wanderings

new york city

In early May I flew with two dear friends to a third dear friend’s wedding. It was the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to and the joy of getting to be a part of it is still with me. The delight of being surrounded by those who love and support someone I so dearly love still brings me comfort months later.

On our way back home, we stopped in New York City for bagels, lush greenery, some life-list birds, and the Guggenheim. First, bagels.

Altogether we walked twelve miles that day meandering through Central Park and finding ourselves at the Guggenheim. Rain followed us the whole way as we wandered under the trees and arbors, spotting birds in the underbrush and buildings among the clouds.

The Guggenheim was everything I dreamed it would be and has re-invigorated my love of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work. Every surface and join is deliberate and simple resulting in an exquisitely balanced, gravity-defying space.

When the water fountains are as worthy of a photograph as the artwork, I sit up, take notice, and start planning my next visit to one of his buildings.

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On the third floor we stumbled upon a vibrant gallery of art by New York City students. The time, care, energy, and hope that it took to place their art on the world stage makes me shaky with hope of my own. I believe so strongly in the importance of encouraging, listening to, and honoring children’s art work that walking through the midst of so much of it awed and delighted me.

Our time filled up quickly with second bagels, Chicago on Broadway, a peek at Time Square in the dark, a rooftop cocktail bar, more wandering, the bustle of Grand Central Station (a lesson in exorbitant and unapologetic taking up of space), and the New York Public Library.

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A joy, a pleasure, a blur.


excerpts from a southwest travel journal

This past August I found myself driving from Santa Fe New Mexico to Seattle Washington via the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana. One of my dear friends is a props artisan, upholsterer, and fine artist who works at operas around the country (if you need any upholstery, murals, or staging done, give her a call. She’s one of the best). After her third year at the world famous Santa Fe Opera, I flew out and we drove home together.

As there wasn’t much room in my pack after getting the tent, sleeping bag, and camp kitchen into it (we camped the whole way ), I decided to leave my camera at home and paint my way home instead. A revelatory experience. I highly recommend it. Here are excerpts from that journal.


thirty before thirty

Upon the writing of this list, I was six months and a quarter of a century old. With so much life happening all at once and rushing by, I took a moment to pause and challenge myself to continued growth and write a thirty before thirty list…thirty things to complete before my thirtieth birthday.

thirty before thirty | seekthewelfare

Some of these goals will take a great deal of time and effort such as saving for and buying a house. Some of them are more or less out of my control such as being taken on a date (no judgement please). Some of them I've been putting off for years like reading all of the books I own. Some of them totally freak me out (any kind of performance in front of anyone ever). But each one is possible and that is extremely exciting.


thirty before thirty

begun: june 2017
last updated: october 2018
goal date: december 2021

 

home

live in a house -- preferably my own

create a vegetable and flower garden -- i've got all of my tools, now i just need the dirt.

care for a flock of chickens

procure beautiful dinner dishes and napkins. In March 2018 I took my first ceramics class and am now using the plates I threw.

 

career

start my own business. in 2016 I opened The Sick Box, a little shop filled with handmade and carefully curated goods to nurture and encourage self-care.

earn a teaching certificate

lead-teach for at least one full year

get paid to organize someone's home. the summer of 2017 saw me designing and creating a room for a dear friend. picking the design, cleaning and organizing, and creating a quiet crafting haven for knitting, weaving, tea, and conversations. 2018 saw me working with a client working towards a clean slate after years of grief.

✓ work with a photography client.

 

adventure

travel solo outside of the United States -- the more I think about this one the less I like the idea...but challenge is important so the goal stays.

wild camp — july 2018 included a dispersed camping experience by the Grand Canyon…so i’m getting closer.

drive from one coast of the United States to the other

live in a  foreign country for a month or more. lived in Paris for a month in 2017 with a week in London thrown in the middle for good measure.

skinny dip

take a multi-day cross-country train trip. in june 2017 i took my grandmother on an amtrak train from Seattle, WA to Saint Paul, MN for her birthday. it was magical.

bike from one major city to another -- anyone want to go from Seattle to Portland with me?

return to Scotland -- Tentatively scheduled for 2019 or 2020.

swim in warm ocean water -- Hawaii perhaps? Or Florida? Spain could work too...

go on an overnight boat voyage. june 2017 saw me boating the puget sound from case inlet to everett. summer 2018 included explorations of the boundary islands north of the San Juans.

 

awareness

go 30 days with a quart trash jar without filling it up -- because I haven't yet gotten this strict with myself though I have significantly reduced my trash

have my portrait taken or painted.

read every book I own -- still making progress on this one. I would be closer if I didn’t keep on finding amazing books to add to my collection. a pretty good problem to have, I say.

 

creativity

✓ throw pottery. i'm now using the plates and dishes I made every day (!) and will make more as soon as I have the time to return to the studio.

✓confidently play and sing at least three tunes on the ukulele with someone to witness them. fall 2018 launched me into a new position as a preschool teacher where I now play and sing to my students daily.

accomplish a difficult yoga pose -- preferably with a balancing element

✓ try oil painting. in summer 2017 I took a five week course for beginning oil painters. i dearly loved it but haven’t been able to continue because of space constraints. In 350 square feet, I would have to choose between painting and my roommate. I choose my roommate.

BONUS: display my art in a cafe. in may 2018 I hung eleven watercolors up on the walls of nuflours bakery on capitol hill and left them there, each labeled and priced and frighteningly public. (july 2018: a few of them have sold!)

 

community

write the life story of at least one relative

✓ be taken out on an official date. 2018.

buy work from a local artist — i’m keeping my eye on Seattle Art Source.

fix someone else's flat tire

✓ BONUS: design and paint a large mural. in september 2018 I put the last strokes of paint on a five-part mural I designed and then got to paint with three other amazing artists. it transformed my school’s preschool playground from a mossy, drab, and depressing concrete backlot into an educational and engaging playscape.


Do you have a goal list going? What's your favorite one? Comment below or share with us on the facebook page.


paris market

Pedaling along, I found myself gliding beside a wall of boxy, graffiti-ed delivery trucks, all tipped into the space under the train bridge. Peeking between them, I discovered a farmer's market in full swing, vegetables and people all tumbling over one another.

Quickly getting off my bike and locking it safely at the nearest station, I found my way to the end of the market and paused. Standing on the steps, I saw the ancient brick overlaid with steel above and a solid mass of heads, arms, shoulders, and elbows below. I dove into the fray.

Focusing on keeping my feet under me, I watched people's faces as they bartered, yelled, and cajoled produce into bags and carry-alls. Some foreheads showed such deep concentration while others a sort of pity. Many others simply allowed themselves to be pushed along, refusing any responsibility for slamming into each other or stepping on everyone's toes.

Orange peels sent up a bitter scent as they quickly became pulp under our feet. A meridian of flimsy wood boxes overflowed with sharp cilantro, sage, rosemary, and thyme, filling the whole market with the scent of crushed herbs.


living london

The last several days I have left my camera on the desk and walked out the door before I could change my mind and snatch it up again. The experience has been life-giving. 

living london | seekthewelfare

There is nothing wrong with taking photographs. I find it to be a unique and beautiful expression of the moments I find myself living and they are some of the most powerful connections to memory. Yet, stepping out into the city without the comfort of hiding behind my lens has opened up my world.

Rather than looking for what other people might want to see, I reveled in the moments of self-discovery and the ethereal quality of making unsupported memories...of finding the frames and angles that thrill my heart without having to try and express them to someone else. My experience suddenly burst into a multi-layered feast as my visual self stepped down and scent, texture, and sound came forward.


The soft mustard velvet of the theater seats and the panic in Martha's eyes as played by Imelda Staunton in "Who's Afraid of Virignia Wolf?" The shock of life infused into the green breeze of the park with its expansive meadow grass and ancient grandfather trees. The focused spotlights, cane hampers, and precise glass cases of Fortnum and Mason and the taste of marzipan fruit. The scalding burn of a steak and ale pie between sips of crisp pear cider. The outer crunch of a scotch egg and the deep orange of the runny yolk inside. The giddy thrill of finding myself in the Clock Room of the British Museum at the turn of the hour and suddenly being surrounded by a hymn of tinkering bells and persistent old clocks. Curling up on the bed in the dark, belly full and mind at rest after miles of walking and hours of soaking in the city. The cold of the shaded stone steps of Trafalgar Square and the soft squish of my ham cheddar and branston pickle sandwich. The snap and melt of Cadbury dairy milk and the last crumbly sip of tea when you've been dipping digestives into it. The creak of old floors and the wobble of garden gates.


The city is alive and I was alive in the city.


What textures and sounds and scents surround you right now? share with us on the facebook page or leave a comment below.