Wednesday, July 14, 2010

How's the Weather?

Lately, the weather has been a bit bipolar. Last week it reached a whopping 103 degrees Fahrenheit, and today it is 75 degrees with scattered thunderstorms.  I was a sucker during both the days, and working in Midtown, NYC easily bought a personal fan and an umbrella on a whim, on each respective day.  Living in these uncertain times, filled with barometric discrepancies has me dressing in mini skirts with scarves, wool pants with sandals, and linen shirts with a poncho.  With weather straight out of the movie Jumanji, I keep expecting three-foot insects to land on my head, bats to fly in through windows, chattering monkeys to take over the office kitchen, and a stampede of giraffes to rush through the hallways.  Ok, maybe I am exaggerating a little, but it just so happens that I am not so great with such a wild climate.Prior_Thomas_Jump-500px.jpg

Certain artists, like mosses, enzymes, and lichens, are extremophiles. That is, an organism that lives and thrives in an extreme environment. The most famous of these artists is probably Georgia O’Keefe, who after her first summer in New Mexico, fell in love with the barren landscape and expansive skies of the desert. She relished the desolate and decaying bone graveyards.  She loved the burning, hot tones of reds and oranges. O’ Keefe wrote, " I have picked flowers where I have found them- have picked up sea shells and pieces of rock and wood that I liked... When I found the beautiful white bones on the desert I picked them up and took them home too... I have used these things to say to me the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it." The so-called “Painter of the Desert” chose to live alone and eventually die in the New Mexican sun.

20x200 (where I intern) has its very own extremophile, Tom Prior, who is working on several documentary projects that look at beautiful and dangerous recreation spots around the world. He's photographed in the Bonnevile Salt Flats, whose highest recorded temperature was 112°F in 1939 and whose lowest recorded temperature was -18°F in 1990. His photographs at the Blackrock Tower in Ireland are slippery, treacherous, and filled with nervous anticipation.  Prior says it best, “Its a mixture of the super dedicated people and beautiful open landscapes. I remembered the changing light and engine noise of Bonneville, Utah. Starting at about 4pm in summer the light changes by the minute all the way till dark after 10pm. Blackrock diving tower is such a cool structure, out there on that pier all by itself, and it’s so un-Americanly dangerous. The locations are simple yet not at all boring. They’re visually incredible but made more amazing by humans.”


But, maybe the most extreme is Steve Eiden’s account of Leonard Knight who for the past 24 years has been living alone in the desert of Niland, California, a few miles from the shores of the Salton Sea, working ceaselessly on a giant monument to God known as Salvation Mountain. During the five coldest months of the year, he sleeps in the back of an old broken down flatbed truck. The other seven months of the year, he sleeps in this bed.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Just a Thought.

I need an onomatopoeia for the sound my thighs make when they rub together. Not to be confused with the sound corduroy makes when it doubles back and touches itself.

Materials on same materials.

Girls, empathize. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Why can't I get comfortable?!

I finally figured out how to describe how I've been feeling the past few days. Yes, I'm too hot, sweaty, and suffering from heat headaches like whoa, but that doesn't get at the heart of it. I think the best way to describe how I'm feeling is to describe how I am NOT feeling...

It's late October, and you're at home after a hard day's work. You're in comfy clothes, maybe your boyfriend's tee shirt and loose athletic shorts. The front room of the first floor of the house smells like warm leather and a lavender scented candle. Your legs are smooth and it feels nice when your calves touch the backs of the thighs as you relax on the sofa with a good book, maybe a Carol Shields novel or that new book everyone's talking about "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." You open to your bookmark, and, not for the first time, are lost within its pages as you comfortably sit in your house.

That is what most people call being "absorbed." I like to call this being settled. I want to be a settler, someone who comes home and is instantly relaxed by their own space.

When it's 103 freaking degrees out and the air conditioning unit may or may not really be working--there's air coming from it, but is it cold?--it's nearly impossible to be a settler.

After going through a mini freak out this afternoon when I failed to complete a house project and didn't get to finishing the other house project I started yesterday, I jumped into a cold shower...a much needed shower due to the brick dust stuck in my hair. I took a cold shower for a good five minutes. That's a long shower, when it's a cold one. Before hopping into that shower, I turned on the AC unit in the master bedroom. Dripping, I reentered the cooler room, put on underwear and then... that's it.

I finally began to feel better. Clothes off, AC on, bed made, chocolate-almond Hershey's bar ready to eat... and then the fear factor began.

I have an abnormal fear of strangers coming into my house. I'm not sure where this fear came from. This has never happened to me (knock on wood), and I grew up in a very safe neighborhood. Although now I live in Killadelphia, the fear began way before coming here.

The point is, I had to quickly put on clothes and leave the door open a crack so I could hear if anyone was breaking in. What I am going to do if that actually happens, I don't know. But there's a machete, a baseball bat, and a police baton at the ready here next to me.

That seems strange, but now that I'm thinking about all this, the first settlers in America (or anywhere for that matter) probably had more dangerous and many weapons just in case the natives weren't friendly.



P.S. As I wrote that last paragraph, I realize that so many things could be assumed from my choice of words. I didn't mean any of them really. It's just too hot and uncomfortable here. I don't wanna be a covered wagon traveler; I wanna be a settler.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mountain out of a Garage Hill

For the past few days I've been an anxious wreck in Philadelphia, an hour and a half from my family's house in Lancaster. I suppose a lot of things have added to everyone's stress in the past month, i.e. moving out of the house in which we grew up, and two of us (my brother and I) moving away from home. My sister is left to live with the parents during the summer, working as a server across the fairway (on which my parents live) at the golf course restaurant.

With all the stress and thinned attention, my sister accidentally tore the front bumper off my dad's car as she backed out of the driveway.

The consequences of this accident were magnified because my mother is volunteering as a nurse at a sleep away camp, so (with my brother and I gone) my sister incurred the wrath of my father, who has exactly two emotions: happy and angry. Sadness is possibly a third, but I've only heard of that once and it was extreme circumstances... still, I didn't witness this third.

If anyone reading this is a middle child, then they know exactly what I mean by: sometimes, I have to "translate" among all my family members, because they all speak different languages. So everyone texted or called me during this car crisis, yelling or crying. Self-loathing and other-loathing and frustration. Anxiety and total lack of motivation to live were a few of the feelings flying at me through the phone.

I couldn't go back to Lancaster, however, because my boyfriend needed a ride to the airport this morning. But now, I'm in Lancaster. I parked next to the said wrecked car and checked out the garage door.

Okay, so there's no front bumper and the headlight is cracked.

But.... where this $3000 worth of damage to the garage door is, I have NO IDEA. I didn't see anything wrong with it. Not sure if it's "internal" damage, but I wouldn't even know where the "internal" part of a garage door is.

So why is everyone freaking out??

Because my mother is a calming force in these situations, and she's (thank goodness for her sake! haha) at camp.

I hereby declare, mothers are now required to be present during incidents of destruction, but are forbidden to be harmed or involved in that destruction.

The world would be a better place if mothers were there to make valleys out of these mountains out of garage hills.