Wednesday, May 27, 2015

hello. so tonight i was frustrated because this summer semester feels like quite the joke. it feels rather superfluous to the overall progression of my life and i feel more than, so much more than, ready to be done with this whole college phase of my life. i graduated high school almost a decade ago and since then i have been in the "college student" phase of life, with greater and lesser degrees of intensity.

i walked and received a diploma a few weeks ago. my school does it once a year so even if you have a few more classes to finish you walk with everybody else in the spring. it really cemented in my brain that i'm done. and i knooow i'm in the final home stretch, but it's really getting in the way of living how i really want to live and being able to fully devote myself to meaningful long term projects. it's unarguably annoying and just my reality. but.

but jared stopped me in the midst of my wallowing and frustration this evening and hilariously pointed out that he finally understands that cheesy quote. "that life is not about something-something-something, it's about dancing in the rain." i clarified, "the quote goes, 'life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain'".

something clicked while we were talking and it really cemented for me that i need to appreciate my life, each moment i am living it. i know nothing about this is groundbreaking. but that's okay, i'm not expecting this old blog to go viral (: in fact, i always hope people will just stop reading this since i enjoy using this space to journal the occasional words i need to set down here, and i enjoy writing without censoring myself.

anyways. i'm just putting it out there with words, since words always make things much more official, that i'm feeling more positive in my life. and it's good. i'm feeling like life is good, it's really good. even the parts that suck, still suck, but that doesn't mean i have a sucky life. i have a good life. and i'm working on balanced perspective. today is here, so i'm going to enjoy it the best i can, and remember that when today just plain sucks, there's always tomorrow.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Jerry Anderson, Bicycle Fanatic

This is Jared, he's my husband. He loves bikes. I took these photos for a fun side project we are working on. I had been wanting to get some portraits of him in his shop for a while now. It's been wa-aaay too long since I pulled out my DSLR. It felt good to use the camera and to have such a handsome subject as well. I can't talk for too long now but please, do enjoy these photos. What a great looking guy!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

intoxicating fantasies that aren't really dreams

so i'm here because the usual reason, it's late at night and my mind is totally wandering and i just want somewhere to set down these thoughts right this minute.

i'm recently admitting to myself that i'm way more domestic and domestic-loving than i ever let on. i think because i'm also very career-driven and i've always pondered the ways in which those two things feel very mutually exclusive, if only for practical reasons alone. i fear the reality is such that one will win and the other will suffocate to death. i mean, there are only 24 hours in a day. life passes so quickly and i know i can't live every dream. but i'm learning to respect all the dreams and realize that the ultimate dream is the realistic marriage of them all. so we'll see. and here's this dream, this totally domestic dream, quite extreme, quite a fantasy, and not even what i want actually. it's just a dream, but parts of it will prove to be what i want, i think, and prove to be realistic, and parts of it will come to pass and pragmatically so.

i've recently been so enamored by the idea of country living. this is the natural extension of my recent transformation into an organic, earth-loving lifestyle. i dream of having a home in the psuedo-country. by this i mean perhaps a home a half mile up city creek canyon. as in, right outside the hustle and bustle of the city but still almost considered the city. or something just outside, and i mean just outside portland. or a sunny city. or a tropical city, even. i'm not so sure. i'm still figuring out the locale. but not the midwest, no way (knock on friggin wood). but i do know that it will not even be far enough away from the city as the burbs. most cities actually have a decent amount of undeveloped country space basically on top of them so even though i have absolutely no real knowledge on the subject, i'm declaring this dream of mine a realistic option. this is my way of enjoying city and country living on a daily basis, in this fantasy of mine.

i dream of having an old house with tall ceilings and hardwood floors. because duh, this has long been established in most of my visions of the future. there is a dog and two cats and chickens out back who roam around our foresty backyard. and there we send the kids out back for an actual egg hunt. and about once a week we all head out back with a basket and cloth to collect the blue and green and brown eggs, full of minerals from the hens who had the freedom to roam and munch on earthworms and wild herbs. the wild herbs we will gather into our baskets and tie together and rinse clean in the kitchen sink.

our garden, because of course there will be a garden, will have strawberries and tomatoes and zucchini and spinach. our property will see the occasional raspberry bush and a few apricot trees will spot the land. the tall trees will house my dream treehouse (which is not a dream at this point and just a yet-to-be-fulfilled-plan, mark my words with permanent ink), where we spend whole afternoons reading and napping and exploring.

our home is conveniently located near a spring where we regularly carry back and forth gallons of water for storage. the pond down the road freezes over in winter and we bundle up for ice skating with the neighbors. sometimes in this dream, we pack up all our goods and hold down a booth at the local farmers market every saturday. we show up to the winter market offering free freshly brewed coffee and tea until it all runs out. selling our goods with smiles, exchanging by hand dollar bills and bags of dark leafy greens. in summer we i show up in overalls with giant batches of lemonade.

perhaps we get a little crazy and have a few goats and rabbits and an alpaca or two and perhaps even crazy enough to have our own bees. we would be our own little farm, almost. alpacas--purely because they are adorable and i could shear them every spring and spin their fiber into yarn. yarn i would use to knit my own throw blankets and wool sweaters for winter survival. i spend my days doing the laundry and hanging bright white linens to dry in the fresh country air, misting them with lavender essential oil. i spend hours preparing our own fresh pet food and gravy in our kitchen, alongside our own food preparations. the shady backyard hammock gets plenty of use and the sheepskin rug in the living room needs regular cleaning, which i do by myself, in the backyard on the line with a wire brush and tea tree essential oil with the help of the baking sun. the kitchen often smells like chocolate chip cookies and sunday brunch and crock pot stews. my free time is spent crafting felted gnome dolls and fairy garden bits and pieces, which i usually keep for my family or give away, but occasionally sell on etsy.

these are the images that have been swirling around in my brain the last few weeks. they are undoubtedly informed by my instagram feed, from women who are all but living this life, but also seem to satisfy this self-reliant, basic human desire within me to live truly organically, at one with the earth, as much as is possible. this pretend world has no busy schedules or fear that i'm squandering my young years, even no wanderlust and no wasted plastic bags. it has no pressing anxieties and fears about what else the world may offer. it is happy with being small, living a small life in a small town.

like i said before, this actually isn't the life i want. but many aspects of it are. i can't give up the busyness. i could not ever for a second give up the giant part of my life that will be my career. i can't give up the travel goals and myriad of lifestyle aspirations and the love of the big city life and unrealistic, crushing career goals no single person can ever realize. but writing this helped me sort out the dream. and one day i will have my hens but not my alpacas, or my alpacas but not my rabbits, and i will clean sheepskin rugs with essential oils and wire brushes in the baking sun, but not spend whole days of whole weeks and months and years being domestic. and that is okay. i will find my balance, i'm not worried about that. how funny will this post be to read in ten or twenty years. and if we buy a farm in the midwest, so help me.

ps - it's hilarious to me that this blog still has 187 followers. i collected all of you back in 2008 and you're all still here but you don't even know it! muah-haha. shoutout to the roughly 47 of you who will see this! all my love, xo

Saturday, April 11, 2015

dream home

i dream of having a home. i try not to be too tempted by the idea of having our own washer and dryer or our own backyard, because i don't want to make a rash decision about a home. we are willing to wait out several more years of apartment living with our eyes on the prize of that dream home. in fact, i want to have a home, but the actual decision will be informed, educated, thoughtful, and calculated. retrospectively, i'm now realizing the amount of time i've spent thinking and dreaming about this perfect home through out my life.

but before i detail it all, i have to interject about privilege. i'm aware that my life has been extremely privileged, for which i am grateful. the fact that i will probably have this home one day and not just dream about it, is evidence that i am very privileged. this post just discusses my dream home, which is only one part of a whole life i want to live. sure, i would love to live in this perfect, dream home of mine. but it will just be that, a home. i hope to use my home to help others. i hope to have a home so that it can act as a temporary or surrogate home for others, too. i hope to use the mental clarity, the recharge, and the safety of my home to go out and help people every day. that it may be my home base which allows me to do good work, the best work i can for the world every day of my life.

i remember the resolutions i set even from a young age that my grown up home would not be mass-produced and boring. it would not be a brand new, cookie cutter home. i would not have boring furniture and decor. even from a young age, i knew that i wanted my home to be filled with items i had collected from around the world, one of a kind items that didn't come from a big corporation and that wouldn't also be found in my neighbor's home. i remember being inspired by some homes i saw on tv and movies, but rarely by the homes in the area where i grew up. here is how i envisage my future home:

i dream of a smaller home, perhaps three bedrooms, two baths. but the rooms are large and spacious. there will be tall ceilings and unusually wide hallways, as though the place was built for giants. the rooms may feature french doorways, circular windows, large sinks and pipe faucets. the whole place will just kill you dead with old world charm. but calm you with minimal simplicity. when you look out the large windows you'll be met with green, either palms or pines--depending on where we end up. either way, the views will be stunning.

for balance, there will be bright, sunny rooms for productivity, like the living room, and dark, calming rooms for rest and reflection, like a den or reading nook. the bright rooms will have white painted floors and walls and ceilings with giant nearly floor to ceiling windows--while the dark rooms will have dark walnut stained wood and strategically placed, warm lighting. the master bedroom will be spacious with an all-white king sized bed. somewhere there will be a set of three or four wiiiiiiiide steps. the kitchen could be very similar to the kitchen we've got in this apartment and hey, i'd be happy. the master bathroom will have a giant tub for two and duel shower heads.

the backyard. the backyard will be similar to the backyard i grew up in. it will have tall trees and the feeling that you could get lost back there. it will have dreamy, plant covered wooden or concrete steps. it will have a treehouse with a rope bridge connecting to our back deck. there will be space for social gathering, a swing, a vegetable garden, and a chicken coop. there will be ample flowers, ground cover, stone paths and a hidden hammock. there will be an outdoor shower for zen moments and childlike summertime play. and before you think i'm over gnomes, there will be a few gnomes and a little fairy garden corner. i will always love gnomes. there will be grassy space for outdoor movies. you might find details like bird feeders, a sundial, and solar lights. it will smell fresh, birds will be chirping, and it will be very shaded. but most of all, i want the garden and backyard to be useable spaces that are inviting for adults to relax, for kids to play, and for gatherings to happen.

i love the idea of incorporating permaculture into my home and garden, and maybe we could have a green roof one day. i love the idea of alternative home builds such as straw-bale construction and cob houses. but realistically, i see jared and i buying an old home or industrial space.

but seriously here's the deal on the treehouse: it's a real deal. it's the realest deal that's really happening. jared and i decided somewhere along the twelve hour drive home from california that we are most definitely building a treehouse once we have a home and a backyard that will be insulated like a home as a bonus living space. if by the time we make this dream happen, airbnb it still a thing, we would definitely airbnb the treehouse.

jared's few requests include, are you ready for this madness? -- a garage workspace, a basketball area, and a grill for barbecues. so demanding.

it is important to me to have a home that's filled with people i love. the space will be welcoming for people to lounge and enjoy themselves. we will always have open hearts and doors to friends and loved ones and even strangers.

it will take time, duh, but this space will be a reality one day.

and last but not least, a fluffy, teddy bear-like dog.

i don't usually share photos that aren't mine, but it makes sense for this post. i don't know who owns the photos and i'm stating clearly here that none of these photos are mine, i just found them around the web.


love the space. dream nightstands
rusticwide open stepshallwayMight need to run more plumbing, but this is AMAZING and I think we would have enough room. Love the subway tile and double rainshower heads. Tree houseA hideaway for me n the bootiles
black stained wood stairs

Inside outside


It's Good to Be Here - Candy Chang, New Orleans, public art series

Friday, March 27, 2015

Redefining the meaning of a successful, fulfilling life.

I've been left wondering why some women can hardly wait for the birth of their fifth child, some women yearn with heartbreak over infertility, some women take deep pleasure in motherhood on top of busy careers and responsibilities, some women recall wanting kids since childhood, while I regularly try to talk myself into the idea of one or two children, while I secretly wouldn't mind infertility all that much, while I constantly wonder and fear what motherhood would do for my future career, partner relationship, friendships, sanity, and life, while I vividly remember wondering about my future as a child and asking if kids really had to be a part of it. Why? What do they have of which I wasn't hard wired? What is the right thing for me to do? I have frequently felt that time is ticking, not to have children, but to know if I would ever want them. I want to know for sure either way, I want to be decided about how my future looks and what it will and won't include.

I am reminded of times in the past when I believed women were most fulfilled in motherhood and nothing else came close, not other relationships, not other projects or accomplishments, and certainly not a career. When I believed people who chose not to be parents were making a selfish decision. Yes, I did believe those things. Now I have a more well-rounded and egalitarian understanding of what makes a fulfilling life. But that doesn't mean I know what's in store for me when it comes to the question of parenthood.

Perhaps one day I will have children of my own to care for, and if so, hopefully as a co-parent with Jared. But perhaps one day I won't choose that path, and that will be okay, too.

Because whether I have children or not, and whether I ever become confident in a deliberate decision either way, my life will be full. The picture is the same whether I take on the role of a parent or not:

I will lead a successful, personally fulfilling and meaningful career. I will work tirelessly on important projects that meaningfully improve people's lives in tangible ways. I will not retire until I'm a hundred or more. I will have a beautiful home that will provide me with the security of traveling far and wide. I will have friendships that enrich the quality of my life and give me the opportunity to do the same for theirs. I will constantly be reading and learning, to understand the world and others. I will always be caught up on important news and involved with politics I believe are important. I will develop skills outside my career that improve me, such as cooking, handy work, gardening, musical instruments, and learning new languages. I will spend personal, alone time exercising, watching the clouds pass, doing yoga, being in nature, and creating art. I will empower the underprivileged and give voice to the voiceless. I will give patience for those who are slow, offer understanding for those who are difficult, and share positivity with all as often as I am able.

If I become a parent one day and even if I don't, I will lead a happy, fulfilling, loving, selfless, successful life. So I guess I don't really need to know or decide about parenthood right this minute, because either way, my life can be fulfilling, my life can be wonderful, my life can be filled with good work and special memories. And that works for me.

Monday, February 16, 2015

re-evaluating the struggle.

it's definitely two in the morning, i have a weird case of the hiccups, and i'm super tired. but late at night is absolutely the time when a creative part of my brain awakens while the rest shuts down. it's like my functioning brain has permission to stop functioning and my wild, creative brain gets to have it's time in the sun. or moonlight, i should say.

we've been making an effort to turn off the tv and all the lights and just be quieter earlier in the evening. if we don't do this deliberately, we find ourselves turning off netflix at midnight and collapsing into bed. i love laying in my bed in the dark, perhaps with some magical music streaming into my brain from a pair of headphones, and just letting the ideas flow. the best, most brilliant ideas come to me at that time. i feel this sense of fulfillment in my human existence as i quietly spend time with only my imagination. i remember doing this when i was young. i would head into my bedroom, turn off all the lights, turn on a relaxation cd and stare out the window in my bedroom at the valley below.

i'm inspired to take more photos. i'm inspired to deeply explore the beautiful and wonderful opportunities of life. i'm inspired to be more grateful.

i know i just posted about how i'm dreaming of a warm climate. and i am. i mean, the tropics are indisputably divine. a tropical paradise feels like a scene from a sci-fi movie to me at this moment in my life. however. i'm also feeling deeply grateful for my life, and where i live, today. i woke up and jogged around memory grove. then i came home and joined jared just as he was going out for a mountain bike ride. then we went for a walk to the grocery store. i just felt like, you know, this life isn't too bad. it's soo good. and salt lake city, in particular, has it's perks. i'm not saying i'm buying a house here or anything too crazy. but i cannot complain about this mild winter, the terrific cost of living in this city, the fact that my mom lives ten minutes away, and that we both have no commute.

but it's not just those thing. my gratitude is deeper than those somewhat superficial reasons. my heart is feeling changed. i feel grateful for my life, even if it wasn't so dandy. i feel grateful for the obstacles and the less dreamy parts.

i guess there is a certain beauty in our real, imperfect lives. what would life be without the struggle? where would we obtain our satisfaction if everything was easy? would the ease just be that awesome? or would there be an emptiness? is the struggle a necessary and important part of life? or can humans really be fulfilled without it? i'm not sure people can. what does that mean? i'm thinking i need to re-evaluate my entire attitude towards "the struggle". and by the struggle i people with extreme struggles who are severely disadvantaged. and then dumb things in my life, like the fact that i can't travel the world TODAY or buy what i want EVERY TIME or easily obtain the career i want or wave a magic wand and know exactly what i want or what the future holds...

i'm wondering if the clicking of the keyboard is bothering jared who is sleeping in the next room, or most likely he's sleeping like a log straight through it. either way, i should probably shut my eyes soon. i just wanted to write some thoughts tonight, since my heart is feeling particularly softer than usual and i'm not entirely sure why. it's cliche to say i want to write here more often, but i want to write here more often. not just to get out thoughts i know are swishing around in my brain, but to discover unknown thoughts that may not have existed without the keyboard.

so here's to tomorrow, a day where i can hopefully more fully appreciate my whole, complete life. the good and the bad, the warmly accepted and the begrudgingly put-up-with. here's to finding beauty in it all, the whole picture, and a few less complaints. because, man, am i lucky.

measuring sticks.

the marker of success is in the measuring stick you use. i had companions on my mission who constantly felt like giant failures. many women frequently feel like this. the feeling of being a failure is something that affects all of humanity, not just women and not just missionaries.

i'm human, i know the feeling of failure. but i also know that whether we are considered successful or not is determined by the measuring stick used.

people may feel like failures as parents when they measure their children's success off of milestones and achievements unreached, rather than their existence as a human being and their sense of wellbeing. people use the same measuring sticks to evaluate their own success status.

i've decided that i'm successful when i try my hardest to be my best. i'm successful when i forgive others. when i ask for forgiveness. when my heart is sorry. i'm successful when i outdo myself. when i bite my tongue. when i am thoughtful. when i am gentle (i'm not naturally gentle). i am successful when my heart is flooded with love and i do my best to share it.

i look for the best in people i like. i suppose i look for the best in myself because i really like myself. i'm a winner. and guess what? you are too.