10 December 2009


early morning
[sorry for the poor quality]

- relief to be done with this week that was over-saturated with research papers... whew!
- warm cheeks from drinking a full sail amber
- cozy toes in my new wool socks

- soo many clementines!  i bought a big bag and have been eating them constantly; i've been leaving little piles of peels.  what's more satisfying than removing the rind in one piece?
- the whole-wheat chocolate-chip banana bread i baked, mmm...

- the one thing about montana is that there are hardly as many birds as there are in new england, and i miss all the chirping.  yet this morning, i woke up and all i could hear was birds singing.  perhaps they were passing through, but either way it was a lovely sound to wake up to
- the beautiful voices of mariee sioux ["flowers and blood"] and alela diane ["tatted lace"]

- chlorine from my bathing suit; i've been swimming about three times a week which has been so awesome
- citrus wonder from all my clementine peels
- ginger from the cookies my roommate baked - SO good

- another person awake in the very early morning (top picture)
- the sun shining through the pretty wine bottles left on my windowsill from a week ago (bottom picture)

-watching the light change from my big cozy bed.  those red flannel sheets are just too good.

late morning

09 December 2009

I am almost done!  I can see the end!  It's far, but at least it's in sight now. 
In the midst of all the research papers and exams, I've been repeating a Goethe quote like a mantra:
"Do not hurry.  Do not rest."

07 December 2009


The ice on the windows had been thawing in the afternoon sunlight the past couple weeks, but not today.

Today it stays frozen, as the temperatures peak at 5 degrees.  5!

I'm floundering in an abyss of end-of-the-semester work, such as research papers, last minute readings, making flashcards, that other research paper (oh crap) that I had forgotten about which is due in two days and I haven't even picked a topic yet.  Yeah.  That's how it's going.  So, it (has been and) will be quiet here for a couple days.
"If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you" - Nietzsche

02 December 2009

here to risk your heart

I'm working on a research paper about the presence of the four elements in Louise Erdrich's collection of short stories that I highly recommend - The Red Convertible.
I stumbled upon this quote while perusing through different interviews, and after recently dwelling on life as fleeting, it really resonated as a reason to surge onward.
Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that. And living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on Earth. You are here to risk your heart.
From an NPR interview on 10/2/05


Has anyone else been really into gold lately?  I feel like all of my recent purchases (SIGG water bottle from REI, locally made peace crane, fair trade earrings from Kenya, and fish necklace purchased from the local bead shop) have been gold.  Maybe it's because of all the gold hues found outside lately...

Click on this picture to see the little peeping tom that has been awfully curious outside my window lately.

01 December 2009

thoughts on a winter evening

Does the realization that everything is fleeting ever whack you over the head?

Perhaps it's the changing of the seasons - the slow and steady shift into a quiet, constant cold.

Perhaps it's the recent passing of a friend - one whose name meant Sun in Lithuanian, whose radiant smile was constant, and who memorized poems and prayers.

Perhaps it's the fact that I only have one more semester before graduating, and it seems like it was just a few years ago that the idea of even being in college was so grown up.

I think it has to be a combination of all these reasons, and others, but even though everything is indeed fleeting, it's okay, because isn't it all so beautiful?

my my, that moon

 I talked with my dear friend Jordan today.   While the sunlight was dwindling here, casting that golden glow on the mountains, it was dark on the east coast where she was, and she kept raving about the moon.  How curious, to hear how beautiful the moon will be before it's appeared.  And let me say, I was smitten as well.  Tomorrow is the full moon, and I'll be strolling up in the North Hills with Alex, letting the moonlight show the path.
I'm listening to NPR's live coverage of Obama's address on Afghanistan, partly because his voice is soothing to me (is that weird?), partly because I feel a responsibility to know what our country is doing, and partly because I know at work tomorrow, people will come in ranting or raving about it, and I don't want to just shrug.
I've had trouble sleeping lately, and it's really starting to bother me because it's affecting my days.  Last night my brain was buzzing at 2:30am, thinking about love, death, falling, traveling, writing, buzzzz!  And then I slept through my first, very important, class.  Ugh.
For now, I'm off to make myself huevos rancheros for dinner, which I make for myself very often, but when you have a whole bunch of ripening avocados, what choice do you have?  That's just an excuse - I'm simply addicted.
Oh, and happy December!

29 November 2009

easy like sunday morning

- This morning, I made these.  Yum, yum, yum!  I love home fries in restaurants, but before now had never been able to recreate that smoky, spicy, crunchy deliciousness.  With poached eggs on top?  Oh my.
- I know I already posted about this, but I'm still celebrating the completion of my novel!  Next November, don't be put off by the insanity, it is so worth it, and just... ah... I can't say enough about it.
- I enjoyed this secret this morning on PostSecret:

 Does anybody else check PostSecret first thing Sunday mornings?  It's such a bizarre feeling of connectedness that I feel while reading them, knowing many other strangers are doing the same thing.
- This NPR article made me laugh... there's even math behind it!  It's funny, I always cut mine into rectangles, even though I think diagonal looks better, but somehow I've always felt as if diagonals make sandwiches smaller. 
- I just ordered the book Truth and Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett after my mother called from Antarctica, raving about it.  I'll post my thoughts after I read it.

Have a lovely, relaxing Sunday...

hi, i'm a novelist.

And a day early, too!
50,120 words, 172 pages, in 29 days.
Amid research papers, midterms, readings, and a social life!
Okay, I'm done gloating now.
Well, almost.

Here's my finished chart.
Okay, done now.

28 November 2009

thanksgiving break

I hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving!  Mine was productive, at least.  My entire extended family got together in Charlotte, NC to celebrate, and ooh I was so jealous.  Big thanksgivings with the Graham family has always been one of my favorite things, but my mom, stepdad, brother, and I are all off doing our things right now, so not only could we not attend, but we weren't even together. Not one of us.  I went to my roommate's parents' house, which was lovely.  Her mother made some of the best vegetarian stuffing I have ever had.

The rest of my break from school has been really relaxing, except for those panicked moments where I remember that I only have two weeks left of classes and I have three research papers, response papers, and exams to complete in that time.  But forget about that!  I've been so grateful for these few days of calm, filled with good food, good friends, swimming, creative endeavors, and I even had time to do laundry... freshly clean sheets!

Last night I spent the night at my parents empty house in the Bitterroot.  I wrote 6,000 words in novel, completely catching up to where I was supposed to be.  I only have about 3,000 left to go!  AHH!  I also went for a walk with the dogs, and baked an apple galette.  Mmm, with tons of cinnamon.  Now I'm just procrastinating; I want to get my novel done tonight, a couple days early of the deadline so I can move on to the insanity of an ending semester without the insanity of the novel hovering over my head.

Aren't the colors of Autumn just the best?

25 November 2009


So, I know I've mentioned this already, but I've been taking part in an absolutely insane event all month.  National Novel Writing Month (writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days) is kicking my butt.  Hard.  And without any remorse. 

This is my daily stats chart... and as you can see, I've plateaued.   In a big way... how do those milky blue bars grow so fast?  I skipped three days in a row.  One night because I was finishing a research paper, the second night because... I forget.  And then last night, I went swimming, saw a movie, and then somehow ended up with a bottle of chardonnay.  Oops!  So, it's 5:45 now, and I'm going to try to catch up!  There are only five more days to write!  Ahh! 

red lips

I'm loving red lipstick this fall!  Usually I'm pretty put off by makeup, and my daily routine involves a tube of mascara... sometimes.  But there's something about bright red lips amid all the harvest colors that I can't get enough of.

24 November 2009

to see inside

There's something about strangers reaching out to one another that is so poetic, especially when captured by artist Sophie Blackall from Brooklyn.  Blackall describes her work on her blog:
"Messages in bottles, smoke signals, letters written in the sand; the modern equivalents are the funny, sad, beautiful, hopeful, hopeless, poetic posts on Missed Connections websites. Every day hundreds of strangers reach out to other strangers on the strength of a glance, a smile or a blue hat. Their messages have the lifespan of a butterfly. I'm trying to pin a few of them down."
So beautiful!  I love the one she posted today, about a man wishing he could have seen inside this woman's head after she smiled to herself.  Don't you wish you could do that sometimes?
Also, she has a shop!

the cat says moo

I grew up with three cats.  Each was, well, to put it kindly, quite eccentric.  But I absolutely adored them, and when I was little, even considered them my siblings.  The last one died a couple years ago, and since then there haven't been any kitties in my life, except for the ones along my walk to school, which I always stop to cuddle.

For now, I live vicariously through Katie Sokoler's relationship with her ridiculously adorable cat, Moo.  Her blog is one of my all time favorites, and her pictures are just so full of color and life.  She even did an entire post about 13 things she loves about Moo, which made me want a kitty 13 times more than I already did.

Until my travels stop and I settle somewhere (ha, in another lifetime?), I'll just keep loving Katie's pictures of Moo.

little birdies and their quirks

Okay, I'm just going to admit it, I have a lot of weaknesses.  But one particular weak spot is for adorable animal illustrations, especially when they are somehow personified.

Kate Wilson's prints are the type of thing that I just gnaw my fingers over.  Too cute... too, too cute.

She has a shop, and a blog too!

22 November 2009

Tiny Desk and Pretty Flowers

I have found a new favorite band.  And a new favorite thing to watch when I should be working on research papers.  NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts are adorable, especially when you're watching a ten person band all clustered together, making cheerful music.  Watch the video

 Also, I really, really want these.  They're little hair pins from the Etsy seller Heartoflight.  So, so cute.

Just a couple happy things to share today.  I'm going to start updating more often.  Back to research paper land.

18 November 2009

swirling about in a broth of wind

This seems to be the season for still, quiet moments.  I just read a poem by Wayne Miller called Nocturne: "Tonight the leaves are paper spoons / in a broth of wind."  It seems that exact type of wind has been swirling around my mind these days.  All I want to do is sit at my desk, gaze at my beautiful eggplant hued statice, meander through heaps of crunchy brown leaves, write poems, or sleep.  Can't I just do these things and be left alone? Alas, hark - the research papers call, the neglected friends call, the dishes craving sudsy water call.

For right now, though, I'll just stare at the statice.

03 November 2009

dia de los muertos

 Yesterday, the full moon rose over Mount Jumbo,

 And I went and saw the Day of the Dead Parade

My favorite part was the fire dancers.

NaNoWriMo kicked off on Sunday and I am doing pretty well considering the level of busyness that my past few days have had.  I think I chose a good plot because there is no way I can get stuck with no way out on a roadtrip.  The possibilities are infinite!

01 November 2009

blog wagon

Alex and I painted last Wednesday.  It was nice because I had been really busy and hadn't found time for any sort of creativity.  While Alex painted a portrait of a woman, I painted...

A nude back with a very flat butt,

An avocado,

And a ten minute portrait of Frida.

It was really nice to make time for painting again, I'm going to try to make it a weekly habit.  Which might be hard, because I started NaNoWriMo today.  It might be absolutely insane of me, but I'm going to try.  It's an intensive writing contest where you attempt to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days.  Which wouldn't be too hard if you weren't a senior in college, juggling research papers, midterms, and a work study job.

I bought new boots.  Which I love.

Anyways, I am back on the blogging wagon.  I'm going to the Day of the Dead Festival tomorrow, so I'll post pictures from that and Halloween. 

31 October 2009


I fell behind.
On a lot of things.
I'm falling behind as I type, as you read, and now again as we both sit still, moving forward.
Sometimes not having enough time makes it hard for me to breathe.

10 October 2009

green tomatoes

Here's a close up of my green tomatoes painting I did last night.  Alex and I were cold and tired, so we decided to wrap up in sweaters and blankets, and paint.  It did wonders for my soul.
A few things:
- Tomorrow night is supposed to have record low temperatures.  Ahem.
- I'm making these tomorrow.
- I don't fail very often when it comes to baking, but this was epic.  I got distracted (dancing to Etta James) while measuring the flour, and added a whole extra cup.  Which resulted in dough, not cake batter.  Which resulted in dense apple bread, not fluffy apple cake.  So sad.
- I want these.
- I can't foresee myself ever getting sick of Fleet Foxes first album and I can't wait for what's next.  So, finding this was very exciting... it's Robin Pecknold's site for experiments.

Good night.

07 October 2009

"Blood" The Middle East

'Blood' The Middle East

Oh my goodness this has been my favorite song for a while, and I just found the video... so beautiful!

04 October 2009

yo soy como el chile verde, picante pero sabroso


After biking to Michael's and acquiring some fake red flowers, I just had to do a little dress rehearsal of my Halloween costume.  Clothing is still under construction, but hair and unibrow?  I've got those down.  Me encanta Frida Kahlo. Alex and I are going to have a Day of the Dead themed Halloween party... viva la mexico!

03 October 2009


Went to the Missoula Art Museum this weekend with Carrie and Emily and saw this great exhibit by Scott Fife called Big Trouble - The Idaho Project.  Giant heads are made out of archival cardboard and fastened with sheet rock screws.  They are so incredible and depict the trial of "Big Bill" Haywood for the assassination of Governor Steunenberg in 1905.  I want to go back and look closer.

I love Emily's style, so I took a portrait of her in front of her favorite painting - it was her color.
I love Butterfly Herbs; it has some of the coolest things ever, like this little grasshopper pin.  It's about the length of a thimble.
This weather is getting to me.  I'd been hoping for and anticipating the crisp chilly air, but it transitioned to cold very quickly.  Despite constant wearing of wool and copious cups of tea, my bones are shivering.  Right now I'm sitting at my desk, watching the severe weather warning wind gusts ravage the big tree outside my window, wrapped in a fleece blanket, wearing a big cozy wool sweater that my Gramma knit, smartwool socks, wool clogs, under armor pants, a skirt, and a funny knit hat with earflaps from Buffalo Exchange.  And I'm cradling my huge mug of herbal earl grey in my hands to keep them warm.  Complain, complain.
This is from a couple of years ago, but oh my it never gets old:

What I would give to be able to play the trash can drums.  Or the accordion.  Or anything, really.

30 September 2009

Farewell September

So here's our second painting experiment of that night.  We decided to do a joint painting of sunflowers.  By that point I was tired so I did mine very quickly.

It's not done yet, but this is where it's at now.  It's pretty happy, but I much preferred the process of painting separately without being able to see the other.  We are different enough that we didn't really play off of one another, but rather just compared as we went, which wasn't as comfortable.  But still a very fascinating experience... an "art night" turned into many psychological discussions... fun!

I pressed a bunch of leaves while they're still green, and hung them in my room.  They're lovely; they twirl in the breeze, and I think they will make me smile when it starts to snow.

Two days ago it was in the 80s and had been sunny for a good three weeks or more.  Suddenly today, on the last day of September, the high is 46 and it's overcast.  But, that's the perfect sort of day for catching up on homework in bed, and making cookies.

The scene of the cookie making [peekaboo]

 As I started to slip into sleep while reading, my chances at a nap were suddenly jarred when the sounds of heavy machinery began outside my window.  At first I thought they were trimming branches, but after a couple hours, this was the result.  And it was such a big beautiful tree...

Goodbye, September, you were nice, but October is lookin' good.