Tuesday, July 27, 2010

time out

Sometimes it's necessary to step away from the fray, breathe deep and take stock. The Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh calls it 'returning to the island of self,' that solitary destination where you reconnect with your true nature, remember what is most important to you and refresh your soul. Don't underestimate the power of a personal time-out, whether it's for an hour, a day or a season. The world will wait.
(click on image to enlarge)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

the reading life

It's one of the great wonders of the world: reading. And if you love it, life expands in exponential proportions and is filled with endless riches. Reading allows you to travel the universe, meet fascinating people throughout time and even become a more thoughtful person. It's portable. Do it wherever you are, whether that's on a sunny balcony, the living room couch, a beach blanket, a hospital bed, the bus or waiting in line. Learn, laugh, cry, think, mull, explore, enjoy, grow. Read.
(On a balcony by Mary Cassatt, 1844-1926)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

from the StewartMarr portfolio

Fresh off the press, the eleventh annual report that Arkon and I have created for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership. This year we chose the theme of homework. Home work, the hard work of creating affordable homes, which is what the Housing Partnership does. And does wonderfully well. There are beautiful school supply visuals throughout the piece, enough to make you almost look forward to back-to-school shopping and maybe even school itself. Almost.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ode to Enchanted Light

The light under the trees,
the light from high heaven.
The green
that flashes
in the leaf
and falls like fresh
white sand.

A grasshopper lifts
its sawing sound
over the clearness.

The world
is a full glass of water.

- Pablo Neruda
(translated by Mark Strand)

Monday, July 19, 2010

today i will

I like to start each morning with some small nugget of golden thought. A prayer, a reading, a meditation or quote. Morning words to go with morning coffee and set the tone for the rest of the day. There's a veritable gold mine of them in this chunky, joy-filled book by the marvelous Jerry and Eileen Spinelli. Each page of today i will features a quote from children's literature at the top along with a sweet simple line drawing, followed by the authors' reflection and a call to action. If I could, I'd give a copy to every single child. And every grown-up, too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

you say tomato

I say tomahhhhhto. Especially when they come from one neighbor's garden and the recipe comes from another neighbor's kitchen. This dish is simple and scrumptious, two perfect ingredients for any supper.

Cathlean's Tomato Pie

1 pie crust
3 large tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 tbs good olive oil
salt and pepper

Place unbaked crust in pie dish. Layer the cheese over crust and sprinkle with basil. Place the tomatoes on top. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until crust is golden.

Friday, July 16, 2010

making camp

Today holds that quintessential summer ritual: the trip to camp. We'll head out Interstate 85 to Highway 74 and, further down the road, to Highway 26. Up into the North Carolina mountains we'll twist and turn through the little town of Flat Rock, past the Carl Sandburg home and National Park, to the good little bakery where we'll eat lunch, next to a store called The Wrinkled Egg. Then, the moment a certain someone pines for all year: arrival at the cool, cedar-scented grounds of the old Episcopal Camp her Dad went to. There'll be reunited friends, hiking, swimming, rafting, crafts, skits, prayers around the camp fire, sleeping bags under the stars. It's a pretty special place - and way - to spend a few weeks every summer. And dream about the rest of the year long.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the art of poetry

A Box of Pastels

I once held on my knees a simple wooden box
in which a rainbow lay dusty and broken.
It was a set of pastels that had years before
belonged to the painter Mary Cassatt,
and all of the colors she'd used in her work
lay open before me. Those hues she'd most used,
the peaches and pinks, were worn down to stubs,
while the cool colors - violet, ultramarine -
had been set, scarcely touched, to one side.
She'd had little patience with darkness, and her heart
held only a measure of shadow. I touched
the warm dust of those colors, her tools,
and left there with light on the tips of my fingers.

- Ted Kooser

Friday, July 9, 2010

color me summer

Hope it's the kind of weekend where a butterfly lands on your shoulder, loved ones appear at the garden gate, the lemonade is cold and tart, there are flowers in melon-colored profusion, that the world feels plentiful.
(click on image to enlarge)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

picnic perfect recipe

If dear friends are going to have you over again (and again!), you better take a side dish worthy of their sparkling hospitality. This confetti-colored black bean and corn salad is Farmer's Market fresh, easy to make, holds up well outdoors or in, and people always seem to want the recipe. So here it is:

Black Bean & Corn Salad

4 ears of fresh corn
1 can black beans (rinsed/drained)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced

3/4 cup bottled Italian dressing
3/4 tsp Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 TBS fresh cilantro, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
zest and juice of one lime

Shuck the corn and put it in a large pot, covering with cold water. When the water boils, drain the corn. After it cools, cut the kernels from the cob into a large bowl. Add the rinsed and drained black beans, plus the diced red and green peppers and red onion. Whisk the remaining ingredients together to make a dressing and pour over the vegetable mixture. Serves 6.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

jumping into July

Joyful July. Sun-sparkling days, a body of water (ocean, lake or pool will do), cobbler (preferably peach), sparklers, neon signs beckoning off-the-beaten-track, pungent red geraniums, cold fizzy drinks, flip flops, flippers, a floppy hat. Pick up a tennis racket, a bag of boiled peanuts, a good mystery book that'll give you chills. We're getting deep into summer, eating our long corn now. It doesn't get dark 'til nine and then fireflies light up the night. Put a pillow in the hammock for sweet summer dreams.
(click on image to enlarge)

Friday, July 2, 2010

the bluebird of (work) happiness

She landed in one of our concepts at work this week and, happily, the client loved her as much as Arkon and I did. Saussy Burbank builds beautiful nests throughout North and South Carolina. We're blessed to know them and share their story.
(click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Camp Readalot 2010

The second annual session of Camp Readalot wrapped up today and a good, literary time was had by all. There were six adorable campers, two 17-year-old camp directors and just about all the fun you can imagine. Snippets of reading and journal writing were mixed in with the games, dancing, crafts and snacks. Setting the tone for the week was The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli. It's about writing from the heart, cherishing your 'uniquely you' experience. Which is a grand thing to do for one week out of every summer. And the rest of the year, too.