Archive for July, 2010

A glossary of niceties

July 28, 2010

See letter K. Tastes as good as it looks?

At least one thing that makes me happy for every letter of the alphabet. (Sometimes, a return to fourth-grade formats is in order.)

Ampersands. At once old-fashioned and modern. Efficient and handsome. Sometimes they seem pretentious, and sometimes they seem overly casual. How can all of these things be true of a little symbol? Semiotics. It’s the new “plastics.”

Breathing in the smell of wood smoke in the crisp fall air.

Brain research. Two words: neural plasticity. Good news. (Also two words.)

Cooking. I was staring into my freezer a few evenings ago wondering if it had a meal to offer me when I remembered, “Oh, yeah — I know how to cook.” Suddenly, I was making a roux and unwrapping cheeses. Then 30 minutes later, my cupboards and fridge were emptier, my pans were dirtier and my hunger was gone. All-around satisfying.

DVRs. More focused, commercial-free TV-watching segments of my life.

Experiencing a thunderstorm.

Fonts are fun. Mid-century fonts are perhaps the most fun. Some people enjoy railing against particular fonts. Others simply gaze fondly at the beautiful shapes of certain letters and numbers.


See letter M. And please eat while sitting in pickup truck.

Having time to think about life and stuff. Sometimes while staring at trees, sometimes while driving around, sometimes while cutting out pages from a 1902 Sears catalog or a 1964 magazine and using them for (art?) projects. Sometimes doing those things while not bothering to think at all.

Imitation fur blankets & such. All the softness of rabbits, none of the harming of animals.

Japanese notebooks.

Knowing the center of our galaxy might taste like raspberries.

Loopy. It’s just a great word is all.

Macarons. When possible, by Pierre Hermes. When possible, in Paris. When possible, a box with lots of flavors, such as pistachio, rose, chocolate-passion fruit and salted butter caramel. When possible, also vanilla.

Noticing the place where the sky meets the trees. Seriously, has this juxtaposition ever caught your eye? It catches my breath sometimes, the way it always looks just right. Green leaves against a stormy, gray sky? Yes. Yellow leaves in fall against a bright blue? Yes. Stark, brown branches in winter against white clouds? Yes. I’m telling you — it’s perfect every time.

Orgone, Ozomatli, other funky world music.

See letters P and Z. Me with my brother on our front porch. Yep, it was the '70s.

Oh, what a handy exclamation.

Pickup trucks. Old ones, that is.

Pretty plus. On a childhood back-to-school shopping outing, my brother was miffed that I couldn’t shop in the “pretty plus” section. I explained that it was for people who needed bigger sizes, but he still thought I thought should be able to shop in a section called that. So even though he has no memory of this exchange, he must have thought I was a nice little sister. Sweet.


Really sharp pencils.

Root beer floats. AKA black cows. What’s not to like?

Sunlight streaming through a few nearby trees to achieve slight dappling effect. Best enjoyed with eyes closed to feel nuanced interplay of breeze, shade and light.

Things that fit in pockets. Also, pockets.


Venturing into the unknown.

Waking up to what’s true. Also, waking up to who you really are.

X. Even pirates know it marks the spot.

Yipee, yee-haw and other sentiments of unabashed joy.

Zick it. When my brother and I were in elementary school, we decided to invent our own language so we could communicate privately in any situation. We decided “zick it” was an essential phrase but one that we never would use harshly on each other, as it meant “shut up.” I wish I could remember what “comosito” meant.

Photo credits: Milky Way photo by NASA, macaron photo by Pierre Hermes.