Monday, May 23, 2011

The Ballad of Reading Gaol

This past week brought many memories flooding back into my consciousness; some good and some bad. It's strange sometimes to think about the person you are now and how greatly your general outlook may differ from your previous incarnation. Memory is oddly photographic but dynamic in that you can retain many other senses along with visual stimulation. I remember a time when I hated being outdoors and would whine constantly about the mosquitos (who indeed love to bite me-- I should feel special, right?) yet now I will labor vigorously in the garden for hours without complaint. I remember wanting nothing more than a low-maintenance apartment, yet now I am apt to enjoy a large house with its little eccentricities. The startling fact is that I have reached some odd state of middle-age. Sometimes in the morning the light filters through the windows and I look out over the backyard, recalling my childhood spent in the woodlands. And sometimes this is such a moving, beautiful picture that I almost cry and am thus almost late to work.

I used to bury my nose in books. I still do, to a great extent, but I think I live less vicariously through them than I once did. I sought to escape from my life because I felt jilted by it. It was as if I was disjointed in some way-- as if my life were a greater abstraction than what my concrete mind could facilitate. Childhood was a brand of culture shock for me and I was ever rebellious in my pursuit of Truth, foregoing the stark revelry of civilization that stood at the brink of madness. I identified with Oscar Wilde and writers like Balzac and Goethe who combined realism with dark humor. I would surround myself with words on a page and the characters that seemed less superficial, more real than the people I met in everyday occurences. Despite the daily dramas of life and the limitations one must run into, there is an anomalous quality of peace that permeates the passing of time. The folly of the human accompaniment to existence is that most of us fail to acknowledge growth and the purveyance of such information is strictly inhibited within a complex social construct.

In some ways I believe we all come full circle. The structure of one's own life is purely metaphorical yet likewise homologous. It is much easier to confuse substance with structure-- ideals with actual experiences. I have spent my whole life questioning my own sanity only to find that perhaps intelligence is simply subversive in our culture. Beyond reason and measure, social constraints tend to euthanize any thought processes that seek to extricate meaning out of events or circumstances. To be self-aware is to balk against the very framework our society has managed to implement-- a universal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Many people don't want to know and don't want to think because it is much easier to pretend. They are able to abstract their ideas and beliefs into something more centralized and easier to navigate, while the rest of us are off floundering around in some degree of self-alienation. I'm not sure which way is more intelligent in the course of life, but I imagine both have their shares of difficulties and setbacks.

In my personal opinion (which may change over time, I'm sure. At twenty-five or even a hundred I simply haven't all the answers), life is more about the journey than the destination. We are here to learn and to teach. We are here to touch lives, reflect actions, and promote continuity. Whether this is our only incarnation or not, I can't really say. But if not, it seems fitting to justify that actions will overlap, lessons will have to be repeated sometimes, and the growth boundary is less in time but more in experience, regardless of life or death. It is we who put limitations on the psyche and time itself. We are the fountainhead of our experiences and adaptations. It is in our personal sphere that we affect the outcome of our lives. It is when we choose not to see this that life becomes exasperatingly difficult. By choosing not to see, we fetter our own growth.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

wandering spirits + favorite things

I am trying to make a conscious effort to update this blog more. Today I have been listening to the newest Chad VanGaalen album, "Diaper Island" and so far I think it might be one of the best albums I have heard this year, next to my friends The Royal Bangs, Other Lives, and Beach Fossils. If you haven't given any of them a listen, you should do that ASAP. And get a nonfat chai latte with coconut added at Starbuck's. It is simply divine.

The mister and I have been busy growing and planting a variety of conifers in my yard. If you don't know this about me, you do now: I LOVE SPRUCE TREES. and fir trees. And cedar trees. and pine trees. And redwoods. and sequoias. and other trees that I can't pronounce their names but they have little cones. My Arizona cypress that I transplanted last year from my flower box is already taller than me! We are trying to figure out what to do as a privacy barrier on my patio. I am thinking of taking old salvaged wood and making a screen and he thinks bamboo would be better. Any suggestions? I am also thinking of building a makeshift greenhouse out of scrap wood and plastic for my cacti so they don't freeze like they did this past winter. Brandon's latest bout of awesomeness was to completely redo my herb garden on the side of my carport AND buy me a Norway spruce (my most favorite tree). He is indeed a man after my own heart. :) I am going over to his house soon to help him lay pine straw.

The magazine is on hiatus again because I am starting work on the CLOTHING LINE and lookbook. I am getting ready to write up an ad for models for f a w n, which is pretty exciting. My goal is to produce 10 dresses next week now that the designs are sorted out. It's going to be a tough haul with etsy and work going as well, but I have to utilize what time I have between now and when architecture school starts up again. The biggest setback has been that I have all sorts of awesome vintage fabrics but wanted to keep a certain color palette. It is challenging to create a coherent line when all you want to do is use crazy 1960's brocades! My latest challenge is finding awesome silk in the right colors at a decent price. Ugh! I wanted everything to be silk and polished cotton originally but that is easier said than done. Laramie and I are busy bees anyway but this will be an exciting project for us to undertake. She is trying to con me into taking ballet and bellydancing classes with her and thus far I have held out, but it is tempting and could happen in the near future...

Speaking of, I am getting ready to do custom couple woodburned portraits on etsy. I did some a few years back for some friends as gifts (as well as one for Unknown Hinson to give to him when we had our interview with him for p+w) and someone suggested that I give them a run on etsy. They're relatively easy to do and look pretty fabulous once they are finished. I think I am going to opt for danish or teak oil rather than polyurethane this time around, though. I used some of that for one of my architecture final projects and it turned out much better and had a more handmade feel to it. Stay tuned. :)


Wednesday, May 18, 2011


via: ffffound

source: ffffound

Sometimes happiness is a lot of things.

Lately, for me, "happiness" is...

...finding out you made all A's and B's in the classes you struggled with all semester.

...having an amazing stepfather that takes you on camping trips like he and his dad used to take, shows you some of the places he visited as a boy, and likes spending quality time with you.

...having a wonderful mother who plans a surprise daytrip with you to Charlotte to go visit the campus and eat some scrumptious foods from some of the best restaurants in town.

...when your boyfriend turns your no good, very bad day into a super good one by surprising you with chai and a romantic walk at UT Gardens (it's the little things that make all the difference in the world.)

...having two great kiddos that snuggle up with you in bed when the boyfriend's away and like watching cheesy shows like Mister Ed with you.

...finding out you received a small scholarship and won't owe $909 out-of-pocket for your summer classes.

...having incredible girlfriends that put up with your many moods, changes of heart, and constant entrepreneurial enterprises with tolerance, gelato, and love.

...having all your socks and sheets match accordingly. (dumb, I know, but it makes a big difference....believe me.)

... having a great job for the past almost five years that has kept me afloat through several life transitions, moves, and architecture school.

...feeling very lucky to have good food on the table, everything I need or want (within reason), and some of the best people in my life. I feel truly humbled and blessed today.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

ambergris//let's stay together

Finals are pretty much over, which means I will finally be able to actually have time to blog and a social life again and all that. It amazes me when I see older posts and then come back periodically how much my life alters in a span of time.

Big news? There's plenty to share. For one, my final reviews went poorly. Well, poorly for a perfectionist. They were probably okay but I always worry about them if they don't go as well as planned. Generally speaking, I have started to notice a trend in my work, which is mostly that I feel like simple lines in ink on mylar are not enough for a final presentation, so I overcompensate by pocheing everything and making it ultimately stand out like a sore thumb. I have been told by two professors now that I need to abtract things and simplify them more, and I unfortunately think that is the most difficult task of all. It amazes me that I can spend an hour or two doing the most intricate detailing on a drawing and then spend ten hours stumped over simple diagrams. I guess that means I'm probably not as dumb as I always assumed I was, but it also means that I have to work extra hard to compensate for internal complexity. I overcomplicate everything in my life-- is it any surprise that I would overcomplicate even Architecture?

The second big news is that in a year (or year and a half, depending on many factors), I am moving to Charlotte. And that is, of course, if I get admitted to transfer into the architecture program at UNCC. There are many reasons for this, but mostly because despite being happy with many things in my life, as a whole I am not as happy as I should be. I kept hoping it was a phase I was just going through but I feel like it is more than that. It may be a disaster, but I think a change of pace will do me good. Granted, there are many reasons I am "escaping" (allergies, fundamentalism, and some other stuff I'd rather not go into right now), but I think it is necessary escape.

The idea of selling 3/4 of what I own, probably working a job that is very different from what I have been doing the past few years, and focusing on just one thing rather than 500 seems like a step it the right direction. I have been dragging my feet because of various reasons, and now I have decided to accept and be at peace with the fact that those reasons are simply not enough to sustain me and will probably waste even more of my time. Not to be a pessimist or anything, but I have to be realistic and recognize that this path has just outlived its journey.

It's time for me to work towards something else and progress as a human being and honestly I don't feel like I can do that in Knoxville. I love my friends and it is nice to be closer to my parents, but I think the only way I am going to be satisfied with my life is to start with a clean slate, have less of everything, and focus on the things that make me happiest. As I told my boyfriend a few weeks ago, "I feel as if I am living someone else's life. I don't feel as if I am living at all in reality. I am just watching events unravel and I feel like a ghost." It is somewhat saddening and I will miss a lot of people here, but it's like riding a bicycle: you have to take off your training wheels and let go and some point. I have to stop making excuses and focus on results. And if that means completely uprooting myself from everything, it is just something I will have to do.