The author of the design book I read describes it this way:
"Wabi sabi is an intuitive appreciation of a transient beauty in the physical world…It is an understated beauty that exists in the modest, rustic, imperfect, or even decayed, an aesthetic sensibility that finds a melancholic beauty in the impermanence of all things."
In art, it is a cherry blossom or a piece of driftwood. Simple, but lovely, beautiful but blemished, balanced and spacious, but not symmetrical and perfect. Inspired by and like nature, wabi sabi objects remind us how things change, things fade, and that by noticing the moments of even such changing and passing away, there is beauty.
I also like how the author relates this philosophy to environmental responsibility. If we all lived wabi sabi, we would, according to him, minimize consumption, choose quality products from sustainable, organic sources, and respect nature. All that, even in terms of our objects, our stuff.
It seems that buying secondhand teacups that show some wear and bear some history is wabi sabi. So is getting a clay teapot made by a local potter. A sustainble piece of furniture or cookware that will last forever. A knitted, knotty blanket. A spare, lovingly handmade item from etsy. Or nothing at all. Eating lunch with the light hitting the bowl just right. Bringing in some fallen leaves and setting them on the table.
One last thing. Two designer/artisans I was introduced to through the book who embodied the modern wabi sabi spirit with their exquisitely simple designs:
Isamu Noguchi, the sculptor famous for now ubiquitous but still wonderful natural paper lamps.
This morning, my lovely daughter sent me the following email:
I recently took a pledge supporting the freedom to marry for same-sex couples at a new website, FreedomToMarry.org.
Will you take a moment to show your support and sign the Freedom to Marry Pledge? If all of us, gay and straight, sign the pledge, we’ll show our leaders that momentum is on the side of equality. Help build the majority for marriage and take the pledge.
Listed below are Mary Gorman-McAdams’ value wine picks for 2010 for The Kitchn:
White Wines Under $10
• 2008 Wellies Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand, $9.99 (on promotion from $14.99) — At the discounted price I would say worth it. Showed typical tropical aromas of peach, passion fruit. Bright and vibrant, very drinkable and pleasant but simple. For the full price I think I could do better. (14/20)
• 2008 ‘L’Etoile de Rachelle, Sauvignon Blanc, AC Bordeaux, $6.99 (on promotion from $9.99) — I would buy this again. Fairly neutral nose at first that opened up with grassy and citrus notes. Certainly not complex, but correct. Dry, light bodied and easy drinking with decent fruit flavor for the price. (14/20)
• 2008 Colli Vicentini Chardonnay, IGT Veneto, Italy, $3.99 — (on promotion $6.99) This I did not like at all. Unoaked, Single note of candied pear drop. Quite viscous and a bit flabby. You can do better. (13/20)
• 2008 Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay, South Eastern Australia, $6.99 (not on promotion) — For the price, this wine rocked. Just to make sure I also opened up an $30 Australian Chardonnay, which while better and more complex, highlighted even more the quality I was getting for a mere $7. Lightly oaked, this wine has balance and is packed with vibrant, juicy fruit. (16/20)
• 2009 Cape Indaba Chenin Blanc, Western Cape, $6.99 (not on promotion) — Another gem, that offers oodles of vibrant, juicy fruit — pears, apricots, clementines and floral notes. (15.5/20)
Red Wines Under $10
• 2008 Moulin de Gassac, Guilhem, VdP d’Oc, $9.99 (not on promotion) — A really lovely wine and one of my two favorites. Layered nose of ripe plums, blackberries, forest floor and earthy notes. For the price excellent fruit concentration, smooth with lingering peppery notes. (16.5/20)
• 2006 Chateau La Roselière, Premières Côtes de Blaye, Bordeaux, $9.99 — My favorite of the red line-up. It smelled like Bordeaux. Subtle nose of plums, tobacco, tea-leaf. Perfect amount of tannin to structure the fruit. Very well balanced and evolved in the glass, giving additional notes of cedar and spice. (17/20)
• 2008 Valdepablo Tinto, Spain, $5.99 (on promotion from $7.99) — Made from 70% Tempranillo and 30% Garnacha, the label just says ‘Spain’ , so a blend of grapes from many regions. Simple, lots of soft baked red fruit flavors, very soft tannins and a hint of vanilla. Quite drinkable. (15/20)
• 2008 Bodegas Real ‘Nazares’ Tempranillo, VdT de Castilla, Spain 100% Tempranillo, $5.99 (on promotion from $8.99) — Not bad. A core of ripe but juicy forest fruit flavors, spice and earthy notes. Fairly simple, but balanced, and very easy to drink. (15.5/20)
• 2008 Loggia del Conte, Chianti DOCG, Italy, $7.99 (on promotion from $9.99) tasted exactly like Chianti. Core of black cherries. Fresh and juicy. Quite smooth tannins. An honest wine, a bit rustic but held up well in the glass over an hour. (15.5/20)
• 2005 Chateau Jalousie-Beaulieu, AC Bordeaux Superior, $9.99 (on promotion from $12.99) — 70% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. A regional wine from a great vintage. Unfortunately, the fruit seemed dead and beginning to fade, while the tannins were becoming more obvious and drying. (15/20)
• 2007 Maravigna Nero d’Avola, IGT Sicilia, $8.99 (on promotion from $10.00) — Fairly typical $10 Nero d’Avola. Core of soft, very ripe cherry fruit and soft tannins. Alcohol a tad obvious on the finish, but juicy and easy drinking. (15.5/20)
• 2008 Ruffino Chianti DOCG, Italy, $9 (not on promotion) — A classic Chianti. I tasted this a while back as well. Still as good value as ever. Lots of youthful vibrant cherry-berry fruit, with hints of spice and earthy notes. Consistent over the years. (16/20)
• 2008 Ca Dia Merlot, IGT Veneto, Italy, $7.99 (on promotion from $10.99) — Not great, alcohol and over-ripe fruit prevailed in my glass. Fruit seemed over candied with intrusive toffee, butterscotch notes. Grippy tannins. (14/20)
• NV Zweigelt Falkensteiner Rieden, Austria, $6.49 for one liter (on promotion from $10.99) — Made from the indigenous Austrian grape Zweigelt. Great value, if not terribly interesting. Lots of juicy red and black fruit, soft tannins. Simple and easy drinking. Really great for a party – but for a few dollars more you could get something way better. (15/20)
• 2008 Parrillada Malbec, Bodega Vistalba, Mendoza, Argentina $6.49 (not on promotion) — Another gem worth finding. Packed with ripe bramble fruit, plums, smoke and spice – very supple tannins, generously warm but alcohol is not out of balance. (16/20)
Mary and her husband ended up drinking the Moulin de Gassac, her husband’s favorite and her #2 red, and the Jacob’s Creek, their joint favorite white.
See also Gorman-McAdams’ recent post on the great $10 value Tempra Tantrum wines from Spain.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, DWS, is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. She holds the Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), and is a candidate in the Master of Wine Program.
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, suggests two tools for increasing one’s creativity. One is the artist date and the other is called morning pages. Morning pages is a wonderful exercise for anyone to use. It’s simple. All you do is take 10 minutes every morning to write three pages of all your uncensored thoughts. Morning pages is not meant to be a work of art; just a flow of everything and anything that pops into your mind. Consider giving it a try and see if it sets you free! I provided the link for more information.
I’m about to move from my wonderful apartment in Lincoln Square - the much-loved apartment I’ll always remember as perfectly mine, which I was so especially happy to come home to for three years. The impending move has made me realize that even though my commute is considered far by most of my Chicago friends, the people I see as I head to work and back everyday have had a lot to do with how much I love where I live, and I’ll miss them.
I really hesitated as to whether or not to post 1,000,000,000. After all, cabbagerose is about “all things good.” I want to show what is best and right about us, about life, creating, and love, and all the joys that come with it. 1,000,000,000 is unsettling, upsetting, and ugly. It is not our shining joy. I was compelled to post it. I decided that it’s important to point to the distressing and upsetting realities that exist in our world so that we can choose to act; and thereby, make “all things good.” One by one, we can all make a difference.
Humility Now is a non-profit organization committed to working with the homeless, not just for them. We believe in counting their needs over our own, and building relationships as a means of getting them off the street. For every shirt we sell, we’ll give a shirt to our homeless…
“To live content with small means;
to seek elegance rather than luxury,
and refinement rather than fashion;
to be worthy, not respectable; and
wealthy, not rich; to study hard, think
quietly, talk gently, act frankly…to
listen to stars and buds, to babes and
sages,with open heart; await occasions,
hurry never…this is my symphony.”—William Henry Channing