Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Birthday Flowers

{Courtesy of One Ms. Amy Merrick}

A birthday only lasts a day, but arrangements by Amy Merrick last forever. Ok, maybe only a few days, but the memory of them I will cherish in my wee brain for eternity. Dogwood and apple blossoms clandestinely gathered by Amy on the farm, ranunculus and sicknasty hellebore (which are STILL ALIVE, all these ten days later!) from The Ranunculus Guy (also in New Jersey, woot-woot), and urthing else from her local wholesalers in New York. All part of a massive birthday surprise, all admired, inhaled and petted by the guests, all lovingly, painstakingly packed in tissue paper and brown paper bags and driven back to Brooklyn in my lap. Waking up to a wee apartment crammed with birthday flowers is enough to make this old gal sing.

What I love about Amy's style is that she makes flowers look like paintings. Just look at these puppies. I imagine every time she finishes an arrangement a gang of 16th century Flemish still life painters are clapping their hands and raising their chalices of jenever up in Dutch heaven. 

Monday, April 16, 2012



So overwhelmed with love and gratitude from the Surprise Birthday Weekend I'm a giddy emotional and physical wreck from the bourbon-infused bacchanalia. More about that later, but right now, this:

Thank you for the fellowship here on this little slice of internet malarkey. You all keep it real, keep it smart, keep it witty and full of humor and love. I'm still surprised anyone reads bigBANG at all, so thank you for coming back here from time to time and piping up when you do. It really is a joy getting to know you all through your own blogs, comments, emails, Scamp requests, Joshua Tree questions, India inquiries and -highlight of the whole shebang- meetings in person. So, from my internets to yours, THANK YOU.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring at the Top of the World

{Spring 2011 vs. Spring 2012: A Comparative Analysis}

This time last year we were planning our escape from sweltering Jaipur to the vertiginous wilds of Ladakh, that forgotten kingdom at the northern-most tip of India and Pakistan, just over yonder from Tibet to the east and Afghanistan to the west. On the advice from friends (and amazing bigBANG readers!) we spent three days adjusting to the altitude in Leh, then hitched a ride through the rugged Karakorum Range and down into the apricot orchards of Nubra Organic Retreat, a modest, magical, family-run tent camp in a tiny village. Hands-down one of the highlights of our ten months in India.


Today I realized half-way through my graduate seminar that a pair of underwear had gotten stuck in my jeans in the dryer and I'd been walking around all morning with a Hanky Pankian lump lodged against the back of my knee. What does it say about a person who puts on a pair of jeans, rides the subway for thirty minutes, and gives a presentation without realizing there is something of substantial size *inside* one's rather thin and stretchy pants? That there is laundry within one's laundry, sartorial mise en abĂ®me? I dunno, but I couldn't excuse myself to the ladies room, stuff the stowaway in my pocket, and return to the discussion on French feminist theory without giggling just a little bit.

And that sums up the difference between Spring 2011 and Spring 2012. Have a great weekend. P. is picking me up tomorrow and taking me somewhere (A SURPRISE!) for my birthday and I'm so excited I might just wear ALL my clean laundry in my pants tomorrow for easy packing/ extra cushioning. I will be one year older when next you hear from me. Shazam.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Reading

{And Peach Blossoms in the Studio}

Instead of doing my political theory reading last night I poured a glass of (questionable) cheap wine and stayed up until two reading Swamplandia! and loving every Gothic, swampy, Sethy moment. What are you literate lads and lassies reading at the moment? The last time I asked that question you supplied the most comprehensive list (and prompted me to get my act in gear and finally compile a bigBANG reading list of m'own). Let's do it again, shall we?

So, spring reading. Spill it.

Pictures above from the studio this week, starring some off-the-HOOK peach blossoms from a friend's family orchard. Suck it, overpriced bodega cherry blossoms. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Cabin in the Woods

{Franconia Prefab as Shaker Village}

More pictures from our winter trip up to the prefab in Franconia, New Hampshire, where I somehow managed to catch a few quiet shots of the place despite the fact that we crammed eleven people in the house that weekend.

What makes Franconia so special is that there's no TV and group activities revolve around reading, splitting kindling and stoking the fire, cooking big group dinners and taking long walks around the patchwork of neighboring dirt roads. It's like a weekend at a Shaker village circa 1812, but you get to return to your heathen TV-watching ways come Monday. I would know: when I was little my mom used to threaten to ship us off to Sabbathday Lake when my three sisters and I were being ungrateful, poorly-behaved, unhelpful or lazy. No joke. Nothing like the threat of getting shipped off to a Shaker colony in rural Maine to get a girl to clean her room.

And yet you reach a certain point in your adult life when being banished to the Shakers sounds, in my book, pretty fantastic. Great furniture designers, world-renowned gardeners (the Shakers invented the heirloom seed catalogue), took in orphans no questions asked, sang and danced constantly, and one of the most progressive communities espousing gender equality two hundred years ahead of its time. (Mkay so maybe all the speaking in tongues, back-breaking farm labor, religious zealotry, and celibacy is a little less attractive, but you get what I'm saying.)

Hope you had a restful weekend. And hey! My pictures of the one-room board-and-batten cabin  I wrote about a few weeks ago were featured on Cabin Porn, here, if you missed it.