the evening...

so, this evening we went to New Seasons Market and ate dinner there (I had their farm plate special, which was flatiron steak with a spinach salad and feta cheese topping, and Trina had a wok bowl with tofu, mini-corns, edamame, cauliflower, and a number of other yummy things with noodles and peanut sauce), and got a couple things for our friend Theresa who had a minor disaster with her air conditioner last night.

then we came home and watered our little garden, and then watered the plants outside our apartment, and I washed dishes and Trina planted a couple basil plants we needed to get in the ground, and now we're up in our room listening to Simon and Garfunkel's album Bridge Over Troubled Water on record on Theresa's little portable record player she loaned us, and it's wonderful. It's warm still, but not icky warm, and we have fans on, and Trina has a little dogwood flower in her hair clip and looks exceptionally beautiful, even for her. All in all, it's been a lovely evening.

To finish, we're listening to "The Only Living Boy In New York". This song makes me very happy.

"I've got nothing to do today but smile..."

this evening

it has been a perfect evening so far, and is only looking to get better :)

what I'm grateful for...

  • a beautiful wife who is one of the kindest and most overwhelmingly beautiful things on this earth
  • two blissful kitties named Teagan and Piccoli, who love my wife and I and our roommate and show us in lots of wonderful ways.
  • friends who believe that I am worth loving, not just because I do stuff for them, but because they feel that the person I am is beautiful. Notable mentions: our beautiful dear friend Alina, who inspires us and makes us dream lovely dreams and who will one day be our partner in owning a coffee shop, right after she gets her ass back from Nihon, where she is currently living and with whom we have a weekly phone date on skype and with whom we get into the most interesting discussions >:). Sisters Deimantė and Jolanta, who live far away in Lithuania and who introduced us to The Little Prince. Niki, who is a fellow coffee and food lover who we used to cook with every week until she moved to Denver to learn how to save the world. Erika, who also lives far away in Lithuania and who writes beautiful poetry and takes lovely photographs. Brendan, who let us knock walls down in his mental institution apartment and who builds amazing things in the basement :) Drew and Suzanne who drink with us and listen to us rant about all kinds of things and are wonderful amazing people. Chuck and Catherine who are wonderful and amazing people who amaze me with all they go through in life and still manage to have so much to give to people like us.
  • a great roommate named Cheryl, who is very different from us, and yet challenges us and helps us sometimes see ourselves and the world from a different perspective.
  • a beautiful little car named Sofie that gets us all over town faithfully, and looks mighty cute doing it.
  • a job which gives us money for food and fun things sometimes and benefits and has a really really loud air conditioner for hot days.
  • a desire and willingness to discover more and more of who I am and who I was made to be and to live that out in real life with people who are around me.
  • a desire and willingness to be open to who other people are and who they were made to be and to walk beside them in their journey of discovery.
  • a desire and willingness to live life passionately, even if that means a lot of funny looks and more than a few run-ins with people whose heads eat their hearts.
  • beauty! there are so many beautiful things in the world, from nature to things people have created to people themselves and their actions (though there are so many ugly actions in the world, I believe that the simplest act of beauty can wash it all away - if you have ever seen the look in someone's eyes who has been hurt all their life and for a moment finds love from another person, you will know what I mean)
  • a beautiful family that pushes and challenges me and above all loves me.
  • air conditioners, because I was meant to live in a country like Iceland where it never gets above 75 F (24 C).
  • water, because I'm mostly made of it, and it tastes SOOOO good on those days when it gets above 75 F (24 C).
  • beer - do I really need to say more?
  • oregon, for having world-wide award winning beers and incredibly beautiful nature
  • swimming at the coast in oregon where the water is always about 45 F (7 C)
  • the salty smell of the ocean air
  • the ability to create beautiful things - one of the most important gifts humans have
  • grey, cloudy days with tea or coffee and the Sigur Rós album () to listen to.
  • MUSIC! how could I forget music... it's one of the biggest catalysts in my life
  • poetry... using language in creative and beautiful ways and seeing how others have done the same.
  • the fact that the world is just brimming with life all around, even the stars and clouds and rocks and air just emanate this sense of life and presence and mystery.
  • the ability to feel both good and bad and to express a full range of emotions in pretty healthy ways
  • taming. if you've read The Little Prince, you know what I mean. Otherwise, you had better read it right now. I mean it. Seriously. Your life might never be the same. I have tamed and been tamed by a number of people, several trees, a car, at least 4 or 5 cats, a dog or two...
  • the opportunity to experience life - it is quite a ride, but it is such a blessing.


too hot...

89 is too freaking hot. I need to move to Iceland.


good monsters...

I don't ever want to be a person who perpetuates violence, destruction and degradation of humanity through apathy.

Let me never stop caring.

it's allergy season again....

this was me on Saturday:


kitty peeing problems

Our recently pictured cat, Piccoli, has seemed to develop some peeing problems since we've gotten this new litter box... it is kind of triangle-shaped, so it fits in corners, however, I don't know if it's too small for her, or if she just doesn't like getting in it or what, but lately she's been peeing with her butt sticking partway out the door, and it goes all over the floor. This makes scooping the litter box easier, however cleaning it up off the floor every couple days is a real pain. Not really sure exactly what to do about that, except maybe get a slightly larger litter box again...


kitties and cars

I figured it was about time that we posted some pictures of our new Sofie besides just the one picture that was in the advertisement for her, and there were some pictures of one of our cats, Piccoli, on the camera as well, so I thought I would post a couple of those too :) Note: these are not pictures of our cat playing, they are pictures of her relaxing :)

And now for our Sofie:

Isn't she pretty? :)

Her cute little posterior :)


silly kitty...

sorry about all the videos today, but I have to post one more because it makes me soooooo deliriously happy.

samson - regina spektor

fidelity - regina spektor

us - regina spektor

live icelandic tv performance - amina

this group is amazing...

just for now (live) - imogen heap

it's amazing how she does this live...

goodnight and go - imogen heap

hoppípolla - sigur rós

I want to do this when I'm old :)

unravel - björk

another one...

oceania - björk

this is one of my favorite videos in terms of just the whole look of the video...

the scientist - coldplay

another favorite...

don't blame your daughter - the cardigans

this one is also really beautiful...

glósóli - sigur rós

this one is amazing too...

thirty-three - the smashing pumpkins

I think this video is really beautiful...


tao te ching - lao tzu


People through finding something beautiful
Think something else unbeautiful,
Through finding one man fit
Judge another unfit.
Life and death, though stemming from each other, seem to conflict as stages of change
Difficult and easy as phases of achievement,
Long and short as measures of contrast,
High and low as degrees of relation;
But, since the varying of tones gives music to a voice
And what is is the was of what shall be,
The sanest man
Sets up no deed,
Lays down no law,
Takes everything that happens as it comes,
As something to animate, not to appropriate,
To earn, not to own,
To accept naturally without self-importance;
If you never assume importance
You never lose it.

well, normally I hate to say much about pieces of literature I post - I prefer to just let them speak for themselves.

A few things struck me about this particular passage from the Tao Te Ching... first of all, I have experienced so much that people tend to take one idea and find truth in it, and therefore dismiss everything else as false. An example - someone may find that a particular friend of theirs really responds to words of affirmation. So therefore, they determine that to love someone means to affirm them, and every other expression of love is invalid. That may be an extreme example, but not an impossible one.

Secondly - we tend to see things such as life and death (or different ways of living life, or body and spirit, or many other things) as being at odds with one another, as opposites. Yet there is a harmony between them if you look at them carefully, as different parts that make up a whole. Different notes that make up a melody. Everyone's life is a part in the Symphony of Life.

So, the wise man lives his life in the best way he knows how, but does not assume importance for himself, and does not elevate himself above others - because when he elevates himself above others, he begins to view his ideas as the correct antithesis to everyone else's wrong ideas, and nobody is wise enough to be able to assume they are invariably right.


I'm an uncle!

As of 1.24 this morning I'm the proud uncle of Blake Matthew Van

His time of Birth: 1:24 am Monday May 21, 2007
His weight: 8.0 lbs
His Length: 20 1/2 "


Daiso and other adventures...

SOOOOO.... yesterday we decided to take our new little Sofie

on her first big trip up to Federal Way, Washington to go to the store Daiso, which is a Japanese import store where almost everything in the store is $1.50, unless otherwise marked.

Sofie did a lovely job of getting us there and back and we got a number of lovely things for ourselves, as well as some goodies to go around to a few other people as well :) Here are some of the things we got for us:

This is a little bag for keeping plastic bags in, and you can just pull them out the bottom.

A noodle spoon and grapefruit spoons :)

This is just a terra cotta pot, but we thought it was really funny. We might keep garlic or something in it.

Rice bowls!

Creme brulee dishes in lovely colors!

Fishy chopsticks and chopstick holder :)

A sake flask and cups.

And in other news, this was going to be Trina's birthday present. It's a beautiful 1950's sunbeam mixer that has been at our favorite vintage shop for months now and we always drool over it whenever we go in there. So the other day I bought it when Trina wasn't looking, however she discovered that I bought it, and so now it's beautifully decorating our kitchen counter a month early :)

my wife...

just wanted to let everyone know I have an amazingly beautiful and amazing wife... she is the most full of grace person I know, and is so kind and wonderful. here she is :)


the wisdom of the sands - antoine de saint-exupéry

One day it became clear to me that I had been mistaken as to women. And there came the night of my repentance when I discovered that I knew not how to handle them. I was like the robber chieftain, ignorant of the appointed rites, who, when he joins you in a game of chess, moves his men wildly and unprofitably, then in a gust of petulance sweeps them off the board.

That night I rose from her bed with anger in my heart, for I had learned that I was no more than a stalled beast. And, O Lord, Thou knowest I am no body-servant of women.

One thing it is manfully to climb the mountain, and another, after having been carried to the summit in a litter, to sweep your gaze across the varied scene, in quest for some perfection. For hardly have you spanned the horizon of the blue plains than you are weary of this beauty and tell your bearers to carry you elsewhere.

I sought in woman that gift which she alone can give. Thus I wished a certain woman whom I had chosen to rouse echoes in my heart, like bell notes, charged with fond regrets. But who would wish to hear the same bell note night and day? Very soon he would relegate the bell to a loft, as something that had served its time. Another I enjoyed for the subtle cadence of her voice when she said, "You, my lord..."; but soon one tires of an oft-heard cadence and dreams of another song.

Were I to give you ten thousand woman whom, one after the other, you quickly drained of that personal quality which made each delectable, even these would not avail fully to satisfy your heart's desire, for you yourself are variable as the seasons, the days, the winds that blow.

Nevertheless, since I have always held that none can achieve full knowledge of another's soul and that, in the secret places of his heart, each has an inner world of inviolable plains, vales of silence, great mountains, secret gardens, and that I could discourse to you of any man whatsoever a whole life long without ever being unduly prolix - such being my belief, it passed my understanding why what each woman brought to me from her store was so meagre, barely enough for a single evening meal.

But now, O Lord, I see my error. I failed to regard them as arable land to which year-long I must betake myself before the daybreak, my boots caked thick with mud, with my plough, my horse, my harrow, my bag of grain, my lore of husbandry, my prescience of storms and showers, and above all my faithfulness, so as to receive from them that which is for me. Instead of this, I reduced them to the level of those puppet-like creatures whom the notables of some humble village, which you visit in the course of a survey of the empire, thrust forward to falter some set phrase of greeting or to pay homage to you with a basket of choice fruits. True, you greet them affably, for charming is the ripple of their smiles, graceful their gesture proffering the fruit, and childishly simple in the small set speech; nevertheless you have drained them of their honey in a moment and used up their gifts, once you have patted the blushing cheeks and savored the sweet confusion of their gaze. Yet these young girls, too, are arable lands with vast horizons, in which perhaps, did you but know the way of access, you might lose - and find - yourself for ever.

I sought to harvest from hive to hive the honey ready-made, instead of seeking to enter those vast spaces which at first give nothing but demand of you a long wayfaring, step by toilsome step; for you must walk a great while in silence beside the lord of the domain if you would make of them your homeland.

I who have had for a friend the one true geometrician, a man who could instruct me night and day and to whom I brought my quandaries, not to have them solved, but studied by him from his own angle; for being himself and not another, he did not hear this or that note of music as I did, nor see the sun as you see it, nor get the same taste as you do from the selfsame food, but, of the materials submitted to him, composed a fruit with a quality peculiarly its own and not another (neither measurable nor definable, but pregnant with a certain quality and not another, and pointing in a certain direction and not another) - I, who found in him the significance of Space and had recourse to him as one has recourse to a sea wind or solitude, what would I have gained from him if I had made appeal not to the man himself, but to what he could supply - not to the tree, but to the fruits - and aspired to satisfy my mind and heart with some dry formulas of geometry?

For him alone who tills his field and plants the olive tree and sows the good seed, for such an one alone strikes the hour of transfiguration, which he could never enjoy did he buy his bread from the baker. For him sounds the hour of the festival of harvest, and the festival of the garnering, when slowly he swings to the creaking granary door upon its hoarded sunlight. For the mound of seed grain stored behind that door, above which lingers a glow of yellow dust, has the power, when its hour comes, of flooding your black fields with rippling gold...

I have taken the wrong road, I told myself. I made blind haste to go among women, like a traveller on a journey whose end he knows not. I have struggled through a wilderness unpathed, without horizons, seeking for the oasis that is not the oasis of love, but lies beyond it. I sought for a treasure hidden there, as for an object to be discovered amongst other objects. But I was going nowhere. Hurried as an oarsman's was their breathing when I bent above them, and I measured their perfection in their eyes. Familiar to me was the grace of their young limbs, the soft curve of an elbow like the handle of a ewer wherefrom one fain would drink. My anguish pointed the way, and for my thirst there was a remedy; but I had taken the wrong road. Thy truth, O Lord, was plain to see, yet I perceived it not.

For I was like one of those madmen whom we see prowling at night amongst the ruins of an old castle, carrying a spade, a pickaxe, and a crowbar. We watch him dismantling walls, upending stones, thumping great flags to find if they ring hollow. For, possessed by a black fervor, he desperately hunts for a legendary treasure that has slumbered for centuries in its hiding place, like a pearl in its shell - an elixir for the old, a warrant of wealth for the moneygrubber, a gage of love for the lover, or pride for the proud, of glory for the vainglorious. And yet it is but dust and ashes, vanity of vanities. For there is no fruit that comes not of a tree, no joy save the joy you make yourself. Vain is it to seek amongst stones a stone more exalting than another; and for all his rummaging in the ruins, the treasure-hunter will get of them no glory, wealth or love.

I, too, even I, like that madman plying his pick by night, have got nothing of my sensual pleasures but the morose and futile satisfaction of a miser's greed. Seeking, I found myself. And I am weary of myself; the echo of my own pleasure rings hollow in my ears.

Wherefore I would build up a ceremonial of love so that its joys may be a portal opening on a world beyond them. For nothing of what I seek and for which I thirst (and for which, indeed, all men thirst) is on the level of the raw material at our command. And it is but wasted effort when a man seeks amongst the stones for something not of their essence, when he might put them to a worthy use in the building of his temple; since his true joy lies not in the extracting of one stone from amongst others, but in the ceremonial order of the stones, once the cathedral has been built. And thus it is with the woman on whom my choice has fallen; I can make nothing coherent of her if I fail to perceive what lies beyond her, her significance.

True, O Lord, when I watch a young wife sleeping in her sweet nakedness, pleasant it is for me to feast my eyes on her beauty, the frail grace of her limbs, the soft warmth of her breasts - and why should I not have my joy of her? But I have understood Thy truth. It is for me to ensure that she who now is sleeping and whom presently I will awaken, merely by letting my shadow fall on her, shall not be like a blind wall against which I knock my head, but a portal opening on another world; and that I do not disintegrate her, seeking for an impossible treasure amongst the fragments, but bind her together in oneness, a tight-drawn knot, in the silence of my love.

And how could I be disappointed of my hope? True, the woman who is given a jewel is ever disappointed; for there is an emerald fairer than the opal you have given her, a diamond fairer than the emerald, and the King's diamond, loveliest of all. But I care nothing for a thing cherished for itself, if it fail to adumbrate the meaning of perfection. For I live not by things but by the meaning of things.

Yet this ill-carved ring, this faded rose embroidered on a strip of linen, this ewer of common pewter which serves for our tea before the hour of love - all these things are irreplaceable since they minister to a rite. Only of the god himself I ask perfection, but the clumsiest wooden object, once it has served to grace his worship, shares in his perfection.

Thus with the sleeping wife. Did I appraise her for herself alone, soon would I grow weary and quest elsewhere. For it may well be that she is shrewish; or, even though she be perfection's self to look on, that she sounds not that sweet bell note on which my heart is set, that she says badly, "You, my lord...," whereas these words would chime like music on another's lips.

But sleep untroubled for your imperfection, imperfect wife. I do not knock my head against a blind wall, for, though you be not a fulfillment, a reward, a jewel venerated for itself - of which I soon would weary - you are a vehicle, a pathway, and a portage. And I shall not grow weary of becoming.



I will probably be an uncle before the weekend is over... weird.


Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

Among interesting artists and musicians is this Lithuanian who was both a painter and composer. His paintings were often named to coincide with musical forms (such as Spring Sonata below), and his musical compositions often accompanied his painting cycles. Here are a few of his paintings:

Laivas Debesys (Boat Clouds)

Praeitis (The Past)

Pavasario Sonata: Andante (Spring Sonata: Andante)

Pavasario Sonata: Scherzo (Spring Sonata: Scherzo)

Many more paintings and clips of some of his music can be found at http://ciurlionis.licejus.lt/index_en.html or at http://ciurlionis.licejus.lt/index.html if you can read Lithuanian :)



to a soul steeped in quiet
light takes on a new quality
filtering down as if unhindered
by all the dirt

a quiet of the senses;
hearing, sight, taste,
touch, smell
has produced a change

light seems brighter somehow...
with a clarity and purpose
previously unnoticed

eyes opening, heart spread wide
it's surprising
how everything has changed
yet nothing has changed

except the way a soul
steeped in silence
perceives light.

"big" american christianity

I think one of the main things that bothers me about sort of "big" American Christianity (meaning many of those large established organizations/churches run by people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson), is that they seem ready to fight anyone for anything - politically, socially, physically - and that is so un-Christlike. Their way of handling confrontation and difficulty is by trying to bludgeon the other side of the argument away until they stop arguing. They start arguments with people who weren't out to argue, push tremendous political pressure on politicians and voters, label and defame certain groups of people, surround themselves with people just like themselves and sit in their bunker making war with everyone else.

Turn the other cheek? Fat chance, I want your cheek bared for slapping before you even hit me!

The fact that they often seem to see themselves as people with intimate knowledge of the will of God doesn't help things either.

It seems clear to me there are a lot of people running around who don't know the Christ they say they follow very well.

arvo pärt

I'm finding his music really really wonderful right now... he's an Estonian composer. There is more information about him and links to some of his music on his Wikipedia Page. Definitely worth a listen.

A quote from him about his music:

"I could compare my music to white light which contains all colors. Only a prism can divide the colors and make them appear; this prism could be the spirit of the listener."

His music strikes me as meditation and prayer, introspection... it flows less like a formula and more like life...


edvard grieg

I have to say, I'm currently enamored with the Peer Gynt Suites. You should give them a listen. The third movement of the first suite, with the interplay of pizzicato and bowed strings, and the last movement of the second suite, kind of slow and melancholy, are probably my favorites right now.


my wife

I love her immensely.


I've been thinking lately, I wonder if the idea of linear time is kind of a side effect of our broken-ness. Here's the thought - prior to sin in the world, we were not temporal creatures - at that point as far as we know nothing was. So, why would there be a sense of linear time? But now that we have become temporal - we can determine a beginning and an end to periods of time and thus we see things very linearly. Just a thought.