Artful all…

The website ’20 x 200′ offers in their own words “great artists, affordable prices, new prints every week” and sometimes that’s the truth in the context of individually being drawn to a piece.  One cup of coffee into my Saturday morning and something about this photograph speaks to me.  “Food Sign” by the photographer Bryan Schutmaat can be yours or mine  11″ x 14″ for $60.00.  That’s not paying his mortgage but I think it’s a steal for a piece of work that one might even love. ’20 x 200′ can be found at http://20× and, happy hunting.

On holiday…

We’ve returned from our Winter Break in the desert, Palm Springs to be explicit. There are words and images in the works related to said adventure. But on this Wednesday evening when the only motivation for my son to appear on a semi daily basis at school is the loss of the what appears to be extremely addictive WOW, LOL and the more social Magic the Gathering and my anticipation of dental surgery in the morning which is really about not being able to have coffee in the iv it felt point on to play around with the format of this blog.  The changes are truly minor but daunting when you want to avoid the majority of what one should be focused on.  I’m not sure I like the links appearing way on down, a bit further now, on the page.  The multiple fonts, now that’s a plus.  I leave you with the look, but pleasantly not the sounds of Lawrence Welk.

Gods and Goddesses…


Marin’s newspaper, the Independent Journal recently had an article written by Master Gardener Marie Narlock on the topic of  the myths that we might be buying into regarding our gardens.  It’s a good read.  Click on the lawn image and you will be transported to the article.

Image shot by John Mutrux

Like lipstick on an Akita…

When it comes to beauty in the garden it’s truly all about the garden and not the gardener.  Especially after attempting to move five yards of topsoil before the last rain,  at least that’s the story a ‘friend’ told me.  Maybe it’s the memories of Glamour ‘do’s and don’ts’ or the popular definition of crazy  which would be doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I’m not sure what drives the desire but I do know that I’ve always wondered who got the job of naming all those lipsticks and nail polishes.  On that note my tip for the day is dark polish on a short nail.  I’m partial to greens, browns, red in December and purples.  Recently I’ve also been drawn towards the turquoise blue that appears to be the color du jour but the purchase has not been made.  My current favorite polish is Essie’s ‘Smokin’ Hot’ a Paynes grey purple.  The bliss of a dark color is that it always hides the dirt that lingers under one’s nails.  This works for the staining that happens during the grape sorting portion of wine harvest as well.

Essie's 'Smokin' Hot' Nail Lacquer

If I were in charge and yes I often picture life that way even though more often that’s not the case I would have chosen ‘Helleborus’ as the name. ‘Smokin’ Hot’ is a bit tired.   As these blooms age (this one is showing a bit pink) there is more of a smoky purple tint.

Helleborus bloom

Welcome 2012…

While I don’t think it’s an auspicious start that any of us can now be detained as a potential terrorist,  thankfully when it comes to the garden things are both more and less complicated.   At least it’s a context that’s familiar and generally not threatening.  This year I hope to reach the bottom of one of my compost piles, hunt down those deep crabgrass roots once and for all (yeah, right), grow a few more edibles, revive my broken and wonky drip system, and catch some rainwater if it ever rains.  That and more travel to view the efforts of others.    Whatever the state or size, may your garden reach its own perfect equilibrium of imperfection in the coming year.

What's in bloom January 1, 2011

Tutti Frutti…

Lucky Peach Issue #2

Wandering Kinokuniya bookstore in theory shopping for others (tis the season) I discovered ‘Lucky Peach’ a quarterly food and writing publication.  Attractively matte, this could be pretentious second issue is a McSweeney’s collaboration with chef David Chang  (yes of Momofuko fame), writer Peter Meehan and the production company responsible for ‘Anthony Bourdain:No Reservations’.  I know this now thanks to Google the verb.

My reaction has been one of infatuation. Based on the $58.00 asking price for copies of Issue #1 listed on Amazon I’m not alone.  A subscription costs $28.00 and yes, I’m going to.   Quirky, arty, high and low food culture, food photography, recipes, commentary, and travel all with a hearty helping of humor makes for a good read, one to keep out of the recycling for the time being.  My of the moment favorite portion of the current issue is a page of artist designed ‘fruit stickers’ just waiting to be used.  I both want to hoard and share them.  Easing into the sharing thing with a visual or two, keeping the sticker for the time being.


For more about ‘Lucky Peach’  here’s a link to an article from The Atlantic.


Whatever you may call it…

Happy Thanksgiving, Turkey Day, Indigenous People’s Day however you may like to refer to it may the day be filled with warmth, good company, painless travel and cheer.

And, much as I’m attached to words,

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John F. Kennedy

Wake up and smell the (McDonald’s) coffee…

Amidst being haunted by the images filtering out of U.C. Davis this week another set of visuals impacted what for some is an iconic (the reporter’s choice of word) breakfast item.  When I think iconic breakfast,  dishes like eggs benedict, joe’s scramble, or french toast come to mind.  Don’t forget the side of bacon.  However, what has  been  newsworthy is the Egg McMuffin pictured below in all of its fineness.

The Egg, or in this case Egg and Sausage McMuffin has been flooded with attention because of a video capturing  the conditions of the factory farm that supplies McDonald’s with their eggs.  These conditions are nothing like the sunlit mythical old timey farm portrayed in their commercials.  Footage which is as unappetizing as it gets was filmed with a hidden camera at one of our largest national egg producers.  You can get a glimpse of it here at this link, 20/20 Sparboe Farms.  What’s intriguing is that both McDonald’s and Target (another retailer supplied by Sparboe) have dropped the supplier and in the case of Target pulled the eggs from their ‘grocery’ section.  Given the volume of eggs needed probably another ‘farm’ where the chickens never see daylight is in the works, but hopefully one where some basic standards are met.  Or, you can just skip that Egg McMuffin.


It’s a small world after all…

Glancing at the date of my last post explains the interior resistance when it comes to putting word to screen.  Let me be the first to welcome myself back to the world of the writing.  Being the cool kids that you are I know it’s not news that creating or owning a terrarium is where it’s at.  If you’re in Portland, Oregon sign up for one of Artemisia’s workshops or just descend on the S.E. shop. This popular retail venture is exclusively about terrarium varietals.  If you’re not so close to the Pacific Northwest order up a kit or even trust your own instincts with a decadent array of supplies, decorative and live.  If just in the research stage you might want to check out this book.

There’s also no reason to leave the sofa if that’s more your style.  Rowanberry 128 on Etsy has this deer and mushroom delight.

That said, something crossed my consciousness that will appeal both to those who like to garden in a small tight space (terrarium) with perhaps a master of the universe mindset and whom also might have a small technology addiction.  Hello to the Samuel Wilkinson designed Biome Flora Terrarium.  Get this, the delicate balance of this petite eco-system is monitored, controlled even by your iPhone or IPad. The designer refers to this as a “live Tamagochi” whose environment can be anything from tropical to desert.  This piece was part of a ‘Slow Tech’ show so no details on production or retail that I’m aware of.

You can’t unscramble an egg. American proverb

“The mission of Lan Su Chinese Garden is to cultivate an oasis of tranquil beauty and harmony to inspire, engage and educate our global community in the appreciation of a richly authentic Chinese culture.”

That is what the website states.  It was ten minutes before the heavily carved wooden door was swung open as I joined the migration of the other,  all female, bermuda length short wearing expectant visitors, cameras in hand to the garden.  In a decade the Satyricon Nightclub ( legend has it that Kurt met Courtney there) was replaced by  mornings and greenery.  I learned this trip that the club only closed last Fall, the building slated for demolition.  Old Town used to be desolate and this particular morning felt earlier because it was only a mix of tourists and homeless individuals stirring.  This was an oasis of green, full city block, skyscrapers filtering over the top of trees, spurts of street noise patched in.

Portland's Chinese Garden

hints of the city to the left

life beyond the wall

Portland's Chinese Garden

tea for one