Tag Archives: moving

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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ElRod, a dead bird, & a Triple Bypass

i have some stories to tell you, but i can’t really recall them at the moment. due to the the move (of the art store that i work at), i have been slightly delirious of late. and that means i am not so great at story telling. or, for that matter, remembering the stories i’d like to tell. i’ll keep writing regardless.

at our art store, as of this morning, d*mn near everthing is 90% off. that is pretty much unheard of for most blow-out sales, much less for an art store that sells high quality supplies well below cost in the first place. i received the call this morning around 10:30am from my manager. she said, quite simply, “mark it all down to 90% off.” so, to the two customers i had in the store, i announced this brand new sale and within forty minutes, the store was packed with people. it was so packed that we closed the front gate to prevent more customers from coming in (because with one cash drawer, twelve people in line, and only two people working – there’s only so much we could handle). regardless, those who left kept letting people into the store despite our request(s) to keep the gate closed. one of the clerks who had the day off today, came in upon hearing about the new and improved discount, and he ended up staying to help work the register just so that me and the other clerk scheduled for today could catch a break. thank you, Nick !

in other news, i am part of this very cool project called El Travo Callabo. i described it once before. it’s basically eight or so wood panels traveling across the country to artists. four or five artists work on each panel and at the very end, the panels will be displayed nationwide from San Francisco to New York. so, the leader of this collaborative project is named Leanne a.k.a. El Rod. as of this evening, she’s made a post on the El Travo blog about me and the dead mouse i decided to paint on this panel.

this brings me to the dead bird. i will preface this story with the pure and simple fact that i love animals to such a degree that some may perceive this love as excessive. about a week ago, or less, Leanne (of the blog above) came into our store and informed us, with a very sad face, that there was a dead bird outside of our store. not on the sidewalk, but in the parking zone. being the animal lover that i am, i immediately leaped into action. i ran upstairs with a plastic bag and a few folds of paper towel. i know that it is impossible to save every living thing on this planet, but if i can provide an animal with a decent burial – i will do so.

i remember growing up in a house with many windows. birds have a nasty habit of flying full force into clear glass windows, under the impression they are about to fly through a house as opposed to into a window. i remember burying a handful of birds. or at least paying them a certain homage or respect to the fate by which they had succumbed. so, when i heard about this dead bird on the street above, my instinct kicked in and i ran upstairs prepared to conserve it and bury it later that day on my lunch break. 

no offense to the bird (a sparrow), but it’s still sitting in our mini fridge at work. i even placed a large hand written sign saying, “BURY THE DEAD BIRD” by the register in an effort to not forget about it. the poor thing is still in our fridge and though i don’t use the fridge too frequently, i have used it enough in the past week to open it up, retrieve what i need, and then look with complete shame at the little paper towel plastic bag wrapped sparrow perched (pun intended) on the top shelf of the fridge. each and every time i have seen it, i exclaim, “oh f*ck ! the dead bird !”

i’ll bury it as soon as possible. work has been chaotic. lunch breaks have been rather sparse (not so much sparse, but i use them to just stare at walls in coffee shops, forgetting about burying the bird in our mini fridge). that said, we are set to close up shop at our store for a few days and during those days, when i know i will have more time, i will give this bird the funeral that i am sure it deserves.

and the Triple Bypass ? i feel like i’ve said too much already. and i really ought to get back to painting because i have the day off tomorrow and therefore must take full advantage of the fact that i can go to sleep past my usual bed time. the Triple Bypass is a painting i am in the middle of. it has to do with hearts, love, and the rocky uncertain terrain that one uses to navigate the topic of hearts and love.

jessi

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a very full car, a flying cat, and a cranky turtle

so i did it. or perhaps it did me. i moved to San Francisco. i say ‘it did me’ only because the drive down here and the nights of packing that preceded that drive were nothing short of stressful, but i am already looking back and laughing at all that ensued. it all started with my apartment. since i’d missed out on a few weeks of my life (see previous post), i was a bit unprepared. and by a bit, i mean a lot. my poor mom showed up to my place the morning that i left to retrieve my keys from me and i was in the middle of packing my car realizing, box by box, that even the best tetris player in the world would not be able to lodge all of my belongings into the back of my car (a Subaru wagon which is bigger than the average sedan, sure, but it’s not exactly the size of a moving van).

i am now sitting at my desk (yes, the same desk), but i’m admiring blue skies in October. as expected (or I should say as planned since i heard October is perhaps the best month in San Francisco – hence my decision to move down here during this month), the weather is blissful. it’s been in the high 70’s and low to mid 80’s all week. i even went to the beach yesterday. the beach ! in October ! did i mention that i am happy ? i haven’t been this happy since, well, living in New York City (three long years ago). and that is a fact. i was built for city life it seems. that’s not to say i don’t enjoy places like the midwest, log cabins, or the like (because i really do, actually), but when it comes to my place of residence – cities are what make me happy. true walking cities. cities that do not require a car. cities that bustle on their sidewalks for most hours of the day and night (ok, so San Francisco is not the sleepless city that New York is, but it’s a close runner up). and i will not take this opportunity to say bad things about Seattle because Seattle is not a bad city, it’s just not for me.

so, my car was packed to the ceiling with my belongings. it was packed so tightly that in order to close the back hatch i basically had to body slam my car. on top of this, my dear friend drove me down and had a small backpack and computer case he needed to fit into the mix which, sadly, made an already tight squeeze even tighter (sadly only because a small backpack and computer case really ought not make or break how tight of a squeeze one feels in a vehicle). now why would a friend be driving me down ? i told you about a little health scare i had in the beginning of August that involved seizures – well, said seizures prevent me from driving for six months – so i needed someone legal to get me and my stuff down there. so, my poor friend sits in the front seat of my car on that fateful Friday afternoon of my departure. i could tell he was a little irked by my car’s fullness (which also forced the front seat to be closer to the steering wheel than was comfortable for him) and i do not blame him. it was absurd ! it was embarrassing ! and my poor car was so heavy it was lagging from gear to gear when shifting and to make matters worse more interesting i was bringing my cat down (in her crate) and my turtle down (in a box) so they were both perched on the front seat (because precious cargo rides shotgun). it was just hilarious looking at the situation. so my friend goes to start the car and he looks over at me and says, “it’s not starting.” my stomach dropped. it may have only been 2:00pm, but i’d been having a bad day.

for one, i had not slept and once i realized that not all of my boxes would fit into my car – i just ended up leaving a pile of boxes in my apartment. since i am ‘so great’ at labeling my boxes, i had no idea what i was leaving behind and what i was taking (as it turns out, I forgot all of my underwear and all of my paints – I’m so special sometimes!). at that point i didn’t care. it became a matter of which box will fit into that space? not a matter of which box do i really need? i had only begun loading my car around 6:30am, about an hour after my cat had decided she needed to try her hand at flying by JUMPING FROM MY TWO STORY WINDOW at 5:30 in the morning. i spent thirty long, exhausting, kill-me-now, crying minutes looking for her. i had decided she was gone and was walking back up to my apartment in a wrecked inconsolable stupor when i heard a MEOW upon opening the door. as it turns out, she decided to scale the wall BACK into my apartment during those thirty minutes i was outside calling her name, crying, and repeating one obscenity after another. at least she was safe and sound and i could get back to packing, but i think i had roughly ten years shaved off my life after that experience.

so, hearing the words: “it’s not starting” fall from my friend’s mouth was not exactly comforting. i was just about ready to throw my hands in the air and admit defeat. perhaps i was not destined to live in that fine city 950 miles south ? perhaps this is all one giant mistake ? i mean even my cat was jumping from windows in an effort to keep me there and/or end my life early. so i looked over at my friend and said, “really… ?” (not that i actually wanted him to answer that question honestly), and he said, “yeah.. watch” as he turned the keys in the ignition. so i held my breath and noticed that his foot had not compressed the clutch while he was turning the car on ! silly boy ! he must be so accustom to his fancy automatic transmission he’s forgotten how to drive a clutch ! relief washed over me until i thought a little bit harder and, with hesitation, asked, “you do know how to drive a stick shift, right?” his face dropped. I knew the answer immediately. As it turns out, boys who grow up in the Midwest, apparently, do not learn how to use a clutch. and I thought they all grew up driving tractors ! silly me. silly, silly me.

i did a bit of driving. shoot me. but i had to. you hear me ? i had to or else I was never going to get to San Francisco. so, when the road became straight and less populated I figured it was time for his first Stick Shift Lesson. now, he may have grown up in the Midwest without ever sitting on a tractor, but this boy went to Harvard, folks. so, he’s no dummy. we went to a parking lot off I-5 and i taught him the basic concept of driving a stick shift. started the car in first a few times and handed the wheel over to him and i have never seen or heard of anyone picking up the skill so fast in all my life. within minutes he was starting in first gear without stalling or uncomfortably jerking the car around. so, we were on our way. and although when we reached towns I would take the wheel over when we reached major intersections and/or any sort of inclines – we made it work. sometimes we’d just pull onto the freeway shoulder and i would put him behind the wheel and he would start from there. after all – getting a car into first gear is the hardest part of driving a stick shift. once you’re in first, you can slide all the way up into fifth gear and just glide south on I-5 without a care in the world.

because we’d left so late in the afternoon, we stopped somewhere to sleep around midnight. since the car was so packed and since i’d packed in such haste before i’d left, i decided to repack the car. at midnight. in the middle of nowhere. yes, i am a little crazy. i met a jazz musician whilst repacking – that’s cool, right ? i didn’t hit the hay until 2:15am – it was an intense game of tetris i was playing with my car, believe you me – but i eventually won and we were actually able to squeeze my friend’s back back and laptop into the back of the car ! so, for the remainder of the drive south – i resumed my position in shot gun. a cardboard box at my feet holding my turtle and a crate on my lap holding my cat. i was even so successful in the repack that i was able to move the front seat backwards a couple of inches to allow my friend to sit in the driver’s seat more comfortably – i’m such a good host, aren’t i?

i wanted to share an even longer story with you and describe to you, in painful detail, my new apartment and the surrounding area(s), but this post is long enough as it is and it’s taken me nearly all day to write considering i’ve been in and out of my apartment and have spent much time applying to jobs and making necessary appointments. that said, i bid ye farewell and a fine evening. i will post again in a day or two once the dust settles (weekends are for dust settling – are they not?). in the meantime, enjoy this picture i took of the view from my roof ::

[google images][google images][iPhone camera]

jessi

 

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eleven days, washington street, and gravy

i am not ignoring you, trust me.

i am just busier than busy than busy could be. i leave in eleven (ok, maybe ten by the time you read this) days for San Francisco. eleven days, er ten days. and for the record, NO, i would hardly consider myself packed or prepared, although mentally – i have already relocated. now it’s just a matter of aligning my mental state to my physical world – which, by the way, is no easy task when you collect obscene amounts of stuff because you had a particular fondness for it and/or you have a particular fondness for who gave it to you and the memory attached to it.

i have been attempting to clean my apartment and pack up shop one square foot at a time, whilst juggling freelance work, riding horses, and trying ever so desperately to spend quality time with my near and dear friends prior to my departure (at this point, let me remind you that i am currently without a car (which would not be such an issue if the public transportation system in Seattle was not, for the most part, completely useless). so i am feeling entirely overwhelmed, unable to haul anything anywhere :: be it the dump, a donation center, storage, etc.

by now i should have held not one, but two, Garage Sales. However, as fate would have it (since I endured a health scare, then spent nearly 10 days in a hospital for a family member’s rapidly deteriorating health, and also/subsequently attending two open casket funerals in the space of one week, and spending an entire week in Montana for the second funeral), i “lost” about a month of my life and therefore find myself in a bit of a panic. these are not complaints, just facts. i had never in my life been surrounded by so much death and sadness and i wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy. so, i do have trouble sleeping in the first place, but under these circumstances sleep seems only to wash over me when i’ve completely exhausted myself.


i am currently listening to Aimee Mann in an effort to calm my nerves and although Sylvia Plath once wrote that “there must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure,” for those of you who, like myself, are not particularly fond of baths (don’t ask me why, i’ve not been fond of them since i was kid), i am of the opinion that there are quite a few things a hot cup of tea won’t cure. so, bottoms up – tea cup style.

as for Washington Street (and trust me, the irony does not escape me since I am moving from Seattle, Washington) – this is where i’ll be living in San Francisco – I’ve put down the deposit, I’ve met my room mates (well, I’ve met two of them – there are three in total), i adore the neighborhood, i adore the apartment, and though it was only the second apartment i’d looked at – it just felt right. perhaps because we have roof access (and therefore an amazing view of the city), or maybe because it’s like the International House of People (IHOP for short)(one being from Greece, one from Italy, and another from France). what can i say ? i just had a really good feeling about the place and its inhabitants :: so i canceled any plans i’d made to see other spaces and bit the bullet / pulled the trigger – handed over my security deposit and my first month’s rent and called it a day.

as for Gravy? i am not talking about that delicious sauce one drizzles and/or drowns mashed potatoes with :: i am referring to a bulldog named Gravy. he is painfully cute, expressive, sweet, charismatic, and amazing-in-every-way-possible. he belongs to friend of mine and while at my friend’s apartment one evening, i took a few pictures of him, began sketching, then painting, and here’s ended up with this painting (and yes, i somehow managed to make this look like a paint by number) ::

my apologies for the shine factor.  the light from the scanner caused some serious reflections in the dark areas of the painting.

i have more to share. in fact, i have much more to share, however – i must call it a day and hit the hay (unintentional rhyme). until then, i bid you a wonderful morning, afternoon, evening, or what have you – i’ll be back just as soon as can.

[misc. google image][pencil and acrylic on paper]

jessi

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fifty seven days and counting

that is how many days i have until i depart Seattle and arrive in the great city that is San Francisco. the term time flies has never meant more to me.

i traveled south to the fine city of SF for the fourth of July and while i was not too productive in my sketchbook(s), i did take some photographs that i’d really like to share ::


and that’s all folks. i have work to do, an apartment to pack, and a cat and a turtle to feed. i wish you all a very happy Thursday from Year of the Pig Studio.

[nikon 35 mm :: 400 ISO color film]

jessi

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cumulus, artstravaganza, & sfo

it’s August 10th. the tenth, i say. can you believe that summer is nearly over ? not only will kids be returning to school soon, many ‘kids’ i know are just about to go off to their first year of college. wait, what ? and two months from now i will be safely nestled in my newly rented room or studio apartment in San Francisco. wait, what ?

so, i hereby admit insanity. i am working my tail off. i am barely sleeping. i am busily doing things like drawing (er, watercoloring) clouds for a facebook application (see above), packing my apartment (see below), and saving every last penny that i earn.

in the eight weeks i have remaining in Seattle i will: house sit, work two summer camps, work a music festival, house sit again, pack my entire apartment, organize not one but two garage sales (this is all on top of my daily grind of riding horses four times a week, working retail on the weekends, and lest i forget this little studio business i am continuing to breathe life into – for which i have two insanely time consuming projects pending). yes, i’m a little weary.

last week i drove down to Portland, OR (in a record time of 2.5 hours considering i was battling rush hour because someone may or may not have overslept her alarm by approximately twelve hours) to partake in a sort of flea market meets art market set up (in Blitz Pearl’s parking lot :: Thank You Jay !) for Portland’s First Thursday Art Walk. i sold a few pieces and a few prints, stayed up all night with a great and talented friend of mine (Thank You Jackie!), and drove home the following afternoon. then i left for San Francisco ’cause i’m crazy like that.

i’ll be back to the grind come friday evening once i’ve landed, gathered my keys for house sitting, and (hopefully) enjoyed a [insert alcoholic beverage here]. i’ve said too much, i bid yee a fine evenin’ from a foggy town.

[watercolor + digital application][one messy studio]

jessi

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and now for the news :: re-lo-cat-ing

ree-loh-keyt

verb (used without object) :: to change one’s residence or place of business; to move

so, the rumor (if you’ve even heard it) is true. i’m moving. to san francisco. at the beginning of october. it’s time for a change of scenery. i’m stoked. and the best part of having one’s own business means it is entirely portable. so, i’ll be a little busy until then.. whilst i save money, work my jobs, and pack up my apartment :: one piece at a time.

[photo courtesy of Eddie Laux]

jessi

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