The books we need

Epigraph to Anne Sexton’s book All My Pretty Ones (1962):

… the books we need are the kind that act upon us like a misfortune, that make us suffer like the death of someone we love more than ourselves, that make us feel as though we were on the verge of suicide, or lost in a forest remote from all human habitation — a book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us.

— from a letter of Franz Kafka to Oskar Pollak

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Frightening and lovely!

Thinking about: how I really need to get serious about training the dog, all-black outfits, how much I dislike the word “outfit,” courgettes, lemonade, North Korea, if I will ever read fiction again, mantis shrimp, and the farmhouse smell and feel of our house (hovel) in the summer. (I am calling it summer now, since we hit 90°F this past week.)

Looking forward to this weekend: Kathryn is coming to stay with us, and then we’ll be traveling to see Catherine, Russ, Ava, and new baby Auden!

Beginnings, progressions

Friends, at an angle

We had such a peaceful, lovely visit with Catherine, Russ, and Ava on Saturday. I have really missed C. in particular (although Russ and Ava are equally great company). It is a surreal thing to be growing up, to forget that you are growing up until you see old friends and realize that your lives are changing rapidly, that you might even be classified as adults now.

The men

I mean, look at us. We have jobs. We have husbands. We have dogs.

Ava and her mama

(How nice it is to keep the company of a fellow dog-crazed young woman.)

Our dogs were less thrilled to meet each other, unfortunately, but they managed to coexist after some time. Pyrrha just wanted to play, and Ava just wanted to protect her humans and her new-found toys.

Look at us coexisting

I wish we all could just live down the street from each other. But they’ll be staying in the general region, so that is a relief.

In other news, I have been inspired by Emily and her ambitious 2013 goals. I am trying to be proactive about mine. Accordingly, I am taking a ballet class with Cate and Stephanie. It is going to be hilariously awful. I will probably want to drop out, but the company of these two excellent, funny women will surely keep me motivated. I don’t think I even remember how hard ballet is. I’m about to get a sharp refresher.

Around this time, years ago


20 September 2008: Prehistoric Nettles! Guion performs for one of the first times in Chapel Hill, in the basement of the Student Union.


20 September 2009: A rare moment of quiet in the kitchen at McCauley Street, the house I lived in during my senior year at UNC. I don’t think this kitchen ever looked this clean again.

The group

18 September 2010: Hiking Crabtree Falls with our new friends, Sam, Sean, and Julie. Sam’s apple rolled down a rock face right before this photo was taken, but he decided to eat it anyway.

Balboa Towers

24 September 2011: Jonathan and I visit Catherine and Ava in Virginia Beach. Here we are looking out from Balboa Towers.

Lounging around the house
17 September 2012: Pyrrha, lazing around the house. Kind of feeling like I might do a third 365 Project (first done in 2008, second done from 2009-2010), maybe starting in January 2013? I miss being able to look back through the years and remember every single day. I am reminded that I have the most boring, well-documented life. But it makes me happy and I think my memory gets an artificial jolt from all of those photos.

Monday Snax

This weekend, I got to visit the originator of the term “Monday Snax,” Catherine the Great herself. We had a lovely, foggy weekend in Virginia Beach with Ava-rice and Jonathan. Some photos below; all on Flickr!

Balboa Towers
The view from Balboa Towers.
The dog is a cuddle pro.
Always watching.

After all of that good conversation, great food, and wine, it is hard to get back into the work week…


How Many Slaves Work For You? Interactive website that gives you the answer: A lot. Very eye-opening. (Slavery Footprint)

Ask a Gay Christian: Response. Justin Lee, director of the Gay Christian Network, answers a lot of searing questions about being a gay Christian with humility and grace. This was very heartening to me. (Rachel Held Evans)

Presented Without Comment. Angela’s new blog of her father’s collected writings and e-mails is my new favorite thing. And this photo. (The Filthy, Luxury Life)

Corner Portraits by Irving Penn. I love these! Photographer Irving Penn stuffed a bunch of famous people into corners and then took these great photos of them. Included: Marlene Dietrich, Truman Capote, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Salvador Dali, among others! (Retronaut)

Someone’s a Big Girl! 75 words of wisdom from Alice Bradley’s hilarious mother. (Finslippy)

Elaine Stritch Is Just Happy that She’s Alive. I want to be Elaine Stritch one day. (NY Mag)

Yelena Bryksenkova. Lovely, cool-toned sketches from this illustrator. (Le Project d’Amour)

Fishscape. If only Reuben were still alive… He would have loved this. (Automatism)

Fake Books I Asked Librarians For. Yes. (The Hairpin)

Lost Gardens: II. Bunnies on the hillside! Natalie’s life is so romantic. And adorable. (Peregrinations of NJM)

This wandering of the mind

Source: The Vow

I began to envy those who live in deserts and to think that since they don’t hear or see anything, they are free of this wandering of the mind. I heard: ‘You are greatly mistaken, daughter; rather, the temptations of the devil there are stronger. Be patient, for as long as you live, a wandering mind cannot be avoided.’

— Saint Teresa of Avila, selection from Ecstasy and Common Sense

Happy weekend, all. I’m making a rainy trek to Virginia Beach to visit with Catherine, Jonathan, and Ava for the weekend. Very excited! See you Monday.