“Belated Valentine: A Work in Progress” — a poem by Steve Marsh

The past several weeks have been the longest I’ve gone without blogging since the birth of this site. Now, the month of it’s third Birthday, I find myself in a new home with a new four-legged family member.

(When we first viewed this place, I found myself thinking, “I can write here.” A few weeks later we’re all moved in and I can’t seem to find enough notebooks and pens. Our environments can affect our creativity so deeply, yes?)

The moving process always feels so vulnerable. Your hands touch every. single. thing. you own, and that moment determining it’s value can feel equally oppressive and insignificant.

The best parts have been purging so much to make room for only what I really love and what supports my ideas of beauty and inspiration (I can’t even remember what I’ve gotten rid of), the paint samples and furniture arranging and lazy nights giddy to just stare at the walls and all the other joys of nesting, and uncovering so many beautiful things I forgot meant something to me once.

belated valentine by steve marsh

I can’t remember where I first found this poem, but I’m so happy I scribbled it down years ago, and happier to have found it just in time to share with you today. It’s a long one, but worth the read for those lines that punch you in the gut with their beauty. Happy Valentine’s Day. xo

Belated Valentine: A Work in Progress by Steve Marsh

I woke this morning with that shadow feeling I’d
been dreaming
significant dreams
strong and powerful,
richly full of meaning.
But I was unable to recall them no matter how
hard I tried.
Chasing them only makes it worse,
like groping for the other tennis shoe
lost under the bed
just beyond reach
closing my hand on something
to discover it is only
so much dust and dog hair.
.
I closed my eyes,
breathed deeply,
and reached for that familiar place.
.
But the Universe asked me a question:
Why do I continue to love you?
.
And I began to answer immediately because
confidence is the feeling we have before we
understand the situation.
.
Why in the face of all we have seen
and failed to see in each other
do we persevere?
.
I begin to understand it is a matter of pride
and pride is, after all, what we have.
Vanity is what others have.
.
So, in pride or vanity I offer:
I love you because I have
always loved you.
.
And the Universe knows this is not the whole truth.
It knows it like it knows we can’t pray a lie.
.
I try again.
I love you because of all we have been through together.
And the Universe does not like this cliche any better.
It asks, with all the Aristotelian logic it can muster:
Do you not manifest “all that you have been through together”?
The Universe knows and will not let me get away with half a truth.
We have been through “all that”
because we have put each other through “all that”.
.
It asks another question:
How can you assert love after all you have seen?
.
The helplessness after surgeries;
The weakness in the face of adversity;
The cowardice in the face of confrontation;
weight gain,
hair loss,
reduced libido,
nakedness at forty,
nakedness at fifty?
The knowledge that the final solution does not involve Bean-o.
.
And I begin, in answer, to list the qualities I admire in you:
Tolerance,
Patience,
Trust,
Faithfulness,
Forgiveness.
But the Universe will not allow this equivocation either.
And because the Universe is a big believer in the Socratic Method,
it asks,
Why do I love my dog?
.
I confess to perceiving a similar list.
.
The Universe sends me the Spring songbirds
early
who sing, and feed,
who show me community in bright red colors
and high energy.
The birds know nothing of our sorrow.
.
And the Universe asks again:
In the face of this sorrow, why do I continue to love you?
.
It is not because Mothers are better than Fathers.
It is not because women are better than men.
It is not because teaching is better than poetry.
It is not because daughters are better than husbands.
.
And slowly, the answer,
or rather the understanding that there is no
answer,
begins to reveal itself to me.
.
There is no aetiology for love.
.
I do not love you because
I do not love you in spite of
I do not love you since
I do not love you in so much as
I do not love you for the reason that
.
There is no reason.
No logic,
no syllogistic proof.
It simply is.
I love you.
It comes about without cause.
And with luck it is returned
without cause.
.
That is why love fits more aptly into poetry than paint.
It is not revealed to the mind through the eye.
It comes to the heart, through the nose and the fingertips.
.
The old poet had it right.
“Do not go gentle…”
Even here in this moment of doubt
I do not give up,
I do not go gentle,
Down by two in the bottom of the ninth,
two out,
two on,
two strikes.
I will take one more goddamned pitch!
And even if I fail
we will play again tomorrow.
.
The story of my life is told between parenthesis
which you open and you close.
And inside those parenthesis is one word.
It is (Hope).
.
vday1
vday2
.
… Whether you’re in romantic love or in love with life or in love with your own heart, recognize how very special that is. Love is hard work (worth it). It’s there every moment, a small vibrational hum, the ambient sound of day-to-day life: we notice it when it’s gone. Don’t take it for granted.
With Love, on Valentine’s Day,
 Jaime K

“Make Every American Home the Place of Plenty and Rejoicing” – Sarah Josepha Hale and Thanksgiving

This is a one-minute clip of some video I took of my hero Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in her class on holiday traditions, specifically the “eat Turkey on Thanksgiving” tradition.  She shares insight on the intent of the day, meant for gratitude and togetherness.

In this clip, she quotes Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879) who wrote:

“Let us consecrate the day to benevolence of action, by sending good gifts to the poor, and doing those deeds of charity that will, for one day, make every American home the place of plenty and of rejoicing.”

There are are several more short clips from this talk, which you can find on My Youtube Channel. 

(Excuse the shaky, awkward camera, I was trying not to be obnoxious as I was right up front.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

.

Thankful Thursday: 7 September 2012

Today’s Thankful Thursday (on, ahem, Friday) comes from a need to slooowwww down. Times like these call for a good trip to the library, where think I got the best seat in the house! That’s a start. Today I’m remembering the best parts of the last few weeks, beginning with something beautiful I found a few moments ago.

“There are two ways to spread happiness. Either be the light who shines or the mirror who reflects it” – Edith Wharton

.     .     .     .     .

LoveList: September 07, 2012.

{This rainbow of lines drawn in pen inside a 1962 copy of “Something Wicked This Way Comes” from the library.}

{Last week I went to write at an outdoor mall and sopping wet children fresh from the fountain came up to tap on my keyboard and make jumbles of letters. Water dripped from their chins when they smiled.}

{Picked up this soda, first for it’s package design, second for it’s color and third for it’s delightful flavor combination: grapefruit + chamomile + cardamom. The others are equally lovely.}

{While taping for STK! Episode 5 (it airs this Sunday!), chef Wendy brought her Vitamix into the garden to make some food. She was walking through the veggies with that huge knife, hacking tomatoes from their vines in a strange vegan, local, organic, DIY, insert-other-word-here Children of the Corn-esque scene.}

{We had a steering committee meeting for the Bethlehem Food Co-op at Robin’s house, which is one of the most gorgeous, covetable homes in the entire Valley. There is strange and lovely art everywhere and it’s full of love from a family that is, no surprise, also full of love and creativity. Plus, she made vegan carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Everyone had seconds.}

{I went with Christian to be photographed for the cover the The Mix weekly paper, and for a few hours we made faces and smirked at cameras. It was such fun to be in a room with friends, reaching for imaginary apple trees and trying not to laugh. Behind-the-scenes photos are HERE.}

{… and somehow, Fall happened.}

Thankful Thursday (On Monday): 20 August 2012

Last week’s “Thankful Thursday” was postponed because we were shooting Episode 5 all day, then I got home and (accidentally) passed out on the couch. Woopsies. Better late than never! 

“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” – Buddha

.     .     .     .     .

LoveList August 20, 2012.

{The film Ruby Sparks. Where do I begin? It follows a young author (dressed in cardigans and glasses, as Ryan dubbed it “nerd girl porn”) who writes about his ideal girlfriend, manifesting her into real life. She is equally adorable, sings while she cooks, wears the best outfits, etc… Imagine a low-budget 500 Days of Summer meets Eternal Sunshine and you get the idea. Below the surface, it explores the idea of what makes an ideal partner in a relationship — and how it can be unrealistic and unhealthy. It also explores the Zooey Deschanel-archetype that so many love to hate. One of my favorites of 2012. Go see it.

Oh, and this quote from the film: “Quirky, messy women whose problems only make them endearing are not real”, which made my boyfriend laugh good and hard.}

{There is a teenager-sized kitten on the STK! set. What is it about the heads of tiny creatures that make you compelled to kiss and kiss them? It’s like a lips-to-head magnetization occurs, and it’s irresistable.}

and, this direct quote that a woman said about the shirt I’m wearing in the above photo (literally so wonderful and weird that I wrote it down immediately):

“That shirt looks like a psychedelic spider let loose all over it.”

{Once a year, Bethlehem puts on the largest free music festival in the country, and for 10 days you can drink wine in the streets and see hundreds of free concerts. This was March Fourth Marching Band, a group from Portland, OR that put on one of the best live shows I’ve ever had the pleasure to see. Stilt dancers, spandex costumes, burlesque, fire hooping, hand-claps… it was amazing to turn around and see thousands of people in the audience smiling and sharing the whole experience.}

also

{pumpkin drinks / fire pits with friends until it’s nearly light outside / pulling out your supply of tights for the cooler weather / nutritional yeast on everything / long neighborhood walks / the magic of Skype / the library having the John Adams HBO mini-series in stock — I’ve been trying for weeks! / planning an October weekend getaway / Sunday Mornings, always + forever}

Thankful Thursday: 09 August 2012

I’ve had some experiences in the last week that I am beyond grateful for, which warrant their own posts and attention, which I believe may be one of the best “problems” to have when writing a gratitude list. Those are on the way…

“Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want” – Jim Rohn

.     .     .     .     .

LoveList: August 09, 2012.

Colorful sky bubbles

{This ceiling full of paper lanterns on my trip to Montclair, NJ. We passed through a commercial commons building while walking around and this was a pleasant and colorful surprise. What a great reminder to stop and look around a little. Tunnel vision is boring.}

“Reads like Henry James on speed.”

{This description of a David Foster Wallace book by an employee at Watchung Booksellers.}

{THIS VIDEO/PROJECT. How fitting that I’m putting it on a gratitude list. Give yourself the four minutes of time to watch the video – get some tissues when she shares that story about her husband – and then eagerly anticipate this as it continues to grow. Heck, get involved right now.}

Gala Darling + pup

{Gala Darling is having a HALF OFF sale on her ‘Love and Sequins  Radical Self Love e-book/audiobook. I have been waiting for this to happen and this morning I (literally) hopped out of bed to take advantage. The sale goes on until next Wednesday! You can also buy chapters for just $6/each. Learn the practical “Smart Girl’s Guide to Business” to the joy-inducing “Manifesting and Magic-Making”. My evening will be spent devouring as much as possible.}

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
– Sarah Ban Breathnach

{This quote posted online today by my friend Harold Brown.}

Melon Gazpacho

{Going on a lunch date with my designer to discuss website/postcard ideas, and the Fiestaware and the melon gazpacho and the good, good coffee.}

Vegan Treats, what a treat.

{… and making a stop at Vegan Treats to admire the beautiful cake sculptures, the sweet smells and the blood organge + vanilla bean swirl soft serve. Maybe this is why Bethlehem makes people think of heavenly things.}

and

{making personal connections with personal heroes / loud, gray thunderstorms / feeling supported and empowered by women instead of weird competitiveness / SUPPORTING and EMPOWERING WOMEN instead of being in competition / buying flowers for yourself (or picking some) / anthropomorphic vegetable art / cats named after food /     friends who aren’t afraid to tell you when you’re being ridiculous}

… til next week. xo

Thankful Thursday: 02 August 2012

Perhaps it’s no surprise to say I’m an optimist. Lately, I’ve been studying the concept of gratitude and how it ties into minimalism, simplicity, DIY ethics, soul authenticity, and general happiness.

I’ve taken a cue from other bloggers and decided to devote one day a week to reflecting on what has been meaningful, beautiful, or inspiring. It could be a profound quote, meditated on for an afternoon. An inspirational online lecture, an email from a dear friend, or finding some turquoise earrings on the clearance rack.

My tattoo reads: Beauty in Everything.  Go and find it.

.   .   .   .   .

LoveList: August 02, 2012.

{Baby Matilda Rose is here! The husband + wife superduo who co-produce, edit, and film the STK show had their first baby earlier this week. It was a home water birth which has been fascinating to learn about, and today I got to meet this little bundle of brown hair and kitten-squeaks. She is perfect.}

{The Bell, Book and Candle with Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak. It’s so wonderful: set in 1960’s bohemia, the winged eyeliner, the dresses, witchcraft and a cat as one of the central characters. And dialogue, like Novak’s aunt opening a gift of a black netted scarf and she says, “This is lovely, what does it do?” and Novak replies, “Makes you look fascinating.” Love love love.}

{The JV Club podcast.  This free podcast is full of humility and camaraderie. Hosted comic/actor Janet Varney interviews successful, creative women about their more formative years. Think: Christina Hendricks was a goth. The guests get into all the awkward adolescent years and how music, friends, their towns, and fashion played a role in coming of age and becoming who they are now. You’ll laugh,  you’ll commiserate, you’ll genuinely feel inspired.}

{Practicing this sentiment. Especially to those who have been less than kind, or even cruel to you. Especially then.}

and

{listening to Sigur Ros with the windows down and the volume as loud as it goes / good, grainy mustard / hugging your coworkers / the sounds cats make when they mumble at birds outside the window / fuchsia pink and bright orange / finding that other hoop earring “lost” a year ago / guilty pleasure books / looking back and seeing how far you’ve come}

…til next week. xo