Care Packages

So, when all this Covid-ness evolved to quarantine evolved to continued world falling apart, I started sending out a weekly ‘care package’ to my friends/colleagues/family. It grew. And grew. As did requests for it to be added to my site. Thus…

Updated weekly! Questions, thoughts, hellos, please email me at the email address on the home page.

Care Package #20, August 16, 2020

Whirlwind of a week! The sweet daughter headed back to LA, and the baby boy turned 20 (whaaaaat?). What a head spinning year. Hope everyone is hanging in there! 

Remember the band Garbage? Shirley Manson has a podcast called Jump that features discussions with musicians talking about one song that “changed everything.” The artist line up is great, from George Clinton to Liz Phair and everything in between and beyond. 

Y’all as sick of Zoom as I am??! We look for spice where we can find it these days. Giphy made some zany backdrops that are fun.

My gallery is trying to figure out how to be a gallery without open doors or real-time humans or actual art on actual walls. Hmmmm. Well, here’s a virtual tour through the work of Jean-Michel Basquiat from a past exhibit. 


I love shadow puppets and the reliance in equal measure on light and dark. Here is a short video on one of Cambodia’s master shadow puppet masters


Remotely Yours is a lovely 20 minute film produced by the amazing Degenerate Art Ensemble and New Dance Alliance out of Seattle. Artists always figure out how to keep putting work out into the world, no matter the barriers. 


I’ve mentioned Bob Mould before. And again now because he just announced a full release of his solo and Sugar catalogue in an anthology called Distortion spanning 1989-2019. Here’s classic Bob from 2005 at The 9:30 Club performing “Could You Be the One.” My ears are ringing just like at the Wonder Ballroom. 

Let’s mix it up. Aminé dropped a new album. He grew up in NE Portland, look at him now…

So when I found the song I was looking for from Elvis Costello’s new album drop, the ad that played before was for AARP. Found that ironic considering. But HEY. He is still putting out records, and the three tunes released so far from the new project are vintage EC with a lot to say about the state of the world right now, as he should. He may be 65 but he’s Elvis Costello

I appear to be on a musical tangent because I’m still going. I saw an Instagram post the other day that made me laugh and it was simply “REM got my hopes up about the end of the world.” Yup. Not feeling fine, Mr. Stipe


Can you imagine the brain that is capable of creating these cakes


Wow. Will you look at this line up. On Tuesday, August 18 at 5 p.m. PDT / 8 p.m. EDT, the founding members of the Poetry Coalition will present One Poem: A Protest Reading in Support of Black Lives. The virtual reading will be broadcast live for free via Crowdcast and YouTube


I could not possibly love this poem anymore than I do. It’s long. Read it through. It’s the message we need, or at least I needed, for these times. Especially the third from the bottom stanza. Wow. This poem should be our anthem right now. Reminder reminder reminder.  

You Are Who I Love
--Arcelis Girmay

You, selling roses out of a silver grocery cart

You, in the park, feeding the pigeons
You cheering for the bees

You with cats in your voice in the morning, 
feeding cats

You protecting the river   You are who I love
delivering babies, nursing the sick

You with henna on your feet and a gold star in 
your nose

You taking your medicine, reading the 

You looking into the faces of young people as 
they pass, smiling and saying, Alright! which, 
they know it, means I see you, Family. I love you. 
Keep on.

You dancing in the kitchen, on the sidewalk, in 
the subway waiting for the train because Stevie 
Wonder, Héctor Lavoe, La Lupe

You stirring the pot of beans, you, washing your 
father’s feet

You are who I love, you
reciting Darwish, then June

Feeding your heart, teaching your parents how 
to do The Dougie, counting to 10, reading your 
patients’ charts

You are who I love, changing policies, standing 
in line for water, stocking the food pantries, 
making a meal

You are who I love, writing letters, calling the 
senators, you who, with the seconds of your 
body (with your time here), arrive on buses, on 
trains, in cars, by foot to stand in the January 
streets against the cool and brutal offices, saying: 

You are who I love, you struggling to see

You struggling to love or find a question

You better than me, you kinder and so blistering 
with anger, you are who I love, standing in the 
wind, salvaging the umbrellas, graduating from 
school, wearing holes in your shoes

You are who I love

weeping or touching the faces of the weeping

You, Violeta Parra, grateful for the alphabet, for 
sound, singing toward us in the dream

You carrying your brother home
You noticing the butterflies

Sharing your water, sharing your potatoes and 

You who did and did not survive
You who cleaned the kitchens
You who built the railroad tracks and roads
You who replanted the trees, listening to the 
   work of squirrels and birds, you are who I 
You whose blood was taken, whose hands and 
   lives were taken, with or without your saying
Yes, I mean to give. You are who I love.

You who the borders crossed
You whose fires
You decent with rage, so in love with the earth
You writing poems alongside children

You cactus, water, sparrow, crow  You, my elder
You are who I love,
summoning the courage, making the cobbler,

getting the blood drawn, sharing the difficult 
news, you always planting the marigolds, 
learning to walk wherever you are, learning to 
read wherever you are, you baking the bread, you 
come to me in dreams, you kissing the faces of 
your dead wherever you are, speaking to your 
children in your mother’s languages, tootsing the 

You are who I love, behind the library desk, 
leaving who might kill you, crying with the love 
songs, polishing your shoes, lighting the candles, 
getting through the first day despite the 
whisperers sniping fail fail fail

You are who I love, you who beat and did not 
beat the odds, you who knows that any good 
thing you have is the result of someone else’s 
sacrifice, work, you who fights for reparations

You are who I love, you who stands at the 
courthouse with the sign that reads NO 

You are who I love, singing Leonard Cohen to 
the snow, you with glitter on your face, wearing 
a kilt and violet lipstick

You are who I love, sighing in your sleep

You, playing drums in the procession, you 
feeding the chickens and humming as you hem 
the skirt, you sharpening the pencil, you writing 
the poem about the loneliness of the astronaut

You wanting to listen, you trying to be so still

You are who I love, mothering the dogs, 
standing with horses

You in brightness and in darkness, throwing your 
head back as you laugh, kissing your hand

You carrying the berbere from the mill, and the 
jug of oil pressed from the olives of the trees you 
belong to

You studying stars, you are who I love
braiding your child’s hair

You are who I love, crossing the desert and 
trying to cross the desert

You are who I love, working the shifts to buy 
books, rice, tomatoes,

bathing your children as you listen to the 
lecture, heating the kitchen with the oven, up 
early, up late

You are who I love, learning English, learning 
Spanish, drawing flowers on your hand with a 
ballpoint pen, taking the bus home

You are who I love, speaking plainly about your 
pain, sucking your teeth at the airport terminal 
television every time the politicians say 
something that offends your sense of decency, of 
thought, which is often

You are who I love, throwing your hands up in 
agony or disbelief, shaking your head, arguing 
back, out loud or inside of yourself, holding 
close your incredulity which, yes, too, I love     I 

your working heart, how each of its gestures, 
tiny or big, stand beside my own agony, building 
a forest there

How “Fuck you” becomes a love song

You are who I love, carrying the signs, packing 
the lunches, with the rain on your face

You at the edges and shores, in the rooms of 
quiet, in the rooms of shouting, in the airport 
terminal, at the bus depot saying “No!” and each 
of us looking out from the gorgeous 
unlikelihood of our lives at all, finding ourselves 
here, witnesses to each other’s tenderness, 
which, this moment, is fury, is rage, which, this 
moment, is another way of saying: You are who I 
love   You are who I love  You and you and you 
are who

Care Package #19, August 9, 2020

Hi all. Topsy turvy upside down kind of week, eh? Be well, remember your triangle or deep belly singer breathing, look at the sky lots and lots this week ahead. xok 


This made me smile and I spent more time on this than I probably should have :-). For the record, I hate driving and am happy as a clam hunkered in my house. But this is so weird and so interesting and satisfied some teency miniscule part of my travel longing/missing/pining. Drive and listen let’s you ‘drive’ through various international cities listening to the car radio. I know, it’s weird. Just click on the link, you’ll see what I mean!


65 runs around Portland! What a great list, wow. These also make great walks. We’re so lucky to live where we live!

The Narrative out of UT Austin is an aggregate of interviews, interactives, and media centered on Black culture and is worth some time reading in a cozy chair with a cup of green tea. An off shoot of their Art Galleries at Black Studies department, they write: The thinking: if we can’t provide physical access to the art which prompts the conversations, critical thought and ideas which pass through the galleries, we can continue to further access to the narratives behind the works of art. For too long, the voices of Black people have been under-heard. In this space, we unapologetically share the layered complexity of our narrative.


My friends and kids and I greatly miss movie-going this summer. Sigh. Hollywood Theatre just opened tickets for their drive-in movie series at the Expo Center. 


And now what you’ve all been waiting for! A one minute film about protein sequence :-))


Think it’s a weekend to cook up some Lebonese food and send good energy and thoughts that direction. Sigh, what a world, what a sad week…

Man’oushe Za’atar Flatbread

Chicken Shawarma Salad Bowl

I always bake my Falafal instead of frying, and I add hemp seeds and cardamom and coriander and cumin. 

Kale Quinoa Tabouli

Baba Ghanouj

Labneh sauce

Apricot Upside Down Cake


And here is an interesting article on 7 Musicians You Need to Know from Lebanon, and here are a few more Lebonese musical artists to bring into your home.


One of my kids is headed back south, sniff sniff and will not have her helicopter mom saying “Do you have your mask?” literally every time she leaves the house (for the record, she always does because she’s responsible and will be just fine without me hah :-)). Regardless, here is a link for very good masks from none other than Portland’s Stark’s Vacuums. Yes, that Stark’s, where y’all (or at least I) have been bringing our vacuums for repair for the past 30 years or where we purchased or last refurbished one! Their masks are lightweight, have a vacuum filter later, are moisture wicking, have a nose guard and completely cover. And now have multiple colors.



–Alice Dunbar-Nelson, 1875-1935

Wild seas of tossing, writhing waves,

A wreck half-sinking in the tortuous gloom;

One man clings desperately, while Boreas raves,

     And helps to blot the rays of moon and star,

     Then comes a sudden flash of light, which gleams on shores afar.

You Still Dream 

–Nikki Grimes

Here, poem meets prayer.

We are exceedingly comfortable

with posturing and self-defense

that masquerade as apology.

But what’s needed in this moment

is unmixed confession

of our nation’s sin,

deep and indefensible.

“Now I lay me down to sleep”

must make way for

something more muscular:

sack cloth and ashes,

prayer and fasting,

naked prostration.

Daniel understood

radical repentance begins

with this unvarnished profession:

You are righteous,

and we are not.

Please heal our nation.

Cleanse our stubborn hearts.

Show each of us what part to play.

Broken as Judah and Jerusalem,

we cry and come bending our will

toward the good

you dream for us still,

no matter our sin,

no matter what skin

we’re in.

Care Package #18, August 2, 2020

Hi all! Life is lovely around here. Hope the same for you all. Just learned the son will be home in the fall, college all remote. Relief he’ll be safer re. Covid. Sad for his college experience. But such as it is these days. 

Be well and happy into the week ahead!


Let’s begin with a cat giving mental health advice. Because we can. 

A half hour piece on the connection of the Shoshone-Bannock  Tribe’s connection to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River and their efforts to reconnect with this land and particular place that was stolen from them. 


Can’t travel the way we want to this summer, but I’m forever grateful to have Forest Park in our back pocket for dog walks or trail running. Their 2021 calendar contest is now accepting photographs for consideration. The entry fee raises funds for the Park.


This podcast on books that changed us is really interesting. Play it while you take a run or cook!


An article on the link between cloud gazing and creativity 🙂


I’m told there are a few seats left in the Carolyn Forche study group Soapstone is having me lead Sunday mornings in October and November on Zoom. If you don’t know Soapstone, you should! Promoting the work of women writers, led by the amazing Ruth Gundle and Judith Barrington. 



–Dorianne Laux

Moonlight pours down

without mercy, no matter

how many have perished

beneath the trees.

The river rolls on.

There will always be

silence, no matter

how long someone

has wept against

the side of a house,

bare forearms pressed

to the shingles.

Everything ends.

Even pain, even sorrow.

The swans drift on.

Reeds bear the weight

of their feathery heads.

Pebbles grow smaller,

smoother beneath night’s

rough currents. We walk

long distances, carting

our bags, our packages.

Burdens or gifts.

We know the land

is disappearing beneath

the sea, islands swallowed

like prehistoric fish.

We know we are doomed,

done for, damned, and still

the light reaches us, falls

on our shoulders even now,

even here where the moon is

hidden from us, even though

the stars are so far away.


Been re-reading through bell hooks’ All About Love prepping for teaching the book this fall at Univ of Portland and what a reminder of how good it is. Love in all its definitions and places it seeps into and is necessary, self, each other, society, community…its role in justice and healing. Whew. Here’s an article about hooks’ from the NY Times last year. 


Was missing meeting friends and hanging out at the Hawthorne Cup & Saucer with a big plate of garden scramble. So we made our own yesterday morning. Chop and toss tempeh, potatoes, onions, garlic, bell peppers, and any other veggies you want in olive oil and roast at 400 til browned. Pile on plate and sprinkle on grated cheese and chopped fresh parsley. Drizzle plain yogurt and a smidge of ketchup on top.

—-Or pile all that into a tortilla with some salsa and avocado and scrambled eggs maybe beans instead of tempeh for a breakfast burrito.

—-It’s been hot in Portland lately. Channel Ben or Jerry and get creative with flavors and chunks of things added to easy-peasy homemade ice cream.


It’s a Kid Travis kind of morning, me thinks.

Adam Duritz turned 56 yesterday. Whaaat? Sigh. Still one of the coolest, don’t care what anyone says. I will defend Counting Crows, and much of ’90s rock, will go to the mat. Here you goAnd one more cuz

Went down the musician birthday rabbit hole. Joe Elliot is 61?! What!!! And now you’re asking who the heck is Joe Elliot? How could you ask such a thing. Def Leppard people. Those who know me are just nodding their heads. The rest of you are like what? Kirsten? Hair bands. You. Know. It. One of my proudest parenting moments was taking my sweet then-small children to see Def Leppard. Yes I did. And ACDC before everyone died and disbanded (we actually got on a plane to see them :-)). And Kiss. And Soundgarden. And Primus. And yes, the Oregon Symphony. And jazz clubs. And hip hop shows. But I’m most proud of ACDC and Soundgarden, truth be told. If you want to see a ‘hair band’ you should look at Dave and my band photos from a few decades ago. Okay here you go.


Okay people, have a happy week ahead. Thanks for your sweet emails, love it. Off to kayak with my amazing gift of a daughter. 

Care Package #17, July 26, 2020

Hello, all! Feeling like summer, minus the travel on our end. Missing that a lot these days, but loving the reports I get from my friends who are scattered across the US and Europe. Not the same, but…
Music is a universal language for creatures of all kinds 🙂 as evidenced by this video.


We’re all sick of adjusting our lives and the accompanying fear over this virus and how it is and will affect our lives. The back to school decision is looming and tangled for a lot of us. This short video by a Venezualan creative director on 100 days without fear is light but works. 


And because of all this and because of the content of my work this summer, I’ve been needing brain distractions here and there. This is just plain weird and thought-provoking and interesting and odd and presented humorously, an analysis of the way physical traits are described in literature.


And on the missing travel theme. This. This is why I love Iceland. Beautiful article. Includes a few beautiful shorts (like short, under a minute) from this dispatch…


Let’s keep it on Iceland.  My heart work will always be in photography. While I can’t make a living at it full-time anymore, it still inspires and inhabits me. Like here


But let’s get it back to Portland. Yes we have a lot happening here right now. And yes, the Feds are making it ten million times worse and need to leave. Portlanders are beautifully showing up to say no to Trump and his goons. Here’s a podcast from a discussion couple years ago put on by Literary Arts with civil rights leader DeRay Mckesson. In it he says, “Any call for peace that’s not rooted in a demand for justice was something we didn’t want. We knew that the freedom that our lives deserve would never be rooted in something as basic as order and compliance, and we knew that a call for peace in the absence of justice was just a call for order and compliance. What we knew to be true then, we know to be true now: no justice, no peace.”


Let’s cook and let’s eat dessert first :-). Missing your campfire? Indoor s’mores, mmmmm (nothing a broiler or skillet can’t do…). The kids and I have to do this today. 

Okay, now get your vitamins with Wilted Red Cabbage Salad with Mint and Goat Feta.

I detest avocados with all my whole self, but I will give this recipe it’s respect and admiration for aesthetic and innovation in ingredient combinations (minus the damn pickled shallots!) and I’ll make this Avocado Mango Pineapple Salad with Pistachios today for my sweet daughter who loves avocados. 

One more cool salad to have in the fridge because apparently it really is unfortunately going to be 100 degrees here today and tomorrow. Can’t go wrong with a Caprese Salad.

Sweet friends popped by our backyard the other day with a gift of freshly-picked blueberries (now that is a food worthy of adoration, as opposed to avocados blehck) and I found this recipe for Warm Nectarine and Blueberry Shortcakes on Food & Wine, which took me back to NYC circa a few decades ago where I was a food stylist assistant and was my daughter’s age!!! Sigh. Feeling old.

Some music while you cook or just want to center your heart :-).

Sara Watkins makes me smile. 

And Postie.

And oh my, Mac Ayres

Kids and I watched Hamilton on Disney Plus the other night. If you haven’t seen it in some form, you’ll be glad you did. 


Some necessary poems.  

Won’t You Celebrate With Me

–Lucille Clifton

won’t you celebrate with me

what i have shaped into

a kind of life? i had no model.

born in babylon

both nonwhite and woman

what did i see to be except myself?

i made it up

here on this bridge between

starshine and clay,

my one hand holding tight

my other hand; come celebrate

with me that everyday

something has tried to kill me

and has failed.


A Center

–Ha Jin

You must hold your quiet center,

where you do what only you can do.

If others call you a maniac or a fool,

just let them wag their tongues. 

If some praise your perseverance, 

don’t feel too happy about it—

only solitude is a lasting friend.

You must hold your distant center.

Don’t move even if earth and heaven quake. 

If others think you are insignificant,

that’s because you haven’t held on long enough.

As long as you stay put year after year,

eventually you will find a world

beginning to revolve around you.


Be well. Be happy. Look at the sky. xok

Care Package #16 July 19, 2020

Hello dear people,

As many of you know, almost four months ago our sweet old Golden was unexpectedly given 48 hours to live. Well, we call him our lil miracle, as he’s still here with us despite metasticized cancer and heart failure and lumps and bumps everywhere, and today he got a little pampering with a trip to the groomer to trim him up to help him handle the heat. When I went to pick him up, I was given a note by the cashier that the groomer had left for me. “Thank you for entrusting me with Mr. Iddo. He offered me perspective on life, as he is so happy and content with the moment, as we all should be.”
These are weird times and it was such a simple gesture–to take a moment to write that note to me, as well as the reminder to focus on the moment. And I couldn’t help but think that right now, and especially in America and especially in Portland, this is how we keep each other’s back. We help each other maintain perspective and groundedness in the moment and through pure and honest and genuine gestures. 

Since Iddo does that every day all day, I figured he could use some reinforcement and we three could use more unabashed-can’t-help-ourselves smiles. Thus, I introduce you to Murphy :-). So when you need a little pick me up, just look at this face.

Amidst puppy potty training (HELP!) here are a few findings to share with you:

This is the last week you can rent two of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s performances: Midsummer Night’s Dream and Copper Children. The playwright and director of Copper Children have a wonderful discussion here. OSF is a treasure. 

Summer always reminds me of Matisse. And of how much I need my studio back!!!

Learn about the incredible children’s book author and artist, Ashley Bryan. His book Freedom Over Me in particular is brilliantly executed and one of the most effective ways I’ve seen to viscerally explain slavery to a young audience. His newest book, Infinite Hope, is about his time serving in the segregated army during WWII.

thoughtful essay about an indigenous writer caught between two cultures.

Was thinking yesterday about Soup Night I used to hold monthly at my house with friends. Missing that!!! Seems we’re a long ways from gatherings and potlucks, sigh, but Atlas Obscura is hosting a virtual trivia night each Friday at 7 pm ET. Could be fun.

I love this. Dance where you are. Jacob Jonas The Company at Santa Monica Airport

I came across this article on hope and couldn’t believe Interview Magazine was still around. Brought me right back to age 20 and living downtown in a teency studio apt subscribing to Interview and thinking I was cool. I was so not, but regardless, I used to love this oversized punky bright popping magazine. Glad it’s still contributing to cultural commentary :-).

Heat has hit here in Portland, and in our house that means lots of chopping veggies and a fridge full of multiple cold salads to munch on along with some bread and cheese. Here are a couple we made recently.

Sometimes Called Austrian Potato Salad

Toss diced potatoes in olive oil, and roast, skins on, at 400 for about 20 minutes or until browned and crusted. Chop red onion or sweet Walla Wallas. Chop celery. Make dressing of olive oil, dill, dijon, red wine vinegar, caraway seed, olive oil, salt, pepper. Mix all together. SO GOOD.

Peanut Turmeric Rice Salad

Cook rice, ideally combo of red/black/brown rice.Toss with garbanzo beans, chopped tomato, cabbage, roasted coconut, peanuts, cilantro if you have and any other veggies that sound good. Make peanut sauce in blender: peanut butter, hot water, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, curry, salt, pepper, fresh garlic (don’t skimp on garlic). Toss all.

Cherry Pie

I will admit that I bought one the other day because I didn’t have the time for this endeavor, but if you do and want to here you go!

If you haven’t watched The Peanut Butter Falcon yet, you should. It’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. And as a Shia LaBeouf fan, it was an extra treat. Here’s a tune from the totally awesome film soundtrack. 

Little Rowboat, Daniel Caesar. He always comes through. 

And Time Can’t Erase, Aaron May.

Go well into this week in these increasingly crazy times. xok

Care Package #15 July 5, 2020

Hello hello! Hang in there, all…keep believing, hoping, advocating, allying, dreaming, creating :-))


A lovely 2 minute poem film of an incredible poem about an immigrant experience in England, the poet, Selina Nwulu former Young Poet Laureate of London and of Nigerian descent. 

Let’s just keep it on her because we can and should. 



Before illegal

Before becoming the influx, the scar, the stain

Before finding my new name in a scuffed English novel

Before Jane

Before mastering the sturdy handshake 

Before never using it 

Before swallowing the lilts of my own tongue

Before forcing my mouth to e-nun-ci-ate                             

Before being misunderstood

Before dreaming of my mother’s songs 

Before learning the spirals of British decorum

Before cup of tea, anyone?

Before yearning for a belonging I could name

Before the sound of my laugh began to decay

Before the grope of polyester 

Before my prayers mocked me

Before Go Home ricocheted from mouths to vans

Before dreaming of going home

Before each footstep became an apology

Before how destitute exactly?

Before not destitute enough

Before application refused 

Before temporary

Before knowing 

Before the stain, the scar, the influx

Before illegal 


For my parent friends, and my kid at heart friends (that’s all the rest of you!) here are a handful of the best podcasts for kids out there!

Panel discussion on photography and protests. Black photographers discuss their creative process, challenges, and the importance of telling these stories. 

Urban agriculture makes me happy. This is a great bit of a TedTalk with advocate Duron Chavis. It’s good. 

And this got me thinking about Alice Waters. So for my fellow foodie friends, here’s an article and interview with her.

Emergence Magazine starts up with a new Zoom book group this Thursday with Chickasaw novelist Linda Hogan’s new book, Dwellings. You can register here, it appears to be free. 

There used to be this incredible dance company in Portland called 11: dance co. They are now defunct, sadly, but Soph and I went to a show in a tiny little hole in the wall black box and it remains one of my favorite to date. A completely weird performance that was weirdly perfect. Anyway. The soundtracks that accompanied the pieces they wrote and danced to were great. Here is a tune from one. 

And one of Portland’s best of the best, Esperanza Spalding performing for the real President, Pres Obama. 

Lovely Summer Couscous salad (except I’d use quinoa, were it me…or millet…healthier…) with mint and cherries and garbanzos and nectarines and and and…

Have it with a perfect summer veggie wrap.

And for dessert, lemon ricotta bars

Be well, be happy, all. xok

Care Package #14 June 28, 2020

I absolutely positively love this. Love it. 


Free digital material to create your own collages


Need a gift idea? Or a pick me up for yourself? Soph and Clarkie volunteered at the Humane Society in their teen program for three straight years and it’s one of our special places. They now have shelter pet pals :-) where you can get a letter from one of the animals, a paw-tographed photo of the pet pal, and the option of a mystery gift from the pet. . . Hee. 

Canary–Rita Dove

for Michael S. Harper

Billie Holiday’s burned voice

had as many shadows as lights,

a mournful candelabra against a sleek piano,

the gardenia her signature under that ruined face.

(Now you’re cooking, drummer to bass,   

magic spoon, magic needle.

Take all day if you have to

with your mirror and your bracelet of song.)

Fact is, the invention of women under siege

has been to sharpen love in the service of myth.

If you can’t be free, be a mystery.


Say Thank You Say I’m Sorry

–Jericho Brown

I don’t know whose side you’re on,
But I am here for the people
Who work in grocery stores that glow in the morning
And close down for deep cleaning at night
Right up the street and in cities I mispronounce,
In towns too tiny for my big black
Car to quit, and in every wide corner
Of Kansas where going to school means
At least one field trip
To a slaughterhouse. I want so little: another leather bound
Book, a gimlet with a lavender gin, bread
So good when I taste it I can tell you
How it’s made. I’d like us to rethink
What it is to be a nation. I’m in a mood about America
Today. I have PTSD
About the Lord. God save the people who work
In grocery stores. They know a bit of glamour
Is a lot of glamour. They know how much
It costs for the eldest of us to eat. Save
My loves and not my sentences. Before I see them,
I draw a mole near my left dimple,
Add flair to the smile they can’t see
Behind my mask. I grin or lie or maybe
I wear the mouth of a beast. I eat wild animals
While some of us grow up knowing
What gnocchi is. The people who work at the grocery don’t care.
They say, Thank you. They say, Sorry,
We don’t sell motor oil anymore with a grief so thick
You could touch it. Go on. Touch it.
It is early. It is late. They have washed their hands.
They have washed their hands for you.
And they take the bus home.


Choir Dear Evan Hansen. My friend used this as a prompt for her writing class. Because she is genius. 

Alicia Keys‘ NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert. Her words at the beginning–I mean this was recorded in February, but could not be truer than at this very moment. Love this woman. It’s half hour. Just let it play. Be happy. 


These stone dwellings may have inspired Tolkein’s hobbit houses. Love the pics. 


And here’s a short story by Nigerian poet, playwright, and Booker Prize winner, Ben Okri


For that socially distanced barbeque in your backyard, chipotle black bean burgers!

Pair it with super easy red chile corn salad with lima beans and cherry tomatoes

Sesame lime cabbage salad

Lemon poppyseed zucchini bread


Enjoy, be happy, find light. 


Care Package #13 June 21, 2020

Good morning! Let’s begin with a couple poems in honor of our papas. The universe gifted me in that department, let me tell you…


–Nikki Herd

Yesterday, at Shepherd and Gray, the parking lot was 

filled with birds, black birds, actually grackles. It was a grackle 

lot; instead of a bumper on a car, there were ten grackles, instead 

of a sunroof, fifty grackles sat high, their bodies shimmers 

under cheap strip mall lights as shoppers delayed their spending 

to pull out phones and take shots, such spectators we were, 

like that summer in July, when I was left again 

to wonder who was the child and who the adult, 

that Sunday evening that hung in the air like bug spray 

when my father, the one who fed me and gave me his last name, 

stood two stories on our family porch, every neighbor, 

in all manner of dress, drawn from their homes, in the street 


Let me tell you how he spread his arms wide, like the man 

he was before Vietnam, or before the schizophrenia. 

Let me tell you how a child learns the alphabet by counting, 

how she learns only 2 letters separate the words hero and heroin, 

how he stood high on the ledge of a porch the child never much 

liked because there was a crack in its wooden center as if the 


was waiting to open its jaws to swallow her body whole. 

Let me tell you how that July evening didn’t hold death, 

but instead was the preface to death. The point being he jumped. 

Some will say there are worse songs to sing, others might believe 


a tragedy, but who are we to question the Gods when a man 

unconcerned with the inconvenience of his presence shows up 

in a parking lot winged as an army of himself? Eventually, lights 

went dark in the shops and each watcher retraced their steps back 


to find their families, to rejoice over food, to laugh and settle the 


and the birds, steadfast they stood, not quite ready for flight—

My Father and Myself Facing the Sun

–Lawson Fusao Inada

We are both strong, dark, bright men,

though perhaps you might not notice,

finding two figures flat against the landscape

like the shadowed backs of mountains.

Which would not be far from wrong,

for though we both have on Western clothes

and he is seated on a yellow spool

of emptied and forgotten telephone cable

and I recline on a green aluminum lounge,

we are both facing into the August sun

as august as Hiroshima and the autumn.

There are differences, however, if you care

to discover, coming close, respectfully.

You must discover the landscape as you go.

Come. It is in the eyes, the face, the way

we would greet you stumbling as you arrive.

He is much the smooth, grass-brown slopes

reaching knee-high around you as you walk;

I am the cracks of cliffs and gullies,

pieces of secret deep in the back of the eye.

But he is still my father, and I his son.

After a while, there is time to go fishing,

both of us squatting on rocks in the dusk,

leaving peaks and tree line responsible for light.

There is a lake below, which both of us

acknowledge, by facing, forward, like the sun.

Ripples of fish, moon, luminous insects.

Frogs, owls, crickets at their sound.

Deer, raccoon, badger come down to drink.

At the water’s edge, the children are fishing,

casting shadows from the enormous shoreline.

Everything functions in the function of summer.

And gradually, and not by chance, the action

stops, the children hush back among rocks

and also watch, with nothing to capture but dusk.

There are four of us, together among others.

And I am not at all certain what all this means,

if it means anything, but feel with all my being

that I must write this down, if I write anything.

My father, his son, his grandsons, strong, serene.

Night, night, night, before the following morning.

When you just need to moooove :-). Join or host a disco party.

A 6 minute short on female skaters in Athens fighting for a change.

The truth according to Carmelo Anthony. From 2016 (!). Same issues then/now. Let’s hope we move things forward more this time. Interesting to read through the lens of the context of the past four years and then past four months….

For Father’s Day, I give you Stevie
And for the past few weeks, Otis.
And H.E.R. and Daniel. Perfect. 

A few Black-owned businesses selling creative items.

Cook cook cook.

This broccoli salad is so incredibly good…

Pair it with quiche. Quiche is so freaking easy. And works with sort of anything, it’s like a clean out the fridge dish. Mix and match veggies and cheeses, regular or alt. And I have made it work with regular milk or nondairy nut milks, too.

Simple treats mmmm, Tahini Stuffed Dates Dipped in Chocolate.

And because it’s berry season and one can never have too much dessert, mixed berry crumble bars.

Been using the heck out of my neighborhood little libraries. Happy sigh :-).  I will leave you this week with another version hah.

Be happy, be well, xoxok

Care Package #12 June 7, 2020

Obama held a town hall last week. Much happening through his and Michelle’s foundation, FYI. But one of his points in his talk was that hope and anger can co-exist. There’s a thought to think on for the week…

I try not to reprint things that have already been given to a wide audience, but this one bears repeating. I was on an early morning rainy run listening to NPR and heard James McBride reading the opening passages of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. It’s gorgeous language, sad truths, from 1945-1951 when he wrote the book, that carry forward utterly to this very day, 2020. Listen, it’s 2 minutes of your life and you’ll be moved. 

My kid and I were talking about feminism. She says I’m an old school feminist and not current–cough cough cough, I choke on my tea 🙂 :-0.  I give you the original-original, Ms. Steinem.50 Years Ago, Gloria Steinem Wrote an Essay for TIME About Her Hopes for Women’s Futures. Here’s What She’d Add Today

And, Baratunde’s World Saving Books

I love this song. Eeerily apropos to the past couple weeks. Wish Juice Wrld could still write songs :-(.

One of my top five favorite albums is one of my favorite collaborations ever, between Hank Jones and Charlie Haden. Here’s Danny Boy from their album Steal Away. And one more because it’s so good. 

Clarke’s podcast this week was on movie soundtracks and I’ve had string compositions whirling through my head the past few days. And while this gorgeous song from composer George Walker isn’t from a soundtrack, it’s utterly beautiful and reminds me of the strength, commitment, and fierce beauty I’ve seen this past week. 

Counterfeit Twenty

–Kim Stafford

The bill George Floyd paid for cigarettes,

a fatal fake, brought screaming squad cars,

an ambulance, a fire truck, films, then fires,

police in riot gear, the National Guard, curfew,

then jingle dress dancers to the drum at Chicago

and E. 38th–that bill should be displayed as relic,

talisman, emblem, icon revealing what’s gone

down since slave ships sold lives for money

to divide brother from brother, sister from sister,

to thrust a knee to the neck of a father, husband,

mentor begging for simple breath. Twenty dollars?

Take one out and study it: Andrew Jackson with

the White House in the back of his mind, two trees

with no trunks, a twenty telling us we trust in God

by a serial number, telling us eight different times

it’s a twenty just to be sure we know the worth

of a man’s life and a nation’s chance

to honor legal tender. 

Apology for Apostasy?

–Etheridge Knight

Soft songs, like birds, die in poison air
So my song cannot now be candy.
Anger rots the oak and elm; roses are rare,
Seldom seen through blind despair.

And my murmur cannot be heard
Above the din and damn. The night is full
Of buggers and bastards; no moon or stars
Light the sky. And my candy is deferred

Till peacetime, when my voice shall be light,
Like down, lilting in the air; then shall I
Sing of beaches, white in the magic sun,
And of moons and maidens at midnight.

All right. Let’s cook. Sustenance and nurturing and comfort. 

Roasted brocolli and chickpeas with kale salad

Crispy quinoa sweet potato fritters, mmmmm.

Perfectly roasted chicken. With garlic rosemary roasted potatoes

Any kind of fruit galette!

I remember a conversation that took place way toooo many years ago with photographer Simon Norfolk when we were working on an Afghanistan project. And he was talking about the coexistence of duplicity (ie. Obama above) but in this case, in terms of making a photograph that caught both the horrors of war, as well as the beauty of humanity and its resilience, the stories held in landscape. And then translate it directly and simply. The power is in that, is in the transmission. Artist Jammie Holmes did that with his public demonstration, as he called it, of banners of last words flown across the sky. 

A friend of mine from Iceland posted video of a BLM event held in the woods with music and solidarity. It was beautiful. Here’s more of the thousands showing up in one of my favorite places on earth. 

“If our children only hear silence, their heads are filled with noise.” From KairosPDX’s ED Kali Ladd. This is an incredible, incredible, incredible speech given a couple days ago in response to all that is going on. Hope as the theme continues here…please listen.

In response to the past couple weeks, Richard Rohr said if we don’t transform our pain, we will transmit it. 

Be well, everyone. xok

Care Package #11 May 31, 2020

Well, well. In need of some joy and light, yes? What a week this has been…Let’s put some positive energy out into the world right now, or at least for the time it takes for you to read this! xok


Terry Crews teaching people to draw perspective. Because he’s seriously awesome, as we all know. He also paints. More on that later.


And maybe on Monday you’ll want to curl up in a puffy chair with a cup of tea and listen to Michelle Obama read you a children’s book. Here’s last Monday. New ones each Monday.


I’m not kidding about this Care Package being all about love and light…Golden Retriever puppies and background on the breed. Because they are the kings and queens of caninelandia. See attached picture for proof :-).


Weird random knowledge. Because why not ! The emotions of pigeons. There’s really nothing else that I can write that will top that sentence :-)). 


Krista Tippett interviews Naomi Shihab Nye on On Being from a couple years ago. Your Life is a Poem. Yes, indeed. Every moment. 


Speaking of poems, times like these I remember why I got my MFA in poetry despite the, uuum, impracticality of such a degree :-)). The University of Arizona Poetry Center is fun to explore when you need a brain and heart and grief rest. They have this Vocalisms section with audio/video of amazing poets we all know and love, and some to discover, in their archive. Here’s on with Li-Young Lee. And here’s a poem they highlighted in their weekly newsletter that is a humdinger.


And some Golden Retriever kind of music :-). MIchael Franti and SpearheadCrowded House dates me but who cares. The Strokes. And Love is my Religion, Mr. Ziggy Marley


Animations by 39 artists. 


How about some comfort food? Homemade pizza

And One Skillet Chicken Pot Pie (and if you’re me there ain’t no dead chicken going in there, but instead maybe white beans or tempeh or both!)

Coconut Apple Ginger Dal

Clarkie asked for French Toast for dinner last night cuz it was that kind of night :-). Don’t really need a recipe, but here is one in case. The better the bread (ie. homemade or Grand Central :-)) the better the French Toast. We add vanilla and cinnamon and nutmeg and honey to the eggs and milk for our recipe.

Pudding is ridiculously easy. If you don’t do dairy I’ve found alternative milks tend to work just dandily. And despite what the recipes say, I’ve never in my life used heavy cream for pudding and they turn out just fine with even 1%. 2% or whole milk is ideal. Here is vanillaButterscotch. And of course, chocolate. Sprinkle the tops with chocolate chips or toast some coconut or roasted chopped nuts or strawberries mmmmmm.


And finally. I just have to stay on/return to the topic at hand amidst the Golden Retrievers and pudding. And I’ll do so with this incredibly thoughtful piece by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar that came out in the LA Times the other day. Including quotes by Langston Hughes and Marvin Gaye. Please read. Thank you my heart friend Al, for the reminder. 

Honestly. Of all the rhetoric on every possible side from the past week, Trevor Noah’s 18 minute stream of consciousness thoughts is unbelievably articulate. Unfuckingbelievably spot on. Just spot on. Unreal. If you haven’t listened to this, please do. 


All right everyone. That’s what I’ve got for you this week. Be well. Go on runs. Running really does clear the soul. Look at the sky. Hug your people. Stay informed. Do your part. 

Care Package #10, May 24, 2020

Happy, sun-filled inside and out, week to each of you! xok


The famously secretive Ghibli Museum (which showcases the work of the Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli) is now offering a virtual tour . So inspiring. Can you even imagine if this was where you could go to work everyday??


In my world this is not just for kids. Ikea released instructions for how to build homemade forts


I know you’ve all been waiting for your illustrated guide to masked wrestlers. Go to explore mode. 


So let’s look at a couple new music releases that hit last Friday, May 22 ;-). Ironic day, because coincidentally a few that popped out are old school, going back far into my history. 

I saw the Indigo Girls waaaay back in the late eighties (!) at Pine Street Theater, before that space became La Luna, that then became a trendy overpriced warehouse thing. Indigo Girls still sounds, well, exactly the same, hah, but man you have to give them credit. Like lots of it. Closer to Fine STILL holds up. Here’s one from their new albums. 

Steve Earle is one of my heart musicians. His commitment to social justice and his songwriting deeply influenced my songwriting back in the day. He is one of the best. If you have the chance to see him live someday, if we are ever able to do that again :-0, do…this isn’t a tune off the new album, but one of my favs

And to end on a different kind of vibe, Malian musicians.

Baked eggs with smoked salmon and tarragon cream with country bread and melted gruyere. I mean, I don’t even eat anything that’s ever been alive, and this sounds so good. 

So let’s find something I can eat :-)! Mmmm, Charred sweet potatoes with butter bean hummus and lentil salad. Holiness. 

And Cauliflower cakes with brown rice and cheddar.

Chocolate glazed banana bread donuts. If you don’t have the donut mold dealy they don’t have to be that shape! Just use a muffin tin. 



–Carolyn Forche

There is no album for these, no white script on black
paper, no dates stamped in a border, no sleeve, no fire,
no one has written on the back from left to right.
Your hair has not yet fallen out nor grown back—
girl walking toward you out of childhood
not yet herself, having not yet learned to recite
before others, and who would never wish to stand
on a lighted proscenium, even in a darkened house,
but would rather dig a hole in a field and cover herself
with barn wood, earth and hay, to be as quiet as plums turning.
There is no calendar, no month, no locket, but your name
is called and called in the early storm. No one finds
you no one ever finds you. Not in a small grave
dug by a child as a hiding place, nor years
later in the ship’s hold, not in the shelter, nor high
on the roof as the man beside you leapt, not
in a basket crossing a vineyard, nor in a convent
kitchen on the last night, as a saint soon to be
murdered told you how to live your life,
never found you walking in the ruins of the blown
barracks, wading in the flooded camp, taking cover
in the machinist’s shop, or lighting every votive
in the Cathedral of St. Just, with its vaulted
choir and transept, a wall of suffering souls.
It was just as Brecht wrote, wasn’t it? “You came
in a time of unrest when hunger reigned.
You came to the people in a time of uprising
and you rose with them. So the time
passed away which on earth was given you.”
Gather in your sleep the ripened plums.
Stay behind in the earth when your name is called.


After an Illness, Walking the Dog

–Jane Kenyon

Wet things smell stronger,

and I suppose his main regret is that

he can sniff just one at a time.

In a frenzy of delight

he runs way up the sandy road—

scored by freshets after five days

of rain. Every pebble gleams, every leaf.

When I whistle he halts abruptly

and steps in a circle,

swings his extravagant tail.

Then he rolls and rubs his muzzle

in a particular place, while the drizzle

falls without cease, and Queen Anne’s lace

and Goldenrod bend low.

The top of the logging road stands open

and light. Another day, before

hunting starts, we’ll see how far it goes,

leaving word first at home.

The footing is ambiguous.

Soaked and muddy, the dog drops,

panting, and looks up with what amounts

to a grin. It’s so good to be uphill with him,

nicely winded, and looking down on the pond.

A sound commences in my left ear

like the sound of the sea in a shell;

a downward, vertiginous drag comes with it.

Time to head home. I wait

until we’re nearly out to the main road

to put him back on the leash, and he

—the designated optimist—

imagines to the end that he is free.


Richard Rohr, an amazingly thoughtful theologian, says that there are really only two ways we humans learn: through great love and great suffering. It’s interesting/weird/disconcerting how closely those two concepts are aligned. For this week ahead, as you think big thoughts and do good things, love each day in a way you don’t normally, or in a direction you don’t normally, or to yourself with one loving self-care moment each day. 

Until soon! k

Care Package #9, May 17, 2020

Hello, all! Whew, hope you made it through the week with many happy moments. Walking through the neighborhood the other day we saw a kid, maybe 7 or 8, standing on the sidewalk with his bike holding an envelope and talking with another little guy standing in the doorway at the house up the walkway from the sidewalk. As we passed them we overheard one of them very earnestly and clearly annoyed telling his friend, “All right, but I fully, fully expect a letter next time! It’s not fair I always give you letters more.” And then the other kid goes, “But I don’t have anything to say. I’m not doing anything.” And the other kid says, “Well I find things to tell you. Like just if we were hanging out for real.”   It. Was. Adorable. 


Movie Madness is one of my happy places. It’s closed now, of course, but they have free community programming each week. True to the store itself, they’re programming is unlike anything else and all over the freaking place :-). On the current list on the link above, Latin American Horror (Sophie, I’m looking at you…), female led narratives, even Saturday morning cartoons–’60s through ’90s only, of course hah!

Those on this list who’ve been to my house know I have a picture of Dave Grohl on my fridge. You can infer what you’d like from that :-)). I make NO apologies! And now he’s writing, brilliantly of course, in the Atlantic. What a treat. 

So, put on some Foo while you work on a crossword puzzle, why don’t you?

Asparagus is here! Garlicky White Bean Asparagus soup, oh my. 
Get powered with a power bowl, happy :-).
I could eat Apple and Smoked Mozzarella Calzones pretty much all day. If you don’t want to deal with the dough (it’s really not hard…) use frozen puff pastry for a different type of deliciousness. 
Top it off with Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars.

Monday is the 40th anniversary of Mount St. Helen’s erupting. Which makes me feel pretty old, as I remember exactly where I was and I remember the ash all over my parents’ station wagon. My sweet pal, Christine, who I’ve known my entire life, like for real, is our resident Mt. St. Helens Expert. Her book Return to Spirit Lake should have the word ‘seminal’ before it. I completely spaced on her online panel discussion through the Portland Art Museum that was last Monday, thinking it was THIS Monday (sorry, Christine…) but she did share this link to the Mt. St. Helen’s Institute, that has a number of happenings for the whole family…


Whew. Damn. If you didn’t see H.E.R.’s performance on Graduate Together last night, just watch it. I still can’t believe my Sophie got to see her live last year. 
Giveon. All day long.
And let’s just keep melting, shall we? Pink Sweat$.

Deena Kastor is one of my heroes, for so many reasons. On hard runs I just think about her words on mindset and those final miles. Here’s a great new interview with her on the StrengthRunning podcast (scroll to the bottom of the page). Listen while you cook or clean the house or whatever. Even if you’re not a runner. She’s got it figured out. 

Choices–Tess Gallagher

I go to the mountain side

of the house to cut saplings,

and clear a view to snow

on the mountain. But when I look up,

saw in hand, I see a nest clutched in

the uppermost branches.

I don’t cut that one.

I don’t cut the others either.

Suddenly, in every tree,

an unseen nest

where a mountain

would be.


Another Night in the Ruins–Galway Kinnell
In the evening
haze darkening on the hills,
purple of the eternal,
a last bird crosses over,
flop flop,’ adoring
only the instant.

Nine years ago,
in a plane that rumbled all night
above the Atlantic,
I could see, lit up
by lightning bolts jumping out of it,
a thunderhead formed like the face
of my brother, looking down
on blue,
lightning-flashed moments of the Atlantic.

He used to tell me,
“What good is the day?
On some hill of despair
the bonfire
you kindle can light the great sky—
though it’s true, of course, to make it burn
you have to throw yourself in …”

Wind tears itself hollow
in the eaves of these ruins, ghost-flute
of snowdrifts
that build out there in the dark:
upside-down ravines
into which night sweeps
our cast wings, our ink-spattered feathers.

I listen.
I hear nothing. Only
the cow, the cow of such
hollowness, mooing
down the bones.

Is that a
rooster? He
thrashes in the snow
for a grain. Finds
it. Rips
it into
flames. Flaps. Crows.
bursting out of his brow.

How many nights must it take
one such as me to learn
that we aren’t, after all, made
from that bird that flies out of its ashes,
that for us
as we go up in flames, our one work
to open ourselves, to be
the flames?


And with that, a happy week ahead, dear people. –k

Care Package #8, May 10, 2020

Hello hello! Happy Mother’s Day to my mama folk on this list! 

I’ve got one kiddo home from college with the dorms closed and all that, and the other is still in LA in her amazing Mediterranean bungalow just up from the beach with a hot tub and garden veranda :-). OF COURSE she’s going to stay just happily very happily put! So, while we can’t share meals for now, her sweet soul shares recipes from her cooking explorations, and she knocks it out of the park every time. Here’s one from one of LA’s most lovely restaurants, Mendocino Farms, Curried Couscous. I added golden raisins and cashews to mine, and less cayenne. I think would work just dandily with quinoa if you don’t have Israeli couscous. 

Let’s just keep the food-theme today on LA, shall we? I love LA, I love how weird it is, I love how it turns on a dime from neighborhood to neighborhood, it’s culturally and socially complex and raw and very imperfect but rich in trying to hold space for a multitude of everything, it’s most identifiable industry is built on storytelling, and no, the traffic doesn’t bother me, and yes, the drivers I find to be better, much much better, than in Portland. But, I digress :-)…it also has Cafe Gratitude in Venice. Blissful happy sigh. Here are three amazing recipes from the place that is worth going to just to watch my son have to order :-)). You have to say “I am’ before the menu item name which are things like ‘grateful,’ ‘content,’ ‘powerful,’ etc….So, I give you Greek Socca, Grilled Asparagas Salad, Key Lime Pie

Cartoon Happy Hour with Pulitizer winning cartoonist. Free event (but must register) at one of my alma maters. Unleash your inner political pundit. 

UMASS has free weekly online global meditations here. One is just for caregivers and clinicians, one is just in Spanish, the rest are open. You may recall, the mindfulness program at UMASS was founded by Jon Kabat Zinn. Working on my certification from there to augment the trauma stuff!!

Powerful women stories from VoxFem, whose mission is to share the work of women composers and songwriters from around the world. Here’s an episode with the amazing Lilia Rosas who took over the infamous resistencia bookstore in Austin and who runs Red Salmon Arts out of that, as well as singer songwriter from Texas/Puerto Rico, Lourdes Perez, and the amazing Tish Hinojosa. Lots of amazing music links on the VoxFem site from women performing. Listen!

Apparently this is story-themed today. While widely publicized already, I’m going to go ahead and mention it anyway because it makes me smile, and again, reminds me of my kids and reading aloud to them every evening in the big grey puffy chair as they called it, and so since it’s Mother’s Day :-): Daniel Radcliff (and Eddie Redmayne–Sophie I’m looking at you :-), Dakota Fanning, David Beckham and others) reading chapters from Harry Potter

A Comedy Central documentary on comedians and their moms, Call Your Mother. Premieres tonight at 10, thank goodness that time won’t interfere with the next installment of MJ hahaha.

All right, I LOVE IT when people honor their mamas in songs. Love it. Here’s music and poetry and performance all bundled into one for you. Kanye performing Hey Mama at the Grammy’s one month after his mama died, sad sigh, but so beautiful. J.Cole’s Apparently. Drake Look What You’ve Done. Nas’s God’s Son released 8 months after his mama passed away, sigh. Mac Miller, I’ll Be There. And of course, Tupac’s, Dear Mama. Whew. I listen to these tunes and get all teary! Yay mamas everywhere, yay we single mamas who raised astounding humans, damn it wasn’t easy, damn it was an honor. 

The amazingly rich in insight theologian Richard Rohr has written quite about about great love and great suffering as the coalescing path to greater depth and understanding of love and life and experience and growth. My friend Paula mentioned the word ‘attunement’ the other day in a discussion on inspiration. It made me think about the things and people who inspire me in moments and daily (like my kids and my friends) and push me closer to some form of attunement within myself and the greater world experience. I’m just throwing words and concepts out, but some things to think about in the coming days on your walks or runs or while cooking or trying to fall asleep. 

While we are all now, somewhat sadly, getting used to this quarantining, etc., I’ll continue sending these out because you seem to like them! Thanks for the messages :-)). As always, if you don’t want to receive, just fly me an email. And yes because some keep asking, please do share as you wish! These are also now up on my site.

Happy day, all! xok

Care Package #7, May 3, 2020

Whew! Why does week 7 feel like quarantine saturation for everyone I know?! One of my friends put it perfectly when she said she feels like she’s walking through mud. Yuppers! But we’re all doing the right thing, so hang in there!!
Hugs to you all, k


So Kate Power and Steve Einhorn have been around the Portland folk music scene for-like-ever. And they’ve started a virtual weekly sing together with musicians/regular people (yes, there is a difference :-)))…you normal people be grateful you’re you!). Just get on their mailing list and they’ll send you a Zoom invite/link each week.


I have so many fun memories of taking my two sweet babes to Ashland and marveling at their little bodies staying in their chairs through productions that were three freaking hours long. That’s the magic of theater :-)). Oregon Shakespeare Festival has some great free digital content they’re making available. I particularly like DigiStories


This is pretty cool. A British architecture firm posted architectural challenges to do during lockdown. For kids needing some way to hone their geometry and spatial flexibility, or for adults tired of doing puzzles at the kitchen table every evening :-)…


For my fellow distance and trail runner folks, a deep dive read in Wired. Not too bad. Why we run.


I’m lucky to still have my PSU teaching, at the moment, but was happy to see Oregon Humanities publish a great piece on adjuncts. What a totally annoying concept. Whoever came up with ‘adjuncts’….puh…


These Tahini Butterscotch/Shortbread/Chocolate bars are stupid-good. It’s just ridiculous. In the best way. 

I have made A LOT of veggie soups in my day. This was actually really, really good. The combo of spices is left of center of what I’d usually do for a soup like this. Simple, took like 10 minutes to throw together, and we’ve been eating off it all week. Grated cheese of some sort on top, mmmm. 

It’s spring! This spring vegetable tart recipe is about as simple as it gets. Mix and match toppings of any kind to clean out the fridge or make it work for your veggie or carnivore-ness. 


And while you’re cooking, listen to:
And this
And this


So one of this week’s assignments for my PSU class is to have my students write a draft of a piece on an abstract concept. It’s about figuring out how to manifest in a truly meaningful way these big humanistic concepts through concreteness, through simplicity, through the immediate moments and world we’re in. The topic is happiness. It’s amazing, but more than any other single assignment I get the most panicked emails from students about this. They totally freak out every single term, not kidding. AND, every. single. time the resulting pieces blow the top off the sky. They’re amazing, painful, honest, raw. I just have to usually push them to the other side of the draft. Every time. SO anyway, one of the things I have them read before they begin to draft is this teency excerpt from one of my favorite writers, Nicholson Baker. It’s from the title essay of his book The Size of Thoughts

Each thought has a size, and most are about three feet tall, with the level of complexity of a lawnmower engine, or a cigarette lighter, or those tubes of toothpaste that, by mingling several hidden pastes and gels, create a pleasantly striped product. Once in a while, a thought may come up that seems, in its wooly, ranked composure, roughly the size of one’s hall closet. But a really large  thought, a thought in the presence of which whole urban centers would rise to their feet, and cry out with expressions of gratefulness and kinship; a thought with grandeur, and drenching, barrel-scorning cataracts, and detonations of fist-clenched hope, and hundreds of cellos; a though that can tear phone books in half, and rap on the iron nodes of experience until every blue girder rings; a thought that may one day pack everything noble and good into its briefcase, elbow past the curators of purposelessness, travel overnight toward Truth, and shake it by the indifference marble shoulders until it finally whispers its cool assent–this is the size of a thought worth thinking about. 


I think about this concept, the size of a thought worth thinking, especially in hard moments or when my brain or heart needs re-orienting. So, here’s to a week ahead thinking thoughts worth thinking about, y’all. Life’s too short for much else. Have a happy rest of the day and week ahead!


Care Package #6, April 26, 2020

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is posting morning guided meditations (they’re calling them MeditOceans 🙂 ) with videos from the various animals in their keep and they’re honestly wonderful. Like amazing. The one with the sea nettles/jellyfish I really loved. 


And then when you finish meditating and aren’t quite ready to re-enter this slightly upside down world…This woman created a museum for her guinea pig. In honor of our dearly departed Harold and Clara, I give you this link.


For my friends with K-12 kids still in the house. “David Attenborough is Teaching Online Geography Lessons to Kids at Home.” Honestly, the headline says it all. The link is in the article to the BBC’s Bitesize education site. 


2020 is the Hubble Telescope’s 30th anniversary. To celebrate, NASA has a feature on their site where you can enter your birth month and dayand see what image Hubble captured on that day somewhere within that 30 year span. It’s pretty cool. The image captured for me was an amazing b/w of Saturn from 1995 and by clicking more info I learned that in this year Earth passed through Saturn’s ring plane. And I learned the next triple ring passing won’t occur until 2038. And I learned about stellar occultation. I actually spent a whoooooole lot of time on the NASA site. It is a vast rabbit hole one can jump down if they wish. I did. It was fun. 


Documentary Storm is one of my favorite places in the world. Well virtually. San Juans and northern Iceland are my favorite actual places in the world :-). Anyway, back to this: free documentaries. Amazing. 


So I made homemade pretzels, and Clarkie said he wished he had queso to go with. Mom says, of course, that’s easy I can make that. He looks skeptical, asks it will taste like the stuff in the jar. I say heck no it will be much better, because it will not have chemicals, sugar, bad oils, food dye :-). Heh heh. He’s still skeptical. Mom makes. He is happy. He eats. End of story. 


Make a roux (melt like 2 TBSP butter, add like 3 TBSP flour, stir and combine well. Add milk, like 1 C. Bring to boil slowly. Never stop stirring. When it begins to smooth out and thicken, turn heat way down. Add more milk if too thick. Continue stirring). Add a whole bunch of grated cheese. Like 1 C at least. Shake in some garlic powder, salt, pepper. One small can of chopped green chilies (or add a few TBSP of salsa). Stir. Heat. Eat. (BTW: If you make the roux and the cheese and salt/pepper/garlic part along with chopped onions, that’s the base for mac and cheese or fettuccine alfredo. Just add cooked pasta, any other veggies or mixtures of cheese types, stir, eat).

What else…I used to make this Tunisian Eggplant Dip all the time, and hadn’t for years. Did this week and it made my heart happy. It’s wonderful on toasted crostini type bread or pita, then I usually sprinkle some feta on top. Good warm or as cold leftovers!

From the same cookbook, I had it with Mediterranean Lentil Salad (I substituted yellow raisins for currants). 

And finally, Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Bars. Because it’s spring after all. 


Arvo Pärt. Just listen.

And to radically switch gears because it’s fun, from one of my top 5 desert island albums, Workbook, Bob Mould, here’s a track. Released April, 1989. Been listening to it ever since. 

And to bring us back to this century, Childish Gambino, I love this tune. 


Music is in the Piano 
Only When it is Played

–Jack Gilbert

We are not one with this world. We are not

the complexity our body is, nor the summer air

idling in the big maple without purpose.

We are a shape the wind makes in these leaves

as it passes through. We are not the wood

any more than the fire, but the heat which is a marriage

between the two. We are certainly not the lake

nor the fish in it, but the something that is

pleased by them. We are the stillness when

a mighty Mediterranean noon subtracts even the voices

of insects by the broken farmhouse. We are evident

when the orchestra plays, and yet are not part

of the strings or brass. Like the song that exists

only in the singing, and is not the singer.

God does not live among the church bells,

but is briefly resident there. We are occasional

like that. A lifetime of easy happiness mixed

with pain and loss, trying always to name and hold

on to the enterprise under way in our chest.

Reality is not what we marry as a feeling. It is what

walks up the dirt path, through the excessive heat

and giant sky, the sea stretching away.

He continues past the nunnery to the old villa

where he will sit on the terrace with her, their sides

touching. In the quiet that is the music of that place,

which is the difference between silence and windlessness. 


Happy week ahead, all. 


Care Package #5, April 19, 2020

Hi all,Wishing you a happy week ahead. k

It’s like a virtual hug. Daily love notes.

Bodyvox is streaming dance. They are magic. 

This piece on Dame came out a couple months ago, but if you didn’t see it and like basketball and interesting life stories, it’s really good. And the Jordan doc starts tonight on ESPN, fyi…

Homemade peanut butter bacon dog biscuits. Make some for your dog. Or your neighbor’s dog. Just love the doggos of this world. 

And for humans, my ultrarunner hero Scott Jurek’s recipe for Indonesian Cabbage Salad with Red Curry Almond Sauce is a staple in my house. I use the sauce on bowls and all sorts of things. It’s addicting. 

And to go with, how about some Alice Waters’ Hummus and Whole Wheat Flatbread. I think I just figured out what we’re having for dinner tonight :-).

Fall Line Press has a new podcast on photographers. My people :-). Paul Shambroom is the first episode in conversation with the FLP’s founder on Pictures and Words. 

When I used to teach art history I’d often show segments from this series called Art 21. Artists are profiled and discuss their process or larger humanistic concepts and how those fold into their work. Maya Lin inspires me. Her brain is pretty amazing. “All my work is much more peaceful than I am.” and “A lot of my works deal with a passage, which is about time. I don’t see anything that I do as a static object in space. It has to exist as a journey in time.” and  “To fly you have to have resistance.”  Here is her Art 21 page. The 10 min video excerpt from her portion of the larger ‘Identity’ segment is really good. Or just take the 53 minutes and watch the whole Identity piece. I’ll send many more bits and pieces from this site…it’s a treasure trove.

Needed beautiful things this week. Ólafur Arnalds. Every. single. note.

A different kind of lovely, King Krule

Here’s one of the best vocalists out there, Kid Travis. He melts me. 


And another poem I build lessons around in pretty much all my classes, whether writing or art-related:

Why We Tell Stories

–Lisel Mueller

Because we used to have leaves
and on damp days
our muscles

feel a tug,
painful now, from when roots
pulled us into the ground

and because our children believe
they can fly, an instinct retained
from when the bones in our arms
were shaped like zithers and broke
neatly under their feathers

and because before we had lungs
we knew how far it was to the bottom
as we floated open-eyed
like painted scarves through the scenery
of dreams, and because we awakened

and learned to speak

We sat by the fire in our caves,
and because we were poor, we made up a tale
about a treasure mountain
that would open only for us

and because we were always defeated,
we invented impossible riddles 
only we could solve,
monsters only we could kill,
women who could love no one else
and because we had survived
sisters and brothers, daughters and sons,
we discovered bones that rose
from the dark earth and sang
as white birds in the trees

Because the story of our life 
becomes our life

Because each of us tells
the same story
but tells it differently

and none of us tells it
the same way twice

Because grandmothers looking like spiders
want to enchant the children
and grandfathers need to convince us
what happened happened because of them

and though we listen only
haphazardly, with one ear,
we will begin our story

with the word and

Care Package #4, April 12, 2020

Hope you all had a happy week, and the new one opens with smiles and sunny skies!

This is pretty great. The Getty is asking people to recreate famous artworks with themselves as the subject, and household objects as the props. A selection of images people have posted or tweeted is on the link. Made me smile. 

Six verbs dance in the Age of Corona by choreographer Annie-B Parson. You’re bored? Need a break from the seemingly endless (to me!) computer screen of work to go move your body and spin your thinking a bit? Reminds me of Merce Cunningham… 

Hey, well, then let’s look at a Merce dance, shall we :-). I got this from one of the Merce Foundation’s dance capsules. Includes footage from Holley Farmer, Merce teaching, Sigur Ros and Radiohead performing accompanying scores… 

I just discovered a new Sufjan Stevens album just dropped. I’m behind the 8 ball, it appears. Here’s an old but honestly just lovely through and through live performance of Futile Devices. 

Remembered beauty. Landscape. Traveling from somewhere to somewhere else by the end of a song. Ravel makes my brain do that. Here is La Vallee des Cloches.

And finally, Radiohead announced they are uploading concerts weekly on their YouTube channel for everyone’s viewing and listening delight. 

I love this. TED is hosting a daily webseries on community and hope.

One night Clarke asked if I could make chicken tikka masala…hmmmm, okay…found a super good recipe. I didn’t have tomato paste, so substituted some pureed tomato sauce; I also didn’t add chile to the second step, only the first and it had plenty of kick; needs about half the onions. It was amazing. Tofu an easy sub for us vegetarians. 

And to go along with that, choose an always-works, tried and true, Madjur Jaffrey recipe from this warms-my-soul selection. I have most of her cookbooks and her recipes are easy and consistently wonderful. 

And for breakfasts or snacks or dessert, a comfort food streusel-topped apple cake

The amazing David Maisel’s exhibition is online at Haines. Think, learn, marvel :-).


Thank you for the dear friend who sent me this poem yesterday morning when I needed to hear it…


–Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend.


And so…until next week. Hugs and all good things,


Care Package #3, April 5, 2020

Happy hugs to each of you! And here is your next installment of the Corona Care Package :-).

First off!!! Extra gratitude-filled shout outs to a few folks I care about a lot: Jeff (firefighter), Mike (ER nurse), Paula (nurse), Britty and Max (docs at OHSU), Kim (nurse), and Andy (ER doc). Thx for all you give, to my little family, and to the rest of freaking humanity. Really. 

Goodness, what a week, for me at least, on so, so many fronts. Not even sure where to begin. Well, here are some things to fill your brain…

For me, reminders of this beautiful world help. Back many years ago when I was working full time in photography, I had the graced luck of working on several books and exhibitions by Finnish photographer Pentti Sammallahti. He and I spent a lot of time discussing process. And I remember thinking his was really about waiting for grey. Patiently, trustingly, waiting for the grey to seep out of the sky, to marry the black and the white. That’s a good metaphor for me this past week. Here is a photo essay of his work. Click on the “Here Far Away” title to expand the images, get reminded. 

Your weekly tunage…
I don’t know about you, but hmmm, let’s see. 1999: Sophie was one year old. Clarkie was housed in my belly. A movie ticket was five bucks. Serena Williams won her first US Open. The Matrix hit theaters. There was plenty of bad stuff that happened that year, too, like always in this wide, weird world. But still, these days Party Like It’s 1999 seems in order. Little did we know…

And leave it to Frank Ocean. Dear April. ‘Nough said. 

And one more that popped into my Spotify playlist the other day and reminded me of a wonderfully fun date night with my daughter to see Daniel Caesar at the Roseland last year. Miss that girl as she lights up Los Angeles…


Tomie dePaola’s death last week made the world a bit less vibrant. If you don’t know his work, find some art and books online and nestle in. It truly doesn’t matter that they were written for the kidlit genre. They were written and drawn for us all. We all need a little Strega Nona magic right now…

I use both these poems in my PSU teaching every single semester, no matter the class, and build lessons around them. Been reading both of them over and over for years. They change, like any good art does, as I do. 

Around Us

–Marvin Bell

We need some pines to assuage the darkness

when it blankets the mind,

we need a silvery stream that banks as smoothly

as a plane’s wing, and a worn bed of 

needles to pad the rumble that fills the mind,

and a blur or two of a wild thing

that sees and is not seen. We need these things

between appointments, after work,

and, if we keep them, then someone someday,

lying down after a walk

and supper, with the fire hole wet down,

the whole night sky set at a particular

time, without numbers or hours, will cause

a little sound of thanks–a zipper or a snap–

to close round the moment and the thought

of whatever good we did.


–Eleanor Lerman

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to 

the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a 

stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have 

your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman 

down beside you at the counter who say, Last night, 

the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,

is this a message, finally, or just another day?

Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the

pond, where whole generations of biological 

processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds

speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,

they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old 

enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?

There is movement beneath the water, but it 

may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.

And then life suggests that you remember the 

years you ran around, the years you developed

a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,

owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are

genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have

become. And then life lets you go home to think

about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.

Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one

who never had any conditions, the one who waited

you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that

you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,

so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you 

were born at a good time. Because you were able 

to listen when people spoke to you. Because you

stopped when you should have and started again.

So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your

late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And 

then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland, 

while outside, the starfish drift through the channel, 

with smiles on their starry faces as they head

out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

Taking care of your body means taking care of your soul. Clarkie and I have been sharing meals while working on puzzles, losing ourselves in Lord of the Rings or replays of vintage NBA games, or just talking for hours around the dinner table. Grateful for that kid, and for the healthy food we have access to. 

Thanks to my amazing friend Amy and her cookbook gift a few birthdays ago, I make this Milk Street brown butter cardamom banana bread all the time. I make ours without sugar and it’s fantastic. I usually mix up the flours, as well, so it’s a combo of white/wheat/millet/oat…
Have a slice along with 

roasted sweet potato and black bean salad with pepita dressing and a bowl of chicken (or substitute white beans) rice and garlicky chile oil soup. Thanks for the soup recipe, Sophers. 


Been thinking about something I read this week that a nurse in NYC said when interviewed and asked how she was coping. She said, I’m just trying to love bigger.

Been trying to do that a bit better, a little bit bigger, each day this week. Have needed to. One of my best friends lives in Europe and we have started Skyping each other each my-morning/her-late afternoon, and part of that conversation is a different daily word or phrase for us each to focus on or meditate on for the rest of the day and night. This ‘love bigger’ has spilled into a few days…Hard work.

A list of happy, wise, inspiring podcasts. Because we can. 🙂

The Get Down is hosting dance parties on the internet. I mean, come on people. How can you say no to that?! Jason, my dancing-loving friend, this is for you after the week you’ve had. 

Finally, many of you have asked if I mind if you forward this to your people. OF COURSE I DON’T MIND! Please do! And also, happy to add anyone to the email list, just have them reach out. 

Love and hugs and here’s to a week ahead of blue skies, air hugs, and smiles from 6+ feet apart, xok

Care Package #2, March 29, 2020

Hi friends and neighbors. Well, I continue to pilfer from my inbox and brain for things to share with you. Can’t get hired anymore to curate anymore it would seem, OY!!, but at least I can do this to give you for the week ahead! :-)) Been a really weird (understatement) week to have the flu, but I’m feeling better and getting there. Thx for all the check ins :-). As always, there are gifts in anything and the creative way friends and family have been staying connected has been super fun. For example: I didn’t know it was possible to whale watch through FaceTime 🙂 with a friend who’s sheltering in place at his beach house and had whales out his front window. Recipes and check-ins and phone/skype/zoom chat coffee breaks…it’s been about sharing and reminding…

Words Without Borders. Do you know about them? Happy sigh. Their newest project detailed below. The inaugural ‘issue’ just popped into my inbox (just sign up for their newsletter…), a piece of fiction translated from an Italian writer, and a dispatch on COVID from a writer hunkered down in Mexico. Here is their description of the project. It’s free, just sign up! Their main site always has lots of good writing to read, as well.
“To keep up morale as we shelter in place, we’re taking a page from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron. In the fourteenth-century classic, ten friends hole up in a villa outside of Florence, entertaining each other by telling stories for ten days as they wait for the Black Death to pass. In this vein, we will be “gathering” with our readers around a different story every Friday for ten weeks. Our editors will select a piece from our archive and deliver it straight to your inbox for you to read aloud with your companions or savor on your own.”

To continue the literary-ness: Tilted Axis Press has started a weekly online book club of translated fiction from around the world.

I heart Wy’East Wolfpack, they are some of my running inspiration people and they have a podcast with local interesting Portlanders (a huge range of creatives, athletes, restaurateurs, architects, CEOs…) called Get After It PDX. It’s free, and a nice way to be reminded of bigger things and smile and get to ‘know’ some folks in the local community. You’ll also see they have a few episodes in a special Health and Wellness edition. I mean, we’re all trapped here in our huts, so listen to a podcast while cooking some soup!

Here is a nummy, healthy Greek lentil and spinach with lemon soup recipe one of my bestest friends ever in the history of the universe and college roommate from like a million years ago shared with me the other day. Unless you’re feeding an army I’d definitely cut the recipe in half. 

And another recipe inspired by a lovely phone chat the other day between Oakland and PDX with another great friend that spanned topics of running and work and kids and then–of course–pickled vegetables :-). Seems like good pickling time, perhaps…

And one more, because I live by this vegan chocolate cake from Moosewood and it takes like 10 minutes to make, freezes well, and we all need cake!

Here’s an inspiring NYT story on women runners in Somalia. 


A poem for you. Dean Young. What can I say. And I, at least, can always use a little reminder to believe in the magic that is everywhere. This line is one of my life mantras: I believe reality is approximately 65% if.

Belief in Magic

By Dean Young

How could I not?

Have seen a man walk up to a piano

and both survive.

Have turned the exterminator away.

Seen lipstick on a wine glass not shatter the wine.

Seen rainbows in puddles.

Been recognized by stray dogs.

I believe reality is approximately 65% if.

All rivers are full of sky.

Waterfalls are in the mind.

We all come from slime.

Even alpacas.

I believe we’re surrounded by crystals.

Not just Alexander Vvedensky.

Maybe dysentery, maybe a guard’s bullet did him in.



I believe there are many kingdoms left.

The Declaration of Independence was written with a feather.

A single gem has throbbed in my chest my whole life

even though

even though this is my second heart.

Because the first failed,

such was its opportunity.

Was cut out in pieces and incinerated.

I asked.

And so was denied the chance to regard my own heart

in a jar.

Strange tangled imp.

Wee sleekit in red brambles.

You know what it feels like to hold

a burning piece of paper, maybe even

trying to read it as the flames get close

to your fingers until all you’re holding

is a curl of ash by its white ear tip

yet the words still hover in the air?

That’s how I feel now.


And two tunes because music is magic, after all. 

My sweet son reminded me of my favorite Kendrick Lamar song, Love. Yup, where it’s at, all that matters.

Low Anthem, Matter of Time Normal will return at some point…*And finally. Make your own bubbles! Why the heck not! Paper clips and hangers work as wands :-). 

Love and hang in there and another care package in a week, xok