Tag Archives: cooking

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!

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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.

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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!’

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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?
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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.

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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

oh brother, where art thou ?

a family reunion, of sorts, occurred just a week ago here in this fine city of san francisco and i have yet to tell you about it.

i’m not sure where to begin my story because the beginning of this story is years past. decades, actually.

my father had two children from his first marriage when he lived in Germany. i met both of them for the first time about nineteen (i think) years ago. and then i met them again fifteen years ago. and i haven’t seen either of them since. why fifteen years passed between then and now doesn’t matter. the fact that that bridge of time finally came to an end last weekend is what matters. saying that that makes me happy would be the understatement of the year, or years as it were.

he came into town on a friday morning. he, quite simply, texted me that he was at the fisherman’s wharf and he was tall and blond and drinking a diet coke. as if i could have forgotten what he looks like ? much less, how do you miss a 6’6″ blond german boy who looks almost exactly like your father ? when i set my eyes on him, walking out of a crowd on pier 39 donning a red plaid like shirt, black slacks, and a pair of faded denim converse, i d*mn near got the wind knocked out of me. a handful of words come to mind to describe this experience. surreal and disorienting are among them. there’s no way to describe this experience. i can’t even akin it to some scene out of a hollywood movie even though that is more or less what it felt like in the moment we embraced and i felt hot tears fall on my cheeks. blurry eyed, i looked up at him and smiled. we hugged again and then walked back to my house, about a mile south of the wharf.

the weekend he was here i was sick. quite sick. i was still coughing up all sorts of slimy stuff and finding it hard to catch my breath. i still had a low grade fever. i was still blowing my nose regularly. because i was still sick, this afforded me time off from work. however, because i was sick, i didn’t have the energy to do much outside of my apartment. i’d been hunkered down for over three days already in my room nursing my symptoms with codeine cough syrup, antibiotics, an array of vitamins, and liters of water. as it turns out, it didn’t matter. (side note: let me just say that being diagnosed with bronchitis while you are recovering from a sprained rib is cruel and unusual punishment).

we spent all of our time together talking, there really was no time for sight seeing or doing any outside of the house activities. my roommates invited me out on friday and saturday night, but i declined. or rather, we declined. we were too engrossed with each other and our conversations. i knew staying at home and nursing beers on my rooftop would be a far better use of my time with him in town. and my sister came down on saturday night to join us (i haven’t seen her since christmas). so, for the first time in over fifteen years, all three of us were under the same roof. i was sure to warn my roommates before their arrival that there would be not one, but three Kempins under the same roof on saturday night, to which they rolled their eyes and exclaimed, “oh, f*ck.”)

it was amazing. the night was a blur. i remember every moment, but it passed too quickly. it was like i blinked and it was gone. my sister left for seattle the following day and my brother was supposed to return home with her, but instead extended his stay in san francisco so he could spend more time with me. i returned to work on monday and while i was out of the house, he made his way around the city visiting various museums and attractions. when i arrived home monday night, he treated me and my roommates to a proper wiener schnitzel and more conversation on the roof. when i came home on tuesday evening, he was busy cooking up some more food in the kitchen. this time he made me a ginger and chicken soup for my pending cold (a soup that he says he’s been eating since he was a kid whenever he was sick). how amazing is that ? i would give my left arm for this to be a normal part of my life.

he departed on wednesday and i hugged him in the morning before i left for work and wiped tears from my face on my walk to work, sadder than sad to see him leave. and just like that, he was gone just as quickly as he had arrived. i think my head is still spinning from that weekend. i keep pinching myself that it ever even happened. i have to develop my film to bring this back to life or else this could have just been a dream.

i cannot put this into words. i am not telling this story correctly. i am not doing that weekend any justice. my words seem to be failing me because i don’t think there are words to describe that weekend and what me, my sister, and he must have been feeling. while he was here, i felt like we did just as much watching of each other as we did talking. i felt myself staring at his hands. comparing knuckles. and feeling a chill run down the back of my spine every time he had a similar mannerism as myself. there was one moment in my living room where he was twirling his hair during conversation and i realized i was doing the exact same thing. while he was cooking me soup, he was making a terrific mess in the kitchen. at one point, he cleaned his hands in the sink and wiped the back of his pants to dry them, leaving a large hand print on his grey slacks. at this, i laughed. he is just as wonderfully messy as i am in the kitchen and just as spontaneous with his cooking habits.

and he’s kind. his eyes are so kind and blue. he’s one of the kindest and most genuine people i have ever had the privilege of meeting. i introduced him to a handful of people here and each and every one of them told me thereafter that he was “the coolest guy.” i feel like i won the god d*mn lottery. i feel like the luckiest girl in the world that i get to claim this person as related to me. it goes without saying that we are not going to allow another fifteen years to pass before speaking to or seeing each other again. i’m already making plans in my head for how i can get over to germany to see him as soon as humanly possible.

i wish i could revive my vocabulary. i have been sitting on this post for a few days, unable to breath the life into it that it deserves. every sentence falls short. this entire post misses the mark. but it’s all i have for now. i’m cooking up some good stories to tell and will return to my usually scheduled programming as soon as i develop my roll of film. until then, i’m going to brace myself for my upcoming three day weekend because i have every intention of making some art because guess what ? i have an art show going up on the fifteenth of July and i’d best be prepared.

and my left hand’s ring finger is starting to feel a little naked these days, i’ll tell you more about that in a few days.

[self portrait in a u-haul with one eye closed. nikon 35mm and color film.]

jessi

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