Wednesday, September 14, 2011

I Wrote Down a Dream I Had Pt I

I had a dream we visited a gift-shop. The store had an "N" out front – for what, I don't know, but it pleased me to think it was the same letter as the name I had before we were married. At first we thought it odd to meander the isles and see framed prom pictures displayed for sale. They looked like they were supposed be generic filler photos, like in the rows of identical frames at Aaron Brothers, only the dresses were several years out of fashion and the faces had the familiar poise we all held at my own prom. Even though we were not at The Grand Canyon a barrel full of the memorabilia that might have dangled on our first keychains stood next to another barrel of "class of 2004" trinkets. We pushed through buckets of wind-up toys and the trading cards I remember stuffing in the pockets of my first backpack in third grade.

I ran into someone I knew from college. Someone who'd been my friend for a very brief, but very lively semester. We were looking at a box of custom, brightly colored aluminum darts that had a fancy "N" for the shop's insignia inscribed on each one; it was the kind of thing an 8-year-old me I would have spent all my prize tickets from the arcade on: commemorative of the visit and slightly hazardous. He didn't seem to recognize its function and I giggled, tossing it at a stack of dart-boards hanging nearby. We laughed together and made a few more attempts before I noticed where my husband spoke to a girl our age at a similar box of trinkets. She aimed a tiny plastic phaser-gun from the box at him – the kind of toy I would proudly carry on my car keys now – and made the sound effects of shooting. He laughed and took it from her, pulling the trigger to show her its automated ability to produce laser-shooting sounds. I was displeased and jealous, but I ignored the moment having just had one of my own.

Others wandered into the shop. I knew some of them vaguely and I could see they knew me, but we were embarrassed at not being able to place each other and avoided one another. The growing popularity pushed us, the original passerbys, further to the back and we passed the shelves of prom pictures, the boxes of knickknacks, and found ourselves among the delicate porcelain and glass arrangements from Grandma's china cabinet. Looking around, my own friend reached high up on a top shelf and pulled down a coveted, vintage polaroid camera, "I wonder if it still works!" He aimed it at the other two and then pulled a stiff lever which gave abruptly – causing him to hit me in the face – and flashed. I remembered why I stopped being his friend.

The flash, interrupting their conversation, prompting them join our conversation. We introduced one another to each other and relayed the stories of how we met. More joined us, inspired by the exchange, to reveal who they were and make an effort to guess at the common events that might have connected us all. As the crowd moved in, the woman clung to my husband as if he were an anchor in a sea of people she wished not to have contact with - I could have been looking in a mirror, but my jealousy was becoming unmanageable and began to pull away. My former friend compared his Polaroid with someone else's found Brownie pin-hole and an even older twin-lensed Rollie-Flex. The exchange over cameras, photography being my own interest, and my place outside the conversation compounded my resentfulness and I elbowed my way completely out of the store, half-hoping to be noticed, half-hoping not to be stopped before I could disappear outside completely.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pie of the Week: Grampy's Strawberry and Danica's Banana Pie

My grandparents love me. But perhaps not more than a fresh strawberry pie since that's what they hung up the phone on me for. ;)

It seemed appropriate to stammer loudly into the receiver before *click* "You better send me that recipe!"

And they did! My grandparents love me.

I wasn't sure what to expect for the contents of a strawberry pie. I sort of imagined how gross cherries for cherry pie can look when cooked (despite the wonderful taste) and was already dreading seeing a pound of lovely strawberries under the duress of heat. But as it turned out, you used fresh strawberries and they STAY fresh! Now, in my version of the pie, there are bananas... this is because I accidentally bought the wrong jello mix. In a fit of anger and swearing as I realized my mistake over the boiling pot of sugar and jello power, my brilliant husband simply said, "why not just add bananas?" So I did!

This pie is a lovely "ice box" pie that is served after chilled and from the fridge – best for hot summer nights after a trip to the farmer's market.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Pie of the Week: My Favorite Color Pie

I hesitate to tell you the ingredients in this pie.... only because of they walk the "vegetable" line and that might turn some people off. At the same time, I think I'm pretty brilliant for coming up with what to do with my same-colored farmer's market leftovers!

Can you guess what my favorite color is?

Honestly – it's green... but orange is a very close second!

Despite the pound of carrots in this pie, it doesn't exactly reminisce of carrot cake. And while it may resemble a pumpkin pie in color and even construction, the sweetness is more subtle than your typical squash dessert. Overall, when served chilled or at room temperature, it's very refreshing!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I cooked Pistachio Cardamom Sea Salt Brownies.

Last year, when Matt, Malachi, Keiko and I made a trip to Portland for Stumptown, I was 7 months pregnant and in need ofsomething with protein, something with chocolate, and something that would be commemorative of that particular need in that particular place on the particular trip.

And that is how I managed to sniff out some arbitrary (however highly pretentious and forgettable) coffee shop that sold the illustrious pistachio cardamom sea salt brownies.
It seems only right that on the anniversary of this discovery last year, I endeavor to recreate the awesomeness that is the pistachio cardamom sea salt brownie.

Now, having made and enjoyed the entirety of a single batch in one night, I do have some added notes:

1) I'd cut the salt in half or at most 3/4 of what is called for IF you intend to sprinkle salt on top.
2) Sprinkle SOME pistachios on top before baking and some AFTER if you want the pretty green color in your final product

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My favorite place in the world: The Huntington Library's Succulent Gardens.

The summer of 2009 (the roughest summer of my existence), Matt & I serendipitously stumbled upon the Huntington Library on Free Day while job hunting around town. Even though we had an entire day of desperate employment hunting planned, we seized the moment and took advantage of the free entry to the gardens. We spent the entire afternoon on the grounds and barely made it through the incredible cactus garden before closing.

A year later, my parents visited (to see their pregnant daughter up close) and I returned to the Huntington with them to show them the birthplace of my found-love for these plants. They encouraged me to get a membership and patronize such a beautiful and important nonprofit, as well as engage in the important, regular ingenuity provided by the timeless grounds and changing exhibits.

Now, 2 years and a kid after that first visit, it's time to renew our membership and reflect on the inspiration that first came from losing ourselves in succulent maze.

(best pregnancy picture ever)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I cooked rainbow pancakes!

This morning I somehow awoke 30 minutes before Petra. Since I've been playing on Pinterest with much of my free time, I decided to put my new found inspiration to work over breakfast! I wanted to make a rainbow cake, but rainbows seems more like a breakfast treat!

'Twas a pretty simply concept to execute, all I did was added food coloring (about four drops) to 3/4 cups of pancake batter and víola! Instant breakfast party!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I learned that it's record cold in Michigan this winter! And that means there are icebergs on Lake Michigan...

My parents recently moved to Michigan after finishing seminary in MIssouri and Kansas. Both of them are California, born and raised, as are their daughters. Their adventure to the midwest has been a family-wide experience and even their brothers and sisters, intrepid as they are, cannot admit to ever having visited (or even wanted to ever visit) any part of the country beyond the Sierras! But thanks to my pioneering parents, we've all fallen in love with middle America (St.Louis is one of my absolute favorite cities!)

Michigan, however.... might just be a whole other animal. I have some friends from Michigan and they have shared some breathtaking images of weather like I've never experienced and palettes that I'm more akin to seeing in Los Angeles' contemporary art galleries than across trees and foliage. The same goes for incredible crystal expanses left behind by blizzards and ice storms - or, in the case of the photos below, by the frozen ebb of Lake Michigan's towering waters after a record cold. Apparently, it was so cold, the waves would freeze upon contact with the air!

This is video of a lighthouse on Lake Eerie. I couldn't find the lighthouse my dad saw on Lake Michigan, but this still gives you an idea of how cold it was this last winter:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I found out Adam Wallacavage has a show at the Corey Helford Gallery in Culver City!

My heart is pounding and I can barely type...

I love Adam Wallacavage's cooky, turn-of-the-century-turned-tentacle chandeliers (I had another post on his earlier work and, myself am working on some sculpture) and I am enraptured and flabbergasted that his newest works are down the freeway from me in Culver City's Corey Helford Gallery!

His latest is truly breathtaking. I cannot appreciate enough how elegantly Wallacavage traverses the line between macabre and quirky. There is nothing cute about his work, so I don't mean to make light of the otherworldliness of his cephalopodian sconces and lamps - they are impressive, ostentatious, and striking. Subtle in their absurdity.

Since my last encounter with his pieces, it much has changed - the composition of the chandeliers seems to take precedence over his previously trademarked gaudy embellishments. The design is much more three-dimensional, as well, with multiple angles and breadth in mind whereas previous works featured specific intersections. Even his colors are handled differently (and wonderfully); he hasn't relinquished tawdry contrasts and saturated tones, but he's given more attention to the transitions between his generally two-toned palettes. The shades move over the pieces in a more organic form, giving fleshy depth to the skin of his meandering tentacles despite the outlandish hues.

The fact alson that I get to use this dusty vocabulary excites me! When I look at these pieces, it seems almost that some words were created for aesthetic encounters such as this:

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