Category Archives: Project 365 (2010)

Not content. Happy.

Last night in the moments between wake and sleep, the following question floated through my mind: “When were you last happy?  Not content.  Happy.”

Before I continue writing I feel pressed to say that I do not believe happiness or its pursuit is central to life, nor do I believe that joy and happiness are the same thing.  Happiness is transient, while joy is a state of being.  But there are those rare times when joy and happiness collide.  And those moments are breathtaking in their ability to distill and display the beauty and simplicity of it all.

Now back to the question . . .

In my case that was not the most sleep-inducing thought.  I flipped through the rolodex of images and memories collected over the last several years.  There are countless moments filled with laughter, wonderment, excitement, and contented sighs brought on by the generosity and blessings of the day.  But no moment stood out as being one defined by a sense of happiness.

Then two friends’ statements (one of which began with, “I have never seen you as happy as you were . . .”) crept into my thoughts.  With each flick of the mental rolodex their statements resounded louder and louder and no image or memory seemed to measure up to the happiness I felt during the time referenced by their comments.  I wondered if their statements were true (maybe that was the happiest I have ever been) or if I had allowed that time to become a behemoth whose shadow has blacked out other happy moments that have since transpired.

Which ever it may be, or perhaps the truth is a mixture of the two, I remain hopefilled that joy and happiness will collide again soon.  And when they do, may I have my eyes and heart open wide enough to see, know and embrace it.

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A photo from my “Project 365: Outtakes” folder:

Curse Your Branches* (2.7.2010)

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Blogtracks:
– Pandit, “Pack Your Bags” and “Artichoke” (Watch the video for the former and download the latter HERE)
– Pepper Rabbit, “Harvest Moon” (Watch the video + download the song  HERE)
– Mesita, “Your Free Spirit”

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Farewell Project 365!

I was inspired by Erin Loechner’s list of “2011 Non-Goals”, in which she listed the things she loves about herself and life and does not want to alter in the coming year(s).  Here are the moments, habits and choices I want to stay the same:

  1. Embracing hope with a deep faith + refusing to settle.  You am more than you seem and more than how others’ see you/your situations.
  2. Be present.  Right here.  Right now.
  3. Keep drinking that water, putting mileage on those soles, and doing those push-ups.  You can do it!
  4. Sensing wonder and recognizing beauty in the smallest and most forgotten of places.  Keep your eyes wide open.
  5. Asking for help.  Remember, doing so is not a sign of weakness.
  6. Journaling about your gratitudes.  Each moment, each interaction, each sigh is a chance to receive grace; choose to live in its abundance.
  7. Flossing.  You averaged 5:7 nights/week . . . keep up the good work.
  8. Dreaming, wrestling with your faith, and writing.  Never stop.  Please never stop.

Goodbye 2010.   Thank you for the moments that stung, that brought laughter to my lips and others that brought tears to my eyes.  At times your challenges felt as though they would destroy me, but in your fading light I stand and know my worth.

2011, I look forward to meeting you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR’S ALL!

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12.29.2010 – Lion Opener*

12.30.2010 – RegularSpicy* (Los Angeles, CA)

12.31.2010 – The Possibilities New Planners Hold* — I love all the blank dates and pages that I get to fill-up with birthdays/holidays/weddings, events and simple dates for drinks and coffee that will overflow with poignant conversations and produce cherished memories, trips to see beloved friends . . . oh the possibilities!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blogtrack:
– Julianna Barwick, “The Magic Place”
– Duchess Leo, “Bloom” (download it HERE)
– First Aid Kit, “When I Grow Up (Fever Ray cover)” (download it HERE)
– SilOHs, “A Zealot Sun”

Like it’s Christmas in the Room

No gifts to give, they’re all right here
Inside our hearts the glorious cheer
And in the house we see a light
That comes from what we know inside

I’ll come to you, I’ll sing to you
Like it’s Christmas in the room
I’ll dance with you, I’ll laugh with you
Until it’s Christmas in the room
Until it’s Christmas in the room

~Sufjan Stevens, “Christmas in the Room”

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11.22.2010 – Bits and Pieces*

11.23.2010 – To Scale*

11.24.2010 – Almond Toast*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Great Grandma Ahlquist’s Almond Toast (Svenska Mandel Skorpar)

Almond toast is a hybrid between a shortbread cookie and a biscotti.  My brothers and I would get this sweet treat as part of our breakfasts when visiting my Swedish grandparents.  I make almond toast every Christmas now that my ninety-two-year-old grandma is no longer physically able to do so. Like most Swedish baked items, almond toast is buttery with a subtle almond flavor.  My family enjoys them with their morning and evening coffees.  Njut!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup finely chopped (roasted) almonds

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix together butter, sugar, sour cream, eggs, and almond extract.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
  4. Add (¾-1 cup at a time) the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix well.
  5. Add almonds to batter.
  6. Transfer batter to a greased pan (I use a glass 9″x13″ baking dish and a glass bread pan)
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.
  8. Cut into strips, remove from pans, and place strips on a cookie sheet.
  9. Return to oven (250° F) to dry and lightly brown for 45 mins-2 hours (I like them on the more toasted side, so I dry for 1.5-2 hours).
  10. Cool, and store in an airtight container.

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11.25.2010 – O Holy Night*

11.26.2010 – SoCal in Winter*

11.27.2010 – Textures* (The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA)

11.28.2010 – Many Thanks to Trader Joe’s Unsweetened & Unsulfured Dried Pineapple Rings*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blogtrack:
– Bikini, “American Mourning” (listen HERE)
– The Winston Jazz Routine, “Through the Snow” — for AIA & AGL who are making their way back to NY (listen HERE)
– Washington Mile, “All of Your Blue” (download HERE)
– Beach House, “Take Care”

Broken Bubbles

12.20.2010 – Simple Pleasures: Popping Bubble Wrap*

12.21.2010 – .*

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Blogtrack:
– The Notwist, “Boneless”
– Sam Amidon, “Climbing High Mountains”
– Chief, “Night & Day”
– Of Mountains and Men, “Little Talks”

Speak Aloud

As the year and Project 365 comes to a close I have been thinking of what to do next.  A new “project” mayhaps.  I want to move away from digital and back to film, but developing film is so stinkin’ pricey — what a little consistent employment wouldn’t solve.

12.19.2010 – Tangerine Light Breaks*


 

 

 

 

 

 

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Variations on a Flickr photo caption reading, “it’s hard for me to talk out loud / i think too much / all i know is that i love you”:

It is increasingly difficult for me to speak aloud.
I think and dream too much.

I simply no longer know . . .

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Blogtrack:
– Salem, “King Night”
– The Drums, “Me and the Moon (Matthew Dear remix)”
– Wombats, “Tokyo (Superhumanoids remix)”
– Toro y Moi, “Still Sound”

Lost & Found

Today while searching through the contents of the numerous banker boxes that contain my life, I found several things of interest: (1) a frame carefully packed in a box three years ago containing what then was deemed the sweetest of moments and “home”; (2) my grandpa’s Argus C-3(!!!), which I thought I had lost during one of several moves; and (3) poems written in the shade of a fragile time when I was working overseas after my first year of law school.

In regards to (1), it is strange to unpack something I once held so dear but which no longer has any emotional meaning.  An empty frame was repacked with hopes a snapshot of joy will soon fill it.

As for (3):
Love  Regardless of Circumstance No. 2
five thousand miles gone
Home
lost in unhappiness
tears shatter dead phone lines.

Everyone Loves a Hummingbird
these wings,
stolen
from the unsuspecting hummingbirds,
collapse under heavy hearts.
falling,
with
no
where
to
l    a    n    d

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12.17.2010 – Fresh Air*

12.18.2010 – The Brick*

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Blogtracks:
– Beach House, “I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun”
– Porcelain Raft, “Tip of Your Tongue”

p.a.i.n.t.

There is nothing quite like unexpectedly spending lots of money (car problems) and redoing another person’s poor workmanship to keep my holiday spirit in the gutter.

Confession.  “Fuck” has punctuated more of my thoughts and sentences this week than “Christmas.”  Note to self, I might want to rectify that before celebrating the day of our Lord’s birth.

12.14.2010 – Taping*

12.15.2010 – Sanding Walls by Hand*

12.16.2010 – The Importance of Prep. Work*

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Blogtrack — my iPod died so the following 8track mixes have kept me company during many hours of sanding, taping, and priming (and likely into tomorrow’s adventures in painting):
– mikemelody, “2010”
– Moran, “2010 highlights”
– tiny_owl, “when.ten.ended.part one.”
– tiny_owl, “when.ten.ended.part two.”