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.
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 Augustines, City 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.
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.
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?
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.
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?