This whole town is desaturated.

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Friday

May 31, 2013

Word from on high is to rest until Monday. Gramma’s orders. I’m trying. No twelve hour painting marathons. But I did go pick up cedar and redwood planks from Scotts Valley. An acquaintance from high school saw my Needs post and wrote that her dad just replaced his fence and I was welcome to the old boards. God I love old boards. Have I already mentioned that?

And now it’s 2:30 and the sun is in full bloom. It’s bright on the patio. I don’t want to be done with lunch. But the post-meal cup of coffee sitting by my right foot tells me my time is almost up. Break’s over missy.

I have been drinking coffee with coconut milk. It’s oily but delicious.

What’s on the agenda? This, a Friday. This, a supposed day of rest. This day, half over and quiet.

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Pleasant

May 31, 2013

Suddenly she got pretty.

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Riverside Ranch

Sarah

May 30, 2013

Sarah has been in town for two weeks. Two weeks of heaven! In between family engagements she comes down to Riverside and puts in time. Some days she just scrubs, anywhere. It all needs a good scrubbing. Other days she takes up a brush and joins me in my seemingly endless quest to paint the stuccos. Last night she bought and hung Xmas lights, turning our patio hang into a twinkly party.
People keep asking me why she’s helping or what I am paying her.
But see that’s the thing. Sarah is the one to see that I need help and jump in to assist. As I would for her. She is yin to my yang. And vice versa. We dance around the room in a seamless symbiotic union of love and respect. Plus we just really like each other.
I don’t want her to leave. I really don’t. Don’t. Really. Leave.

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Fumes

May 29, 2013

Have you painted before? Ok, but have you painted an entire house? Doors, bathroom ceiling, closets, walls for days…? I am in an insane asylum. I don’t even have thoughts anymore.

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Needs

May 19, 2013

I have a dilemma. I’m asking for help.

There are three rentable houses on the Riverside property. After a bit of work they will be ready to be lived in. The income from these three units pays the rent on the property.
There are three additional units that are not livable but once they are, the income from those spaces will fund needed improvements to the property. The only way I can make Riverside beautiful is by fixing up and renting the three outbuildings.
This is my dilemma. A viscous circle. How do I fix them up when I need their income to be able to fix them up?
I need to gather materials for free and learn how to build. I’m reaching out to household across the land- if you have any spare resources please let me know! Doors, windows, flooring, framing lumber, insulation, counter tops, wall paneling… old fence coming down? Shed, shelves, deck being replaced? I will work- I’m strong! Let my muscles be my money. Enough with this viscous circle, lets create a loving circle instead! I’ll help you, you help me, we’ll help Riverside and dance in the courtyard this summer.

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Shopping Trip

May 18, 2013

Wood. Wood wood wood. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Checking out a couple off-the-map salvage yards in Oakland and loving what I see.
Is it just me or does old wood make everyone cry?

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Filly Foundation ll

May 17, 2013

Oh this week! I have not had the opportunity to work at Riverside since Monday. It pains me. My sense of accomplishment rests solely on the back of that slice of land. Everything else is distraction.
And then there’s Filly. Like the women who wear her, she is a loving friend. She knows that I love her, knows that I will call as soon as I have a moment. I need to be careful not to take her for granted.
Yesterday Kevin and I made a day long trip to Oakland. I picked up fabric to be used for the next round of the Foundation Collection. The fabric had been per-washed and needed to be transported to the cutters. Hopefully production will begin next week. Styles will be in the shop mid July.

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I’m really excited about the next round of Foundation. The Wonderful Dress will be available in linen and a jersey option. The Flute Pant will come in Stretch Twill (that great exercise-bra-like material from back in the day) and denim. The Salt Blouse, Flirting Dress and Safi Skirt will all make an appearance in new colors and fabrics. They’re good styles and deserve an extended life.
There’s something morally sound about looking at what you have and feeling content. Feeling satisfied.
We have it all.

Now accepting Parachute Party hosts in Portland and the Bay Area for June! Email me to sign up. emily@fillydesigns.com

There are two sets of Parachute boxes in rotation so multiple parties can happen at the same time. And what has been nice is one host passing the boxes off to the next host without them coming back to me. What a great opportunity to meet another cool lady. Because, believe me, you wearers of Filly could all be best friends. You’re down to earth, unpretentious, warm and kind. You’re naturally beautiful and active and comfortable in your body. You laugh easily. You eat well. You live your life in these clothes and improve them with grass stains and kid handprints and dirt smears. On you Filly fades and ages and becomes better and more beautiful, more rich, more loved.
If you haven’t hosted but want to try, I encourage you, with all the supportive mama energy I have, to give it a shot. Join our community.

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Postmaster

May 15, 2013

Yesterday was a wash in many regards.
It was an odd, missed day.
In the early morning I rolled with Kevin out to the dump on Dimeo Lane where tractors create dirt ramps up and down the mounds of buried garbage. I was struck by how similar it was to the truck and sand world I created and played with as a child. Dudes must love working there.
And that’s where the day essentially ended. I had Filly orders to ship and spent the remainder of the day waiting for FedEx to drop off inventory. I ate. Cleaned. Read. Paced. Drew flag ideas for Riverside. Checked and rechecked every possible interactive option on my phone a hundred times over. Slept. Until finally, at the end of the day they arrived and I flew into action in order to make the 6pm drop-off. Easy enough except that one order involved riding my slow creaking 3-speed over to the Westside to drop off and pick up a pair of Greta Pants.
To make a long story short, if you order Filly and you live in Santa Cruz I’ll pull up to your house on a bicycle, like an old fashioned French postmaster. I ring the bell on my bars upon arrival.

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Small Finds

May 13, 2013

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I’m calling a hauler today. Charlie I believe his name is. There’s a humpback whale sized pile of trash in the courtyard looking for a new home. I’m tempted to ride with Charlie out to the dump. I’ve heard one can now sign a waiver and dig trough the wood pile. They also have free paint.
One thing, perhaps the only thing, not destined for the dump are the two photographs I found among the debris. I was shocked to discover how fully the digital age has crushed the old fashion photograph. And what a shame that is. There is nothing like a found photograph. Often of the worst variety-camera askew, one large hairline obscuring most of the view with two small waving kids behind, blurry. They can’t be beat. And whether or not it is warranted, found photographs instantly sum up the scene. They give you the idea that this is what mattered to the people that came before.
Thai food, cars, nostalgia.

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Mothers Galore

May 12, 2013

There are so many mothers. They’re everywhere today. Parks are speckled with mother themed picnics. The beach filled with colorful umbrellas to shade our celebrated matrons. Breakfast joints are exploding at the seams with all of those mothers inside. Everyone has a mother and, it seems more and more, everyone is now also a mother of somebody else. And mothers’ daughters become mothers and then those daughters become mothers! How do you split the day? It’s so tricky. Thankfully for my mom I’m still just a daughter so the line of command is crystal clear. I’m paying for sushi.

I don’t know why I don’t want kids. It is partially biological I’m sure. My cycle is sporadic and therefore does not remind me, every 30 days, of a lost opportunity. Maybe that is why having a baby never crosses my mind. It’s not even something I’ve decided against, I’ve just never thought seriously about it.
The closest I’ve come to motherhood was the time I “found” a lost baby and called my mom from the Jr High to report my score. But even at that age, when I hadn’t begun to consider how my life might veer off course, I didn’t resist when my Mom fairly shouted “Put It Back!”
I put it back and made my way home alone.

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Day Labor

May 11, 2013

I hit the Farmer’s Market while I was still presentable, bought fifteen pounds of Fava Beans, and then headed over to Riverside. Another day on site. Seagulls circled high overhead, their speech tamed by the distance. My speech tamed as well, buried deep inside a ventilated mask. I didn’t even bother or notice to take it off when visitors came by. But considering the number of visitors the mask served as social gate-keeper, limiting conversation and allowing me to keep working. Plus I looked serious.
Tackled the mold in the front stucco.
Heaven be praised it turns out the previous tenant was either growing weed or just sweating profusely because the mold is simply topical and not a result of poor drainage or a high water table. I almost passed out from the bleach fumes but after scrubbing for half a day the room is white again.

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One

May 8, 2013

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Tuesday was a beast. I was alone at the property and that allowed me to focus on the task at hand- CLEANING. – I filled garbage bag after garbage bag with trash, pulled up carpet and manhandled the unruly troll sized hunk of scratchy stink into the driveway, posted three nasty couches to Craigslist Free List along with an additional pile of worthless but functional items, chaperoned the steady stream of takers away from the things I want to keep, like my own bike, and toward the actual free pile but still lost an extension cord and a ball hitch to greedy hands. I swept, coughed, got flirted with and wrote down names of cool folks I met so that I could invite them to “music in the yard” months from now. The result of nearly seven hours of labor is one cleared house. One valuable space. For the first time since I arrived I locked the doors.

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Monday was stimulating. Tiring. It knocked two hours off my evening and sent me to bed at ten sharp.
Monday I dug in. Put on my gloves, bought some bleach and large garbage bags and began the often stomach turning chore of removing somebody else’s sad life from my little houses. There was a lot to it. Yes it was physical work but that was minor compared to the emotional experience. This man lived with a bleach splattered futon couch molding and broken in the middle and the side. He threw his cigarette butts on the floor. He applied a cable lock to an oil can on his front stoop. He ate fast food and let the soiled plastic containers drift under the couch and accumulate. He also ate Honey Nut Cheerios which I also love and was tempted, in spite of everything, to eat from the boxes in the cabinet. He had a tidy drawer filled with batteries and local menus. He had a couple of bowls that must have belonged to his gramma. It wasn’t a matter of how quickly can I empty this space. I considered each item and the man who had come before. Dump, recycling, free pile, Craigslist, keep? His time here has ended. I want to honor that. He is gone because I am here. I am here little house… And I will love you in all the ways that he did not.

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Square Dance

May 5, 2013

Well, apparently it actually begins tomorrow because today is a Sunday.

I guess I better smoke a joint and go to Dance Church!

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When they started to play slower songs I wove my way through sweaty half dressed bodies to the low slung alter against the back wall. I pulled a card and it read:
I chose to be here in this glorious physical body.
(To be me has been my choice)

I had to smile at that one.

Square One

May 5, 2013

I am in Santa Cruz because of her- the Riverside Property, a pie shaped slice of cement with six habitable dwellings situated just blocks from the ocean. The potential is great. But she is far from her potential right now. This weekend the last of the previous tenants vacated the premises, leaving behind a dumpster’s worth of trash and a considerable amount of mold.
This property was purchased by my gramma and her business partner JPaul in 1972. That was certainly the last time anyone has looked at her with an appraising eye. Until now. When all eyes are on her.
Last night I had dinner with my family, aka the Riverside Shareholders. We worked on setting the ground rules for our project. I cried twice but by the time the Giants game was reaching a fevered pitch, we had a working contract written in ballpoint pen inside my journal. Doodles included.
And now it can begin.

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Landed

May 4, 2013

This isn’t a dream. I tell myself.
It’s better.

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Embody

May 3, 2013

There are moments when you’re sweaty, squinty, when both windows are rolled down and the wind whips sideways across your face and swirls your hair into a whipped bowl, where yours is the only old car in sight and you meet the California potholes like old friends, and you sing, in an off key strained voice, along to Squeeze’s Goodbye Girl and everything in the entire world feels right.

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New Age

May 3, 2013

I spent the night in a cottage in the town of Mount Shasta. In the morning Jill let me pull two radishes from her garden. Magic radishes. Obviously. She didn’t even have to tell me.
I walked to town via a shortcut: behind the library and around the side of the the art bus a plank walk winds its way through marshland and connects houses at the base of the mountain to the shops and motels on the main drag.
At Berryvale Grocery I tried to be patient and kind while a crippled old man in anarchist black canvas slowly purchased and packed two quarts of ice cream and a slice of cheesecake while the glossy lipped high off-centered pony tailed young woman rang him up and talk-shouted encouragement. From my vantage point both the ice cream and cake went into the backpack on their sides but I was in no mood to intercede. Like everyone else in Shasta I was calm on the outside, burning with rage on the inside. Because New Agers are frustrating to everyone including themselves.
The strange and terrifying thing was that no one noticed I was a tourist, fresh from the road, newly peeled from the chic modern culture of Portland OR. On the contrary I seemed to blend right in with my beret and blazer. When did I become this woman? And why don’t I care?

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On My Way

May 2, 2013

I am leaving Portland and driving to Santa Cruz. By myself- blah! I planned for Slacks to ride on the back of the seat with his head hovering near my left ear. We had been practicing for the past couple of months. I should stop thinking about it.
I am driving to Santa Cruz and staying. 5 months. That’s 3 months longer than anytime in the past 6 years. This is big. This is a life change. But I backed into it. The decision just kinda happened and now it’s happening. The emotional guillotine was not dragged out into the square. My keeper, my guard, closed her eyes and bestowed upon me a peaceful departure. Kevin, take me home.

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That Time With Slacks

April 29, 2013

My fucking cat is dead. I’m fucking angry!!! There was so much left to do.

This feels so different from eight months ago when Bello died. Bello lived a full life and there was nothing unfair or inappropriate about his passing. And so my feelings were ones of deep sadness an all encompassing sense of longing and loneliness. But Slacks was just beginning- WE were just beginning. We had an entire life laid out before us with fresh bones and fur and little white teeth. Youth is immune to age. It felt he would never get old, never be at the end and I loved this about him.
But he was also Slacks and he was a worry on my heart from the beginning. He went- always out, forward, toward the new. He was without hesitation. Utterly fearless. Never, not even once, promising to be mine.

There was that time…
…when he was with the teenage girls in the group home after he climbed a tree outside their bedroom window and begged for admittance. They intended to secretly keep him until he playfully hooked and removed a chunk of weave, which he still had tangled around his paw when I picked him up.
…when he was with the overnight security guard at the Dilation Clinic and lived in a parking lot for three nights.
…when he was picked up in the morning by an office worker and taken to the top floor offices of an energy company. When I came to get him I checked in at the front desk by saying I’m here for Slacks after which he was paged!
…when he partied with the dudes across the street and came home smelling like beer and cigs and slept for 18 hours straight.
…when he was carried across Martin Luther King Boulevard by two kindergarteners and lived behind the post office for two days.
…when he joined an upper class family for abalone steaks in their backyard and the kids cried when I came to pick him up.
…when he took to sleeping in the small worn cheetah print dog bed on a neighbor’s back porch and eating the crusty ant infested stray cat food they left out when I was consistently offering rich kitten food that cost its weight in gold.
…when he followed a couple home, at least 3 miles, to an entirely different neighborhood, and lived with her a couple of days before she decided to call me. She almost didn’t call me.
…when I rode past a house and saw a dad on the porch with his kids in a stroller. He was swinging a cat down between his legs, swooping past the kids faces, and up into the air while singing “It’s the kitty, It’s the kitty”. This was not the first time Slacks had played swing set with this family.
…when I was called to the home of a neighbor a handful of blocks away and arrived to see a sullen pre-teen girl playing a romantic fantasy game in which Slacks was her princely suitor. As I approached they both quickly turned their heads and pretended that never happened.
…when he was just gone, for a long time, and I never knew where he had been. And right as I couldn’t take the worry any longer, he would saunter up and throw himself down with snort as if I had no right to place expectations on him. He would live his own life, beholden to no one, loving everyone, taking life like blacktop on an open road- all speed with no obstacles. In the end life was an obstacle that he zoomed right past, out, forward, toward the new.

Dust to Dusk to Dark

April 27, 2013

Slacks died.
He was found on the neighbor’s porch this morning, seemingly asleep but cold and stiff. He now lays buried in the yard within a ring of rocks the shape of his frame.
He was never mine. But I was his.

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Sad Sack

April 22, 2013

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I’m all stressed out, in a suppressed kind of way. Uncomfortable in my body, seeking escape via nuts and weed, working in the yard and hiking and practicing yoga and still feeling bottled up and heavy. Like a sack, I lug myself around throughout the day.
And again, that familiar question arises, where is joy? I tell my sister to look around at how beautiful the earth is. I tell my Filly friend to exhale nice and slow and deep. This is how to access peace… and yet I sit here, with a slight stomach ache and at a loss. Tension throughout.
Oh Lord, deliver me from my poor excuse for depression.

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Who lives in the greater Northwest and wants to host a Parachute Party in May?
Portlanders, feel free to participate!
Email me and we’ll set it up (even if you have already contacted me in the past, do it again now) emily@fillydesigns.com

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