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November 30, 2009

Capturing memories

I wish that we all had better memories. On the drive up to and down from Tahoe this weekend, we saw brilliant lights I'd like to never forget. I'm never the one driving (can't really drive) so I'm lucky enough to be able to stare at passing scenery for long periods of time. This time we watched the only cloud on the horizon turn from dark grey to hot pink-orange against an equally transforming sky. As the sun rose, the world turned orange, blue-green, and finally blue, creeping so slowly we barely noticed it.

I stared so long at those clouds as if to memorize it, hoping maybe we could paint it on a canvas, but I think also I didn't take a picture of it because I knew that it could only by captured by looking at the real deal. Y'know that's always the case too -- as soon as I pull out my iPhone the freeway walls block my view and the moment passes. For. E. Ver. Cameras sometimes act counter-intuitively to nature... but what else can we really do to remember something important...

Living out traditions

[Sneak peek photos of our new place: our makeshift headboard.]

I must say, going into the holiday weekend I was pretty stressed. We had 5 dinners/parties attend, a day trip to the mountain and painting to squeeze into four days. And somewhere I really hoped to relax! Sort of like how I never really know what I'm going to feel like eating later on, I never really know how what I'm going to feel like doing any day, so I like to just leave things up to fate and keep an open schedule. I tend to feel overwhelmed when it comes to obligations, a struggle I'm working on, but I'm sure you all know what it's like to have to divide your time between families over the holidays. But hey, we can't always have things our way.

At one of the dinner parties hosted by my two friends Hannah & James, who by the by pulled together a stunning gourmet meal for 8, there was a conversation topic about cultural hospitality. We talked about how we, in California specifically, lack in that area. As a society we are incredibly selfish and self-centered, too occupied and scared to offer a helping hand to someone in need. Even I can't do anything without asking myself, what about me? What's in it for me, why should I give up my holiday for someone else? So terrible, I know it's wrong, but I'm scared of losing time, being in risk of discomfort or unexpected situation. In other cultures, say in South America or even in our southern states, it's okay to be friendly "just because". Because it's the right thing to do, and why wouldn't you offer a stranger a ride, or a meal, or a tour around town. Why does everything have to be planned and convenient? What about the children?

I could go into religious reasons about why California is so different but I'll instead say that in hindsight, I'm really glad I was able to see all the friends and family that I did. That's what the holidays are for, right? And to my relief, not one thing was stressful. I really enjoyed just being with friends and their friends and my family and his family and being able to make tradition. It's important to have some meaning to the things we do, otherwise we lose that sense of community and culture. The meaning for the holidays is to give thanks and share good spirit with others, and less so about the individual. I do still need to relax and recenter myself soon, but I just learned that there's a time for thinking of others and a time for thinking of oneself. Mixing the two up is always going to be more trouble than its worth.

Now we're back to work this Monday, with a few things to look forward to. Friday, I'm volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for the day and building homes with a few of my co-workers. It should be a rewarding experience - I can feel it! My goal for this week is to have a proper dining table. Watch out Craigslist -- I'm about to be all over you.

Special thanks to Jason for all the driving and support and willing assistance this weekend. Happy Monday!

November 25, 2009

Part of the Routine

Just an update on the waking up early routine: I've been successful. Who knew I would ever get used to waking up at 5:33AM? I wouldn't be able to do it alone, so most of the credit belongs to the ever-so-dedicated Jase. Our mornings are consistently as the following:

We wake to the sound of his alarm, lay around for what seems much longer than the 3 minutes that passes, and after sharing a quick hug and a kiss he'll get going first. I'll quite literally stumble to meet him at the sinks, but not before stretching like a cat and collapsing for another few minutes. Blurry-eyed [yet to put my contacts in], I reach out to turn on the water, and while waiting for it to warm I try to stand straight. If I can't catch my balance I lean on his left shoulder and give him a horrid morning-smile that can't possibly be endearing but he seems to think it is. He laughs. I wash up, style the hairs, put the face on, and get dressed. Of course by now he's been waiting for 10 minutes, patient as a lion, and I'm hustling to get my things together and run out the door. Normally I'd joke and say, "Gosh, are you ready yet? I've been waiting for you!" [even though, clearly, he's been waiting for me] and he'll go, "ho-ho-ho-really?!" and I'll go, "teehee hee yeaaaa," but now I realize, I should probably just thank him for not ditching me.

I really can't stand the goodness that is captured in this photograph above. I rediscovered The Selby website yesterday and got lost in this couple's home -- please check it out when you get the chance. When I see work like this, photography in people's personal spaces, I know, deep in my soul, that I'm meant to be there. To do That. To be a part of That. That I'm meant to do something bigger and lively and real ... I just don't know how to get there. Every morning I cherish our morning routines, and if when running out that door I were looking forward to a day chockful of equally brilliant routines? Gosh. Ya know?

For now, I'll pretend that I'm that girl, painting on her porch, sun beaming on the back of her pretty sundress. And that I have blonde hair.

November 24, 2009

Tiffany who?

I would kill [a blade of grass] for anything in this shop. Especially these.

Clockwise: Bent Feather Cuff ($60), Wood Link necklace ($90), Penknife Necklace , Vintage Bracelet pack, Vintage Feather Ring ($30), Old Slavic Remembrance ring ($65).

I'm a huge fan of vintage THINGS but I can't say I could really LIVE with anything vintage as I like shiny things too much. Not even that... I think I just get a little creeped out by historic usage. BUT. Shiny + vintage = is ok. More than ok, really. If it weren't the holiday seasons I'd be elbow deep in my jewelry box by now, cleaning out and making room for Weiner's entire collection.

But alas. Tis the season for giving, not gaining.

Speaking of which, what are your plans for the holiday? I hope you get at least two days off. Unfortunately, I have a full itinerary of Thanksgiving dinners and parties and boarding and painting -- but I plan to squeeze in at least one movie and one absurd sleep-in sometime. Get fat, everyone, and be merry!

November 23, 2009

Whew, what a week.

We've officially moved, US Postal address changed and all! First and foremost, I must give a shoutout to the generous friends who helped us make the move go smoother than butter at room temperature: Casey, James, Japheth, Ben, James, Sarah and Jae. These guys really went out of their way to grunt and groan with Jase and I and we don't know how we'd have avoided a panic attack without them. (By "we" I mean "me", of course). So thank you.

I love love love the new place, and we're constantly thinking of ways to define 'home'. It's interesting to see the physical joining of our belongings in one place, and how they complement each other. For example, before, my mattress/box spring combo somehow sagged toward the middle, while his memory foam mattress always felt a little stiff. But, his bed frame combined with my mattress makes for perfect cush. Throw our new flannel sheets on top and voila! A dream bed.

Things we've acquired: from Craigslist - a wooden slat bench for a coffee table ($100), and two woven bamboo poufs and a skinny floor mirror ($40). We took a trip to get IKEA soft cream and when we came home we constructed a very classy lamp, two kitchen stools and a towel bench from IKEA. Tonight we'll put together the TV stand on casters. I really didn't intend on getting so much furniture from IKEA, but I think we're doing a good job of making it more stylish over standard/plain. It's a fine line to walk on, between practicality and originality. Really, we first need to get our feet planted, then I'm sure in time we'll switch out the IKEA with found pieces that we really love. Photos to come soon!

Jase, this making-home with you has been a breeze. I didn't know what to expect but it's been a pleasant surprise to have your participation. I appreciate how you validate my ideas, and even challenge my suggestions. If that's not what a good partner does, then I don't know what is. I think we-gonn-be alright.

Posts on the way: photos of the new place! Also, as soon as we have a sunny Sunday, I'll take photos of the Farmer's Market down the street; it's right along the pier and possibly the most beautiful market I've seen. Reminds me of the market we'd go to growing up in my hometown. This past Sunday we just soaked it all in, and stopped to get a wood-oven baked pizza that took all of five minutes to bake, and ate it, steaming, right there on the steps. Love.

November 17, 2009

Jason Lewis Furniture

 [all images from Jason Lewis Furniture]

I can't barely stand the perfection of his chairs. I haven't even finished browsing the tables or storage I had to post about it. Undeniably inspired by mid century modern design, he takes it up a notch and literally crafts it into his own style by hand. I love that I know that this is his art, and his passion. I love that I know each curve and grain has been considered carefully. I wish that Ikea could find a way to make these affordable.

November 12, 2009

Color me up

We picked out some wall colors at Home Depot on our way to Thai food. Given a couple of clashing suggestions, we surprisingly came to agreement on three different tones: a light grey, a beautiful turquoise blue and a possible warm tan. I may not get my near-black accent wall, and he may not get his warm orange or green wall, but I think that our place is going to be quite soothing and beautiful in the end.  I hope.

Each day this week has heard "Guess what?" "Um... FIVE DAYS!" or, "Guess what?" "Mmmm.. FOUR DAYS!" and so on and so forth.

I cannot wait to move in TWO DAYS.

So much left to do... I best make a list. But first, allow me to think out loud. I think we have enough hands, but I'm not sure... I'll have to buy beer and have pizza delivered for nourishment before we unload... I need to make time to vaccuum and wipe everything down... tonight I should take down all the lights and shelves we installed.. and clean.. and purge.. yes, purging is most important tonight... oh but we should also buy the paint because we may want to give ourselves as much time on Sunday... Sunday the Comcast guy is coming between 8-10AM, and Friday after work I'm supposed to meet the chair lady and haggle the price down b/c I'm most likely going to have to reupholster. meh, not a priority. Ok.

Clean fridge
Start to empty closet: throw out anything and everything
Take down lights/shelves/shades
Get boxes
Get beer

Look at chair
Clean kitchen
Clean bathroom
Pack everything in boxes, put ready in front room
Wipe everything down

Saturday - Moving Day!
Get the U-Haul
Load up
Final wipedown/vaccuum
Call for delivery pizza on the way
Return keys
Start to unload
Nourish with pizza and beer
Finish unload
Return U-Haul
Start painting?


Jase : Bring ladder on Sat
Maichi: Bring Vac on Fri

November 10, 2009

Urge to Purge

We're moving this weekend and I'm trying to get things organized. I still have to pack most of my belongings but as with every move I make, I need to rid of unwanted, space-wasting, frivolous and useless things. My usual philosophy is based on how much of an emotional attachment I have to it. Like so:

But now, sharing this new home, I'm going to have to be more strict on myself if I want a fresh start. Either I love it and use it, or I toss it!

No more of this grey area BS. I mean, what's the use of having so much in storage that never even crosses my mind. Feel me? What am I gonna do with a tacky blanket, old sheets, some old perfume or near-dead pens? Meh! I say to pack rat tendencies!

That said, I just did a bit of online shopping for kitchenware, a wodden bath mat, pencils and tweezers. All very essential (and stylish) things.

November 6, 2009

And he sleeps with the rain

It's grey and misty and wet today on this side of the bay. I can't wait to get back to my side, and to daydream colors of wall paint for the new apt.

8 days.

Two perfectly lovely blogs that fit my mood exactly these days. And I think they are both German.  I should think about traveling there someday. Think it will be safe for me to go alone?

November 2, 2009

Bicycle Love

I know I had a bike on my wishlist before but I found another one! I really would love a bicycle to have and to hold, to ride and to cherish. So much that I would vow to lock it up each time so that it doesn't get stolen like those other three.*

 All I need is $600. Fundraiser?

*I grew up in Davis which is possibly the most friendly, safe town on the West coast. Unfortunately, it is also the "bike capital of the world", so free bikes were rarely overlooked. A-holes.

Found some new links for custom bikes that are just as beautiful, and some are twice as expensive!
Bilenky Cycle Works  

(via Another Something

But this practical suggestion by my friend @nnnich seems to be the winner: Cycles of Change APC. It's a non-profit community org in my local community that offers services like used bike sales, youth and adult job training, an earn-a-bike program, field trips and a repair shop! I'll definitely have to check it out.