Thursday, September 27, 2007

gratitude journal

Do you know No Impact Man? I came to know him through a Nightline special that aired this summer. It was a thorough piece about his family's daily life living in such a way as to put no carbon-producing, energy-draining impact upon this green earth. They have embraced an experiment in what it would take--what kinds of adjustments would be required and what would it really be like living that way. Incredibly enough, they are successfully living this experiment amidst the urbanity of bustling New Yorkers.

No Impact Man has a fascinating blog which seems to be a major part of his commitment, journaling to get the word out there day-by-day. Tonight's entry caught my eye, this line in particular: "I sometimes despair that our state religion is consumption and our main prayer is for more," not so much the consumption part, but the prayer for more, because who doesn't want more? Not necessarily more money or things, but more experiences, knowledge, inspirations.

He says, ". . . I do feel as though we (and I include me) have come to worship desire."

And so, he has me thinking on the matter. What would be wrong with desire? With pleasure in things? It's natural.

And he says, ". . . being grateful for what I have makes me want less." He says gratitude equals kindness, "And also, it turns out, gratitude equals happiness."

I like the sound of that.

My gratitude journal for today--

I am grateful for Genevieve Moss, a lady I had just met, who walked with me across the street and into a building filled to the seams with folks I'd never met before. She had me follow her through the crowd, stopping to squeeze a few hands, and sit with her people. So nice, and it made the experience of that morning connected rather than box-like.

I am grateful for my friend Stephanie this evening. I feel like singling her out. I am accepted in her presence in the comforting way that all of us need in just that moment sometimes. I am grateful for her patience, her abounding appreciation for the people in her life, her spirit of fun. She is a beautiful lady, and I'm glad she's mine.

I am grateful for Michelle and Joel's thrilling new developments.

I am grateful for second annual friends' weekends in a beach house, with big breakfasts, white sangria, dancing on the pier, and a slumber party.

I am grateful to live in Houston, go figure, but I am. I don't know why, but I feel grateful for that.

I am grateful for a courtyard with neighbors, grateful that Sharon had me over for coffee cake the other morning. I hadn't had homemade coffee cake since high school.

I am grateful for my mom, dad, and brother, for Hector and Jackie, Peggy and the Powells, and cutest little Gus. These people are my family.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

green roofs

photo by This Old House

Starter kit.

Add water.

photo by Alycat
Lower Manhattan

The idea of a rooftop garden is the perfect combination of all that is good about materials and all of that is good about nature, namely to be in it. By the good in materials I mean the want you feel when standing in front of scored horizontal panels of porous white travertine. You have to touch it, and it is quiet when you do. Or upon seeing black-as-night hot-rolled steel flooring, you want to lay upon it, because it must be cool and soothing somehow in its sheet-cake likeness.

I am charmed by a garden at the tip top of my building. I can climb up there, like I did when I was little to our tree house. From a roof garden you have a bird's eye view. You have your head in the breezes and are safe from exhaust. You are closer to the sun and can stroll where there's traffic just below. Elevator going up!

The terminology today is simply: green roof. Chicago, Portland, Atlanta and Philadelphia all have city programs to engender green roofs to pop up all over town. There are quite a few environmental benefits, as you would imagine: less run-off from the greater absorption of rain water for one, and cooler temperatures down below. In my search I discovered that New York City is considered an urban heat island. Concrete is an impervious material that retains heat, even after the sun goes down. Flashing back to my first August in NYC, standing in the middle of Union Square dripping sweat from my legs, yes, New York streets are hot. The gardens up above reflect heat rather than retain it, so that's a good thing. Green roofs come in several varieties: prairie-like, garden-lane-strolling-like, zen-garden-like, even farm-like.

Please enjoy.

photo taken by anyhoo
London, England

rooftop in Germany

photo by dreamymo
Toronto, Canada

photo by Payton Chung
Battery Park City, New York

photo taken by jthorvath
111 South Wacker, Chicago, IL

photo taken by holdfast4
Vancouver Public Library

Chicago City Hall

photo by GreenGrid
American Red Cross Center, Chicago, IL

Vancouver Public Library

photo by Deutche Telecom
Art & Exhibition Hall, Bonn, Germany

photo taken by 天曉得。
Rogner Bad Blumau in Styria, Austria

photo by PortlandTransport

photo by identity chris is'

photo by jippolito

photo by grooble

photo by gullevek

photo by driftlessmedia

photo by Flatbush Gardener
Madison Square Garden, New York

photo by Devatar
Venice, Italy

Thursday, September 06, 2007

miser works on the walls

This Saturday night artist Rebecca Miser will be showing several paintings from her extensive body of work in Houston at an art space called Super Happy Funland. Works will remain for viewing for at least a few weeks. Becky is one of my dearest and most talented friends. She paints in abstract expressionist style, using the prominent figure to tell narratives. Vibrant color, thick outlines in black, and whimsical elements that almost look stuck on make up the foreground and background of her stories.

Please wander through her paintings here below and here.

Art Show at Super Happy Fun Land 2610 Ashland Street (@ W27th Street in the Heights), Houston, TX 77008