Thursday, October 29, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
-Louise Imogen Guiney
I am full of thoughts on hospitality today. I was raised in a generous and hospitable family, and am now married to a generous and hospitable man. I am looking back now on the times when I have been a guest -those times when I was most comfortable as a guest, as opposed to those times when I've been least comfortable. The visits I've enjoyed most of all are the one where I am welcomed joyfully and allowed to fully enter into the life of my hosts.
As a hostess myself I love to provide an abundance of good food, good music, and good conversation for my guests, as well as good books and time alone to explore. I especially appreciate the Russian concept of having a zakuska - a table that is a permanent fixture, constantly replenished, always avaliable. I try to keep this custom in my own small way. Currently our table offers garlic bread with dipping oil, Russian teacakes, and small slices of banana-nut bread, as well as tea and coffee. Our little zakuska makes me happy. I know that any guest, no matter how unexpected, will at least be able to nibble away at his appetite while I make a true meal. I also enjoy the constant table - it gives me an opportunity to display food, reminds us to break for tea, and gives the whole house an atmosphere of hospitality.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I could not ask for more,
then to turn and find you walking
through the kitchen door."
I'm listening to the album Gold in California, sipping green tea, and thinking about friendship. Last night over tea and chocolate at a friends we started discussing the nature of friendship, and particularly, whether or not a person can truly be friends with his parents. What is a friend, and is friendship so distinct from filial love that the latter supersedes it? Friendship is such a misunderstood form of love - real friendships are rare and hard to come by, but our culture has replaced it with social obligations, acquaintances, filial love, and affection.
Think about it a bit. What is friendship? Who can you enter into a friendship with? What is required?
"Friends should be only like dance and music. One should never come to them deliberately, but always out of some spontaneous need. Friends should be outcomes; on the way they are hindrances." - Rainer Maria Rilke
"Friends do not ward off our loneliness, they only set bounds to our solitude." - Rainer Maria Rilke
"if it weren't for kitchen songs and mornings spent with friends
we all might lose the things we love the best." - Kate Wolf
I love to think over all my good friends, scattered now across the country living their different lives. So many of these friendship grew up around steaming mugs or cold beers, at kitchen tables heavy with conversation. It is always easiest to discuss over coffee or tea - the strongest disagreements are soothed by the steam, and each sips warms and calms us.
"Somehow in that warm room with coffee on the stove
our hearts were really most at home." - Kate Wolf
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
We must rise and follow her;
When from every hill of flame,
She calls and calls each vagabond by name."
William Bliss Carman
Today is grey and wet and dark. I'm watching the rain drip steadily outside my window and I am inspired. Only a few hours into the day I feel as though this day is destined for good. I am throwing many little things: bud vases, ornaments, dipping bowls, espresso mugs, and ashtrays to sell and it is so pleasant to see them lined up on the shelves, their wet, earthy sides glistening - looking so touchably soft, like the mud piles of childhood.
Beside me I have my tea, to keep away the chill in the air; there is pumpkin soup on the stove for lunch, and very likely for tea as well. My indoor herbs are thriving, Chopin is playing on the radio. There is beauty all around. I danced through my cleaning up this morning all across the cool honey wood of the floor. My eyes are dark, with soft greens and browns like the leaves outside that are turning, but not yet turned.
I'm longing to take the beauty of my home with me on a trip down the road, wandering with my opulent little life on my back and the loveliness of the world all around me. These photos I've found only encourage me.
here, of course is my ideal home, cozy, lovely, excessive.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
This weekend has been entirely restful - up to today. Friday night I made battered fish with roasted vegetables, served them with bread and white wine, and ate in the incensey front room while the rain dripped against the windows. The rain started in the afternoon and kept us company throughout the night. It put me into planning mode - I want to have a good stock of pots for the winter, in the hopes that I'll sell quite a few Christmas presents.
Saturday was bright, windy, and cool. We picked apples and wandered through tall grass while the wind blew my little braids all around. Inside again, I worked on a yellow skirt, layered and beaded and made from the lovely silk my father brought back from India for me. I've had it for years and never cut it out of fear I would ruin its perfection. I've had the fabric draped on tables and hung against walls, but now it's cut and partially sewn, I think I'll like the final product.
I'm putting together a little book of clothing ideas, cut from catalogs and sketched from online, to give direction to my style choices. Some clothes are saved for the fabric, others for the style, others for a vague sense I get of the attitude behind the style, which appeals to me. Here is one photo from a site I discovered online called "Gypsy Moon". The clothes themselves are way beyond my price range, but the styles are lovely and they are what encouraged me to pull out my scissors and begin.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The clouds are all over today, in grey clumps with bursts of sun between them. Right now, the sky outside my window is dark. I'm in green and brown, which feels autumny because I can see outside green bits of grass growing up through the fallen leaves, green mint still growing in the cold air, and brown, brown earth below it all. I've realized that I love making-up my eyes again - like an artist - with colors and with black kohl. Today I made my eyes and my home a new work of art. My eyes are black-lined, with soft grey and white and earthy greens; my house is all adjusted for the colder months when we live in the warm front rooms. I've changed it all around so that the table is in the yellow room and the couch in the blue, plants are at the windows and our desk is as well. We are very cozy now.
I recently bought filo dough again and tonight I've used it. We're having spanikopita for dinner, with filo-chicken pie, fresh bread, and brie wrapped in filo with a layer of jam inside. I hope the chicken-pie comes out well, I made up the recipe because I couldn't find what I wanted. For dessert, muhallabia massawa - a cardamom pudding - rich, decadent, and ideal with coffee. We're having friends over for dinner, and I'm excited to show off my new arrangement.