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I have been surrounded by paper and ink my entire life. A bibliophilic mother who passed the love on to me, a father who worked in a print shop whose hands always smelled of hot paper and fresh ink, a twenty-five year old book collection that currently numbers closer to 1,000 than 500, and journals everywhere.

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I love journals. Beautifully made books full of blank pages and promise. I have never filled one of my journals, but my heart is in each one. The first pages of each of my journals are filled with words. Sometimes the words form poems, other times they become the prose I write that sounds more like poetry than an essay.

Sometimes the pages are just words. Lists of words in no particular order that I hope will one day become a poem. That is often how poetry happens for me. I feel the urge to write something that I have seen or heard or read, and I write the words that feel like the experience. Like a Rorschach test of sound and meaning, the words come to me, vowels singing and consonants dancing around and around each other until I hear a harmony, or an intentional dissonance, that says everything I feel. It’s like a beautiful audition. The list stops as I begin to feel the rhythm that I need, and then the page becomes a chopping block. Scribbled lines are crossed out, mutilated. Punctuation is trashed, dug out, brushed off, and trashed again. Articles are the hardest — take them out, put them back in, whittle them down smaller and smaller until the lines mean nothing (start again), or they mean everything.

In these moments I wish that there were a literary equivalent of the mathematical term, the inclusive or. It has all of the meaning of “or” and the meaning of “and” at the same time. How wonderful that word would be for poetry. This or this, but neither rules out the other. It’s always seemed ironic to me that this concept is an accepted rule in math, the most absolute sector of academia. Art is never simply black and white.

DH

Happy November everyone! How about some of last month’s greatest hits?

— Desperately want two (or ten!) of these darlings! They are so cute, and I’d be able to spin my own yarn! I just need a house where I can have a fenced yard…

Olde English Babydoll Southdown Sheep. Yes, that is actual, adult size!

— This recipe. Also, I just really love this blog. So funny, and sweet, and home-y. It’s a joy to read. And I love the dogs.

— Halloween was brilliant, as always. I made some awesome Star Trek costumes for The Boy and myself. Here’s a really terrible picture of me to prove it!

Looking into the stars! Apparently they are really funny.

— And speaking of Halloween, I want to throw this party next year!

— Also this. Hands down, the BEST family Halloween costumes in the history of EVER.

I think I can still recite most of Where the Wild Things Are. I want to be this family when I grow up :)

–The other exciting event of October what The Boy’s birthday! We had a lovely time. The celebration started as soon as he woke up with a scavenger hunt for his presents and ended with an awesome party and a rather sharp-looking cake!

Battlestar Galactica Crest Cake

Battlestar Galacticake!

— And I’ll leave you with a little bit of music: The Corries — Twa Corbies. A Scottish tune sung by some Scottish gents. Points if you know what the song is about without looking it up!

That’s what was important to me this month! How was your October?

<3
DH

One of these days my life will settle a bit so that I can post as regularly as I would like. My excuse his time is that I got a new job! A real, grown-up job doing something that I will actually enjoy — social media marketing! So that’s exciting. And once I get more into the swing of things (I’ve only been at it two weeks) I should be more able to post as often as I would like.

I have lots of post ideas I’ve been saving up, but today I was thinking we could do something we haven’t done in a bit: a favorites list.

Pittsburgh. Such a cool place. Such a fun trip. Such a great time with my sweetie and his awesome family. I can’t wait to go back.

— Did I mention I got to see a polar bear while in Pittsburgh. I GOT TO SEE A POLAR BEAR IN PITTSBURGH. This was a big deal, you guys.

— All of the faces on this website, and this one, have been haunting my dreams. I really want a dog.  Wallace The Cat really needs a sibling. (Both are true, I just feel like I might be able to justify it more if I get a dog for Wallace rather than one for me.) Take a look and see if you might be able to be a forever home for one of these sweet babies!

— The girl in this picture with me is my sister. She turned fourteen this month, which makes me feel old. I love her more than I love coffee.

This video.

This recipe.

This show. It is available on Amazon Prime Instant View. It is possibly the best television program I’ve ever seen. Watch it.

That’s all for now! I’ll see you soon with a new post!

<3

DH

I was not feeling well yesterday.

There was a lot of laying about, Being Human on Netflix, and cuddles with The Cat and The Boy. The Boy was kind enough to take care of me — making tea and fetching crackers and things — and by the evening I was starting to feel better, but I was starving. I wanted real food. Comforting, home cooked, wholesome, healthy, delicious food.

I took stock of the ingredients available and my raging tastebuds and decided that since I had been sickly all day that I needed soup.

So I made soup. In the middle of summer. In ninety degree weather. Because I’m ridiculous.

Despite some conflicting feelings, I have decided to share the recipe with you today. The conflict arises from the fact that this is an art blog with a focus in photography. What business do I have posting recipes regardless of how delicious the dish turned out to be?

I’ve been justifying posting recipes because part of the purpose of this blog (see header) is exploring reality. I also tell myself it is okay because I photograph the recipes that I post. Also because it is something I care about.

But then I realized that I was being silly. Yes, those reasons are fine justification for including posts about cooking, but honestly, if I want to write a well rounded arts blog, what business do I have excluding recipes? Cooking is an art, without doubt. It is one of my favorite arts to practice. And when I cook I use the same level of creativity that I do with any other project I work on. I rarely use recipes, except as inspiration or for help with ratios, and so all of my cooking is as original as my images, my characters, or my prose. Since moving into my new home, I have been reunited with food and it feels just as wonderful as picking up a camera again after a long break.

That said, I have no intention of turning The First 10,000 into a food blog. I will probably post original recipes from time to time, but I will strive to keep the blog well rounded and informative about lots of art.

What are your opinions of cooking as art? I’d love your input. Comment below!

Now for the soup:

Spicy Feel Better Soup

I have decided to call this a chowder. It is not a cream based soup, but it is thickened with potatoes and has onions and corn. Also, the definitions of chowder I can find are vague enough that this soup fits just about perfectly!

I made up this recipe as I went along, so taste as you cook to tailor the balance of flavor to what you like. As it is, it made enough soup for two good sized meals for The Boy and me. I should probably mention, however, that The Boy ate three bowls of it in one sitting, so it probably makes more like six servings, depending on the size of your bowls and your appetite. It is also fairly spicy. It won’t burn your mouth off, but you can definitely feel the heat. A spoonful of sour cream on top would be lovely and balance some of the heat, if you’re concerned.

For vegetarian readers, this soup is vegan if you get rid of the chicken! Feel free to replace the chicken with tofu. Just saute small slices or chunks of extra firm tofu, well seasoned with salt and pepper, until very crispy and add the tofu to your bowl! Don’t put it in the soup pot or it wil get soggy. Unless you like that. Beans would also be a delicious protein replacement. Black beans would be good, but maybe consider a milder bean, like a garbanzo or great northern, to avoid overpowering the corn as it is already competing with a lot of spice. If you use beans, add one can, well rinsed and drained, or an equivalent amount of cooked dry beans at the point in the recipe where you would add the chicken.

Spicy Corn Chowder (original recipe)

Olive oil for sauteeing
1.5 c corn kernels
½ large onion, chopped
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
1 tbsp Oregano
2 tsp cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Chicken breasts, Bite sized pieces
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
3 medium potatoes, cubed
Salt
Pepper

— Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in your soup pot. Add onion and corn and sauté until onion is soft and corn is beginning to brown. Don’t undercook at this step! The char on the corn makes a huge difference in the flavor. Add cayenne pepper, oregano, and cumin.

— Season chicken well with salt and pepper after cutting. Add chicken (or beans) and garlic to the pot. Cook until garlic begins to soften and chicken is at least seared on the outside. If using beans, feel free to allow them to brown a bit before moving to the next step.

— Add vegetable broth and water. I used part water because the broth was a very dark color and I didn’t want the soup to be that dark. Feel free to just use broth though.

— Add potatoes. Cover and allow to come to a slow boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender.

— Uncover, reduce heat to a simmer, and with your wooden spoon break up some of the potato chunks so that the potato helps thicken the broth. Taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if needed. You should expect to need to salt the soup to season the potatoes. Add more of the other spices if desired. At this point, if you want the soup to be creamy, stir in some cream or milk. About half a cup should do, and than let it simmer a few minutes more for the flavors to meld.

Serve as is, or with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkling of grated jack cheese, or a slice of crusty bread. Enjoy!

Let me know how you like the soup and if you decide to make any creative changes!

Have a happy Wednesday!

-DH

Let’s not talk about how long it has been since my last post. Sorry about that. I have been completely and utterly overwhelmed by life for the past week. Curious?

I wrote my last college paper ever.

I officially finished undergrad.

I moved into my very own place for the first time.

I graduate on Saturday morning.

This is crazy stuff and I feel a little crazy, probably due to how little sleep I’ve had over the past two weeks, but not so crazy that I forgot about the blog and my wonderful readers. I am not lying when I say I thought of you everyday and how I really need to post something, but oh goodness why is there no time for anything that I normally do???

See? Crazy.

But enough of that. I am in the process of getting my new house (house!) in order and things have calmed down a tiny bit now that finals are done, so I’m back! I don’t have anything super meaty for you today, but here’s a hint of what’s to come:

— Remember this post? I finished stage one of my written exploration of the Big Question and it is ready to share with you!

— I love to see beautiful people. I love to know beautiful people. I think all people are beautiful people and I recently shot some portraits of some of my favorite beautiful people!

— I found some neat stuff on the internet during paper breaks last week. You know you wanna know what I know! In all seriousness, though, it is good stuff. A great gallery, a cool photography conversation, and an inspiring theatre article, among other things.

To close (because I am going to sleep before 2am for the first time in WEEKS) did anyone else see the Super Moon on Saturday night?

Amazing. I did not take this picture, but the moon was so beautiful. When I saw it it was enormous, and a deep, ruddy orange color. It was low in the sky, just hanging there like a ripe fruit about to fall from a branch. It rose instead, of course, but it was quite a sight.

Did you see the Super Moon? Tell us about it!

Love!
-D

This is what the weather looks like outside my window right now.  I’m pretty sure the sun should be visible by this time of morning, but…

Spooky!

Yeah.  I am starting to wonder if the sun is ever going to come out again.

That said, I am feeling pretty sunny today in spite of the weather and am looking forward to the day ahead!  One might say I’m a bit of a morning person.

Off we go!

~DH