Day & Night

My dear friend Laura gave me a birthday card with this verse inside:

 

 

I've been playing around with photoshop... this verse reminds me that I am able to control only a very small portion of my life... like just a few of the things in my laptop and even then...

 

Thank you, Laura, for the reminder!

Picture Windows

I think I drew this charcoal sketch of the view from my childhood bedroom window about 15 years ago:

 

It sits in my bedroom now, above my desk where I write, grade papers, and am currently trying to teach Oliver to fetch (it's a process -his goal is to teach me patience).

We (my family and I) said goodbye to our childhood home about 2 weeks ago. I found myself taking pictures of the windows - the views. I was really trying to avoid pictures of an empty house. I wanted to remember it full of us. In the end, everything went into the moving truck and as we walked down the driveway for the last time, I believe the walls were still vibrating from all the noise we made over the years. It never felt empty.

 

I did snap this one of the closet my sister and I shared:

 

(I'm not sure I'll ever find a dresser that will hold that much stuff ever again!)

My sister and I used to climb up to the top, and pretend that we were trapped on a speeding boat or a runaway train. I remember writing with my finger on the dirty window pane: "Save Us!" In my neatest 8 year old handwriting. Of course it was backwards to anyone looking in - which was pretty much impossible because we were at the top of a hill. And then the rain would regularly wash it away. It's funny the small things we remember.

Honestly, letting go of this home was rough but it was time to move on. This place will always be special but it's just a house and walls that kept us safe from the elements - what I will always carry with me is who I lived there with, all the noise we made, and the view from the windows.

 

 

Sunday

Today was all about walking and talking and it's not over yet... I started the say with iced tea (it was 90 degrees here) and a walk with Sarah... there was window shopping and girl talk... we talked about important things like how early is too early to put up Christmas decorations. I love the sisterhood we have shared over the years. And I love that she came all the way from the westside to spend time with me. 

Then, I went to a former Professors (Sandra Tsing Lo's) home for what is usually a reading by a local author... this time is was a chance to meet and chat with Patt Morrison (formerly of KPCC). This vibrant community of people is such a surprise to me... makes paying back student loans worth it...

And the day is not over yet!

The Center Holds True

I had no intention of taking a summer hiatus from this blog... but that's what happened. 

It was a tremendous summer... Graduation, a completed masters thesis, Yale, a trip to Seattle and Longmire Washington, a family vacation in the mountains, I picked an whole lot of tomatoes from my garden, settled more fully into a little house in Altadena, taught creative writing at an artists camp... and the essay that, 3 years ago, gave me my first real rejection letter finally redeemed itself... that same essay got me hired to teach freshman English at Biola University. 

The day I was hired at Biola was also the day that my Dad was diagnosed with stage 2 prostate cancer. It feels nearly impossible to hold both of those things at the same time. I'm amzed at how a single phone cal can change the course of your life and how two in the same afternoon can bring you to your knees. But somewhere in the center of all this we lean in and find strength. The road ahead is not certain but today is brand new. I am choosing to be grateful for this.

I prefer to think of us like this... just dumb enough to jump out of a plane together!

And if you say a prayer for my family - make it a big one.

What I Do Instead

I'll start with a quote I came across this morning from Charles Dickens. "Do everything you possibly can but don't make such a fuss about it."

The new year is in full swing. I start back at USC tomorrow night. I think I'm ready.

Then again, I have found ways of distracting myself from actually writing. 

That's right.
I paint my nails.
This week they are a glittery royal blue. Last week they were a calm lavendar.
Added bonus: When you don't buy the fast drying nail polish, this little task could potentially take up your entire afternoon.
I know.
There is a tiny chance that I am avoiding something.
The truth is, I've been searching for my "word of the year"... the theme that will carry me through thesis writing, graduation, a budding etsy store and creative partnership, and a rather daunting Yale Writers Conference Application... One word might not be enough. I'm not overwhelmed. All of these things are very good things. I catch myself feeling so grateful. My list for this year is long and varied. I have no idea what my life will look like come next year.
I can't wait to find out.

First Day

Well, today I started my tutoring job. It's so refreshing to get paid for doing something I'm actually good at. It's taken an awfully long time to figure out what I'm good at and even longer to find a way to get paid for it. I'm still trying to work this part out.

It was a great first day and I'm looking forward to tomorrow!

Something tells me I'm going to be learning Spanish 3, and physics right along with my student.

Wish me luck!

Feeling Lucky

Today I was told that gold butterflies mean good luck. Then, my friend Alison gave me this sweet little jewelry dish:


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And if that wasn't enough we had lunch together at The Counter (yum!) and talked about collaborating on her blog. I feel lucky to have Alison as a new friend.

I love finding ways to work with my friends! And my little butterfly dish!

Loose Ends

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Today was all about tying up loose ends. This is my least favorite part... In knitting and in life... All those tiny little details or strands of yarn that need to be woven back into the sweater so that nothing can inadvertently unravel.

This sweater has been sitting in my knitting basket completely finished except for one minor detail: the arm seams were not sewn together. It was unwearable. Until today, when I finally sat still long enough to get through the tedious task.

Now, it is unwearable (by me) because I made it too short. Oh well. Anyone need a sweater? It's handmade and machine washable and trust me this is a good combination.

Make Something

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Today, while waiting for yet another phone call, I pulled out my exacto knife and self healing mat and a sheet of chip board. I made myself a stencil.

My other paints and canvas are all in storage so this is as far as I got. But, I have plans.

At the end of the day, the phone call never happened. On the bright side, I made a stencil that I can't wait to use. I also can't wait for that phone call.

J. O. B.

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I got a call late yesterday about a job! I'll be tutoring and I'm really excited about it. Excited and grateful. There are still a million things up in the air but at least I know I have a job. Maybe this is all I need for today.

Introverts Unite

Today Hannah and I spent the day at a place we had never been with other people we have never met. Treepeople is a beautiful urban forest and conservation center just off Mullholland Drive and Cold Water Canyon. We were there for an Etsy conference.

We met with other artists who sell their work online. There was a certain quietness, intimacy, and genuine friendliness to the group that I couldn't quite put my finger on. It wasn't until the car ride home with Hannah, that she nailed it. We had just spent the day with a bunch of introverted artists who want to make beautiful things. And we had a blast.

We passed out our business cards and talked about what we want to do: creating art, teaching art as a transformative practice, and finding ways to incorporate the art and handiwork of the women we've met around the world.

Everytime I talk about Spread-Creative I get more excited and more nervous. Now we actually have to make it happen.

Side note: I introduced myself and mentioned the Hannah is my partner. Then, quickly clarified: my business partner. He laughed and added, "Thanks for clarifying." (Good thing we have business cards.)

*Our website will be undergoing major construction in the next month as we move forward.

So, stay tuned...

Say Anything

Today was kind of lazy. This afternoon the roommates and I sat on the couch and watched a movie. Not just any movie. A John Cusak movie. Say Anything. Between John's awkwardness and the Peter Gabriel soundtrack, we ha a good laugh. Such fun. I will miss these girls when I move!

Calling Cards

I forgot to show you the beautiful hand-made business cards that Hannah made for our little venture. We are going to an Etsy conference this Sunday to meet other artist/ entrepreneurs. I'm excited about the possibilities ahead and will give you more information about what we are doing.


Tonight was another walk and talk around the Rose Bowl. I love listening to Laura talk about her life and I'm so grateful for her wise voice and humor in my life.

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