Wednesday, August 25, 2010


It has been brought to my attention that this is my longest gap thus far in the blogosphere (I invite you all to collectively throw up in your mouth a little at the mention of that highly ugly word).

No excuses. I've been busy, nothing new there. Life has been changing at a breakneck pace over here, and it has been difficult to sit down and put it all in a nice little box for your reading pleasure/edification.

O' these past months have seen some miles put down on ye olde treads of my life, between the Gelato Tour of Rome and all of the assorted Big Changes that have been going on in life.

Upon my return from Rome, I felt ill at ease about my business partnership, about my stress levels, and about the constantly meager sum in my bank account, despite my near constant work week. I created a new mantra: "More leisure. Less stress. More money." and repeated it under my breath for months, as I made some serious moves toward affecting change in my life.

I have a big-girl job now, working for the City of Austin as the coordinator for an initiative called Commute Solutions. It's part time, not grueling, and I have incredible benefits. Nothing not to love about all that. I still work one shift a week at the spa (that 4 days a month earns me almost as much as the city job!) and do freelance design for various clients that still, inexplicably, are coming my way.

I was awarded my job with the city the day that I dissolved the business partnership with Ryne. It struck me all at once that sometimes if you ask nicely enough, and with great persistance, the universe just says, "yes," and that's that.

Let me call this the first chapter of an unusually newsy update. I'm at work and feel guilty about updating my blog on taxpayer dollars. Oops.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Success might actually kill me

People! I am speaking, so to speak, to the 2 people who might actually not have given up on my blog. My poor, sad, neglected little blog. Is it any wonder I don't want children?

Things are a little bit insane in these parts. Delicious Landscapes (the company I formed in November with one of my fellow graduates of the Ball State Landscape Arch program) has taken off this spring, and is suddenly extremely busy. And it is hard to manage all this work.

I feel like I am wearing a million hats:
  • client handler
  • landscape designer
  • foreman
  • plant buyer
  • accountant
  • quality control engineer
  • advertiser
  • landscape cheerleader/tyrant
...and none of the hats fit exactly right.

I never wanted to do design/build, so it comes as some surprise that I am doing just that. I question this field daily, because it is our first year, and the work is so hard, hours so long, learning curve so steep, partnership so tricky.

But we're getting through. It's simply exhausting, and being a business owner I feel as though I never have any time off. So far, my bank account is not reflecting the hours I work, and that in and of itself is deeply frustrating. But perseverance is key in these things, of course I know that. I just seem to forget when it's 10PM on Saturday and all my friends are out and I am trying to finish a bid for a client that was supposed to be done Friday. Sigh.

I'm not complaining, either. I'm grateful for the work, for the challenge, for all of it. I have a wonderful life and it is important to me to remind myself of this at each and every turn.

This is a strange time, where I am contemplating graduate school (I know, I know...) in California, because my heart still wants to work in international development, and I can't seem to shake the urge no matter how hard I try.

Meanwhile, I am trying to determine whether the answer to this analogy:

my personality is to my current life as:

a cork is to a bottle


a fish is to a bicycle

Chip and I are taking a "month off". What this means is that I am not living in our shared house, and we are not communicating. This is not out of contempt, but rather out of a mutual desire to figure things out and decide if this is where we both want to be, together.

I cannot accurately describe the stress of trying to run a business without the comfort and convenience of our home office at my disposal. It is, in fact, a logistical nightmare, and I can't begin to tell you how much I look forward to moving back into the house next week.

This has been one looooooooong few weeks.

So there, consider yourself updated. One can only hope that my next post is more on the waxing poetic side of things, florid and fruity.

Otherwise, I just want you all to know how much I love you, and life, and all its assorted trials and tribulations. Quite a ride, babies, quite a ride we're on.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Miss Remiss

Dear me, I've not posted in over a month...again. What will we do with me?

As I type, the giant kitchen window (leaking bone-chilling drafts, of course) reveals a spread of sopping wet, nasty snow. Blech.

I know I am supposed to be oohing and ahhing, making slush angels, drinking hot cocoa, snuggling, and generally merrymaking about this anomalous weather. Alas, I cannot.

Cold is not for me. Snow is great, if I'm sledding or on skis (and not where I live). But this wintry mix nonsense? Everyone who claims to enjoy it must have never lived in a miserable northern clime where winter is endless and crushes the joy out of everything for 5 months at a time.

Wait, is that hyperbolic? Surely I jest. No. I jest not.

Viva la jungle!

Which brings me to our next order of business: Carnival.

I was able to take almost an entire week off so that I could attend Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year. Suffice to say that despite a case of the sniffles, I am still reeling from the endless days and nights of false eyelashes, bustles, banquets of beauty, flocks of friends, miles of parades, endless glitter and glitz and glam, and of course love and squalor.

I know that when some people think of Mardi Gras, they think of Bourbon Street and boobs and beads.

I assure you that my Mardi Gras in no way resembles that stereotype. In fact, it is quite the opposite. My experience of this holy holiday in the Big Easy leaves me suffused in the warm glow of realization: my friends are the most inspiring, beautiful, creative, loving, and delightful people one could ask for.

It's good to be reminded of these things.

While day-to-day may pale by compare, I always know that within the folds of my life, there are nooks and crannies overflowing with the bounty of love, the livid colors of life, the inescapable lures of passion and possibility. Just a heartbeat away.

To see some visual evidence, I direct you to my facebook profile (click on pictures of me, and then let your fingers do the walking):

Monday, January 25, 2010

31 and having FUN

So, even though my birthday is not until Wednesday, I feel as though it has already come and gone. You see, I had a little get together slumber party at my favorite paradise in Texas: King spa and Sauna. In case you haven't heard, this is a little prelude to heaven, right here on earth. But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:

It's a Jjim-jil-bang (say that 5 times fast!), a traditional Korean spa. What that means is that it is a split-gender bath house, with a lady area and a man area, where you get into your birthday suit and enjoy the delights of hot tubs, steam rooms, cold plunges, and scrubs and massages. Back in the mixed-gender area, everyone wears spa-issued pajamas (pink for girls, gray for boys) and lounges around in the many dry saunas, the restaurant, movie theater, karaoke room, and well, lounge areas.

It's very Korean. But super friendly and welcoming to us whiteys. Which is nice, because it would be a lot less enjoyable if you were dealing with discrimination in the place.

Me and something like 22 of my dear friends met up there and enjoyed ourselves tremendously. I loved it! It was like a birthday for everyone!

Anyhow, birthdays are funny. Last year, I was very concerned about celebrating my 30th. It was ridiculous, me getting all pouty because things weren't working out perfectly. Not to mention that I was insanely broke, stressed out, unemployed, and injured.

This year is completely unlike last year, in almost every sense.

I still don't know the future, but then who amongst us does? (and if you do, don't tell me, I want it to be a surprise!)

Things aren't perfect, but they are pretty wonderful. My outlook is sunny, I am surrounded by people I love in a city that brings me joy. I am doing work that reflects my interests and values, using skills that I went to school to learn.

What are birthdays for then, if not remembering how far we've come in the past year, and evaluating what we want, who we are, and how things are going?

I'm doing well and trying to do good, too. I hope you all are in the same boat, because right now, from my birdsnest, it looks like pretty smooth sailing.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I'd like to be a less crappy "blogger". I neglect the hell out of this thing, which is either a mercy to those of you unaccustomed to long, rambling sentences bloated with florid phraseology, or a tease to those of you who cannot get enough of said sentences.

This year is off to a jolly good start.

Of course, I can't keep up with correspondences, but I can spell remarkably well, and my business is booming. Someday, I'll even direct you to our website.

I love landscape design, but can't help but wonder if I will be forced at some point to succumb to the nagging inner voice that tells me that my talents are being wasted on residential landscape design. I'm not entirely sure that they are, but there is a part of me that thinks in broader, grander terms and often wonders if I should be looking at graduate schools and applying myself to international aid work, or at least international development.

I mean, that was my plan at the outset. I never meant to be here in Austin, designing landscapes for whomever is willing and able to pay for my services.

I'm pretty sure that happiness (and the ability to support onesself) is the goal here, in which case I am doing relatively well... but there is always the question of whether I am doing enough to help my fellow man.

The Haiti thing, well, we all know how horrific all that is, right?

And the search for answers is not even remotely forthcoming. But it begs many questions. And those questions birth more questions, an endless flood of them oozing from the skin of this issue: where do you start? and with whom? and who administrates?

I've studied all this for years and still find my probings only able to yield more questions, and no definitive answers.

Meanwhile, I got the flu last week. It was thankfully brief, but terribly uncomfortable. My fever peaked at 103, and it made me quite nervous for a short, delirious spell.

I knew I was better when I began cleaning, compulsively, all the things I'd been too sick to lift a finger to take care of before.

And when I began to think, "oh my god, this is what it feels like to be healthy, not in pain, and functional!"

So here it is: healthy, not in pain, and highly functioning. That is my week in a nutshell.

And me, I couldn't be happier if I tried.

Sending love,

Friday, January 8, 2010

The New World

While there is, I admit, an arbitrariness to time, to it's measuring and meting out, the naming and defining of it--- I love submitting to this system of notching our sticks, of charting our courses by the ever-shifting positions of the heavenly bodies making their impossibly distant celestial rounds. Of sifting through the sands of our lives on an annual basis. Of remembering.

It's good and right somehow to have these milestones: birthdays, holidays, New Years. Anything to recognize yet another anniversary of our spinning blue planet making yet another revolution around the sun. I adore this.

2009 will go down in history as one of those pivotal years where everything changes, not only for myself, but for many others as well. It's been up and down, beautiful and tortured. And now, like every breath we've taken thus far, it is behind us.

I'm already in love with 2010. I like the squareness of it, visually. One box that fits neatly inside another, like those nested Russian babushka dolls.

In lieu of proper resolutions, I have a few simple goals and one overarching desire for this year (and possibly every one hereafter).
  • Learn to properly ride a horse.
  • Do more tango, and dance in general
  • Let the important people in my life know that I love them more: be a better friend, daughter, partner, artist, and just an overall better person.
But the most important desire for this year is simple, and one I'd like to share and challenge everyone I care for to join in...

I want to experience happiness not as a fleeting feeling, but as a discipline. I believe that happiness can be practiced, cultivated, and perfected.

This year I long to focus on the blessings that have marked my life, rather than that which I do not have, or have lost. I aspire to meet obstacles with a smile, to give more than I take, and to do so without expecting any reward aside from the experience of manifesting joy.

Life is short, justly difficult, and beautiful.

I'm really glad we're all in this one together.

Let's make this year the best one yet.