24 June 2013

Guys, I went camping!

And it was glorious! There were only three of us, out in the wilderness by ourselves from Friday night to Sunday afternoon.

Things were getting so bad that when my grandmother heard that I'd taken a day off from work to do something she said, "Good job."

I hadn't asked for a day off from work since, like, September or something.

Now I am sunburned and a little bruised and I apparently inhaled the entire campfire because I'm strangely coughing up ashes (it's a little concerning, I know, but I'll recover), and I'm feeling a little weird because a friend accidentally saw me peeing (it was bonding! right? right? please god let it be bonding . . . ) because we were in the desert with no decent privacy, but I'm also very very happy!

Good camping.

I don't have pictures because I'm not cool enough to think about bringing a camera places. But if I get pictures of the weekend from the lovely lady who did bring a camera, maybe I'll post them.

But I do have this picture of today:


Also happening recently: Basically living in two places at the same time, painting much of my new apartment (many thanks to those who helped), being halfway through my final semester of school, and finding out that while I do not participate in Facebook there is a picture uploaded for the masses there that consists solely of my boobs. Clothed, blessedly, but very clearly breast-like. I saw it and I was like, "wut?" and she was like, "heh." And then I rolled my eyes. So there's that: my boobs are on the internet.

And with that, I'm out. I've got to hack the rest of the fire babies out of my lungs before I go to work and actually need to speak intelligibly without croaking.

Much love, 
Irene

P.S. Do you want to see my home? This is a video I forgot I made last Wednesday whilst my brother was in town, and it contains the sneak peaks of what will shortly be a lovely abode.

video

I'm sorry if this video induces vertigo. I can't really watch it either.

12 June 2013

Creation, part two: glue and gravy are the same thing, but no one tells you that.

Part One - I spent over a year figuring this out. It's where I've been.

I like to make stuff.

I like to be around things knowing I'm the reason they exist. I like to take something from raw materials to finished product.

When you make something yourself, it becomes more real:
  •  Food is lovely all the time, but that meal means more if you cook it from scratch than if you buy it at the store and later pull it out of the freezer and microwave it.
  • Tomatoes are delicious, but that tomato is even more awesome if you just picked it from a tomato plant in your garden.
  • Music is beautiful, but music that you make at home on your own piano or guitar or set of kitchen pots is even more beautiful.
You know what I'm talking about. Even if what you created is less ascetically pleasing than other options, even if it is sub par; not as tasty, kind of wonky, burnt on the bottom, slightly out of rhythm; it's better. It's yours. It's a creation that is authentic to you and your place in life.

I've been lucky enough to find a group of people who feel largely the same way. Creators, artists, artisans. People who like to work with their hands and with their minds to make things happen. In the past year I've learned a lot on accident; shading is for the low points of something, highlighting for the high points, I have the color wheel memorized now, and I can tell you far more about purfling and f-holes and rib structures than I ever thought I'd want to know.

It's nice to have friends who'll listen to you talk about leather grain and binding techniques without rolling their eyes, and who will huddle with you in whispered plans about how if we could only find a way to realistically afford copper tubing we could make the most badass moonshine still, and we should merge our cult of happiness and cult of niceness and be kind of like the fight club.

I've learned a lot on purpose too, and through my discussions and experiences and studies I've learned one overarching thing: quality.

When things are cheaply mass produced, they're put together as efficiently as possible. Metal and plastic are melted, colored, molded, painted, permanently affixed to each other with chemical bonders that even once they soon break and become useless last forever.

Quality things don't last forever. Quality is made from real ingredients, metal, wood, stone, glass, vegetation, that are constructed well enough that they'll keep together in working order for a really long goddamn time. And when they die, you can fix them. Because their parts are made from things that don't run out. And when you don't want to fix them any more, they'll return to the raw materials from which they were made.

I've learned that artisan violin makers use hide glue on their wood. It's made from animal pieces, and it smells really weird. It's water soluble. If they mess up they can wash off the glue and try again. When the violin is done being a violin, it can return peacefully to the earth without leaving a footprint. Artisan book binders use flour paste. If they make a mistake they can wash the glue off the pages, reglue them, re-press them. If a binding breaks, it can be redone. When the book is done being a book, it biodegrades. Because everything in it comes from a plant or an animal.

Quality doesn't leave a footprint. Quality is sustainable, renewable, lasts a long time and is all-natural.

But quality costs. It costs a lot of love. And when you try to exchange love for money, quality gets confusing.

To be continued . . .

Irene

10 June 2013

Oh Hey There

I'm moving.

Not very far. Just a few blocks, actually. It's a lovely old rundown place with stained carpet and uneven floors. It has a wonky curvy hallway to get from the door to the living space. If I stand on my fire escape I can touch the old Lutheran church next door. It has a miniature oven. It has glass french doors into what I'm going to make a library. And if anyone wants to come visit me in a few weeks once I've cleaned and painted and unpacked (or wants to help me clean and paint and unpack), I'll make you food. I'm really good at pancakes and anything with potatoes or beans or chicken, but I do take special requests.

Email me if you want my address for visiting or mailing or stalking or general addressbook know-how, k?

K.

Love you all, even the ones I haven't talked to in awhile (I'm sorry I haven't returned emails).

Irene