a piece of this here kit-kat bar

i have some writings that are recent. this is just a fraction of a fragment … or is it the other way ’round? No matter.

this piece was written on the topic of < friends :: on having them, having enough, having just enough, not enough, and so on >

and prompted by an entirely personal event that i may share on here soon since i’ve found that the less you keep in, the better you feel (drumroll, please) ::

me10ne

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I have strange news that I want to share with you, with anyone I consider near, dear, close, involved, and .. and & but, I don’t have many of those anymore. Which is by design, of course. I do not need nor do I truly want a small army of troops to call upon when I think of “friends ///, I feel (and have always felt( far more comfortable in the foxhole next to three or so men, our faces covered in mud, admiring the small tears in our various fabrics while we each remain alert to every sound, every leaf that rattles. in efforts to protect us, ourselves, self, and all three or four – it’s a place that you can tell your dark stories, bitter secrets, passing judgements, sound of the crying heave, and express the humor and giggles required to get you & you all, through the war, or maybe just one night. ]

meTwo

yours truly

[originally written to a dear friend]

& [dated on Twenty Two of December Twenty Fourteen]

& [at 01:39AM, well before the ball dropped in Time’s Square]

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Filed under Foxhole, Friendship, Oakland, words, Writing, YOTPS

the sound of silence

I’ve heard tell that the ‘the sound of silence is deafening.’ It didn’t used to be for me. The sound of silence to me once included being in a barn, alone after hours, listening to the horses munch their hay and slap water around their buckets. It used to mean not so much silence, but the sound of the world as it slowly turned :: birds would chirp and dogs would bark and leaves would rattle and shake in mild wind. It wasn’t really silence at all; it was more or less, ‘the sound of life.’ It did not include cell phones & their various vibrations and dings nor did it include things like facebook (which I have) and twitter (which I do not have) and other things that fall into that rather tragic realm we like to call “being connected” (a.k.a. “living”) these days.

These days, I can’t sit in silence. This is not meant to be morbid, but merely observational. I find myself pacing if I don’t have a podcast, movie, or music in the background to fill that (which I have so suddenly considered) to the a “void” in the last few years. Funny how that occurs; one day you’re content with nothing and the next day you’re entirely discontent wit that nothing and must fill it with something.

As some, if not most, of you know already, I entered the ‘hab in the middle of March (literally, the 15th) of last year (2013). I’m talking rehab, that is. We’re now nearing the end of June and start of July (2014) (thus, well over a year later) and to say that my life has turned a near 180 would likely be the understatement of the year (though, once one has reached a 180, one only begins to return back towards where they started; I’m going to go ahead and ignore that at present since ‘math’ was never a subject I took much interest in and I’m sure that you, my dear readers, understand what I mean).

Beginning in 2008, I began abusing prescription drugs (thanks to a bad fall off my old horse, ‘Mr. Bigs’ a.k.a. ‘Corvester’),which left me with a nasty fracture in my left clavicle. The break was in the socket of my shoulder :: making it that much more debilitating. This afforded me a ‘script for 30 Percocet (I hardly think that that word deserves capitalization considering what a powerful and powerfully addictive drug it is and how many lives it has very likely ruined). By the middle of the month of May, a mere 2 weeks after the injury occurred, I was already not only heavily desiring more, but also seeing a surgeon to assess whether or not I needed to go under the knife.

I prayed that I did. I prayed since that would only mean I’d be administered more painkillers. To my dismay, I didn’t need surgery; however, I knew that I felt I “needed” more Percocet. I whined and winced about the severe pain that I was actually no longer having, & “scored” a ‘script for 30 more pills. At this point ? I was off and running. Painkillers, by the way, do not kill internal pain (which I, at the time, thought they would).

I stole pills. I manipulated. I lied about pain and other things. I was working fulltime, usually high as a kite. I somewhat pretended that I had some side business I was “working” on a business of design, painting, illustration, & the like. Lying because it made me sound like a more productive member of society. I was rail thin, drinking like a fish, and doing my best to acquire more pills. I sought out doctor after doctor. I complained about symptoms that I didn’t have just in order to be given a ‘script. Opiates were probably my “favorite,” but to be honest ? If it came in an orange pill bottle (benzos, amphetamines, muscle relaxants, etc.) :: I took it. And I took it with rather copious amounts of alcohol (the clear stuff like :: white wine, gin, & vodka). I was unafraid of death entirely (and kinda looked forward to it) and merely looked to find/seek relief from the internal pain that I was feeling at the time and apparently :: had been feeling for years.

So, on the 15th of March, 2013 :: I entered rehab at approximately 4:15pm.

I was terrified. I was scared of my freedom being taken away and far more scared of my drugs being taken away.. for good. Most people who enter rehab undergo a ‘Medical Detox,’ wherein you are placed in a room (likely alone), to endure the effects of coming off whatever substance(s) you’ve been abusing. The nurses, only feet away, would/should administer what they can to make the entire process far less painful and so on/so forth. It takes approximately 72 hours (3 days) for your body to spew out the chemicals inside & begin the healing process. The body is a magical machine, to say the very least, & I feel blessed for my own body each and every day.

It is also claimed, scientifically, that it will take at least 90 days for your brain to completely repair itself due to the damage you’ve done to it.

So, 3 days is considered the “normal” detox period. I spent 7 days in detox. Now, this isn’t some weird contest per who spent more time detoxing; but rather, an honest-to-God account as to how filled with chemicals I truly was. I was coming off :: Alcohol, Vicodine, Benzodiazepines, Percocet, Muscle Relaxants, Amphetamines, & Cocaine. I lay in a pool of my own sweat and, twice, urine. The thought of showering was a nightmare. I could barely walk or eat for roughly 7 days. My ownly “excursions” consisted of wandering (carefully) to the smoke pit to have a cigarette; one I never enjoyed, but merely needed since I, too, was addicted to nicotine (and still am). During those early days :: I was nicknamed “Kenny” (from South Park) since (aside from my converse & baggy pants) I wore a couple of thick hooded sweatshirts that I’d keep ‘hood up,’ a scarf wrapped tightly ‘round my neck covering my face (lowered only to take a drag from my smoke), and a pair of big dark black sunglasses to shield myself from any ounce of sunlight that may want to permeate me. I spoke little and gazed around myself :: the setting was beautiful, but at that time? I was unable to appreciate it.

I had several panic attacks. I was miserable and regretful at first. I was placed on sleep medication (due to my insomnia – which continues to this day), and brought food & liquids around the clock :: which I could barely eat, only serving to make me feel even more disabled than I felt I already was.

I stayed there for six weeks and was only a week shy of 7 months sober when I relapsed on not only pills, but also Cocaine and Heroine. May this be a “to continued” story since A. it’s long enough as is & B. I’m spent.

That’s all I can give at this moment in time, but I will end this entry with the following ::

IF YOU NEED HELP, GET HELP. Don’t hesitate to reach out. There’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Getting help is the best thing you can do for YOU.

Every single person I have met throughout this process has one thing in common (aside from their drug abuse) :: they are Good Fucking People. They care for other people more than they care for themselves. They want nothing else than to see all of humanity happy, healthy, and full of joy. So, if you or someone you know suspects that they are suffering ? Do NOT be afraid to receive or offer the help that they so greatly and likely need.

jessik

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my Year (of the Pig) in China, Pt. 1

After having lived the past year in the pulse of San Francisco’s Chinatown, I feel as if I have just participated in either a dare or an experiment.

It’s a long story as to how I ended up at this residency hotel that I called home for the past year. It is disguised by name as the Grand Pacific Hotel. It is neither grand nor located on Pacific Street and I am still uneasy considering it a hotel since the place seems only to house people in a long-term-permanent-home manner, there’s nothing temporary or fleeting about its occupants.

Before I continue, please cast aside any preconceived notions that you may have about hotels or residences as they may fool you into thinking I had my own toilet, shower, or kitchen or that a maid service turned down my bed each night and left small squares of chocolate on my pillows.

Grand Pacific (exterior)

This indiscernible building, located on Stockton Street between Broadway & Vallejo Streets, is located in arguably one of the most active hubs of Chinatown. The entry is nestled between Yee Cheong Hardware and Asia Mall and directly across the street from Chinatown’s Walgreens. The exterior is a terra-cotta-colored brick spotted with small windows and lined with fire escapes. Homemade clotheslines are stitched into this façade and garments can be seen hanging to dry from nearly every window, in constant rotation as the dry are retrieved and the wet immerge.

The entrance consists of a set of heavy-duty doors that lock between the hours of 8:00pm and 8:00am. Once inside, you can opt for the stairs on the left or the yellowing fluorescent filled old brown elevator that climbs floors so slowly you’d be better off taking the stairs. There is a sign next to the elevator that claims the building was seismically retrofitted in 1992 per California State Law in the event of another large earthquake (the last big one to hit was in 1989).

hallway

You’ll notice the wall color first, best described as an asylum green from the waist down, where the molding is. The top half is white including the ceilings, which are higher than one might expect. The second floor is the site of the building manager’s office, which has a barred window facing a landing. Inside, you will usually see a very old Chinese woman who speaks no English sitting on an old fold-up chair in the corner, surrounded by filing cabinets and piles of paperwork. On occasion, you will see Karen, a younger Chinese lady who is infinitely friendly and enthusiastic and speaks more English than her older counterpart. You will sometimes see Mr. Wong, the kind Building Manager who speaks less English than Karen but more English than his elder.

sinkdoor

My little unit, #405 (pronounced suh-ling-woo), was on the fourth out of five floors, half the size of the ‘biggest’ units they offer. It was a ‘cozy’ ten by ten foot box that included a small sink in one corner, a hardly larger closet in another corner, and a small sliding window that overlooked the gap in the middle of the building: a concrete pit. Another resident once asked me whether I lived “on the perimeter or in the vortex?” When I told him “the vortex” he made an expression with his face that could only be mistaken for somewhere between a grimace and a look of pity.

window

I, however, didn’t mind living on the inside circle of this structure. There was something safe and anonymous about it. It felt more private, too, since I didn’t have a window facing the bustling streets below. My room was well insulated from the sounds of the city and though I had expected the air to be more stagnant and warm since it faced a cement hole, it wasn’t. I received many a good breeze and gust of wind through my narrow window. Moreover, the four concrete walls of the pit served as an acoustic playground and I could hear the sounds of my fellow vortex dwellers. At the time, those sounds regularly served as a much-needed reminder that I wasn’t alone. A neighbor’s television, children’s chatter, and the resident who played Led Zeppelin covers on his guitar: they all became part of my Chinatown orchestra. There were bodies swarming around at all times of the day. Only four thin walls and 100 square feet of space separated me from the continual ebb and flow of that energy; it swirled like a perpetual dust storm in the halls, kitchens, and bathrooms.

My room was just two doors down from one of the two kitchens on my floor, a space filled with eight dirty electric burners, an industrial sink, and small cockroaches. The sounds of chopping on blocks drifted into my room regularly, as did the smells, which would range from an-almost-pleasant fresh steamed rice to a potent gag-worthy fishiness. The various odors would change directions with the wind in every hallway you walked down and every floor you visited. It felt like an olfactory adventure twenty-four hours a day, though I rarely enjoyed any of it.

kitchen

The kitchen was usually crowded and so filthy that I never once made a meal in it. I limited my time in the kitchen to the mornings, when I would use one of the eight burners to heat a tin full of hot water for my instant coffee. I do not care for instant coffee, but for someone who had no fridge and feared dirtying more than was necessary (cockroach phobia), it felt like my best option. The single worst experience I had in that kitchen happened around eight o’clock in the morning one weekday.

I’d been stirred awake before my alarm had sounded for work by a scream so shrill I actually worried there was a child in danger. With some hesitation, I immerged from my room with tin in hand to heat my water. I entered the kitchen to find four or five residents crowded by the sink, chatting feverishly in Chinese. I thought little of this spectacle as my neighbors often used the kitchen as their common area for socializing and conversation. When I returned five minutes later to retrieve my now boiling water, I was witness to the beheading of the live chicken in the sink they had all apparently been gathered around. Blood sprayed the walls by the sink and I quickly realized that the sound I had heard earlier belonged to that of a squawking panicked chicken. I padded quickly away back to my room, trying not to appear ruffled (pun intended) and tossed my hot water down the sink, fearing that some blood may have landed in it during the commotion. From that day forward, like when crossing a street, I always looked both ways before entering the kitchen.

to be continued…

jessi

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Filed under photography, Year of the Pig Studio // San Francisco, CA

a tangent

it’s been four months (four too [f*cking] many) and two days since i last posted on here. i have written entries during this radio silence, but upon later inspection, those entries were mediocre at best. writing an entry from the confines of another home or a coffee shop just, well, it sucks. my creative juices tend to evaporate and i am usually left listening to those around me sip overpriced lattes whilst one-hit-wonder hipster songs play over head (it’s even hard to avoid if you wear a set of headphones which i tend to not wear because i feel antisocial enough and somewhat rude as it were trapped in my world of keyboard-ness). oh and happy new year and merry holidays, by the way! i’ve been so damn neglectful of my dear readers. apologies all around!

YOTPS4

i have not had my own personal desktop computer (i do not own a laptop) online since July. the hiatus was fine and at times quite pleasant (it’s a stellar excuse for missing emails, online bill payments, and the like – though i would never encourage that sort of behavior!). but it has also been a giant pain in the ass a bit frustrating because i realized just how dependent i (let’s face it, we) have become on this interweb luxury that we all take for granted. i have a smart phone, too. so it’s not as if i’ve been living in a remote part of the world without any electronics or ways to “reach” the inter-land. and for the record, i do find it quite pathetic just how exuberant i became yesterday when i realized that my own said smart phone (which i have had well before july) can, with a simple slide of a button on it’s delicate interface, become a “hotspot.” i.e. forget calling your local internet providers for service, just scour your phone for the hotspot option and slide the grey “no” to the blue “yes” and poof! you can get your computers, kindles, ipads, itampons (those exist now, right?) online anywhere, anytime ! hello 2013. my name is jessi and i am a complete dumbf*ck when it comes to technology. it doesn’t matter if i can operate photoshop with my eyes closed, that’s about as far as it gets for me and my competence of computers or really anything that has an extension cord, not to mention an operating system (or OS as you nerds technologically competent folks like to say).

there was a point in my life (as i am sure many people in my generation have encountered as well when computers and cell phones became what we now know them as) wherein i truly thought i was smarter than my parents merely because they appeared to have no clue about how to operate said smart phones, computers, or other new electronic gadgets. coming from a family with a father who worked at microsoft for upwards of 20 years, you’d think some tech-y gene would have landed inside my frontal lobe or where ever things like that land. au contraire, mon frère. my father has little to no understanding of technology and how it actually works, he doesn’t even own a cell phone and i’ve witnessed him, on many occasions, get so fed up with his collection of remote controls i fear they could, without warning, become the victim of his wrath by being thrown across a room or simply yelled at rather ferociously for being so stupid, those poor verbally abused inanimate objects. my mother, however, has a smart phone, an ipad, and a laptop and it’s reached the point where i truly believe she knows more about these gadgets than i do. in fact, when i was home in seattle last june for a best friend’s baby shower, i really wanted to watch a dvd at my mom’s house and we ended up watching television instead because neither us could figure out how to make the damn tv and dvd player align with one another. it was at this point i really had to reevaluate my own understanding of anything electronic. i could blame it on the fact that i haven’t had the luxury of a dvd and tv for over two years(therefore “out of practice”?, but let’s face it. i am a self proclaimed idiot when it comes to this new age of technology where a minimum of three remote controls seem to be a requirement for any television and computers and phones are getting “smarter” and “smarter” by the day. either my understanding for this stuff has plateaued or i’ve grown some seriously dumb cells in the recesses of my brain, which at this point, probably more closely resemble scrambled eggs.

YOTPS1

i remember my father had one of those giant grey cell phones when i was a kid that not only resembled, but also weighed as much as, a brick with a thick black antennae coming out of it (that stayed out at all times, there was nothing collapsible, convenient, ergonomic, or even functional about this big grey eyesore of a cell phone (particularly compared to today’s standards)). i’m not sure how often (if at all?) it was ever used. i remember it collecting a lot of dust. i also remember those beige-ish grey apple computers (that looked more like square plastic loaves of bread) we used in grade school to learn our typing skills on. i really only had an iota of interest in those machines because i would frequent my best friend Heather’s house most days after school to enjoy hours of playing both The Oregon Trail and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? i can think of no other reason for those machines now. they were not computers to my generation, they were toys. they were machines that informed me of having died from cholera or that Heather was lost and that cut three days off our trip. i always thought it a bit peculiar that someone who got “lost” in that game could shave anywhere from 1 to 5 days off your travels, but the death of a family member was just a drop in the bucket. no days lost, no apparent grieving or mourning took place, no tears shed. and no proper burial/funeral never once occurred. and i’m speaking from experience. i’ve Oregon-Trail-killed plenty of friends and family members. a death was akin to an announcement like, “it’s 56 degrees and sunny.” all of sudden ‘and then there were two!’

YOTPS3

Carved // Self Portrait // December 2012
however, i have to admit, flat out, that i think my understanding of technologically peaked at that age, hovering obsessively over The Oregon Trail waiting to see just how many people died, got lost, or sick. though my sister and best friend Heather seemed far more skilled at this game (sister, yes. Heather, debatable. (sorry Heather!))(ok, skilled at hunting, that is, because this game has little to do with skill, logic perhaps, but skill – not so much). i can’t tell you, nor would i even want to admit to, how horrible i was at hunting in that game. and an irritating fun-fact :: for any animal you shoot for food doesn’t really matter since you’re only allowed to bring 100 lbs back to the wagon at a time, even if you were to shoot ten 536 LB buffaloes, you would only get to keep 100 of those LBs.  i always thought that was incredibly lame, couldn’t the rest of my family (assuming any were still alive and not suffering from the measles) help you carry back some of your fresh meat? was it necessary to leave all of that fresh buffalo meat behind? wasteful. damn wasteful, especially considering how hungry those people on the wagon always were (it took them about two, maybe three days to consume the freshly killed meat).  and i absolutely loved the gamble you’d have to take when reaching a river crossing. do we “ford the river” or “caulk the wagon and float it across”? taking a ferry was also an option, but i don’t think we once opted for the ferry ride since it cost money. instead, we’d pick our poison, cross our fingers, and sincerely hope that one of our oxen wouldn’t perish in the process. i’ll speak for myself on this matter, but i remember feeling a great deal of responsibility over this ford versus float decision and i really took it quite seriously, as if i actually knew what any of it meant, though i did love to nod in agreement or shake my head in disdain if i felt someone (including myself) had made the wrong choice.
Screen shot 2013-01-15 at 3.11.11 PM
a good present day example to the anxiety that the “ford or float” decision causes :: being placed in the sticky position of being “the one” to choose a bottle of wine for a fancy dinner table and having a penguin-tuxedo dressed server pour just a splash into your glass, looking at you with rather bulbous eyes. positively staring at you with the expectation of your “highly trained palette” to make the call on some wine you’ve never tasted or heard of before and know nothing about (since my only “knowledge” of wine rests heavily on whether or not i thought the wine label was well designed). even when i never much cared for the taste of the splash of wine,  i never once (if memory serves) declared the wine to be “no good,” nor do i have a memory of sending food back (unless a meat dish was visibly expelling blood and/or undercooked).  i prefer my steaks to not actively “moo” while i eat them. under or over cooked veggies and/or sides will never fall into the realm of “send it back” because my standards when it comes to “fine dining” are so low, regardless of how many fancy restaurants i’ve eaten at. i am, after all, the girl who’s known for eating progresso soup at room temperature, directly out of the can, with a plastic spoon, in bed. perhaps my standards are extremely low or maybe i’m just a simpleton who considers food as fuel (though, when given the opportunity, i really do love to cook fancy meals, combining unexpected flavors and colors in my dishes. give me a full spread of food and a great kitchen, food is no longer food. it is cooking :: an art form, after all. however, in my current living situation, i’ve nowhere to properly prepare such a meal, nor do i have anyone to share it with, nor do i have anywhere to properly enjoy it as i lack any sort of dining space. my “dining room” is the side of my bed on the floor. so, now you must understand why i’ve fallen in love with my “Progresso Soup Diet” ?! plus, when you’ve no fridge, where does one store leftovers?
YOKO1

this ramble is so hither and thither. i’d apologize but i have so much to catch you up on. i lost my job at the art supply store i worked at for just over 2 years on November 28th of 2012. just in time for the holidays, as “luck” would have it. i will not go into detail about things because it’ll only lull you to sleep, my dear readers. i’ve made the transition from full time job to unemployed, but i have since managed to keep my head more than just afloat not only financially (by means of selling my work and also handling some commissioned illustration jobs), but also in spirit as well. i strongly believe everything happens for a reason and though i have remained a customer at that fine art supply store, i am relieved to have those days behind me. there were copious amounts of dysfunctional activities and behaviors that took place there that had made it more and more difficult to get to work in the mornings. i’d reached a point of absolute lethargy and also unhappiness which even verged on irritability (which is completely out of character for me) towards different aspects of the job and some of the people i worked with. i miss the customers. i miss the building. i miss some, but not all, of my co-workers. but since having left the place, my mood’s improved ten fold. my energy and spunk has returned. my irritability seems to have evaporated like steam from a kettle. and i can’t tell you how many friends, family, and most flatteringly, former customers of mine have wrangled around me in support (if any of you are reading this, thank you! couldn’t have picked myself up so fast or so gracefully without you! I LOVE YOU!)

nowadays? i am living life happy and free spirited and optimistic. grateful to be alive. skating upon each and every damn silver lining that seems to exist around every corner these days because when one is so dedicated to their 40+ hour a week job, one loses sight of everything else. silver linings become distant memories at best. the two days you spend off are usually a bust since you spend them catching up on both errands and sleep. i had such an incredibly wonky schedule at my last job (my arrival and departure times varied just about every day) and turned my sleeping schedule on its head. in the past few months i’d become increasingly lethargic to the point where i requested to get my blood drawn, assuming i was most certainly suffering from anemia due to how tired i’d become. i took supplements, i went out of my way to eat better and more often. when my doctor told me the only issue i had was a Vitamin D deficiency (big whoop), i was stunned. i was almost disappointed that i wasn’t anemic, because it’s easy to pump yourself full of iron and foods that contain iron. i began taking huge doses of Vit D immediately and felt no huge change in my energy levels, even after a few weeks of taking them. but then i was laid off and it was as if a spell had been lifted. my energy began to return within only a few days and i had to wonder, was all of the negative energy i had been subjected to at work causing my lethargy? honestly? yes, i think that’s exactly what happened. i’ve continued the vitamins and all that good stuff, but i am almost like a firecracker these days with my energy and motivation to work for myself. and thus far, it’s been paying off in a massive way.

YOTPS2

welcome to Year of the Pig Studio!

so, i am signing off here. you will be kept up to date far more frequently of my adventure(s) now that i’ve gotten internet access again ! until then, don’t forget about the silver linings. once you start looking for them, you’ll be surprised just how many there are.

xxx

jessi

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Filed under design, illustration & painting (both acrylics and oils), illustration (both acrylic and oilt), photography, Year of the Pig Studio // San Francisco, CA

title (optional)

i really miss writing on this here blog. my life has been nothing short of chaos (sometimes organized chaos, but rarely) in the last few months. i’ve been living in two places at once whilst managing a household containing four roommates (five, including myself). i’ve had to take care of my turtle and my cat and report to work not only just on time, but also bright eyed and bushy tailed.

i do not work in a dull cubicle that requires little to no real brain power (thank god for that), but rather, i work in a highly active, amusing, and rewarding retail environment. being the official manager of all things outreach, i not only need, but also want, to be a friendly, upbeat, and approachable people-person every day i am at work. it’s not only part of my job description, but it’s also totally in my nature to be that way. i’ve been so darn worn out lately that it really disappoints me that i haven’t felt like my normal outgoing friendly self. for shame.and i am in no way complaining about my managerial “people-person” position because i adore people and any and all of my interactions with them. but if i arrive to work tired and/or weary i cannot, quite simply, do my job to its fullest extent. i love my job to death and i hate that i’ve been feeling like a sub-par ‘people-person’ of late (it may or may not show, but i know that i have felt it). no matter how much sleep i get on any given night (which is averaging around ten hours these days), i seem to wake up totally exhausted as if i’ve been in some terrible locomotive accident the night prior. my body hurts regularly and my eyes try their very best to stay closed each morning, regardless of my stupidly loud alarm (thank god for toothpicks!). i do feel, of late, as if i have literally had to peel myself out of bed each morning. and my curled up cuddle machine of a cat does not exactly make it easier to get out of bed. perhaps i need to have some cat cuddle machine intervention? probably not, poor girl, she’s just being a cat and i am just being absurdly jealous.

i do write regularly on my lunch breaks. i draw sometimes. but, i’ve found it increasingly difficult to be creative the more overwhelmed i’ve become by all things life. so be it. this time of my life will be merely a blip on my radar and in due time, i’ll be back to my creative people-person self that my friends, family, and co-workers know so well.

having spent just shy of ten hours repainting my apartment today, i must sign off. dinner is calling me and my bed is calling me even more.

don’t worry pillows and mattress! i’m coming just as fast as i can.

jessi

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the move

i love bananas. i also love chocolate. i think blueberries are pretty good too, but i only really like them because it’s my dad’s favorite fruit (or at least it was and may still be). i love writing letters (of the snail-mail variety) and i adore typography executed by hand. i could live without cookie dough, but one of my favorite frozen yogurt flavors is cake batter (which i first discovered here in SF). i have fond memories of licking brownie mix batter straight from the bowl (and wooden spoon) with my sister and do not recall getting a stomach ache because of it. strawberries are best when fresh, plucked directly from the earth. i adore figs and jams or spreads made from figs, whether it be black mission or white. my taste in music is heavily influenced by anything recorded before the 90’s (though, i must admit, growing up in Seattle, i do have a deep appreciation for the grunge era and most things that KEXP plays).

 

Image

 

i am in the midst of moving and it’s terribly overwhelming. i am moving my living stuff to an apartment in a neighborhood in SF called Cow Hollow. as much as I love the name, i can’t say i appreciate the area that much. it reminds me too much of where i grew up. that is, a rich suburb of seattle. but, one cannot reject a good price and ample space, so i hereby find myself a total and complete conformist and slave to the “must save money!” beast. my studio will reside elsewhere, in a fine fine part of town call North Beach. it’s rich with both art and artists and very near to my work – a mere five minute walk – yeehaw!

i do believe that having my working/painting space separate from my sleeping/living space will change my life in the best way possible. it’s hard to live where you paint or paint where you live. you’ll find yourself forever without distance from the oil painting/paints that surround you and not only is sleeping in that kind of environment bad for your health, it’s also not conducive to good painting or work/working habit(s). space from one’s work is not only a good thing, but arguably an entirely healthy and essential thing. i feel confident that my work will improve ten fold once this transition occurs and i’m pretty d*mn excited about it.

in the mean time, i am covered in both white house paint and spackle. re-painting one’s living space is like covering one’s tracks. it’s as if i need to pretend as if i was never here in the first place. i must conceal each and every trace that i have left behind me. i have lived here for nearly two years, which is by no means a long period of time, but it’s the first place i’ve lived in SF. and that, my friends, feels significant. at least to me.

this apartment is home to many memories, both good and bad. it’s bitter-sweet to be moving on and re-painting the trim, spackling the many holes i made from the pictures that i hung here, scrubbing the paint splattered floors, and packing boxes. it’s a highly therapeutic process, but i can’t say my heart isn’t swelling just a little bit. swelling with both nostalgia and memories in this apartment, but also swelling with hope for a much brighter future that i feel i have secured for myself here in SF.

so, i bid you adieu, for now. i’ve been pretty much missing in action on this here blog due to my current state of upheaval – but come early to mid july, i expect to be back in full swing with painting, designing, writing, and the like. so, stay tuned.

the future’s bright, you’d best wear shades.

i’ve been wearing sunglasses for years now. i guess i’ve been preparing for this transition without even knowing it. i’d ask you to wish me luck, but i don’t believe in luck nor do i think i’ll need it (even if i did believe in it).

see you soon, shades or not.

jessi

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Filed under Year of the Pig Studio // San Francisco, CA

pink and purple.

pink and purple were my least favorite colors growing up. in fact, i actually recall saying how much i hated those two colors as a kid. the plain and simple reason for hating those colors was because of their “girlie” status. anything “girlie,” from trying on lipstick to admitting you had a crush on a boy, was completely out of the question for me. i would play with the boys during recess, proud to emerge from the playground covered in dirt, with messy hair, and sometimes a fat lip (which i learned to hide under my hand so my teachers and mom would never figure out how much of a trouble maker i really wanted to be). after art class, my next favorite class was always gym. a time when girls will be girls and boys will be boys and when tomboys like myself get to show off just how fast they think they are during their favorite game of all, Capture the Flag.

in the third grade, there was a brief period of time, lasting around two weeks, when i decided that black was my new favorite color (it had previously been blue, naturally). everything from my wardrobe to my bed sheets turned black almost overnight. little known fact :: when i was in third grade, my family decided to move back to Europe, to the UK. my sister and i were pulled out of our elementary school mid spring semester (if memory serves). i even have a memory of a farewell party being thrown, but i think the farewell party i am remembering was for my very first crush on a boy named Pat, who moved to California the same year we were planning on moving to England. my crush on Pat was also happening while i was busy being anti-girl, so extreme secrecy was of utmost importance.

i’ll never forget this one moment my sister and i shared in a hallway at school. she was in the fifth grade and i was in the third grade. we were both at our lockers, with a block of fourth grade lockers between us. i don’t remember if it was the middle of the day or the end of the day, but the hallway was close to empty. for whatever reason, she and i had been bickering about something (just normal sister bickers) and this somehow turned into her yelling down the hallway at me that i had a crush on Pat _ _ _ _ _ _ (i will not disclose his last name so he may remain anonymous, although he is a friend of mine on facebook and the only Pat in the class, so he may figure this out if he ever reads this, gasp!). i don’t know if she actually yelled this. i was going to use the word scream to describe the volume of her voice, but i am certain my child memory is blowing this whole thing out of proportion, just as most child memories do. regardless, i remember feeling intense embarrassment, humiliation, and anger. how could she disclose my most protected secret to (what felt like) the world (a next to empty elementary school hallway) ? if anyone heard this, my reputation on the Capture the Flag field would be blown and people would expect me to start wearing pink and purple headbands to school (headbands of the elastic spandex variety, thank you very much early nineties) and the girls would think i was just like them, a girl – ew. little did my sister know that i would have the guts to throw a stone at her glass house and scream (yes, i do remember screaming this) back at her that she had a crush on probably the most popular boy in the fifth grade, Beau _ _ _ _ _ _. and i do believe this was also her most highly protected secret at the time. man, i miss elementary school. it was the best time of childhood life because you’re not yet old enough to be entirely too self conscious, but just old enough to be taking things around you more seriously (even if those things are just crushes on boys and wondering which girl got her period first).

so, back to the moving-to-England story. my family packed up shop entirely. we had our dogs (if i remember correctly :: two great danes, a lab, and a golden retriever) shipped over and placed in quarantine, we packed up our entire house and placed our boxes on a truck that would cross america and then be transferred to a boat on the east coast that would cross the atlantic. we put said house up for sale and my sister and i were going to enroll in a school that we had already visited and we were all going to move into a beautiful house in England that my parents had already purchased. it was at this point, when moving into our new space, that i requested black bed sheets, pillow cases, and a duvet cover. i was granted my wish and remember feeling somewhat regretful of my decision when i lay in bed at night. it was fine during the day, but by nightfall, the black hole that was my bed felt so dark and gloomy that it made it difficult to sleep. i never complained though because i figured, if you make your own bed, you’d best lie in it. i never thought that expression would ever turn literal on me, but so be it. after about two weeks, i remember stirring in the middle of the night. it must have been around two or three in the morning. i still hadn’t adjusted to the jet lag and waking up in the middle of the night was not entirely unexpected. i saw that the lights in the kitchen, which were usually off at night, were on. i heard low voices speaking to each other so i got up to see who was awake. my mother, father, and sister were all huddled in the kitchen together discussing our relocation. to the best of my memory, i recall my mother saying that she felt she was adapting well to the change and looking forward to living in England again. that is the country in which she was born and raised in, so her feeling “at home” on her home turf was completely logical. i know that my sister was having a hard time adapting, as was my father, but both for different reasons. i recall being somewhat neutral about the whole situation. i was happy there (as long as i got some new covers for my bed), but i was happy in Washington as well. i was two years younger than my sister, so my roots in friendship and school and socializing and sports had not yet developed like my older sister’s had. in hindsight, i know it was easier for me to relocate because i was too young to probably understand the significance of any of the friends or choices i had made prior to moving, unlike my sister, who was in the thick of it. in the thick of all things growing up, adolescence, and coming of age.

[self portrait in u-haul somewhere between the east and west coasts, june 2007]

that night an executive decision was made for the family. we were going to stop that truck on the freeway in the middle of america and turn it around. we were going to get our dogs out of quarantine and back on a one way flight to seattle. were going to put our clothes and black bed sheets back in our over-sized suitcases and book tickets back to washington. we would take our previous house off the market and put our brand new house up for sale. we’d call our new school to inform them, regretfully, of our decision not to attend and call our old school, with fingers crossed, to ask if we would be welcome back into their classrooms.

so, for two weeks, i still feel as if i lived in England. i still wonder to this day what would have come of me and my family if we’d stayed. it’s hard not to ponder such questions when it was so close to becoming a reality. would i have developed an english accent? would i have been divorced by now? would my sister have had kids by now? would my parents still be together? would i have fallen in love with horses like i did in seattle just two years after this “move”? would i have gone to art school in new york city? would i be living in san francisco now? i guess the only answer to those questions is :: “maybe.”

all i know is that when we moved back from England into our original house in washington, my new favorite color was brown.

these days, my favorite colors tend to be pink and all shades/versions of turquoise or teal. but, that said, since my move back to the states, i still believe that the only color that matches and will never clash with another color is the color brown. and as for black? i use black only for line drawings or graphic illustrations. when it comes to oil painting, you will never see a tube of black paint in my tool box. black will only create a black hole in your painting, much like the black hole it created in my bedroom when i lived in England. and i think we’ve all got enough to worry about without painting black holes into our lives.

[nikon 35mm, color film]

jessi

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Filed under design, illustration (both acrylic and oilt), photography