunk, some secret, mossy place of shelter, a small, animal place. I was born in a storm. I find storms comforting. Between these two instincts, storms are a stirring, powerful thing. They bring in their own wild energy.
These last few days, obeying the second instinct, I've been working on writing projects (I have deadlines!) and crafting away, while the wind blows horizontal rain onto my windows and pushes clouds around, sometimes briefly parting them and showering the yard what seems like heavenly sunlight.

Reading, making, listening, letting the rain drone on, following its own rhythms. These kinds of days are perfect for sitting by the fire dreaming, scheming.

I thought I'd share some of my recent indoor joys with you guys, just in case its raining (or blowing, or snowing, or freezing) where you are too, and maybe in return you'd share some of your with me...

Favorite dump finds/ thrift scores/ gifts / found objects
An eagle kite. So far it's been too much, or not enough wind to fly it, but I hope we get to take it out for a spin soon. A small pottery vase, or cup. Pussy willow branches, that I thought I might decorate like this, but like in their plain way as well. In this land of non-winter, they are nice reminder of the old country.




New moccasin slippers! Just when I needed them. My old pairs were falling apart. How did you know Ms. Sadie Rose? And how did you know I needed a laptop sleeve too? Are you psychic? A whole package of amazing, loving, cozy goods. Not to mention this calming tea, perfect for rainy nights.


Music

Today is the much anticipated moment Hurray For The Riff Raff's Small Town Heroes finally comes out! We're long time fans (I'm pretty sure I've included her in a best tunes round-up before.) and are excited to go see her live later in the spring (My birthday present for C.)

I'm also enjoying armchair traveling to Iceland with Olof Arnalds' bizarre nordic folk (not to mention this version of Solitary Man) and a favorite from my trip to Reykjavik last spring, Of Monsters And Men who based on my pandora stream are blowing up right now.

I'm Also very excited for the new Marissa Nadler album July.

Other good stuff on heavy rotation on my stereo right now include We Are AugustinesCity And Colour and Radical Face, oldies but goodies Björk (especially the early albums), Shearwater (to the point of mild obsession) and 10 000 Maniacs. You read that last one right.

Kitchen

I've had a little bit of a hard time in the kitchen when it comes to finding inspiration. Usually I love cooking, but I've kind of been stuck in a stir-fry, rice and beans, bolognese sauce, stews -rut. However, doing one off projects like kraut (a never ending project around here), or these heart-shaped hardy Finn-style rye crackers, or no-knead bread from Demetria's recipe still feels inspiring and today Lauren posted a recipe I'm actually dying to try (maybe with that no-knead bread).

My hub sharpened my favorite (only!) kitchen knife and then I went and cut myself with it 'cos it was so sharp. Having an amazing, sharp knife does help with cooking inspirations though.

Books

I've mentioned before that most of the fiction I read is by women, something that I decided in my mid-twenties, simply because much of the Western "canon" is so dominated by old white men and because, in spite of glorious and sizable advances by female authors contemporary literary fiction continues to lionize the "golden boy" author in his many incarnations. This year, however, there's an extra special reason to read women though, because the Guardian critics declared it The Year of Reading Women.

This year I'm planning to read at least the following works by women authors and probably many, many more:

Vampires In The Lemon Grove by Karen Russell. I know. This is old news. I'm only getting onto this book now because I've spent almost a year muddling my way through Swamplandia! It's not the book, it's me, I think. I'm having a hard time with all of it's melancholy whimsy. Having loved Russell's sophomore effort St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves though, I know I'm going to enjoy her second short story collection.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. Can I put into words how excited I am for this book? No. It has all the hallmarks of being something I would enjoy. It takes place in a remote corner of Iceland, features an underdog female protagonist and its language is described as "poetic". Count me in.

The English translation of The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson. I love this book and am interested in the translation, as all previous translations I've read have been excellent (not that I've read them in the actual original).

The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. If you never read Field Notes From A Catastrophe you really should, because in hindsight it is even more terrifying in its accuracy and how the worst predictions have already come true. Whether you're in drought plagued California, or winter ravaged Manhattan everyone should read this. (Obviously, these are non-fiction books, my dears.)

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. Controversial? Perhaps. An epic undertaking, surely.

Fellow fairytale lover Brigit recommended Red Riding Hood Uncloaked by Katherine Orenstein. Need I say more?

Homestead Hack

Podcasts. Listening to podcasts makes menial tasks more intellectually stimulating. My current favorite is Dare To Use The F-Word from Barnard College a podcast about feminism geared particularly towards young women. I really can't recommend this podcast enough, it's so positive and passionate. The latest one is on radical doulas it is beyond awesome. No really, you have to hear it to believe it. No, but go listen to it now.

Good News

Oh and speaking of feminism and good things: have you seen this yet? It seems like it would be a pretty good tool to explain to men in your life what feminism is all about. And while we're on good, empowering ideas, today gave us yet another reason to feel proud of living in Washington.

And to make it an even better day, Washington artist Matika Wilbur who's Project 562 we've been closely following is making bank on Kickstarter, thanks in part to being featured on Upworthy. Her plan is to take an epic photographic journey and document of the 562 federally recognized Native American tribes in the nation. If you haven't already, I would recommend checking out her pitch and videos because they're important, empowering stuff. Even though she's more than doubled her original budget for the second phase of this project, I'd consider (and have myself) still giving her some dollars, because this project is so unique and frankly vital to this country. And if you're feeling financially squeezed spreading the word is plenty of support.

Some days are just good days. Forward momentum. It's happening in my remote little kitchen and everywhere else. I can feel it.

Wear and Hair

Want another trick to taming dirty hair without washing it? Snake/ fishtail braids before bed. I had mine in for about five days and as they get more messy, they get better. If you brush hair powder in before making braiding they look positively clean.

I've been really into hanging out in my new (to me) 60s mini dress, there's something about short hems in the winter.



Rainy day suggestions?

26 comments:

  1. Love your lists of books and music! Some I already know and love and some I need to go check out. I too have developed a deep obsession with Shearwater over the last year and half. I am actually going to go see them in Seattle this weekend!
    My rainy day activities (well winter activities in general) has been lots 'o knitting! Now that the Olympics have started they are on the list too...

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  2. Gosh! You go girl. this post puts me to shame. i should be reading listening baking more. but really i probably am, in my own ways. I want to read the Luminaries, too! such a long line for it at the library, i shall probably have to buy it. i am totally psychic with you! it's super weird but obviously not weird. yay for slippers and other such things. i'll open up my skype tomorrow and see if i can catch you. thanks for all the inspiration in this post. and reminders of the ways we can be.

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    1. I'll try and catch you on Skype today? Lots of hugs, it sounds like you're busy hanging out with your ladies and doing epic shit. Love ya!

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  3. Toinen myrskynrakastaja ilmoittautuu.. Ja lisää vielä tuohon aiempaan ajatuksenvaihtoon, että ei, et missään tapauksessa anna liian auvoista kuvaa parisuhteesta tai rakkaudesta. Olet kirjoituksissasi monitahoinen, joten kuka hyvänsä voi rivien väleistäkin aistia, että monitahoisuus varmasti ulottuu elämän kaikille alueille. Itse nimenomaan arvostan todella paljon sitä, kuinka haluat/valitset kauniita ja hyviä asioita kerrottavaksi, elettäväksi, jaettavaksi. Kuulin kerran kun ystävääni kehotettiin ajattelemaan kuinka hänen olisi syytä olla onnellinen, kun hänellä on asiat paremmin kuin vaikkapa Venäjän orpolapsilla. Miksi kenenkään pitäisi iloita toisen kurjuudesta? Hälyttävintä tuossa esimerkissä oli se, että sanat sanoi lääkäri.. Toisen epäonni tai vaikeudet ei koskaan ole toisen onni, sellainen ajatusmalli on epäterve. Päinvastoin, positiiviset tarinat selviytymisestä, rakkauden löytämisestä ja muusta, toimivat paljon paremmin sellaiselle jolla on elämässä vaikeita hetkiä. Ja vaikka kovin mielelläni joisin iltateetä kanssasi ja puhuisin iltamyöhään, niin en tahtoisi käyttää kaikkea aikaa ikävien asioiden kertaamiseen, vaan suunnitella, haaveilla, jakaa pieniä toivonkipinöitä <3, ja niin oletan että siinä juuri kävisi. Ihania myrskypuuhasteluja sinne! (itse pidän mm. ompelemisesta, lukemisesta ja sisustuskirjojen selailusta myrskysäällä..).

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    1. Hei Myrskyluodon Maria! Tottahan se on etta toisen onni ei vahenna omaa onnea, eika toisen epaonni sita lisaa, ja kiitos kauniista sanoistasi monitahoisuudesta, mutta itse oon vaan NIIN kyllastynyt kaikenmaailman taydellisen onnen bloggailuun, etta valilla just katson tatakin lokia ja oon etta oho, kyllapas meidan elama nayttaa auvoiselta, vaikka oikeesti vuokrarahat hupenee ja minkki soi kanat (siita aion kylla postata), mina olen kokoajan karttyinen ja tasapainon loytaminen tuntuu vaikealta…Olipas maailman pisin lause. Tavallaan myos kun olen mustalla mielella tanne on hyva muistutella siita miten ihanaa elama oikeastaan onkin. Ja jaettu onni…
      Ensi vuonna jos joudan suomeen, niin sovitaanko jo nyt etta varataan yksi ilta teen lipitykselle? Halauksia!

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  4. your rainy days seem pretty fun! and hey, 10,000 maniacs was my absolute favorite band in 6th grade so you have a fellow fan of theirs right here. i made a stamp. read nothing. listened to not much. no excitement in these parts :/ i'll have to live vicariously through you :)

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    1. Yesh! I knew it! You're my kinda gal 10 000 times! You are baking a little bun in the oven tho, so. I hear that takes a mite of craftiness. Love ya.

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  5. Your rainy days sound quite nice!
    Here has not been rainy, but terribly cold (Wisconsin.) It's finally broken, and this morning I heard the bird song to prove it.
    It's not a woman-written book, but Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane is beautiful, and I'm on my third read. The female characters are center, strong, beautiful, and surely related to me, if only because I demand it to be so. Also, Letters of a Femal Homesteader is fantastic. Other than that, much baking, anything to warm up the oven! And I'm looking forward to warmer days so I can start making cheese again (it doesn't set right in a cool house...)
    Be well, enjoy your rainy days.

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    1. I used to love Gaiman in my teens and early 20s! I can only imagine that he's evolved as an author since. Thanks for the tip. So many books. I'm glad you're nut freezing anymore. That was intense eh?

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  6. You're really blogging up a storm this week! I guess that must be one of your rainy day activities too... Ooh I love pussy willow, I like that the little cup has pussy willow on it as well.

    Rainy days here are good for reading webcomics, I've been devouring them like DVD box sets! One I recently loved was A Redtail's Dream, which is actually Finnish so you may already have heard of it http://www.minnasundberg.fi/artd.php

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    1. Well, it comes and goes. Generally, the more work I have the more I blog to make distract myself, but these days, the more work I have the less I blog. Thanks for the tip, I had no idea you could get webcomics on DVD. I'm kind of new technology illiterate, in spite appearances to the contrary ;) Happy February, m'dear!

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    2. Oh, I missed this before! Sorry to confuse you, I didn't mean to imply that you could get webcomics on DVD (although I suppose you might actually be able to with the animated ones), just that I get into them the same way. You know how you get a series on DVD that you really like and find yourself watching "just one more" episode? Or is that just me. Anyway, I was reading webcomics like that. Pretty much the way I would read books actually, but because of the imagery it's much less tiring than reading huge chunks of text on a computer. I should blog some recommendations! :)

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  7. Just after I posted that, I saw this: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22129562.100-ancestry-of-first-americans-revealed-by-a-boys-genome.html?full=true -- thought you'd be interested!

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  8. Your rainy days are offering up some interesting book recommends as well as comforting recipes. Thanks for that.
    And how I'd love to see stems of pussy willows in a perfect ball jar on my table! I wonder, would sprigs of tumbleweeds make me smile?
    You are a delight.
    My recommend for today is a Werner Herzog documentary "Happy People". You will love it. C will too.

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    1. Oh. We've been meaning to go on a Herzog bender. I've been a fan for a long time, but C has only ever seen "The Cave Of Forgotten Dreams".

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  9. Wonderful post! I love the bands you mentioned were on heavy rotation on your stereo, especially City And Colour, Radical Face and Shearwater, so I'll give those new bands a listen too.
    I have a lot of books still on my to-read pile. If anything is particularly good, I'll make sure to share!
    Would you share the recipe for those Finn-style rye crackers? I love those things, but never buy them because that's how I roll ;)

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    1. Great minds, right? I love that you know Radical Face, because everyone else is like "what face?" I will try to share that recipe, but the trouble is, I never use a recipe, I'm terrible. I will try to device one for you, exclusively ;)

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  10. I think I read all of your posts, with plans to come back and comment and then I don't! So sorry about that, my intentions are good. So many headaches keeping me from clocking up hours on the internet (probably a good thing right), and don't worry. I'm actually pretty certain they're hormonal! It is hot! hot! hot! here. Let's see...today was about washing all of the dog's bedding and getting it outside in the sun, walking the dog, and then going to the park that has an outdoor kids pool....I too have been reading. Voraciously. But nothing of note. Books at the library that I have to choose quickly to keep up with my children and their need to pick and GO NOW. They're not really the hideous beasts I make them out to be, truly, nah, yeah?, nah, truly. The afternoons meet us with tiredness, so yesterday we watched Beetlejuice (Oscar is fast becoming a Tim Burton fan), and today we are eating homemade guacamole and corn chips - one is watching a real live soccer game with his dad, the other is watching the TV. And i am obviously in here, the "office" where no work gets done. Love you. Take care and enjoy winter. I have to make some hair powder! x

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    1. Let me know how it turns out with the hair powdah. Also, little readers and tiny Tim Burton fans get my vote every time!

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  11. you just supplied me with so much visual, intellectual, and creative stimulation, that i am now brimming! i can't wait to check out these titles. and make those crackers. and listen to those tunes. and, and, and...

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    1. I'm so glad! If your family eats gluten try Demetria's bread recipe. It's amazing.

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  12. An eagle kite! Moccasin slippers! Perfect.

    I was recently introduced to Isabel Allende's books, and had the pleasure of seeing her speak about her most recent publication, Thriller. She was an inspiration. I read Maya's Notebook and really enjoyed it.

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    1. I haven't read any Allende for a long time. Maybe now's the time to start up on South America in these stormy, rainy days.

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  13. Thanks for this basketful of treasures-to-be-shared, it was a soothing promise of nourishing things in the middle of my translating rush last week!

    I actually read The true deceiver in French a while ago and loved it - and yes, Matika Wilbur's project is a very important one... her personality is inspiring, and it gives me hope in what we've been mentioning in your Feminism post: when awareness and actions are infused with tenderness and empathy, they can lead to unexpectedly wide-reaching results :o)

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