Saturday, December 30, 2006

top fives of 2006

taking a cue from my cousin's best of 2006 many lists (for days she's been posting lists), here are some of mine.

music i listened to most this year:

*martha wainwright
*the weepies
*the decemberists

favorite movies watched

*little miss sunshine
*no direction home (video)
*the science of sleep
*dirty pretty things (video)
*everything is illuminated
*bobby (ok, that makes 6. and i feel like i'm missing an important one.)

books i loved

*the known world by edward p. jones (FANTASTIC)
*the chosen by chaim potok
*everything is illuminated by jonathan safran foer
*extremely loud and incredibly close by jonathan safran foer
*crooked little heart or blue shoe by anne lamott

favorite eats (some discovered in 06 and some just newly appreciated in 06)

*mexican chocolate icebox cookies
*russian cabbage soup
*scharffen berger’s milk chocolate bar (and i’m normally into dark chocolate)

*i do not generally frequent chain food places, but on the way back from oregon, my friend liz and i stopped at the a&w root beer place and i ate fried cheese balls for the first time. maybe i was just really hungry, but those things were SOOO tasty. so salty. so fried. so cheesy. i’m afraid i may need to go back to A&W in 2007 and revisit the fried cheese balls. you know just to see if i was dillusional from all the driving or what.
*carrots (or baked yams, potatoes, beets) dipped in trader joe’s yogurt and chive dip (i plan to try to make this dip myself because it seems really simple)

monday will be a list for 2007...

Friday, December 29, 2006


back at my parents over xmas, i did my annual pouring over all their old photo albums. this time i brought some photos back to SF to scan and send back with my mom.

although i want the photos to be preserved, i do like the way some of the photos are fading. some photos seem to fade to blue, some to red, some to yellow.

i have decided i must get a holga, because i just like square photos best.

here are my mom and i on our old deck, with waldo the pointer. waldo seems to be enjoying the bubbles most. that rock in the background is a (naturally occurring or rather, occurred a long long time ago and now erroding) sandstone in our yard. i really like the tones in these photos.

circular knitting needle trade?

i bought too long needles. they are size 17 (12.5 mm) and 26 inches around. they are bamboo needles from crystal palace. they were 20 bucks and are nonexchangeable.

i am looking for size 16-18 (i guess that's about 11.5-13.5 mm) circular needles but only 16 in. around.

leave me a comment if you want to trade!

i'll be back to blogging shortly. hope you all have had nice breaks.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

happy holidays

i leave you with my favorite ornaments, the tiniest of tomten and the most surprised of little santas.

and of course my mom's collection of tomten, which i love and will be seeing soon.

i'm soon off to my parents' house and will probably not post until around the 28th.

have wonderful holidays of all sorts and see you soon.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

purple and grey

yesterday i collected some of these yellow leaves for a project.
candle flame leaves.

it's true the seasons are not as dramatic here in california, but it just means we have to pay more attention. and contrary to some popular belief, we do even wear winter coats. in fact, i'm wearing mine now. indoors!

thanks to those of you who made it through that last post and expressed appreciation. sometimes after i hit publish, i get a slight queasy feeling. did i say too much? (i'm sure many of you are familiar with this.) but then you all come with your understanding comments and i feel ok. ideally i shouldn't care so much about the response, but i'm not quite there yet.

Monday, December 18, 2006

late at night

alien-esque self portrait

ever since i decided (now many months ago) to quit my stable job with the pretty good income and the health benefits, i have spent many nights awake much farther into the night than i would like. my mind races with thoughts of the various life paths that i could choose. there are so many possibilites. i realize i am lucky to have these possibilities (and/or to believe i have them), but they also overwhelm me. i lie awake alternately excited, impatient for a new day, and anxiety ridden/fearful about having to make big and little decisions/choices.

this is how my mind goes:

i want to do something physical, where i am exhausted at the end of the day. i don't want to be in front of the computer all the time. maybe i should pursue baking. baking is beautiful, i love treats and i like to produce something useful.

but maybe i need more intellectual stimulation. maybe i should apply to grad school and study literature.

or perhaps i stick with my graphic design program and see where that takes me. i am enjoying it. (but am i really passionate about graphic design, or am i just enjoying learning and being in school again?)

(at each new idea, i can diverge into all the positive and negative aspects of these paths of course.)

in january i'm going to start, along with others, an environmentally responsible consumer type blog. i want to learn more about ecology, the environment, sustainability, organic products/food, etc. (at this point i start brainstorming about names for the blog, about how to design it, about emailing all the contributors and about what that email will contain.)

maybe i should go to sweden for a while, try to attend a school there.

i want to redo my website really badly. but i should wait until i get a mac. (should i really get a mac? they're so expensive. and i'd have to get all the programs....)

i wish i'd learned carpentry from my dad growing up. it would be cool to be skilled in a trade.

i want to contribute more to society. maybe i should pursue teaching. (that's what the tutoring job you're starting in january will help you decide, kerstin. you don't need to worry about that now.) what about working with the elderly?

i also want to make art.

and pursue some communal/spiritual activities. dance, sing...

and there's always the store fantasy brewing behind all this.

and on and on it goes.

this is all in addition to the nightly time it takes me to review the day, chastise myself for all the silly things i did/said, worry about money and my current lack of health benefits, sometimes think about/remember my grandparents, remember what i plan to do the next day, think about my friends and family and any interactions i had with them, think about any projects i have going on and about the book i'm reading, sometimes think about what's going on in the world (although a lot of these self-centered thoughts i have partially to avoid thinking about what's going on in the world i bet), try to focus on a breathing exercise, patiently lie in the uncomfortable position my cat is forcing me into, until it becomes painful and i just have to move....

it's a wonder i can sleep at all.

i wrote the above a few days ago. then today i decided to reread some audre lorde essays. they are so full, those essays. i reread Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power. the whole essay is amazing, but below are some excerpts. made me think differently about my above list which, in a way, is my attempt to understand what path is most erotic. though i realize that understanding will come from some kind of emotional/experiential resonance, rather than some analytical process, so no amount of late-night worrying is going to lead me to the answer.

The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves.

It is never easy to demand the most from ourselves, from our lives, from our work. To encourage excellence is to go beyond the encouraged mediocrity of our society...But giving in to the fear of feeling and working to capacity is a luxury only the unintentional can afford, and the unintentional are those who do not wish to guide their own destinies.


The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects - born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women


We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves, our deepest cravings. But once recognized, those which do not enhance our future, lose their power and can be altered. The fear of our desires keeps them suspect and indiscriminately powerful, for to supress any truth is to give it strength beyond endurance. The fear that we cannot grow beyond whatever distortions we may find within ourselves keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, externally defined, and leads us to accept many facets of our oppression as women.


But when we begin to live from within outward, in touch with the power of the erotic within ourselves, and allowing that power to inform and illuminate our actions upon the world around us, then we begin to be responsible to ourselves in the deepest sense. For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering and self-negation, and with the numbness which so often seems like their only alternative in our soicety. Our acts against oppression become integral with self, motivated and empowered from within.

again, these are poet and badass Audre Lorde's words.

Friday, December 15, 2006

friday flickrs

i found moonmuffin's art through jenny's flickr faves. (i always find good stuff in her favorites.)

my favorites this week are all from moonmuffin betsy.

dear diary
winter indoors
kitty buffet (heehee)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

dec 13th: happy sankta lucia!

for show and tell in elementary school, my friend heather and i performed sankta lucia for the class. that is heather on the left, holding her battery operated candle tightly, and i am on the right, holding my left hand tightly. 1980. must have been second grade then. i don't remember the classroom having all those crazy shelves. we must have been in the art room for some reason.

camilla posted a good link to a lucia description.

so did my cousin karin.

Monday, December 11, 2006

bits from sunday

seems i'm taking pictures of a lot of circles and reflections lately.

first, fika/lunch at samovar with a friend.
tea, curry egg salad sandwich (not pictured) and a coconut rice pudding. mmmm.

ceiling of the nook in samovar

off to see for your consideration

then a walk through hayes valley. i never walk around in hayes valley because it's so expensive and somehow out of the way, but it's fun to look in the stores. there seem to be several scandinavian-inspired stores. there's one called scandinavian decor (or something like that), one called smak (which means taste in swedish, either taste as in taste this food or taste as in she has good taste) and is a clothing store, and some others that just seem to carry swedish goods. (there's also a swedish clothing store in the fillmore called flicka {girl} and owned/run by a swedish woman and a swedish american woman. they get to go to sweden twice a year on business. i need to have a store like that!)

wheat wreathe
on the way to my friends' house i passed this wreath,

green globe
this green globe,

ivy house
and this house covered in ivy.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

winter colors

the sun is shining and it's not so cold, but the trees are turning wintery. muted colors - greys, sages, maroons. but fall is still lingering with yellow and gold leaves in other places. and even green as well. so much color. right now i'm enjoying the quieter colors though.

winter colors

i have a cold and am trying to take naps. it's hard not to go outside into the sun and admire the trees though.

(the poloroid with flash is quite forgiving. i wish my skin looked like this. ha!)

inspired by mav's beautiful poloroid self portraits.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

thank you

well, the sale/party was a success! i completely forgot to take pictures. hosting parties is not really my thing, so i was pretty anxious/distracted throughout, but happy that the party overall went well. so many nice people came over. thanks all of you who stopped by and thanks to all the sellers.

above is a hat i received at the sale in a trade with blanche, who got one of my sheep.

my camera is not uploading photos anymore, so i may take a bit of a blogging break here until i get a card reader. also, i tend to feel like hiding out for a bit after parties. but maybe i'll try not to do that. maybe i will scan and post old photos instead this week.

thanks also for all your sweet comments about my last post about mormor. you all got me teary all over again (in a good way).

Friday, December 01, 2006

old photo

an old photo of my mormor and her sister. mormor is on the left. i can remember her doing this with her leg when she laughed, the top leg sticking skyward (often even higher than it is here), foot flexed with glee.

i like to recall how she moved through the world physically (as well as spiritually).

i can see her in her later years, in her apartment on john erikssonsgatan in stockholm, moving from the small kitchen table to the sink directly behind her. i sat across from her on the kitchen bench. the way she stood, perhaps somewhat unsteady (though not seeming to notice this herself), and swiftly cleared a plate from the table, barely moving her body, but quickly moving her arm in a fell swoop sort of way. it might make a stranger a bit nervous, like she might easily drop a plate, but it did not make me nervous. i was used to the way she moved.

i know all of my aunts, my mom and my cousins had special relationships with my mormor. she recognized and appreciated each of our unique personalities, talents and interests and forgave us our faults. and she was the person we all got along with. and i think those of us in the family who felt like outsiders at some point or another for our various reasons, all felt like at least she understood us, knew us and shared a closeness with us. what a gift.

the two years i lived in sweden, my mormor’s apartment was my landing spot. i stayed with her when i arrived, when i had vacations, and before i left. i feel lucky to have spent these times with her alone. walking to the store, post office and bank in kungsholmen, eating at her kitchen table, riding the bus and train together to various places. just occupying the same space and time. i was often quiet and she would tell me stories about her childhood and of morfar and their meeting. i like to think (and do think) it was obvious to her how deeply i loved her and morfar and that she knew i loved to hear about them, and that this was why she told me the stories.

it is almost a year now since she died. i think i will be thinking of her a lot this month. a friend told me she feels her grandmother’s presence more and more as time goes on. i hope i feel this way too. i do miss her physical presence though, her laughing foot pointing skyward. her short upper body (which got shorter with age as i imagine mine will someday too) and tall in comparison hips/legs, one hip jutting out more and more as she grew older and shorter, causing a bit of a lilt in her steps.

it's so strange and wonderful how people have such particular to them ways of moving and tones to their voices. even holding someone's hand, people seem to have particular densities or something. particular energy or consistency. spirit perhaps?

(for my cousins and mom. karin and mom, i think you're the only ones who read this...) kan ni inte hora hur hon svarar i telefonen sa varmt, "HEJ pa dig, du {eller ditt namn har}." jag tanker pa detta ibland for att jag kan hora det sa val o det kanns sa valkommande o karleksful. med morfar hor jag hur han svarade pa nagot man sa, "sager du det?" och "jaha, pa det sattet." det ar en till sadan dar daglig fras han anvande som jag brukar komma ihag, men just nu gor jag inte det.

i chose this photo because i haven't taken any new ones this week. i had only planned to write the first paragraph above, as a caption to the photo, but it became a long post instead.

see you tomorrow?