Monthly Archives: February 2010

Turning Toward the Texture of Lent


Texture is one of the most beautiful things in the world to me. I love rusted iron, layers of paint, galvanized metal, brown chipboard, rough burlap. Somehow the whole disparity creates a collage to me, keeping my eye interested. When I look at the above picture (taken in my “a room of one’s own” — courtesy V. Woolf), I feel myself inspired, readied, with a little surge of adrenaline and hope. To me texture, in its own strange way, is not only the art itself but the symbol that life is alive, faceted, unexpectedly creative, and full of weird beauty.

Most days of my current life, I reach a certain moment when all the texture is gone, all the light is flat, and the numbing beige settles in (cue the eating, shopping, TV watching, escaping, and perhaps even a little despairing). Yesterday, I wake up out of this stupor and realize we’re officially in Lent, which probably isn’t the greatest way to enter into the Lenten season–caught off guard and totally, unintentionally unprepared. Amid the Winter Olympics, Valentine’s candy, and a Gap Kids sale, I just blanked. Then, I remember I’m offering a Found Art Workshop next week on the theme of “Holding On and Letting Go,” and I realize, without even planning it, that those are the exact themes of Lent.

To that end, I wrote a Lent List . . .

Holding on to — writing space and time, meaningful moments with Steve, regular breaks, hope that I will survive year 1 to 2 with my children, that baby-gazing thing I wrote about in my last post, rest and truth, a couple of good books, texture

Letting go of — perfectionism, mind-numbing TV watching, fear that I will always feel tired, churning anxiety, blah beige

I wrote the list while heaving deep breaths because I know it takes a lot of courage to actually do anything about any of this. Then I remembered something I had heard on the radio last week . . .

Jim Rome was interviewing Duke’s Coach Krzyzewski (yes, of course I had to google the spelling). I was driving to Target (AKA Mecca) with the babies, and my eyes went oogly from the abrupt arrival of watery tears. Coach K, who BTW I would like to channel the next time I’m doing a radio interview–cool as a cucumber, starts talking about one of his players. And he says, “He’s a warrior, Jim. That kid is a beautiful warrior.” And he said it with this tone of unforgettable persuasion and compassion. Jim Rome just let the words sit for a split second, and the moment was full and took on a dimension far beyond radio and sports, and then Rome says, “Ladies and Gentlemen, Coach Freaking K.” I love laughing and crying at the exact same moment.

So with the warrior spirit, I am turning toward the texture in my life.  Even though the surfaces often feel overwhelmingly unsmooth and the paint is worn and the cloth of my soul feels irreparably tattered on certain days, I remind myself of how much I love all the textures, how they play with one another and adhere to each other and create something important overall.

And if all else fails, I’ll just keep whispering to myself, “Coach Freaking K. Coach Freaking K. Coach Freaking K.”

Post your Lent List, you beautiful warrior, you. What true living texture do you need to embrace? What blah beige impostor do you need to relinquish?

Lots of Lenten Love.


“S” is for . . .

This morning I woke up more hopeful and more energized than I’ve been in weeks.

Part of it is because I went to bed early the last two nights, and sleep generally seems to mitigate a number of ills.

Part of it is because I’m still basking in the afterglow of my weekend at Asilomar, a too-quick three days spent seaside retreating with nine beauties whom I love and admire. Every year we stop for lunch at this European inspired home-turned-dining-nook called Casanova’s in unparalleled Carmel (brief inspiration . . . at Casanova’s instead of serving water in the restaurant-supply-store water pitchers, they bring de-labeled wine bottles to your table full of chilled water. The bottles add just the right little something to the tables and serve as both function and décor equally. I’m de-labeling wine bottles as we speak. A wire basket displays them beautifully. A clever reclamation project.) My incredibly innovative friend, Katie ( created a tribute montage of the weekend: Enjoy! I am entirely indebted for this memorializing.

Part of it is because I went to Pat’s (a strange collection of oddities available below! thrift store prices that can be painted and distressed any color you want) this past Friday. In the treasure-laden back lot, behind the store, I found myself co-digging with a man in a cashmere sweater who turned to me and said, “This place is a gold mine!” Couldn’t have said it better myself. I left with a white shelf that looks like it was made from distressed molding and an iron plant stand (with the perfect ratio of rust to paint) which I’ll be using to store art supplies. All the digging and finding helps me breathe.

Part of it is because I had an exceptionally fun evening with Steve this weekend. We went to Ponce’s, our very favorite authentic Mexican food eatery that has the limiest (and therefore most delicious) salsa verde you have ever experienced. Steve had chorizo and eggs, and I had tortilla soup and a grilled chicken salad with extra guacamole. Total heaven. After dinner, we walked around the mall, with decaf Americano in hand, and found ourselves on the floor in Anthropologie digging through the doorknobs until we found the perfect mercury glass pair for me to use for a little project I’m doing in my little creative space/art studio/writing room (and, in a rare turn of events, they weren’t even that expensive, unlike the first pair I held up that were $78. ugggh.). After the knob find, we headed to Trader Joe’s for coconut milk and wine bottles (after all, I had to get more supplies for my aforementioned project). For some reason, Steve and I had the space to really connect. All this in the pouring rain. Soul food, I tell you.

Part of it is because I have decided to take one moment in every day and put my eyes on my kids, one at a time, intentional like. Of course, I look at my kids all day, every day, between the shushing, and schlepping, and shuttling. But do I really see them? Looking and seeing are two very different things, I’m learning. They probably find the whole routine awkward, but I just lock onto them and practice the discipline of gazing. Sometimes I look right into their eyes. I want them to know I see them. And it’s making me a better mom, already. Seriously. Who knew?!?

So here’s to a few simple-yet-sensational S’s: sleeping, seaside-ing, salvaging, salsa-ing, and seeing.

Oh, and Steve. We can’t forget about him.

Sincerely yours.