January 28, 2010


It's the little things in life.

Like finding cartoons that are perfectly true and funny. (by Lucy Knisley)

Like watching my orchid send out a stalk that will bloom with flowers! I don't even remember what kind of orchid it is, it hasn't bloomed in over 3 years.

Like getting a little plate into the store where I work that reminds me of my sister and my niece. "That's my FACE!"

January 20, 2010

1000 days at sea

Ben and I are considering living on a boat when we move to Monterey, CA. I spent a year and then summers living aboard Feather, a 38ft sloop, when I was a child/teenager, so sailboat-living feels like home to me. Ben spent a little bit of time on Feather too, and we spent a week on a couple sailboats up in the Great Lakes a couple years ago, so he's familiar with it, but I think it seems very novel to him still.
The main reason for considering this is the cost of living on the West coast, which everyone keeps telling us is horrendously expensive. If we play our cards right, we may be able to spend less by living aboard than living in an apartment (buying a house is prohibitively expensive) for two years. We are open to buying or renting a boat/slip; whatever seems to make the most sense once we've examined all the options. This could go nowhere, and we might end up living on land afterall, but we're definitely trying to think outside the box to eliminate some of our financial stressors.

So, for inspiration, we've been looking at boat listings, and googling all sorts of live-aboard situations. Amongst beautifully decorated houseboat interiors on Apartment Therapy, I found this website, 1000 days at Sea, the Mars Ocean Odyssey. It's immensely inspiring, fascinating, and a testament to how brave/strong/amazing humans CAN be when they put their minds to a task. Basically, this couple (now just the man because the woman got pregnant and went back to land to have the baby), is sailing in open ocean without coming to port and without restocking for 1000 days (nearly 3 yrs!). They (He) achieved this goal just 3 days ago, and is still out on the water til summertime. Here is a direct link to a nice description of their plan when they set out (where/why/how). And here is a link to their daily blog, starting at Day 1 (if you're reading it chronologically, you have to click "previous" instead of "next" to get to the next day, which is a little counterintuitive). Reading through this feels comfortable, exciting, and reminds me of why I love sailing, and it also reminds me of all the troubles/travails you have to deal with when the only person who can help is yourself. Of course, what they are undertaking is several orders of magnitude more intense than anything I've ever done (my longest ocean passages have only been ~60 hrs long), so I am learning lots and enjoying the insight into their explorers' minds. I recommend reading their blog, it's light reading--only a couple paragraphs per day--but gives very good insight into what their lives are like.

Soanya washing sprouts in the galley

Soanya and Reid in front of their bent bowsprit from colliding with a freighter one night. Doh.

January 18, 2010

The Artist's Way

So, I am undertaking The Artist's Way, a book/12 wk self-directed 'course' in....I'm not sure exactly what. Creativity? Finding a voice? Acting on creative ideas? All I know is that people who have done it recommend it highly, and it just feels right to me at this point. I wanted to make sure I got some good creative time in
1. AFTER I applied to schools (first thing's first!)
2. BEFORE I attend school in Fall 2010 (so I don't feel like I've let my 'time off' go to waste)
(side note-- and this is a BIG side note-- I got in to my program of choice! But that's a different blog post altogether)

I just happened to hear that a good friend of mine is doing The Artist's Way out in California along with a group of others. They're meeting once/week (I think), but I have been invited to follow along and join in the ReplyAll email messages of the group, along with a couple other participants who live far away from the group.

It's only been a week, but I am really really enjoying the group nature of this. My personal work hasn't been mindblowing, or too much different from my normal life yet. The 3 pages of writing we're supposed to do each day is only slightly longer than the journal I already keep, though it does require a bit more discipline to maintain. The "artist's date" seems to be something that I already did, but just felt guilty about because I assumed that time spent inspiring myself or enjoying alone time was equal to procrastination and/or waste. It's really relieving to know that it's GOOD for me. And allowing myself the structure and awareness of this time means that I am diminishing the 'wasted' or 'procrastinating' time because I don't share that time with negative, guilty thoughts that inhibit my productivity. Anyway, hearing other peoples' experiences as they struggle with or achieve the tasks assigned to us in the book make me feel like it's a more interesting, valid and worthwhile endeavor.

So, I already posted this picture on facebook (I try not to double post things too much) and already sent it to the group of Artists Way friends, but this is exciting enough to me to want to post it here too.

Just wanted to share... on my 2nd week's artists's date this morning, I found this metal tool box/tackle box/artists' box (and some other goodies for future use in creativity). I posted it on facebook with this caption: "SCORE! Found this box for $1.50 at the goodwill. Just what I was looking for, and already broken in (well loved) (aka nice patina on the outside) but in perfect structural condition. Here it is already in use. I think it is a serendipitous reward for spending time this week to actually MAKE the little eyeshadow cases (seen in the bottom, with the japanese print fabrics) I've been imagining for months."

The eyeshadow cases were what I made over the course of several artists dates during the 1st week. One thing leads to another! Even though I don't believe in cause and effect in a superstitious way, I am psyched that these followed each other (o: I have to add that I have never been much of a make-up wearer except that I'm a performer, and have thus learned that good make-up is an art into and of itself, and one that I have come to enjoy quite a bit over the years. Having a proper place for all the right tools feels like giving the thumbs up to that aspect of my creativity, rather than the "shove it all in a box and ignore that you're actually good at make-up" attitude I've had for so long.

Every time I see this picture, I get really excited. I've always had a penchant for boxes and pockets and organizing things...but this is MINE! It has my own stuff that I use regularly in it! I only spent $1.50 for it!!! (Similar boxes, also used, I found for $18-34 today, across the street from the goodwill in antique stores) I don't have to dig for anything, it's all easily accessible and visible. It condenses the many make-up bags I was using, and makes it easily portable. Plus it is so pretty.

I kind of can't believe that me, Alyssum, is excited about this. But also really happy that I'm letting myself be.