"If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform a million realities." So said the magical Maya Angelou

Friday, August 28, 2015


I'm painfully aware of the summer wane, and with it that elusive inspiration to bring forth "nature's bounty on a plate".  Summer where we go, a loose but earnest group of us celebrates Thursday's Farmers Market with a dinner, every Thursday night.  It's pot luck, so (as we say) if everyone brings kale, we eat kale for dinner.  Amazingly, the concept hasn't failed us in the 6 years since inception.  The dinners get more delicious and the company more dedicated.  

It's Friday and I missed Farmers Market Dinner last night, because I'm not on Pleasant Street.  But I brought home Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook,  "It's All Good".  It's great for virtuous recipes heavy on the bounty, it's one I use a lot on Pleasant Street.  

(About Gwyneth. I think it is that she's someone who has brought a pretty good idea to life.  Yes, with fame and fortune, but she's sharing it with all of us, in her most perfect way.  There are people like her everywhere, folks.  I'm not a hater, and in fact, she eats a lot like I eat, so I appreciate her attention. That's it on Gwyneth.) 

But today, over coffee, I have everyone home and only for a few minutes more.  I've leafed through every page of Gwyneth's gorgeous cookbook and the only recipe I can see fooling with tonight is the Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas (pg 173). 
Elusive, elusive, elusive...

So, what inspires, what transports, when life is changing and children are leaving and the only thing that stays the same is that in the evening, we eat dinner?  There are a few places I like to go for less elusive help.  One is 101 Cookbooks, a stunning "journal" by Heidi Swanson (who's cookbook, "Near & Far", came out a few days ago).  She too is pretty virtuous, but does food in a way that sounds like art and looks like art and doesn't slay you in the making.  Here's the recipe that's perked me up today.  

Broiled Saffron Dates
Because:  I love dates, I love saffron and I love Morocco. 

So, for dinner this Friday night, it's Gwyneth's Roasted Cauliflower + Chickpeas with shredded rotisserie chicken, 101 Cookbook's broiled saffron dates, some arugula drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.  Maybe a glass of Moroccan wine.  More on that after I find one.

"The past is buried deep within the ground..., although the ancient walls in the old city are still standing, painted in electrifying variations of royal blue that make the winding roads look like streamlets or shallow ocean water."  
- Raquel Cepeda, "Bird of Paradise"

Pleasant Dreaming.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


I'm struck by what some of us remember that others simply cannot place - even when they're events or moments that happened to us both.  Like, there was a time, sometime in my aspirational adulthood (mid-80's), that my parents got very hip and they and their friends would go hang out and drink in hotel bars. The new, sexy Princeton Hyatt had sculpted comfortable chairs and cool stools.  I'd go with my parents and order a drink and it became for me a new way of socializing.  Here's kind of how I remember it.  My parents don't remember it at all.

Cool people cocktails.
As my daughter gets ready to go to college she asks about how it was for me and I think hard before telling her - I can't remember.  Disbelief, how can I not remember?  It is all so pivotal.

She'll see.  We remember what we need to, to stay vibrant and hopeful. 

Pleasant Dreaming.

Here's an amazing article about memories and the telling of them.  From the Atlantic, "How Many of your Memories are Fake?"  A line from the piece is this: "We all have narratives," (he) said, explaining that people form beliefs and values, and then develop explanations within their memories for these beliefs and values.  "We're all creating stories.  In that sense, our lives are stories." 

Monday, August 17, 2015


In 2009 and 2010 I wrote a blog called the Daily Now as a way to capture creativity, aesthetics and all the work I wasn't doing as I looked for a job in our nation's Great Recession.  I've been looking at the Daily Now again and holy cow, it should be a book - if I do say so - it is the real Eye*Full.  Check it out!

a Quotidian Source for Inspiration in the New Now
Daily Now entry from 6 years ago today: August 17, 2009

That was a time, for sure.  John and me, both without work and beating every bush.  Sort of like, um, right now.  Implausibly enough though, YES the circumstances are similar, but it will be, IS, different.  It ISN'T 2009, and we aren't the we of that time. 
"History doesn't repeat itself, it just rhymes."

I came across this entry in the Daily Now that speaks to me today as we leave our Pleasant House and lean into the rhyme.

When we move from one residence to another, we often get so caught up in the forward thrust of where we are going that we forget to properly say good-bye to the home we are leaving behind. Yet saying good-bye is an important part of moving forward. It gives us a sense of completion so that we are able to fully inhabit our new space, having left nothing of ourselves behind in the old one. In this way, we honor the space that has held and nurtured us. At the same time, we cleanse it and empty it of our energy so that the new residents can make the space theirs.

Plan a walk through your home that begins and ends at the front door. Ideally, you will be alone or accompanied only by a person who shared the space with you. Prepare yourself mentally to be as present as you can during this process. As you enter the house, you might say, “I have come to thank you for being my home and to say good-bye.” You might touch the walls with your hands as you move through the house, or you might burn sage as an offering, as well as an energy cleanser. Spend some time in each room expressing your gratitude and gathering or releasing any lingering energy from the room. As you do this, you are freeing your home to embrace its new occupants. Remember to visit your outside spaces as well. Plants are especially sensitive to the energy around them and will appreciate your consideration.

As you make your way back to the front door, know that you have completed your final journey through your home and that you have honored and blessed it with this ritual of farewell. As you close and lock the door behind you, say one last good-bye. Now you can walk freely into your future and fully inhabit the new spaces that will keep you safe and warm.
- excerpted from Daily Om

The last of a gorgeous summer arrangement.  

Pleasant Dreaming.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


Spotify is pretty amazing. 
I get to look into your lives through the songs you're tuning in to, listen and borrow and listen to my own.  Unimaginable what life be, without a soundtrack.  How would we define the moments?  My friend Shelly is who I emulate on Spotify, she's also been a big part of my life's soundtrack.  I wonder if making a Spotify playlist of all the songs that make up my soundtrack:1964-2015, the songs that bring me back a time or a feeling or a person, if that would be too painful to listen to.  It might be --

The Spotify playlist I'm working on now is titled, of course, 19 Pleasant.  
I'm picturing myself in 6 months or so, sitting in my urban, putty-colored Dallas kitchen with a coffee, clicking onto my 19 Pleasant soundtrack, and coming back to this very moment.  
Pleasant House Dreaming.

This moment.  
Coffee: my favorite one from Nespresso, Kazaar, in my favorite coffee cup.  And a mason jar of water, mint and some blueberries.  

And it's Joni, definitely.

Play it.

3 songs that slay me with their poetry.

I'll ply the fire with kindling now
I'll pull the blankets up to my chin
I'll lock the vagrant winter out
and I'll bolt my wanderings in
I'd like to call back summertime
Have her stay for just another month or so
But I get the urge for going 
When the meadow grass is turning brown
And summertime is falling down

Out on Carol's lawn
This girl of my childhood games
With kids nearly grown and gone
Grown so fast
Like the turn of a page
We look like our mothers did now
When we were those kids' age
Nothing lasts for long
Nothing lasts for long
Nothing lasts for long

I just heard that Spotify is finally free on your phone and tablet as well as your laptop.  Download the app and follow me.  I'll follow you.  I love being in touch that way.  

From Amelia

People will tell you where they've gone
They'll tell you where to go
But til you get there yourself, you never really know.

Pleasant House Dreaming this morning.  

If you love Joni Mitchell like I do, go to her site, www.jonimitchell.com.