My little orange tree. We bought it from a Home Depot as an afterthought with a few other home improvement items when we first moved into our 2nd West apartment.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
Great things are happening right now.
Trent is in the middle of a rehaul of the website he runs with his friends and cast members, formerly known as Out of Our System, now Salt Pop, which includes a new layout, new features, and new focus. It's terribly exciting, and I'm crazy proud of him and the others who are working on it. I think it's easy for people to see the simplicity of something like an article or a blog post and think of it passively- something that comes easy or doesn't take a lot of effort, but for anyone who has ever tried to maintain a blog or run a website, they know all about the blood, sweat and tears that go into these sorts of projects.
I wanted to sort of touch on something that is very personal to me (that's sort of been the theme here lately, hasn't it?). One of the most common questions people are asked when they meet for the first time is "So, what do you do for a living?" The second question, for someone of my stature and age, is "Are you in school?"
These are difficult questions for me to answer because they do not have simple answers.
"How do you make money?" Isn't what they're really asking?
I'm extremely lucky in the fact that I managed to land a very secure and prestigous job with a corporate company in the middle of downtown Salt Lake City without a college degree. I got this job because a good friend of mine happened to pass along my name when I mentioned I was looking for a new job. I should also mention that my position doesn't require a college degree either. But networking is important, friends.
Despite my fortunate circumstances, I hesistate when someone asks me that question, because this simply is not my career. This is not what I "do."
When people ask what I "do", I try to tell them about my real passion, and my real drive in life- and this is it. Writing and photography is what I pour my heart into when I'm not working my day job. A great majority of the writing I do doesn't make it online, which is something that I'm working on right now. Making it a priority to have a presence on the Internet is number one in my mind.
I feel like I got my money and mind's worth when I attempted to become a sign language interpreter and made it through a whopping three semesters. I got good grades, and my attendance was pristine, but it didn't take me very long to realize that this was not how I wanted to be spending my time. I quit, and it turned out to be the best decision for me. I have a couple thousand dollars in student debt (which I am currently paying), and some good public speaking experience. Though I don't have a degree to show for it, I have some very valuable skills.
Returning to school is something that I think about often, but have promised myself not to force. Occasionally I think about a certain program, or what it would be like to have BA on my resume, but something that I've learned about myself is that I can't operate without passion. I refuse to invest my time and money into something that I could live without. When I have a thirst for knowledge or want to learn about certain techniques and styles, I google it. It's simple, and I retain the knowledge that is important to me personally and applies directly to this time in my life.
This is the information age- and we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. It's exciting. And I refuse to fall into the trap of believing I'm any less intelligent or worthy because I did not finish college.
Everyone deserves respect for the (productive) things they pour their energy into.
So, here's to your hobbies, friends. Cheers.
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Saturday evening, Trent and I were invited to attend a family barbecue hosted by my step-mother’s side of the family.
We bickered right before we went in about something inconsequential, like dishes, and I found myself feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable in this new place with new faces and well-intended questions about our lives. I struggle with social anxiety, and it’s easy for me to get lost in newness. I sat on the steps next to Trent, and tried to relieve some of the anxiety I felt by eating salsa and leaning on his shoulder. It occurred to me that they possibly felt intimidated by me as well, yet I still felt paralyzed, and conversations felt shaky. I felt comforted by all the little kids who were there, and one little girl in particular caught my attention. Every time I’d turn to look at her as she approached me, she’d stop in her tracks, look down, and jut out her lip in a sad, pouty-face sort of way. We had a laugh about it, and I tried not to take it personally.
Trent and I eventually moved out to the green lawn where the kids were throwing around some frisbees and a football, and I took out some of the anxious energy I had by joining in. They were so sweet and little, and as I looked over at Trent with one of the boys on his shoulders, I suddenly realized that I wanted a family.
I suppose some people always know that they’re going to be mothers and wives or career women, but I’ve been the sort of person who had never quite decided. I knew I'd be good at whatever I chose to be, but "mother" seemed so distant and foreign to me.
The more time I spent with these little kids in this ridiculously ideal backyard situation, the more I felt a palpable desire to have my own. Funny how these feelings can suddenly hit, though in retrospect, it feels almost cliché to be writing about an evolutionary aphiphany taking place among adorable children playing in the sunshine. "Of course you'd feel that way!" you say.
More than anything, I know it has to do with the fact that I’m in a loving relationship, and have been for a solid five years now. I happen to know Trent would make an excellent father, and though we’re not married yet, it’s definitely in our future plans together.
So, that’s out there. Marriage. Babies. Everything. It’s something I realized I definitely want someday.
On another note, have you guys seen Before Sunrise and Before Sunset? I just saw the third movie, Before Midnight, and I feel like I’m still in a movie trance. We had a marathon on Friday night and watched the two prequels in preparation, which gave the sense of growing with them as a couple. The third movie had a little more realism, which I've learned to really appreciate in movies. I feel like that was somethining that Blue Valentine was going for, and pretty much nailed, but it was just too intensely negative. Before Midnight left us on a bit of a delightful high, and anticipating what happens next. I loved the milestone-effect that each of the movies had of them in their youth. The first film, wandering with no time table, into the next film, which had grounded them both in new relationships and difficult obligations, but with that continuing ineffable draw they have toward each other. The thing I love most about these movies, aside from the sense that you are there having these intimate dialogues with them, is that it all feels so natural. There’s subtlety, which is so rare in movies nowadays, where it’s more common to feel as if you’re hearing actors read a movie script rather than witnessing a moment in time.
Perhaps that’s fueling my decision to eventually start a family? I hear romantic movies are good for that.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Some of my favorite moments captured on my phone from our trip.
1. My first glimpse of downtown as we crossed the Broadway Bridge.
2. Visiting the Indigo Wild factory where I bought a crazy amount of goat's milk soap that'll last me the rest of the year. I have never smelled more amazing scents in one place. It was overwhelming (in a good way).
3. Macaroons and people-watching at the City Market.
4. Inside Black Bamboo, where I ogled over Herman Miller chairs and other gorgeous out-of-my-league furniture.
5. A drive through some of the fanciest neighborhoods I have ever seen. Governor-worthy mansions were everywhere.
6. The drive back from Weston, where it wasn't hard to imagine the town as it was 150 years ago.
7. Exploring the sketchy railroad tracks and the (mostly covered up) graffiti art.
8. Broadway Street.
9. One of the many, many downtown lofts for sale. Trent and I joked constantly about packing up and moving into one of those awesome buildings.
Sunday, June 16, 2013
My dad, rocking the polo and black aviators, and me, in the summer of '89 in Osh Kosh, drinking Cranapple.
Things I Inherited from My Dad:
-A unique sense of humor.
-A love of books.
-Appreciation for old movies, particularly ones starring Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, and Bing Crosby.
-Secret knowledge pertaining to the Art of the Grilled Cheese.
-A talent for writing and journaling.
-A photographers eye and love of film.
Happy Father's Day, dad. I owe so much of who I am to you.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Something I noticed about Kansas City, aside from the historical charm, was the constant repair work being done. It seemed like everywhere we went something was being painted, spackled, or jack-hammered. There were fountains everywhere, which spouted streams of foamy white water. It is no wonder that Kansas City is known as the city of fountains. Large, long stretches of highway and land separated barns from housing communities. We toured a very large portion of the area, and I saw neighborhoods full of immaculate mansions, as well as neighborhoods that had been in disrepair for at least a decade. I was told that the crime rate in the city is very high, and it’s not hard to imagine why when you observe the discrepancy of wealth. That disrepair and decay was what really drew me to the city though. The imperfection added a sort of delicacy to the industrial brick and metal foundation. Advertisements for Downtown lofts were everywhere, converted from hundred year-old factories and warehouses. It’s the largest city I’ve ever been to, aside from downtown Portland, Oregon. I gasped when we crossed the bridge into the city, which rose up in a sort of story-book way in the midst the flatness of the land surrounding it.
Trent’s mom, Shelley, and a co-worker of hers gave us a local’s tour of the City Market, which was nestled in a clearing between restaurants and apartment buildings. It is one of my favorite places we visited. Rows of collective booths sold varieties of fruit and vegetables, as well as flowers, spices, loose teas, and freshly-baked goods. We bought macaroons and basked in the hustle and bustle.
Culturally, the food stood out to me as something that Missourians take pride in. The portions were enormous, and cuts of meat were high-quality and readily available in grocery stores. Kansas City is famous for their barbecue, and we were blown away by the experience we had at Jack Stack’s. The meat, atmosphere, and service were all top notch, though in retrospect, I kick myself for ordering a salad (who does that at a world-famous barbecue joint?). The burnt-ends and ribs were to die for, which Trent graciously shared off of his king’s platter of samplings. I also highly recommend the cheesy corn, which was like a mac-n-cheese with corn and bits of thick bacon instead of pasta.
The mid-west was warm and welcoming of us, and I was constantly impressed by the art and variety of people we saw. It all seemed very “up-and-coming”, and filled me with a sense of excitement. I am all for places that nurture an attitude of independence and individuality as Kansas City clearly does.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
En route, long, hilly roads, drizzly weather, old money and large mansions on sprawling estates. The absence of mountains on the skyline. Green on both sides of the road. Spiny trees in thick clumps. Shopping bags in the cramped back seat. Intersecting highway roads, radio blaring. A four-way stop and a sign to point us in the right direction. The sudden feeling of going back in time. Wooden fences. Barns, old and new. Pre-Civil War buildings. Mossy brick walls supporting ledges of sprouting greenery. Talk of an underground bar. Wineries. A broad main street lined with closed brick and mortar shops. Kitschy window displays of children’s toys, cake stands, and porcelain teapots. A vintage shop with an unlocked door and a friendly man and woman who welcomed us in. Small talk and friendly questions regarding my camera. Quaker-style chairs and tassled velvet couches. Large, dark paintings on exposed brick walls. A gorgeous capiz shell chandelier and the warm light it cast when lit. Wet asphalt. Wooden power lines. Steepled churches. A looming black water tower with white blocked letters. Gas-lit street lights. Charming bed and breakfasts situated atop cobble-stone corners. Rocking chairs on wrap-around porches.
These are some of the things that I will remember about Weston, a place I would love to revisit again someday. At the time, I kept thinking what a nice wedding destination it would make, what with all the bed and breakfasts, wineries, and old-world charm it had to offer.
The photo below of Trent is one of my favorite from the trip. Being there on a Sunday gave the eerie sense that we were the last people alive (aside from the two shopkeepers, who explained that most of the old buildings had no back entrances, hence the unlocked door).
We took this day trip all the way back in April alongside our vacation to Kansas City where we were visiting Trent’s mom. I hadn’t gotten around to editing the photos until now, and looking back, I miss it a lot.