Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Problem With My Pretty Life- Part II

Before I jump all over my white-guilt complex lemme share with you some more of the lava cake photo shoot...because this may shed some light on things.

Uh...yeah. Uninspiring.

This is what sent me down the rabbit hole of:

"I can't believe I'm this taking pictures of this. This is ridiculous. Why do I do this? How is this benefiting anything? This is so stupid, why do I even care? The light is all wrong! Guh, how can I be seriously worried about how the ice cream should melt? Why is there crap on the counter? Stupid lime in the photo. Shove that out of the way. Okay. Bad dish towel. This isn't working. I should just eat the stupid cake. There are some people in this world who don't even HAVE cake. Not to mention the luxury of taking pictures of their dessert. So stop fussing and eat it. OMG I can't eat this! I can't be happy! Somewhere people are DYING! Aaack!"

And then I shove it, unhappily in my mouth. Yes. Practically wolf it down with deep contempt for self, and don't allow myself to even enjoy the silky chocolate or the perfect paring of ice cold to bubbly hot, because THIS is my penance for being born in this hemisphere, and income bracket: Large thighs.

Welcome to crazy town.

Okay- Clue #1 that my uterus is ruling my brain- I'm eating lava cake.

Clue #2 I'm feeling guilty for things that aren't even in my control. When the universe is unfair, I must be unworthy of all I have, right?

I like things to be fair. And life isn't fair.  "Life is pain highness! Anyone who says differently is selling something."

So, what? I have to apologize for living? For just happening to be afforded the opportunities I have? I can never be happy because other people aren't? I KNOW that's ridiculous.

Maybe though, I just needed to acknowledge for a moment that my pretty life is pretty. And cushy. And clean. And wanting to beautify my surroundings, to create, to capture is not being blind to the rest of it. It just means that this is my life right now. Maybe acknowledging that, and being grateful makes it little okay to be me.

I'm not blissfully ignorant. Just Blissful.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Problem With My Pretty Life- Part I

I was blog-stalking myself the other day, revisiting what I'd said. Thinking back to what was happening a year ago. Scrolling through all the pretty pictures, all the sweet little sayings, I got to thinking how very 'pretty' it all is.

{Quebec window boxes. Guh. That whole city is pretty. }

It's not that they're not real. I do lead a very pretty life, for which I feel more than a little guilty. I get to take pictures of very pretty things. Sometimes what comes from the lens is true.

{Like this. This is true.}

The problem is it's not the WHOLE truth ALL the time. I edit. Everyone edits. Don't even tell me you didn't doctor your profile pic a little. Be honest.

For example, last Thursday, I was pulling these i.n.c.r.e.d.i.b.l.e. Molten Chocolate Lava Cakes out of the oven, and plopping a sweet scoop of vanilla ice cream and shoving a couple Pocky sticks in I thought--"My goodness! I should take a picture of this melting bliss!" I did so, but then sighed..."Aww, the window is all dirty!" (Because this is what happens when you have an awesome horse field across the street)

 {Note the tag on the hot pad sticking up. Aesthetically appealing? Uh-huh.}

So I moved the very hot ramekin to the counter and took a bunch of shots, none of which I was happy with. In between 'poses' I would scrub the tile with my elbow, move a bit of shmutz out of the way, try it with a fresh towel. Nothing. All of it was dumb.

The absurdity of it all washed over me.

"Really? I'm taking pictures of my dessert? My life is just this? What a joke! What luxury!" Swearing at myself in my head, I couldn't even fully enjoy having my cake, let alone eating it.

Did I ever tell you that one of my dreams as a kid was to work for National Geographic? I just thought that seeing and capturing the world, in all it's dinginess, and raw glory, and bringing that vision to people would most certainly be the best job. Ever.

I worry now, however, that after all the art schooling, all the Etsy editing and designer magazine-ing and my own Blog-o-vision, that I'd be quick to edit, crop and not tell the whole story. To forget to show the dirt, and the pain and the crummy parts too.

Because no. No... life is all of it. The manure and the flowers that grow from it.

Has my blog become my own version of "The Happiness Machine"? You know, Ray Bradbury's story
about the Leo, tinkering garage inventor, who claims he's made a contraption that will provide pure elation to one and all.

{I actually do enjoy scrubbing scum out of shower grout. I should blog about THAT!}

Finally he convinces his wife to climb in and give it a whirl. She hates it.

"It lies, that Sadness Machine!"

"Sad in what way?"

His wife was quieter now. "Leo, the mistake you made is you forgot that some hour, someday, we all got to climb out of that thing and go back to dirty dishes and the beds not made. While you're in that thing, sure. a sunset lasts forever almost, the air smells good, the temperature is fine. All the things you
want to last, last. But outside, the children wait on lunch, the clothes need buttons. And then-let's be frank, Leo-how long can you look at a sunset? Who wants a sunset to last? So, after a while, who would notice? 

 {Timp in a summer sunset}

Better, for a minute or two, a sunset. After that, let's have something else. People are like that, Leo. How could you forget?"

" Did I?"

" Sunsets we always liked because they only happen once and go away."

"But, Lena, that's sad."

"No, if the sunset stayed and we got bored, that would be a real sadness. So two things you did you should never have. You made quick things go slow and stay around. You brought things faraway to our back yard, where they don't belong...

In the story, the 'machine' burns down, and takes the garage with it. Finally Leo comes to the conclusion that he's been blind:

"You want to see the real Happiness Machine? The one they patented a couple thousand years ago. It
still runs; not good all the time, no! but it runs. It's been here all along."

"But the fire " said Douglas.

"Sure, the fire, the garage!... What burned in the garage don't count !" 

They followed him up the front porch steps.

"Here," whispered Leo Aufmann, "the front window. Quiet, and you'll see it."

Hesitantly, Grandfather, Douglas and Tom peered through the large window pane. 
And there, in small warm pools of lamplight, you could see what Leo Auffmann wanted you to see. 

There sat Saul and Marshall, playing chess on the coffeetable. In the dining room Rebecca was laying out the silver. Naomi was cutting paper-doll dresses. Ruth was painting water colors. Joseph was running his electric train. Through the kitchen door, Lena Auffmann was sliding a pot roast from the steaming oven. Every hand, every head, every mouth made a big or little motion. You could hear their farawayvoices under glass. You could hear someone singing in a high, sweet voice. You could smell bread baking, too, and you knew it was real bread that would soon be covered with real butter. Everything was there, and it was working."

*And here I am. Blogging the prettiest parts of my pretty life. All sunset, no sweat? My job as an artist to to truly 'see' and to let others see too.

So...how do I show that balance? Show that life is often really lovely, even with changing dirty diapers, and cleaning, and hefting, and organizing, and grading, and laundry and hygene and every day stuff?

Does pretty have real substance? Does ordinary have beauty?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Confession, or two...

I stole these words off of someones facebook wall. I don't even remember who, but it clearly hit me in a way that made me need to copy it on a sticky note and then feel compelled to pass onto the blogosphere.

So struck by this, "Yes! Exactly!" moment that I didn't even bother to write down whom it was from! I'm so sorry dear stranger. You said something that I've been struggling to form in my head:

"I think we have to fight for and derive satisfaction every single moment throughout our relationships. It is a constant balancing of reciprocal needs and ongoing adjustments for a better fit. At the end, whenever that is, you can do the satisfaction math and it may sum up to happiness."

 {Relationships are work that's worth doing}

 Also, I snapped this picture of this couple on the ferry. How strange would it be to find your picture floating around in the ether? I'd be a little freaked by it.

So, I'm fessing up. I took it, but I'm not sorry. Because seriously? Look at how lovely you are!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I knew I liked that guy...

"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important."
-Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To market, to market!

{Did I tell you guys I went to Seattle? Well, I did.} 

{And Kevin was at the market. Kevin is the *spice* of my life...}

{ The Fish Guys weren't throwing much because their area is under construction. How rude!}

{ THIS is the EXACT stand where I tried a piece of Blood Orange for the first time when I was 9 years old. Not a whole lot has changed. I still LOVE the market. I still pass by twice for extra samples. Ha ha! That day they were giving out slices of Jazz Apples. Oh, my yum!}

{Should have grabbed some tulips, but I don't think they would have let me on the plane...}

{Okay, who has cooked Romesco, because I want to!}
{Hey, they pack to go!}

What's your favorite thing to get at the market?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Eyes, and other smiling things...

{ Thank you Rachael Ó Néill for passing on your Erin genes. }

 {Do you spy those daffodils in the back, there?}
 { JOY! Muck Boots! Just in time to jump into a compost pile. And Forsooth! It's Forsythia!}
{Waiting for crocus to bloom takes too long. So unlike my Basil which took 2 1/2 days to sprout! I love my new 'green house'}

Saturday, March 05, 2011

So? What's else going on?

I heart Shakespeare.
I heart Adobe Illustrator.

Saturday Morning project: designing and printing my favorite Beatrice lines.