May 30, 2012

Spring brings out the animal in all of us. It would be more obvious but no less comical if we were covered in fur and walked on all fours. We snort and prod the ground, flicking tufts of grass into the air. We roll on our backs, legs stiff and unwieldy, stabbing the blue sky. We run just to run, grabbing each other by the honches and squealing. Backs of hands, backs of necks, backs of bodies… the whole of the human is suddenly very appealing.

We’re animals. We’re born like every other mammal and we live our whole lives around disguised animal thoughts. There’s no sense pretending.” Animal Dreams


The Impossible

May 27, 2012

All I want is the impossible.
I want you to look at me the way you used to.
I want you to see the good in me and trust that my heart is in the right place. Maybe so that I can see it as well.

Why can’t I forgive myself without your permission? I’m sorry I need you for that. It is bothersome for us both.

Sushi with John

May 25, 2012

John and I went out for sushi. We then parked on Overlook Drive and hot-boxed. After about an hour he turned to face the opposite direction.

To be is the answer. Chicago is lucky to have you next.


Around Here

May 24, 2012

Yesterday I met a young woman at the local cafe for a career chat. She wants to work in the fashion industry but doesn’t yet know what role she would like to play. I tried to give her an honest telling of my life. A life that could be considered heaven or hell depending on your personality type. One of the lines that came out of my mouth stopped mid-air. I’m not sure it even made it to her side of the couch. I saw it turn around and float before my own eyes. My own handwriting, black ink, thin tip. I read it again to myself. One of the most wonderful parts about owning your own business is that it can be whatever you want it to be. It’s you.
I needed to hear this. I really needed to hear this.
So often, actually most of the time, I feel as if I am about to be fired. I feel like god dammit, I’m doing everything I can for this business and it still doesn’t make a sizable profit, it’s still small, it’s still Filly. Head hung low… it’s not… some other business that is better. And sooner or later my boss is going to get fed up and give me the ax.
When I said those words to her I really meant them. And so when I read those words I wanted to cry with relief. All this bullshit about faking it til you make it. Make what? Make yourself into JCrew? Make yourself into something that you are not? I can’t. How about make yourself, and whatever you do, into the best version of your truth.
Here at Filly I wrap your dress on the wooden trunk in the living room. Each sheet of tissue paper has a creased corner because three years ago the bulk package of tissue paper got caught in the door and it takes forever to use up a whole package. I snip errant threads and pick off specks of lint and fold and refold until the dress looks like a gift. And then, on the way to Fedex, Bello lays on the shipments and crumples them a bit so I slide them to the floor of the truck where they pick up a little dirt and the Check Engine light comes on on my way there and I listen to NPR and worry about the world and my place in it. Filly is me and I am not perfect. Filly is me and I am just right.
Thank you, again, for the hundredth time, for knowing this all along.

I have been away, whisked to bed like a character from a Jane Eyre book. Ill. Weak. Not participating.
Bello took matters such as a walk and food into his own hands. While I tossed and turned through fevered dreams he left, multiple times day, through multiple escape hatches, to roam wild and free in the land of moistened garden beds and compost piles. Even in my altered state I knew when he had left. I could feel a stillness in the house and all I could do was hope he had his guardian angel with him. Sure enough, within a couple of hours I would hear a loud impatient scraping on the front door and I would struggle downstairs to let him him. In he would come, soaking wet, covered with leaves, panting even though it was rainy and cold, and farting a steady beat for the next couple of hours. He was exceptionally pleased with himself to the point of being annoying. But I was always so relieved to have him back that all I could do was thank him for returning.
I am out of bed today. The first time in three days. The flu I guess. I had forgotten how terrible the flu can be. And I have a short rein on my little guy. Although he seems less likely to flee now that I am once again a potential source of fun. Ha! If he only knew how un-fun I still feel.

Each Season

May 18, 2012

Each season brings its own set of circumstances. Spring. If you asked me in the wintertime what I remember from spring last year I would say… pretty much nothing. It must have been great.
Now that I am experiencing spring again I remember last year much more vividly. Because the same qualities are showing up again. I rearrange the house in the springtime. I remove the rugs and push the furniture to the edges. In the springtime the front door stays open and Bello leaves, without farewell, and wanders the neighborhood eating god-knows-what and worrying me to the bone. Spring causes the rhododendrons to bloom bright pink and in the process drop sticky little pods that get tracked into the house and show up in the most intimate places, i.e. on my pillow. Long-bodied black flies start showing up on the windows. They don’t have mouths and are only in fly form to mate. They are very slow (low blood-sugar) and easy to kill. I kill many. And the list goes on… to include river days and garden beds and no socks! But the flies are what I am thinking about today.

Days on Days

May 17, 2012

It’s funny being human. There is no figuring it out. One second that thing you’re doing, that person you’re dating, is right. It is stimulating, it is blissful, it is all you need. But what goes up…
I got back to Portland and felt so disoriented. I guess I like that feeling. Everything is so visceral. New, no pattern yet. And I do the day that comes.
Now I feel oriented. I have been home a bit and picked up a routine and some guilt and pressure regarding that routine. Things are becoming less fresh.

However, and this is the point of this post, today I found some treasures (remember to pronounce that like my Gramma does- tray-sures). On the afternoon walk I found a Bruce Springsteen tape. Bello found a sultan’s pillow to place in his bike trailer. And then I found a new hat. Grey with a lavender hue, faded grey cloth tie, disheveled aristocratic shape. I wonder if it would look good on Luke.


May 14, 2012

(Allison, Natalie, Coderre)

Allison celebrates her birthday in a way that is pleasing to others. This year she invited us to drive to the Oregon Coast to sleep over in a yurt. She invited us to share food at the picnic table and to lay on quilts in the sand and soak up the tepid sun while bracing ourselves against the coastal wind. She invited us to comb the beach for treasures, which we did and found and swiftly gifted to her, our Outdoor Queen.

These last couple of days have been heavenly. I shake my head and whisper, through smiling lips, I am just so happy. I am in overalls or shorts all day, wheelbarrowing, squatting and lifting heavy stones, on my hands and knees rolling and taming wild-haired left-over chicken wire, plotting and planning and making changes. My body aches in the morning from outdoor effort instead of from hunching over a sewing machine or getting a bad night’s sleep. It is tight and sore but stronger. Bruised, scraped, dirty and beautiful.
And I can’t help noticing that this life, this version of myself, this version of my days, is very natural and very easy. I don’t have to force myself into the yard. Or wonder if building a larger chicken coop is worth my time. I just do, all day until the light has left. In contrast, my life as a designer is hard. It is so difficult to confine myself to the studio, to put in the hours, to isolate. It is not the wrong profession for me but there might be a more right way to do it.

This is why we take vacations! How else would we find the perspective to question the pillars of one’s life! Jah ras!

(click to view)

Amanda Jacobson is one of those people that you remember for years after meeting her once. Her voice, low and gravelly. Her spirit, simmering, simmering, boil!. And her talent, natural and abundant… which reminds me… you might want to check out her Instagram profile. Oh my. She conceptualized and filmed the little movie that accompanies the Spring 2012 catalog. I have watched it like a hundred times and still want to watch it again.

On The Line

May 10, 2012

I hung up the clothes line. I trust the weather, for the most part. And as I was clipping little wooden pins to the wet denim I noticed my hands and I saw myself from above and I fell into a story where the narrator takes a step closer to the truth. Her truth. Her natural tendencies, her solitude and rough hands.
Clotheslines say all there is to know about you.

Work to Live

May 9, 2012

I wish I could show you time-lapse photography of the last six days. You would see blurry images of Sarah in red jersey short shorts and a ripped white tee and often times her burgundy slippers and me in dirty railroad-stripe overalls and another sacrificial tank that will be so grimy at the end of the day that its not worth washing. You would see us enter an empty space that still smelled of the previous renter’s last meal. You would see us begin to add objects, a kitchen table, two chairs, a rug that used to lay in Penelope’s bedroom. You would see us hop in Kevin the Truck and drive to the outlying suburbs of our fair city to collect what the inner city does not offer… linens, cutlery, lamps and a mattress. On the weekend she hit the estate sales and I found furniture at Goodwill. At night we cleaned and arranged, we raided our house for the good of the little sister studio, we hung art, we scrubbed counters, we lit Sweetgrass, we plunged the bathroom sink (eeww), we pinched our fingers and bruised our arms to get the hide-a-bed couch through the door. And on the seventh day we rested (that’s today) because our precious cargo has arrived. Rachel, Jared and Misha from Montreal stepped off a plane and into our home as if it were the most natural thing. I greeted them like, no-biggie, follow me around the corner, I sure hope you like the place, … hoping they didn’t see that I was holding my breath and bursting at the seams with pride. Exhale. The little studio looks beautiful.

Wet Grass

May 7, 2012

Suniti is wise. She wants to see me relax this summer. Take a break. I am sitting in Far Park at 7pm, in a deserted section that used to be a school. The grass here is what took over when the land could once again see the sun. The park, with its official, planned grass, is ahead of me but out of view. I can hear the tings and tongs of kids playing.

I’m not sure adults get breaks.

Good Morning Body

May 5, 2012

The house is starting to feel like my house. I was waiting for this moment and feared it was not going to come. I worried that because I was a renter before buying it I wouldn’t get the “Chinese food on the floor beaming from ear to ear alone for the first time in your new house” feeling. In fact, months went by after the final signing and nothing felt different at all. But now I see that my attention was riveted on Filly and I didn’t have time for another baby. Now I do, at least for a couple of weeks. And oh mama, watch out! I am a house maniac! I cleaned out the garage, free-listed the ceramic kick wheel, did a dump run with Sarah, bought and assembled a new wheelbarrow (thanks Mom!), researched compost and soil amendments, fixed the bathroom shower and drain, bought light bulbs and finally fixed my bedroom overhead light, wrangled my way up into the attic for a look around, donated two chickens to a new home, bought two chicks, and purchased, just today, a kitchen table, bed head-board, two chairs, a large peach dresser, a night stand, and a small couch with a pull-out bed for the studio (see above).
This morning I woke and wondered why my body was so stiff. Is your body stiff, I asked Sarah? How come mine’s so stiff when I just relaxed for eight hours? I remembered this question when I was carrying the large oak table into the house on my back like a pack animal.

Hello there. This is a little reminder that the last Friends of Filly for the spring season is this Sunday at my home in Portland from 10am – 1pm. In case you are unclear or unsure what exactly a FOF is, let me explain… (and if you already know just close your eyes and hum to yourself for a sec)… a Friends of Filly is an intimate gathering in my home or the home of a Filly host. There are spring-themed FOFs and fall-themed FOFs and these gatherings take place primarily in the Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. At a FOF I set out all of my backstock from past seasons and sell it at wholesale or below.You dig around, make a little or big pile, try everything on, feel great about the way you look, notice that everyone else looks great too, meet new people, pet Bello and generally have a wonderful time. At the end I feel totally exhausted and totally exhilarated. It’s a blast. So… I hope to see you this Sunday, bright and early. It is supposed to be nice so come get a new sundress to greet the new sun.

Sunday, May 6th
10am – 1pm
Emily’s Home/Studio
5335 NE Mallory Ave, Portland

Rushing Everywhere

May 2, 2012

Do you have a hard time slowing down? We are told to. A guy exiting a liquor store directed the cashier to take it easy. Experience your life with ease dear counter man. But does he? Can he? Or is his body too accustomed to rushing to work and rushing home and eating quickly and fretting about bills and worrying he married the wrong person and knowing his salary will never pay enough to consider himself successful.

I too feel very small. I too feel overwhelmed by the enormity of adulthood and the knowledge that life, by definition, is a risky bet. A natural imperfection. And never finished, until it is.
There will always be more to do. A house to help. A business to push. Friends to love. Men to weaken for.

I can’t slow down because I need to cross everything off my list… and then I will be the person I desire to be. And then I will be good. I rush to achieve completion and receive love.

Yesterday Sarah and I took Kevin all around town. We visited six thrift stores/Goodwills/Salvation Armies in our rush to furnish the studio apartment that is part of the house. We are renting it out through Airbnb and have folks coming from Canada on the 8th.
Come visit and show me how to take a break…

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