Analog Life

I'm an analog girl in a digital world. ~~Erykah Badu

(Miss Sophie just did an "analog edition" over at Les Anti-Modernes, and one of my favorite online shops to browse is Japan's Analogue Life, so thought it was time to indulge in my own version.)

Sorely needed for long, rainy Northwest winters. Just the thing for taking a greyhound on a late afternoon walk. Ilse Jacobsen rain boots, handcrafted of natural rubber in Denmark. Fleece-lined and very cozy. (Scored these for 70% off at Isaay.com.)

A couple of nice thick beeswax pillar candles for when you get home from that walk in the rain. You can drink tea and have some homemade chocolate cake by late afternoon candlelight, too.

Porcelain teapot from artist Naoto Okada, at Analogue Life.

A very easy, plain chocolate cake recipe. This one involves cocoa powder and buttermilk, and is from Laurie Colwin's More Home Cooking. My copy of this book is a first edition hardcover, pages yellowed and stained from 20 years of handling in the kitchen.

Karen Edward's Version of Cocoa Buttermilk Cake

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and butter and flour a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan.
2. Mix together 1 3/4 c. flour, 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
3. To these ingredients add 1 cup buttermilk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter, and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix.
4. Turn the batter into the pan, bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean, and let it cool for 5 minutes before turning it out of the pan.

Colwin writes:
It is hard to encapsulate the virtues of this cake. It is fast, easy, and scrumptious. It has a velvety, powdery feel-- the result of all that cocoa. It is not so horribly bad for you, because you use buttermilk, which is relatively low in fat, and cocoa powder is defatted anyway. Furthermore, it keeps like dream and tastes even better after a few days.... If you want to be lavish, you can dress this cake up by serving it with ice cream or créme fraîche. This mitigates its purist, minimalist virtues, but that is the way of chocolate cakes.


Currently listening to

All the Carlos Gardel I can find. Perfect for dark, rainy nights.


The Zen Master Goes Black Friday Shopping

From: Tricycle Tumblers: the official tumblr of Tricycle Magazine

Caro Scuro/Flickr

 When the Zen master Black Friday shops, it is not hard to understand! When breathing, breathe! When Black Friday shopping, shop!

When finding “jingle socks” and “scarves for her,” and “hostess gifts under $25,” just find them. Go to aisles 7 and 14 and 15 and find them!

Do not rush, but neither shall you go slow like the snail climbing Mt. Fuji, and miss out on the Crock Pot Spectacular.

Here is a koan: Customer Service, how does one translate this? Mu, in Japanese. Wu, in Chinese. Or, in English, nothingness.

Have a goal and simultaneously have no goal regarding the sutra, The Overpriced Holiday Toy List: You Should Have Bought The Toys Way Back in October When They Were Available.

Mindfully, is how to approach the sale rack of neckties.

Like a river that stays within its banks, this is our way, joriki, the power of concentration on free wrapping and free shipping.

How the swans land on the lake is how you want to land in the checkout line that snakes around the building and out onto the street.

Chop wood and carry water is our practice, but it also doesn’t hurt to carry cash.

Elizabeth Bastos
is a stay-at-home mother of two in the Baltimore suburbs. Her work has appeared at The Smithsonian, McSweeney’s, The New Yorker’s Page-Turner Blog, and she is a contributor at Book Riot. She went to Smith for English and Marine Biology so she knows a thing or two about spinelessness and buoyancy. Her personal blog is Goody Bastos.

Link here.


Happy Birthday, Astrid Lindgren!

photo from sweden.se

14 November 1907 – 28 January 2002
From wikipedia: she was an unwed mother, worked as a journalist and secretary before writing children's books, and was involved in a 1976 scandal over the marginal tax rate that brought down the Swedish Social Democratic government (though she remained a Social Democrat for the rest of her life).  A Russian astronomer named a minor planet after her in 1978-- "Asteroid Lindgren". She wrote Pippi Longstocking (my favorite) for her daughter Karin.


Advice from Molly Ivins

circa 2006:
I realize for many Democrats it has been so long since we won, we have completely forgotten the etiquette. And I realize I'm taking a chance here -- there's nothing more dangerous than overconfidence -- but you have to practice for victory as well as defeat.
First rule: No gloating. Actually, there is gloating aloud, but only in the exclusive presence of other Democrats. Gloating in the face of Republicans is rude and unsportsmanlike, and just gives them one more thing to complain about.
Also, remember there is a possibility there may be some Republicans on the civil service staff -- I have seen this when the R's win -- and it is really not good manners to watch them wailing around with their eyes brimming with tears.
Second, I'm sure we will all be full of grand theories if Republicans lose and we win. Dems will be ready to be helpful, offer advice and sort of try to perk the R's up. I do not recommend this. It somehow never feels right to me when R's are dumping truckloads of good advice on the D's that they are, actually, sincere about it.
Third, celebratory jigs, reels and renditions of "Danny Boy" are best limited to Irish bars.
Fourth, try to refrain from insulting Republicans en masse. A good start would be, "You know, it was mostly the ones under indictment that hurt you."
I sure do miss her.


The Beatles perform a bit of Shakespeare

And a good time they have, too, complete with audience "heckling".



Quote of the Day

Even if one's whole life were a mistake, there is always time to change.

--Henry Miller


Photo of Henry Miller from Banned Books.


We can't all be Queen.

Queen Marie of Romania, ca 1920

Life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea,
And love is a thing that can never go wrong
And I am Marie of Roumania

-- Dorothy Parker (via and hat-tip to Deni McInyre @Pinterest)

p.s. I think I need to become a member of The Dorothy Parker Society.


From the British Museum: On this day in 1611, Shakespeare's The Tempest was first performed.

Title page of the First Folio

Christopher Plummer as "Prospero" in The Tempest (2010 Stratford Shakespeare Festival)
Photo credit here.

Helen Mirren in Julie Taymor's 2010 film

John Cassavettes (with Susan Sarandon as Ariel) in 1982's loose adaptation by Paul Mazursky. Image via

John Gielgud in Peter Greenaway's quirky Prospero's Books (1991)