Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A month after "Unlimited"

I haven't posted an entry in a while, and its funny that the last entry was about my ultimately prophetic dream. A month and a day after I wrote it, I started what was quite literally my dream job:

I'm now a machinist at Tesla Automotive!

First, I got laid off, then, I realized how in demand I was, then after a brief trip to a place I like to call "Machinist Purgatory" I was offered a great job, which I ultimately turned down to work at Tesla. Not that working at Tesla isn't great, it's amazing. I'm just thrilled that I was in a position where I actually had to turn down a great job offer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I had a weird little emotional trip on my drive home today, and I for some reason feel very grateful for all the people in my life and all my experiences.

I had a dream the other night that sounds like it would be a bad dream, but I woke up feeling very good and very positive and I've been puzzling over why a dream that could have (should have) been a nightmare made me feel so good. On my drive home I had a chance to think about it and I've come up with an answer. I'm unlimited.

I dreamed I was in the summer after my senior year in high school, and in the dream I had decided, as I often wished I had decided, that I didn't want to be an artist after all, that I wanted to go to a regular school and become an engineer, or maybe something else. Where the dream normally would have turned into the typical nightmare "I'm not going to the college I got accepted to, what am I going to do with my life?" instead, with the calm rational mind of an adult, I thought about all the possibilities that were now open to me. I thought about the schools I could attend instead, how much money I would save by not going to such an exclusive school, that I could get a job and go to work, have an apartment, that I didn't need RISD, or any ONE thing or any ONE else. The possibilities were endless, but not frighteningly so, there were two or three things I wanted to do, all I had to do was decide, and I knew that if my first choice didn't work my second or third would be fine, and then I woke up, forgetting the end of the dream or why it made me feel good. But I felt good.

I didn't know why this dream had me feeling so good. Thematically, it was one of those "Test I didn't study for" dreams, but emotionally, which is the real key to dream interpretation, the dream was different, it was like a flying dream.

I realized that its because I'm leaving high school, where I ate with the same kids at lunch, started out as a little trainee who didn't know anything. I'm going to miss my friends but it was time to grow up now. I remember when Ansgar left PR. I felt like he was graduating, and it was the last day of high school and I was being left behind, and that things would never be the same. A year later, after everything changed anyway, I got booted out of the nest, too.

And here I am. It wasn't hard for me to find a new job, a better job, not yet, but at least I'm making more money. I keep thinking that this is my lily pad. I'll learn stuff here, but I need to keep looking. In the mean time, at least my lily pad pays me well. I just need to remember the number one thing I DID learn from RISD:

NEVER let your skills get out of date. NEVER.

It cost me way too much to learn that. And boy did I ever learn it the hard way. I will not get lazy this time. I must keep looking. If all I do is take classes and stay at this job, then that is what I will do, but I can't be content to stay here no matter how much money they pay, because I MUST keep looking for something better, I MUST keep my skills up to date and I MUST be open to the possibilities that the world gives me. That is the only way to stay out of despair.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What we can learn from Barbie

It's funny, I didn't play with Barbie much as a kid, but as an adult, I've come to identify with her. I've written about this before, but today I discovered I have even more in common with Barbie from this LA Times article: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/feb/04/entertainment/la-et-barbie-goes-to-lacma-20110204

Beyond the obvious connection of my being a blue eyed, blond haired, hourglass shaped California surfer girl, I discovered that the original "Barbie Dream House" was furnished with simple Scandinavian style furniture. Since 4 of the 8 sticks of furniture I own are mid-century modern and the rest, save for my drafting table were purchased to match them, this piqued my curiosity about the original "Dream House" and it turns out that the dream was a far cry from the pink plastic Mc Mansions Barbie dwells in today. Barbie's original "Dream House" was a simple, modernist shoebox studio, much like my little beachfront apartment.

So what happened to us between 1962, when a "Dream House" consisted of a simple one room studio made of cardboard with folded paper furnishings, and now, when a "Dream House" is a pink three story townhouse with over 55 pieces, lights and sounds? Are little girls any less or more happy when they get the massive plastic castle than when they got the compact little shoebox? Do they use their imaginations any more or less? What does it say about us, that something as iconic as a doll's "Dream House" could go from something so simple to something so bloated and complex?

I've been feeling somewhat sorry for myself lately. I got laid off from my job after 4 years of faithful service, and I've been working on beautifying my formerly hideous apartment. I was a little melancholy over my birthday this year, I'm not sure why, I usually love birthdays, but a part of me was dwelling on how most women in America my age have houses while I'm grateful to dwell in a two room studio that admittedly is a run down fire trap.

But. My backyard is the Pacific Ocean. People say how lucky I am, but luck has nothing to do with it. Living on the beach is something many people dream about their whole lives but never achieve. But the reason that I live on the beach and they don't isn't because I'm lucky, its because I'm willing to pay more than a lot of people's mortgages for rent on a studio in a run down building. Its about choices. Do we choose stuff, or do we choose other stuff, or do we choose Less stuff? My brother says I have a pretty simple dream. I don't want a big house. I just want a little apartment near the beach where I can surf. I don't want a fancy car, just a reliable one with good mileage. Its just that simple. But sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have made different choices. Everyone does.

And when I saw Barbie's dream house, I stopped feeling so sorry for myself. I DID have the dream house after all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Why art is hard

Making art is easy for me. Too easy. I let it be too mush of a part of my identity for too long and too much of my ego was tied up in it. I won national awards, I went to the best schools, my work was even popular, but it didn't make me happy. After deliberately forcing myself to NOT make art for years I think I'm ready again, but I feel like an alcoholic that's been in recovery for years going to a bar. I don't want art to take up the part of my personality it was before. I want to express myself, but not let it become who I am. I realized after talking to a good friend last night that I'm so apprehensive about making art again because of its relationship to my Bi Polar disorder. I'm an amazing artist when I'm manic, of course. Mania is the worst. I'm so afraid of mania that I have put up with low level depression for years to keep it at bay. At first it's great, and then the anger comes. And then the paranoia, and then the depression comes back, worse than before. I just don't want to go there. I'm afraid of there. The thing is that I've got a lot of talent with or without the mental illness, but the mania gives it that extra POP. I'd give it all up. So many people tell me they wish they could draw or paint the way I do. I'd happily give it all up to take away all the pain its put me through. All the things I gave up because my mom pushed me so hard to be an artist. If I could get them back, if I could have run track in high school, taken shop classes, all the things I didn't do, if I could just have a few of them, go to a regular college, have a normal job I gave up so much just because I had talent and I thought it was the ONLY thing of value about myself, I really did. I thought it was the only thing I had to offer the world. I'm so much more than that, I know that now, but it took a long time to learn. I'm so scared.

Funny, all I did, or all I intended to do, was make a funny tee shirt for my friends. But it turned out too good. I was wearing the shirt and wishing I'd done it as an art print instead and those things I hate kept not creeping but jumping in, I should sell these, I want to make more, that whole identity thing, I'd rather be doing this than something else (surfing) the problem is that it takes me to a place I don't want to go. A treadmill I don't want to get back on. Other artists just don't understand, maybe I should be hanging out with JD Salinger and Cat Stevens and the pumpkin guy from Faith NO More. I hate the whole art scene, I hate the attitude, I hate selling. I hate what it does to my image and self worth. I hate that it reminds me of my mother and how hard she pushed me.

One of my prized posessions is a travel mug I made with A at a paint your own pottery shop on a whim. It was the most fun I'd had making art in as long as I can remember. Because it was just for me, just for fun, no pressure and with a dear friend. Its so hard for me to get that feeling from art. The feeling your supposed to get. I don't know if I can ever be free again.

Monday, January 3, 2011

One More Resolution

I've gone and done it again, I've procrastinated too long and now I don't have time to surf before work. I guess I shouldn't consider it a wasted morning since part of the reason that I don't have time to surf was that I took my dog for an extra-long walk, ironically under the guise of checking the surf on the north end of the beach. Somehow I got home just after noon, and if I don't get in the water by noon I can't really surf for more than half an hour to forty five minutes before I have to get out, and putting on and taking off my gear alone takes at least 20 minutes so it makes is not worth it, unless I'm really jonesing. So my resolution is to be out of bed by 9:30. I got up at 10 today and it was just not early enough to get Dave a nice walk and get a nice surf in without rushing so much as to make it not fun. 9:30 may seem like sleeping in plenty, but with my work schedule I'm usually not in bed till 1:30. I went to bed early last night since I didn't have to work, and it was still hard to get up, even though it was easier than usual.

My problem is that I spend too much time on the computer after work. The best thing for me to do would to not even turn on the computer after work and take Dave for a nice walk, and maybe do some yoga or something instead. The tricky part is that if I want to listen to music or anything I need to use my computer, I don't even have a TV.

Well, the way I've managed to keep resolutions in the past is that I see a resolution as a goal that I have a year to achieve. From what I understand most people don't keep resolutions because they quit as soon as they've blown it once. So the goal is to get in bed by 1:00 tonight and get up by 9:30.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Resoloutions

Some people don't like New Year's resolutions and think they don't work, but I've had a pretty good track record of keeping mine. I usually keep at least a couple of them. I read that writing them down and then not looking at them helps, and that's worked for me before. I also tried writing them down where I could see them every day. I also don't count New Year's Day. I see the whole holiday season as a kind of time for being decadent and careless while the days are like 5 minutes long and you aren't going to get anything done anyway. The sun went down at 5:01 today. YUCK! I hate winter.

So here goes not in any particular order:
1. Learn Surfcam, believe it or not, that's a career thing
2. Practice my pop ups every day.
3. (I did not keep this one last year, so I'm altering it to be more realistic this year): resume out of water surf training at least 3 times a week. Its funny how it was so much easier to be disciplined about that when I first started surfing than it is now.
4. Do Beth Terry's "Show us your Plastic Challenge" one week a month.

Instead of the usual "eat healthier-loose weight-save money" trifecta I've come up with a plan. When I lost my ATM card and had to live on only cash I realized what I already knew which was that I spend too much money on snack-fast-junk food, and the way to keep me from doing that is to not have money to waste on it. Since I do the bulk of my grocery shopping at the Farmer's Market on Saturday, most of the food I buy for myself is pretty healthy. If I don't have access to anything else, that's all I will eat. The plan is to give myself a cash allowance each week and keep my debit card out of my wallet so I can't buy junk food without having to pay cash for it. I'm making the allowance bigger than my old "Food Budget" that I kept mentally but didn't actually stick to so that my "Fun Money" and my "Food Money" are now one amount. That way if I want to go to the movies at the end of the week or buy a new outfit, I'll have to stick with beet chips and hummus and celery and peanut butter instead of sneaking out for a burger to temporarily cheer myself up for whatever reason. This totally worked when I lost my debit card but wanted a new dress for my company's holiday party, so I know I can make it work on a regular basis. The trick is that I'm going to do it in one week chunks.