Tuesday, June 26, 2012

And Then She Wrote Me Back!

The next day!!

dear dallas.
thank you for this incredibly gracious letter.

i think that the only way to do what you want to do is to do it in a way that feels comfortable.
so if you were to do you art, you would keep your job and see you how feel creating.
but if it is not an imperative in your life, then that is fine too.
it is all good.
i really appreciate your thoughts.
all best to you

I still haven't done "my art." But in leaving my old job I feel like I got un-stuck. I was so stuck. I was so scared of the unknown. Taking that leap of faith was so liberating. So. Liberating. For six weeks my mantra was "I'm a free bird," because I had to keep reminding myself of the new context I had created to live into. On the graph of my life, I'm on a steep incline of learning about myself: who I am and what I want to do. It's very amorphous, a little confronting, but very exciting. I'm in inquiry.

I'm not sure I really agree with Maira. I think I have a rougher constitution. But then, I don't have all that much to show for it. But like she says, "it is all good." And that is an ethos I can get behind.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Did I Forget To Tell You I Met My Idol?!

In February I ran into Maira Kalman first thing in the morning on my way into work. It was magical. At my mom's urging I wrote her a note, and I want to share it with you.
Hi Maira-

I ran into you recently one morning at the elevator at 611 Broadway. I was on my way to work and recognized you and your orange hat. You were very sweet and shook my hand. I called off the Annual February Misery Day Parade for the day and immediately called my mom to tell her about it.

I couldn't resist writing you a note because your work resonates with me so much that I find myself hoping that meeting you was some sort of magical incident -- that you are my white rabbit.

Your work makes my heart leap. It is gorgeous and arresting and and makes me feel things. It also awakens a possibility I put to sleep a long time ago because I thought it was too impractical. I wanted to be Picasso when I was eight years old, just like I wanted to be a New York Knick. In the zero-gravity space inside my head, it was definitely going to happen. I was going to be a great artist unbothered by offices and desk jobs and mundane concerns.

But I ran into you because I was on my way to work in an office, at a truly excellent, world-renowned company that churns out awesome, inspiring nuggets of wisdom on smart looking cards and gifts. I have worked here for 10 years, since college, when I started out stuffing envelops because I wanted to be a part of the organization in any way possible. My position, which was created for me, has blossomed over time and really, I think I have a job that most people dream about. I'm the lady who picks the quotes. And really, it is great, it is about the best desk job a girl could ever ask for. But it's not Picasso -- or, in my present day parlance -- Maira Kalman.

I feel a bit foolish and embarrassed writing all this to you. Shouldn't I just be out there doing it!? What am I waiting for? I am, after all, the creator of follow-your-dreams paraphernalia. But I'm scared of letting go of what I have for something unknown. I suppose this letter is somewhere between a very, very earnest piece of fan mail and a message in a bottle. Thank you for reading it, and for being where you were in the world the other day. It was delightful meeting you.

Mrs. SevPrez

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Yard To Table

Boston lettuce, collard greens, and romaine lettuce.

Mr. SevPrez was inspired to plant a vegetable garden in our backyard this spring. I was extremely skeptical, knowing that I wouldn't have much to contribute. Until two weeks ago I was getting home at 7 every day, with not enough time or energy to take care of my existing obligatgions. And my track record is not good. I have killed cacti. I have barely been able to keep potted flowers on our deck alive... I always start out with the best intentions, but with plants I tend to have the wrong instincts.

Thankfully Mr. SevPrez refused to listen to my nay-saying and went ahead with the garden. He chose a sunny spot in our yard, measured a plot around 4 by 16 ft, and started digging. Apparently, it's all about the soil. And we knew we didn't have good soil, as we can barely grow grass in spots of our lawn. Somewhere underground there is a pool that previous owners filled in when they had a baby. So we have issues. But he dug on, and double dug, and got a few bags of good soil from the nursery, and started composting. And it seemed to be working: Mr. SevPrez announces with great pride and excitement everytime he finds a worm. Apparently attracting worms to the garden party means you are doing something right.

Flash forward a few months and we have been enjoying the "vegetables" of our labor. All three of us have had collard greens sauteed in garlic and oil. Our lettuce varieties are growing fast and furiously so we've had lots of crispy salads, which is extra fantastic because even though I love salads, I hate buying salad greens at the grocery store because they always end up going bad before we can eat them all.

Is there anything worse than having to throw out spoiled vegetables? Not only did you manage to avoid eating the healthiest thing in your fridge, nature's bounty went to waste. Double whammy. I have really enjoyed composting because if I am forced to throw out any spoiled product, I don't feel so bad knowing it's contributing to future harvests. We also generate a lot of peels from making homemade baby food so it's very satifying to put it all somewhere that it will do more good.

Aside from all the herbs we've got going on, we are looking forward to beets, zuchini (Baby SevPrez's favorite veggie), leeks, onions, bell peppers, and jalapenos. Tomatoes will come in late summer. We planted blueberry bushes that should yield a couple pie's worth of berries in about a month. And we have a little pot of strawberries that the birds kept beating us to before we got nets.

The early bird gets the strawberries.

I am happy to say I am a garden convert. It's amazing to watch all the veggies grow before your very eyes. And there is nothing, nothing more exciting than being able to say, "I'll be right back, I'm going to pick the lettuce for dinner." Nothing.

Mr. SevPrez wanted me to share this quotation from the book that inspired it all, The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans by Patricia Klindienst: "If you cannot see where your food comes from, you are doomed to live in ugliness." Pretty heavy. But when we haven't gone grocery shopping all week and manage to throw together a healthy salad for lunch because we can walk outside and harvest our own lettuce, it all feels very light.

Thanks to my readers who asked me where I've been. Sorry for leaving you hanging! More to come!