25 November 2010

new site!!

you can now catch me at thisisveryimportant.blogspot.com. the former owner of the site was *extremely* gracious to let me have the domain. please change your bookmarks and and i'll see you there!

26 August 2010

land of enchantment.


we made it. we're here. new mexico is now our home. so much has happened inbetween. it was the summer of vacations. not the summer of blogging. lots to catch up on. lots to document. reminisce and recall the summer of ought-ten.

'i have come to a place' —apache hymn

10 June 2010

soon leaving.


iowa has become achingly beautiful to me.
this is not a joke.
maybe it is the summer verdancy
maybe it is the sky, stretched with clouds
maybe it is the wind turbines, tall with grace
maybe it is the cows, actually grazing in a pasture (!)
maybe it is the swaying prairie, seen only near the road, her fields overtaken by corn and soy.
or maybe
it is the ache of
soon leaving
it all
behind.

06 June 2010

girl meets helvetica.

graphic designers across the globe will clutch their hearts in agony, but here is a hard truth:

i have never used helvetica.

GASP! GLASS SHATTERS! BABIES CRY! THE WORLD STOPS SPINNING FOR 1.385 NANOSECONDS!

even though it is everywhere, i never really knew about the pretty sans-serif (which was developed in 1957 by swiss typeface designer max miedinger with eduard hoffmann) until this year, when my good friend, mary, mentioned a friend from work had lent her a helvetica movie. the helvetica movie.

i never watched it. i think she did. she's a dork. i am, too.


i always knew the swiss were cool. like when b and i visited switzerland. and everything was fall-over awesome. like their trails (free!) through the mountains, which trumped nearly every national park i've ever been in. (teddy roosevelt and my state park museum curator sister, christy, whom you can also see on this blog and on OPB, i still love you.)

or when the nun who ran our immaculate and ikea-inspired catholic hotel (boarding house?) communicated to us via impromptu sign language. (we don't know german, either. sigh. but we did know what time bfast was at.)

and this is the best one: when we got a 100 swiss franc from the bank (roughly 86$ usd) and alberto giacometti's face was on it. see front and back.

(!!!)

yah, because in the US we *always* feature a artist on *our* 100 bank notes.

awesome!

so when i redesigned my blog, i ditched my arial header for, say it with me, 'HEL-VET-ICA.'

my first foray into the fontface. ieieieie! and until i learn how to do fancy things with web sites, arial will have to be body copy. (is that somehow illegal?)

now about those 100$ bills . . .


speaking of 100 dollars, i re-fixed my music player. again. manchester orchestra can now be enjoyed. including their song '100 dollars' as well as 'jimmy, he whispers.' thank you for your patience. over and out.

photo credits: pink helvetica wallpaper designed by antonio carusone, book wallpaper from i love typography and you can buy that mug here.

04 June 2010

under construction.

changes are coming! please excuse the mess.

29 April 2010

cargan.

son of kimberly and brandon. shot though it threatened to rain. shot though he threatened to cry. which he did. but we stayed dry. lovely cloud cover popped the colors. come on, summer!








26 April 2010

office haiku.

one.
incise great marks while
ruminating on a
boring country star


two.
sigh and snooze through a
drudgery day of news while
'rocket man' plays on

22 April 2010

we are leaving/ did you hear



we are leaving
did you hear

and i will miss much when we swap the prairie for the desert
and though i will gain
now is the time
to think of all we are leaving
behind

i sat with friends today
in the basement of a church
with bright food
and bright kids
and celebrated the promise of water and love and

jesus
we're leaving
did you hear

the chatter makes me tear and tear apart
because the chatter will never be the same again
and i, i may never be the same again

god

we're leaving
did you hear

drove home through the fields after
passed two farm trucks
huge and intricate and lovely
and though the farmers, they plow with gps
i thought of the prairie
with her swooping hawks
and though the farmers, they use seeds they cannot save
i thought of all i have found in a land, once barren

and i will remember it all
like you
even if i am never the same again
for what will be the same again

jesus

we're leaving
did you hear

19 April 2010

redemption stories are the best kind.

two saturdays past, i experienced two sides of christianity.

shane claiborne came to speak at my alma mater for a conference. ben and i went, not to the conference, but to all three of shane's talks. jewels of reconciliation. jewels of challenge. so many stories of reconciliation it gave me hope in humanity. and also stories of challenge. you know. what if jesus really meant all he said. and what if we, you know, did it.

after hearing shane's last talk, ben took the youth group to a casting crowns concert. i tagged along. the irony is not lost on me. to go from hearing a dreadlocked vegetarian to hearing a top 40 ccm band. to go from a simple man on a simple stage wearing clothes he sewed himself to a bedazzled light and music show complete with world vision intermission. now, i'm sure world vision is a good organization. but when they set up a booth in the merch hallway with a huge background poster of the lead singer (a white man) smiling and surrounded by black children, my stomach twists a bit. as it does when that same lead singer (during the world vision intermission) mispronounces tanzania and cracks a huge joke that he can't pronounce one of the children's names who are available for sponsorship. instead, like all good white imperialists, he gives the youth a suitable english nickname. 'M.K.' who knows what the kid's real name is. i'm sure his parents aren't happy. and i'm not either.

though it comes out later the singer is dyslexic (he admits he has all his lyrics on a monitor in front on him for the whole show, and i appreciate him being frank about this) i still question. but why not have the correct pronunciation of the child's name flashed on that screen as well? why not have another bandmate talk for world vision? or, we could just stay ethnocentric and ignorant, whatever.

my stomach also twists during some songs. sure, i may be a 'flower quickly fading' (a la ecclesiastes) but i agree with my good friend and kindred soul tarisa: if i had just had an abortion, the last thing i need to hear is what a big fat mistake it was. do we need more women bashing? really? (subtle, but it's there. i don't hear any lyrics about 'what if the fathers stayed.') also, do children really need the government to grant them the right to pray in school? or should they pray to be persecuted? and should we really 'sing until the whole world hears' or should we 'love until the whole world become so fascinated they ask us what's up'?

yes, shane had a 'merch' table outside his talks. and yes, he had books and buttons and dvds. but no pretty backgrounds surrounded by children or the prostitute he and the simple way helped. and no artsy shots of him working with mother teresa (because he did). and no shots of him peacemaking in iraq, either.* just books about being an ordinary radical. and buttons made by youth at the simple way that read 'love your enemy' and 'god bless everyone,' complete with a us flag and (former) afghanistan flag.

see, it's the top 40 ccm band's projection of christianity that i have issues with.

i'm sure others have said the same of me.

words are powerful. words are very important. they must be chosen with wisdom. with care. as i grimace at most of casting crowns' choices, i'm fascinated by shane's. and i think that's the point. it points to something bigger. something i am still trying to figure out. something, like shane said in his first talk, i am still recovering from. jesus.

what do you think?

*wow. i just realized while adding the links to this post, if you do visit shane at the simple way, you can see pictures of all this in a video about him at the bottom of the page. interesting.

oh, and i added a new playlist. scroll down to the very very bottom. manchester orchestra and i shook hands yesterday and now 'jimmy, he whispers' has been on repeat city.


edit 20 april 2010: song links fixed.

edit 6 june 2010: songs links fixed. again.

20 March 2010

smooth.

the cold season is upon us. (shouldn't it be over by now?) the changes in seasons always seem to bring sniffles, coughs and sore throats. i caught a bug last week that wasn't exactly charming. pepperminty ricolas, fizzy coke zeros and calming green tea were my drugs of choice. and smoothies. mmm. smoothies. since i recently discovered i'm lactose intolerant, i've ditched the icky cow milk for non-dairy milks. first try was rice milk. a generic brand and also rice dream. both were OK, but chalky. then, lured by the all-american push for protein, i tried the ever-applauded silk brand soy milk--the one that's supposed to taste the best. i took a sip and dumped the rest down the drain. enter almond breeze. mmm. almonds. confident i'm already getting enough protein in my diet, [edit 11.11.10 i no longer agree with 'the china study' or any other vegan agenda. but i still love my almond milk! it's either almond milk or heavy cream for me. mmm.] the taste won me over. i prefer it to cow milk now. it substitutes wonderfully in recipes, foams in lattes and--yah i sound like a commercial so i'm going to stop. anyway, i use it in smoothies. for my sore throat, i blended one banana, two handfuls of frozen blueberries and perhaps 1/4-1/2 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond breeze. soothed and smoothed. then the sun came out. and it was even better. come on, spring!

01 March 2010

'coco avant chanel.'

i don't know much french. i took a crash course in how to say do-you-speak-english before we went to europe two septembers ago. how embarrassing. though a woman in the metro spoke to me in french. i wish i knew what she said.

i am something of a word nerd. i get really excited when people use words like interim in regular conversation (twice!) without meaning to sound like a smarty pants. hence my goofy grin when watching 'coco' with subtitles (you have to, unless you know french) when i see 'chic' translated directly as 'chic' and learn 'chauffeur' means 'driver.' ha. i knew it meant driver. but i thought it meant a special kind of driver.

and then there were the few (four?) english words spoken by one character. i always wonder what english sounds like to nonspeakers. american-english-speakers all have their parodies of other languages. what does an english parody sound like? but those few english words, thrown amidst all that french, became pared down to their sounds—and they actually sounded kind of pretty. but it coulda been the great britain twang. ha.

'coco before chanel' was a beautiful movie. the costumes.* the shots.** the story.*** it lived up to its hype in my mind, as opposed to moon, another movie (yes, of a very different subject) that was crazy hyped in my head. but sizzled out.

*first photo for this post. says. it. all. mmm.

**mirror scene. (mirror scene!) at the end. (mirror scene!) go to here and scroll down to the last clip to see it. also, as coco cuts one of her earlier outfits in the chateau (which means 'castle!' i always thought it meant hotel. ha.) from fabric, there is something (something!) about her hand, the chalk and the fabric. another scene, i can't remember where/when, but i saw colors and i was like (!!!). guess i'll just have to watch it again. good thing, 'cause mary (who just wrote an article that got posted here) is going to be ticked when she learns i watched this without her ;].

***i'd like to learn more about coco. i love her push-the-boundaries, free-the-woman's-body, simplify-the-excessive-adornments, dress-however-she-cares outlook. ha—dare i admit this? i always thought she was a he. until a few years ago. um. maybe when i started watching antm? ha. two daring admissions. a closet antm fan. anyone have a good biography to recommend?


all images contained in this post are the property of sony pictures classics.

27 February 2010

let's change the oil.


friday was work day. ben keeps our cars in tip-top shape and the civic needed a tune-up.


i was shooting the pins from yesterday's post when he came inside.


and said with a grin, "you should blog about me changing the oil."


so we hung out in our freezing garage, complete with chair-i-may-scrap-for-its-fabric.


it was a good day.

26 February 2010

color inspo.



meals, food prep and sewing supplies have been providing much inspiration lately.

(above) perhaps for a home? perhaps for walls?

i usually don't go for primaries, but green onions, toms, an everyday food spread and rubberbands from the onions is a calming combination. and i'm a sucker for things in groups of two—they remind me of ben and me :).




these colors remind me of mastermind, a game i used to play in open door—the accelerated class for gifted students (bah-ha-ha! OK, stop laughing.). not sure yet what i'll use this palette for. but i will.

25 February 2010

glimpses of spring.

i was shooting icicles through our window when i spotted this little fella. a little red messenger, heralding spring's coming. come soon, come soon!


and another recipe first. with a nod to spring, or at least a tip-of-the-hat to the easter hare. i have never poached an egg. but the march issue of everyday food inspired me to try. the vortex trick failed. s it all in the wrist, or what? the whites basically got thrown in a tornado. ha. also, i skipped the vinegar the chowhounds seemed so keen on. i didn't want an egg salad. maybe i'm missing something. how do you poach an egg? i'd love to hear.

24 February 2010

happy birthday, lilly.

it's birthing season, methinks.

so many of our friends' kids have been celebrating milestones lately.


first birthdays


zero birthdays*


zero birthdays soon-to-come**


and fourth birthdays.


like lilly.


lilly is a gal whose curls look precious with a flower clip.

her mom, my friend, kim, always seems to find the cutest bows and flowers for lilly's hair.

so when we got her birthday invitation, i knew just what she—and her mom!—would like.

i got a great tutorial from anniescupboard for a fabric flower clip. it's super easy to follow.

'course my growing pile of scrap fabric didn't hurt anything, either.

*zero birthday = the day a baby is born. yes. just like your nerdy math book used to start at chapter zero, so do our lives.

**zero birthday soon-to-come = if a zero birthday is the day a baby is born, then a zero birthday soon-to-come is . . . yup.



for shots of the process, anniecupboards documents it well. i used a standard-sized coffee cup for my circle pattern.

i'll leave you with the end result. which, suffice to say, i was very, very tempted to keep. i forsee my own flower clips. perhaps created with a larger cup pattern. or i'll bust out the compass. yes. i do still have it from freshman high school geometry.

and my TI-89 calculator, if you're interested.


and here's the birthday girl.

23 February 2010

midweek party in your mouth.





oh, i just came from a rejuvenating night. i've had a hard week. stress and things can add up, can't they? my good friend mary called me today at work and offered to bring fellowship and food for dinner. how could i turn her down? 'specially when its *her* food and *eric's* espresso and *their* conversation and *charming* kids. (don't read sarcasm, ya punk. that's full-blown authenticity, right there.) mmm. mary brought a spaghetti casserole, breadsticks, fresh oranges, apples and i whipped out waffle-cut carrots from a bag and chocolate cake from a box. but this was a chocolate cake creation. visions of betty crocker microwave lava cake twinkled in my eye. so i tried something new.

all that's needed to produce this glory for friends and family is a trans-fatty boxed cake mix a la pillsbury and a jar of lactose-intolerant hot fudge topping a la hershey. in-depth and highly-detailed instructions follow:

*midweek party in your mouth*
step no. one - make cake mix according to box.
step no. two - before you put cake in oven, dot copious amounts of fudge onto batter.
step no. three - cook for however long the box says. yes, it will speak to you.

after careful consultation with learn-ed culinary friends (i.e. the mary and the eric) we determined the mid-bake placing of fudge would produce a hot fudge ribbon of the betty crocker microwave persuasion. so, halfway through bake time, plop the fudge, yah?

sans mid-bake-fudge-plopping, it still was good. we ate two-thirds. there were only four pretend grown-ups and two kids. mmm. did i mention my night was rejuvenating? it was just what i needed. now i feel i can conquer the world. and complete a painting.

and no. it wasn't the caffeine. 

s/he who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

18 February 2010

glorious meaning, spread.


i was so inspired by a post by my good friend, mary, that instead of penning a long comment on her blog, i decided to write it here.

ash wednesday came and went without much pomp for me. i didn't grow up catholic. but my mom did. and we always observed lent when we were little. we'd give up things like sweets, or junk food, or pop. it was really hard. sometimes, when lent came before valentine's day, we'd declare feb. 14 a free day. and eat all the chocolate and candies. but feb. 15 brought lent back.

in college, ben and i once went to a gorgeous catholic church on ash wednesday. my favorite art prof was in the choir there. ashes were put on our foreheads. it was very important moment. to be marked.

but the ashes washed away. and it's been five years since. i wished i'd have gone to ash wednesday service yesterday. but i didn't. i'm not sure why. since i wanted to. so much. and thought about it. so much. in the days leading up to the small print on my office calendar.

one time in college, in a xian theology class, we were supposed to turn to our neighbor and ask: what was the most memorable part of your faith journey? was it someone from church (a relationship, a mentor perhaps) that mattered more? or was it a ritual, a rite?

i think i was the only in class for ritual.

my baptism and one communion stick heavy and sweet in my mind.

i was only 9 when i was baptized. when i chose to be. asked to be.

the close communion was in high school. i will always do this in remembrance of you.

it's interesting, what can be attached to ritual and what ritual can push away. for some, repetitive acts carry nothing. this is not necessarily bad. but for me, rituals carry glorious meaning, spread. something good to hold on to when times are tough. reminders of faith bloomed, shown and—if growing tired—clung to.

in that beautiful church, glowing with stained glass and fumbling over unfamiliar traditions, ashes on forehead are something good. to hold to.

14 February 2010

mmm . . . love.


 in honor of valentine's day, i thought i'd pay tribute to my best friend. my husband. in one of the best ways i know how. photography.

we did a photo shoot in december. back when it was *barely* warm enough to be outside without a coat. yes, this is iowa for us. snow can be on the ground, yet it can still feel warm. if the winds-cold-enough-to-chill haven't started blowing. like they are today. ah, a blast from summer, right? these photos? mmm. love.