Saturday, February 6, 2016


after work, 2014

I am held up by my female friends in little and big ways, but the support is so interwoven into the structure of things that it can easily be taken for granted. Some of the best practical advice I've gotten in my adult life has come from a pool of shared knowledge among women.  There's a real loneliness in needing answers and feeling ashamed of the questions. I feel very lucky, very changed, by having come up through my twenties among women who don't blink an eye.


Today I borrowed a swimsuit from my friend who, in the past, has also lent me a beautiful dress for a wedding, shown me how to cut my own hair, coached me through drinking glasses of baking soda water while I was waitressing with a UTI, talked with me about beautiful and infuriating things at 7:00 am while we set up a cafe.

I received a package from a friend far away containing pajamas I'd lent her, homemade dried Moon Tea (!!!) and a dream pillow filled with herbs.

I walked to Fort Greene with my pal who knows all of my secrets and is still my friend, who sat with me in a cafe that smelled like bacon even though she is a vegetarian, who somehow knows all of my ugliness and my brightness, when I am sludge on the floor and a balloon in the sky, who lends me books and gives immediately applicable advice. I showed her the poison oak on my leg while we were standing on a street corner.

And anyway, that was just today. I know so many women who lead by example, who give the gifts they can give. Plants, time, acceptance. Who write long letters and figure it out and share what they've found. My whole life is filled with the echo of this influence.

Bless you all women, who will talk about hemorrhoids, who will tell you when you have spinach in your teeth, who will help decode the fine print, who will make the space they can make.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

someone else's steps


what it looks like when things are drying

what it looks like when things are getting cut out


door waves 

third floor backyard

Mary Oliver's book of poems A Thousand Mornings is helping me to appreciate this marshy fall. The leaves on the trees outside of our window are bright, bright gold. I'm not sure what it is about this year, but the seasons feel so pronounced. What can we learn from our preoccupations? Or, what am I talking about when I talk about trees? The book is full of beauty and insight. I dog-eared this one:

            Poem of One World

            This morning
            the beautiful white heron
            was floating along above the water

            and then into the sky of this
            the one world
            we all belong to

            where everything
            sooner or later
            is a part of everything else

            which thought made me feel
            for a little while
            quite beautiful myself.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

raining, pouring // how to make cranberry orange scones



how to get rid of your stuff and hang onto your money
how to adopt a dog and not regret it
how to turn your ability to spot the same strangers around the city over the span of several months into a lucrative career
how to go on 100 walks by yourself
how to fulfill your maximum potential
how to install a ceiling fan
how to bake cranberry orange scones*

how to bake cranberry orange scones

makes 8-10 scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup dried cranberries  (or any dried fruit!)
2 tbs sugar
5 tbs cold butter, cubed
2 eggs
5 tbs heavy cream
zest of one orange
few drops of vanilla

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar. Mix in the cranberries, then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Once everything is combined, the consistency should be similar to cornmeal.  
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, orange zest and vanilla. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ones. They'll combine quickly to form a rough dough.  
Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it several times, until it comes together, then shape it into a circle about 3/4 of an inch thick. Brush it with the remnants of the egg/cream mixture, and sprinkle lightly with sugar. 
 Cut the circle into 8 wedges, and place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

catch a feeling put it in a jar

here this is for lunch, I pulled it from the ground

light up the evening with little fires and plants in jars and pies on cracked plates, show me your badminton victory dance, show me your full moon square dance, show me your four-beer july dance.

what a lot of light to bake drippy fruit-filled things only, to set a table, read a different book, look at it all from above. in every person, in babies in strollers on the subway and aunts in the backyard swatting bugs, do you see it? like a firefly glowing then going out, glowing than going out, making the ground look a lot like a big, holy sky.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

on getting inspired

here are some basics, for a day when you feel like human sludge:

1. have a soft belly. breathe deeply. sit for a little while. grow your spine. open your eyes. (literally, open your eyes.)

2.  leave your house. this is key on the really sludgy days. keep eyes open. taking public transportation will seem unappealing, but it might help. music might be nice, or maybe you'll want to eavesdrop? grow your spine.

3.  respond to things. hold a door open, say hello. if someone complains to you about how long the train is taking, you don't have to really talk to them, but you should at least smile. be with the people you're with. open yourself up*.

4.  put your hand on the trunk of a tree.  do it for longer than feels normal. try to figure out what kind of tree it is. it's okay to use your phone for this. in fact, it's okay to use your phone. it's okay to instagram a picture of yourself, or tweet a thing about yourself. the internet is not going away. but after doing that, quickly get back to the business of existing quietly. (imagine that it is 100 years ago, imagine that it is 1,000 years ago.) if a person interrupts this, that's totally fine. be present with them. maybe even tell them what you learned about the tree.

5. get a library card and actually use it. you can just walk into a library and get one! it's crazy! reading will heal you up and crack your thoughts open. if reading isn't your thing, listen to one of the million podcasts that will teach you something that you didn't know. they're free. visit the inside of another person's brain. for FREE!

6. at this point, or at whatever point, at some point: take stock of your creative impulses, then follow your favorite one. this could mean you make something that not even your MOM would think was good. a clay pot, a big drawing, a pile of sticks. or conduct an interview. or write a weird song. write anything about anything that you just saw. call someone and ask them something you've always meant to ask.

VERY IMPORTANT: You don't have to be "good" at something for it to be worth doing.

You don't have to be "good" at something for it to be worth doing.

You don't have to be "good at something for it to be worth doing.

take stock. be gentle. be intentional. look at your project and be kind. display it proudly or put it in the back of a closet. take stock. be gentle. be intentional. you don't have to be good at something for it to be worth doing.


*closing yourself off can be a vital skill. feel free to close off when necessary. just don't forget to open back up.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

check in

drinking lots of water: does this help 
y or n

taking flowers off of the plants on your fire escape and putting them in your hair when you are alone in your apartment: does this help 
y or n

baking a pie for yourself. is this activity
a) meditative
b) a waste of unsalted butter

if someone asks you if you have 'goals,' do you tell them that sometimes in Ireland people spell jail 'gaol?'

when you walk down the street do you have an inner monologue that you deem 
a) publishable
b) noteworthy
c) important
d) all of the above

is this
a) vain
b) human
c) something worth mining in therapy
d) all of the above

when you do things are you
a) constantly comparing yourself to others
b) never comparing yourself to others 
c) aware of the possibility for comparison, but able to avoid it simply by creating a secret list of people who will never be invited over to your apartment

are you
a) afraid of losing it
b) afraid of never having it
c) afraid of wasting it
d) unafraid

Friday, May 15, 2015

plant diary #1

we're gardeners! (sort of! sort of.) 


basil, sage, rosemary, mint, parsley, rosemary, lavender, tomatoes, nasturtiums, begonias, and escarole now live on our fire escape, on our front steps, on the windowsills.

I water them every morning. I make coffee for myself, open the window, touch the dirt, feel new astonishment that these everyday processes can take place, even on a fire escape, even in new york. purple flowers and lemon verbena reaching for light, soil smells like soil even when it's on newspaper in my living room.

there are still so many opportunities for introduction. here we are, getting acquainted with a root system. Squeeze the plastic container gently, hold the plant by the stem, settle it into a new pot, fill the pot with dirt. You are still a child, holding a little thing that will delight you with its perfect complexity.

the dirt dries out quickly, especially for those brave ones on our front steps. those are the tomatoes, nasturtiums, begonias. the tomato plants have doubled in size in two weeks, the nasturtiums are this astonishing explosion of orange blossoms. they inspire wild thoughts, like "I will make a gigantic salad covered in orange flowers, I will host a dinner at a long table, I will share everything I have with everyone I know!"