Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Why? Why, Georgia, Why?

I always take a longer break than I mean to.

But, then again, I always hate the word always as well.

I'd been perusing the freelance writing jobs on FreelanceWrinting.com for all of a few minutes when I came across a listing seeking how-to writers. First of all, if you're wondering why I'm looking at freelance writing jobs when I can hardly keep my attentions on this blog, I have a wandering mind which often likes to investigate alternative means of income. Secondly, all of the prompts that were given evoked what I thought were hilarious interpretations of the actual skills the site is looking for a writer to explain. Por ejemplo:

1. How to use a chainsaw.
Pull string thing with a (presumably) red pull tab thing on the end multiple times until you stop moving your left arm with your pull and the thing actually starts. Hopefully you already determined what you are chainsaw-ing and have placed it in front of you - I usually skip this step, and then reach for whatever is being sawed with my left hand wavering dangerously at the weight of a chainsaw. During this time I usually think about how if I planned things out first instead of getting excited about starting the chainsaw then I wouldn't risk chopping up random things, like limbs. Not tree limbs, bodily limbs. Mine own, specifically. Enters theoretical, philosophical discussion with self which is generally all I can remember from the rest of my chain sawing experience.
2. How to prepare for an interview.
puh . . . worry anxiously until you figure out a bunch of satisfactory answer to questions you'll never be asked?
3. How to choose a bottle of wine.
Walk in the liquor store (yes, liquor store; I live in Tennessee now). Find the cheapest bottle with the coolest label which is neither a rooster nor a duck, nor have you tried it before. I prefer red.

I go to the website thinking maybe, just maybe, they have room for a sarcasm-sinner like me, but no. They are totally serious. T totally. So, I promptly came here to write about my failed attempt to find something serious to write about. Why? I haven't written in months. And why do I always try to spell month with a "u" after the "o"? Equally important questions.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Midwinter Day's Waking Dream

Do you ever wonder what it is to be normal? I don't mean in an oh-my-gosh-nobody-gets-me kind of way... but more of a look-at-that-person-doing-that-normal-thing-so-casually way. I have realized something just today: I really miss writing. 

There are a lot of things that roll around in my mind while I make art, and I generally hijack discussions about my art as a time to all at once unload the passing thoughts I've had over the course of weeks. Honestly, I blame Evan. I can think of at least three ways to blame him, my boyfriend/fiance/partner (I'm not really sure where this relationship is going, other than forward, so I'm leaving options). He'd tell me that if I can only think of three ways to blame him then I must be slipping up. 

In reality I don't actually blame him... I blame my ideas, or at least the ideas that have been supplanted in me, about blogging. In general I suffer from a condition called Listening Too Much. It's really serious. Sometimes it's misdiagnosed as Caring About What Others Think Too Much, but honestly people need to stop misusing that diagnosis. Some people believe that blogging, Twitter, Facebook, <insert social media of choice here> is just a way for people to put all of their thoughts out there that no one cares about. I can't think of any thought more hurtful to plant in someone's mind; no one cares what you have to say.

Then why write? Why make art? Why write a song? Why do anything that involves anything other than going to your job, doing what you're told, then going home and doing your duty by your wife?

I don't have any answer to these questions. I search daily to find the answers because I know they exist. Currently what it comes down to for me is that I really love communicating with people. I also like thinking. But your mind is a vast universe crashing through the cosmos with no direction sometimes, ya know? No? Maybe? I would just really like to start using my blog to get all this sediment flushed out. There are so many impactful things in our lives, and, as so many movie directors like to point out (thank you Into the Wild), why bother if at the end of the day you can't pass on your knowledge?

The world is exciting... and I'm excited to get excited again about the excitement of this exciting world. 

By the way, if you haven't seen Into the Wild, or if you haven't watched it today, or if your little sister stole it from you because she absolutely needed to have it at all times (sorry, Robert) then check it out: watch a clip here or watch the whole movie (at your own risk, because I'm pretty sure it's still illegal - 100% sure) here

Some Shakespeare for your enlightenment:

Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school.
And though she be but little, she is fierce.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

An Energy Scale

When something is further away the light reflecting off that thing takes more time to reach your eyes than something that is close. I believe this is true of time as well; when something is a long time off, it seems to have less pull on your thoughts. Well, the summer is winding down and in a few weeks I will be starting grad school. In a few weeks. Just a few, precious, significant weeks. It feels like every actions, every thought, every hope revolves around these few weeks. Today I felt mentally drained and didn't want to go down to Ada where I've been horseback riding all summer (I know, we'll talk about it), but then after hanging out with Evan was out of the question I suddenly thought... there are only a few weeks left.

The same thing happened a couple nights ago when I thought I would just be by myself for the night and not go stay with Evan, but then I thought... there are only a few weeks left. 

[read 'desperately philosophical'] What is this? The end of my life as I know it? The beginning of a new chapter? Am I becoming someone different? ... Why am do I allow myself to make this into a big ordeal when I know at my core that this was the best summer of my life already? I know that no matter whether I have to spend my days alone, I am loved by and will always love my best friend. It's not just a few weeks left, it's the rest of my life I have to give. It's also just another day. And then another. And another. It's hard not to make a big ordeal out of moving away for the first time (yea, the first year of college didn't really count), but at the end of the day it will just be another 24 hours.

I've always believed in cutting out the drama, so now I need to do it again... not more singing LeAnn Rimes' How Do I Live (don't remember it? a dramatic song about going on without the person you love; click the title of the song for a refresher) every time I think about living in Johnson City without Evan. No more weird dreams about things happening to Felix, the horse I've spent this summer with. No more being mad when my friends don't feel the gravity of my impending move. 

There are only 24 hours each day, and despite the fact that I want to spend every single one of them with the people I love, I'M THE ONE LEAVING. And that's ok. Because there's such a thing as trust. I trust that this summer has meant just as much to the people I've spent it with as it has to me. 

The photos in this post are from the roadtrip my brother and I took this summer. I really hope this becomes a summer ritual for us. I freaking love it.
Also, this is the first time in four months I've written anything at all. I flew past my one year anniversary of having a blog without even blinking. And yes, I DID just listen to How Do I Live while writing this, and I hope the song is just finishing as you finish up reading it...

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. - Buddha

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Past - Els ... Pastels

It's spring! Hooray! I can't wait until Northwest Ohio has the weather to prove it. Sigh. Oh well, it can't keep me from looking forward to what's to come.

Ever since Martha Stewart took down her fabulous calendar from her website I have been lost as to which days to rotate out my clothes. I have resolved to pick a date though (which is probably good because my floor can't take any more of my winter clothes). My rotate date will be April 20, although there is always the chance that I get too excited and get them out before that, or that I get too busy and just kind of live out of the bins I keep them in for a while.

The main trends I am seeing so far this spring: beautiful pastels, continuing patterns, and billowing fabrics. There are also a lot of platform heels echoing of disco days and lacy additions that both hint at strength in femininity.

Check it out on Oh La La Fashion.

Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes. - Carl Friedrich Gauss 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wooden Walls, Wooden Heart

You will probably get very tired of hearing this every Wednesday, but I am so very excited to decorate and arrange a new place when I move for graduate school. By the way, I have been accepted at both East Tennessee State and Burren.

I don't know what else to say. I'm just plain excited. Here is a wooden themed picture collection from my Pinterest board House Stuff.

A quote for America:
If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. - Antoine de Saint-Exupery 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Ask Yourself...

So I got home Friday evening from a trip down to Tennessee for spring break. I should be posting my pictures today, since it IS Art Monday and all... but I thought instead I would share a conversation with you that my Ego had with whom I call Enlightened Whitney. I'm going to also intersperse some new artwork too so you aren't totally bogged down by all the incredible thoughtfulness of this intensely questioning post ...   . ....

 Sometimes it's hard to keep telling people that you want to be an artist. It still hurts me every time some one asks if I'm getting my degree "To teach, or ... ?". I have been laughed at a lot. Warned that I would be penniless. Asked what I'm going to do for actual money. Straight preached to about how I need to assert myself. What is it about following your passion that so many people don't understand?

I had a conversation (many, actually) with my best friend on our trip. I asked: "don't people realize that I have chosen the more difficult path? I mean, who ever got a degree in chemical engineering and constantly racked their brain for how they would utilize their degree until they could actually start earning money in their industry? I just feel like most people know exactly their path... they get the degree... then they either get a job or they can't find one so they look elsewhere." He agreed. I am taking a difficult path. Yet people still treat me like I'm trying to set myself up for a life of slacking.

So any how... here is the conversation:

“You can be anything you want to be.”
“Yea, of course. I know that”
“Then why aren't you making that happen?”
“I'm scared. I can't just drop everything I know to live on a dream, people die that way”
“No. What's scary is letting yourself die every day because your dreams aren't dreams: they're what you want. Do you know why you want what you want?”
“I will always want what I can't have.”
“Why the hell do you listen to everything those give-upers tell you? You want to be whole. The things you want will become a part of your wholeness. I'm not talking about purses, cars, vacations, houses, families … I'm talking about those bigger-than-life wants that get you giddy inside because of how exciting the prospect is.”
“But I have to have a job, I need to make money to do the things I want to do with my life”
“No. You don't. What you need is to be whole. To be all there. To be complete. Doing things that don't lead toward you being whole scatter you. They do the exact opposite of what you need.”
“But what if my dream is to have all the money in the world?”
“Do you not realize how much more you are worth than money!?”
“OK. Well... uh... what if I can't get to my dream? What if it's completely out of the question and I fail or die or something along the way??”
“You will fail. And you will succeed.”
“Then why is it even worth my time if it won't even come true when I can get the job, work the hours, get the money and everything will be there for me...”
“I'm trying to tell you that nothing else is worth your time. If you spend your life in the pursuit of anything but your dreams you will stand at the end of your road and wonder what it was all for. Why would you do this to yourself?”
“Yea, well that's later. I don't care about that. I live for right now.”
“Hahahahaha. You couldn't be living less for right now if you were a time traveler. What is your 'now'? Where is your balance? Where is your God?”
“I don't need religion and all that eastern crap. That's stupid. What a dying outlook on life.”
“Then why do you feel like your always wanting something else? Your like a seedling, contorting your body toward the sun, about to fall out of the ground at any moment.”
“Is that supposed to mean something?”
“It means you have no roots. See how when a tree matures it grows straight up. It knows where it wants to go. It knows it's purpose. You think these spiritual people are over thinking things? They focus on clearing their minds. You focus on filling your mind with distractions: TV, the internet, food, school...”
“OK. So I am scattered. So I'm doing pointless things that mean nothing in the long run. They make me feel good though. What's wrong with that?”
“Nothing is wrong with feeling good. You should feel good. Sometimes though it's OK to plan for feeling good tomorrow though too. Wouldn't it be nice if 'feeling good' wasn't a question at all, but an obvious?”
“Absolutely! How does that happen? Do I need to read more? Go to church? Volunteer at the soup kitchen?”
“You need to follow your dreams. The big ones. The ones that scare you. The ones you can't imagine how to start on.”
“But whyyyyyyy...”
“Because you won't fully be yourself until you do.”

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.Helen Keller 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Home Is Here

The thing about home is it the perfect blend of a concrete and abstract idea. Where is home? Home is where the heart is. Home is where they have to accept you. Where we love is home. Make yourself feel at home.

Can you have more than one home? Can home be a time? A person? I feel at home on the road, in my bed, in the studio, with my best friend, in my car, in the kitchen, at night, in a book, and in the woods. I felt at home in my apartment, but it seems like that time has passed. I felt at home in Texas, but that too seems to have passed.

A problem on my mind lately is how do you make a home for two? Playing with this idea has really brought to mind the secret bond between the abstract and concrete meanings of what a home is. Both people have to feel comfortable, but more than that. Both have to feel responsible. Ownership. Respect. Unity. Represented. Making a home is more than having a floor plan, it's having a game plan . . . and patience and understanding.

I cannot even begin to express how excited I am for graduation and everything that comes after. But being at home is like being happy: if you make it your destination you will never be satisfied. Home is about time. It's about finding home in your heart, right now.

So. On with the show! Because I feel at home in the kitchen, even when it's someone else's kitchen and I want to throw things because I'm so lost and at home at the same time, I have rounded up a few recipes for a day of home eating.

PS. One thing that the northern states have definitely done right is comfort food recipes.

Sheepherder's Breakfast - fry up onions and hash browns in a skillet until brown, then dig holes for each egg, cover and cook until eggs are done.
Sheepherder's Breakfast
And, of course, coffee.
Coffee, Delicious Coffee

Winter Minestrone with Garlic Bruschetta (click image for recipe)
Winter Minestrone from Crave
A Cheese Danish to follow (click image for recipe):
Cheese Danish from Country Cleaver

Brown Sugar Crock Pot Ham (click image for recipe):
Brown Sugar Ham from The Crockin' Girls
With Polenta-Crusted Potatoes (click image for recipe):
Polenta-Crusted Potatoes from Simple Bites
And Peach and Cinnamon Cobbler to finish it off (click image for recipe):
Peach and Cinnamon Cobbler
Peach and Cinnamon Cobbler from Deen Bros.

A house is not a home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as the body. - Benjamin Franklin
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