i have brown eyes

antoine st. supéry wrote: what is essential is invisible to the eye. this would seem to be saying that the eye itself is the essential thing. the visible world would become invisible without it, and yet the 'site' from which sight issues remains invisible to the seer.
(this reminds me of what roland barthes said about the eiffel tower: that the only way to avoid seeing it in paris was to be standing on it.)

i see myself in mirrors, mirrored in the eyes of others. i catch sight of my reflection and am sometimes surprised to catch myself candid for a split second. i see myself looking at myself as if at a stranger until it dawns on me who i am.

it makes me uncomfortable to be seen looking at myself in a public place. if there is anyone else in the ladies' restroom i cannot stand to see them seeing me see myself.

i took this picture of my closed eye:

and i wrote 'i have brown eyes' in french. both of these activities were strangely satisfying.


beignets and chimneys

last night after work in larkspur i walked down to the silver peso (i also like to call it the wooden nickel) for a manhattan. when i walked in i noticed on tv people were in the middle of a beignet eating contest. i found this amusing. i mean, why didn't they call it a doughnut eating contest? i know beignet is just the french word for doughnut, but even the idea of an eating contest strikes me as quintessentially un-french. so anyway, these people on the television were cramming themselves with beignets, and i remembered the night at work had been unusual in that alot of the people who ordered the beignets we have on the dessert menu mispronounced the word when they ordered. Some said "we'll have the been-yets." or the "beige nets."
i took an open seat at the bar beside a thin oily intoxicated man with curly fingers. a man with a domino's pizza was circling the bar offering pizza to everyone. he addressed me and the two women on the other side of me as "mah-dames" which also struck me as odd. we declined his offer. tom the bartender made me a nice manhattan and the man beside me recognized it for what it was. "i know things when i see them," he said. he credited his astuteness to the fact that he used to be a bartender. and a chef too. now he cooks for and takes care of a disabled person who, he told me, "eats like a chimney and smokes like a fi--(he stopped himself from saying fish before the 'sh')-- chimney."
in my big box of french words, earlier in the day, i had randomly pulled a few cards to determine the words i would learn for the day. chimenée was one of them.


in pairs

for today, some dyads in pictures:

a hook and and eye

a beehive and an airplane

a baseball and a dandelion

blackberries and autumn steps

circles and rectangles

a dog and a cat

isabel when i first wake up and isabel through a kaleidoscope (she looks a little bit like the eiffel tower!)



this is one of the children of peter callesen.

and this is the house he built for her:

and etienne who makes paper wedding dresses made hers, for her wedding to the a paper architect in his paper library.

"Truth and reality in art do not arise until you no longer understand what you are doing and are capable of but nevertheless sense a power that grows in proportion to your resistance."
h. matisse


today's list of ten things i am delighted by in no particular order

1. magic shell chocolate sauce
2. before and after pictures
3. rabbits (especially hares)
4. carrots with the greens attached
5. doves the color of ovaltine
6. ups uniforms
7. keri smith's wish jar
8. the braille trail (thank you keri)
9. science experiments
10. the smell of food when i'm fasting

"to be myself i need the illumination of other people's eyes and therefore cannot be entirely sure what is myself." - virginia woolf


the art of losing

the art of losing isn't hard to master;
the knack for parting with
merely a willingness to unloose oneself
from the inexorably detached

like an acquiescence to the faraway-ness of the moon
or something faster;

the redolent sting of absence has a matchless savor
like the afterimage of a dress of fire
in a purifying era gone by;

this is explains why loss is not an acquired taste;
i have always been a loser
in spite of all its costs and wastes;

because if not for the lost
the found would lose its luster.


eating the sun

i taught adam how to use the sewing machine. he wanted to fix some of his tattered blue jeans. i showed him how to use the bobbin winder and how to thread the thread through its path across and through the machine to the needle. for the last couple of days, he's been working steadily at repairing his frayed hems and ripped belt loops. after successfully fixing two pairs this morning, he announced "I'm a sewing MACHINE!" i called him The Seamster and he said, "i know, maybe i should forget about welding."

this is the second day of my juice fast. i made a breakfast of pineapple, apples, and peaches and finished it in about ten seconds. cleaning the juicer took considerably more time. fasting always leaves me with a kind of altered and underwater feeling, a feeling like a school of glinty fish or a pack of underwater iceskaters. fasting, in and of itself a lonely endeavor, makes me feel inhabited by fast plurals, while the exterior world takes on a slow warm quality. even time seems to creep.
there's a line in an anna swir poem i always remember when i'm fasting:

"three days i starve my belly so that it learns to eat the sun."

i too have to train my belly to adjust to other tastes, though i do admit one of the most comforting things to do on a fast is read a good cookbook.


the beauty of bad translation

this is a photo from rinko nikki's blog, which is all in japanese. i loved her photos so much, i really wanted to know what she was writing. so i put it through the google translation engine to get some kind of idea. this is what google came up with for the watermelon slice post:

"7/27 (wood)
It is [toumatsuchidoranku].
Wearing the muu muu, the [ri] which sleeps it causes.
Making the soup gruel which inserted the garlic and the ginger fully, you eat.
While scratching the sweat, while saying that don't you think? it is tasty.
Being required comment, you closed and the drill lastly somehow the Korean movie “charming girl” which was seen very was favorite the movie.
If by his takes the movie, you thought that perhaps, it is the movie of such feeling.

From tomorrow the Aomori travelling.
While preparing, it will be exciting.
This exciting impression the important shelf.
When you become the adult, it decreases, this exciting." 

on the contrary.

on another day she writes this:

...the kindred who meets after a long time, it becomes drunk from the feeling good quality which you speak lazily with the atmosphere...

i believe so much in the beauty of bad translation. it may not make complete syntactical sense, but the tone carries through just fine. it still captures the feeling of anticipation after a long absence, and its sense gaps make its meaning more elastic; and as a result, it can fit around so many more shapes.


so happy to be here

when i walk into longs yesterday to get batteries to take this picture of isabel, i make eye contact with a man. his eyes are glazy and sick looking and so i look away from him quickly. i get the batteries and go straight to the checkout. the woman who helps me is slow moving and painfully unhappy. as i'm going out the electric doors i hear the customer behind me say to the woman: "don't look so happy to be here." Once outside i hear yelling, and turn to see a store manager chasing after the sick-eyed man, who is making a beeline for his car, carrying two large packages. the man makes it to his car but the manager climbs right in after and tackles him, then drags him out of the car and makes him lie on the ground. the whole time the thief is shrieking and the other lady employees are running, some are running inside, some are running nowhere exactly, but they're all in that emergency mode they are required to enter so rarely, that when it happens it's exhilarating. even i'm exhilarated and feel reluctant to stop gawking, but i'm also hungry, so i turn away, and walk a hundred yards to los podrillos, and as soon as a i walk in, the scene outside all but evaporates. mexican daytime tv is blaring: a woman with amazing cleavage is singing her heart out, and then a series of commercials for depilatory cream, nutella, and, i think, condiments, in which a man dressed as a jar of mayonaise chases another man dressed as a loaf of bread with the brand name bimbo.


instinct is an interior way of surviving

adam and domi had a big brown spider in their room. i'm in agreement with domi that it's not the legs of the spider that make us afraid of it. it's the girth of a spider that really gets to us. when the size of its body moves out of the range of the arachnid and into the range of a mammal, we are instinctually disconcerted.
luckily for us, chickens don't feel the least bit squeamish about spiders. when we set them loose in our rooms, fanny and lottie thin the population of our spiders considerably. perched patiently on our forearms, they allow us to lift them into the corners they can't reach on their own. if you want to imagine it, it's a little reminiscent of snow white, but with heavier sparrows.


the best things in life are... free?

i like reading the 'free' postings on craig's list. some free things of note today included the left- pictured concrete chunks, electric cat litter box accessories, a bottle of "Log Cabin Country Kitchen" syrup, two cans of soup (one of them Campbell's Cream of Celery), a bottle of Seasoning salt, a package of ginger and a few other items, free macro algae, some "unique logs," a bolt of green fabric, a guinea pig, several pianos, a hot tub, and an "extremely sweet dog." in the bay area, it seems people can't get rid of things quickly enough; most ads are replete with multiple exclamation marks and threats like "one hour only!" or "i might have already taken everything to the dump if you don't hurry!"
interestingly enough, the free listings for france's craig's list numbers only EIGHT for the past month in the entire country. These amount to two beds, an old television set, a free ticket to poland in september (but it's something to the tune of you have to ride with this poor harried father and hold one of his babies in your lap), and a few ads for moving boxes. why write about this? why is it important? i can't exactly say. i'll have to do more research before making too many conclusions. but the only free listing in belgium is for a wish, and when you click the link you get a message that the posting has expired.



equilibrium is the state of equalized tension

while my car was at the shop all day i got rid of a lot. i've had the feeling lately that the alarming rate at which we've been accumulating dross had surpassed my wariness on the issue. i believe one must be as vigilant about outflux as about influx. there were uncomfortable shoes i'd been holding onto, not to mention some arugula way past its prime. other items more difficult to talk about. i can only get rid of things when i'm alone. sophie, on the other hand insists on saving all of her math homework from the seventh grade, so you can only imagine the mountains of other things she makes me keep for her. you never throw anything away, i complain, but she is equally frustrated by my impulse to throw away everything. but actually, i don't like throwing anything away. i like 'giving' it away, sending it back into the endless circulation of slightly useful rubble; i like to think of everything i discard falling into the right hands that will use it for the thing i once saw in it, the object it carried the potential to be until its entropy wound down for me and its physicality became a spatial burden.
but now my car is back home and the diagnosis is a cracked radiator, through which $500 of my paris dollars will soon be leaking. Merde alors!


blendable eye collection

adam took this picture in dublin when he first arrived, of a string of garage doors painted different colors. it reminds me of colors you'd find in an eyeshadow kit--harmonized shades for mixing and matching. as for me, i've never been very good at eyeshadow; as soon as it's on it feels like too much, and i keep messing with it and trying to "blend" it in until it becomes nonexistent. i also can't keep lipstick on my lips. but what i lack in cosmetic panache i think i make up for with my love of hats, scarves and interesting groceries.
i am beginning to see how this blog thing can be time-consuming. you may have noticed i already changed the first template. well it began to annoy me and i thought: what if it's annoying other people too? and now i'm already fiddling with the fonts and tricks on this one. what i want to know is must we use the word 'blog'? it's such an unsightly and unsoundly word. it conjures images of messes that are hard to clean up. can't we give it a more dignified name? 'tallying" or 'charting'? for instance 'nimbling,' to emphasize the lightness and quickness of its form?
its limber, flexile system, its infinitely eraseable symbiosis of word and image emerging out of indecipherable codes? i admit i am a late bloomer when it comes to technology; i've never had a cell phone and i only got a microwave last christmas. and while i can honestly say this method will help me and my friends who are far away keep more abreast of the daily arc of each other's lives, i must also admit that it works as well as a kind of selfish tool; each post is its own performance that can be hewn just so. whether anyone reads my blog or not, i have the impression of having an audience which is satisfying, even in the abstract, and does no harm to anyone.


bad art rescue

you can't tell from the photo, but this is no ordinary painting of a shaggy dog. the surface is actually raised, following the contours of the dog's body, like one of those hard plastic maps you find of mountainous areas. this feature added to the eerie feeling i got that the dog's eyes were following me all around the thrift store. it would have been the perfect addition to my house; that is, if it was haunted. i settled instead for a coatdress with a faux leopardskin collar and cuffs to add to my thriftstore ensemble of outfits to wear while in paris. soon i will post some pictures. also, be sure to look at the 09h09 link of jean-michel's blog. on it he posts photos he takes of himself at 9:09 every morning, and we are making a plan to meet him in paris while we're there so when he takes his picture on oct. the 9th, we'll be in it.


a hothouse to lessen the evaporation of happenings

it occured to me that aphids, those vampires of the plant world, form something like braille on the plants they're eating. i've been thinking about braille, for i am going to paris, and the only restaurant we are dead set on eating at so far is "dans le noir," a pitch black restaurant with blind waiters and a surprise menu. years ago i learned of a restaurant of exactly this sort in germany, and i've been obsessed with the idea of it ever since.

it had not occurred to me until now that a blog was something i wanted. but now i'm excited to join the community of bloganisms, if only that it will make me feel accountable, and reteach me to record my slightest impressions. i have begun with a picture of my compost bin in the hopes that this blog will become a bin of this sort, a geological experiment of thoughts and impressions i might otherwise discard if left to my own devices. i must say graduate school did make me more of a ruthless editor of myself. this paired with my deep shame of garbage has resulted in a strengthened desire to not leave any traces of my former selves behind. perhaps this blog, like my compost bin, will change the way i feel about the rich and smelly stratum called the past, and its processes of disintegration, seasonal movements, and the liminal zones in between.