January 30, 2012

(reblogged from

I “met” MAV when she bought a Filly top online. A couple of exchanges were performed and during that process we emailed back and forth. I liked her. And so I checked out her webpage to learn a bit more. She is as accomplished as she is engaging. And accomplished in a realm that kisses my realm: imagery. I then traveled to her blog 3191 Miles Apart and was captivated. The premise is so likable. She lives in Portland, Maine and her dear friend Stephanie lives in Portland, Oregon, thus the title of their shared journal. Each week they post images from their lives, gorgeous, sumptuous images of two women doing just the right thing. These images are posted next to each other but without coordination. Unsurprisingly the photos are in tune and complimentary. It is fascinating to see the way they spend their year- the mornings and evenings of each season. The narrative is so alluring that their blog has now joined my sister’s and the Sartorialist as the only thing I read on a regular basis.

MAV generously offered to shoot a little fashion film for Filly. Just someday, when it felt right. I think it feels right right now. I think she is the main focus of my work for this Spring 2012 collection, a collection that is so ready and so right that I can barely keep up. When I finish a dress and try it on before the mirror I picture myself in her life, on her wooden steps with my feet in the grass. The clothes are infused with her colors, the colors of sailboats and berries and the blue-white light in her kitchen. And if all goes well, and the timing is right, I will be sending her a brown cardboard box with a stack of Filly made from heathered linen, thread-bare cotton, and hammock crepe, folded and tied with a string. A gift, a trade, for a polished stone.



January 28, 2012

Today I met with my image team for Fall 2012. On the left is Jenny Mano, our film director. On the right is Anja Verdugo, our photographer. And not pictured but sitting to my left is Sarah Baker who will style the shoot in my absence. That’s correct, I will not be present for the shoot and will be leaving it in the hands of these landed ladies.

Nat, can you talk?

January 26, 2012

I walked Bello in the park while I talked to my sister on the phone. I suppose you can guess the subject.

First I wanted to vent and I wanted to judge. A half hour later I wanted to feel sorry for myself. And I did. And still do a little. But by the end I had to admit that I’m upset because my fantasy world has been disturbed by this realty check. And I’m very attached to the fantasy world, a world in which he and I reunite. Yes, we broke up, yes, it was for good reasons, but that was then. The future is for romantics. The fantasy future has us realize we truly love each other, always have, and admit that our decision to break up was foolish, prideful, and just plain wrong. At the end of this completely unoriginal and predictable storyline we kiss wildly and move in together.

I’m not very good at letting go. Perhaps it is a blessing these fantasies self-destruct all on their own.

Destruction usually comes when one of the parties dates someone new. And unfortunately for me, I am never the one dating someone new. And so a second break-ups occurs. And this one feels worse in many ways because I don’t have the actual person there to remind me why we broke up. I just have the fantasy person and he’s really great. The fantasy person is everything I wanted from the original but didn’t find plus all the things I liked about him and now glorify. You can imagine how shitty it feels to be left by this guy, my soulmate and future. I’m not above changing the fantasy to incorporate, and then do away with, the new lover- something along the lines of “but he never felt about her the way he felt about me…” but it’s not as good.
And so tonight I will mope. But I will also try to see this as a good thing. On a practical level it frees me up to meet someone new. Now that I’m no longer betrothed to my fantasy ex-boyfriend.

Oh Hell

January 24, 2012

There is nothing quite as cutting as finding out your ex is dating someone new. And that he likes her. Over the past six months I have consoled myself with the idea that I might have lost him as friend and companion but I still had his love. I have continued to talk to him in my mind and include him in my life plan, despite being aware of the fantasy element of this behavior. In defiance of the distance and silence, I considered us still connected somehow. Now I feel embarrassed and a bit pathetic for carrying on and assuming he was to.

My first urge was to “do something about it”. Which is more ridiculous than the fact that I am jealous.

Why does it feel like his happiness is at the expense of mine? Ha! This is even more ridiculous than the first two thoughts!

Turn Around

January 23, 2012

I thought about spring shapes the entire time I designed for Fall 2012. I kept having to reprimand myself and get back on track. But now that fall is behind me I can dive into the slouchy feminine silhouettes of spring. Yay!

From Afar

January 21, 2012

There are certain women, in this fair land, that are a comfort to me. They are islands that I imagine I would swim to if things “got bad”. I think of these women and immediately feel more secure. In place of their human bodies, I imagine a double-sized bed with a puffy white comforter and a thick quilt. I imagine a safe place to sleep.

I was recently gifted a holiday package by one such woman living in Australia. She was not a Secret Santa participant but decided to send a gift nonetheless. As promised, the package came adorned with a thousand international stamps, my favorite type of wrapping. I found this sunny package on my doorstep in the midst of Soupy’s illness. It was a reminder that there was this other world, the one I was in before Soupy became sick, and the one I would return to after she passed. It was a lifesaver thrown to me at just the right moment. With puffy eyes I opened the gift. I gently handled the contents and smiled, a unfamiliar expression at the time. Included was a note.
“I am writing so that you might wonder, and the wonder will do you good. Today the sun shone and the cicadas struck up and I walked the dog and told him all the things we must do when we got home.”
I love this. But I don’t wonder, I know. I know I like her. I know we are alike. And I know she is important, now, to me.

That Thing I Do

January 20, 2012

If you were to stumble upon this blog you would have no idea that I design a clothing line. I rarely talk about my job, at least not about the specific details of the business. I’m not sure why. Well, if I were to be completely honest, I don’t want to let on that it is a serious struggle, this career. I want to present an image of calm, cool, beautiful clothing birthed from a place of ease. Because that is how the clothes feel.. in the end. The clothes are certainly calm and cool. But the process is long, it is tedious, it is a struggle to keep being inspired and to keep on task. I have been working on this collection since October 21st.
And this collection, Fall 2012, was especially hard. This is why. I had been running behind schedule very since I took extra time to design Fall 2010. Each season, I am months behind everyone else. With no way to catch up. But I had an idea. What if I pause Spring 2012 and go ahead to Fall 2012, make that it time for the industry wholesale launch in February, and then get back to Spring afterward. Spring would miss the wholesale order window and would be sold directly to customers in April.
A fine plan. And a plan that I followed. But what I did not foresee was how difficult it would be to jump ahead. Designs are based on previous designs. They flow naturally from season to season. You take what worked and expand, evolve, and move forward with conviction. But I was unable to do that. I had leap-frogged myself right out of the natural sequence. I was not able to base my designs on anything I had previously done. I had to start from scratch. It was as if I was designing my first collection all over again. Not ideal. But I did it. And now its done. It’s done! It’s done. Oh lord, it’s done.

Keepsake Dog

January 19, 2012

Can love alone sustain life?
Yesterday Bello had a 7 pound mass removed while I wrung my hands and paced the floor. Miraculously he has been made whole once again.

How Cute

January 18, 2012

This morning I read that 2% of Americans think that Romney’s full first name is Mittens.

Josh and Soupy Muir

January 17, 2012

What’s a heart for?

I just got off the phone with Josh. Tomorrow Soupy will be scooped into the afterlife. I promise to spare you the teary details.

Today would be a good day for a husband. On this scratchy day. Very grey. Very cold. Every now and then a flurry of snow flakes fall in quick bursts and briefly coat the sidewalk. The house is empty without Sarah who is away for the night in the seaside town of Astoria. I am working, finishing. In fact I could very well send off patterns and sew samples to the manufacturer tonight. There is closure everywhere I look. A husband would be nice, on this grey day of endings. He would hold me, distract me with his concern and the smell of his neck. He wouldn’t know what to do with all of this sadness and so I would temper it for him. I would try to spare him the discomfort of being unable to comfort. And in doing so, would comfort myself. A husband would make miso soup and a fire. He would be waiting, head on pillow, book propped on chest, low light directed at the pages. Welcoming me to crumble into bed and settle myself against his support and warmth.

Yes, today would be a good day for someone like that.

I feel quite beautiful tonight. I putter around the kitchen with a glass of wine. The classical station is tuned in. I am standing at the sink with the day coming to an end outside the window. Bello sleeps on the red braided rug in front of the stove.
I am taking a new homeopathic remedy and it is having a positive effect on my state of mind. I am feeling better.
So much better that I attended my first social gathering in weeks. A naked lady at Renee’s house. I came away with a pair of black jeans, a band-aid colored striped t-shirt, a shell colored trench coat and Maggie’s old sweater with the elbow patches that I have been coveting for years despite its poor state.
I am missing a certain person. A dear friend. No, a dear lover that I still turn to in times of great sorrow. But also in times of great joy or maybe, all the time. I am talking to you- telling you about my recent losses and successes and the boring essentials. And hoping that I will run into you one of these days. What will I feel? What will you feel?
Almost six months have passed and I still think that you are right next to me.

Food Obsession Exhibit A.

January 14, 2012

My Dad visited last weekend. The night he arrived we made a trip to the grocery store and bought oatmeal. Because my Dad eats some fuckin oatmeal, every morning no matter what. And I see why because he adds fruit and it sustains him and… blah blah blah. My point is that he is a committed to routine and does not waver. Unless pushed off that routine by a much better routine, oatmeal will continue to be breakfast until… the cows come home. And my Dad’s house is much to clean for cows so you get the idea.
I am my father’s daughter and I can also become fixated on a particular food. But thankfully my fixations, although intense, pass and are replaced by another on a regular basis. I seem to rotate every couple of weeks.
Right now I am obsessed with Pumelos (should that be capitalized? In my life they should, but in general?). They are big with firm mildly sweet flesh. They are packed with vitamin c and potassium and, believe it or not, fiber, even though they are all soft and juicy. During my recent cold I ate Pumelos all day. That’s all I wanted. Now I limit myself to one a day because I got a little stingy bump on my tongue. Which I should take as as sign that my body, now healthy, does not need so much c. And I can feel my interest waning, but I still bought two more today. I recommend taking a hot bath with apricot oil and a Pumelo. Unless of course you, unlike me, are aware that it is a Friday night and you plan on sampling some actual firm and mildly sweet flesh. Yum. Maybe that will be my next fixation.

Just A Dog

January 13, 2012

I have been walking around in a fog. Slack face, dull eyes, lots of sighing. I can’t say that I give a shit about anything other than the ongoing saga surrounding the dogs. And yet, I am aware that if someone asked me what was wrong, why tears were streaming down my face in yoga or why I haven’t called back in weeks, I would hesitate to say that all of this sadness and grief and utter despondency…was over a dog. Not a person. An animal. Am I overreacting? Am I overindulging? I mean, dogs are awesome but are they worth all of this? Are they worthy?
Today I walked on the treadmill at the Rec Center. On my way home I thought about stopping by the grocery store for cashews but I had been away from Bello for an hour and wanted to see him as soon as I could. I have felt this way every day for the last twelve years. I am happiest in his presence. I am stilled. And so I made lunch at home and we walked to the park. I ate, he sniffed the air. I read, he dozed. The day was blue and cold and we both noticed. This book is so good I said and he looked at me in response. He simply accepted this information without comment. He mentioned feeling a bit snacky even though he just ate lunch. I nodded that I was not surprised and smiled at his predictability. We ambled home, each of us keeping the other’s forelegs within our peripheral vision.
Just a dog. True. Just a goddamn good dog.


January 11, 2012

I spent my afternoon in the vet’s office talking to Dr. Shaad about a splenectomy for Bello. I have been agonizing over Soupy but Bello is also not doing well. The romantic in me likes to think that Soupy’s connection to him is so strong that she will pull him with her into the next world. But the romantic in me also likes to think that my connection to him is stronger and that I will keep him here with me for another three years at least. Two strong women fighting over a good man. Story of my life.

Tonight I was laying in bed performing reflexology on my left foot. The stress of the day has set my digestion off and I figured a little massage would help. Rub rub rub. I found only two sore spots. Ouchy sore. I referred to the book and was not surprised to see that the two pinpoints of pain were the heart and the spleen.
This is localized pain. It will not hurt forever. But so hard to remember on these dark days.


January 11, 2012

I’m afraid of the day. Each one brings me a step closer to our impending separation. I recognize this moment as the hardest part. Not death but the anticipation of death. The fear and clenched heart and racing mind searching for a way out. Because really, what I want is for Soupy, and everyone I love, to live forever. I like her soul contained in a slightly-built black-furred dog shape. I like Bello round and brown. Even though I know that whatever form their souls take next, my soul will be close by, this high-minded knowledge seems to flee with remarkable speed each time death takes a step closer.
I am a passenger in a metal cart clicking and clacking its way toward the ride’s peak. The views are incredible but the dread is blinding.

I don’t know what I can say about all of this. But I do know that my heart wants to unburden itself of the sadness and pain now associated with that little face. Soupy Muir. Jeez, I can barely write.
Soupy belongs to Josh, in the same way that he belongs to her. They are in love with each other. And so inseparable that I did not, could not, was not even allowed to consider, taking her with me when I left. Even though it broke my heart to leave her.
3000 miles now separate us, on these last days.
I am always aware of this distance but never more so than now. Soupy is dying. And Josh is wreaked. But he will give her everything that she needs, even a swift and painless death when that time comes. I strain toward them, stretching my heart across the distance, touching his back with the palm of my hand, whispering into her shiny black fur, oh Soupy, you’re so soft.

When I think of Soupy, I will not remember this time. I will remember a little jet of black, faster, smarter, more agile than any other dog on the beach. I will remember her racing ahead of the bikes, tongue lolling to one side, eyes wild as she proudly looks back at us over her left shoulder. I will remember meeting her for the first time. It seemed she was no more than six inches wide but tall for her age. She sat and stared at us and I heard her voice, her measured, Gothic, droll teenage voice say “Hello Parents.” Well, hello Soupy, and goodbye my love. My love. My love. My love.

D & B

January 5, 2012

Visitors! My Dad and Bonnie are here!

Not Just A Monday

January 2, 2012

I woke up this morning and thought, Jesus I have a lot to do. The holidays and the year ended on one unassuming Sunday and we all woke on Monday to a surge of panic. Oh shit, I have a life to lead. I reached for my notebook and jotted down the things that came to mind. It’s like 12″ long! And nowhere on that list, is finishing the Fall 2012 collection. And that is all I should be doing. But, like any small business owner, I wear many hats. And I am constantly removing one to make room for another. Some days I have four or five smashed on my head at the same time. Like today. I am in the studio surrounded by patterns and mock-ups but I cannot touch them. I must pay bills and make appointments and register this and that. I’m in the office, so to speak. Tonight, after evening yoga, I will let myself become a designer again. I have two more tops to make and then I’m done!

New Years Eve 2011

January 2, 2012

Oh champagne.

Last night I took a bath and did some journaling before going out. In large part I was doing it for my fuuture self, my present self doesn’t seem to need to journal these days. But before I began I flipped back to New Years Eve 2010. I remembered staying home and feeling all emotional and shit so I expected a lengthy paragraph detailing all my feelings. Instead there was just one line, written in pencil no less. It said “I don’t feel alive.“.
Next year, when I look at the entry for New Years Eve 2011 I will see evidence of a woman who is quite alive. Words like content and whole are capatalized, the writing is in black ink and wildly slanted and ends with an oversized scrawl – “I’m going dancing tonight!!” As if I was already drunk.
The party was around the corner at the home of an acquaintance. Two of my favorite djs were playing sets and everyone I knew was going. I walked in and began to shake it. I shook it while waiting for the bathroom. I shook it while the countdown brought us into the New Year and I did not stop until I got on my bike at two am and wobbled home. Apparently I then ate some cashews because this morning I found the bag ripped open and nuts spilled on the counter. I think I also slept on the couch for a bit because I have a foggy memory of Bello thinking that was weird. So lets see, what symbolism can I glean from all of this… what predictions might I make-
In 2012 I will eat nuts and not think about how I should eat less nuts. Its going to be a good year.

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