first listen

{ bon iver, ‘bon iver’ – out june 21; album artwork by gregory euclide }


a seat by the window in the morning and 10 new songs coursing through my ears — this is how i’ve been feeling these days. fresh and full of breeze and just a little bit enchanted. i won’t attempt to write about bon iver’s new album now because i’m too busy playing and playing it again, but there’s a beautiful write-up here at npr (where you can also stream all the tracks on the album).

the good winter

the last few weeks of 2010 brought along quite a few new favorite recipes: salted caramel cookies i could eat by the stack – with a hot glass of spiced cider nearby; a christmas chicken i will gladly carve up any time of year; fancy gougères (cheese puffs made with gruyère) that bake up hot and crispy straight from the freezer; and the best apple pie i’ve ever made (i ate three slices of it the first day).

those recipes will make their way here in time (stay tuned!), but today i am swaying easy into the new year with this song:



and thinking back on the blessings of friendship, family, and home. my love of food is only trumped by the richness of ways we enjoy it – around the dining table with mom, dad, and brother; in a crowded kitchen brimming with new friends and glasses of bubbly; wrapped up in blankets sitting by the window, looking out through rain-streaked windows at a bright gray sky… and feeling new.


i love layers.

chocolate cake and buttercream and chocolate cake again.
coats and cardigans you peel off as the day warms.
the shades that surface as you come to know someone.

bon iver covering peter gabriel.

i found the track not too long after i found the blue hour, and i will happily let both color the start of my weekend.


i didn’t know it then, but this is how i felt, closing it all up.


i didn’t look over too many old things. i didn’t shuffle through many memories, or even think too many thoughts.

no, all that came later – comes now.

what i did was sit in my spot on the stairs and lean my head on the railing.

as with so many endings, you can say to yourself this is not how it was supposed to be – but just the same you know it is time to go.


i cannot say why my little place meant so much to me. not because i don’t know why. i know exactly why. i just cannot pin the meaning onto words.

but here i go trying.

the past six and a half years, and the life that has spilled beyond on both ends, have both wrung me out and sent me skipping.

and whether i was mourning the loss of nothing in particular, listening to songs in the half-dark light, sitting at the top of the stairs and casting my heart out the highest window…

or caught up in the thrum of laughter, of richest joy, over paper plates of hot food, of so many friends together at home…

that’s what my place had been.

for that lonely stretch of time – of hubris – when i believed the house i grew up in offered me nothing that i wanted – this little place was home.

so much of me happened there,
and i always thought the story would end differently.

i’m not sure what ending i had in my mind, really, but i was always standing on vague dreams of something different.  but if there comes a time when you realize your dreams have died under you, then someone has to call it.

i know that sounds dark: words too gaping for a time like this, when – really – i still have another home to go to. one that is warm, where the bed is soft, where the food is ready when i get there.

but still.
so much of me happened in that place,
and i always thought things would end differently.

one, two, three, four…

(holy crap it’s december.)

here are the things i’m loving.

one: last weekend

two: a soundtrack from a certain movie.

the thing is pretty sexy, i have to say: haunting harmonies, hard edges, a little bit of bam-bam.

…and of course i pick out the two most tragic, melancholy songs to love the best.

bon iver + st. vincent:

lykke li:

“so sad!”


three: miss rumphius by barbara cooney

this little book is so… precious. and i mean that in the least saccharine way possible. sometimes things sneak into the thrum of day-to-day life and quietly nudge you in the ribs and remind you of your oldest, purest, simplest dreams. for me, this book was one of those things.

four: this sweater

i’ll be in the vicinity of a large retail area this weekend. things may happen.

five: i just needed to end on a solid number.