hip hip horr-appy new year (of the pig studio) !

prepare yourself for an unforeseen rant ::

i cannot stand those who choose to use a single letter over an actual word when typing text messages.

you is not u. are is not r. be is not b. and before is most certainly not b4. lol is one that i have come to tolerate only because even people who don’t use the r, u, and b letters to act as entire words still tend to use the oh so well loved lol. personally, i do not use it. i have used it, but felt filled with shame on each and every fleeting occasion that i have. but you will never see me using possibly the worst combination of letters in recent history: rotflmao. there never has been, never is, and never will be an appropriate time to type that. if it’s so f*cking funny, simply write hahahahaha. this now brings me to haha and hehe and teehehe and every other god forsaken spin off that “we” use. i use haha when i find something particularly funny because i refuse to use lol. at least haha is phonetic. i use hehe fleetingly. hehe and teehehe are reserved for making cute remarks and flirting. i never seldom do either so it hasn’t become part of my textcabulary (i just made that word up and feel particularly brilliant having done so, so please don’t burst my bubble by saying this term has already been included in the latest edition of webster’s dictionary).

and then there are the smiley faces, the emoticons. first of all, i completely despise the word emoticon because it makes me angry for reasons i cannot properly explain. that said, i will admit to using and possibly even abusing smiley faces. my only defense being that because it is incredibly hard to gauge sarcasm through just a text message, i insert :) these to inform the receiver that no harm was intended and that my snide remark was most likely not to be taken seriously. the smiley face :) is also a nice way to end a conversation. the smiley indicates that your discussion has left you happy and satisfied and, well, f*cking smiling, so there’s no need to say anymore. i suppose what i’m really trying to say is that inserting a single smiley face and nothing else is a great way to cut a text conversation short if you either aren’t in the mood to text, haven’t got the time to text, or if you just didn’t want to text in the first place.

there are many variations of the smiley face. i prefer nose-less smileys not because i am too lazy to type a – dash or the letter o or the number zero, but because i think they look f*cking stupid with noses. exhibit a: :-), :o), :0). a traditional smiley face (you know, that yellow guy we all know so well) never had a nose, so why should i add one now? when it comes to smileys, i say don’t fix what ain’t broken. he never had a nose in the first place and i see no reason for him to have one now. some people choose to use the = equals sign for the eyes instead of the : colon. as long as there is no nose involved, i guess i am not going to judge.

speaking of smiley faces. i’ll never forget the story of a girl who went to her pediatrician with her mother. she was there to receive a shot of some kind. she was fairly terrified of needles and had to be calmed before the needle appeared. the doctor, in an effort to soften the blow, thought she’d draw a smiley face on the girl’s arm prior to the shot. the girl was a bit dumbfounded by this new development at the doctor’s office and was then able to relax a little. the doctor then asked the girl, “so, what’s missing from this smiling face?” the girl replied with a look of confusion on her face, “..a …nose?” to which the doctor replied, “exactly” and proceeded to stab the girl in the arm (between the sharpie eyes and smile) with the shot to complete said smiley face on the girl’s arm.

i find this story to be both gruesome and hilarious simultaneously, which explains why i love it so so much.

i forgot to wish you a very happy new year!, christmas!, hanukkah! and so forth and so on!

the holidays flew by like a hurricane. after having my foot broken at the end of november (on an otherwise glorious monday morning), the chaos ensued. work was busy and then it became extra super duper crazy busy. everyone and their mother was shopping for presents and stocking stuffers, leaving me and my fellow employees little to no down time and a few hours of overtime.

i spent christmas eve moving into a new bedroom. i am in the same apartment, but i am now in a larger room. the upgrade was a long time coming and i am exponentially happier in my larger space. my room is no longer a place that i am embarrassed to say that i live in. i no longer reside in a 10’x10′ shoebox nor do i sleep on a crumpled unevenly spring filled single mattress on the floor. my room is far larger and now contains a lofted double mattress, allowing me ample space to spread out all of my art supplies and desks. 

i spent christmas day alone in my new room in san francisco. this is the first year that i’ve spent the holiday without my family and for that reason it was significant. but to honest? i was fine. i was ok. moving into my new space was incredibly therapeutic and i spoke to all of my important people on christmas day via telephone. a dear friend here in the city took me out to dinner somewhat last minute on christmas day, which made the whole christmas-by-myself experience pretty great. it’s not that i despise trees in houses or boxes wrapped in paper or family members mashing potatoes for dinner, but the holidays tend to represent a stressful time for me. and in an effort to be selfish and remain free of unneeded stress, i opted for a holiday season alone in san francisco.

and then the new year hit. although i did not do much to celebrate the occasion, i was surrounded by a handful of choice friends who made the night (and wee morning hours) perfect. i spent the day before and after the new year cleaning my apartment’s kitchen and back storage area. which was great because those areas badly needed cleaning, but come the tuesday morning after the start of the new year i awoke with some insane allergies. i believe my cleaning kicked up some serious mold and bacteria. i arrived at work about three hours after i was supposed to and was completely useless for the hours that i was there. come the next day i was in bed drugged up on a wicked cocktail of anti-histamines, decongestants, and the like. by wednesday the 4th of january i had a fever of 101 degrees and felt not unlike a limp wet rag – oh, how i hate the flu. by friday i was able to open my eyes, by saturday i was able to walk, by sunday i was able to think, and by monday i was able to leave my apartment feeling less like a zombie and more like an actual human being. 

all this means is that i’ve already used up five sick days and it’s only the twelfth of january. it’s a major bummer, but maybe if i get this sort of thing out of my system now, it’ll mean it won’t hit me later. 

i do not believe in new year’s resolutions, but this year i have decided that i will propose at least a small goal for myself, that is: “no assholes, injuries, or illness.”

may that be my mantra for two thousand and twelve.

good night, good riddance, and a very happy new year to each and every one of you!

xxx

jessi

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a napkin. some skymall. (& yes, i’d love some cheese with my whine.)

this is going to be a painfully scattered post, i apologize in advance. after breaking my left foot two and a half weeks ago, my life turned into chaos.

i participated in three different group shows (i’ll post pictures of the work when i can, but i don’t have the means to get good pictures as it were at the moment) that all opened on the same weekend (thursday, friday, & saturday). i had a total of five pieces that i had to start and complete in about three weeks time which is no easy task to begin with, much less when you have a full time job (where you seem to be working overtime somewhat regularly (without even meaning to) thank you, holiday season), and when you’re foot is broken which means getting from A to B takes an extra 15 minutes at least (and let’s not forget the pain involved, which, i am happy to report has almost completely subsided at this point).

in addition to that madness, one of my roommates is moving out. which is both good and bad. selfishly, i am happy because this means i get to take over his room. my 10′ x 10′ palace of a bedroom has reduced me to tears more than four times in the last three weeks. between the paintings (one of which was 4′ x 4′), the broken foot, my having a cat, my having the tiniest excuse for a closet, and possibly the world’s most uncomfortable single mattress on the floor – i have finally had it up to here (where ever ‘here’ is). however, i am sadder than sad to see him leave. he is one of my very best friends here in this city and i am going to miss him like a fool. i’ve already cried about his departure even though he’s still living in the room next to me. this also means we may or may not to have to post a listing on craigslist, which is just a nightmare in and of itself. fortunately, i already have two (maybe three) people interested in the space, so if i can dodge the craigslist bullet i will be one happy camper, believe you me.

i spent this past sunday and monday spring cleaning in december. bags of trash for the dump and bags of clothes for good will. my room was a complete catastrophe until i spent the better part of yesterday and will spend the better part of today (and i felt forced to ask for two days off from work just to get everything done) cleaning up the walls, giving it a fresh paint job, and the like. by december 23rd i will be in my new room and i can’t wait for the extra space. as it is right now, those eight days can’t come soon enough. and did i forget to mention the fact that christmas is only ten short days away? my worlds are colliding and i feel like i’m about to spin out of control.

i’m exhausted, my sleeping schedule is in ruins. i’ve been crashing at around 8:45pm only to rise around 3:00am unable to fall back to sleep despite my best efforts.

i haven’t returned voicemails, missed calls, or texts in weeks. shambles, i say! and don’t even get me started on the impending holiday season. cards and gifts will just simply not happen this year, apologies. i will be spending christmas by myself, likely curled in the fetal position clutching onto my cat. and to be honest? that’s all i want this year, even if i didn’t have my two front teeth.

so, now for the fun part. as hectic as the past few weeks have been, i have some things to share that are anything but stressful. in fact, they are down right awesome-sauce:

one of the single best napkins i could have ever received. thank you, allen.

THE FOLLOWING ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE SINGLE BEST MAGAZINE EVER, SKYMALL:

i could think of a more flattering picture to be used, but that’s just one man’s opinion.

“a must-have for interfaith marriages”

possibly the coolest sweatshirts ever

i have nothing to say about this

just in time for the holidays

i like penguins

words cannot describe the brilliant placement of the these two images next to each other, my hat is off to SkyMall’s design team.

i do not remember computer games being so lifelike

it’s true, there is absolutely nothing ordinary about this.

that is all for now, it’s time to attempt some shut eye.

[napkin. skymall clippings.]

jessi

 

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gobble gobble & i’m pretty sure god is a woman.

happy thanksgobble!

there is something so darn endearing about this holiday. it’s a lot like christmas, but without the hassle of gift giving, tree buying, and light hanging. plus, it is a holiday centered around delicious home-y food. i can only speak for myself here, but i’ve never experienced bad food on thanksgiving. even when i wasn’t completely impressed with the food, i still couldn’t say it was bad. this holiday is more or less perfect for people who don’t cook because anyone in charge of any main or side dish knows that the pressure is on to perform well. even the worst cooks step it up a notch (or three) at thanksgiving, guaranteeing that you will be content with the food on the table. it may not knock your socks off with flavor or flare, but it is more than edible. and i know from experience, having eaten side dishes cooked by people who tend to avoid the kitchen, that they really do put their best foot forward and manage to put something on the table that is not considered a disaster or even a near disaster. and sometimes that thing that they produced ends up being the star of the side dish show. a true honor for culinary underdogs.

speaking of feet, i have a short story to tell you that involves one of my feet, the left one. this past monday morning i was jogging around north beach. it’s a long enough story as to why i turned my head, taking my eyes away from the pavement for a split second, but i did. the result? my left foot landed on an uneven piece of the sidewalk, rolled left, bounced back to the right, and catapulted me superman style onto the pavement. my iPod and headphones went flying ahead of me. i landed more or less on my right knee (the knee that i fractured during the summer when a pair of heels had a not so lovely love affair with the cable car tracks on market street). i lay on the sidewalk, on my stomach, rather stunned. i felt an immediate pain in my left foot. my first thought was not so much about, “am i ok?” but more like, “are you kidding me?” if i’m a professional anything, it would be clutz.

this is when god spoke to me.

i sat up, gathering my iPod and headphones. i sat on the sidewalk with my back against a wall. my right knee was bleeding and i cradled my left foot while it throbbed with pain. out of nowhere this female voice said, rather soft and sweet and ethereal, “are you ok?” i spun my head around to look for the source of the voice. no one was around. i was surrounded by a big empty sidewalk and intersection. i looked all around me and finally said, “uh. um. yes, i’m ok, thank you.. where are you?” she did not reply to me or say anything more. i just sat there holding my left foot, rocking back and forth, biting my bottom lip in pain, and trying to suppress a bit of laughter. laughter because i am so accident prone it is, at this point, just plain funny. it’s also incredibly frustrating and upsetting, but i have learned (the hard way) that i have two choices in moments like this. laugh or cry? neither will actually get you anywhere, but i know that laughing feels better. so i’ve taken to laughing at myself on the regular. (and a quick word from the wise, if you’ve just spoken to someone who’s fallen, don’t suggest that they try to “stay vertical” from now on. it’s not funny or clever, it’s annoying).

this woman’s voice probably came from an apartment window overlooking my spill on the sidewalk, but i never saw her. i’d rather just think that god was asking me if i was ok and god definitely had a lady’s voice. so i’m pretty sure god is, in fact, a lady (or a man who’s voice never dropped). regardless, i’m going to go ahead and tell people from now on that i have heard the voice of god (even though i don’t believe in god and (probably) never will). life is a lot more tolerable when you live blindly and intentionally in denial, and i really am going for tolerable these days. if you broke four bones in the space of six months, you’d not only understand but also agree with me.

thanksgiving day has finally come to an end. i had plans to do absolutely nothing. as much as i love my family and friends, gathering around a table for a holiday has rarely been a stress free event. it wasn’t always stressful in years past, but just plain meh. even when the night goes smoothly and as planned, i always felt this total sense of depression at the end of the meal. you usually spend the whole day (and probably the night before) cooking and planning for the great feast. if you are anything like me, by the time you sit down to the dinner table (and we have always planned to eat around five, but usually didn’t end up eating before seven), you aren’t even that hungry anymore. it’s a combination of exhaustion (since you woke up at some ungodly hour to begin cooking) and the fact that while you were cooking for seven hours you nibbled on things here and there. by the time all is said and done, the sight of a fresh oven roasted turkey, whipped potatoes, and perfectly sauteed brussels sprouts is not that exciting because you’ve been staring at and tasting it all day long. all i really want at that point is a glass of chilled white wine, a cigarette, and some terrible cable television. forgive me for being so d*mn american sometimes.

so i decided to surpass all of the nonsense this year. no turkey for me. no dining room table. no cranberry sauce. no arguments. no expectations. i painted for the better part of the day. i listened to my favorite music. i elevated and iced my broken foot. i snuggled my cat. i woke up at eight. cleaned my kitchen and showered. i painted. i met a friend at noon for a coffee. i accompanied him to an artist’s studio to view some paintings. i returned home and painted some more. and then i received a phone call from another friend who had, just the day before, invited me to an ‘orphan’s thanksgiving dinner’ at a house in the haight. i was hesitant to accept the invitation because i was adamant about staying home alone, but by the time 5:00 rolled around, i was getting a little restless and leaving my apartment for a free meal sounded pretty good.

i was promised that it would be easy, friendly, simple, and free of expectations. i arrived around 6:30 during the middle of dinner. there were about fifteen people there, i knew only a couple of them (artists and customers from work). i ate a small helping of turkey, taters, cranberry sauce, and brussels sprouts. i met several people and they were all easy, friendly, simple, and free of expectations, just as i had been promised. i did not feel the need to entertain or be entertained. i tasted the best pie of my life (some caramel concoction with a whipped cream top and buttery crust, currently looking into who made it and what it is because i was speechless after trying it).

it was a perfect thanksgiving. i headed home about three hours later, comfortably full (not painfully stuffed like most years) and happy. i am now turning in for bed because tomorrow i am working retail on one of my least favorite days of the year, black friday. i think if it were three years ago, i’d be complaining about and dreading it, fearful of all the target-black-sale-ish customers i will likely be forced to deal with tomorrow. but to be totally honest? i’m excited. i’m excited to watch our store make money. i’m excited to chat up customers. i’m excited because i work in such a beautiful store and i get to show it off tomorrow. i’m excited because i really do love my job, which is more than a lot of people can say. and i’m excited despite the fact that my left foot is broken and i have a feeling i’ll be on my feet crutches for the better part of the day.

i hope you had as lovely a holiday as i did. stress free, friendly, simple, and free of expectations. i am grateful for just being here on this earth. for the wonderful people and animals in my life. for a job i love. for a roof over my head. and for the best pie of my life.

happy thanksgiving from a very content year of the pig studio <3

[35mm film, manual nikon. double decker, london 2008.]

jessi

 

 

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let them eat cake.

you can have your cake and eat it, too.

:: this is most often used negatively, to connote the idea of consuming a thing whilst managing to preserve it. it may also indicate having or wanting more than one can handle or deserve, or trying to have two incompatible things ::

(thanks, wikipedia.)

there was an incident recently, where in, a man with a pink cake box (half open with a plastic white fork piercing a sloppy mess of what appeared to be the remains of a third of a vanilla cake) approached and offered me said cake. the man himself was covered in frosting. and i mean covered. it was everywhere.

was he homeless? i think so, he certainly looked and acted the part. i was minding my own business on the Peter Macchiarini steps, also known as ‘the stairway to san francisco.’ i wouldn’t really call them that myself. it’s basically a really steep street with two sidewalks on either side that are, well, steps instead of flat ground because they are so steep. there’s nothing particularly stunning about them. they provide a nice-ish view of the city, but nothing you’d think the average tourist would wet his pants over (even though tourists tend to flock there with their cameras, but they always look a bit disappointed after they take their many pictures).

he was pretty f*cking serious about sharing that cake with me. i politely and then not so politely declined his offer(s) more than once before gathering my things to move along and find another place to kill the remaining forty minutes of my lunch break (which is more difficult than it sounds because have you ever noticed how hard it is to find ‘somewhere to sit’ when you are really looking for one?). upon my departure of these steps he very loudly demanded a cigarette from me. notice i used the word demanded, not asked. it was at this point that, for the first time in my life, i reprimanded a homeless person. i actually had the what-have-you to tell him to “use his manners” and “say please.” part of me was ready to bolt in the event he didn’t appreciate my ‘tude (attitude, that is) and another part of me was painfully curious to see how he’d react to such a reprimand and ‘good manners’ reminder. he looked a little bewildered by what i had said, but he was entirely submissive. i had, apparently, caught him off guard. he, quite simply, replied “may i please have a cigarette?” i was in such disbelief myself that i blindly handed him one from my pack and proceeded to bolt across broadway, knowing that there was no way he could chase me without dropping that cake box, and trust me, he was gripping that cake box like a mother might grip a lost child she’d just found, holding on for dear life.

(i have a confession :: although i did not eat that cake, it really did look delicious and i really was tempted.)

now i feel the need to explain my absence from this blog-world because i had gotten into the habit of writing every week (if not more). as we all know, that thing called life tends to get in the way, so let me summarize as best i can ::

i certainly can’t blame cake-man (not a far cry from caveman, eh?) for my blog neglect (er, blogect?). hot d*mn i’m feeling clever this afternoon (stay tuned for more wicked word combinations). my room became uncontrollably messy just as my life did. these two things always seem to coincide with each other and i do not think that it’s a coincidence. halloween happened, which was ok. my outfit was great, but the holiday itself lacked the usual gusto i have gotten so used to on the thirty first of october. the people of san francisco just don’t seem to pray to the halloween gods as much as the people of new york city seem to. it was so bad that i nearly didn’t dress up, which would have meant that for the first time in my life (twenty seven short years) i didn’t dress up. i decided that that was unacceptable, so i dressed up with a friend and had a rather tame evening walking around town in an effort to show off my costume. i dressed as Mrs. Mia Wallace, known better as ‘Uma Thurman’s character from Pulp Fiction.’ her character after she unknowingly snorts a line of heroine (oops). so i donned a white button up shirt, black slacks, and a bloody nose (and a syringe protruding from my chest). a great costume, but not my favorite halloween. sigh, these things happen.

and after the end of october? i don’t really know what happened. i was busy jogging, working, and painting. a friend came into town. my schedule at work changed for a week while my manager was out of town. and then my job title at work changed (and i received a raise)(both of which are terribly exciting!). and then i was invited to participate in not one, but three, group shows that are all set to open in the first week of december. you know, life stuff.

today i sit here at my desk this afternoon wearing a bright blue beanie (gifted to me by roommate, er rather he didn’t want it so i got it), a scarf (obtained from a thrift store in Stockholm), and paint covered sweatshirt and sweatpants with my best friend on my lap (my cat, Alaska). it’s been raining for the last day or two here in san francisco. a seattle sort of rain that makes you cold to the bone, but it feels good. it feels cozy to be inside surrounded by my favorite music and paints. i only realized this morning at 11:30am (after a thirty minute jog, coffee, and hot shower) that it was sunday not monday. which means that i didn’t have a meeting at 2:30, a haircut at 3:3o, another meeting at 5:00, and dinner at 7:00. it means that all i have to do for the rest of the day is paint. and i can’t tell you how happy that makes me.

next week i will tell you all about my plans to ignore this coming thursday the twenty fourth of november, Thanksgiving.

jessi

 

 

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the laundromat (take two)

i complained about discussed the laundromat once before on this blog. if you’ve read that post, you’ll have a very clear understanding as to why i hate it as much as i do. regardless, tonight’s post has very little do with that place. the laundromat was merely a vessel this evening, a vessel that steered me in the direction of the Cable Car Museum. this museum is half a block from my house. one of my roommates once counted how many steps our front door is from that museum and i believe the count was one hundred and eighty one (if memory serves).

this probably explains why tourists flock to our particular street corner(s). that and the fact that the cable car stops directly outside of my front door (literally). it is the stop for Chinatown. at this stop they yell, “this stop, Chinatown, two blocks, straight ahead” and point in the direction of Grant street, east of Powell street by exactly two blocks. i really don’t mind tourism and sightseeing and the like. but when you are barely awake at eight something in the morning and heading for work, the last thing you feel like dealing with is a gaggle of strangers/tourists on your doorstep (a.k.a. sidewalk outside of your apartment). it’s not always crowded, but i swear on some grave somewhere that whenever i am grumpy/excessively sleepy/or something all around blah, that’s when the crowd is gathered on the sidewalk outside of my building.

they stand there like a herd of cattle, looking around for instructions from other people (or maybe the heavens?) to tell them what to do next, regardless of the fact that the man on the cable car pointed, very obviously, in one direction towards Chinatown while yelling, “two blocks, straight ahead!” my roommate’s bay windows overlook this very fiasco which is why i know it so well. we love to watch from his windows and admire the lost people below. my former roommate would sometimes interject during this moment of silence, when they had just disembarked from the cable car, and yell once again “CHINATOWN! TWO BLOCKS! STRAIGHT AHEAD!” with his thick Italian accent. and we’d all bend over in stitches from laughing so hard. the poor tourists below looked at us like we were vermon, which would only make us laugh harder. i suppose it was one small way we could retaliate against the crowds on the sidewalk and the non-stop clanging of the cable car bells at weird hours of the night.

so, this evening, i was at the god forsaken laundromat throwing my clothes into one of the dryers. i had a large pair of headphones on while i was listening to the soundtrack from the movie Amelie. if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll understand why i was inspired to do what i did next (and if you haven’t seen the movie, stop reading this immediately and watch it now).

i walked across the street to the Cable Car Museum. it was closed, but some of the old and very aged windows were not. and some of the lights inside were still on. and the machines were still pumping their gears. i watched from the outside, mesmerized by the mechanical workings going on within. it felt as if i were staring at a beating heart – watching all those valves and springs work in unison to pump the necessary gases and liquids and what-have-yous to where they needed to be in order to keep things running smoothly. my face lit up and i felt a smile grow on my lips. i knew what i had to do.

i ran home, feeling inspired.

i went to my desk and, using a ballpoint pen, wrote a simple note (in a bold hand written cursive font) on a piece of white paper. it read,

“love and let love.”

i ran back to the Cable Car Museum and placed this note in one of the open windows, next to an old can of soda sitting on the same window sill. upon that note i placed a small white plastic sheep (maybe one inch tall). i hope that someone finds that tomorrow and smiles. i think i might just keep going back there every week to deliver kind messages. i don’t see why not.

jessi

 

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run, forrest, run. & “a.”

i have a little venting to do about the gym.

i rode horses for sixteen years. going to the barn has always been my gym. fresh air and the smell of leather. not to mention a twelve hundred pound animal between your legs. if you are like me, this is your idea of heaven.

when i lived in new york city, i joined a gym and would do something that would make me sweat about five times a week. i hated it (well, exercise itself feels great, but it’s the process that i hate). i hate gyms. i hate running in circles. i hate treadmills and elliptical trainers even more – they are just glorified hamster wheels in my opinion. how unsatisfying is it to run for twenty minutes solid and arrive nowhere ? there are mirrors everywhere that only remind you of why you are there in the first place. but you also get a glimpse and (usually a strong) smell of all the other people there who are sweating it out. some may be regulars, some may be obsessive, and some may just feel really guilty about the cheeseburger they ate for lunch that day. and is it just me ? or do they seem to play The Food Network all the time at the gym ? the more i think about it, the more i think that i hate the gym just as much as i hate the laundromat.

i know plenty of people who love going to the gym. more power to them. i admire them one hundred percent, seriously. perhaps if i lifted weights and reveled in my own self reflection, i’d like the gym, too. i’ll never forget this tiny gym i joined in new york city on 14th street. i went there about five times a week to stretch, do crunches, and run one or two miles. my two strongest memories are as follows ::

1. the old ladies gathered in the ladies locker room about twice a week. they would sit together, naked, chatting about their lives, their days. they were all well over sixty years old. i never stared at them, but when you are amongst a flock of older ladies in a tiny locker room whilst you are changing, you’ll catch a glimpse of the naked bodies surrounding you. their bodies were old, worn, and sagged. but beautiful. so beautiful. what made them so beautiful was not the bodies themselves, but their complete comfort with themselves. sure, their breasts hung at strange and low angles, they had more fat on their bodies than the average girl would ever consider appropriate, but they just sat around talking to each other as if they were fully clothed, with nothing to hide, no secrets. so, i applaud them. and their self comfort. and lack of low self esteem. those ladies completely rule as far as i’m concerned.

2. a gentleman who must have been around fifty years old – give or take. he always came to the gym dressed in short shorts – black spandex. hugging and “exaggerating” every part of his male form from the waist down. he wore a tight white “wife beater” tank and on his head an american flag bandana. he’d flex his muscles into the mirrors and admire himself. he was never the sort to look at the girls in the gym (which is refreshing, because having those over-confident males stare at you while you are breaking a sweat on the treadmill is entirely disgusting). he would arrive, do his thing, and leave. and i always considered him awesome because of it.

oh, the gym. if you go to a gym and like it, keep going. more power to you. if you are like me, you will cancel your gym membership and begin jogging on the streets for free. the perk being that it is free, the non-perk being that i have a bad back which hates running on pavement and i have apparently even worse ankles that hate the unavoidable hills that this city forces you to climb or descend when going for a run. but i’ve become addicted to running. i haven’t run for forty eight hours because of a terrible blister on my right heel and a cold i just came down with this morning. i want to run so badly right now, but i know that doing so will only cause my ankles further harm. and as for my head cold ? it’s left me so exhausted, i shouldn’t be exerting any energy right now unless it is towards health and a good night of sleep.

running on the streets of san francisco has been so rewarding. i’ve seen more of the city in the past two weeks than i have in the year that i have lived here. and i happen to run at strange times. i will fall to sleep early and rise at 4:30am feeling restless. and run. run down the middle of streets that are usually crowded with cars and people during the “normal” hours of the day, but at 4:30am, they are empty and feel like nothing short of a meditation session. so i wear my pink sneakers. and i feel like Mr. Gump. i just can’t wait to run. maybe i’m running away from something i’m feeling. or maybe i’m running towards something. it really doesn’t matter because all i know is that it feels damn good either way. 

as for “a.” there is a small deli downstairs from my apartment run by a very sweet family. the mother and father are always there and i almost always see their son, who i’ll call “A,” because he’s there doing his homework after school (i usually only get there after work). in the last week, he’s started selling his paintings. he’s about nine years old and does theses fantastic drawings which he prices anywhere from 5 cents to 50 cents. i am now the proud owner of four of them ::

 

i love life. it has a funny way of working itself out.

these drawings make my heart smile and sing so loudly that i’d be surprised if you couldn’t hear it by now.

jessi

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happy anniversary, pig. (a post i hope you read).

it’s been about three weeks since i last posted on here. part of me would like to apologize for my absence, but a larger part of me knows that that would be silly. silly because in the last few weeks i’ve made some significant changes in my life. not as in, i started eating salad instead of cheeseburgers at lunch, but more like saving myself changes. it’s taken up all of my time, which is good. writing on my blog was the least of my worries. it was, quite simply, not a priority. but i do admit that i’ve missed it.

i’m going to begin this post (which i expect to be ridiculously long, be forewarned) with a dialogue from one of my favorite movies, Girl, Interrupted. it’s a beautiful film. it may be a bit trite at times and over dramatized, but it’s a film that has always spoken to me because the main character, Susanna, played by Winona Ryder, is someone i have always felt close to.

Susanna :: “I didn’t try to kill myself. I was just trying to make the shit stop.”

Therapist :: “You swallowed a bottle of advil with a bottle of vodka..”

Susanna :: “I had a headache.”

one year ago yesterday, i arrived in San Francisco. when i moved here, i was broken and lost. i was a complete mess, though my actions and demeanor reflected anything but. my eyes may have told a different story, but no one ever called me on it.

i was drinking more alcohol than i could admit to anyone, much less to myself. i was taking a variety of drugs that would disappoint any parent. i was full of lies and self-loathing. i lied about my substance abuse and my depression and my anxiety. i listened to a lot of sad music and though i’d landed a great job just three weeks after moving here, in my spare time i locked myself in my room to write and paint. and i was really only successful in either when i’d plied myself with a cocktail of substances. just enough to “make the shit stop.” it was hard, near impossible, to be creative when my sober mind wandered to the darkest of dark places.

to some, this may come as a complete surprise (i’m an amazing liar and actress as it turns out). to others, this probably explains a lot.

i was happy to leave Seattle, that much was true. but my decision to move here was complex. for one, i committed a cardinal sin. i broke my own rule : never move or stay anywhere for anyone. it was not my only my reason for relocating, but it was the biggest – though i denied it at the time.

before i’d left seattle, i had experienced two grand mal seizures. i experienced not one, but two, terrible tragedies – having to attend two open casket funerals in the space of one week. they both occurred after my decision to move south, but i think in many ways they were the nail in the coffin (apologies for the pun) that confirmed and prompted my choice to get the hell out of Seattle. it was a place full of sadness and memories i wanted to leave behind and i really couldn’t have left fast enough.

since my arrival in this beautiful city, i’ve had a tumultuous year. drugs and alcohol certainly do not help one who’s making an attempt to “get their shit together.” neither does lying about it – to others or oneself.

my arrival here was both abrupt and sudden, to say the least. back in Seattle, i’d left behind friends, family, horse back riding (which still, to this day, remains an unkept promise to myself to rekindle down here in horse country), my job, my home. life as i once knew it was over. it was gone. i faced that well known blank slate that we all speak so fondly of. i may have been excited, but i was terrified more than anything else. and alone, very alone. and given that hindsight is 20/20, i knew full well that my continued abuse of substances would only gain momentum down here. i knew that because relocating is stressful for anyone. but there was more.

i knew and realized that any sign of an unraveling (particularly with the boy, which happened only three weeks after my move here, but do NOT blame him for any of this), would lead me to less control over myself. i knew it would spur me to further harm myself, which i did. ten fold. i have scars, both physical and emotional, that still bring me to tears. when i moved here, i was holding onto a thread. after my arrival, that thread much closer resembled that of a delicate thread a spider draws when making a web. i was holding onto nothing, essentially . i considered suicide more than once. i wanted to get away from not just the city, but also myself. the drugs and alcohol were merely symptoms of a far deeper distress and internal battle i’d been having with myself for years.

add denial to this and i promise you a full blown recipe for disaster.

i went about my job and my life. i continued to drink and abuse drugs. i fell deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole. for the past year, i have felt like Alice. eating one cookie after another, in an attempt to find myself out of this nightmare i’d found myself in. a nightmare that i had created. i could blame my childhood. my parents. my this or my that. but i can’t. and i no longer can blame myself. i am in the process of forgiving myself. i made mistakes. many of them. the last three years have been chaos for me and i did the best that i could, even though my “best” involved nothing but self harm.

so i sit here today, at the same computer. sober. sad. and admitting the fact that i need help. i have needed help for well over ten years, but my pride (and other things i will not mention) had me convinced that i was OKAY and that i could “do it on my own.” nothing could be farther from the truth. i need help and i’m finally getting it. so, if you don’t hear from me in a while – it’s because of that.

for once, i’m going to put myself first. and Year of the Pig Studio can wait. we’ll both be better off because of it.

jessi

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return to sender.

when you live in a city, particularly in an apartment with three roommates, you get used to people constantly coming and going, moving in and moving out. i’ve lived here for under a year and have already had two people move out and two new people move in. not to mention one more person who lives above us and four people who live below us.

what i am most curious about (and entirely dumfounded by) is why exactly people do not know how to properly change their address with the united states postal service. it’s not rocket science. i consider myself to be quite lazy when it comes to anything paperwork-ey, but notifying the u.s.p.s. of a change of address is incredibly simple and truth be told ? i’d like to get all of my mail forwarded to me because there are bills to pay and correspondences to respond to. and i, personally, would rather not deal with the hassle that comes with not receiving one’s mail.

that said, in any given week, we receive quite a bit of mail at our apartment. four people live here. we receive about three or four pieces of mail a day. we are lucky if one of those pieces of mail is actually addressed to someone who lives here. most of the time the mail that is addressed for previous tenants is trash worthy. bank stuff. weird mail offers. magazines not worth reading. and the like. but every once in a while we receive a gem. these are my favorites so far ::

short and sweet

this came from new york, new york. it’s a real photograph with a neon star sc(r)otch taped to it.

amazing illustration No. 1

amazing illustration No. 2

the third installment from “Cal.” only this time it’s ended with “timidly, Cal.” curious.

we used to have them on our fridge, but my roommates have since decided they are trash, so that means i get to keep them all to myself. the last thing i would like to share today is a piece of fortune cookie wisdom i received last night ::

win.

and with that, i invite you to go forth and conquer the day, keeping your eyes peeled for any water lilies along the way.

jessi

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life is beautiful.

i have this terrible habit of getting down on myself (many of you can probably relate). i never feel quite right. or good enough. or something. and before i go on, this is not a plea for sympathy. i’m just laying down the this-is-what’s-up-with-me-now bullsh*t.

i awoke this morning after a somewhat interrupted night of sleep feeling tired, disoriented, and headache-y. this happens pretty often. i either have a hard time falling asleep before 2:30am or i’ll fall asleep quickly and rise at 4:00am unable to fall back to sleep. during this period of sleeplessness my wheels turn fast and hard. any and everything somewhat disturbing or depressing in my life (past or present) rears its ugly head and spins through my brain on repeat. the best way to solve this problem, i have found, is by playing endless games of solitaire on my phone until my eyelids are too heavy to keep them open. it actually works pretty well.

so this morning, i once again found myself feeling the lack of sleep hangover. i rarely drink caffeine. but today, like many days of late, i found myself looking for toothpicks to keep my eyes propped open. so i nursed a small cup of coffee (that i didn’t even finish). i love coffee, but due to the fact that i am hypoglycemic, caffeine only makes my symptoms worse. regular coffee drinkers will experience some amount of shakiness due to the caffeine flowing through their bloodstream. i, on the other hand, will experience a shakiness so severe that i feel nauseated. i become sweaty and dizzy and disoriented and grumpy, on the verge of blacking out. it is only when i find a piece of sugar (usually in the form of fruit – bananas being my first choice) that these ailments begin to subside. it doesn’t even matter if i’ve chugged a protein shake or a good breakfast prior to that half cup of weak coffee, my symptoms will rise to the surface. being from seattle, i feel somewhat ashamed that i can’t stomach real (caffeinated, that is) coffee. so be it, i stick to decaf when i can afford to.

so this morning i did something i haven’t done in a few years. even though i awoke tired and uncomfortable, i made the decision to look at myself in the mirror and say, “life is beautiful. i will have an amazing day.” did i believe myself entirely ? no, not really. but just the act of saying this to myself outloud was enough to dress myself for work, walk/crutch to work, and feel a sense of confidence i haven’t felt in years.

i had a headache for the better part of the day and the only thing that sounded even remotely appealing to me was my bed. my bed is a single mattress on the floor and yet it still sounded like the best place in the world for the eight hours i was at work. so i continued to tell myself that i was fantastic all day long. i even reached a point where i believed it – despite the physical and emotional discomfort i was experiencing. walking around work, walking to work, walking to lunch, walking home. i kept reciting to myself that life is beautiful. for the first time since i lived in new york, i paused many times during these slow walks just to admire my surroundings. the small moments that we overlook regularly because we are far too concerned with getting where we are going to do whatever it is we plan to do when we get there. so i paused, many times over. i was late back from my hour lunch break for this very reason. i was too busy admiring the “mundane” around me. and hell, losing a few minutes off my paycheck for some self love is completely worth it in my opinion.

i admired the sky. the sunshine. the fog that rolled in after work. the everything. i’ve had a rough couple of years. i really have. and i finally need to admit that and be okay with that. i think my rough couple of years all started in october of 2009 when a close family friend of mine was murdered in cold blood. this was followed by a series of unfortunate events. i’m coming up on the two year anniversary of this awful tragedy and feel as if i am finally finding some peace in my life and, more importantly, within myself. that’s pretty cool.

so, yeah. life is beautiful. if you or i don’t believe it now or today, i am certain that someday we will. with that, i have two of my favorite quotes to share with you ::

“everything will be okay in the end. and if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”

“just don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

[nikon 35 mm. 2010.]

jessi

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marie antoinette and captain cool.

i recently wrote a post about the fish who live in a tank at the art store where i work.

i just learned the names of the fish that existed before i was first hired there (around nine months ago).

the fish have been named as follows ::

Liberace

Bob Ross

Iggy Pop

Sargent Pepper

Sheena (from a song by The Ramones)

Lady Gaga

Michael Jackson

Larry (for reasons i cannot disclose)

celebrity names, yes – with the exception of Larry. only Liberace and Michael Jackson remain. since my last post about this fish tank, we lost another member of our aquatic family. we lost Larry the snail. my co-worker went to clean the tank one day only to discover that Larry the snail was no longer there. his shell was, but his body was missing. given Liberace’s past behavior, we have hereby assumed that she ate Larry. she must have sucked him up whole, in one bite, like a piece of sushi. had she thrown him from the tank (like we assume she had done with Lady Gaga), Larry would have very likely met the same fate as Lady Gaga. that fate being the sole of my shoe, stepping and slipping and crushing the soul on the floor.

today i am writing about two more celebrity named people i have just recently met. actual people, not fish.

marie antoinette is a lady who cruises around north beach. she may or may not be homeless. she’s told me that she is, but due to the cleanliness of her clothing and the new looking shopping bags that i’ve seen her cart around, i’m unsure. i ran into her tonight on my way home. she recognized me and had even remembered my name – which i had not expected. she’s harmless. she’s kind. she talks a lot, maybe too much. but she’s very sweet and well intentioned. tonight, she was walking towards me. i still have a crutch under one arm and she was wearing a neck brace. she stopped to give me a high five. a “we’re both crippled!” high five. she remembered my name, once again claimed she was homeless, and shoved this poster into my arms. this poster is old. a silk screened poster of a show that Elvis Presley once played here in san francisco. i stared at it long and hard, lifting my jaw from the pavement. “where.. where.. where did you.. uh.. find this ?”

apparently she got it from a friend, who got it from another friend, and so on. i know silk screens. i may not be an expert in antiques, but this poster looks like the real deal, like an original. i asked her over and over again if she was sure she wanted to give it to me. she said that she had no use for it and insisted that i take it. i couldn’t turn it down. she asked for “a couple bucks,” which i gave her, and she moved along. when i got home, i investigated this poster and its origins. and i actually think this thing is from 1969, the date on the poster. awesome ? YES.

and now for Captain Cool. no, it’s not the name of a celebrity, but i think he’s kind of a celebrity here in north beach. i think he may have suffered from throat cancer. or something close. he’s got one of those voice boxes that requires him to press some flesh covered button on his throat to speak. he wears tiny round wire framed black lens sunglasses, a tall top hat, a velvet coat, and tall leather boots that reach the top of his knees. yes, he is just as amazing as he sounds.

several weeks ago i was in Vesuvio on my lunch break. Vesuvio is an incredibly old bar, but the reason i go there on nearly every lunch break is because you are welcome to bring your own lunch (a cheap bagel, in my case) and you don’t need to purchase alcohol. if you’re me, you buy a cheap mug of peppermint tea and spend your hour lunch break drawing or writing. i now know the staff there well enough that i rarely even pay for my tea. i throw a couple bucks down as a tip for my tea and sit in a cozy and comfortably lit booth to write or draw for around fifty minutes. it’s a wonderful way to spend a lunch break.

on one such lunch break, i was seated near Captain Cool. i’d never met him before, but had seen him there on the regular, always sipping on a pint of guiness. (i asked him his name. he said it was Patrick, but that everyone called him Captain Cool. he said there was a story to explain that, but he’d save it for another time.) i was embroidering the image of a budweiser can when he approached me. he leaned towards my table and asked me (with his voice box throat) if i was a seamstress, to which i replied, “no. no. i use embroidery like i use paint. as you can see.. this is not well cross stitched or straight.” to which he replied that he was looking for someone to sew some patches onto some jackets he has. again, i informed him that i am a sloppy seamstress. straight lines are beyond me, with or without a sewing machine.

he stared at my cross-stitching and declared, “but what you have here is perfect. i like those imperfections. that’s exactly what i would want.” so i agreed. i gave him my email address. he said he wouldn’t be needing my services for quite some time, but would be in touch when the time came. that same day, i met a friend at Vesuvio after work. Captain Cool happened to be there, i nodded at him and he nodded back at me. the next thing i know ? the waitress came to me with two shot glasses filled with whiskey. she said, “Captain Cool wanted to buy you this round.”

thanks, Captain Cool. thanks, Marie Antoinette.

you certainly know how to make a girl feel loved.

jessi

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