juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Devon's in town. Last night he made nachos—perhaps the best I've ever had, and I'm not sure why: there was nothing special about them except for the addition of second, chunkier chunky salsa, I wasn't particularly hungry at the time, but they were beyond delicious. Today we grabbed a pizza and added a side salad, and ate them watching one of the Star Trek: Voyager episodes that I remember best from my childhood.

And there was stuff.

Devon brought with him the bedding that my parents bought me for my birthday. They got both the sheets and the duvet cover, and they look fantastic. All my pillows are now covered in modal, and the plums and chocolates also look awesome against the orange sheet I'm currently using—so I can modify my color scheme at whim, and I think it'll look especially nice in autumn. That they bought both means that I now have all Grandpa Mel and Ilene's birthday money to spend as I will. I'm anticipating the BPAL Halloweenies, but after much deliberation also decided to buy a custom necklace from Sihaya Designs Jewelry/[livejournal.com profile] sihaya09—kin to this one but with a squatter pumpkin bead and shorter chain. I've desired her pumpkin designs for some time, and I think they're seasonable without being cutsey or Halloween-only, and autumn is so close I can almost taste it, and I want a pumpkin goddamnit. I hope I love it.

These socks in denim and these socks in rust arrived today. I'll wash and wear them and see how well they work—right now I prefer the fit on the latter, which are a bit shorter, but the former comes in more colors. I know it's silly, but I've wanted socks for so long—(occasionally) colorful, fitted, flattering knee-highs. This is a start. As I find which fit me best, maybe I'll even buy more.

I'm currently debating whether I should grab tickets to Kim Boekbinder's Impossible Tour Portland showing. Since I discovered the concert (and artist) it's reached full funding, but her music falls right into that genre of unusual female artists that I love so. Dee is away at Dragon*Con so I can't ask if she'd like to go—but the ticket prices are more than reasonable, and my gut says she'd be interested. It also satisfies this craving to do more, and more locally, and more with an indie and unique vibe.

Express and I have almost finalized plans for a visit. He was going to come up last month, and then rescheduled for this month, and then canceled again because he can't get a break at work. So I'll visit him instead. It looks like I'll be in San Francisco from October 7th through 14th, meeting a friend of many years for the first time. We are both nervous/excited to great degrees. It'll be a long train trip, but we finally found the best travel route, and I'll bring an entire carry-on containing just bedding, and buying a month in advance even means tickets are cheaper. Now we just have to buy them.

This afternoon I was able to email my mother and say, "We were considering a trip to Ashland—well, here's my upcoming schedule, and here time span for a trip. Do we want to make plans to go?" We're thinking of seeing Henry IV Part 2, and I'm eager for it. I'm filling out these dates on a handy Google calendar. I'm keeping a calender. I'm even making sure that birthdays get added.

It bothers me that much of this is money buying happiness. I don't talk about it often, but as blessed as I know I am to have a life of leisure—it's what keeps me sane, and it's an opportunity most don't have, and I am grateful for it—it's unempowering to have no independent income. Everything I have is essentially a gift—which means I don't get every BPAL blend I wish for, but it also means that I don't go shopping, that even my socks are borrowed or hand-me-downs, that it took me years to buy a new pair of shoes. This isn't because Devon doesn't notice or care, or a sign that I'm somehow unloved. But strictly speaking, all of these things—no matter how basic—are extravagances. I had bedding—it was ugly bedding, but I had it. I have socks—they're borrowed men's socks, but they work. I don't need anything, but I want so much. I want to do more with the life I've managed to save, and I want to control my self-presentation, and I want to do and have stuff that, yes, costs money. It cascades: If I have socks that flatter me, perhaps I can wear shorter skirts, but I'd have to buy them too. If I'm buying a necklace, shouldn't I be buying something more important, like shirts, instead?

And that tempers this, but doesn't destroy it. With this bedding, I can begin to pull together my room. With these clothes, my appearance. I can do things, and engage, and that thrills me. It's can be bitter, but it's still so sweet.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Written in my Moleskine on:

Wednesday, Day 4, Mazatlán
I've left Devon sleeping in the room. It's just past 7a. I've gone up to the buffet room and I'm hardly alone—we dock again today, so I imagine this crowd is even larger than usual, as people make an almost-early start to their day so they can go ashore. I've come because I'm wakeful and—despite the crowd—to be alone, for a while.

Land is visible from one side of the ship, but my current view out the back shows, for now, only water. Boats, too; a few seabirds—you can tell we are not far from shore. But most of the view, miles and miles of its majority, is water—only water. It's gray today (the sky is cloudy white); waves texture the surface as rain does a lake: constantly moving yet somehow permanent—permanent in the constancy of its movement. The water flows away from us as we sail forward.

A jetty has just come into view, scrolling up the lefthand window, followed by a cliff with scrubby green trees clinging to its ridge. To the right its pair, the other half of the cove's boarder, a church or lighthouse topping the ridge which stretches furthest into the sea.

The places we visit are interesting in that they are places, lands, climes which I have never seen before and perhaps never will again. These red-gray lands—land like clay, like brick: terracotta to the left, paling to yellow on the right, sandy, rocky, crumbling, dry even amidst all the water. Buildings built of planes, flat, long, layered, windowed, roofless. Scrubby gray-green pines and tall lean palms.

But it is not the land that interests me. Not the locations, not the signs of life.

It is the sea.

I feel it best at night. At day, you can see for miles—miles and miles, miles of water, just water. It's a navy blue, most days, a deep dark blue with just a few crests of white and the sea-green foam of the ships' wake. It's deceptively lifeless, when we're far from shore: deep, dark, still. Only a few flying fish, skipping like stones over the surface, give away the truth. But it's at night that I feel it best. Then the waters go black, shades of black beneath a black sky, and the near-full moon crests the waves and ripples along those miles, miles, miles to the black horizon. Then, things seem endless. The distance stretches further in its night-obscurity. The water dives deeper in the dark. Moonlight draws the eye out, out, out, farther on than it can see, and the effect—the effect is terrific.

Terrific: with terror, but the connotation these days is positive. Awesome: with awe. Amazing: it amazes. Wonderful: full of wonder. Incredible: beyond belief.

Not because it makes you feel small—it does, but it's more than egocentism, more than an observation of one's own size. It's that it makes the world seem large. Not "seem"—these things are this way. It is a realization.

Not a realization, either, because it is defined by what cannot be fully conceived: a world too far, too dark, to deep to understand. It is knowing defined by unknowing.

These are things for which language fails.

Further thoughts, two days after the cruise
We put gods and goddesses there, we place elder gods and the tentacles of Cthulhu, we try to give the sea's endless depth a face and a name and an identity because—even when they are beings of unimaginable power, even when they are avatars of that terrifying unknown—it's a little easier to understand when it's a little more concrete; because the concrete gives us a view into, a way to explore, that endless unknown.

When the sea stretched before me, I could not find the perfect words to express what I saw and felt. Back on land, the words are no more willing to come. Perhaps they don't exist. Language fails. Even the icons, faces, imagery fails—even Cthulhu is defined not by the tentacle we see, but by the unseen, unseeable beast that lies behind; witness it, and it will strike you dumb and mad. It cannot be expressed.

The best I have are descriptions of the images, hinting at the feelings they conjure. The best I have are more images:

Stormglass #2 by Wyrding Studios

The manmade made new by the sea: its still surface, its endless depth, its waves—agitating, grinding, altering—spitting back out, changed. And I, amber glass under silver seas. This piece went up when I was gone and, though I've never had love for sea imagery or materials, it strikes a cord with me now.

With nothing but flat empty water as far as the eye can see. )

What's already there. Deception. Stillness, endlessness. What we do not see.

Oh, I am not magically changed. I am still a being of land, of trees, of mountains—of measurable distance. But I was awed and touched, by those wide midday seascapes, by those dark distant nights. That stays with me, even if—for once—I cannot find all the words to express it.
juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)
Ironically with autumn finally here, I've been more introverted out in the real world of pumpkin spice lattes and red leaves—and thus have less energy for online stuff. If I seem to have suddenly disappeared, this is why. Rest assured I shall return—but not for a few more days because:

Tomorrow, I'm off with my parents to Ashland to see three plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Macbeth. Henry VII, and Bill Cain's Equivocation, which ties into the both. If you know me, you know that I am abubble with excitement and cannot wait to get there. Macbeth is the one that I'm most anxious to see, of course, as it is my favorite among favorites, my darling, my precious. This is my third OSF Macbeth production, and they've never disappointed me before. Plus, have you seen the poster art? It's incredible. And yes, I can quote all of the lines that appear in the castle. Anyhow, I shall probably review the plays when I return, as is tradition. And I shall eat well, and the weather is lovely, and plays!

Meanwhile, I finally spent the birthday money that I got from my parents and grandparents. And well-spent it certainly was. [livejournal.com profile] sihaya09's Ambre Vert awaits me at my parent's house when I meet them before the Ashland trip—amber and peridot are my favorite stones, and so green amber thrills me to my core. This looks to be stunning, and I shall wear it often. I also bought a metric shitton of BPAL (as so judged by someone who rarely has money and spends it even less often), for once spending without reservation. My order is:

5mls of:

THREE GORGONS (SALON) Egyptian amber, mandarin, tangerine, black pepper, tobacco, and vetiver.
I've wanted to try a Salon blend for a while, so finally splurged on one (they're somewhat more expensive and un-easily-impable). I am somewhat wary of the tobacco, but the combination of notes looks lovely and Klimt is one of my favorite artists—if the scent at all resembles the art that it's designed to, I expect this shall be lovely.

HAUNTED (GC) Soft golden amber darkened with a touch of murky black musk.
A few days ago I reopened my imp of Haunted and fell in love again, hard. This was one of my first favorite BPAL scents because it perfectly resembles the amber resin that [livejournal.com profile] sisterite sent me so long ago and which inspired my obsession with smellies in the first place. Sadly, that imp cracked and was lost, so a long time I was Haunted-deprived. When someone ([livejournal.com profile] sisterite again, yeah?) sent me a fresh vial a few months back I was underwhelmed by it, but with a bit of aging and some better weather the scent is, once again, perfect: soft, powedery, golden amber resin that I want to bathe in. I can let this bottle sit and age to perfection while I rush through the imp, and then bathe I can indeed.

TRICK OR TREAT 2009 (HALLOWEENIE) The sticky sweet scent of candy corn! Even cornier for 2009! - cuz corny is how we roll at BPAL.
As considered before. I'm still wary of a just-sugar scent, but reviews convinced me that it may be so like candy corn that the sugar shall not be a drawback but rather the point.

PUMPKIN PATCH I (HALLOWEENIE) Pumpkin, almond, brown musk, and honey.
As considered before. Reviews seem to line up so well with my highest hopes for this blend. I've also been craving almond and wearing a lot of honey, so this was a shoe-in. I'm already anxious for it to arrive.

PUMPKIN PATCH V (HALLOWEENIE) Pumpkin, chocolate, coffee bean, vanilla bean, and hazelnut.
As considered before. The return of pumpkin spice lattes isn't the only reason I bought this one, but it definitely made the decision easy. The reviews look stellar, again perfectly matching my highest expectations. I only wish that the turnaround time were shorter, because I want to wear this one right now.

And an imp pack:

SCHEREZADE Saffron and Middle Eastern spices swirled through sensual red musk.
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM Teakwood, oak, black vanilla, and tobacco. (Tobacco scares me, but I've been curious about this one forever, so I am being brave.)
BIEN LOIN D'ICI Red musk, benzoin, caramel accord, golden honey, and spiced Moroccan unguents.
LUST Uncontrollable passion and insatiable sexual desire: red musk, patchouli, ylang ylang and myrrh.
SHADOW WITCH ORCHID This perfume is a dusky orchid, subdued and ethereal.
VIXEN The innocence of orange blossom tainted by the beguiling scents of ginger and patchouli. (Supposed to be similar to the Heaven and Earth Essentials scent Black Cat, which I enjoy.)

All of this partially shared for record-keeping purposes—this is the easiest way for me to remember what I bought when. Anyhow, see you all on the flip side!
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Evil headache demons say, "Arrrrg! Die kitten, die!" But, regretfully, they have not yet managed to kill me.

Ergo, a little bit more posting and picspam—in the hopes that both will distract me from the headache.

Visit Home
I made a visit home today, for Sunday breakfast with my family—a long-time tradition—and to see my sister in one of her few days in town before she heads cross-country for the summer. Breakfast was wonderful, pancakes with whipped cream. But seeing my sister in baseball season means sitting near the TV and reading a book; I'm the only one in the family with no interest in baseball, I'm used to it, but still. Papa and I then took Jamie (the black lab) out for a walk: the source of this headache. Social events, sun, and exercise can be pleasant but they also tap out my resources—and there was much sun.

My mother I can sometimes talk about what I "do"—learn, read, think, create. With my father, we have dual one-way communication. "I read this book and it was interesting because." "That's nice. I test rode this bike and it was interesting because." "That's nice." The responses are authentic but they're not productive, they're not a dialogue. So, instead of talking, we do. We take the dog on a walk. The silence is companionable, and the changing environment offers us a few more ideas for our one-sided but well-intentioned communication. It may sound unfulfilling, but it's not. My father and I are as different as my mother and I are the same: he thinks concretely, I think theoretically; he is content, I am discontent; he balances, I unbalance. And so he balances me, and I find peace in our interactions.

We walked downtown. It was bright, but beautiful, with enough shade that I didn't burn—the headache is the worst of it. We met a huge and handsome golden retriever, walked through a waterfall caused by a misplaced third-story balcony sprinkler, and explored a youth home's vegetable garden. Pity the sun was so bright and overhead—it was poor conditions for taking photos. Nonetheless I did get one:

Photo taken in the vegetable garden. )

My relationship with Devon's family.
I never asked to live with Devon's family—I just lived here his parents moved in, and didn't move out when they came. I love it here, and I get along well with his folks, but I also harbor doubts that they resent me for imposing myself. They have every reason to: I take up space and contribute little.

Devon's mother went to the coast for her first vacation in almost a decade—and came back with trinkets for the boys and a bracelet for me. She knocked softly on my door, so as not to wake me if I was napping; she worried I'd not like it; she was thrilled and talkative when I said it was wonderful. And it is.

Bracelet, worn
Plus one shot of the bracelet close-up. )

I'd mention the maker if I know, but I only know where it was purchased. I will admit: rigid cuff bracelets aren't my style (I have a bony little wrist, so they never lie right) and with seams all along the inner edge the quality isn't spectacular. But as an unexpected and thoughtful gift from a mother-not-in-law? It is fantastic. Coppers and browns delight me, and the woven silver strands are unusual and quite beautiful. I was touched, and shall wear it. Perhaps I shouldn't need reassurance that I'm welcome and wanted, but I am thankful for it when it comes—especially unprompted, especially small, when it feels most sincere.
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
I am anticipating a new addition to my jewelry collection: Archeology: The Forests #1 from Wyrding Studios, which shall be in my possession tomorrow. I've wanted this pendant since it went up, and when it was on clearance sale I finally grabbed it. I am very much looking forward to having it—I was in need of a piece of monochrome-esque/less vivid jewelry, for days when I don't want bright color, and this shall satisfy that need. Plus: pretty.

However, I needed a chain to wear it, and so began a search through my jewelry box which lead to some minor reorganizing and wallowing in shiny things. Which, of course, lead to pictures: shiny pr0n.

My jewelry collection

Give or take, this is most of the parts of my wearable jewelry collection. (I hang on to some watches, earrings, and rings which I don't wear but keep for sentemental reasons, and I have some other miscellany which I wear as costume jewelry.) But my wearable selection is made up of necklaces, interchangable pendants, and a ring; there's a ton of amber and amber-colored stone, a bit (but not enough!) of peridot/peridot green, and the metals are generally silver and copper. Not pictured is the crocheted wire necklace from Devon, which is delicate enough to live in its own box. For what is shown, check the notes of the picture and the further photos below.

+3 closeups. )

The only problem is: the more I admire and own handmade and one of a kind jewelry, the more of it I want. Grabby hands. Please may I have a thousand dollars?
juushika: Screen capture of the Farplane from Final Fantasy X: a surreal landscape of waterfalls and flowers. (Anime/Game)
Wyrding Studios
I've had my eye on this jeweler for some time, and would love to own a piece or two. I'm partial to the organic shape of the wirework, vibrant but natural colors, and the fact that each piece is unique. Unfortunately there are few currently available pieces which catch my eye, but Wyrding Studios does large custom projects and weekly small custom projects and also provides gift certificates (my paypal is swiftskyes AT hotmail DOT com).

Sihaya Designs Jewelry
This designer caught my eye more recently, but I love what I see. The asymmetrical designs, ornate and delicate detail, and rich natural colors appeal to me. I have my eye on some of her currently available pieces, but she also offers custom work.

My preferences in...
Jewelry Types: Pendants and necklaces. Also bracelets, some rings. (I don't wear earrings.)

Colors and stones: Peridot green (stone and color) and amber (stone and color). Also tiger's eye, petrified wood, blister pearl; shades of black and gray, brown, greens (yellow-green, never blue-green), copper, orange, red, purple.

Metals: Copper, hammered copper, antique(d) brass. Also harvest gold, silver.

I don't like: Swarovski crystals (in Wyrding Studio pieces), fire polished glass, busy wirework with simple gems, very bright colors, too much white and/or silver, charms. Also most faceted stones, labourite.

Some of my favorite pieces. )


juushika: Drawing of a sleeping orange cat. (Default)

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