Sisterhood & Sour Patch Kids

309_68792770084_8483_nMy baby sister turns twenty-one today! I knew that I wanted to write a little something for her, so a few weeks ago I started casting around for special memories. I wanted something that would perfectly encapsulate our relationship. I thought about how protective I feel of her, how all I ever want to do is defend her, and tried to think of some kind of story that would represent that feeling.

And then, quite out of the blue, I remembered something. Something I had completely forgotten about.

I moved to Connecticut with my family when I was fourteen. To say that I had a hard time adjusting would be an understatement. At a certain point in my freshman year, I had had enough. I started scheming about how I could get my parents to let me move back to California and stay with a friend. I plotted this so carefully, trying to pick the right moment to broach the subject, but in the heat of a desperate dinner blowout I blurted out my plans. I got a resounding no.

I begged and I screamed, but when those things didn’t work I threatened to kill myself. They still didn’t cave, so I stormed off to my room.

I don’t think I would have gone through with it, but obviously my threat got my parents’ attention. Both of them came to visit to me in my room that night, to plead with me, to tell me how frustrated and scared they were. I remember feeling so tired and empty. I sat there in the middle of my bedroom floor, and said nothing.

But what I remember the most about that night is what happened after my parents left my room. Janey, who was eleven at the time, came tip-toeing up the stairs with a jar full of Sour Patch kids. If memory serves, we didn’t really talk about anything. She just sat with me for a little while, sharing her candy with me.

This is the heart of sisterhood. Sometimes you love her to pieces, sometimes she drives you crazy. But in those quiet moments, when not a single other person in the world understands you, she’ll be sitting right next to you.

I thought I was going to tell you about my little sister, the one I always feel like I need to shield and protect. But I guess this is more fitting, on her twenty-first birthday, to tell you about all the ways she’s protected me.

1374185_10153387503540085_1172391932_nThanks for the candy, Jane-the-pain, and for all the other stuff too.

Those Darling Buds of May

I have been known to under-appreciate the spring. It is so brief, and not quite truly warm, so I think I have always skimmed right over it in favor of its more sultry and playful sister, summer.

But we moved to Portland on the very cusp of spring: those first few days of warmth and sunshine when everyone comes out of hiding, where people talk to each other on the streets, and the teeniest little daffodil buds appear above ground. I had forgotten how powerful this moment can be. It’s so infectious… people were so hopeful, so friendly, so full of ideas about the coming months, when they could think about more than just staying warm. It really affected me. Everywhere I went in those first couple weeks, complete strangers would stop to chat with me, and invariably the talk would turn to the weather. “Can you believe this weather we’re having? Isn’t it fantastic? Are you doing anything today? Going outside?” I found myself nodding along with the same enthusiasm, which really I had no right to feel. It had been 80 degrees in LA for the whole week before the move. Coming to Portland was the coldest I’d been in months. But still, I felt myself swept up in their unbridled optimism for the future.

When I was at Sarah Lawrence, one of the first heralds of spring was the blooming of the magnolia trees. They were all over the campus, particularly around the theatre building, where I spent most of my time. The blossoms were huge, and if you ever really look at a magnolia flower you’ll see that from the moment they come into bloom they go into this state of decay that’s quite nearly erotic–their petals hanging wide open and heavy, so that they fall in languid heaps around the base of the tree.

And the smell. It was, for lack of a better word, absolutely intoxicating. For some reason it always reminded me of that electrifying line from Pablo Neruda, “I want to do with you what spring does with the cherry trees.” For a few weeks in the spring, every time I entered the theatre building I had to walk through a haze of that heady perfume and, like the full moon, I’m sure it did strange and wonderful things to my mind as I climbed up on stage to perform in my next class.

There were a few smaller, younger magnolias scattered around the campus lawns, and I used to nap underneath them between classes on warm days, lying in a giant pile of decomposing petals, hoping to take some of their scent onto my skin. But when I arose, I only ever smelled of grass. In a few weeks, the blooms would disappear entirely, and with them their amazing perfume, replaced by ordinary greenery until another year, and another spring.

The power of spring is the power of momentum. We were stagnating in LA, not unhappy, but not fulfilled, and not moving towards anything better. In the coming weeks, we’re going to try to capitalize on the momentum of our move, and all the excitement and the earnest hope of springtime, to make some big changes. Hopefully something good will come of all this, but if not, at least we kept moving forward. I’ll keep you posted.

Something occurs to me, now. There were no magnolia trees in Los Angeles, but here… they bloom on every street corner.

Photo by Flickr user yocca.

Valentines for Christmas

Christmas_2013KT_03Christmas_2013KT_06Christmas_2013KT_08Christmas_2013KT_12Typewriter_05Typewriter_06Typewriter_23Typewriter_24Just a little series documenting the unveiling of my gorgeous brand new Olivetti Valentine typewriter, a Christmas gift from The Boy. I think he knocked it out of the park, right?

The Valentine was first produced in 1969 in time for the holiday with which it shares its name. Olivetti designed the Valentine to be lightweight, portable, and of course beautiful, to appeal to the romantic and itinerant natures of artists and poets, who would feel more at home writing on a cafe patio or the beach than in a cubicle desk. The company also released a series of stunning posters to promote the new “anti-machine” machine, as they called it. I’m particularly fond of this one. My new baby is one of the originals produced in 1969, and I love him because his Y and Z keys are mixed up, which I believe adds character.

So how on earth could I compete with a gift like that? I don’t know, but I think The Boy was pretty pleased with what I got him.

I hope everyone had a holly jolly holiday, and a splendid new year!

All photos by Xander Keeping, except for the last one, which I took myself and also happens to be the best one.

The World of Lisa Frank

“The World of Lisa Frank” – A Short Film from Scott Ross on Vimeo.

This is a really important documentary about Lisa Frank: beloved designer of rainbow-maned unicorns and puppies wearing necklaces, and icon of my childhood. Three things:

1) I want her office.

2) Why is Lisa Frank the JD Salinger of this generation?

3) Did you spot Mila Kunis?

Video by Scott Ross and Karl Beyer, produced by Urban Outfitters

The Secret Knots

Loving these illustrations by Yina Kim, from a series entitled “The Secret Knots“. From the artist’s website, “I enjoy studying people in public places and create their lives in my head. Even though most of the people I have created are from my imagination, I have a feeling that I know them unconsciously. I believe that everyone is connected in secret knots.”

I used to do exactly this as a child. I grew up outside of Los Angeles, and I went to school in the city, which meant I had to sit in hours of infamous LA traffic at 5:30 am every morning  on my way to school. While my dad listened to NPR, I spied on the strangers in the cars next to us, and imagined what their lives might be like.

The Boy and I are back home on the east coast this week, visiting our folks, playing with dogs, walking in the woods, and making lots of diagrams of The Yard for the wedding (yikes! less than 100 days away!). It’s basically been summer for awhile now in LA, so it’s nice to be back here where the brief warmth and sunshine are so deeply appreciated.

Images courtesy of Yina Kim.

Brooklyn Cabin

Well isn’t this just delightful. A Brooklyn couple built a tiny, one-room cabin inside their apartment, and now they rent the place out on Airbnb. They call it a “one room bed and breakfast”. There’s also a lofted “treehouse” space, where the couple sleeps, which is also available for rent. How nice would it be to have your own little cabin to go home to after a long day exploring the city? The cabin comes highly-reviewed on Airbnb, by the way, and it’s a helluva lot cheaper than even a mediocre hotel.

In other news, wedding planning has swallowed me whole. Hey guys, turns out it’s pretty crazy to try to get married in under five months… who knew??

Pictures courtesy of Airbnb, first seen here.

Be Mine

Love is in the Air from Wriggles & Robins on Vimeo.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Can I just say that I have the most wonderful guy in the world? He bought me a cheese grater for Valentine’s Day, because he knows me better than anyone else in the world, and I love him for it. If he were here today, we would go see the (sure to be terrible) new Die Hard movie and eat some grilled cheese… or mac and cheese… or both… with my new grater. Unfortunately he’s a little too far away for that, but in just two(ish) weeks he’ll be right here next to me in our new tiny home, and our real life together can finally start. I hope you guys have someone to kiss today, and if not you might consider just kissing someone new. Hope you enjoy the sweet video above, and here are some Valentine’s links from around the web:

Vinegar Valentine’s say “I hate you.”

Married couples dance to their wedding songs.

My favorite love story ever.

I bought the first one for my parents, who have been married for nearly thirty years and continually inspire me with their love.

A love poem for girls who read.

Wes Anderson Valentine’s cards are delightful. Also: Arrested Development.

A literary love story map of the United States.

A love story in milk with a tragic ending.

 

 

Our Many Homes: The Brownstone

Brownstone 3 Another home, another city. I must be honest (and I know I’m going to catch a lot of flack for this): I hate New York. I know, I know, greatest city in the world, blah blah blah. But I’m skeptical. This Onion article kind of speaks to my heart. I mean, I know that New York is home to all kinds of amazing food, and hidden gems, and bizarre secrets. But somehow, whenever I visit, I get so distracted by the sheer number of people all in such close proximity to me. New York is not an ideal destination for someone with severe crowd anxiety, such as myself.

But maybe if I had my own home, my own respite from the strange smells and the hard pavement and the throngs of people, maybe New York and I could finally start the love affair I’ve always known we deserve. I’m thinking a spacious brownstone in Brooklyn, or perhaps this delightful neighborhood. It place would be all eclectic glamour, but nothing stuffy: a gorgeous but cozy place with a loft for reading and a giant kitchen where everyone could hang out and drink wine and laugh. Because the most alluring part of New York, for me anyway, is the fact that most of my friends live there. Living on the other side of the country, I miss them all terribly, and my imaginary Brownstone would be the perfect place setting for wild dinner parties and games of apples to apples and oh, the cheeseplates we would have.

More homes to come next week, but in the mean time be sure to check out my Pinterest for more dream pads.

Sources: 1, 2, 3