Always have an artist at your table

Blue with the azaleas.
The Walker's hens.

This weekend, we visited the Walker’s mini-menagerie to walk their dogs, Ginger and Blue. (It was so green and peaceful and provincial–even though we were still in the city.)

And then, Saturday night, I was privileged enough to attend the banquet for the New City Arts Forum. As you can see–even from my blurry photos–it was a magical night.

Meade Hall, beautifully transformed for the dinner.
At the table.

Mallory was the creative genius behind the event’s design. Everything looked just perfect; I was so amazed at the scope of her imagination. I never could have done it. A Pimento very generously donated and made the feast and desserts were contributed by our very own Maddy, of Sweet Madeline, among others. And of course, the whole event and conference was the brain child of the perpetually humble, gracious, and accomplished Maureen Lovett, who is perfect in every way.

Designer Mallory and baker Maddy, with Michael lurking.

Even more blurry photos of the beautiful weekend on my Flickr.

Gay Beery, one of the women behind A Pimento Catering, closed her brief speech about the (incredible) menu with this exhortation: “Always have an artist at your table.” What lovely advice. I think we will always be so blessed.

Monday Snax

Small group dinner at our house!

A wonderful weekend of gatherings and dinners! On Friday, my small group + husbands came to our house for a potluck dinner after we returned from the Compline service at the monastery in Crozet. On Saturday, I went for a run with Liz K. and Bo, and then we had lunch and went to Mallory‘s for a holiday-themed domestic afternoon of baking and nail polishing with the set of super-beautiful and funny Trinity ladies. Then that night, Dave and Kirby had a bunch of us over for an incredible lasagna dinner. Sunday, we finished almost all of our Christmas shopping, which was an incredible feeling. When we got home, I started wrapping them all like a fool. I realized that I really love wrapping presents, even though I am objectively terrible at it. I am way too impatient with ribbons and paper. But I love it just the same. Even if my presents turn out looking like a four-year-old boy wrapped them.

I don’t really feel like snaxing today. Ho-hum. Back to work. But here are a few things:

Americans Are 20 Pounds Heavier Than They Were Just 20 Years Ago. Way to go, America. I think you’re winning this one! While we were at the mall yesterday, Guion commented that they would soon have to widen the lanes to accommodate shoppers. It’s only a matter of time, apparently. (The Atlantic)

Pretty Books Redesigned: Virginia Woolf. I approve! I think Woolf and her sister and creative director, Vanessa Bell, would have approved, too. (Black Eiffel)

Uptown. Just looking at this arrangement makes me feel calmer, happier. (An Apple a Day)

Um, yep. That’s all. It’s been a busy week! More important things to do!

Monday Snax

Mallory walking down the aisle. Didn't she look exquisite?
Us!

This weekend, we enjoyed the beautiful wedding of our friends Michael and Mallory, who tied the knot at James Monroe’s gorgeous estate, Ash Lawn-Highland. Photos on Flickr! Warmest congratulations to Michael and Mallory!

Snax with an enormous wedge of watermelon:

God Caught Backing Multiple GOP Candidates for President. Haha. God needs to make up His mind; it’s getting confusing. (Daily Intel)

The Hyena and Other Men. These photos are mind-blowing. Photographer Pieter Hugo became interested in a group of Nigerian men who capture hyenas and then keep muzzled on huge chains. Why? Not really sure. My best guess is because these animals are TERRIFYING to look at. These photos are astonishing. I also recently learned that hyenas are not from the canid family; rather, they are more closely related to cats. So bizarre. (Pieter Hugo)

Whales Have Regional Dialects. Yet another reason to be totally in love with whales, especially the idea of whales. (Broken Secrets)

DIY Wedding Hair: Chestnut Bun. I don’t know if this would work with curly hair, but I’m inclined to try it. (A Cup of Jo)

Flowers A-Z: O Is for Orchid. I love orchids so much. They’re the only plant that I seem able to keep alive for an extended period of time. I’m inspired to buy another one from the Charlottesville farmers’ market to put in our bathroom. (Design Sponge)

Interview with Christiane Lemieux about Her Book Undecorate. I really like the idea of this book. I would really like to have it on our coffee table. (Bloesem)

A Tribute to N&O Copy Editors and Page Designers. The Raleigh newspaper, the News and Observer, closed its local copy desk this past week. A sad day in journalism. (The Editor’s Desk)

Bundle of Joy. A+ on the execution, fellas. (Young Me, Now Me)

Forest Spirit. Moss-covered trees are always so enchanting and eerie. (The Lighthouse Keeper)

Mini-burst-aster

So. We got pummeled by what appeared to be a tiny tornado last night (also called a “mini-burst” apparently) that caused a lot of damage. We were without power from about 5 p.m. last night until 6 a.m. this morning. Lightning ripped giant oak trees out of the ground, crushing our neighbor’s truck and trailer. Downed power lines splayed across the street. Our porch chairs were flung out in the street when we got home. Caution tape was tied over our street to prevent anyone from entering. It was outrageous. The whole neighborhood was huddled around outside, in shock. The storm happened in about 15 minutes and took out most of Charlottesville’s power in its wake.

We managed to make the most of an unfortunate situation, however. We were planning on making dinner for our new friends Michael and Mallory (Guion had a lovely dish of ricotta-stuffed shells waiting to go in the oven), but after we couldn’t figure out how to start our oven without power, we wandered to the downtown mall. We managed to find the one place that miraculously had power, Eppie’s, and had a nice dinner there. Michael and Mallory were lovely and fun and we had a great time with them. (I was especially pleased to find a fellow reader in Mallory. I haven’t met any girls here except for our neighbors.) Conveniently, the concert we were planning on going to (our worship leader Sam’s band, Hill & Wood) relocated to the Tea Bazaar just next door. And then we came back home and slept in sweltering, humid blackness.

There was something remotely touching about the surge of interdependence in the neighborhood, though. Everyone huddled together in hushed groups on the street, walking together along the dark and eerie downtown mall, swapping horror and survival stories from the afternoon. It evoked images of “The Road,” for some reason, although infinitely less bleak. Charlottesville is still very pretty and lush, despite all the trees on the ground.

Anyway.

I think this is very interesting. This is from the paper I’m proofing today at work.

The critical implication of the research on evolutionary preparedness is that people are likely to react with little fear to certain types of objectively dangerous stimuli that evolution has not prepared them for, such as guns, hamburgers, automobiles, smoking, and unsafe sex, even when they recognize the threat at a cognitive level. Types of stimuli that people are evolutionarily prepared to fear, such as caged spiders, snakes, or heights (when adequate safety measures are in place), evoke a visceral response even when, at a cognitive level, they are recognized to be harmless.

Loewenstein et al., “Risk as Feelings,” Psychological Bulletin, 2001

Guion and I are going away for the weekend! He’s turning 23 on Sunday and so we are going to celebrate his and Emma’s birthdays with a bunch of friends at Emma’s family’s new cabin. Photos of the mini-burst carnage coming on Monday night, ideally. Be safe; have a lovely weekend.