Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hello Honda

I bought a car. I paid for it in cash. It's not fancy but it's mine. It feels so good to completely own something and to not have to worry about owing money.

I am using the current state of our economy to force myself into good financial habits. Sure it would be nice to have a fancy car, or Starbucks every day, or those awesome Frye boots at Urban right now. But those things just aren't necessities, even though I sometimes convince myself that they are. It's so easy to fall into the habit of saying "but I deserve it". I just can't justify living beyond my means at the cost of losing control of my finances. I tried that two years ago and slowly the balance on those little plastic rectangles crawled closer and closer to their limit. And it made me so angry. Luckily angry enough to vow to never use them again and to slowly but surely begin to pay them off.

So I went without a car for a couple years, but it was worth it because now I fully own one. It taught me that I can live without when I need to and that it feels better to do that than to be choking in debt.

(a couple links of stories that have inspired me to be frugal/ debt free)

...and go

Sometimes I'll think and think about something, planning out how I'm going to do it. I'll lay in bed at night letting it mull over and over in my head, dreading that I will never be able to do it as good as I want. I'll make lists, lots and lots of lists. And then finally (usually days, sometimes years later) I will just do it. It's not always perfect right away but it's almost always easier than I imagined in my head. That is the thing about creating, it only get better with practice. And it's not just making art. Sometimes it's something as "simple" as reorganizing a closet, or creating a better recycling system.

On Friday I dived into the art making process and I completely surprised myself with how much I ended up accomplishing. It was so much easier doing it in real life than it was in my head. It was a great start to what will hopefully be a very productive three months.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Full Time Hobby

I really believe that success takes a lot of hard work. It's hard to not get caught up in the idea that everything should happen immediately. I have a tendency to rush through things and becoming impatient for the outcome. Because that is just how our culture is. We have learned to expect everything to happen minutes after we wish it.

I want to make a series of art and it's just not going to happen with the snap of a finger. It's going to take work. So I've committed myself to scheduling in, along with my "day job", 40 hrs a week just for that. My skills aren't where they need to be to create the caliber of art that I want so I'm going to work until they are. Because when you are passionate about what you want in life then you need to live like you are. No more just talking about it, writing hundreds of lists and goals. At some point it has to come time to just do it. And thats where I'm at.

This is something that Mark has become very committed to as well. Since the first day we moved back (yes, literally the first day) he has been working on recording himself and other bands as well as preparing to play a show in September. I've heard him say many times that he will record something until it is as close to perfect as it can be. "No more 'It's good enough'" he says. And I think that is just the attitude we are both going to adopt to make all these dreams of ours a reality.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Some things

Life continues to be pleasant. Our street is incredibly serene. Evie said it best (she would, being a writer and all) by saying that "sitting on our porch is narcotically calming". I started to sketch out my new series of art work. I have been riding my bike all over town in this weird fall weather we have been having. And there is a lovely autumn puzzle slowly being constructed in our living room. Our house is coming together. I made some pillow shams for our couch pillows. Unfortunately I cannot find my battery charger anywhere so you will have to settle with phone camera pictures for now.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's 3am, really?

The only problem with this quaint little set up right in front of the window is that hours, I mean whole hours, disappear. And I thought I was trying to get away from being on a computer so much.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Blackberry Vegan Pie

The recipe for this pie was almost vegan so I just removed the little bit of animal product it called for. I made it twice and it turned out amazing both times. 

• 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
• 1 tsp salt
• 2/3 cup vegetable shortening
• 1/3 cup cold water

Sift together flour and salt. Cut in shortening until the shortening/ flour balls (you'll understand when you do this) are about the size of peas. Slowly add the water while tossing the flour/ shortening mixture with a fork. Do not over mix. Roll out on a VERY well floured surface until it is the size of the pie pan. Lay in pan, poke fork a few times into the bottom and press fork along the edges.

• 4 cups blackberries
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 3 tablespoons minute tapioca

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and try not to break the berries. Pour mixture into pie pan.

Make another crust and put on the top. Cut slits for venting and pinch together edges. Bake in preheated 425 degree oven for 15 minutes then lower heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until edges of crust are beginning to brown.

And I'm back

I guess there is no point in lying... I have sort of been avoiding you. I usually seam to know exactly what I'm doing and where I'm going next but right now I feel a little lost and a whole lot of off track. I know where I want to be eventually but right now that seems soooooooo far away. I was offered a wonderful full time position at a previous employer which I couldn't turn down. I'm flattered at being so unexpectantly offered such a position but I'm not going to lie about the huge ball of pride I had to swallow. I know that I will absolutely love my job and that it will give me the extra time to work on my business but it's hard not to feel like I'm going backwards in some ways.

I know why we moved and I know why I'm here and I don't regret any of that. It's just so hard to convince myself that societies standard of success isn't my own. I've never cared much about being happy, only successful. Whatever that means. And it's hard not to believe that a resume is a perfectly valid premiss for which to judge the "success" of an individual. But where on a resume do you put "attending my best friends wedding" or "spent Christmas with my family" or "feel at home in my community"? Is it about finding a balance between societies measure of success and whatever makes me happy? Or is it about pushing my pride away in order to realize that I am really happy and that THAT is my success?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Coffee Break

I am still here and plan on posting regularly very very soon. Life has been exciting but somehow I have found a lack of interesting things to post about. And I would hate to bore you with my rambling. I have some things in the works and our house is starting to pull together. Be back in a minute.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In it.

Is this really happening? I've been trying for so long to force myself to live in the moment. And the past week has been so vibrant, so full of moments grasped and lived to their fullest. Even with the constant job searching and wall painting and unpacking, I still catch myself hundreds of times every day feeling completely inside my life. Maybe it's the lack of routine or the constant welcomed barrage of camaraderie. I guess it doesn't really matter what it is, just that it's there and that I'm grasping it.

(pictures are from dinner in our back yard the other night)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This post doesn't have a picture

Because my life has been one giant tornado of hectic since I left and there are no signs of a break any time soon. Mark and I have had a never ending plethora of invitations over the past six days and I feel no need to become the girl who is always snapping pictures and not fully enjoying the moment. I've attended a white trash dinner, roasted smores in a fire pit, crafted with some amazing ladies, watched River Monster's with my BF's bf., shopped at the local farmers market, and been "that house" with noisy friends well past midnight. All of this on top of moving in, unpacking (slowly), painting, and job hunting. Life feels crazy right now and I barely know what is around the corner, but I couldn't be happier. I'm living with an amazing boy that I love and this awesome girl who I could talk to for hours. Our house and neighborhood are lovely and full of character. I'm in the first phase of love where everything is spinning wildly and happening so fast and full and in a few weeks when things start to calm I will realize that I am madly in love with my life.

Across America

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Oh what a day

Three days actually.

I imagined my first post here being a long endless strip of pictures and smiling faces, and pissed cats. But this trip hasn't really gone as planned. I expected bumps along the way but I was not expecting what happened last Friday... We packed the Uhaul and waved Mark's dad and his girlfriend Michelle good bye (they are driving all of our stuff to Ohio). Then we began packing the car and left to run some of the 200 errands we needed to do. When we came home we noticed that Mary was not around and began looking through the apartment. Then we began searching through the apartment. Finally frantic we concluded that she was gone. but how? Did she slip out when we were carrying something out? We started searching the neighborhood, the basement, the roof, my neighbors gated yards. But no Mary. Reinforcements came to help search but still no Mary. Finally we had to leave to make it to the hotel that night.

I kept checking my phone to see if someone had found her (she was wearing a tag) but I soon gave in to the fact that she was gone. I went through waves of being a big bawling mess to being o.k., just trying to be strong. Everything made me sad, the scratch on my hand from her, Oscar alone in the kennel, a pretty landscape that Mary was missing. I tried to enjoy the scenery but a huge chunk of grief was wedged in me. She was my baby after all. I raised her, I woke up every two hours to feed and poop her (kittens are very glamorous) and I worked so hard to keep her alive those first weeks of her life.

We got to Denver last night where we were staying with our friends Ali and Levi. We ate dinner and I tried not to cry. Then on the way home I got a text. "Hey it's your neighbor, we need to talk about your cat". WHAT!? So after many texts and phone conversations everything was figured out. Mary was found in the apartment, she must of hidden behind the stove or fridge, but she was ok. Andrea picked her up and has been taking care of her. I'm flying from Denver to L.A. tomorrow to pick her up and then flying her and myself to St. Louis where we will meet back up with Mark.

The craziest thing about this whole experience has been the overwhelming kindness and generousity from everyone. Friends coming to help look for her, people (including strangers) offering to care for her, offers to pay for her to be shipped home, a free plane ticket from a friend, neighbors feeding and petting her, prayers and positive thoughts. I'm SO touched and SO thankful for each offer. My gratitude for all of this is so deep that I'm having trouble thinking of how to write it out. I just can't.