Thursday, July 28, 2011

Artsy Summer: Art in the Streets @MOCA/Geffen


With all the hype ahead of this exhibition's opening, and that I'd heard it described as "snooty," I wasn't sure I'd end up going to Art in the Streets. But when Little Tokyo is so close and a free Thursday -- in terms of my schedule and admission -- was at hand, I really had no reason to say no. And, admittedly, I was a little curious.

Certain things naturally drew me in: typography(of course); design elements like stenciling and repetitive geometries (I liked the "Wild Style" metamorphoses frames); and all that color. But other indigenous aspects I don't love or get at all: drugs, sex, violence, subversion -- why the faux dark and scary alley (complete with funky beer smell)? Why the lifestyle photographs? Why the wall of spray paint (like I couldn't see something like that at the Home Depot?) And: is it "high art" or "low art" (whatever either of those means)? Am I a snob to say I don't get it (or don't like it)?! Or is it ironic when I think it's snobby in turn?

All these questions darting about on top of having come from a full day of work, I took a break and stood in the second story of the exhibit, turning my attention to what ended up a more interesting endeavor: people watching. There were families, (ex-?) gangbangers, couples, church groups, young, old, and the ubiquitous hipsters. Designer bags. And threads. And Toms shoes. Baggy jeans. Skinny jeans. Sports jerseys and suits. And DSLRs and iPhones aplenty (mine included!).

I won't add to what has been said and written -- except to note neighbors' and police officers' observations of the spike in vandalism (ahem, "street art") around the area, some by the exhibiting "artists" themselves -- but will show a picture of the shadow of a piece I quite liked, although I don't exactly know what it is or intends. I just like the Japonisme and especially the lanternlikeness of it. Reminds me of the Midsummer Light (whose designer turns out to be Norweigian, ha).

One last thing about AITS: it's a big and mazelike exhibit! By the time I'd gotten through all I could get through, I was tahhhred. And hungry! Found a quick place to eat in the Village and then it was homeward bound.


Though I got home much later than usual, it was a good evening. Would I recommend the exhibition? Maybe to my younger brothers. But only on Free Thursday evenings.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Last month at brunch, a new-to-me acquaintance noticed the various birdsounds that we could all hear on such a quiet Saturday morning. I learned what a woodpecker sounds like! Later on, in the middle of a conversation, he leaned his head to one side, keen to identify another bird we'd just heard.

"Is birdwatching a hobby of yours?" someone asked.

"Not really," he replied, "or, not by choice: my ex wife was a zoologist, so I picked up a few things from her."

I don't know anything about this person's story -- how long he'd been married or divorced, nor the circumstances around either. But as I thought about what he'd said, it dawned on me just how much our significant others -- whether they be boyfriends or girlfriends, partners, spouses, or exes -- leave indelible marks on us. Indeed, they inject a part of themselves onto (or even into) us -- permanently, whether we know it or not; whether we like it or not. The person I met at brunch will probably always listen to a bird's chirping, and whether he can identify it or not, he'll listen, on account of someone who was a very important part of his life, even though she isn't any more. Amidst the sadness, or anger -- or whatever, like I said, I don't know his story -- of the situation, it was clear that there can also emerge something beautiful. A significant other's touch on one's life doesn't simply end at the breakup.

So it's okay to remember not just specific incidents or trips and occasions but also the mannerisms and phrases and other points of fact that were created in my relationship with DC. For my part, I know that among other things, certain news topics will prick my ears more than they would have before I knew him. As my running improves I'll remember that he's a runner, and how he got me out with him a couple times, and now I finally understand a bit better why he enjoys it (though I don't stray as far as to put the two together in a "what if" scenario).  Of course, I hope that as he remembers us, he'll be okay holding on to some of the things he learned from me, or that we discovered together, or that we simply made up and laughed at between ourselves -- but if he doesn't, that's okay.  No, I won't obsess or imagine -- I stopped doing that long ago! -- but the big takeaway is that I don't have to stomp out or feel bad about memories like I thought I had to or was supposed to.

That revelation stayed tucked in a shallow recess of my heart for nearly two months; I was reminded of it again when I went through my Post Secret ritual last week, during which I came across a secret that touched me for both dumb and profound reasons.  It read: "Our relationship left me listening to country music and believing in God.  You changed me.  Thank you." It resonated with me for obvious reasons, but particularly because for a nanosecond I hoped that it might be DC's secret (not gonna lie), whether published or not. But -- and more importantly -- this secret reminded me that it's okay to have changed or been changed by someone in a way I might not have imagined or expected.  And also because it brought me beyond forgiveness.

A lot of people (and books, and blogs) say that forgiveness is the point where you're no longer wishing that person ill but where you truly want their happiness. Admittedly, it's a big jump to make, especially if feelings of anger and betrayal have been engendered by the breakup. In my case, there was anger and confusion and fear and pain -- many of which were first-time feelings -- and, however briefly, I did harbor ill will towards DC.  Then there was the hurdle of my own ego: to realize that I was not the best thing that ever happened to DC hurt my pride more than my heart.  When I allowed myself to dwell on the injury to my pride it dragged my heart into the fray, which in turn led me down the path of regretful reminisces.  Learning to love myself and protect my heart meant admitting out loud that DC wasn't the best for me, either. This was scary because our relationship was so good in so many ways; it also challenged my faith to trust that God was preparing me for a better, future person.  Though it wasn't exactly a straight shot, I made the leap to forgiveness sooner rather than later (according to trusted friends, who, unlike me, had been there before). It was faster, cleaner, easier for me because my heart of hearts had always wanted -- and still wants -- the very best for DC.

But there's another leap: from forgiveness to gratitude. For all the breakup cliches I've heard, I like the one that says you should leave a person a little better than you found them. DC did that for me, and I'm certain I did that for him.  For me, gratitude is that place where I can thank DC for having been a part of my life. I am well favored and blessed that that relationship was such a good one. I can leave it saying not only, "Good-bye and God-bless," but "Thank you."  Which is pretty huge.  And though it took me a while to get here, and I'm not sure if I'm entirely "there," I at least know that I'm on the way towards a future relationship that will be much, much better than I can imagine. 

There's lots back there, in just the past few years.  A lot of it's good.  A lot of it's bad.  I'm okay with both.  I'm okay with glancing back now and then, knowing both are there and a part of me.  So I let myself glance.  But I don't go back there, I don't live back there.  I live here.  Now.  I look forward to tomorrow.  And it doesn't have to be a secret.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Artsy Summer: Bowers Museum

Though I initially thought it would take a bit of planning to trek down to Orange County, the visit to the Bowers Museum came together painlessly over the course of a handful of emails and phone calls. For such a small museum it housed a number of exhibits I was very keen to see:



  • Ancient Arts of China was sort of an unusual exhibition, but covered a lot of periods of Chinese history. I particularly appreciated the explanation of the qualities of the scholar-gentleman:


  • A docent took us through Spirits and Headhunters: Art of the Pacific Islands. I kinda felt bad for the guy when he offered to lead the tour, so indulged him. He seemed well versed if not necessarily well practiced, his segues from one topic to the next feeling rather scripted. Can't get better without practice, though, and I was happy to have afforded him an opportunity at it.

  • California history and art took me back to sixth grade, with profiles of our first statesmen and ties to Mexican culture. I liked some of the California impressionist paintings and some of the very intricate examples of basketry, which makes me sound more folksy than I'd like, but I'm not one to deny a nod to good craftsmanship.

The Bowers building itself is a grand hacienda that would be a great venue for an al fresco party. There's a more modern annex that opens to a garden housing sculptures in Carrara marble and a row of metal (copper?) water fountains. I tried to capture the intersection of the two, which is really a rather nice transition, but, sadly, my photography skills are a bit lacking:


Finished off with lunch at Memphis Cafe. My Southern Eggs Benedict was tasty, with a bit of a kick delivered by the Chipotle hollandaise, but I was disappointed that their weekend brunch offerings didn't include the fried chicken or other more typical Southern fare I had at the Costa Mesa location.

As I reflect on the visit I am recommitted to finishing my quilt quickly but with care, to keep on with Moby-Dick, and to throw that California-themed party sooner rather than later. As for natural dyeing and brush calligraphy -- though I promised myself I'd undertake the latter if I ever live in Japan again -- I'll have to leave those in the realm of distant dreams, or other people's blogs. *sigh*


It's been a while since I've got my thrift on, which speaks to the thrilling and busy weekends I've had, with friends and other social commitments, of late. A recent Saturday afternoon with nothing to do left me with a few hours to hit up two local joints, which in turn scored me a few items to wear and some to use as raw materials for future projects.

thrifted threads
Above: a couple pairs of running shorts; a silk blouse (it's Jigsaw, which totally reminds me of the UK!); and a cream-colored 3/4-sleeve jacket that's fully lined and fits me to a tee -- for $6.50! Below: a pair of suede pants and a Donegal tweed skirt. I'm such a sucker for the little flecks of dark brown, yellow, and blue! I have at least one idea in mind for these materials, and will try to work on a prototype before summer's end.

I did find a couple of cashmere sweaters that were so soft and were perfect candidates for recycling, but I decided to be more realistic about how much time that would take vs. how much yarn I already have.  (Many of my friends would be proud of that move.)  The big find, however, was awaiting  -- as you may have suspected -- in the housewares section.

The organized chaos of the housewares -- a.k.a. "bric-a-brac" -- section always cries out to me, and this time the awesomeness was easy to spot for its distinctive hourglass shape and leather + wood collar. It's a Chemex coffee maker! I'd learned about them from the kitchn and saw one in action when I went to Intelligentsia for a birthday coffee. When I saw it sitting there on a shelf amidst other random glass pieces, out came the trusty iPhone for product and image searches. I didn't find too much information on any reproductions, and after someone else picked it up (What is this? said the expression on their face, before setting it down again), the anxiety I felt over the near loss made me realize that I should just buy it. At $3, I guess it's okay if it ends up not the original thing!  More research is underway; it might be more difficult since there are no markings on the wood or glass, but I'll see what the Internets has for me.  Up ahead is the trip to pick up some filters, the making of coffee, and the comparison with my standby and trusty French press.  Stay tuned!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sock-knitting, again

My recent visit to LACMA and Tim Burton's exhibit didn't just inspire me to get skectching again; I also brought out the tiny double pointed knitting needles. Project: knee highs begins!

I'd picked up this skein of Noro Kureyon sock yarn (color 192)  back when it debuted (ages ago!), but never got around to using it. The black mixed in with the rainbow colors just kinda killed it for me.  But with an eye to some of Tim Burton's drawings (long and skinny and stripey), I thought to break up the color gradations by creating stripes with an alternating solid color (Cascade Heritage in a rich, dark brown). Here's an initial attempt:

This was before I changed my mind and decided to make the toes in multicolor instead of dark brown. I'd also decided to decrease from a 64-stitch round to 60. It set me back a week, but will be worth it in the end when I'm happy with the final product.

These socks are being knit from the toe up so as to use as much yarn as possible. I like a rounded toe; here's how I do it:

  1. Figure-eight cast-on for 10 stitches: 10 figure eights = 20 sts total

  2. Increase at the beginning and end of every "row" for five rows; split stitches onto four dpns: 10 stitches on each dpn; 40 sts total

  3. Increase every other round for another 10 rounds: 15 stitches on each dpn; 60 sts total

A 60-stitch circumference provides a comfortable, snuggly fit for my Size 7 feet; I'm using Size US1 needles. My stripes are three rows of each color -- not a perfect split when I got to the heel, but neither four rows nor two rows quite matched the image I had in mind. I like watching the colors gradually change, and knitting in a regular interval of colors sure makes counting rows easier! I prefer to knit both socks at once to ensure that my tension is equal and to save myself from "second sock syndrome," that feeling of having to start all over with the second sock before the project can really be complete. Here's where I am now, almost a month after the cast-on (please forgive my bleh grey berber rental carpet):


It'll soon be time to begin some calf increases.  I'm going to knit those on the fly: wishmeluck!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Artsy Summer: LTDW

Hitoshi Abe is the chair of UCLA's department of Architecture and Urban Design. Since he came a few years ago, my office has worked with him on design forums and events having to do with Japan. Little Tokyo Design Week is his brainchild, conceived two years ago; it came to life this weekend in an extravaganza of artsy and Japanese-y events with the theme of "Future City," to "celebrate the power and energy of cutting-edge design and technology."

I opted to attend Saturday's symposium, entitled, "Ultra Exposure," instead of the Beauty CULTure exhibition over on the Westside, in fear of "Carmageddon" (which proved unfounded despite ALL the hype), and found it at once enlightening, engaging, and entertaining. I enjoy architectural discourse but admit that it's quite abstract -- or, rather more simply, highfalutin' (as in: the future is invisible; traces of presentness; utopia vs. dystopia; the spectacle of the spectacular, etc).

Luckily I got to go to the VIP reception at the JACCC Japanese Garden, where I got to talk a bit to one of the speakers, whose paper I found fascinating.  He spoke about the Japanese and loss of ideals and purpose, which created a postwar society that's mostly based on economic and material gain.  I think there are a lot of truths to that argument and find it interesting that a Japanese would make such a sweeping statement about his own national identity.  I also agree that the 3/11 earthquake and current recovery efforts will truly shake that staus quo and that a new Japan will emerge from the rubble.  I usually wouldn't approach someone, but speaker or professor or architect or whatever, a person is still a person, so I gathered up the pluck and started talking; it was a neat experience.

Various exhibits were housed in container pods throughout Little Tokyo. I only went to one: Tokyo/LA Houses, upon the recommendation of one of my co-workers. It was a showcase of residential architectural design that included photographs, floor plans, and models of a lot of different homes -- from large spaces in the Palisades overlooking the ocean to homes in Venice to small-scale homes in Tokyo, to a tower-shaped home in the woods to a bi-level cut into the side of a mountain. It was all glorious -- as in, one day I hope to live in such a space!

When the sun went down I met up with M+M (who had driven up from SD to see Les Miserables with some friends) and we all went sake tasting. I had a few interesting, new-to-me beers, including Echigo red ale and stout and Coedo's sweet potato beer. By the time we were done with the sampling of 10 or more beers and sake, we were ready for karaoke: always a good way to end an evening out in Little Tokyo. I tried my hand (voice?!) at Taylor Swift and Jason Mraz songs but also kept it to the regular standbys, Mr. Brightside and Dancing Queen.

A productive evening on all counts (professional, academic, social, vocal) -- with another busy day ahead!  Good thing I get Monday off.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Artsy Summer: Huntington Library

I'm trying to do this Artsy Summer as economically as possible, so have a keen eye to coordinating my schedule with free days. Luckily, I had hoarded guest passes to the Huntington Library over the years I had membership there and was able to bypass the $20 admission when I headed back last weekend.

It was a full day which involved exploring the gardens in the morning (where I learned better about the iPhone's HDR capability), bringing a blanket and packing a lunch (turkey BLT with avocado + fruit salad), then ducking inside for exhibits to escape the sun at its hottest.

[lily ponds]

Some of the permanent exhibitions are oldies but goodies: printing (illuminated manuscripts, hello!); Blue Boy, Pinkie, silverware by Paul Revere. I snapped a shot of a corner of a painting that was most charming:

[little knitting hands]

The newer stuff is exciting, too: astronomy, Darwin, the human body, electricity, etc.. With a ton of interactive displays, like a telescope, early microscope, and pop-up and flip-through images. The electricity section has, in addition to an impressive lot of light bulbs, a cool filament string light fixture at the center of the room:

[lights, looking up]

The visit gas made me consider restarting my membership. Maybe I'll do it in time to see the reopening of the Japanese garden next spring. If not, I've still got some guest passes to last a few more visits. Hooray for hoarding!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Project: Fashion diary

As I've mentioned now and again, I try and edit my closet at close intervals.  In addition to desiring to justify the shopping excursion I wanted to  ensure I was wearing all of my clothes, instead of a few favorites.  So I decided to photograph what I wore to work each day for a month.  The experiment was not just to test my clothing rotation, but to see whether I would do so intentionally because I knew I'd be documenting it.  I started off pretty strong, but waned off a bit when I was out for nearly a week with a sinus cold.  Still, a dozen and a half shots creates a pretty good glimpse at my style:  mostly neutral/darks, mostly solids.  Occasional pops of color and texture.  Is there one word or phrase to describe it?  What would you call my style?

[june 2011 fashion]

In a light bulb moment (some call these flashes madness) I came up with the *brilliant* idea to also sketch my outfits.  I added notes to describe colors and textures my meager drawing skills could not capture.  I also added details about where I got the clothes, and, if I remembered, how much I paid for them.  It helped me see that many of the items in my closet are hand-me-downs (from Mom or Jaxs) or gifts (like the suede jacket from Dad and scarves from family and friends), or purchased on sale.

[june 2011 fashion sketches]

Result:  I'm happy with the way I dress!  I feel good in and about what's in my closet, and this is a project I'd do again, maybe in the winter, or maybe during a trip.  While continuing to edit, I will try harder to pull out some less-worn garments.  I just did laundry, too -- including hand washing and ironing -- so have a lot more choices at the moment.  And I just scored a couple items at the thrift stores.  But more on that later!

What's in your closet these days?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Artsy Summer: Norton Simon Museum

Once upon a time, I told a friend who was visiting the Norton Simon Museum for the first time which was my favorite painting there. That friend immediately Googled the image and sent me an email about it, which left me very disappointed: I felt they had robbed themself of the experience and exuberance of seeing it live. Which is why I won't divulge which painting it was (though I will say that it's a Van Gogh), and also why I decided to delete all the photos I took of specific paintings when I went last week: you'll have to go there yourself.

The Norton Simon is my favorite local museum. The last time I was here was January, during their Hiroshige exhibit, which was very, very well done. I've also come here to see classical music performances (unfortunately, I missed Yoshida Kyodai). Helps that it's about eight minutes from where I live.

The only reason I don't have a membership is I'm not completely sold out on the entire collection, the entire lower level of which is Asian statues -- or chunks of buildings or temples -- that I'm just not that into. The paintings and bronze statues, though: amazing. Here's a shot of my favorite area, which I could just wander about or sit in for hours. An impressive collection of impressionist art; including a substantial number of items by Edgar Degas. Maybe you recognize his ballerina sculpture there?

norton simon

Since deleting the pictures I decided to take a self-portrait, though I did it mostly to capture the warm combination of wood and limestone (travertine?) flooring. The porousness of the stone and the wood texture soften the hard edge or coldness often associated with stone, especially such large expanses of it. It's also a very indoor-outdoor look, reflective of our local climate. This is to file under 'dream house inspiration.'

self portrait

Almost as important as the collection is the building in which it's housed (although in the case of the Getty Center, the grounds trump the collections, IMHO). The Norton Simon building is very classic. I am particularly fond of its rounded corners and the Rodin sculptures and sycamore trees that lead into the main entrance. Can't see it too clearly here, but I like how the 'Burghers of Calais' are lit up, along with the museum's interior.

norton simon exterior

Here's what Wikipedia tells us about the building:
[it] was completed in 1969, designed by Pasadena architects Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey of the firm 'Ladd + Kelsey'. The distinctive and modern curvilinear exterior facade is faced in 115,000 glazed tiles, in varying rich brown tones with an undulating surface, made by renowned ceramic artisan Edith Heath.

Yes, as in Heath Ceramics. Even better. I'm glad I looked that up!

I tried to make my way around to get up close to 'The Thinker,' which is at the street-facing side of the museum, but any entry point looked closed off (plus, it was dark by this time). Heading back to my car, I walked by what I thought an amusing sight. Call it art to shine a light on... space.  It's a cool tree lamp, though.

spot light

Admission is free the first Friday evening of each month. Hop on over when you get a chance; you'll like what you see.

Running progress


This is what I typically eat after a run: caprese salad (stay alive, little basil plant!) and TJ's soup (not just great for brunch!). Simple and healthy.

Tonight I'm adding a mojito to celebrate a particularly triumphant run. After having progressed from three five-minute runs (three minutes walking) to two eight-minute runs (five minutes walking), I'd been hitting a wall with the single 20-minute run. The most I could manage at each attempt was 12 minutes. That discouragement, along with hotter days--which mean I don't leave immediately after getting back from work, which in turn means I am less likely to get out the door at all--gradually increased the days between my runs.

Until today. I'd left my sunglasses at my brother's place and decided that I'd run over to retrieve them. I did a ten-minute warmup walk and then ran. For 22 minutes straight--huzzah!

I'm feeling very proud of myself indeed, pumped to keep running, and very deserving of the mojito by my side. Cheers!

Oh, BTW, I signed up for that half marathon after all.


My brother has gotten really into making pizza lately. At yesterday's family dinner he taught us how it's done. I got to roll out and work the dough, shape it, add toppings, slide it into and take it out of the oven. It was fun! And delicious! Here's what I ended up with:


Yes, plain ol' pepperoni. Call me conservative, I don't mind. :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Giving green

The other weekend we spent a few hours at MyKo's parents' place, checking out their recent remodeling job (beautiful!). Due to the construction, household items had to be boxed up and stored outside. I spied a lamp that I offered to buy from them, and Mama MyKo said, "You can have it! Please, take it!" She even tested whether the electricity still ran (it did!) and put it in a bag for me. It's *exactly* the type of desk lamp I've been searching for, too: vintage, gooseneck, conical. The plusses are its fantastic green color and its funky fiberglassness. I love the texture created by the filaments.

As we were in the backyard already, MyKo and I started rummaging through some of the boxes and found lots and lots of treasures, especially in my weakspot: ceramics and housewares. Mama MyKo has so many sets of unique Japanese dishes -- the likes of which are, sadly, no longer made. It was a boon for us, though, since Mama MyKo was more than willing to send many of those hardly ever used goodies into new, caring homes. MyKo filled up two boxes with complete sets of plates (prompting her to remove items from her already scant bridal registry), various serving trays, and special Japanese cups; I managed to step away with a few pieces, too. The theme: green.


In addition to the lamp, Mama MyKo let me have a beautiful Japanese teapot with wisteria and butterflies; three teacups with a camellia pattern, and a tupperware for keeping vegetables (there's a net-type thing inside), long enough to hold the daikon I regularly pick up at the farmers market.

Such passings-along seem more and more common these days as our parents start to downsize and move out of the homes we grew up in. Sorting out a house full of stuff after 25+ years seems a daunting task for many, but I happy offer my services. I love cleaning and clearing out and organizing. When it comes to friends' homes -- like MyKo's, a couple months ago -- objects found at the bottom of drawers and the backs of closets often ring nostalgic. And with our parents' homes there are so many mementos and memories. I love a good history and a good treasure hunt. I'll be back, Mama MyKo!


It's belated, but I hope you had a good Independence Day, reader!

I had a very busy yet fun-filled long weekend: working, celebrating two birthdays, and deciding to see fireworks at the last minute, after an Independence Day spent in serene solitude.

Here's a screen shot-cum-collage from my iPhone, because the pics look better smaller. It took a brief moment for the camera to focus on the bursts of light, but in the lifetime of such subjects that amount of time proved too long to get a clean shot. Not bad for a smartphone camera, though, which is why it's my go-to these days.


Don't tell my DSLR I said that.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Artsy Summer: Tim Burton @LACMA

A thread of emails from early spring was taken up again, leading us on a trek over to the Mid-City for a gander at Tim Burton @LACMA.

Uhm, why did we go, like, the second weekend it opened?! The experience was both amusement-park-line-esque as well as moblike (once we got into the exhibit)--not exactly ideal. I was actually turned off being among the hoards of people herded through the several spaces full of Tim Burton's sketches, films, costumes, and other media.  It wasn't fun to squint at works behind two or three people, but that's more a commentary on the layout and traffic flow logistics than the works themselves.

Though I am somewhat skeptical of high school or college notebook doodles being elevated to art by simply framing and captioning them, I admit that I enjoyed the exhibit.  The progression of Tim Burton's work, from his early days drawing cartoons for various City of Burbank campaigns to being an animator at Disney, demonstrate how increasing experience and success allowed him to develop his personal style and pursue his own projects. I even bust out my little Moleskine and started sketching again. And what better evidence of an exhibit's success than its ability to inspire?

We had a bit of time to hang out at the rest of the huge LACMA campus.  Tons of art and collectibles notwithstanding, I was delighted by the profusion of Eames shell chairs out and about:

And this interesting installation.  I was reluctant to enter but was obedient to MyKo, who wanted a photo.  I cracked a smile just for her shot, but kept my lips pursed and eyes closed as much as possible.  A guard was on duty next to the installation, mostly to make sure the kids weren't swinging from or getting entangled in the strings.  Interactive art can sometimes be dirty. 

Though Tim Burton was great, the true highlight of the trip was the company.  Thanks to Mini for organizing.  

This outing was an inadvertent start to my Artsy Summer, which replaces last year's picnic project.  This year it will be museums. And art.  And gardens.  And plays.  And films.  And new places.  And air conditioning.  For a bit of respite on these hot, suddenly summer days.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Been brunchin'

Kicked off the leisure days of summer with a simple brunch, held at my bro's while he and his fam were away on vacation.

The setting: backyard, under the sail.

Table: white cloth; mixed chairs; round woven place mats; white plates; blue cloth napkins; glasses for water; flutes; rosemary sprigs.

Menu: tomato roast pepper soup with sprigs of fresh thyme; this sandwich with cornichons; individual servings of yogurt in mason jars, with fruit, brown sugar, agave, granola and nuts; mimosas.

brunch[photo courtesy of d.]

It was a quiet morning and the five of us, some new to each other, carried on a varied and delightful conversation. It was indeed a lovely segue into summer! Additionally, it was more hospitality practice for yours truly. I like a homemade but not backbreaking menu--no shame about ready-made elements; thank you, TJ's--so that I can sit down and enjoy the fruits of my prep work and the company of my company, instead of slaving away the entire meal or running back and forth between table and kitchen. I'm too lazy.

Brunch is a good meal because there's time in the morning for prep, it's a sweet/savory mix of food, and the meal concludes without having dominated the day. I look forward to hosting similar brunches in the weeks and months to come. Maybe even out in my little outdoor space--which means I need to pick up a couple more place settings (capacity is four at the moment).