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Humble as a mumble in the jungle of shouts and screams.

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8/22/06 10:41 am

loose limbed, ripe hips
in flip flops and a tissue dress
smelling like sun
on a monday morning

5/19/06 11:55 am

I'm thinking of finding out more about this, but my anti-social tendancies make me nervous about being around that many strangers, so much more experienced with this area than myself for four days straight. Plus there's the money and childcare issue. Whatever... I think what they're doing is awesome though. Think, think, think....

5/19/06 11:46 am

x-posted here... but worth repeating, for myself. (It's taken a little while to get the whirling dervish in my head to coalesce into anything coherent!)

“Full fathom five thy father lies:
Of his bones are coral made:
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange”

That…is what’s really going on I suppose. Though not actually quite so dire as someone dead at the bottom of the sea, it’s more along the lines of the modern day interpretation of “sea change”. Or maybe paradigm shift is a better way to say it… In any event change is a’comin. Slowly as always with me, but it’s building, building, building.

What’s interesting to me is that in some ways I feel like I’m reaching back to the person I was at 15 and 16. (Does that mean I’m regressing? Or just trying to hang on by my fingernails to the last memories of childhood? Now that the mantle of adulthood has been resting firmly on my shoulders for a little while now?) There’s a sense of looping back around to former perspectives, with the new knowledge and experience 10 years have given me and trying gather all these shards back up together again and make something new and better than all of it. Somewhere, somehow I’ve found that blisteringly intense desire to DO SOMETHING IMPORTANT again… not that it wasn’t there before, but it’s pressing. There’s a sense of urgency to do it, do it right and do it now. Or at least really get started on it in earnest.

I’ve realized that the sense of idealism and conceptual grandiosity instilled in the design institutions rarely actually exists in the day-to-day world of the design industries. Duh, huh? That is unless you’re fortunate enough to be one of the chosen few who get to fiddle and futz and *really* create at one of the bubbling cauldrons affiliated with MIT or Stanford. That, however, was not the path I chose, so I’m coming up with what I can make with the tools I’ve got. A math genius I am not, or at least not with the training I have currently. And I chose not to go into to architecture, and though the reasons now for that decision are little unclear to me, I am still happy with the decision itself. Architecture tends to torture itself far too much for my taste.

But what does any of that really mean?!? Mostly that I simply cannot go on being a “decorator” without clear plans and intentions towards the next step. I was not trained as a decorator and in many ways I feel like I’ve been wasting my time in my current position. Four years and heap of debt is a lot to pay for tools I’m not utilizing in the best way possible. Many of those tools are fading, fading, fading from “the archives” and I worry that they will be gone forever soon if they aren’t already. Don’t get me wrong, we make beautiful homes for people to live in. I clearly don’t deny the effect that environment has on anyone’s psyche and I do know for a fact that our clients love what we do for them. But it’s not enough. The other side of that is that I do have to pay bills and help support our family so it’s not so easy as just jumping onto the first available thing. Which is fine, that’s not my intention anyway.

I’ve batted around historical preservation, urban planning, landscape design (parks and public spaces, not English gardens) and even architecture. All those require returning for a graduate degree. I’m not opposed to this, but I question my motives. (As well as whether or not it would be in the best interest of not only myself, but Rob and Hayden as well.) I find academia comforting and enjoyable and challenging and inspiring of growth, but ultimately it’s all still academia. Ideas and concepts drive change and bring about new ways of thinking that we desperately need RIGHT NOW and academia oftentimes plays a key role in those processes, but personally I’m just not certain that it’s where I want to be again. A large part of my frustrations at the end of my undergraduate work was that none of it ultimately changed anything beyond the studio. It was all just exercise.

This brings me to sustainable/green design. Ultimately I think I’d like to get involved with a larger office that handles not only interior design and architecture, but urban planning as well. And handles them from a perspective of sustainability and conservation. Buildings are the single largest polluters. Period. It makes sense when you think about it. Poorly designed buildings required HUGE amounts of energy to heat and cool. The materials used often off gas enormous amounts of dangerous, toxic and volatile chemicals that in any situation other than a consumer based relationship would be labeled as hazardous to your health. In addition, many buildings specify materials that have to be transported halfway around the world and go through many processes of refinement before they can be used. (Those processes themselves many times occur in other countries with lower environmental standards as well as non-existent worker condition and labor regulations.) It’s all so incredibly inefficient and wasteful and downright harmful to our health and our planet and the future. It’s a HUGE issue and I realize I’m not going to change the world all by myself, but I need to be a part of something that is at the very least, trying its very hardest to do something towards change for the greater good. Now, just to find the shoe that fits. Or work on growing my feet some more.

On the other hand, many days my fantasy is to grab our little family, move to the middle of nowhere and live off grid. Unschool the kid, dig in the earth, make compost, raise sheep or goats or ducks or all of the above and just not participate in anything other than that, OUR, moment.

A bit conflicted if you haven’t noticed… sometimes I see so much good and so much power in the hope for our world. Other times I can’t see anything other than how wrong our culture is about so many things and I just want to turn and walk away. Forge another path somewhere beyond the reach of Jessica Simpson, Exxon, and the Gap. Sometimes I think that place doesn’t really exist though.

In any event, I mostly like to hold on to my utopian ideals of walk-able cities where we all live and work and love in tandem with each other and peacefully coexist with this planet that has been kind enough to give of herself for a little while. (Though I think that’s coming to an end soon too… She sure ain’t the seven dollar hooker Weed likes to think she is. My money says we’re going to be rightfully smacked like the recalcitrant, ungrateful, snot nosed brats we are. Soon.)

On a less global front, I’m trying to delve back down into the creative flows, untie all those knots that keep the pressure building and building and building with no way to release. I can’t count how many times in the past year or so that I’ve sat with pen to paper, pencil to sketchpad, fingers to keys trying to do something, ANYTHING and just been left feeling totally bottled up and frustrated that the words and lines won’t come. I feel like I’m going to burst sometimes! It’s not an entirely unpleasant feeling, a bit like sex that just isn’t *quite* getting the deed done. I’m working on it though and things are starting to come back little by little.

The boy is growing so much, so fast. Growth as a parent could start a whole other essay, but let’s just say I’ve never experienced something so challenging and rewarding. It’s a love I can’t even begin to describe and there are moments when it’s a frustration that overshadows everything. He’s beautiful and funny and amazing and hard-headed and mischievous. There’s nothing in the world like when he climbs up, lays his head on your chest and rests for a minute before buzzing off onto something else. Hugs and kisses and his little boy voice calling for “Mommy! Daddy!” send these waves of emotion through the body… unbelievable. And then some days he can’t be content with anything and whines for everything and you just want to pull your hair out! Like nothing else… but if you want it, really want it and can handle it, there’s nothing I would recommend more highly. “More” have been flitting through my mind, but that is a WAYS off and I don’t know if Rob could ever be convinced, which is fine with me too. I would want to adopt when/if that day ever comes though.

And that, my dear, wonderful friend, is probably much, much more than you asked for. But, it is “what’s really going on”. I do also still very much want to get the fuck out of dodge as well. Even just for a visit. I’ve not forgotten, nor will I. We’re slow though, you’ll have to forgive that. Or not. Up to you ;)

1/31/06 11:01 am

From the beginning all I’ve wanted to do is make some small part of the world better, more beautiful, nicer for those who inhabit it.

I’ve come to realize though, that while “better” should be and by its very nature usually is “beautiful”, beauty for nothing other than its own sake, is not often “better” in the larger sense.

My work, in its current incarnation, is nothing much more than beautiful. While beauty is indeed sometimes a worthwhile aim in itself, I’ve realized that for me, it cannot be the only goal for much longer.

As a designer I feel an ever-increasing urge, need rather, to address my responsibility to make things, places, lives BETTER. Better in the sense of real improvements in the usability of a product or environment, improvements in someone's day-to-day quality of life, better globally, environmentally, better economically, better socially.

Much over and above beauty there lies the responsibility of the design community to constantly examine ourselves and our purposes as designers. Are we solving problems? Are we improving lives? Are we streamlining manufacturing processes? Eliminating waste and pollution? Are we addressing the working conditions of those who are producing the goods we specify?

At the end of the day, do we respect ourselves and our aims?

11/15/05 02:25 pm

This is cool....

7/20/05 03:55 pm

Everybody needs one of these...

7/6/05 08:37 pm

Read this book.


6/19/05 09:32 am

Happy Father's Day to my dilf friends gruvdragon and Ajay/Ivan! Hope you have a lovely day :)

4/22/05 09:10 am

"Jospeh Ingraham, cruising the Charlottes in 1791-92, compiled a rough-and-ready vocabulary of essential Haida words. The first and most important word on the list was for sea-otter pelt: "nukky." In 1907, long after the sea otter had been hunted to near extinction, Franz Boas noted that the Bella Bella word for fur seal was "nukwe." By the early 1800's, several thousand American sailors - always generous contributors to vernacular English - were using "nookie" to mean something furry, soft, and precious."

Passge to Juneau by Jonathan Raban, p. 225

4/5/05 01:27 pm - A downside of feminism?

This is an issue I've been reading a lot about lately, articles and books and online... The "Girl Power" side of me wants to shake my fist in the air and shout "Hell Yeah!" that girls are kicking ass in general in school and college and beyond.
As the mommy of a little boy it makes me sad and a little worried that it seems that this in turn has resulted in serious declines in the performance of boys in school, as well as declines in the number of boys going on to college and staying there.

Just can't win sometimes.
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