Thursday, March 29

Things organized neatly

Here's an outtake from the bedroom of a friend's place. She didn't like the picture, and initially, I didn't either. But since I've been following Things Organized Neatly on Tumblr, I love looking at, well, things organized neatly, like the jewelry tray above. The photos are lozenges for the brain. This one of typewriter parts is a favorite; it's a photo by Todd McLellan.

Are you on Tumblr? Follow me here, and I'll follow back. After all this time, I still need a name for mine...

Wednesday, March 28

A touch-me door

I was walking through the city center of Vicenza, Italy, with some Italians friends, who I've written about here. We walked by this door, and I loved the faded paint and the color combination of green, shades of brown, gold. I couldn't not touch it. I couldn't not pull on the handle a little bit. It was open.

Thursday, March 22

Congrats, Tertulia!

I'm so proud of my talented Homebodies friends--last week, an author, this week, the news that Seamus Mullen's Spanish gastropub Tertulia is a finalist for a James Beard Award in the New Restaurant category. I went a few weeks ago, and it had the best vibe, best jamón, and best staff look: attractive people in colorful plaid shirts. If you haven't been, go! Above, a glowing toy horse from his old apartment.

I'm off to the Architectural Digest Home Design Show today. Ping me if you're heading to the pier.

Thursday, March 15

A reading tonight

I'm so excited for tonight: my Bennington MFA buddy and now author Megan Mayhew Bergman will be reading from Birds of a Lesser Paradise, her debut story collection, at Book Court at 7 pm. Do swing by if you can.

I recently posted a few photos of her beautiful Vermont farm, and here are a few more of my--and a male guest's--tentative interactions with a pup, and goat, and a garden.

Tuesday, March 13

Sleeping loft

Fifteen years ago I slept next to a drum kit under very different circumstances, and this time around was much more pleasant. For starters, it sparkled silently in the corner. We went to bed laaaate, after several rounds of nightcaps, and I awoke to this bottle of water that Tara left on the table next to the cozy sofa she'd covered with Frette linens. Angelic host!

The high end of the ceiling faces the driveway, but all that's visible are treetops. Pretty peaceful. If you crouch down and look through the windows on the low side, between stacks of books and floor pillows, you can see the goats and their manger. Love the rug. That's the view down the stairs, and then up the stairs, standing on the ground floor where the hall to other bedrooms intersects with the entry and the kitchen and the living spaces. It smelled like coffee.

Monday, March 12

Baking cookies.

Taking care of a few things on the home front. I'll be back tomorrow with more from Accord!

Thursday, March 8

Coffee with Milo

Meet Milo, the sweet, sleek Great Dane. I couldn't help but study him, though I'll spare you the 60 photos I took of his elephant-sized paws.

Tuesday, March 6

Sunny morning quiet time

I think of Tara Derr Webb, the birthday girl, as a multidisciplinary artist: she paints (that's her work above, and throughout the house), she photographs, cooks, and I think she graffiti'd, perhaps, in a past life, or maybe she does it in this life, and I'm being intentionally unclear.

Her current focus is The Farmbar, which she describes as "a 1949 spartan mansion landcraft that will be modernized and transformed into a roving farm-to-table restaurant + retail space. Featuring repurposed wood, metal + tile interior, meaningful lifestyle goods and a simple organic regional menu, our mobile spartan will launch from New York and roll southbound in the fall of 2012." Fun renovation pics. The mansion landcraft is currently parked in the yard.
When I woke up on Sunday morning, I walked around the house with coffee as Rafael Melendez, a friend of Tara's from art school, drew at the table with a purple pen. Quiet time. I stood in one spot and took panoramic photos, as you can see below: the living area and dining table; kitchen, cookbooks, and cowhide; the entry; a very glam gold-and-glass cabinet purchased in London. Tara made a breakfast of softly scrambled eggs, toast, and yogurt with honey and cinnamon. I liked the simple design of this Mr. Coffee, especially when paired with the nonsense of Paul Frank party napkins.

Happy book birthday, Birds of a Lesser Paradise!

Today is the much-anticipated birthday of Birds of a Lesser Paradise, the debut collection of 12 stories by my Bennington MFA classmate Megan Mayhew Bergman. It's so exciting to see an outpouring of praise and love and support for a deserving friend's great book. From Publisher's Weekly starred review: "Reflections on the natural world, animals both domestic and wild, family, and death figure prominently as motifs. In the title story, a young woman who lives with her father in backwoods North Carolina confronts her loneliness and her father’s mortality when an attractive stranger engages them to help find a woodpecker believed to be extinct..." Check out her book: look for the pretty green cover and the owl.
Last summer, during my last residency at the Bennington Writing Seminars in Vermont, Megan invited us to her beautiful nearby farm, where her husband has a veterinary practice. She's a wonderful cook and makes a killer sangria. We strolled around the property, ducked under low tree branches, shuffled through barns to check out newly born chicks, pointed at horses, stroked goats' noses, listen to chickens, chased a toddler, and admired a newborn.

Monday, March 5

Weekend in Accord

A few weeks ago, I went upstate to visit Tara and Leighton, a couple I met years ago when we all lived in L.A. It was the kind of trip that began on a Saturday at the southwest corner of Astor Place: four of us from the city were meeting at the blue Land Rover of a guy I'd never met, and he was driving us all to Accord, where we would celebrate Tara's birthday. I could not have asked for a better road trip with strangers: we agreed on listening to old country, and the lovely passenger guest shared sandwiches and entertained us with dramatic readings of her tabloids.

This week I'll post more from the weekend, but for now: corrugated-metal siding (and a corrugated-metal shower, not pictured); shooting targets and Emeco chairs in the kitchen; two dogs, two goats; too many bottles of wine; one cat; lots of glass.